Automotive News Table of Contents

August 3, 2015



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Ford, Ram adopt low-tech solution for tough IIHS test

After releasing a split decision on the crash worthiness of the Ford F-150, the IIHS is continuing to crash test multiple versions of other automaker's pickups. Ram, meanwhile, is taking a page from Ford's playbook.

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Luxury titans: A case of too much variety?

Automakers are rapidly widening their lineups to fill in every possible niche, with German luxury-makers BMW and Mercedes-Benz leading the way. But they say flexible platforms and premium pricing make the new variants profitable.

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ALLIANCE BREAKDOWN

How the VW-Suzuki alliance went wrong

The Volkswagen-Suzuki alliance started with high hopes in 2009 but now awaits likely dissolution by an international arbitration court. Internal Suzuki documents show how trust between the partners eroded.

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NHTSA uses FCA order to clean up industry

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's July 24 consent decree with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles seeks to punish and remedy the automaker's safety shortcomings while also addressing recall issues vexing the entire industry.

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A designer boss may be just what Acura needs

The unexpected appointment of Jon Ikeda to head Acura could be exactly the shot in the arm Acura needs, both for its product portfolio and its relationship with the Honda mothership back in Japan.

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Can inventory hubs aid small Caddy stores?

A long effort to whack away at Cadillac's swollen vehicle inventory culminated last month with the brand's trimmest levels in four-and-a-half years.

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DRIVE OR REVERSE?

Mitsubishi plans to move forward with U.S. sales, but experts wonder

Mitsubishi seems unlikely to leave the U.S. market despite closing its Illinois factory, but skeptics still wonder if the Japanese brand is the next Suzuki.

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A V-series version of Cadillac's coming crossover? Don't count on it

Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen isn't interested in affixing a V badge to a crossover any time soon.

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Hyundai may be ready to add small pickup

Hyundai appears close to adding a compact pickup to its U.S. lineup.

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Lotus won't bring Elise back to U.S. before '20

Lotus will reintroduce the two-seat Elise sports car in the U.S. after the company brings out the next generation of the car in 2020, the company's CEO said.

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FCA profit surges on strong Jeep sales

Strong sales in North America and flat Europe operations pushed Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' second-quarter profits up 69 percent to $364 million.

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Pricier insurance for F-150?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety this week said that it had done a test showing that repair costs for Ford's aluminum-bodied 2015 F-150 pickup jumped 26 percent over those of its steel-bodied predecessor.

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Ford says earnings will be even better in 2nd half

Ford earned in the first half of this year nearly as much as it did in all of 2014. And it says the second half will be even stronger.

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BEST PRACTICES

Washington dealer rejects dealer reserve and builds loyalty

Denver Morford, dealer principal at Barry Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in Ephrata, Wash., doesn't believe in dealer reserve. He gives customers the wholesale rate for the loan, and it keeps them coming back.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Painter's business model is flawed

Scott Painter's model is flawed if he needs to access dealer data to determine who his customer is.

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JASON STEIN

Putting Sergio's thesis to the test

Automotive News has devoted enormous time and resources and turned a mirror on the industry -- questioning whether the entire structure, the bones of the business, needs a rethink.

EDITORIAL

Sweet harmony: How trade pacts could pay off

Harmonizing global auto standards and regulations is an elusive goal, but two pending trade pacts offer a window of opportunity.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Thanks for taking up the titling cause

Title washing is rampant, dangerous and knowingly tolerated by some states because of the tax revenue it brings them.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

TrueCar raises dealers' selling costs

TrueCar wants to leach money from dealerships by trying to create an unnecessary third-party intermediary in the purchase process. All it does is raise the selling costs of participating dealers.

COMMENTARY

Takata apology is a sign that accountability is new normal

Times have changed. Today, consumers hold the key to the economy. The Detroit 3 control less than half the U.S. market. Consumers expect greater corporate responsibility and accountability, particularly on health and safety.

Infiniti: App will add sales panache

Infiniti launches a tablet software tool to help streamline its showroom process.

TrueCar, Sonic settle suit over 'True' usage

TrueCar Inc. and Sonic Automotive Inc. have reached a settlement in TrueCar's lawsuit against the dealership group over trademark infringement.

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GM prepares to fight aftermarket repair parts

General Motors plans to roll out a new pricing system later this year for its original-equipment collision parts, a bid to take back market share from aftermarket parts makers.

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Repeat repairs on older Volvos are free

Volvo Cars of North America has launched a new parts and labor warranty for older cars to drive more business to dealerships. If an off-warranty vehicle is repaired at a Volvo dealership and comes back with the same problem, the fixes are free.

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AutoNation's online pilots edge forward

AutoNation Inc. says the rollout of AutoNation Express, its online car-selling platform, is ahead of schedule. But the retailer has slowed two key elements of the platform.

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GM takes a fresh look at emerging markets

GM is spending $5 billion to develop a new family of Chevrolet small cars that it will build and sell in China, Brazil, India, Mexico and other emerging markets.

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HARD-CORE SOFTWARE

A new breed of software engineer

As auto suppliers beef up their software development, the hunt for software talent has taken on the urgency of a gold rush.

Today's Volvo XC90: A rolling computer chip

When the XC90 was introduced in 2002, it had as many as 38 electronic control units -- small computers that receive data from sensors and components and issue control instructions. Now, it has as many as 107.

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Seeking N.A. niche, China's Minth expands in Mexico

Minth Group, a maker of roof racks, hopes to gain a niche in North America. The company supplies the Detroit 3 along with Audi, BMW, Honda and Nissan, and it already has three plants in Mexico and one in Michigan.

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Diversity is Calsonic Kansei's top priority

Hiroshi Moriya, CEO of Calsonic Kansei Corp., wants a bigger slice of sales from customers beside Nissan Motor Co., its top shareholder with a 42 percent stake. He also wants to internationalize Calsonic Kansei's management.

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OESA zeros in on Mexico, new-tech suppliers

Tier 1 companies are struggling to build networks of Tier 2 and Tier 3 suppliers in Mexico because smaller vendors are reluctant to shoulder the financial risk, says Julie Fream, CEO of the Original Equipment Suppliers Association.

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RICHARD TRUETT

Performance rules -- despite the push for more mpg

Right now, we are in the golden age of high-performance cars, be they gasoline, electric or hybrid.

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Former Toyota exec leads supplier into new era

Toyota Motor Corp. sees high-tech braking as so critical to its next-generation vehicles, it has sent one of its highest-profile executives to run Advics, its brake-making affiliate.

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Swift and secure vehicle software updates?

When it comes to connected cars, Redbend, an Israeli software company, is sitting in a prime position. As automakers add software to vehicles, those systems will require updates, just as home computers and mobile devices do.

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GM powertrain plan calls for advancing on many fronts

When you ask Dan Nicholson about a certain powertrain or technology, he doesn't tell you why it can't be done. Chances are, he'll tell you where it fits in General Motors' ambitious global powertrain portfolio.

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Denso maps out two-pronged mpg drive

Yasushi Yamanaka, the newly appointed global r&d chief at Toyota Group mega supplier Denso Corp., is chasing two elusive methods to radically improve fuel efficiency by 2025.

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JTEKT targets diversification and steer-by-wire technology

JTEKT Corp. is not just the world's biggest supplier of steering systems, it is the world's 19th largest auto parts supplier, period. Yet to President Tetsuo Agata, his company is still not a “real global company.

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Nissan inspired by high-end fashion

Nissan wanted some European fashion to move its American-made Maxima sedan further upscale for 2016.

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Aisin aims to increase sales beyond top customer Toyota

Aisin Seiki, Toyota Motor Corp.'s second-biggest supplier, is taking a counterintuitive approach to building business with its top customer. Aisin aims to increase sales to Toyota, in part, by selling more parts to Toyota's rivals.

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Dealers

Thane Hawkins, left, dealer principal at Polar Mazda in White Bear Lake, Minn., receives a 35-year award from Scott Farabee, Mazda North American Operations' Midwest regional general manager.

Penske reports strong 2nd quarter, expands its online sales pilot

Penske Automotive Group reported big gains in second-quarter net income on rising unit sales and a solid performance in all business segments. It also said it is expanding its online sales initiative.

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Luxury brands draw tech battle lines

European luxury brands are leaving few segments untouched, but the new battleground is high-technology and semiautonomous features.

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M-B will grow, from compacts to Maybach

Mercedes-Benz continues to add rapidly to its model range with coupelike crossovers and the high-end Mercedes-Maybach subbrand. And it is even considering a pickup for the U.S.

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Jaguar filling the compact, crossover void

Jaguar is revamping its product range with a compact sedan and crossover.

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Land Rover will add convertible, bring Defender back

Jaguar Land Rover is investing $5.3 billion in new products this year, including a new Range Rover Evoque convertible.

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After XC90, Volvo continues its product barrage

Volvo is revamping its product range with an all-new scalable platform, design and new four-cylinder family of engines. And it will start building cars in the United States in a new South Carolina factory in late 2018.

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Mini drops models in its move upmarket

Mini is revamping its model range, trimming three models and using a BMW Group architecture and engines. As the new cars become bigger and more luxurious, Mini will move the range upmarket.

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7 series continues BMW's high-tech push

BMW will apply its carbon fiber know-how to its main lineup, starting with the redesigned 7-series sedan, and play catch-up with autonomous-drive technology.

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Smart sticks with single nameplate

The Smart microcar will continue to be a niche product in the U.S. with annual sales of about 10,000. Management has chosen to sell only one car here - the miniscule ForTwo and not the four-seat ForFour.

FCA dealer incentives at risk

Fiat Chrysler dealers stand to lose incentive dollars from the automaker if they sell used cars with open, unrepaired recalls under a new policy ordered by U.S. regulators.

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Japanese score big in N.A. in 1st quarter

Booming business in North America was a gleaming bright spot for Japanese automakers in the latest quarter, as sales and operating profits climbed higher in the region for Nissan, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Honda and Subaru's parent company, Fuji Heavy...

Delphi invests in connectivity, driver assistance

Delphi agreed to buy the HellermannTyton Group for £1.07 billion ($1.7 billion) to add cabling gear used in cars.

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VW to roll out high-end safety tech across lineup

Volkswagen Group has long sold sensor-based crash prevention systems in high-end models from Audi, Porsche and Bentley.

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After 1 billion calls, oh, the stories OnStar can tell

General Motors' OnStar has fielded 1 billion calls since it was founded in 1996, including one involving a monkey in Mississippi that locked itself in its master's Chevrolet Silverado.

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Aging vehicles may shift the aftermarket sweet spot

The average age of light vehicles on American roads is still rising, just not as fast as it once was. So what, if anything, does that means for aftermarket and service managers? Well, it's a little complicated.

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In Bob Lutz's crystal ball, Apple, Google may win

Bob Lutz, 83, has been around longer than most in the auto industry. The former General Motors, BMW, Ford and Chrysler executive knows a lot about change because he's seen so much of it. Lutz offered his vision of personal mobility in the future.

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Nissan store takes a factory lump after Trump thump video

Yes, Nissan wants to win over Hispanics, but it doesn't like to condone one of its Southern California stores beating up on Donald Trump.

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Guide to Industry Executives - August 2015

The Automotive News guide to top executives in the United States automotive industry. This is a PDF document download.


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