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'Autopia' future promoted by Google and Apple will hurt traditional carmakers

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 8
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Driver-less pods like this from Google may change the way people view individual mobility, which has potential to shake up the automotive industry.
Are battery-powered electric vehicles a viable business case not only for the automakers that will sell them but also for the people who will buy them? Is autonomous driving science fiction or a reality that is closer than we expect? Will these changes result in a new form of on-demand individual mobility that forces automakers to restructure their sales and production ope ...
     Continue reading "'Autopia' future promoted by Google and Apple will hurt traditional carmakers" » Feb 8, 2016 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Automotive News Europe celebrates 20 years; watch this space for future trends

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 5
In an industry reshaping at the speed of light, Automotive News Europe brings you reliable, relevant and unbiased coverage of the auto business. Now we have a special news item of our own: this year ANE is 20. Automotive News Europe’s first issue was published on February 5, 1996 with this scoop as its main story: “Mercedes plans ultra-luxury car to fight Roll ...
     Continue reading "Automotive News Europe celebrates 20 years; watch this space for future trends" » Feb 5, 2016 12:01 am U.S. ET
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How GM's 'shampoo princess' is restoring Opel's image

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 4
With Opel posting rising car sales last year and set to break even this year after years of heavy losses, the full story of how General Motors' European division managed to reverse its fortunes would not be complete without mentioning the pivotal role played by one executive: marketing chief Tina Mueller. Opel had become in Germany something akin to Oldsmobile in the U.S. ...
     Continue reading "How GM's 'shampoo princess' is restoring Opel's image" » Feb 4, 2016 12:01 am U.S. ET
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How GM's 'shampoo princess' is restoring Opel's image

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 4
With Opel posting rising car sales last year and set to break even this year after years of heavy losses, the full story of how General Motors' European division managed to reverse its fortunes would not be complete without mentioning the pivotal role played by one executive: marketing chief Tina Mueller. Opel had become in Germany something akin to Morris in the UK or Ol ...
     Continue reading "How GM's 'shampoo princess' is restoring Opel's image" » Feb 4, 2016 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Chock this out: We may have jumped the shark on Recall-o-rama

Posted 12:58 pm U.S. ET, Feb. 3
In a sign of Fiat Chrysler’s new hypersensitivity to safety -- its efforts to keep on the right side of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration -- the automaker said today it would voluntarily supply owners of 441,578 Dodge Chargers from the 2011-16 model years in the U.S. with free wheel chocks. Wheel chocks. Let that sink in a minute. For the uninitiat ...
     Continue reading "Chock this out: We may have jumped the shark on Recall-o-rama" » Feb 3, 2016 12:58 pm U.S. ET
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F&I product add positions Cox for growth

Posted 11:45 am U.S. ET, Feb. 3
F&I product sales could be the key to dealership profit, and by offering F&I products to its dealers, Cox Automotive is setting itself up for growth. Cox Automotive announced last week that it acquired a minority interest in F&I product provider SilverRock Holdings. Dealers who work with Cox Automotive’s NextGear Capital and GO Financial will be able to ...
     Continue reading "F&I product add positions Cox for growth" » Feb 3, 2016 11:45 am U.S. ET
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Despite a quirky January, industry is on the right path

Posted 5:11 pm U.S. ET, Feb. 2
Better run down to the local Asterisks R Us store and load up. The industry always wants January U.S. auto sales to foretell the year ahead, but it’s a lousy month for soothsaying. There’s truth buried in the numbers. But you must adjust for so many quirks, it’s hard to get a clear picture. There’s the usual seasonal stuff: weather, mood and the i ...
     Continue reading "Despite a quirky January, industry is on the right path" » Feb 2, 2016 5:11 pm U.S. ET
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Sergio's plan to sell rebadged Dart, 200 replacements could work -- if he chooses wisely

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, Feb. 2
Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne's plan to replace the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 with vehicles built under contract by other automakers faces long odds. Can you name a captive import (a car built by one automaker, but sold by another) or rebadged car that has been successful? There are very few. The closest that comes to mind is the 1970-78 Mercury Capri. Ford Motor ...
     Continue reading "Sergio's plan to sell rebadged Dart, 200 replacements could work -- if he chooses wisely" » Feb 2, 2016 11:00 am U.S. ET
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In Daihatsu deal, Toyota zigs while Detroit zags

Posted 11:14 am U.S. ET, Feb. 1
TOKYO -- Toyota Motor Corp. is zigging while Detroit zags on a key question: How important are small cars and emerging markets to determining future winners and losers? Toyota last week doubled down on its bet on Japanese minicar maker Daihatsu, agreeing to buy the remaining 48.8 percent of the company it doesn’t already own. President Akio Toyoda said he would bui ...
     Continue reading "In Daihatsu deal, Toyota zigs while Detroit zags" » Feb 1, 2016 11:14 am U.S. ET
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Nissan claims win in Europe, but Toyota had more sales

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Jan. 29
Nissan claims it achieved its goal of becoming the No. 1 Asian automaker in Europe by outselling Toyota last year. The problem is that Nissan says it sold 715,623 vehicles in Europe last year, which is well below the 810,085 vehicles Toyota says it sold in Europe. So which automaker won? It depends on the definition of Europe. The winner was Toyota if we look at "core" ...
     Continue reading "Nissan claims win in Europe, but Toyota had more sales" » Jan 29, 2016 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Sales reporting transparency? Yeah, right

Posted 5:32 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 28
In 2010, AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson told me about being in the office of a sales executive at a domestic automaker years earlier on the closing day of the month. An aide walks in and asks whether the executive wants a rental car deal for 75,000 vehicles assigned to that month or the next one. The exec’s reply: “Hmm, I think we need it this month. Put it in.&rd ...
     Continue reading "Sales reporting transparency? Yeah, right" » Jan 28, 2016 5:32 pm U.S. ET
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Wait a minute. What? Jeep Wagoneer? Where did that come from?

Posted 6:17 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 27
So here’s a question for you to ponder: What’s a Jeep Wagoneer? In the middle of a lengthy yet remarkably detail free conference call on Wednesday about Fiat Chrysler’s plans to “realign” its North American production plan, CEO Sergio Marchionne dropped this little nugget: “I think it’s important for us to have found a home for t ...
     Continue reading "Wait a minute. What? Jeep Wagoneer? Where did that come from?" » Jan 27, 2016 6:17 pm U.S. ET
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Suzuki shares surge on report of talks with Toyota

Posted 12:55 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 27
TOKYO -- Suzuki Motor Corp. shares surged on the Tokyo Stock Exchange today amid speculation the minicar specialist is seeking a new alliance partner after its acrimonious breakup with Volkswagen AG. The new consort is the German automaker’s top global rival, Toyota Motor Corp., according to a report in Japan’s Nihon Keizai newspaper. Toyota and Suzuki are exp ...
     Continue reading "Suzuki shares surge on report of talks with Toyota" » Jan 27, 2016 12:55 pm U.S. ET
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Beware the pitfalls of digital ads

Posted 11:45 am U.S. ET, Jan. 27
To steer clear of illegal advertisements, dealers should be mindful of the pitfalls lurking in the digital space. There has been an industrywide push to put much of the car buying and financing process online, including advertisements. While that’s a good thing for consumers and auto retailers alike, dealers should make sure that online ads don’t come back to ...
     Continue reading "Beware the pitfalls of digital ads" » Jan 27, 2016 11:45 am U.S. ET
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Why the time has come for a Takata bailout

Posted 2:02 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 26
The Takata airbag recall crisis, which now is measured in terms of years and by the tens of millions in recalled vehicles, has devolved into a metastasizing cancer on the credibility of the world’s auto industry. With the fatality count last week growing to 10 -- we may never really know how many people have been maimed or killed by Takata’s exploding airbag i ...
     Continue reading "Why the time has come for a Takata bailout" » Jan 26, 2016 2:02 pm U.S. ET
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Caddy CT6's lightweight body = big car, small engine

Posted 12:30 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 26
RAMONA, Calif. -- Of the three engine choices available on the Cadillac CT6 sedan, it was the smallest that seemed to generate the most buzz during a media drive here last week. The 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbo kicks out 265 hp, shy of the 272 hp that the same displacement engine produces in the compact Cadillac ATS. But the relative featherweight construction of the CT ...
     Continue reading "Caddy CT6's lightweight body = big car, small engine" » Jan 26, 2016 12:30 pm U.S. ET
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Will Volvo's S90L land stateside?

Posted 11:30 am U.S. ET, Jan. 26
Volvo's revival of the S90 nameplate, dormant since the late 1990s, brings back the brand's aspirations for a luxury flagship to take on the Germans. Developed on the company's Scalable Product Architecture shared with the XC90 crossover, the S90 will battle the likes of the BMW 5 series, Mercedes-Benz E class and Lexus GS when it lands in stores later in the ye ...
     Continue reading "Will Volvo's S90L land stateside?" » Jan 26, 2016 11:30 am U.S. ET
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GM shifts r&d role to meet new realities

Posted 12:30 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 26
For most of its existence, General Motors r&d has focused on investigating technologies that might be deployed in automobiles decades down the road. In the 1950s, for instance, GM was already thinking about how to engineer autonomous vehicles. In the mid-1960s, GM engineers built the world’s first fuel-cell powered automobile, the Electrovan. About a decade ago ...
     Continue reading "GM shifts r&d role to meet new realities" » Jan 26, 2016 12:30 pm U.S. ET
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How GM zoomed past VW in China

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Jan. 25
The Volkswagen Group was China's largest automaker in 2013 and 2014, but last year, General Motors regained top billing. Volkswagen's China sales dropped 3.4 percent to 3.55 million vehicles, while GM's rose 5.2 percent to 3.61 million. How did VW lose bragging rights as China's No. 1 automaker? Unlike GM, Volkswagen didn't trust its China executives. The German automotive ...
     Continue reading "How GM zoomed past VW in China" » Jan 25, 2016 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Eight things to know about the new Hyundai Ioniq hybrid

Posted 1:02 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 22
SEOUL -- Hyundai Motor Co. is pitching its new Ioniq hybrid vehicle as the anti-hybrid hybrid: a green car with gusto and good looks. And the compact hatchback delivered on that promise during a test drive this week on the northern outskirts of Seoul. On largely deserted roads just outside the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone dividing South Korea from its communist n ...
     Continue reading "Eight things to know about the new Hyundai Ioniq hybrid" » Jan 22, 2016 1:02 pm U.S. ET
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ZF executive 'remarkably comfortable' in one-on-one chat with Obama

Posted 3:21 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 21
The most commonly asked question I’ve received in the past 24 hours is: “Were you nervous?” But I can honestly tell you that my 10-minute one-on-one conversation with The President of the United States, while being the pinnacle of my communications career, was remarkably comfortable. Wednesday afternoon I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explai ...
     Continue reading "ZF executive 'remarkably comfortable' in one-on-one chat with Obama" » Jan 21, 2016 3:21 pm U.S. ET
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ZF executive 'remarkably comfortable' in one-on-one chat with Obama

Posted 3:21 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 21
The most commonly asked question I’ve received in the past 24 hours is: “Were you nervous?” But I can honestly tell you that my 10-minute one-on-one conversation with The President of the United States, while being the pinnacle of my communications career, was remarkably comfortable. Wednesday afternoon I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explai ...
     Continue reading "ZF executive 'remarkably comfortable' in one-on-one chat with Obama" » Jan 21, 2016 3:21 pm U.S. ET
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Papa Uno hits the block

Posted 2:00 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 20
A Fiat 500L made famous by a high-profile user -- I know, it’s a big club, but I want to leave you guessing -- is going on the auction block for charity this month in Philadelphia. A black Fiat 500L used in September in Philadelphia by Pope Francis during his first visit to the United States will be auctioned off Jan. 29 during the black-tie gala prior to the start ...
     Continue reading "Papa Uno hits the block " » Jan 20, 2016 2:00 pm U.S. ET
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Efficiency, compliance still trump shorter visits to F&I office

Posted 12:30 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 20
Speed in the F&I office, while a priority, may not be dealerships’ No. 1 goal anymore. A quick visit to the F&I office makes a difference, especially in pleasing those consumers who expect immediate gratification. But ease and transparency in the process seem to take precedent for retailers. When I leased my car in September, the transaction from start to f ...
     Continue reading "Efficiency, compliance still trump shorter visits to F&I office" » Jan 20, 2016 12:30 pm U.S. ET
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What Nissan learned from Mercedes for Infiniti Q30 production

Posted 6:06 am U.S. ET, Jan. 20
Nissan had to make some costly adaptations to build the Infiniti Q30 and QX30 compact models at its factory in Sunderland, England. The huge plant, which has a 500,000-unit annual capacity, is modern and flexible, but adding production of the Q30 hatchback and the upcoming QX30 crossover was a challenge. For a start, the two Infiniti cars are the first premium models to ...
     Continue reading "What Nissan learned from Mercedes for Infiniti Q30 production" » Jan 20, 2016 6:06 am U.S. ET
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