Automotive News Table of Contents

February 12, 2018

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Hard-driving Nissan: Time to ease up on the pressure
Author: Hans Greimel

Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa has given the automaker's new North American boss some 60 days to devise a plan that may ease off the company's hard-driving reliance on incentives and fleet sales to deliver volume.

Tesla's scramble for lithium
Author: Katie Burke

Tesla's talks to invest in a lithium supplier indicate automakers have a long road ahead to secure a steady supply of the metal to support the mass production of electric vehicles.

Toyota isn't sweating North America slump
Author: Hans Greimel and Laurence Iliff

How serious are Toyota's problems in North America? Big enough to undercut the parent company's latest quarterly results, but not enough to dim the outlook for the fiscal year or to make Toyota an outlier among its competitors.

GM Korea becomes latest cost target
Author: Michael Wayland

A restructuring of GM's Korean operation could combine elements of its Australia strategy — where it quit manufacturing but remained in the consumer market — and its India strategy, where it kept manufacturing for export, but abandoned the consumer market.

GM's Korea retrenchment gets an early start
Author: Michael Wayland

General Motors is already scaling back operations in South Korea ahead of an announced plant closure there in May.

Luxe turns to trucks
Author: Amy Wilson

When the majority of sales for the German luxury leaders become crossovers and SUVs, the luxury market's shift to truck dominance will be complete.

Nashville to host Leading Women event

Building on the success of the first two sold-out Automotive News Leading Women Conferences in Detroit, Automotive News is taking the learning and networking event to Nashville.

Toyota's Elkington takes pioneering role seriously
Author: Laurence Iliff

Watching the cars come off the line and helping workers would be an "ideal day" for Susan Elkington. But as the first female director of Toyota's largest factory, she has bigger responsibilities.

Toyota's new execs see a crisis
Author: Hans Greimel

Toyota's latest batch of newly promoted executives injects new diversity of thought, but all are decidedly single-minded in warning that Japan's biggest automaker is beset by industry upheaval.

E-Pace: A Jag that's a serious off-roader
Author: Richard Truett

Jaguar's E-Pace has the same bones as Land Rover's Discovery Sport and the upcoming new-generation Range Rover Evoque. So even though it is highly unlikely that E-Pace drivers will veer far into the weeds, that capability is built-in.

Porsche to double green car spending
Author: Christiaan Hetzner

Porsche will double spending on greener vehicles as competition in the electrified-vehicle market grows.

A designated driver for the driverless car
Author: Katie Burke

Phantom Auto is refining a system that lets remote drivers take over self-driving cars when the cars get stuck.

Ford rushes to build more SUVs
Author: Michael Martinez

Ford and Lincoln dealers can't get enough of their biggest, most expensive SUVs to keep up with customer demand, so the automaker is investing $25 million to speed up the assembly line in Kentucky.

Uber pays Waymo $245 million to settle
Author: Katie Burke

The settlement agreement stipulates that Uber may not use Waymo's hardware or software intellectual property.

Dealership group mines data to unearth customers
Author: Anisa Jibrell

By studying its most loyal customers and marketing specifically to similar households near one of its dealerships, a Minnesota group not only increased sales but also generated significantly higher profits on those incremental deals.

Teaming up to tackle dealers' problems
Author: Jamie LaReau

Two dealership service powerhouses have formed a joint venture to research problems and identify solutions for dealers in the evolving retail landscape.

Don't change rules of road
Author: Keith Crain

If you are going to test on public roads, let us at least have a steering wheel and brake pedal. Just in case.

Golden anniversary and a golden age for Subaru in U.S.

Subaru of America's 50th anniversary is a perfect time to contemplate what has made this brand so successful.

Listen to market to develop new tech

With each announcement of another battery, hybrid or autonomous vehicle and the associated billions in investment, I wonder:

Not enough info given on charities

My suggestion to all UAW elected and appointed leaders is to lead with integrity and honesty and to uphold your oath of office.

Self-driving fleets a service opportunity

While I agree with most of Gary Silberg's “'Islands of autonomy' on the horizon for U.S. market” (Jan. 29), I want to take the conclusions a step further and outline the potential for automotive retailers.

GAC Motor in Detroit: A sign of the next new auto empire
Author: Michelle Hill

GAC Motor's presence at the Detroit auto show last month may be just the beginning of a wave of electric vehicles coming out of China in the near future.

Beware of harassment risk factors at dealerships
Author: Kynzie Sims

Organizational conditions -- and not the actions or characteristics of lone individuals -- may be the best predictors of whether harassment will happen in your workplace.

AutoNation F&I profit hits high
Author: Hannah Lutz

AutoNation's F&I gross profit per new vehicle retailed reached an all-time high in the fourth quarter, lifted by branded product sales and a training approach that boosts weaker stores' results.

Changes grip embattled GKN
Author: Jackie Charniga

GKN has changed CEOs, embarked on a two-year profit drive and now is battling a hostile takeover -- all while launching its advanced eDrive technology.

Huntington counts on 'boots on the ground' to drive success
Author: Hannah Lutz

Huntington Bank's new president of auto finance will focus on driving more business to dealerships and leveraging Huntington's local model.

Tax changes boost public dealerships
Author: Hannah Lutz , Jamie LaReau and Laurence Iliff

Publicly traded dealership groups turned in generally good results in the fourth quarter. Then U.S. corporate tax cuts pumped up those earnings -- often by a lot.

Lyft shops for drivers on used-car lots
Author: Shiraz Ahmed

Lyft wants to put drivers in cars they can afford, rather than having them take on expensive loans for new vehicles.

Subaru in the U.S. through the years

Here's a timeline of notable events, sales figures, advertising campaigns and vehicle launches during Subaru of America's first 50 years in the U.S.

Underdog Subaru turns 50
Author: Jack Walsworth

Subaru of America, the Japanese automaker celebrating its 50th anniversary in the U.S. this year, may appear to be unstoppable at the moment. But that hasn't always been the case.

Malcolm Bricklin and the early days of Subaru
Author: Jim Henry

Malcolm Bricklin's most lasting contribution to the auto industry came in the 1960s, when he co-founded Subaru of America with business partner Harvey Lamm.

Marchionne's successor will come from within
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Besides Sergio Marchionne, there are 17 men on the FCA group executive council, but realistically, only a handful are likely candidates for CEO.

Is Kuniskis ready for the 'woods'?

Some of us tried to read between the lines of Fiat Chrysler's personnel changes last week — the reassigning of Tim Kuniskis, head of passenger car brands such as Dodge, Chrysler and Fiat in North America, as the new global head for Maserati and Alfa Romeo.

Where are they now?
Author: Jim Henry

Malcolm Bricklin and Harvey Lamm have slowed down a step or two, but neither is ready to fully retire.

Detroit Subaru store stuck it out, and won
Author: Jack Walsworth

Detroit might not have been the easiest place to open a Japanese brand dealership in the 1970s, but Hodges Subaru has thrived.

How Subaru marketing found the 'Love'
Author: Diana T. Kurylko

Before Subaru of America found "Love," the company endured nearly 40 years of advertising heartbreak.

Subaru's 'Love' began with Chevy's Tim Mahoney
Author: Diana T. Kurylko

It was Tim Mahoney — now Chevy's global marketing chief — who brought the love to Subaru in 2007.

U.S. plant took Subaru on new journey
Author: Jack Walsworth

Subaru of Indiana Automotive has mirrored the brand's sales growth in the U.S. since it opened.

Nissan pondering capacity relief
Author: Lindsay Chappell

Nissan management says the automaker has run out of the available factory space that has fueled its U.S. sales growth. It's time to build a new assembly plant.

Panasonic exec: More EV battery plants are coming
Author: Jim Henry

Panasonic Corp. is ready to add battery capacity as automakers announce new EVs.

Ram plan brings Detroit ripples
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Moving FCA's heavy-duty Ram pickup from Mexico to Detroit will have the impact of a new plant -- but suppliers are waiting to see what's expected.

Inventory mix nearly matches market demand
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

The mix of light trucks and cars in inventory on Feb. 1 closely matched what shoppers want to buy.

Mexico's '17 record production rises more
Author: Laurence Iliff

The Mexican auto industry revised its 2017 record auto production upward after newcomer Audi reported numbers from its Q5 plant in San Jose Chiapa, Puebla.

Dealer anniversaries

Dealers featured this week include Sheehy Auto Stores, Frank Holtham, dealer principal of Toyota of Hackensack, N.J.; Annette Racine, founder, and Michael Racine, president, of Willie Racine's Jeep in South Burlington, Vt.; and Kenneth Schnitzer, chairman of Park Place Dealerships in Texas.

Hendrick Group sued over commissions
Author: Jamie LaReau

Hendrick Automotive is being sued by 33 former sales associates who allege its Chevrolet of Naples store manipulated profit margins to pay smaller commissions.

Mitsubishi's N.A. sales trim losses
Author: Hans Greimel

Narrowing losses in North America remain a drag on earnings at Mitsubishi Motors Corp. even as overall profits surged on higher sales and favorable foreign currency rates.

Rising incentives ding N.A. profit at Subaru
Author: Hans Greimel

The rising cost of doing business in North America is taking a toll on Subaru's profitability.

U.S. challenges put squeeze on Mazda's profits
Author: Hans Greimel

Profits more than double at Mazda in the latest quarter, but mostly because the carmaker's slumping U.S. business was offset by huge foreign exchange rate gains.

Call Chicago the 'Snow Show'
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Automakers were ready for Chicago auto show audiences who fretted about the dead of winter.

Ford tweaks the Edge to Titanium Elite
Author: Jack Walsworth

As more of its Edge sales move to high-end trim packages, Ford unveils an Elite version in Chicago.

Will Mercedes build a 7-passenger GLB?
Author: Amy Wilson

Mercedes-Benz will add to its compact vehicle family in 2019 when it launches the GLB crossover — and a seven-passenger version is reportedly in the offing.

Colbert runs up score on 'Dodge' Ram ad

Late-night comedian Stephen Colbert pokes fun at Ram's super bowl commercial that used part of a speech by Martin Luther King Jr.

The D-Type can be beat

Jaguar’s D-Type, among the most iconic vehicles in the British brand’s history, would lose a race to 60 mph with a somewhat unlikely opponent — the new I-Pace electric crossover.