Blogs

Sergio's merger talk could mean more heartburn for FCA workers

Posted 1:29 pm U.S. ET, May 28
blogs

DAVE GUILFORD:  Reaction to Sergio Marchionne’s campaign to spur mergers in the auto industry has focused on other automakers, who seem notably unenthused, at least in public. But I wonder about the reaction in Marchionne’s own house, Fiat Chrysler. I can’t imagine that the battle-weary troops in FCA’s U.S. headquarters and factories are loving the merger talk. These people have been thr ...
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How suppliers can seize new opportunities in Mexico

Posted 10:10 am U.S. ET, May 27
blogs Daron Gifford is the partner leading automotive industry strategy consulting at accounting firm and consultancy Plante Moran.
 
Major automakers from around the globe are establishing or expanding operations in Mexico, and that means new challenges -- and opportunities -- for automotive suppliers. In the past month, both Ford and Toyota announced significant new investments in the country. Chrysler has been growing its Mexican production operations. BMW and Kia are building new plants there; Volkswagen is doubling the siz ...
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F&I providers and lenders, here's your chance to fulfill dealers' dreams

Posted 11:30 am U.S. ET, May 27
blogs Jamie LaReau covers the automotive retail beat for Automotive News.
 
Attention F&I product providers and lenders: Dealers want your help. As the gross profit margins on new-vehicle sales continually narrow, dealers are worried about the future and where the profits on the sales side will come. The F&I office is an obvious place. But to keep it that way, dealers have a wish list that only F&I product providers and lenders can fulfill. But first it&rsq ...
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Android Auto proves to be luxuriously simple

Posted 9:47 am U.S. ET, May 27
blogs

GABE NELSON:  FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. -- Usually with a car, the more you pay, the more you get. The launch of Google’s Android Auto and Apple’s CarPlay infotainment interfaces could upend that rule by giving cars from brands such as Chevrolet, Honda and Hyundai a better computer interface than most luxury cars have. Last week I had the chance to drive a 2015 Hyundai Sonata with the production-rea ...
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With sports cars, hit reset (often) for success

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, May 26
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Mazda's 2016 MX-5
RICHARD TRUETT:  The newly redesigned Mustang is barely a year old, and Ford is already unfurling a series of updates and upgrades for the 2016 model year. Some of the motivation for these quick changes is, of course, aimed at blunting an expected strong challenge from the revamped (read: leaner, meaner) 2016 Chevrolet Camaro due this fall. But there’s more to it than that. Ford, General Motors and Fiat C ...
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Japanese automakers fear new outbreak of anti-Japan sentiment in China

Posted 7:51 am U.S. ET, May 25
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Hans Greimel is Automotive News' Asia editor.
HANS GREIMEL:  TOKYO -- Three years ago this September, Japanese automakers learned a nasty lesson about the power of history and nationalism in China. Their sales in the world’s No. 1 market plunged amid a violent public backlash against Japanese cars following a territorial row between Tokyo and Beijing. Their market share has yet to recover. Unfortunately for the Japanese automakers, that not-so-dista ...
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How BMW saleswoman builds rapport, trust and her brand on social media

Posted 12:02 pm U.S. ET, May 22
blogs
When Tahmina Hassanein, a BMW saleswoman in Fort Myers, Fla., meets a potential client, she approaches the encounter as a branding opportunity -- and not just for BMW.
VINCE BOND JR.:  The chance to leave a lasting impression on a potential buyer perusing the dealer lot doesn’t have to end when a salesperson hands over a business card. That should only be the start nowadays -- especially in the age of social media, where salespeople can showcase their personalities and product knowledge through videos and candid photos. Social media allows salespeople to add a personal t ...
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Fixing Takata fiasco must become top priority

Posted 2:30 pm U.S. ET, May 21
blogs Philip Nussel is online editor at Automotive News.
 
The Takata airbag crisis continues to mushroom into the largest safety recall disaster in auto industry history. That’s no small feat just a year after the General Motors ignition switch scandal. This is the auto industry at its absolute worst -- both in Japan and in the U.S. The industry knew as far back as 2008 that Takata’s airbags were highly questionable. Reuters documented much ...
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Uber, credit-challenged drivers walk the subprime tightrope

Posted 12:00 pm U.S. ET, May 20
blogs Hannah Lutz is a staff reporter covering finance and insurance for Automotive News.
 
While some auto industry experts fear that too many subprime loans could help trigger another financial crisis, Uber is throwing more risky loans into the mix. According to a story last week by American Public Media’s Marketplace.org, ride-sharing company Uber joined the subprime market in late 2013 with a finance program that aims to help credit-challenged drivers own vehicles. Uber conne ...
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How auto dealerships can 'starve' a union drive

Posted 4:12 pm U.S. ET, May 20
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David Barkholz is a reporter for Automotive News.
DAVID BARKHOLZ:  While researching a recent story on how Ernie Boch Jr. beat a union drive at his Boch Honda store, I learned that organizing a dealership is at least as difficult as organizing an auto plant in the South. The odds are stacked astronomically against a successful campaign. Let me state upfront that my father was a UAW-represented electrician at a General Motors plant in Detroit. As such, I have so ...
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The easiest path to good supplier relations? Meet your targets!

Posted 11:30 am U.S. ET, May 19
blogs Dave Guilford is a news editor at Automotive News.
 
The latest “Henke Report” on automaker-supplier relations has just come out, giving us the most recent update on that perpetually tense realm. That document, formally the “Planning Perspectives” report, grades each automaker on metrics such as sharing cost savings and avoiding late-breaking engineering changes. That sounds logical. I’m sure suppliers appreciate it w ...
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A new golden age for high performance

Posted 11:30 am U.S. ET, May 19
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In the CLA45 AMG, Mercedes-Benz's 2.0-liter, four-cylinder twin-turbo engine is rated at 355 hp and moves the car to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds.
RICHARD TRUETT:  Sometimes you can’t really see something for what it is when you are in the middle of it. Right now, we are truly in the golden age of high-performance cars, be they gasoline, electric or hybrid. Who knows how long it will last? The original muscle car era spanned from 1964 -- when Pontiac dumped a big engine in a midsize car (a V-8 in the Tempest) and created the GTO -- to the end of the ...
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The science, psychology and secrecy behind the Ford GT

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, May 19
blogs
The Ford GT at the New York auto show (BLOOMBERG)
JAKE LINGEMAN:  The Ford GT was introduced five months ago at the Detroit auto show. We can’t remember any car that received more attention in the following weeks. Ford is trying to keep that momentum strong until the GT goes sale next year, lest we have an Acura NSX situation where we see the car dozens of times before getting behind the wheel. To keep our attention, Ford invited a group o ...
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Celebrating David Letterman's top 10 automotive moments

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, May 18
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Ford CEO Alan Mulally and David Letterman talked about Ford's electric car plans. (CBS)
NORA NAUGHTON:  David Letterman’s professed passion for cars may not be on a par with that of his former late-night TV rival, Jay Leno. But Letterman, whose final “Late Show” airs Wednesday night, is quite a car buff, keeping his collection hidden away, a CBS spokesman says. And Letterman -- whose Top Ten List is a nightly segment -- featured plenty of automotive follies during his 22 seasons a ...
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Revamped Camaro gains power, agility to battle Mustang

Posted 1:00 pm U.S. ET, May 17
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Journalists were allowed to drive engineering prototypes of the redesigned 2016 Chevrolet Camaro Sunday on the Detroit Grand Prix race course on Detroit's Belle Isle Park.
RICHARD TRUETT:  DETROIT -- In an unusual move, Chevrolet on Sunday allowed auto writers to test drive one pre-production version of the redesigned 2016 Camaro before the final calibrations are made. With the revamped 2015 Ford Mustang handily outselling the outgoing 2015 Camaro, Chevrolet is trying to build buzz around the new car, which, like the Mustang, will be offered with a choice of four-, six- and eight-c ...
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Volvo finally gets its American factory

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, May 16
blogs Lindsay Chappell is the Mid-South bureau chief in the U.S. for Automotive News.
 
Volvo has wanted an American car factory for decades. But complications and setbacks have gotten in the way -- including an entire decade spent as a brand owned by Ford Motor Co. More than half a century before telling the world this week that it will build a $500 million vehicle assembly plant in Ridgeville, S.C., Volvo opened a small-volume final-assembly plant in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It opera ...
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Why Ford's Blue Oval is missing from the 2016 Explorer

Posted 3:51 pm U.S. ET, May 15
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Instead of blue plastic, the Blue Oval is made of brushed aluminum to match accents used elsewhere in the cabin. (Nick Bunkley)
NICK BUNKLEY:  SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- The F-150 isn’t the only Ford Motor Co. icon that’s been changed to aluminum this year. Get behind the wheel of the 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum, which goes on sale in a few months, and you’ll notice that something familiar is missing: the Ford Blue Oval. For the most expensive Explorer series ever, with a starting price of more than $53,000, the company&rsq ...
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Piech casts shadow over Porsche's annual meeting

Posted 9:43 am U.S. ET, May 13
blogs Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe Germany correspondent.
 
Ferdinand Piech did it again. The 78-year old patriarch upstaged his younger cousin Wolfgang Porsche and former protege Martin Winterkorn by missing the annual meeting of the family holding company that holds a majority stake in Volkswagen Group. Wolfgang Porsche had to field questions that almost solely dealt with his missing relative at the Porsche SE shareholders meeting on Wednesday after Pie ...
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Is the F&I product space overcrowded? Views differ

Posted 11:45 am U.S. ET, May 13
blogs Jamie LaReau covers the automotive retail beat for Automotive News.
 
How hot is the competition getting in the F&I product space? So hot that “the future of finance is in consulting,” said Damien Bullard, co-founder of IDDS Group. That’s a bold statement given that part of IDDS’ business comes from selling finance and insurance products from other providers. The New York company also consults and trains in dealerships’ F&I, v ...
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Is the Ford Shelby GT350 the most extreme track Mustang ever?

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, May 12
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JAKE LINGEMAN:  Nearly every part of the Ford Shelby GT350’s suspension is purpose-built for the sports car: It has the most powerful brakes ever fitted to a Ford, the lightest wheels and probably the most aggressive tires anywhere south of a V-8 supercar. Ford invited journalists to Allen Park, Mich., near Detroit recently for a deeper dive into its latest high-performance pony car, and we came away even ...
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The secrets behind all that camouflage

Posted 11:45 am U.S. ET, May 12
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Is this the next-generation Buick Verano undergoing testing along Woodward Avenue in metro Detroit? (RICHARD TRUETT)
LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE:  This is a story about what you see and what you can’t see; what you’d like to see and what they don’t want you to see. And mostly, it’s a story about the lengths people go to make sure you can’t see what they don’t want you to see. Yet. See? The Detroit 3 all operate test tracks in southeast Michigan. All have high-speed ovals, pavement that is purposely unev ...
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The evolution of the Hellcat logo

Posted 2:53 pm U.S. ET, May 11
blogs

VINCE BOND JR.:  The Hellcat was never meant to be a tame kitty. Judging by the early sketches of the logo that now adorns the Dodge Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcats, the attitude was there from the start. While most of the logos show aggressive, roaring Hellcats that are befitting of the beastly 707-hp engine, one took on a more playful theme. The sketch in the upper right-hand corner shows a Hellcat with a ...
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Why Dodge should make the next Dart look like a baby Charger

Posted 4:12 pm U.S. ET, May 8
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Top: 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. Bottom: 2015 Dodge Dart.
LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE:  The Dodge Dart set an all-time sales record in April, and so far this year, the compact sedan is moving off dealer lots 52 percent faster than it was the year before. So, if you’re Dodge, do you need to fix a car that’s doing those things three years after its launch? Why, yes. Yes, you do. According to Dodge’s five-year product plan that it presented in May 2014, the Dart wil ...
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Longtime auto journalist, racecar driver Denise McCluggage dead at 88

Posted 10:02 am U.S. ET, May 7
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Denise McCluggage: 1927-2015
MARK VAUGHN:  Autoweek's Mark Vaughn remembers his colleague Denise McCluggage.  Word came late Wednesday that our friend, colleague, mentor and favorite staff racecar driver Denise McCluggage had passed away. She was 88. The news was something of a shock because we, and maybe you, too, always believed she would be with us forever. Indeed, she had been on staff at Autoweek and its predecessor Competition ...
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CFPB plays up auto finance complaints

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, May 6
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
A new report released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau covering more than three years of complaints by military service members shows that although gripes about auto loans were a small part of the mix, they were a large part of the CFPB’s enforcement actions. In the report released last week, which lists 29,500 complaints collected from July 2011 to Dec. 31, 2014, there’s n ...
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