Automotive News Table of Contents

February 23, 2015



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Activist Wilson to face savvy GM board

There's no shortage of gravitas on the GM board as directors weigh Harry Wilson's bid for a seat and his call for $8 billion in share buybacks. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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NEWS ANALYSIS

For Apple, an opportunity to revolutionize the automobile, without ever selling one

What could Apple do for the auto industry? With its $178 billion cash pile, probably anything it wants. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 22, 2015

Glitches fuel soul searching at Honda

Honda CEO Takanobu Ito is in the midst of another reinvention, this time to fix a string of quality problems. What sets this apart from previous efforts: The glitches were triggered in part by the ambitious overhauls Ito himself tried to implement. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015 | UPDATED: 2/23/14 1:46 am ET - notes Ito's departure

In a frigid winter, a torrid start to 2015

U.S. auto sales have started 2015 on a stronger note than expected, increasing the industry's chances of cracking 17 million vehicles this year for the first time since 2001. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 28, 2015

1 VW plant, 2 unions: UAW foes get a voice

Workers who fought the UAW's organizing drive in Chattanooga now have a union of their own. One year after the UAW's failed bid to organize Volkswagen's sole U.S. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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From behind the scenes to Honda's center stage

Takahiro Hachigo's consensus-driven leadership style could help bring a sense of closure and cohesion to Honda after a tumultuous era marred by economic crises, natural disasters and quality glitches. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 28, 2015

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Ghosn pledges patience amid churn at Infiniti

Nissan's Carlos Ghosn last week turned to another fresh face in his latest efforts to spark the Infiniti luxury brand. Unlike predecessors with backgrounds at Porsche and Ford, this one was groomed at General Motors. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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Is clock ticking on replacement inflators?

Now that Honda has recalled more than 14 million vehicles to fix defective Takata airbag inflators, CEO Takanobu Ito says he is prepared for a difficult possibility: If the replacements also go bad someday, they would need to be replaced too. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015 | UPDATED: 2/23/15 2:03 am ET - notes Ito's departure

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RED CARPET NIGHT

Cadillac's new branding effort debuts at the Oscars; CT6 gets sneak peek

The commercials that Cadillac teed up for the Oscars broadcast Sunday night could be seen as simply the first step in what brand boss Johan de Nysschen has described as a "journey" to luxury prominence. 7:00 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 22, 2015 | UPDATED: 2/23/15 2:08 pm ET - adds photo, link

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Dilawri Group expands rapidly in Canada

Privately held Dilawri Group of Cos., Canada's largest dealership group by store count, is in rapid expansion mode. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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TrueCar's new pitch: Factory coupons for shoppers

TrueCar Inc. spent the past two years rebuilding relations with dealers. Now the vehicle-shopping site is turning its attention to automakers to boost sales. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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Cadillac considers Vsport model for ATS

The ATS could get an up-level Vsport model as Cadillac seeks ways to regain momentum for the compact sedan. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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Lotus plans U.S. return with Evora 400

Lotus has moved its Evora 400, which will spearhead the brand's return to the U.S., further upmarket to better compete with the Porsche 911 and Audi R8. The Evora 400 will come with side airbags to allow the car to be sold in the U.S. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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Next-gen Chrysler minivan will be taller, wider with a rotary shifter

The next-generation Chrysler Town & Country minivan will get a rotary shifter and other interior features common in Fiat Chrysler vehicles. The minivan also will be slightly taller and wider than the current version. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 22, 2015

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Rolls-Royce to build SUV

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars sent white-gloved chauffeurs in Phantoms around New York City on Tuesday, Feb. 17, to deliver letters announcing plans to build an SUV, making good on hints dropped by CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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Volvo: XC90 marks brand's rebirth

Volvo Cars is heralding its new XC90, the first vehicle it has developed since Ford Motor Co. sold it to China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. in 2010, as the rebirth of the Swedish brand. The 2016 model has no components from Ford's parts bin. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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OUTSIDE-IN STRATEGY

Fields lures another Ford newbie in push for fresh thinking

Ford CEO Mark Fields has plenty of reasons to fear being left behind as Tesla, Google and Apple shake up the auto industry. That’s why he’s hired another outsider to help his 112-year old automaker control its own destiny. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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Robot orders surge as vehicle output climbs

In a bid to keep pace with rising production, automakers and suppliers are ordering record numbers of robots. Last year, companies ordered 17,678 automotive robots in North America, up 45 percent from 2013, said the Robotic Industries Association. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

S.C. testing center plans expansion

The International Transportation Innovation Center in Greenville, S.C., is expanding in hopes of attracting work on advanced technology such as wireless charging, automatic parking and zero-emission vehicles. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

EDITORIAL

A sweet fleet deal

The victor of the next Postal Service fleet contract wins a ubiquitous showcase of its innovation, utility and durability for years to come. This is a deal that would be well worth the effort. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

EDITORIAL

GM management must earn respect of shareholders

General Motors is being challenged to return more of its $25 billion cash hoard to shareholders, which is a big lift in an industry where huge reserves are required just to operate. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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KEITH CRAIN

Now everyone wants to build cars

Much like Preston Tucker, John DeLorean and Malcolm Bricklin, there are lots of people with lots of money interested in becoming automakers. Elon Musk notwithstanding, the number of success stories in this business is fairly limited. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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NICK BUNKLEY

Year of the Recall wasn't all GM's fault

The final tally is in. In 2014, automakers sent out some 64 million recall notices in the United States, more than double the previous calendar-year record. GM was a big part of that, but plenty of others also contributed. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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Porsche dealers eager to upgrade

About 150 of the 189 U.S. Porsche dealerships are renovating or expanding as the brand's sales have soared. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

Porsche may close a few U.S. dealerships

A handful of U.S. markets still have too many Porsche dealerships, Porsche Cars North America COO Joe Lawrence said, and the company may use its right of first refusal to close stores. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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BEST PRACTICES

Helping hand for minority dealer hopefuls

Bill Perkins knows how hard it is to get a dealership and to succeed. He lasted one year in his first store. But when he later acquired a dealership in suburban Detroit, other dealers helped him. That made the difference. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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Automakers and tech companies work to perfect seamless home to vehicle transition

Automakers and suppliers, imagining a day when vehicles and homes are connected over a so-called Internet of Things, are beginning to write software to make the transition between the two more comfortable than ever. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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Connected car's connector: Ethernet

Across the auto industry, a transition is underway to Ethernet, the networking system widely used to connect PCs to the Internet and one another. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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Thirst for power fuels Nvidia's surge

Nvidia Corp., best known for graphics cards for video gaming systems, boosted automotive revenue more than 80 percent in 2014 by capitalizing on car companies' hunger for high-powered computers. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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Dealers

Dealers featured this week include Howard Braunstein, president of M&M Auto Group in Liberty, N.Y.; Peter Hoffman, dealer at Sierra Honda in Monrovia, Calif.; Jeff Crippen, dealer principal at Crippen Mazda in Lansing, Mich.; George Grubbs Jr. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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Lithia launches pay plan to retain top store managers

Lithia Motors Inc. has started a new program that identifies top managers and gives them increased stock ownership in lieu of cash. The goal is to retain top talent and improve store performance, says Lithia CEO Bryan DeBoer. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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Social-media 'influencers' create product buzz, change policies

An individual with social-media savvy can launch a discussion online that quickly influences industry actions. By knowing their audiences, influencers can quickly gain the same credibility with them as friends or neutral third parties. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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NEW VOICES

Five influencers changing the auto industry today

Automotive News spoke with a handful of influencers to learn what they're thinking and the stories they're sharing with their fans. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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Road trip led to a new life on Instagram

A couple of years ago, Kevin Lu got bored with his career as a biomechanical engineer designing artificial knees and hips. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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Salvage auction does a bang-up business

Salvage auto-auction company Insurance Auto Auctions Inc., sibling to auction giant ADESA, has been on a growth spurt since December 2013. In that time, it has opened, acquired, reopened, moved or expanded sites in 13 markets. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

VW sees 'banner year' for certified-used sales

Volkswagen division's certified used-vehicle sales rose 17 percent last month to 7,675. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

LEGAL FILE

CarMax beats Calif. suit over 'certified' documents

CarMax Auto Superstores California has beaten a fraud suit by the purchasers of a used 2008 Dodge Caravan who claimed the Riverside dealership where they bought the minivan failed to give them a state-mandated Certified Quality Inspection checklist. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

Obituaries

Obituaries for George Butts, Dick Gillmore and Hoot McInerney. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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A debut befitting the Kia K900?

To take the wraps off the Ford Police Interceptor Utility at the Chicago Auto Show, Ford called on Keegan, a 3-year-old protection dog, who sank his teeth into the task. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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JAMES B. TREECE

Car stores could be just like Apple stores, right?

"How's it going?" I asked my friend Gene-Erik Marketer. I hadn't seen him since the NADA convention. "Great!" he replied. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

Did you hear the one about the GM phone?

News reports about Apple getting into the car business were the talk of Detroit and Silicon Valley last week. Many in Detroit think the maker of the iPhone is biting off more than it can chew. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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Ghosn's 10% share goal: No worries

Carlos Ghosn's audacious drive to claim a 10 percent U.S. market share for Nissan and Infiniti by March 2017 looks to some in the competitive industry like a tall order. But Ghosn, CEO of Nissan Motor Corp., says no one needs to doubt him. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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Jeep Cherokee grille remains polarizing

The Jeep Cherokee's front fascia was -- to say the least -- controversial when the first images of it leaked out in February 2013. In fact, Ralph Gilles, Fiat Chrysler's head of design, admitted that the design was "polarizing" on purpose. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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Powerful? In this race, Ferrari trails Lego

Lego has toppled Ferrari from the top spot as the world's most powerful brand, says a new study. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

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Tesla: The one company that can get Kochs, Sierra Club to see eye to eye

The Koch brothers' businesses market fossil fuels and turn forests into toilet paper. The Sierra Club, well, doesn't do those things. But on this much they agree: Tesla should be able to sell its electric cars directly to consumers. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015


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