Blogs

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
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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
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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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Dealers are missing an opportunity by not changing that tire

Posted 3:41 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 26
blogs Jamie LaReau covers the automotive retail beat for Automotive News.
 
As a teen, I didn’t know how to change a tire. Neither did my girlfriends. In fact, I don’t know how to change a tire now. My plan is to call roadside assistance if I ever have a problem. But that could be a long wait and, depending on the neighborhood, a scary one. So I should learn. And this is where savvy car dealers have an opportunity to do community outreach and get consumers i ...
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Settlement allows Mercedes to award dealership to Alabama's Saban

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 23
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Alabama Coach Nick Saban's attorney issued a public statement late Friday saying that the proposed new Alabama dealership with partner, Baton Rouge Mercedes dealer Joe Agresti, will now go forward.
LINDSAY CHAPPELL:  NASHVILLE -- A plan by Mercedes-Benz USA to award a dealer franchise in Alabama to Crimson Tide football coach Nick Saban and a business partner can move forward now that litigation with a longtime Mercedes dealer there has been settled. With three national titles for the Tide, Saban occupies a social position in Alabama that is approximately equal to Julius Caesar’s in imperial Rome. So i ...
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Is Ford rolling the dice with changes to 2015 Mustang?

Posted 2:26 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 21
blogs Richard Truett covers engineering for Automotive News.
 
DETROIT -- Bigger. Heavier. Thirstier. More expensive. It’s a recipe for killing a sports car. The Toyota Supra, the original version of the Datsun/Nissan Z car, the Mitsubishi Eclipse and dozens of other sports and high-performance cars burned out and then faded away when they became bloated and less fuel efficient or moved up the price ladder. Perhaps one reason Ford has been slow to dr ...
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Did dealers hurt themselves with the carve out?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 20
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
There’s no mistaking that federal regulators are serious about policing auto lenders. The Justice Department’s recent subpoenas to Santander Consumer USA and GM Financial are just the latest blow, preceded by actions against other auto lenders by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Federal Trade Commission. By extension, auto dealers feel they’ve got a big target on the ...
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Skipping wheel-and-tire was big mistake

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 20
blogs Jamie LaReau covers the automotive retail beat for Automotive News.
 
Wheel-and-tire insurance is a valuable product. There, I admit it. It’s not the “snake oil” that a cynical friend once espoused it and other F&I products to be. The friend believes the products are big money-makers for the dealership but costly and useless to the consumer. The dealer’s profit margins are indeed fat. One F&I manager told me if the dealership pays $ ...
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Searching far and wide for service techs

Posted 9:30 am U.S. ET, Aug. 20
blogs News Editor James B. Treece oversees Automotive News' coverage of auto retailing.
 
How far is your dealership willing to go to get well-qualified service technicians? General Motors dealers in the Mideast went all the way to the Philippines. On Aug. 7, a group of technicians graduated from the GM Advanced Technician Training Center in a ceremony held at the Lourdes High School Complex in Angat, Bulacan, north of Manila. The center is sponsored by GM Middle East Operations in ...
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Why Honda's John Mendel wants customers to buy a Treasury bond on wheels

Posted 3:28 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 19
blogs Nick Bunkley is an enterprise reporter for Automotive News.
 
Shaky stock market got you jittery? It may be time to take your money out of Google, Apple and Tesla -- and put it in Hondas. Not Honda stock. Actual Hondas. They’re like Treasury bonds on wheels, with cupholders. That’s basically how John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda, described the company’s products today. Mendel was responding to news stories saying Ho ...
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The Rolls-Royce that took 8 months to build

Posted 1:56 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 19
blogs
The Wraith is the first Rolls-Royce to appear in a video game.
VINCE BOND JR.:  Turn 10 Studios needed extra time to digitally translate the Rolls-Royce Wraith’s craftsmanship into “Forza Motorsport 5” on the Xbox One. It took around eight months for developers to build the super-luxury fastback coupe -- two months longer than average. The Wraith -- the first Rolls-Royce to appear in a video game -- presented unique design challenges that separated it from ...
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Why Korea could be next to crack down on foreign brand pricing

Posted 8:55 am U.S. ET, Aug. 19
blogs Hans Greimel is Asia editor for Automotive News.
 
TOKYO -- Could China’s crackdown on perceived price gouging by foreign automakers trigger a domino effect next door in South Korea, where sale of overseas brands are heating up? Authorities there are already getting tough on the pricing of auto parts. And public opinion in Korea apparently supports China’s ongoing probe and favors sterner measures at home. Pressure on foreign brands ...
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Why Americans are rediscovering Italian cars

Posted 8:52 am U.S. ET, Aug. 16
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Automobili Lamborghini unveiled the Huracan LP 620-2 Super Trofeo racecar to journalists and guests Friday at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering.
LINDSAY CHAPPELL:  MONTEREY, Calif. -- Fiat aside, Italian cars live in a rarefied world of the very rich and the very few. Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Pagani, Zagato -- those luminary brands barely add up to a percent of a percentage point worth of sales in America. But oh, the mystique. Oh, the power of the Italian design -- the curves of the Italian body and the seductiveness of their bold ways ...
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Court ruling on telecommuting could affect dealerships

Posted 1:23 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 14
blogs Jamie LaReau covers the automotive retail beat for Automotive News.
 
What does a former Ford Motor Co. employee with irritable bowel syndrome have to do with car dealerships? Potentially, a lot. That’s because the case surrounding this employee could lead to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission broadening the Americans with Disabilities Act’s definition of offering a “reasonable accommodation” for an employee’s disability, said ...
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Toyota redresses FT-1 concept

Posted 3:29 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 13
blogs

MARK VAUGHN:  It’s the second coming of the Toyota FT-1. Toyota pulled the cover off of a second concept version of the FT-1 super sports car in Monterey, Calif., on Wednesday. Both versions of the FT-1 were shown, squeezed between classic supercars and big business jets. Showing off both the first and second FT-1s in California is a good way to gauge popular reaction to the car among people who might b ...
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Is this the next-generation MX-5 Miata roadster?

Posted 1:32 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 13
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The MX-5 Miata is expected to go on sale in the U.S. market next summer. (Instagram)
RYAN BEENE:  Ahead of its media reveal next month, an Instagram user in Japan may have snagged an early glimpse of the next-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata roadster. A Miata fan snapped a photo of a roadster wrapped in line-blurring camouflage, but the car’s proportions make it seem like a plausible sighting of Mazda’s fourth-generation roadster. Our colleagues at Autoweek say the giveaway is the rim ...
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Volvo teases XC90 that must raise the bar in luxury

Posted 3:09 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 13
blogs
The shape of the XC90's headlight, dubbed Thor’s Hammer by Volvo designers, follows designs seen on recent Volvo concepts, including the Concept Estate.
DIANA T. KURYLKO:  Volvo again is pulling some of the wraps off the redesigned XC90 crossover before its formal reveal on Aug. 25 in Stockholm. The latest teaser is a photo of the front corner with an all-new T-shaped running light accompanied by an explanation of the new “scalable product architecture” that the XC90 will ride on. The headlights and grille evoke the Swedish brand’s future and its ...
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N.Y. Times' demands are misguided

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 13
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
Subprime auto loans have gotten most of the attention, but an editorial in The New York Times on Saturday makes other demands dealers and lenders are sure to dislike. For instance, the Times editorial said auto dealers, like mortgage lenders, “must” be made responsible for verifying “that borrowers have the ability to repay their loans and meet their other expenses.” How ...
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Toyota, supporter of Korean culture

Posted 12:28 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 8
blogs News Editor James B. Treece oversees Automotive News coverage of auto retailing.
 
Would you do a double-take if Volvo were the sponsor of the Country Music Awards? How about if BMW were the primary sponsor, and the only automotive sponsor, of a museum exhibit of Japanese samurai swords? Or if Hyundai were the sponsor of a North American tour of Germany’s hottest electronic-music band? Some pairings just aren’t that intuitive. So how in the world did Toyota end up ...
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McDonald's and the dealer franchise system

Posted 3:28 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 7
blogs Jamie LaReau covers the automotive retail beat for Automotive News.
 
A decision involving the McDonald’s fast-food chain could have dramatic implications for the franchised car dealer system going forward. Or not. It depends on who you ask and their perception of what might come of a July 29 determination by the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel. Widespread labor actions in favor of higher wages for fast-food workers have raised questi ...
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Why GM is re-engineering its 'political punching bag'

Posted 2:30 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 7
blogs
Mahoney: “The Volt has done what it is supposed to do." (GM)
NICK BUNKLEY:  The next-generation Chevrolet Volt will have a trunk and the word “Volt” on the back of it, according to the teaser photo that General Motors released today. I assume -- but can’t confirm from the photo -- that it also will have approximately four wheels, multiple doors and possibly an interior. The redesigned Volt will be fully unveiled at the Detroit auto show in January. Tha ...
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Self-driving cars will still need human help

Posted 10:33 am U.S. ET, Aug. 7
blogs Richard Truett covers engineering for Automotive News.
 
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- On the way to dinner one night this week here, my wife and I spotted a large deer standing by the side of a lonely two-lane country road. It was warily watching traffic, perhaps wondering when it could try to cross. What would a vehicle with an automated driving system do if a deer suddenly appeared out of nowhere? Ask suppliers if the technology exists that enables an au ...
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Nvidia continues quest to bring computer power to cars

Posted 9:27 am U.S. ET, Aug. 7
blogs Dustin Walsh covers suppliers for Crain's Detroit Business, an affiliate of Automotive News.
 
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- A year after opening an office in Ann Arbor, Mich., computer processor maker Nvidia Corp. continues its quest to bring modern computer power to the automobile. For good reason. The connected car market is estimated to be worth $132 billion by 2019, according to a recent study by Transparency Market Research. Nvidia is positioned to benefit as the lines blur between mobile ...
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Will Marchionne's profits grab come up empty?

Posted 5:16 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 6
blogs Larry P. Vellequette is a reporter for Automotive News.
 
Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne today seemed like a grizzly bear standing amid a stream of happily swimming salmon. In comments to analysts, the enigmatic Chrysler boss said he was "envious" of the profit margins of his suppliers, and vowed to seek a share of their newfound wealth. Have no doubt: Profitable suppliers are the salmon in this scenario, and Marchionne is the grizzly bear in a h ...
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