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Why the Mustang II should get its due

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, April 16
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The smaller and more fuel-efficient Mustang II rolled into Ford showrooms just weeks before several Middle Eastern countries declared an oil embargo.
One member of the Mustang family won’t have a very high-profile role at this week’s 50th anniversary celebrations: the 1974-78 Mustang II. But if you reconsider the case of the Mustang II, you may find it is time to give the car the respect it is due. Had the Mustang II not been a massive sales success -- more than a million were sold in five model years -- t ...
     Continue reading "Why the Mustang II should get its due" » Apr 16, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Mazda throws a big birthday party for Miata

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, April 16
On paper, the MX-5 Miata probably shouldn’t be that important to Mazda. Last year, the roadster accounted for just 2 percent of Mazda’s U.S. sales, with fewer than 6,000 units sold. Toyota sells more Camrys in a week. The market for sporty, two-seat cars is a shadow of what it once was since competitors have all but abandoned making the kind of affordable spor ...
     Continue reading "Mazda throws a big birthday party for Miata " » Apr 16, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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A mixed message about GM's PR -- but why?

Posted 3:44 pm U.S. ET, April 15
If a company changes its head of public relations in the midst of a public relations crisis that stems from a recall crisis, does that not send a certain message? Yes, unless the company is General Motors. On Monday, GM parted ways with Selim Bingol, its head of public relations -- but, for whatever reason, said it was not related to the company’s festering public ...
     Continue reading "A mixed message about GM's PR -- but why?" » Apr 15, 2014 3:44 pm U.S. ET
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Waiting for Alfa. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

Posted 10:46 am U.S. ET, April 15
If you show up decades late for your own surprise party, are guests still expected to cheer your arrival? Maybe not for most. But it might be a different story if your name is Alfa Romeo. This week, the Alfa Romeo 4C will appear at the New York auto show, marking the sporty two-seater’s North American debut. There won’t be a formal news conference -- the 4C ...
     Continue reading "Waiting for Alfa. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting." » Apr 15, 2014 10:46 am U.S. ET
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Autos' enthusiasm for emerging markets hits brakes

Posted 2:11 pm U.S. ET, April 15
NEW YORK -- It’s been common for years to hear that emerging markets will power global growth in auto sales. Global automakers have jostled to position themselves for that growth, particularly in the much-touted BRIC markets -- Brazil, Russia, India and China. But that growth formula has been looking a little less solid lately. Tension with Russia over the annexati ...
     Continue reading "Autos' enthusiasm for emerging markets hits brakes" » Apr 15, 2014 2:11 pm U.S. ET
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VW SportWagen concept hints at awd in North America

Posted 11:39 am U.S. ET, April 14
WASHINGTON -- A certain type of person went gaga when Volkswagen AG released details on the Golf SportWagen that it will show at the New York auto show this week. A station wagon? Oh, yes. With a diesel engine? Bingo. And a manual transmission? You bet your hatch. For those enthusiasts who take pride in going against the grain of the U.S. car market, it doesn’t get ...
     Continue reading "VW SportWagen concept hints at awd in North America" » Apr 14, 2014 11:39 am U.S. ET
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PSA's recovery will be boosted by the 'Tavares factor'

Posted 9:52 am U.S. ET, April 14
PSA/Peugeot-Citroen CEO Carlos Tavares is the first to admit that his turnaround strategy for the struggling automaker isn't a wonder cure. "I cannot make miracles," he said at Monday's presentation of his Back in the Race recovery strategy for the company. That blunt answer shows the essence of PSA's new CEO: a tough, no-nonsense executive who always tells the truth even ...
     Continue reading "PSA's recovery will be boosted by the 'Tavares factor'" » Apr 14, 2014 9:52 am U.S. ET
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Mustang changed lives, inspired careers

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, April 13
Kevin Laughlin lived across the street from me when I was growing up in Orlando, Fla. He made a living rebuilding air-cooled Volkswagens, Beetles, buses and Karmann Ghias. After school and on weekends, I was drawn to Laughlin’s backyard like a moth to a light to see what he was working on and, on some occasions, help in minor ways, handing him tools and assisting wi ...
     Continue reading "Mustang changed lives, inspired careers" » Apr 13, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Why new world Tesla needs old world factory relief

Posted 7:27 am U.S. ET, April 12
Analysts, pundits and commentators have been mesmerized of late by two very big issues facing Tesla Motors. Issue 1: Will state dealer laws allow Tesla to go on selling its cars direct, without a retail franchise network? And Issue 2: How will little Tesla build its $5 billion “Gigafactory” -- a breathtaking plan to build batteries on a scale that vastly outrea ...
     Continue reading "Why new world Tesla needs old world factory relief" » Apr 12, 2014 7:27 am U.S. ET
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Compact SUVs to shine at Beijing show

Posted 5:58 am U.S. ET, April 11
SHANGHAI -- Ten years ago, many Chinese families could not afford a car. Today, not only can they afford one, but they're getting picky about which vehicle to buy. SUVs, with their high seating position and wide view of the road, have won the hearts of Chinese consumers. Within the segment, compact models are the big sellers because they are less expensive and easier to m ...
     Continue reading "Compact SUVs to shine at Beijing show" » Apr 11, 2014 5:58 am U.S. ET
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Compact SUVs to shine at Beijing show

Posted 5:58 am U.S. ET, April 11
SHANGHAI -- Ten years ago, many Chinese families could not afford a car. Today, not only can they afford one, but they're getting picky about which vehicle to buy. SUVs, with their high seating position and wide view of the road, have won the hearts of Chinese consumers. Within the segment, compact models are the big sellers because they are less expensive and easier to m ...
     Continue reading "Compact SUVs to shine at Beijing show" » Apr 11, 2014 5:58 am U.S. ET
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Subaru-sponsored study identifies safe dog harness

Posted 6:21 pm U.S. ET, April 10
In the book Citizen Canine, author David Grimm examines whether dogs are on the edge of becoming legal “persons” in this country. For those who think the answer is, or is close to becoming, yes, Subaru of America has significant news: Only one of the 11 dog harnesses designed for use in cars can be rated “acceptable.” Subaru funded a study late la ...
     Continue reading "Subaru-sponsored study identifies safe dog harness" » Apr 10, 2014 6:21 pm U.S. ET
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Why the UAW appeal at VW is a slippery slope

Posted 3:23 pm U.S. ET, April 9
The UAW better be careful what it wishes for. If the union convinces President Barack Obama’s National Labor Relations Board that it’s an unfair labor practice for political leaders to be publicly involved in an organizing effort, then organized labor risks diluting the power of its best weapon: public pressure. The UAW clearly has a case in contesting its lo ...
     Continue reading "Why the UAW appeal at VW is a slippery slope" » Apr 9, 2014 3:23 pm U.S. ET
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Misleading sales ads hurt F&I

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, April 9
State and federal regulators have cracked down this year on misleading dealership advertising. In just about every case, their complaint was that the advertising failed to adequately disclose financial terms or hidden costs. The regulators’ complaints weren’t aimed at the F&I office. But customers don’t necessarily distinguish between a dealership&rs ...
     Continue reading "Misleading sales ads hurt F&I" » Apr 9, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Why GM dealers have a chance to shine

Posted 7:30 am U.S. ET, April 5
NASHVILLE -- There’s no getting around the fact that General Motors is taking a clubbing right now. A huge recall, several lawsuits, a blistering congressional hearing, apologies to consumers, potential criminal investigations -- it’s all bad. But then there are the retailers. The image of 2.6 million cars being recalled is ugly. But the prospect of 2.6 mill ...
     Continue reading "Why GM dealers have a chance to shine" » Apr 5, 2014 7:30 am U.S. ET
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More Mercedes records to fall in 2014

Posted 8:55 am U.S. ET, April 4
Mercedes' new record for global sales in a single month -- 158,523 cars and SUVs -- probably won't last long. With the new-generation C class, Mercedes' No. 1 seller globally, and the all-new GLA SUV starting to arrive at dealers now, the German automaker is poised to surpass the high-water mark set in March as early as this month. Continued strong demand for its other c ...
     Continue reading "More Mercedes records to fall in 2014" » Apr 4, 2014 8:55 am U.S. ET
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We need more bite from our safety watchdogs

Posted 3:59 pm U.S. ET, April 3
Over the course of two blistering hearings, General Motors CEO Mary Barra proved she has a lot to learn about the optics and political dynamics of Washington. For a lesson, she might call up David Friedman. The acting chief of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration mostly charmed his way through two rounds of questioning on Capitol Hill this week that touched ...
     Continue reading "We need more bite from our safety watchdogs" » Apr 3, 2014 3:59 pm U.S. ET
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Land Rover provides more clues to expanded Discovery family

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, April 3
Land Rover is taking its largest vehicle, the Discovery, and making a family of it. In March at the Geneva auto show, Land Rover said an expanded Discovery range would debut in 2015. Part two of the Discovery story is coming this month to the New York auto show. Land Rover said on Wednesday it will reveal the Discovery Vision Concept SUV in New York. The use of only the ...
     Continue reading "Land Rover provides more clues to expanded Discovery family" » Apr 3, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Land Rover's vision of an expanded Discovery family

Posted 7:15 pm U.S. ET, April 2
NEW YORK -- Land Rover is taking its largest vehicle, the LR4 in the United States and the Discovery elsewhere, and making a family of it. The luxury SUV specialist said at the Geneva auto show in March that an expanded Discovery range would debut in 2015. The second part of the story is unfolding in New York this week with the introduction of the Discovery Vision Concep ...
     Continue reading "Land Rover's vision of an expanded Discovery family" » Apr 2, 2014 7:15 pm U.S. ET
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Lawmakers want heads to roll, and won't excuse Barra

Posted 5:56 pm U.S. ET, April 2
WASHINGTON -- Mary Barra survived back-to-back brushes with the U.S. Congress. But judging from the rough reception she got on Wednesday from the Senate Commerce Committee’s consumer protection panel, it was clear that this is just the start of General Motors’ reckoning on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers treated the CEO more roughly than their U.S. House counterparts ...
     Continue reading "Lawmakers want heads to roll, and won't excuse Barra" » Apr 2, 2014 5:56 pm U.S. ET
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If you like paying MSRP, then Tesla/Apple is for you

Posted 4:44 pm U.S. ET, April 2
The next time you’re in an Apple store, try this. When one of the product geniuses who work there approaches you, ask him or her, “So, how much below list price are you offering this iPhone 5 for this month?” The answer will tell you why I roll my eyes at the suggestion that Tesla’s fight against the franchised dealer system is all about aiding co ...
     Continue reading "If you like paying MSRP, then Tesla/Apple is for you " » Apr 2, 2014 4:44 pm U.S. ET
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Off-lease surge should spark even more leasing

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, April 2
Scheduled lease terminations are expected to grow again in 2014, providing a strong tailwind for additional leases this year and higher customer loyalty. Lease customers are more loyal than loan or cash customers to a particular brand or dealership. After all, the dealership has a built-in chance to sell or lease the customer another car when they bring in their off-lease ...
     Continue reading "Off-lease surge should spark even more leasing" » Apr 2, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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With Tavares no longer involved, Renault divorces Alpine partner

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, April 2
Renault appears to be scaling back its ambitions for the sporty Alpine subbrand but the project will still go ahead, a source familiar with the development work told me. Renault has ended its partnership with UK sports car maker Caterham, its Formula One racing partner, to revive Alpine but "it's an amicable divorce,” the source said. The termination will not affec ...
     Continue reading "With Tavares no longer involved, Renault divorces Alpine partner" » Apr 2, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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3 things the GM hearing exposed: Leaks, blurred lines and a media circus

Posted 9:13 pm U.S. ET, April 1
WASHINGTON -- If you boil it down, few new facts emerged from Tuesday’s frenzied four-hour U.S. House hearing on General Motors’ recall crisis, prompted by a faulty ignition switch that GM has linked to dozens of crashes and at least 13 deaths. GM CEO Mary Barra stuck to script beautifully. In two hours of testimony, she told members of the U.S. House Energy a ...
     Continue reading "3 things the GM hearing exposed: Leaks, blurred lines and a media circus" » Apr 1, 2014 9:13 pm U.S. ET
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Auto companies are buying the creative souls of late night TV

Posted 6:42 pm U.S. ET, April 1
Two bedrocks of late night TV did something so unseemly last week it looked as though they had responded to an unholy informercial. Are you an artist looking to sell your soul, but don’t want to stand at the Crossroads waiting for the Devil? If you are, then we’ve got great news! Detroit wants to make you a counteroffer! That’s right: Cash-rich auto co ...
     Continue reading "Auto companies are buying the creative souls of late night TV" » Apr 1, 2014 6:42 pm U.S. ET
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