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Fiat would find a safe haven in VW

Posted 4:59 am U.S. ET, July 29
blogs Guido Reinking is editor-in-chief of Automobilwoche, a sister publication of Automotive News Europe.
 
Some things sound so improbable that you think that they just might be true. Reports that Volkswagen may buy Fiat-Chrysler (FCA) come under this category. VW patriarch Ferdinand Piech has always been interested in buying Fiat's Alfa Romeo and Ferrari units, but the likelihood of VW acquiring the whole of FCA seems absurd. However, the idea has its appeal: It would allow V ...
     Continue reading "Fiat would find a safe haven in VW" » Jul 29, 2014 4:59 am U.S. ET
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VW, Ford, Nissan eye China's entry-level market

Posted 4:35 am U.S. ET, July 28
SHANGHAI -- For a long time, global automakers have been reluctant to sell inexpensive vehicles in China because they didn't want to reduce the healthy profit margins on their products. But the landscape is changing and now foreign automakers are jumping into China's entry-level market. Nissan's Chinese joint venture last week introduced a rebadged Nissan March. Marketed ...
     Continue reading "VW, Ford, Nissan eye China's entry-level market" » Jul 28, 2014 4:35 am U.S. ET
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GM, Manheim kiss and make up

Posted 3:15 pm U.S. ET, July 25
Editor's note:  Update deletes references to GM Financial and its relationship with Manheim. About four years after a spat strained their business relations, General Motors and auction company Manheim are starting to kiss and make up. The companies aren’t eager to discuss the origins of the dispute, but the result was a near-boycott of Manheim auctions by GM, ...
     Continue reading "GM, Manheim kiss and make up" » Jul 25, 2014 3:15 pm U.S. ET
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N.Y. Times story on subprime offers feds ammunition

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 23
A withering account of subprime auto lending in Sunday’s New York Times reinforces bad stereotypes about used-car dealers, smears subprime lenders and their investors, takes out of context an increase in delinquencies and loan losses from record lows, and provides ammunition to auto finance industry critics in Washington. It also blurs the differences between subpri ...
     Continue reading "N.Y. Times story on subprime offers feds ammunition" » Jul 23, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Maybe the EPA should just hire Consumer Reports for mpg ratings

Posted 10:10 am U.S. ET, July 23
Maybe the federal government should adopt Consumer Reports as a model for fuel economy testing. Or just outsource the task to the magazine. The EPA seems to be feeling the heat over its miles-per-gallon ratings, which adorn new-car window stickers. As just about anyone who has checked their fuel economy can attest, EPA numbers are at best rough indicators of actual perfo ...
     Continue reading "Maybe the EPA should just hire Consumer Reports for mpg ratings" » Jul 23, 2014 10:10 am U.S. ET
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Where U.S. shoppers draw the line on buying very small cars

Posted 12:02 pm U.S. ET, July 22
Daimler says it’s giving the Smart car another go in the United States by rebuilding it from wheels to roof, complete with new powertrains. It may not help. When it comes to small cars, American buyers have a limit to how low they will go. The Fiat 500 appears to be the smallest car Americans are willing to buy in decent volume. And because BMW’s Mini Coope ...
     Continue reading "Where U.S. shoppers draw the line on buying very small cars" » Jul 22, 2014 12:02 pm U.S. ET
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Gobsmacked by Nick Scheele's kindness

Posted 5:34 pm U.S. ET, July 21
I’ll never forget the day Nick Scheele helped me clean the fresh paint off my suit. Back in May 2001, when I was working for Automotive News Europe, I was among a group of journalists invited to Turkey for a press conference and festivities to launch production of the Transit and Transit Connect commercial vans at Ford’s Otosan Kocaeli, factory about 50 miles ...
     Continue reading "Gobsmacked by Nick Scheele's kindness" » Jul 21, 2014 5:34 pm U.S. ET
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With its new minivan, BMW ditches rwd for practicality

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 20
Even auto industry darling BMW has to obey the laws of physics: a rear-wheel-drive car that is compact yet roomy is a paradox. So for traditional fans of the luxury brand, the 2-series Active Tourer minivan is nothing less than a heresy on wheels -- the first modern-era BMW-badged car where power from a transversely mounted engine is applied to the front axle. The 2-serie ...
     Continue reading "With its new minivan, BMW ditches rwd for practicality" » Jul 20, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Let's hope for a litter of Hellcat kitties

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 19
Spend a few minutes with Chrysler Group’s new monster power plant -- the 707-hp, 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V-8 -- and you will be left, as I was, with one overriding question: What else can you put it in? Not to say that it’s out of place in the 2015 SRT Challenger. It’s not. It absolutely belongs there and fits like a glove. But very few automakers t ...
     Continue reading "Let's hope for a litter of Hellcat kitties" » Jul 19, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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GM waive liability shield? It can't

Posted 3:22 pm U.S. ET, July 18
Is it conceivable that Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who is both a lawmaker and lawyer, has only a tenuous grasp of the law? How else to explain the Connecticut Democrat’s persistence in arguing that General Motors should waive -- as if by magic wand -- the liability shield it gained upon exiting Chapter 11 in 2009? That shield protects today’s General Motors from ...
     Continue reading "GM waive liability shield? It can't" » Jul 18, 2014 3:22 pm U.S. ET
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Will de Nysschen take Caddy into small cars?

Posted 1:01 pm U.S. ET, July 16
Johan de Nysschen is barely a week into his new job as president of Cadillac. It will take some time to learn what he will attempt to do there. But keep your eye on the small-vehicle end of the luxury spectrum. That will be de Nysschen’s most likely play for the American premium king. As the global leader of Infiniti for the past two years, de Nysschen made clear a ...
     Continue reading "Will de Nysschen take Caddy into small cars?" » Jul 16, 2014 1:01 pm U.S. ET
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Credit union ads highlight misperceptions of dealer reserve

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 16
A Florida credit union’s ad campaign beating up dealers and auto lenders for “rate markups” is hard to look at, but dealers and lenders should check it out to see what they’re up against in terms of public perception and in case the approach catches on in other states. The Space Coast Credit Union ads treat dealer reserve -- the small amount of int ...
     Continue reading "Credit union ads highlight misperceptions of dealer reserve" » Jul 16, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Acura claims a sales honor with MDX

Posted 11:55 am U.S. ET, July 15
Carmakers are always defining segments and claiming sales crowns for their own purposes, and here's the latest instance. Acura is touting the MDX as “America's All-Time Best-Selling 3-Row Luxury SUV.” It's certainly a nice SUV, we won't argue that. Acura released a statement late last week stating that the MDX is not only outselling all other luxury SUVs with ...
     Continue reading "Acura claims a sales honor with MDX" » Jul 15, 2014 11:55 am U.S. ET
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Why fuel economy faces law of diminishing returns

Posted 3:02 pm U.S. ET, July 11
In economics, it’s known as the law of diminishing returns, the shrinking benefit you get when you pour ever-increasing resources toward achieving a singular goal. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Agency showed a good mathematical example of the principle today with a graphic it released about the consumer benefits of fuel economy. For consu ...
     Continue reading "Why fuel economy faces law of diminishing returns" » Jul 11, 2014 3:02 pm U.S. ET
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How Infiniti will move ahead without de Nysschen

Posted 6:55 am U.S. ET, July 11
TOKYO -- It’s unsettling when a newly-hired executive bolts for the door after a short stay, without achieving his goals. Dealers and employees at Infiniti understandably may feel some unease following today's news that President Johan de Nysschen is leaving the brand after just two years to take over as president of Cadillac.  To be sure, de Nysschen's unexpe ...
     Continue reading "How Infiniti will move ahead without de Nysschen" » Jul 11, 2014 6:55 am U.S. ET
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PSA may be better off without Thierry Peugeot

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 11
PSA/Peugeot-Citroen’s future could be brighter following the departure of its influential former chairman Thierry Peugeot from the automaker’s supervisory board. Thierry’s departure signals the end of dissent among Peugeot family members over the automaker’s capital tie-up with China’s Dongfeng Motor, industry watchers say. Thierry publicly ...
     Continue reading "PSA may be better off without Thierry Peugeot" » Jul 11, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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How UAW can leverage minority support in Chattanooga and elsewhere

Posted 2:15 pm U.S. ET, July 10
WASHINGTON -- With its defeat at the ballot box in Chattanooga this February, the UAW lost what seemed to be its most winnable organizing battle at a Southern assembly plant. But at Solidarity House, the war isn’t over. Today’s surprising news that the UAW will set up a union local for Chattanooga’s Volkswagen AG factory -- despite losing the organizing ...
     Continue reading "How UAW can leverage minority support in Chattanooga and elsewhere" » Jul 10, 2014 2:15 pm U.S. ET
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Minivans are too practical to have the reputation they have

Posted 3:13 pm U.S. ET, July 9
Here’s an automotive exercise: Think of the most practical product you own, something you use every day. Maybe it’s a pen you keep in your pocket, or a garment, a briefcase, a handbag -- whatever. Do you like it? Probably, or you’d switch to an alternative. Is it stylish? Maybe, but it doesn’t really have to be in order to be practical. Yet, becau ...
     Continue reading "Minivans are too practical to have the reputation they have" » Jul 9, 2014 3:13 pm U.S. ET
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Why buy-here, pay-here is losing some turf

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 9
Even though broccoli is better for them, lots of people won’t eat it when they can have ice cream instead. The scenario is playing out more often these days in the auto finance world, too. That’s according to top executives of America’s Car-Mart, the giant buy-here, pay-here used-car retailer based in Bentonville, Ark., as more consumers pass on the bro ...
     Continue reading "Why buy-here, pay-here is losing some turf " » Jul 9, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Is the maligned Mitsubishi Mirage a good value?

Posted 12:40 pm U.S. ET, July 7
Editor's note: The Mirage’s EPA rating is 37 city/44 highway and 40 combined. Earlier versions of this blog transposed the numbers. The Mitsubishi Mirage is one of the strangest cars I have ever driven -- and it’s one of the most polarizing new models of 2014. Consumer Reports, The New York Times and others have savaged the small inexpensive hatchback. Y ...
     Continue reading "Is the maligned Mitsubishi Mirage a good value?" » Jul 7, 2014 12:40 pm U.S. ET
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Compensation, yes, but no happy endings for GM crash victims' families

Posted 3:07 pm U.S. ET, July 3
Daryl Chansuthus bristled at the word “compensation” when we spoke on the phone this week. Compensation doesn’t fill the void created on a rainy December night five years ago, when her 25-year-old daughter’s Chevrolet Cobalt SS hit a tree off Interstate 24 in Tennessee and no airbags deployed. More than compensation, Chansuthus wants accountability ...
     Continue reading "Compensation, yes, but no happy endings for GM crash victims' families" » Jul 3, 2014 3:07 pm U.S. ET
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Hyundai's safety tech video shows what a sales pitch can't

Posted 2:16 pm U.S. ET, July 3
The biggest problem with selling consumers on the idea of active safety technologies is that unless you experience what happens when they intervene, it’s hard to fully appreciate their potential. Automatic braking systems, for example, are triggered only before a potential crash. Short of having a near miss during a test drive at a dealership -- which hopefully does ...
     Continue reading "Hyundai's safety tech video shows what a sales pitch can't" » Jul 3, 2014 2:16 pm U.S. ET
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Don't do much leasing? Better bone up

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 2
Leasing’s not just for luxury brands anymore. It’s spreading to mass-market brands too, experts say. That means F&I managers who are inexperienced or just rusty at leasing paperwork had better prepare for more customer demand for leases. That includes cobbling a menu of lease-friendly F&I products such as excess wear-and-tear protection or tire-and-whe ...
     Continue reading "Don't do much leasing? Better bone up" » Jul 2, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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How can 1% growth feel so good?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 1
June turned out to be a great month for U.S. auto sales. Ignore that goofy 1 percent increase in units sold. It’s a calendar fluke. The 17 million selling rate tells the tale. And the story, for June and the first half, is a good one. First half sales rose 4 percent to 8.2 million, overcoming horrible January and February weather and putting the U.S. auto industry b ...
     Continue reading "How can 1% growth feel so good?" » Jul 1, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Gesture recognition makes dials, buttons obsolete

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 1
Buttons and dials may become obsolete to control your car's radio, heater and navigation system. That’s because those functions can now be managed with the wave of the hand. Gesture-recognition technology could appear in a production car as early as next year, SoftKinetic Chief Marketing Officer Eric Krzeslo told me on the sidelines of the we.CONECT Car HMI Concepts ...
     Continue reading "Gesture recognition makes dials, buttons obsolete" » Jul 1, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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