Automotive News Table of Contents

May 29, 2017

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A savvy plan for the Trump era
Author: David Sedgwick

Mirror supplier Gentex ended production at foreign plants in favor of American ones. But to do that, Gentex needed robots.

After Fields, is anyone safe?
Author: Jason Stein

Mark Fields managed the F-150 pickup transformation, repositioned the Lincoln brand, restored European profits, renegotiated labor agreements and started a movement to the world of mobility. That he was fired begs the question: Is anyone safe?

Failed Google deal left Fields in the lurch
Author: Sharon Silke Carty

A look back at the timeline of the failed Ford-Google talks reveals a moment that became a turning point in Mark Fields' career at Ford. The episode indirectly left Ford struggling to voice an autonomous vehicle strategy and led to the emergence of Jim Hackett.

Embattled FCA denies it cheated on diesel testing
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

The government's civil suit over diesel compliance could cost cash-poor FCA more than $1 billion.

Toyota rallies the troops, waves the flag
Author: David Undercoffler

Toyota's CEO sought to give U.S. dealers an extra dose of motivation ahead of the critical launch of the redesigned, eighth-generation Camry.

Will Facebook be the next big thing in online used-car ads?
Author: Richard Truett

Facebook has the potential to be a major force in used-car sales with a new feature called Marketplace, which eases concerns about dealing with strangers.

Automakers wary of Trump's focus on trade deficits
Author: Eric Kulisch

Automakers and other stakeholders in the coming trade debates are urging Trump administration negotiators to look beyond the size of bilateral trade deficits in determining where and how to attack the nation's export gap.

Slowing buy-sell market expected to rebound
Author: Jamie LaReau

Buy-sell deals tumbled in the first quarter from robust year-earlier levels. But buy-sell advisers expect deals to rebound in 2017.

When the minivan gets too quiet
Author: Krishnan M. Anantharaman

If a central challenge of autonomous vehicles is easing the tedium of driving, it's the same challenge facing the developers of the modern minivan.

BMW to challenge M-B S-class coupe, convertible with 8 series
Author: Luca Ciferri

BMW unveiled a concept of its revived 8 series that will become a new flagship coupe. It appears sleeker and sportier than the 6-series coupe it replaces.

How Lotus can thrive under China's Geely
Author: Nick Gibbs

There's a vast difference between Geely's six-seat London taxicabs and a Lotus' two-seat sports car. But the two companies have something in common.

New gearbox, grille for Yukon Denali
Author: Nick Bunkley

The GMC Yukon Denali is getting a 10-speed Hydra-Matic transmission developed in conjunction with Ford and a new, multidimensional grille for the 2018 model year.

Subaru may electrify its existing nameplates

Subaru is considering installing electric powertrains in current nameplates rather than designing an all-new electric vehicle, CEO Yasuyuki Yoshinaga said.

Volvo preps dressed-down interior for XC40
Author: Katie Burke

Spy photos of the small crossover show a simpler cabin without the wood trim that's included in the large XC90 and midsize XC60.

911 version caps rise of Porsche's GTS sub-brand
Author: Amy Wilson

The 2018 911 GTS embodies Porsche's racing heritage — and shows that the GTS designation has built enthusiast credibility.

Holman, Cox plan national rollout for Flexdrive
Author: Shiraz Ahmed

The dealer group and partner Cox are preparing for a future that could rely less and less on personal car ownership.

Toyota's Leroy to speak next month at Europe congress

Didier Leroy, Toyota's highest ranking non-Japanese executive, will speak at the Automotive News Europe Congress on June 21 in Barcelona, Spain.

Breaking bots' grip on digital ad traffic
Author: David Undercoffler

When a dealership pays vendors to generate clicks on its advertising, every dollar spent on a click that came from a bot and not a human is a wasted dollar.

Public dealership groups still see potential in used vehicles
Author: John Irwin

Publicly traded dealership groups are proceeding with used-only store plans in the face of declining new-vehicle sales, despite shrinking first-quarter used profits.

CDK buys Auto/Mate, access to smaller dealerships
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

CDK's purchase of Auto/Mate gives the dealer management system giant the offering for smaller dealerships at a lower price point that CDK CEO MacDonald sought.

Volvo loads midsize crossover with tech
Author: Katie Burke

Volvo expects strong demand for the XC60's optional air suspension, which lets the driver raise the vehicle for off-roading

EV column not based in reality

The reality is that last year, of the over 17 million new vehicles sold in the United States, 99.5% were not electric, a reader writes.

Fields lesson: CEO has many masters
Author: Keith Crain

Mark Fields is a nice guy, but being a nice guy didn't matter. Wall Street has decided that it is not in love with automotive stocks.

GM's finance focus shortsighted

A General Motors retiree is gobsmacked at recent management decisions. With finance replacing visionaries, the focus is now on share value and profit.

Numbers, patience keys to car industry

One reader chose cars over IT many years ago. Now it appears those two areas are aligning closer.

Vision in leadership is important. So is focus.

Ford has installed a “visionary” as its CEO. But without enough focus to go with that vision, Ford may end up just spinning its wheels.

Auction safety is an industry responsibility
Author: Jim Hallett

Auto auction safety should not be a proprietary issue, a competitive issue or an economic issue — it's an industry responsibility.

Auction safety is not that simplistic

It is inappropriate to chastise the NAAA and any of its members that serve the national dealer base with a high regard for safety and integrity, a reader writes.

Fields never had Mulally's leeway

With all due respect to Bill Ford, it is likely that Mark Fields was unable to sharpen his message or clarify his strategy because his board chairman didn't allow him to do either on his own.

Connected-car future requires manufacturers to network
Author: Marjorie Loeb

To realize the potential of connected and autonomous vehicles, vehicle manufacturers and technology providers must work together to integrate software and applications into the heart of the vehicle operating system.

Court rules against 'forum shopping' in patent lawsuits
Author: Jackie Charniga

A Supreme Court ruling that patent lawsuits must be filed by companies on the defendant's turf is expected to protect U.S. automakers from predatory patent litigation.

New York Nissan store faces class action over pay to sales staffers
Author: Eric Freedman

A Bayside, N.Y., Nissan dealership has lost its bid to keep a lawsuit by two former salesmen upset over their take-home pay from becoming a class action.

IHS manager Jackson moves to OESA

The Original Equipment Suppliers Association has tapped IHS veteran Mike Jackson as its executive director of strategy and research.

Trade anxiety rising among suppliers
Author: Jack Walsworth

Supplier executives say uncertainty about trade policy is making it difficult to make decisions about their manufacturing needs.

Turning auto plants into WALL-E worlds
Author: Katie Burke

While Elon Musk has laid out a futuristic vision of car factories staffed by robots, the legacy auto industry is quietly putting a version of that vision into motion.

A $256 million court victory, but 'I still lost'
Author: Lindsay Chappell

Ex-Nissan dealer Mike Kahn won big in his case against his lender, but says he's still out "the eight years I spent fighting for my reputation and my name."

Len Bellavia's 'new lease on life'
Author: Jamie LaReau

A year ago, noted dealer lawyer Len Bellavia was told that he had terminal cancer and would soon be dead. That's not the way things turned out.

NISSAN'S JOSE MUNOZ: Pushing forward on all fronts
Author: Lindsay Chappell and Dave Guilford

Jose Munoz says there is money to be made for Nissan in fleet sales -- if it is done correctly.

SUBARU'S TOM DOLL: Ready for another sales record
Author: Lindsay Chappell and Jack Walsworth

Subaru of America President Tom Doll wants Subaru's younger employees to realize that one day setting sales records might not be this easy.

MAZDA'S MASAHIRO MORO: On the road to premium
Author: Michael Wayland

Mazda North American chief Masahiro Moro's "Mazda Premium" strategy aims at turning the company's roughly 2 percent U.S. market share into a "good" 2 percent.

CPO sales flat year-over-year

U.S. certified pre-owned sales at the largest automakers have risen just 0.2% through April, bogged down in large part by significant declines at 3 of the 4 largest players.

Mini seeks higher used-car sales
Author: Amy Wilson

Mini executives want the brand's U.S. dealerships to pursue used-car sales with more vigor, so they're offering bonuses to dealerships that hit used-volume targets.

Online dealer delivers for mail carriers
Author: John Irwin

An online used-vehicle retailer specializes in an obscure but profitable niche — right-hand-drive Jeep Cherokees from Japan.

Good communication can ease a DMS switch
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

A top CDK official explains the process of installing a new dealership management system and the importance of good communication between vendor and dealer.

Dealer anniversaries

Dealers featured this week include Ray Ciccolo, dealer principal of Boston Volvo Village in Allston, Mass.; and John LaSorsa of LaSorsa Chevrolet-Buick in New York City.

2018 Honda Odyssey
Author: Krishnan M. Anantharaman

The 2018 Odyssey is intended for people into the family stage of their adult lives, including the early wave of millennials.

Learning curve but not tech lectures for Odyssey owners
Author: Krishnan M. Anantharaman

Honda isn't planning on having sales consultants run through a full technology training session with buyers of the 2018 Odyssey.

Kicking tires on Facebook Marketplace
Author: Richard Truett

Facebook Marketplace ads only appear for vehicles within a 100 miles radius and any deals are likely to be done in person.

Twin power centers emerge at Ford
Author: Michael Martinez

Ford's revamped management structure puts Joe Hinrichs and Jim Farley in new, more powerful positions that could put one of them in line to lead the company in the future.

Bill Ford to serve as company's voice
Author: Michael Wayland

The executive shuffle gives the great-grandson of Henry Ford his first operational responsibilities outside of his board position since 2006.

Ford gets a ‘proven transformational leader’
Author: Nick Bunkley

Bill Ford has frequently spoken of a desire to spark a cultural revolution within Ford, and now he has a CEO with a record of doing just that.

Who's who at Ford

After last week, you'll need a program to tell who the players are at Ford. Here it is.

Bringing clarity to Ford's mobility strategy
Author: Katie Burke

Throughout her career, Marcy Klevorn has helped bring Ford into the digital era, cutting costs along the way.

Friendly robots apply for supplier jobs
Author: David Sedgwick

A new wave of lower-cost, flexible and more delicate robots wants to work on the assembly line.

Bo knew

Jim Hackett, Ford's new CEO, was a backup center on the University of Michigan football team in the mid-1970s.

Job insecurity is part of Ford CEO position
Author: Richard Johnson

Mark Fields is not the first Ford CEO to be pushed out for vague reasons.

Tokyo just can't woo Detroit 3

This year's Tokyo Motor Show, positioning itself as a connected-car showcase of future trends, isn't drawing the Detroit 3.

Volvo CEO the leader in likability

Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson tops a likability ranking for auto CEOs. Why is that important?

Whose hotel is this anyway?

Call it opportunism or maybe just trolling, but Fiat Chrysler last week held not one, but two recruiting events at a hotel in the heart of Ford Country.

Will Ford's 'sharpening' nick Fields' agenda?
Author: Michael Martinez

Ford's "sharpening" of operations could involve a rethink of many of ex-CEO Mark Fields' initiatives.