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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 Permalink
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 Permalink
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 Permalink
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 Permalink
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 Permalink
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 Permalink
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 Permalink
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 Permalink
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 Permalink
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 Permalink
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 Permalink
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 Permalink
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 Permalink
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 ...