Blogs

Why Detroit is a small town, big city for auto dealers

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 20
blogs Jesse Snyder is editor of the opinion page at Automotive News.
 
On Thursday night, I watched dealer Karl Zimmermann officially dedicate his refurbished George Matick Chevrolet building in Redford Township, Mich. Like every grand opening, it was highly predictable: food, drink, balloons, local performers, extra shiny vehicles and some speechifying. Like every grand opening, it was unique. Highly personal to all gathered. Pick a day, some U.S. dealer somewher ...
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Why the UAW will strike in 2015 -- no matter what's offered

Posted 10:22 am U.S. ET, Sept. 19
blogs Larry P. Vellequette is a reporter for Automotive News.
 
Here is something that will happen in 2015 upon which you can bet serious money: The UAW will strike one -- and likely all three -- Detroit automakers before reaching a deal on a new labor agreement. And here’s the thing: There is nothing that any of the automakers could offer that would avoid that inevitability. The 2015 strike(s) will not be long. They will not be violent or confrontatio ...
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Why Cadillac's forthcoming 'LTS' could get another name

Posted 2:46 pm U.S. ET, Sept. 19
blogs Mike Colias covers General Motors for Automotive News.
 
DETROIT -- We've known about Cadillac's plans for a big, rear-wheel drive, range-topping sedan for more than two years now. For most of that time, we've been referring to it by its internal codename, LTS. But here's a bet: When the wraps come off the car sometime in the first half of next year, it won't sport an LTS badge. Here's my thinking. First, the basics. The first letter of each Cadillac ...
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2015 Mustang is a hit on LA streets

Posted 11:50 am U.S. ET, Sept. 19
blogs
The 2015 Ford Mustang at Mel's Diner in Hollywood. During the drive, we noticed people filming us out car windows, and lowering their windows to stick out their hands in the thumbs-up position.
BRADFORD WERNLE:  LOS ANGELES -- No sooner had we left our hotel and hit the streets in West Hollywood when we began to notice people noticing us. Granted, it was hard to miss our 2015 Ford Mustang painted in Competition Orange -- seemingly bright enough to be picked up by a satellite orbiting above. As we sat and waited at a traffic light, a man in the next lane lowered the window of his work van and signaled us ...
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Why Toyota punted on a V-6 in the Tundra for '15

Posted 11:58 am U.S. ET, Sept. 18
blogs
Toyota, citing consumer buying habits, is going with V-8 engines only on the Tundra pickup for 2015.
RICHARD TRUETT:  Editor's note: The horsepower and torque ratings on the Ford F-150 with V-6 engines were incorrect in the chart accompanying earlier versions of this story. DETROIT -- It’s rare when Toyota admits defeat and folds -- especially when it comes to engines and fuel economy. But that’s what happened last week when Toyota introduced the 2015 Tundra pickup and revealed that its big truck w ...
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Scrap Nissan's Leaf battery plant? Hardly

Posted 3:23 pm U.S. ET, Sept. 17
blogs Lindsay Chappell is the Mid-South bureau chief for Automotive News.
 
News broke this week that Nissan and Renault are debating the future of their electric-vehicle battery technology sourcing. Frankly, it would be bigger news if the two automaker partners weren’t debating it. According to the news reports, Nissan purchasing leaders believe Nissan and Renault can be most competitive continuing to source EV battery technology from Japan. But Renault’s t ...
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The case for casting a wider net with credit apps

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 17
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
Auto lenders complain they hate it when dealership F&I managers send them credit applications outside their preferred range of credit scores. Yet Greg Goebel, CEO of DealerStrong, a dealership training and consulting firm, advised finance managers to do just that at last week’s Industry Summit in Las Vegas. According to an analysis Goebel did with a database of some 200,000 transactions ...
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Strike shows restless UAW is going after two-tier wage system

Posted 3:30 pm U.S. ET, Sept. 16
blogs David Barkholz is a reporter for Automotive News.
 
Well, well. The word “strike” has returned to the UAW lexicon. The union struck on Saturday at a Lear Corp. plant in Hammond, Ind., that makes seats for Ford Motor Co.’s Chicago Assembly Plant. By Monday, the 760 Lear workers of UAW Local 2335 were back on the job. In hand was a tentative contract that met their primary demand: an end to a two-tier wage system that pays new hir ...
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Incentives prop up sedan-heavy strategies

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 13
blogs Lindsay Chappell is the Mid-South bureau chief for Automotive News.
 
NASHVILLE -- Take a look at who’s been increasing incentives lately and you will see a larger trend in U.S. vehicle strategy. The guys who stepped up their incentive spending last month are brands that are counting on strong sedan strategies in an era of crossover growth. Honda, one of the most powerful brands in the American market, raised its incentives-to-transaction price ratio by 14 p ...
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Smart dealers can make big bucks through smartphones

Posted 2:50 pm U.S. ET, Sept. 12
blogs Jamie LaReau covers the automotive retail beat for Automotive News.
 
Car dealers are sitting on a gold mine: their idle inventories.  The tool to turn that gold mine into gold is the smartphone. Increasingly, people are using their smartphones to solve their transportation needs rather than relying on traditional personal car ownership. Ride-summoning services such as Uber and Lyft are slowly replacing the need for taxis in some major cities -- and in some ...
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How two old friends made the AutoNation-Barrier deal happen

Posted 11:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 11
blogs Amy Wilson covers retailing for Automotive News.
 
Jimmy Barrier’s decision to sell his Seattle-area luxury-brand dealerships to AutoNation Inc. was more than 30 years in the making. That’s how far back Barrier goes with AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson. They met at manufacturer meetings in the 1970s, when Barrier was a partner in stores in his hometown of Charlotte, N.C., and Jackson was managing partner of a dealership group in Bethesda, ...
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Montezemolo's magic touch

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 11
blogs
Montezemolo has led Ferrari to record-breaking success both on and off the racetrack.
LUCA CIFERRI:  When Ferrari Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo officially steps down next month the supercar maker will lose its No. 1 salesman. During his two decades in Maranello, he was the main reason why Ferrari always sold out its high-margin limited-edition supercars even before they were unveiled to the public. He did this -- and a whole lot more -- by enhancing Ferrari’s magical place as  ...
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F&I wait times have virtual repercussions

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, Sept. 10
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
LAS VEGAS -- Dealerships know that customer satisfaction suffers if car buyers spend time sitting outside the F&I office. But there’s another reason why dealerships should slash F&I wait times: 63 percent of customers who use their mobile devices at dealerships use them to shop online for other vehicles and better deals at other dealerships. That’s according to Steve Braskamp ...
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Regulation forecast calls for rain, former CFPB exec says

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, Sept. 10
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
LAS VEGAS -- Rick Hackett, a former assistant director for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau who was the bureau’s liaison to the auto finance industry, predicted the bureau would probably unveil a long-awaited rule next week, defining which nonbanks fall under the CFPB’s jurisdiction. “Supervision is coming, and soon,” Hackett said Tuesday at the Industry Summit her ...
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The connected car -- circa 1956

Posted 1:30 pm U.S. ET, Sept. 9
blogs
The swoopy, titanium-body, bubble-top 1956 Firebird II was GM's vision of what driving could be like 20 years in the future. (Dave Versical)
RICHARD TRUETT:  DETROIT -- It turns out that the dream of self-driving connected cars is an old one. Back in the 1950s, GM futurists envisioned a highway system that included a “Safety Autoway” that contained metallic strips embedded in the road. Those strips would be read by cameras and sensors on the road and be used to help control a car’s speed and direction. Drivers would use a radio to c ...
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The self-driving car may be guided by emotion

Posted 5:46 pm U.S. ET, Sept. 9
blogs Gabe Nelson is a staff reporter for Automotive News.
 
No matter how mind-blowing the idea of the self-driving car might be, and no matter how huge its potential to change the world, it is still a product like any other. It needs a strong value proposition, not just a wow factor, to enter the mainstream. This week’s demonstrations at the ITS World Congress in Detroit show the auto industry’s emerging strategy for conveying this value: pla ...
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How Jim Harbour and David Power improved the U.S. auto industry

Posted 6:39 am U.S. ET, Sept. 9
blogs James B. Treece is news editor for Automotive News.
 
Jim Harbour, who died Saturday at age 86, was one of two men who dramatically improved the American auto industry at a time when Detroit was deeply in denial about how far short of world class it was. You won’t find two men more dissimilar in personality than Harbour and J. David Power III. But what they shared was an absolute insistence on data and facts. Power faced skepticism when the v ...
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Get trucky, get lucky

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 3
blogs Jesse Snyder is editor of the opinion page at Automotive News.
 
What a bubbly month August turned out to be. Good news pretty much anywhere you look. U.S. auto sales up. Lotsa folks won big percentage gains. Average transaction prices rose more than incentives. And a Labor Day surprise pushed the month beyond merely matching last year’s blowout August into the best monthly selling rate since January 2006. But forget the normal scorecard of unit sales. ...
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Why more women are willing to haggle with dealers

Posted 2:57 pm U.S. ET, Sept. 3
blogs Jamie LaReau covers the automotive retail beat for Automotive News.
 
Car dealers who believe that men like to haggle and women don’t had better think again. A new study suggests that women are more keen than men to negotiate -- a reversal from just a couple of years ago. Swapalease.com, an online car lease marketplace, recently surveyed more than 1,000 drivers across the country about car purchase or lease negotiations. Among the findings, more women than ...
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New rules for asset-backed securities could impact subprime lenders

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 3
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
The Securities and Exchange Commission last week laid out new rules for asset-backed securities, the financial practice in which lenders bundle loans and sell them off to investors to raise money to fund new loans. The new SEC rules are primarily aimed at mortgages, but asset-backed securities backed by auto loans are also covered. The commission introduced some new rules for credit rating agenci ...
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Tough times for Carlos Ghosn

Posted 4:49 am U.S. ET, Sept. 2
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is Managing Editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
It has been a tough 13 months for Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn. Since August 2013 he has had three highly skilled leaders leave the alliance. Nissan Chief Planning Officer Andy Palmer is the latest 50-something executive to depart. Palmer, 51, who will become CEO of Aston Martin, follows Johan de Nysschen and Carlos Tavares out the door. De Nysschen, 54, quit his post as Infiniti CEO in July ...
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Mustang and Coors -- scarcity made fans want them more

Posted 4:33 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 29
blogs
The 2015 Mustang began rolling down an assembly line at a plant in Flat Rock, Mich., this week. (BLOOMBERG)
BRADFORD WERNLE:  As I was coming of age in Indiana, Coors enjoyed elite status as an exotic beer you couldn’t buy anywhere east of the Mississippi River. Coors was brewed without preservatives and would spoil quickly if it was transported long distances and allowed to get warm, or so the myth went. Because of its perceived purity and because it was not readily available, Coors became liquid gold to beer lov ...
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Fiat's cute cartoon characters suggest buying a 500 -- or else

Posted 3:38 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 27
blogs
Says Fiat's cartoon badger: "We have several friends in the bear community. You know what I'm saying, right?"
LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE:  Since Fiat was reintroduced to the United States in 2011, the Italian brand has stretched the advertising envelope. But a new animated spot set to debut on Gas Station TV this month touting the fuel and ecological advantages of a Fiat 500 minicar may be the brand’s most wry offering yet. The one-minute commercial features animated woodland creatures -- a rabbit, a badger, a squirrel -- tal ...
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Is CFPB guilty of spin?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 27
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
Remarks delivered by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray and language used in a bureau statement last week were a lot harsher than the dry legalese of the consent order signed this month by the CFPB and First Investors Financial Services Group Inc. Bennie Duck, CFO of First Investors Financial Services Group, signed the consent order Aug. 7; Cordray’s signature is ...
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See the wild Lexus NX spot too retro for outside Japan

Posted 10:35 am U.S. ET, Aug. 27
blogs
The glitzy gala in Tokyo played host to a crowd of under-30 Tokyo trendsetters. (Hans Greimel)
HANS GREIMEL:  TOKYO -- Drifting cars, techno music, string bikinis and foam parties. At first glance, Lexus’ new “Shampoo” TV spot seems tailor-made for the trendy young crowd the luxury brand craves. But the brilliant, visually enticing commercial for the new NX compact crossover won’t air stateside. It’s a Japan-only pitch that Lexus execs deemed too retro for beyond these shore ...
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