Automotive News Table of Contents

January 22, 2018

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JASON STEIN
A captivating new contrast in Detroit
Author: Jason Stein

Through the years, for obvious reasons, the pathways of Ford and GM have always been intertwined. Their leaders have always been compared. Today, the differences are glaring.

New pickups leave Ford on aluminum island
Author: Michael Martinez and Michael Wayland

Ford looked to be leading the way toward making aluminum the industry standard for automakers trying to cut weight and improve fuel economy — but nobody followed.

China's GAC has a big to-do list for U.S.
Author: David Sedgwick

At the upcoming NADA convention in Las Vegas, you can expect to find the Trumpchi GS8 nestled in a corner of the North convention hall, just past the booth for Two Hats Ranch. Don't be fooled by its modest surroundings.

Fresh signs of optimism as NAFTA talks resume
Author: Eric Kulisch and Michael Wayland

Auto industry executives appear more sanguine today that the North American Free Trade Agreement can be renegotiated without harming existing supply chains.

Trump's first year ends with some wins, uncertainty
Author: Eric Kulisch

In January 2017, gauging whether the administration of President Donald Trump would be pro-business or populist was a challenge. One year into the administration, it still is.

BMW looks for crossovers for U.S.
Author: Amy Wilson

New and redesigned crossovers should get BMW's U.S. sales growing again in 2018, BMW Group finance chief Nicolas Peter said.

Mercedes, BMW wade into subscriptions
Author: Amy Wilson

The German rivals are joining the list of luxury automakers exploring subscription models as they try to figure out the future of car ownership – and whether such plans will be profitable over time.

Nissan's ePower tech coming to U.S. vehicles
Author: Lindsay Chappell

Nissan's ePower technology has been something of a sensation in Japan. Now the automaker wants to bring it to the United States.

Detroit's hits & misses
Author: Richard Truett

Richard Truett, staff powertrain savant and design connoisseur, jumped up on just about every stand, thought and pondered, changed his mind a couple of times and came up with a list of auto show hits and misses.

BMW will add fwd model to X2
Author: Amy Wilson

BMW expects many buyers new to BMW Group when its new X2 crossover goes on sale in March.

Infiniti quietly builds QX50 in Mexico
Author: Lindsay Chappell

Infiniti is keeping a low profile as it launches the redesigned QX50 crossover, even though it is the brand's most significant new vehicle in years.

No slowdown for Toyota's Kentucky car plant
Author: Laurence Iliff

Plant manager Susan Elkington says the infusion of fresh product will spark sedan sales and keep the Georgetown line humming.

Toyota quietly rolls out Apple CarPlay
Author: Laurence Iliff

'Finally,' Siri told Toyota at the Avalon press conference at NAIAS.

EDITORIAL
Auto shows, bring back the concepts

An auto show just isn't the same without the edgy or even flipped-out concept vehicles that used to be a staple at international shows, but have been on the wane.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Electric motors just make sense

Electric motors make so much sense, due to their quiet operation, torque, lack of vibration, fantastic rpm range, no maintenance requirement and long-term reliability.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Services will make the next winner

Jason Stein’s column (“Everybody’s going in the same direction — nowhere fast,” Jan. 15) is spot on if you live in the real world.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Stop-start starts up negative feelings

I've never been a fan of what appears to be one of the most readily visible attempts by the manufacturers to improve fuel mileage.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Up-close view of GM’s strengths

My long-term employment with Tier 1 suppliers gave me a strong inside relationship with the automotive manufacturers. As a result, I was very convinced that General Motors has the best engineering, reliability, durability, dependability and quality assurance standards.

KEITH CRAIN
What if they are wrong?
Author: Keith Crain

Huge auto companies are betting billions that customers all over the globe are waiting for the chance to buy electric-powered vehicles. They must know something I don't.

Despite baggage, Insight name carries weight
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

The third-generation Insight will stand outside Honda's Clarity subbrand of electrified vehicles and line up next to the Accord Hybrid.

Honda to add CR-V production in Marysville, Ohio
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

One factor behind Honda's success, American Honda's CEO says, has been the ongoing effort to use its flexible production capabilities to fortify light-truck production in North America.

BEST PRACTICES
Buy a vehicle, get a personalized website
Author: Arlena Sawyers

Sesi Motors sets up personalized websites for customers of its three dealerships as a way to enhance customer retention, by communicating service schedules and more.

Sedan glut forces VW to ease up production
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Volkswagen is tapping the brakes on production of its compact and midsize sedans to deal with a glut as consumers veer toward crossovers and SUVs.

If it's not a Scrambler, what is it?
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Will the Wrangler-based pickup be named the Scrambler? FCA US CEO Sergio Marchionne doesn't know.

RDX kicks off Acura's design evolution
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

Acura said its daring Precision concept unveiled during the 2016 Detroit auto show pointed to a bolder future for the brand. That future, as it turned out, wasn't far off.

Toyota seeks to trim small-car models
Author: Laurence Iliff

Toyota's North American CEO, Jim Lentz, told Automotive News that the brand needs to bring some order to its lineup, which contains a range of hybrids plus some carryovers from Scion.

Carlos Tavares on the need for speed
Author: Luca Ciferri

Scale only gets you so much, says PSA's chief: more purchasing power in dealing with suppliers and higher volume on which to amortize new product and technology investments. Beyond that, it could just as well be a liability.

Heard in Congress

Quotes from speaches and presentations at the 2018 Automotive News World Congress

Infiniti will pivot to nearly all-electric lineup
Author: Lindsay Chappell

Infiniti hurries to catch up with other luxury brands by going almost all electric, starting in 2021.

Strong 2018 sales expected
Author: Hannah Lutz and Jamie LaReau

Rising interest rates and tightening credit are reasons for concern, but shouldn't cause new-vehicle sales to tumble, speakers at the Automotive News World Congress said.

Talent pool high among supplier concerns
Author: Richard Truett

Research finds that no matter a supplier's size or product, the biggest threat to its competitiveness is the struggle to recruit skilled workers.

Dealers are vital in electrified, self-driving future
Author: Amy Wilson and Larry P. Vellequette

Even with the move to electrified and autonomous cars, dealerships will survive and thrive, say Audi's Scott Keogh and Porsche's Klaus Zellmer.

Famed designer wants to designers to innovate
Author: Shiraz Ahmed

Former BMW chief designer Chris Bangle critiqued U.S. politics, expounded on theories of civilization and skewered modern car design as trite and unoriginal.

Mercedes tries gaming events, pop-up stories
Author: Amy Wilson

Mercedes-Benz is tapping gaming events and pop-up shops to find new customers as it prepares for business to move increasingly online and to new types of vehicles.

VW: No more squandered opportunities
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Hinrich Woebcken said VW's U.S. recovery from the depths of the diesel crisis has been possible in large part because the North American region is able to exercise some autonomy from corporate headquarters in Germany.

Mazda's EVs won't lose their zoom, Moro says
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

Even in an electrified age, Mazda's determination to build fun-to-drive vehicles won't change, said Masahiro Moro, CEO of Mazda North American Operations.

Volvo leader: Dealers deserve some love
Author: Katie Burke

Volvo North America CEO Anders Gustafsson says the automaker needs to ensure strong residual value and premium brand perception in order to run a successful subscription sales model.

Turo bets Vegas tourists will drive rental program
Author: Hannah Lutz

Globally, the peer-to-peer car rental program has 4 million customers.

With AI digital assistant, drivers talk to their cars
Author: Shiraz Ahmed

The auto industry is in the early days in utilizing smart digital assistants to create unique, in-car user experiences. Here's what CES attendees see in the future.

Ford outlook sours ahead of EV push
Author: Michael Martinez

Ford insists it's on track to deliver consistently strong profit margins at the end of the decade. But in the meantime, the automaker will feel some financial pain.

Hyundai keeps fuel cell crossover understated
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

The differences between the Nexo and Toyota's Mirai reflect the broader differences in design philosophies of the two brands, says Minchul Koo, head of exterior design for Hyundai Motor Co.

Hyundai U.S. arm poised to get more say on production
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

Hyundai Motor Group is going through a restructuring that will shift more decision-making power to regional markets such as North America.

FLYING COLORS
Paint pro gives high marks to automakers' Detroit palettes
Author: Jack Walsworth

Part of the glitz of the Detroit auto show is the palette of colors selected and created for the occasion.

What emboldened GAC to try U.S.?
Author: Yang Jian

What led Guangzhou Automobile Group to announce plans last week to enter the U.S. market, widely viewed as the world's toughest?

Hackett urging Ford to think, act in new ways
Author: Michael Martinez

Jim Hackett, the former furniture company CEO who expected to be spending his 60s enjoying retirement, is instead teaching a course on survival to a century-old automaker.

Japanese brands zoom in China as U.S. cools
Author: Hans Greimel

Japan-brand sales in China are booming -- and helping them offset the slowdown in the U.S.

Subaru aims to get serious about micro sales in world's biggest market
Author: Hans Greimel and Naoto Okamura

Subaru has a growing sense of urgency to get serious about China, where the brand is barely treading water.

BMW's 2nd place? It was a surprise!

BMW's second place finish in the 2017 U.S. luxury sales race came as a surprise to BMW of North America CEO Bernhard Kuhnt.

Gurney pushed Ford to racing triumphs

Legendary race car driver Dan Gurney played a major role in one of Ford Motor Co.'s greatest eras — its racing success under Henry Ford II and Lee Iacocca in the 1960s.

Knot worth holding your breath over?

It's been more than 12 years since FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne wore a tie in public.

Red flags in the rearview mirror

Last year, AutoNation's Mike Jackson warned of three red flags the industry should watch: inventories, incentives and leasing. In his eyes, how did we do?

Wagener loves them just the way they are

Mercedes introduced the redesigned G class last week at the Detroit auto show, making sure to keep the iconic boxy exterior for which it is beloved.

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