Blogs

AutoNation, Group 1 are neck and neck in F&I race

Posted 12:30 pm U.S. ET, July 29
blogs Hannah Lutz is a staff reporter covering finance and insurance for Automotive News.
 
AutoNation overtook former frontrunner Group 1 Automotive for the top spot among the public retailers in F&I profit per vehicle in the second quarter. Or did it? It depends on how you measure. AutoNation, the No. 1 U.S. retailer by new-car retail sales, and Group 1, which ranks No. 3 on the Automotive News ranking, have consistently had the highest F&I revenue per vehicle among the six t ...
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GM's new powertrain boss, with bases covered, aims for high batting average

Posted 12:00 pm U.S. ET, July 28
blogs
An early prototype of the Chevrolet Bolt EV undergoing tests at GM's Milford, Mich., proving ground. (GM)
RICHARD TRUETT:  DETROIT -- Fast is a good word to describe Dan Nicholson, who was promoted late last year to head General Motors’ powertrain operations worldwide. He drives a fast car, a Camaro convertible. He walks fast and he talks fast. As vice president of GM global powertrain, Nicholson oversees one of the most complex aspects of the company’s business. Not only does he decide which technologi ...
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The UAW (and Trump) cry foul as Ford runs for border

Posted 2:52 pm U.S. ET, July 23
blogs
“I want everything built in the United States of America, including tennis shoes,” UAW President Dennis Williams declared today. (BLOOMBERG)
NICK BUNKLEY:  With negotiators from the Detroit 3 and the UAW about to put in some late nights around the bargaining table in the next few months, they probably won’t be getting their fourth meals from Taco Bell. As General Motors and Ford Motor Co. run for the border, investing billions of dollars and creating thousands of jobs in Mexican plants, union leaders are fuming. “We need jobs in the Uni ...
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Automakers should deploy mobile ads earlier in purchase cycle, Facebook study finds

Posted 9:00 am U.S. ET, July 23
blogs
Some 59 percent of “average car buyers” -- respondents who aren't asked for advice about cars by others -- have trimmed their vehicle choices down to one or two models by the last month before a purchase, a study finds.
VINCE BOND JR.:  Consumers are bombarded with the most digital car ads in the month before purchasing a vehicle even though many have already narrowed their choices down to one or two models by then, according to a new Facebook-commissioned study by Ipsos MediaCT. Facebook says the finding shows that automakers need to reach potential buyers in the digital realm, particularly on mobile devices, earlier in the pur ...
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Group 1 makes terrific lemonade

Posted 1:03 pm U.S. ET, July 23
blogs News Editor James B. Treece oversees Automotive News' coverage of auto retailing and used cars.
 
Don’t feel sorry for Group 1 Automotive. They’re doing just fine, thank you. More than fine, in fact. From the outside, one might assume Houston’s Group 1 would be hurting. The nation’s third-largest dealership group gets 48 percent of its U.S. new car and truck sales in Texas -- with 20 percent in the Houston area alone -- and another 9 percent in Oklahoma. Think fallin ...
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How Honda Finance’s settlement could be a win for all retailers

Posted 11:30 am U.S. ET, July 22
blogs Hannah Lutz is a staff reporter covering finance and insurance for Automotive News.
 
“A win-win-win.” That’s what AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson called Honda Finance’s settlement with federal regulators for alleged discrimination in auto lending last week. Is one of those three wins for dealers? At face value, the consent order doesn’t seem like a gift to retailers industrywide, but it could be. The consent order says that Honda’s dealers must c ...
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Cadillac's product onslaught: Hurry up and wait

Posted 12:15 pm U.S. ET, July 21
blogs
This year is a fun one productwise for Cadillac, with the arrival of three new V-series cars and the CT6 large sedan by year end. But there's a lull on the horizon.
MIKE COLIAS:  We have been told to expect big things for Cadillac’s vehicle portfolio -- eight all-new models by 2020. But a glance at its product-planning timeline shows that dealers and consumers will be waiting quite a while for much of that fresh sheet metal. This year is a fun one productwise for Cadillac, with the arrival of three new, screamin’-fast V-series cars, and the CT6 large sedan by ...
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Is the DOJ auto parts price-fixing crackdown winding down?

Posted 2:35 pm U.S. ET, July 17
blogs Chad Halcom is a reporter for Crain's Detroit Business, an affiliate of Automotive News.
 
After scouring the auto supply chain in a five-year crackdown on price-fixing, has the U.S. Department of Justice found something else to do? It’s probably not that simple, but some local legal experts think recent reports of a new Antitrust Division investigation into commercial airlines is another sign its automotive price-fixing prosecution may be nearly over. Published reports earlier ...
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In dealer-reserve debate, CFPB, NADA and American Honda Finance strive to move ball

Posted 11:30 am U.S. ET, July 15
blogs Hannah Lutz is a staff reporter covering finance and insurance for Automotive News.
 
Last month, American Banker reported that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau had cited the finance arms of Toyota, Honda and Nissan for discriminatory auto-lending practices. What happened since then is very telling about the state of the dispute over dealer-arranged auto loans. On Tuesday, the Department of Justice said American Honda Finance Corp. agreed to pay up to $25 million to settl ...
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Sustained lower fuel prices upend product plans

Posted 12:30 pm U.S. ET, July 14
blogs
The Mazda2 won't be coming to U.S. showrooms anytime soon.
RICHARD TRUETT:  With oil gurgling at around $52 per barrel and the average national price of a gallon of gasoline at $2.78, we are starting to see the effects of sustained lower fuel prices on product plans. Buyers are migrating to bigger, heavier, fuel-thirstier vehicles. In the first half of the year, trucks captured 54 percent of the new-vehicle market, up from 51 percent during the first half of 2014. ...
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Marchionne adds weight to Tuesday's UAW bargaining kickoff

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 10
blogs David Barkholz covers labor for Automotive News.
 
The seriousness of this year’s UAW contract negotiations with Fiat Chrysler just got more so. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne plans to attend the ceremonial handshake with UAW President Dennis Williams and their entourages when they formally open bargaining Tuesday in Detroit. The current four-year contracts between the Detroit 3 and UAW expire Sept. 14. FCA has the most to lose in this year&rs ...
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Lessons for Americans from Hamp's case

Posted 12:00 pm U.S. ET, July 10
blogs News Editor James B. Treece oversees Automotive News' coverage of auto retailing and used cars.
 
My colleague, Philip Nussel, in a blog posted Thursday, draws parallels between the tale of Julie Hamp’s run-in with Japanese law and the price-fixing scandal that has embroiled a number of Japanese auto suppliers. I’d like to offer a seemingly more far-fetched comparison: to the 2006 case where Toyota’s top-ranking Japanese executive in the U.S. was accused of sexual harassment ...
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Minority dealers association celebrates 35th year

Posted 3:31 pm U.S. ET, July 10
blogs Arlena Sawyers covers minority dealers and the remarketing world for Automotive News.
 
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- The National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers celebrated its 35th birthday this week here at its annual conference. Dealers -- 345 of them -- and 395 of their friends, family and associates showed up to conduct some business, pay homage to the group’s past and celebrate its future. Representatives of several manufacturers were on hand to publicly outline the ...
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What do Julie Hamp and price fixing have in common?

Posted 2:20 pm U.S. ET, July 9
blogs Philip Nussel is online editor at Automotive News.
 
If the Japanese want to enforce their drug laws, they are perfectly entitled to do so. But they had better be prepared for other countries to enforce their own laws, too. Japan Inc. should be embarrassed about the treatment of former Toyota communications boss Julie Hamp. Her saga ended this week with her release by Japanese authorities who took her into custody for allegedly illegally importing ...
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Startups just keep coming in the used-car market

Posted 7:14 am U.S. ET, July 9
blogs News Editor James B. Treece oversees Automotive News’ coverage of auto retailing and used cars.
 
In case you missed it, this week brought more reminders that the used-car market is in flux. First, there was an article on Monday in Crain’s Chicago Business, an affiliate of Automotive News, about yet another online startup seeking to help dealers find specific used vehicles. “A new model for used cars” proclaimed the headline. Next was a Bloomberg article, which appeared on ...
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Alfa's last chance?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 8
blogs
The Alfa Romeo Giulia is the brand's first new volume model since 2010.
LUCA CIFERRI:  Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne hopes that his 5 billion-euro ($5.3 billion) bet on Alfa Romeo will result in eight new models that boost global sales to 400,000 vehicles by 2018 and bring an end to more than a decade of financial losses at the 105-year-old brand. If I were Marchionne, I would be very worried about not achieving those three ambitious goals -- and I’m not alone. Let&rsq ...
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Has high court raised bar for CFPB in auto bias cases?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 8
blogs Hannah Lutz is a staff reporter covering finance and insurance for Automotive News.
 
From the outside, the Supreme Court’s ruling last month upholding disparate impact claims in housing discrimination lawsuits may look like a headache for auto dealers, but a provision in the decision could give the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau a hurdle that could work in dealers’ favor. The disparate impact theory says that a policy can be considered discriminatory if it has a ...
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No, Bob Nardelli. Just no.

Posted 12:23 pm U.S. ET, July 7
blogs
Former Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli wrote a column on LinkedIn titled “What I learned leading a Company like Chrysler through Bankruptcy -- and Revitalization.”
LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE:  In a column released this week on LinkedIn.com, former CEO Bob Nardelli takes credit for turning around Chrysler Corp. and guiding it back to where it is today. Nardelli’s column, “What I learned leading a Company like Chrysler through Bankruptcy -- and Revitalization,” is the type of revisionist history that would do the former Soviet Union’s Pravda proud. So on behalf o ...
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So far, F-150's rivals are mostly sticking with steel

Posted 11:45 am U.S. ET, July 7
blogs
Few automakers are following the lead of Ford's 2015 F-150 pickup, which has adopted an all-aluminum body to save weight and boost fuel economy. (BLOOMBERG)
RICHARD TRUETT:  Nearly everyone thought there would be a rush to aluminum after Ford last year switched the skin and bones of the venerable F-150 pickup from steel to the lightweight material. It didn’t happen. Fiat Chrysler is sticking with steel for the next-gen Jeep Wrangler due out in 2017 as a 2018 model. Nissan stayed with steel for the redesigned Titan pickup arriving this fall, and Honda did so f ...
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Look out! Still water ahead

Posted 4:30 pm U.S. ET, July 1
blogs Jesse Snyder is opinion page editor at Automotive News.
 
June was another good sales month. We’ve had a good first half, and a great six-year run-up. But expect to start seeing some separation among competitors. As sales growth slows, margins thin a bit and rivals eye each other’s customers, we’ll find out which businesses are fundamentally stronger. June U.S. light-vehicle sales rose 3.9 percent, and three forecasters have bumped th ...
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The (technology) pluses and minuses of a GM-FCA deal

Posted 11:15 am U.S. ET, June 30
blogs
Cadillac's CT6 plug-in hybrid. Access to GM's hybrid technologies would perhaps solve Fiat Chrysler's largest product development problem. (GM)
RICHARD TRUETT:  Technology -- or the expensive lack of it -- is, I believe, at the heart of all this merger talk coming from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Except for the battery-powered Fiat 500e, available in just two states, and the stop-start system offered in certain versions of the Ram 1500 pickup, FCA’s electrification efforts are years behind most competitors’. The company has no hybrid cars on ...
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Why Toyota can set the car-tech agenda

Posted 1:28 pm U.S. ET, June 29
blogs Dave Guilford is a news editor at Automotive News.
 
Alix Partners, the turnaround firm, last week assessed the ability of automakers to pay for the cool but expensive technology about to flood into vehicles. You know, stuff like autonomous driving, connectivity, rearview video screens, lightweight materials and electrified powertrains. One chart was particularly noteworthy. It ranked automakers by their EBITDA margins and market caps -- in other ...
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Self-driving cars already have ethics

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, June 28
blogs

GABE NELSON:  SAN FRANCISCO -- Car companies aren’t usually involved in philosophic debates, but right now they’re facing a big, thorny question: how the self-driving cars of the future will decide who will live and who will die. This week, Bloomberg came out with an excellent story on that point, discussing how automakers have sought help from Stanford University researchers in devising a new ethi ...
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2005 vs. 2015 -- similar SAAR, different story

Posted 3:13 pm U.S. ET, June 26
blogs Nick Bunkley reports on Ford for Automotive News.
 
By the numbers, the U.S. auto industry just had its best spring selling season in a decade. But that’s rather misleading. June 2015 is far better than June 2005. In June 2015, automakers are healthy and scrambling to keep up with demand for their most profitable vehicles. In June 2005, they were overflowing with inventory nobody wanted and desperate to get rid of it at any cost. That&rsq ...
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Colorado, Canyon target 'best' marketing claim

Posted 3:00 pm U.S. ET, June 26
blogs
The Colorado ZR2 Concept, featuring a 2.8-liter Duramax turbodiesel, previews what Chevrolet says will take off-roading to the next level without sacrificing fuel economy.
MIKE COLIAS:  DETROIT -- Soon, Chevrolet and GMC will gain a coveted marketing claim: Best fuel economy of any pickup. General Motors invited reporters this week to drive a Chevy Colorado and a GMC Canyon equipped with 2.8-liter, four-cylinder Duramax diesel engines. The trucks go on sale this fall. The GM engineers on hand were confident that the trucks' highway fuel-economy rating will clear 30 mpg -- possi ...
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