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Legal settlement allows Mercedes to award dealership to Alabama's Nick Saban

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 23
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Alabama Coach Nick Saban's attorney issued a public statement late Friday saying that the proposed new Alabama dealership with partner, Baton Rouge Mercedes dealer Joe Agresti, will now go forward.
NASHVILLE -- A plan by Mercedes-Benz USA to award a dealer franchise in Alabama to Crimson Tide football coach Nick Saban and a business partner can move forward now that litigation with a longtime Mercedes dealer there has been settled. With three national titles for the Tide, Saban occupies a social position in Alabama that is approximately equal to Julius Caesar’ ...
     Continue reading "Legal settlement allows Mercedes to award dealership to Alabama's Nick Saban" » Aug 23, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Is Ford rolling the dice with changes to 2015 Mustang?

Posted 2:26 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 21
DETROIT -- Bigger. Heavier. Thirstier. More expensive. It’s a recipe for killing a sports car. The Toyota Supra, the original version of the Datsun/Nissan Z car, the Mitsubishi Eclipse and dozens of other sports and high-performance cars burned out and then faded away when they became bloated and less fuel efficient or moved up the price ladder. Perhaps one reason ...
     Continue reading "Is Ford rolling the dice with changes to 2015 Mustang?" » Aug 21, 2014 2:26 pm U.S. ET
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Did dealers hurt themselves with the carve out?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 20
There’s no mistaking that federal regulators are serious about policing auto lenders. The Justice Department’s recent subpoenas to Santander Consumer USA and GM Financial are just the latest blow, preceded by actions against other auto lenders by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Federal Trade Commission. By extension, auto dealers feel they’v ...
     Continue reading "Did dealers hurt themselves with the carve out?" » Aug 20, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Skipping wheel-and-tire was big mistake

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 20
Wheel-and-tire insurance is a valuable product. There, I admit it. It’s not the “snake oil” that a cynical friend once espoused it and other F&I products to be. The friend believes the products are big money-makers for the dealership but costly and useless to the consumer. The dealer’s profit margins are indeed fat. One F&I manager told me ...
     Continue reading "Skipping wheel-and-tire was big mistake" » Aug 20, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Searching far and wide for service techs

Posted 9:30 am U.S. ET, Aug. 20
How far is your dealership willing to go to get well-qualified service technicians? General Motors dealers in the Mideast went all the way to the Philippines. On Aug. 7, a group of technicians graduated from the GM Advanced Technician Training Center in a ceremony held at the Lourdes High School Complex in Angat, Bulacan, north of Manila. The center is sponsored by GM M ...
     Continue reading "Searching far and wide for service techs" » Aug 20, 2014 9:30 am U.S. ET
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Why Korea could be next to crack down on foreign brand pricing

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 20
Could China's crackdown on perceived price gouging by foreign automakers trigger a domino effect next door in South Korea, where sale of overseas brands are heating up? Authorities there are already getting tough on the pricing of auto parts. And public opinion in Korea apparently supports China's ongoing probe and favors sterner measures at home. Pressure on foreign bra ...
     Continue reading "Why Korea could be next to crack down on foreign brand pricing" » Aug 20, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Why Honda's John Mendel wants customers to buy a Treasury bond on wheels

Posted 3:28 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 19
Shaky stock market got you jittery? It may be time to take your money out of Google, Apple and Tesla -- and put it in Hondas. Not Honda stock. Actual Hondas. They’re like Treasury bonds on wheels, with cupholders. That’s basically how John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda, described the company’s products today. Mendel was responding ...
     Continue reading "Why Honda's John Mendel wants customers to buy a Treasury bond on wheels" » Aug 19, 2014 3:28 pm U.S. ET
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The Rolls-Royce that took 8 months to build

Posted 1:56 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 19
Turn 10 Studios needed extra time to digitally translate the Rolls-Royce Wraith’s craftsmanship into “Forza Motorsport 5” on the Xbox One. It took around eight months for developers to build the super-luxury fastback coupe -- two months longer than average. The Wraith -- the first Rolls-Royce to appear in a video game -- presented unique design challeng ...
     Continue reading "The Rolls-Royce that took 8 months to build" » Aug 19, 2014 1:56 pm U.S. ET
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Why Korea could be next to crack down on foreign brand pricing

Posted 8:55 am U.S. ET, Aug. 19
TOKYO -- Could China’s crackdown on perceived price gouging by foreign automakers trigger a domino effect next door in South Korea, where sale of overseas brands are heating up? Authorities there are already getting tough on the pricing of auto parts. And public opinion in Korea apparently supports China’s ongoing probe and favors sterner measures at home. Pr ...
     Continue reading "Why Korea could be next to crack down on foreign brand pricing" » Aug 19, 2014 8:55 am U.S. ET
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Why Beijing's antitrust crackdown has little to do with protectionism

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 17
Over the last month, the National Development and Reform Commission has launched a slew of antitrust investigations into the pricing practices of foreign automakers. One might logically conclude that China's central economic planning agency is doing all this to protect domestic automakers. But this notion is misleading even though the NDRC has used questionable tactics to ...
     Continue reading "Why Beijing's antitrust crackdown has little to do with protectionism" » Aug 17, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Why Americans are rediscovering Italian cars

Posted 8:52 am U.S. ET, Aug. 16
MONTEREY, Calif. -- Fiat aside, Italian cars live in a rarefied world of the very rich and the very few. Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Pagani, Zagato -- those luminary brands barely add up to a percent of a percentage point worth of sales in America. But oh, the mystique. Oh, the power of the Italian design -- the curves of the Italian body and the seducti ...
     Continue reading "Why Americans are rediscovering Italian cars" » Aug 16, 2014 8:52 am U.S. ET
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Ford Fiesta, VW Polo make big moves in Web world

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 15
The Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo were big Web winners during the second quarter. Other stars were the Land Rover Discovery, BMW X6 and Toyota Yaris. The Fiesta got a boost from being named Car of the Year by The Telegraph in May. The subcompact beat models such as the Volkswagen Golf, Range Rover Evoque and Jaguar XF. The British newspaper picked the Fiesta for its agi ...
     Continue reading "Ford Fiesta, VW Polo make big moves in Web world" » Aug 15, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Court ruling on telecommuting could affect dealerships

Posted 1:23 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 14
What does a former Ford Motor Co. employee with irritable bowel syndrome have to do with car dealerships? Potentially, a lot. That’s because the case surrounding this employee could lead to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission broadening the Americans with Disabilities Act’s definition of offering a “reasonable accommodation” for an employee ...
     Continue reading "Court ruling on telecommuting could affect dealerships" » Aug 14, 2014 1:23 pm U.S. ET
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Automakers to face intensified scrutiny over voice recognition

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 14
The world's automakers are going to be doing a lot of cringing now that J.D. Power plans to criticize them for one of the most poorly executed technologies they peddle to consumers -- voice recognition. In brief, vehicle voice-recognition technology is awful. It was lousy when it emerged in the early 1990s. And after 15 years of inclusion in vehicles across the price spect ...
     Continue reading "Automakers to face intensified scrutiny over voice recognition" » Aug 14, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Toyota redresses FT-1 concept

Posted 3:29 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 13
It’s the second coming of the Toyota FT-1. Toyota pulled the cover off of a second concept version of the FT-1 super sports car in Monterey, Calif., on Wednesday. Both versions of the FT-1 were shown, squeezed between classic supercars and big business jets. Showing off both the first and second FT-1s in California is a good way to gauge popular reaction to the car ...
     Continue reading "Toyota redresses FT-1 concept" » Aug 13, 2014 3:29 pm U.S. ET
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Is this the next-generation MX-5 Miata roadster?

Posted 1:32 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 13
Ahead of its media reveal next month, an Instagram user in Japan may have snagged an early glimpse of the next-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata roadster. A Miata fan snapped a photo of a roadster wrapped in line-blurring camouflage, but the car’s proportions make it seem like a plausible sighting of Mazda’s fourth-generation roadster. Our colleagues at Autoweek sa ...
     Continue reading "Is this the next-generation MX-5 Miata roadster?" » Aug 13, 2014 1:32 pm U.S. ET
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Volvo teases XC90 that must raise the bar in luxury

Posted 3:09 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 13
Volvo again is pulling some of the wraps off the redesigned XC90 crossover before its formal reveal on Aug. 25 in Stockholm. The latest teaser is a photo of the front corner with an all-new T-shaped running light accompanied by an explanation of the new “scalable product architecture” that the XC90 will ride on. The headlights and grille evoke the Swedish bra ...
     Continue reading "Volvo teases XC90 that must raise the bar in luxury" » Aug 13, 2014 3:09 pm U.S. ET
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N.Y. Times' demands are misguided

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 13
Subprime auto loans have gotten most of the attention, but an editorial in The New York Times on Saturday makes other demands dealers and lenders are sure to dislike. For instance, the Times editorial said auto dealers, like mortgage lenders, “must” be made responsible for verifying “that borrowers have the ability to repay their loans and meet their oth ...
     Continue reading "N.Y. Times' demands are misguided" » Aug 13, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Lamborghini's special power to punctuate popularity

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 13
Nothing can prepare you for the sudden popularity that comes with driving a Lamborghini. One minute you’re as average as white bread, the next minute you’re being photographed like a supermodel, chatted up by awestruck strangers and chased by kids who just want to get within a few feet of a supercar. Jon Maffei, the general manager of Lamborghini Sarasota in F ...
     Continue reading "Lamborghini's special power to punctuate popularity" » Aug 13, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Why China's NDRC has become country's antitrust watchdog

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 12
Until recently, the National Development and Reform Commission, a ministry-level government body, was very friendly toward foreign automakers, approving numerous factory projects the companies sought. But lately it has begun investigating global automakers for suspected monopolistic behavior. What prompted the about-face? The commission suddenly feels it has to justify its ...
     Continue reading "Why China's NDRC has become country's antitrust watchdog" » Aug 12, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Toyota, supporter of Korean culture

Posted 12:28 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 8
Would you do a double-take if Volvo were the sponsor of the Country Music Awards? How about if BMW were the primary sponsor, and the only automotive sponsor, of a museum exhibit of Japanese samurai swords? Or if Hyundai were the sponsor of a North American tour of Germany’s hottest electronic-music band? Some pairings just aren’t that intuitive. So how in th ...
     Continue reading "Toyota, supporter of Korean culture" » Aug 8, 2014 12:28 pm U.S. ET
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McDonald's and the dealer franchise system

Posted 3:28 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 7
A decision involving the McDonald’s fast-food chain could have dramatic implications for the franchised car dealer system going forward. Or not. It depends on who you ask and their perception of what might come of a July 29 determination by the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel. Widespread labor actions in favor of higher wages for fast-food w ...
     Continue reading "McDonald's and the dealer franchise system" » Aug 7, 2014 3:28 pm U.S. ET
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Why GM is re-engineering its 'political punching bag'

Posted 2:30 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 7
The next-generation Chevrolet Volt will have a trunk and the word “Volt” on the back of it, according to the teaser photo that General Motors released today. I assume -- but can’t confirm from the photo -- that it also will have approximately four wheels, multiple doors and possibly an interior. The redesigned Volt will be fully unveiled at the Detroit a ...
     Continue reading "Why GM is re-engineering its 'political punching bag'" » Aug 7, 2014 2:30 pm U.S. ET
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Self-driving cars will still need human help

Posted 10:33 am U.S. ET, Aug. 7
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- On the way to dinner one night this week here, my wife and I spotted a large deer standing by the side of a lonely two-lane country road. It was warily watching traffic, perhaps wondering when it could try to cross. What would a vehicle with an automated driving system do if a deer suddenly appeared out of nowhere? Ask suppliers if the technology ...
     Continue reading "Self-driving cars will still need human help" » Aug 7, 2014 10:33 am U.S. ET
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Nvidia continues quest to bring computer power to cars

Posted 9:27 am U.S. ET, Aug. 7
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- A year after opening an office in Ann Arbor, Mich., computer processor maker Nvidia Corp. continues its quest to bring modern computer power to the automobile. For good reason. The connected car market is estimated to be worth $132 billion by 2019, according to a recent study by Transparency Market Research. Nvidia is positioned to benefit as the ...
     Continue reading "Nvidia continues quest to bring computer power to cars" » Aug 7, 2014 9:27 am U.S. ET
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