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How Derek Zoolander raided FCA's Twitter feed

Posted 3:19 pm U.S. ET, Feb. 12
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Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander, seen driving a gold Fiat 500X. The ad debuted during the Golden Globes last month.
Derek Zoolander is making history today in his own flamboyant way. The arrogant supermodel, played by actor Ben Stiller in the Zoolander franchise, has “taken over” Fiat USA’s Twitter account -- the first time any Fiat Chrysler brand has let a celebrity do so. An FCA spokeswoman says Zoolander’s pre-written tweets are an extension of the co-brande ...
     Continue reading "How Derek Zoolander raided FCA's Twitter feed" » Feb 12, 2016 3:19 pm U.S. ET
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GM's rising faith in Opel

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 12
General Motors Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens expects that the U.S. automaker’s long-struggling European arm will break even in 2016, achieving a goal that has eluded the unit for more than a decade. GM has already made big changes in Europe including closing a factory in Bochum, Germany.  "Now we've got the right cost structure," Stevens said on Feb. 3 ...
     Continue reading "GM's rising faith in Opel" » Feb 12, 2016 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Even grease is too heavy for today's leaner vehicles

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 12
The extent that automakers are going to make vehicles lighter and more fuel efficient knows no bounds. Even greases are at risk of being replaced. “With anti-friction coatings you have fractions of grams” compared with the weight of grease, which can account for a couple grams or up to 50 grams depending on the application, Marjorie Dwane, Dow Corning’s ...
     Continue reading "Even grease is too heavy for today's leaner vehicles" » Feb 12, 2016 12:01 am U.S. ET
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GM's rising faith in Opel

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 11
General Motors Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens expects that the U.S. automaker’s long-struggling European arm will break even in 2016, achieving a goal that has eluded the unit for more than a decade. GM has already made big changes in Europe including closing a factory in Bochum, Germany.  "Now we've got the right cost structure," Stevens said on Feb. 3 ...
     Continue reading "GM's rising faith in Opel" » Feb 11, 2016 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Ford can boost Europe profits by adding upscale Vignale SUVs

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 11
Ford of Europe isn't saying which models will next get its upscale Vignale trimline but the brand's two largest SUVs are the top candidates. Ford said in a Feb. 3 announcement that it will expand its Vignale variants to at least five by 2017 as part of its plans to improve profitably at its European operations. Currently Ford sells the Mondeo midsize model with a Vignale ...
     Continue reading "Ford can boost Europe profits by adding upscale Vignale SUVs" » Feb 11, 2016 12:01 am U.S. ET
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I agree with NHTSA: E-shifters stink, but they're not defective

Posted 2:07 pm U.S. ET, Feb. 10
DETROIT -- I have something in common with the fine folks at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: I don’t like e-shifters, either. NHTSA this month expanded its investigation into the electronic gear shifters in the 2014-15 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2012-14 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300. The agency said it received over 300 complaints from consumers th ...
     Continue reading "I agree with NHTSA: E-shifters stink, but they're not defective" » Feb 10, 2016 2:07 pm U.S. ET
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When a client dies, lender can make or break trust

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, Feb. 10
A consumer’s death during his or her lease term isn’t a common occurrence, but how the lender responds to the needs of the consumer’s family members makes a lasting impression. Automotive News became interested in learning about programs for deceased lessees after we heard about a captive that required the lease customer’s widow to pay off her husb ...
     Continue reading "When a client dies, lender can make or break trust" » Feb 10, 2016 11:00 am U.S. ET
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Jeep joins Nissan, Honda and others getting big benefit from European production

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 10
The core factors that determine where automakers locate their next factory or their next product include the strength of the local supplier base, labor costs and logistics. But car companies also need to look at the effect the decision will have on local sales, which in many cases soar. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' decision to build the Jeep Renegade in Italy is paying off. ...
     Continue reading "Jeep joins Nissan, Honda and others getting big benefit from European production" » Feb 10, 2016 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Ford's Mexico expansion plans amount to a nice gift for Trump

Posted 3:12 pm U.S. ET, Feb. 9
So as it turns out, Donald Trump was right about Ford Motor Co. Sort of. Last year, Trump criticized Ford for starting to build a new assembly plant in Mexico to take production away from the U.S. It hadn’t. He threatened to put a 35 percent tax on all the vehicles Ford would import from Mexico. He can’t. He also said Ford was closing plants “all over ...
     Continue reading "Ford's Mexico expansion plans amount to a nice gift for Trump" » Feb 9, 2016 3:12 pm U.S. ET
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It's time to fully embrace the gasoline-electric powertrain

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, Feb. 9
I’m rolling down the road in suburban Detroit in the back seat of a 2014 Toyota Prius that has already seen 97,000 miles pass under its wheels. A thought bubble appears above my head: Isn’t it time for all gasoline-powered vehicles to be hybridized? Judging by the way this Prius sounds, feels and performs, you’d never know it has been driven a distance t ...
     Continue reading "It's time to fully embrace the gasoline-electric powertrain" » Feb 9, 2016 11:00 am U.S. ET
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Is this what the 2017 Buick Encore will look like?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 9
The 2017 Buick Encore will debut at the New York Auto Show in April, but before that its European-market Opel Mokka X twin will premiere at the Geneva motor show. The Encore has been on sale since 2012 and has proven to be a hit for GM's luxury brand that isn't Cadillac -- Chevrolet even rolled out its own version for 2015. But product cycles are product cycles, and Buick ...
     Continue reading "Is this what the 2017 Buick Encore will look like? " » Feb 9, 2016 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Ford faces tough decision on B-Max

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 9
When Ford of Europe President Jim Farley says that the automaker must be even more selective on the segments where it competes, it makes me think that the B-Max’s days are numbered, which means changes loom at the under-utilized plant in Romania where the small minivan is built. B-Max sales were down 15 percent to 45,717 units in Europe last year. Even more troublin ...
     Continue reading "Ford faces tough decision on B-Max" » Feb 9, 2016 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Ford faces tough decision on B-Max

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 9
When Ford of Europe President Jim Farley says that the automaker must be even more selective on the segments where it competes, it makes me think that the B-Max’s days are numbered, which means changes loom at the under-utilized plant in Romania where the small minivan is built. B-Max sales were down 15 percent to 45,717 units in Europe last year. Even more troublin ...
     Continue reading "Ford faces tough decision on B-Max" » Feb 9, 2016 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Hyundai's Super Bowl blitz scored big

Posted 4:00 pm U.S. ET, Feb. 8
Hyundai wanted to make a splash in its first Super Bowl as the NFL’s automotive sponsor, but it didn’t just throw money around with reckless abandon. Every move was calculated to maximize impact on advertising’s biggest stage, and Hyundai made a little history as a result by becoming the first automaker to take the top spot on USA Today’s Ad Meter ...
     Continue reading "Hyundai's Super Bowl blitz scored big" » Feb 8, 2016 4:00 pm U.S. ET
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'Autopia' future promoted by Google and Apple will hurt traditional carmakers

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 8
Are battery-powered electric vehicles a viable business case not only for the automakers that will sell them but also for the people who will buy them? Is autonomous driving science fiction or a reality that is closer than we expect? Will these changes result in a new form of on-demand individual mobility that forces automakers to restructure their sales and production ope ...
     Continue reading "'Autopia' future promoted by Google and Apple will hurt traditional carmakers" » Feb 8, 2016 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Automotive News Europe celebrates 20 years; watch this space for future trends

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 5
In an industry reshaping at the speed of light, Automotive News Europe brings you reliable, relevant and unbiased coverage of the auto business. Now we have a special news item of our own: this year ANE is 20. Automotive News Europe’s first issue was published on February 5, 1996 with this scoop as its main story: “Mercedes plans ultra-luxury car to fight Roll ...
     Continue reading "Automotive News Europe celebrates 20 years; watch this space for future trends" » Feb 5, 2016 12:01 am U.S. ET
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How GM's 'shampoo princess' is restoring Opel's image

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 4
With Opel posting rising car sales last year and set to break even this year after years of heavy losses, the full story of how General Motors' European division managed to reverse its fortunes would not be complete without mentioning the pivotal role played by one executive: marketing chief Tina Mueller. Opel had become in Germany something akin to Oldsmobile in the U.S. ...
     Continue reading "How GM's 'shampoo princess' is restoring Opel's image" » Feb 4, 2016 12:01 am U.S. ET
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How GM's 'shampoo princess' is restoring Opel's image

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 4
With Opel posting rising car sales last year and set to break even this year after years of heavy losses, the full story of how General Motors' European division managed to reverse its fortunes would not be complete without mentioning the pivotal role played by one executive: marketing chief Tina Mueller. Opel had become in Germany something akin to Morris in the UK or Ol ...
     Continue reading "How GM's 'shampoo princess' is restoring Opel's image" » Feb 4, 2016 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Chock this out: We may have jumped the shark on Recall-o-rama

Posted 12:58 pm U.S. ET, Feb. 3
In a sign of Fiat Chrysler’s new hypersensitivity to safety -- its efforts to keep on the right side of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration -- the automaker said today it would voluntarily supply owners of 441,578 Dodge Chargers from the 2011-16 model years in the U.S. with free wheel chocks. Wheel chocks. Let that sink in a minute. For the uninitiat ...
     Continue reading "Chock this out: We may have jumped the shark on Recall-o-rama" » Feb 3, 2016 12:58 pm U.S. ET
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F&I product add positions Cox for growth

Posted 11:45 am U.S. ET, Feb. 3
F&I product sales could be the key to dealership profit, and by offering F&I products to its dealers, Cox Automotive is setting itself up for growth. Cox Automotive announced last week that it acquired a minority interest in F&I product provider SilverRock Holdings. Dealers who work with Cox Automotive’s NextGear Capital and GO Financial will be able to ...
     Continue reading "F&I product add positions Cox for growth" » Feb 3, 2016 11:45 am U.S. ET
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Despite a quirky January, industry is on the right path

Posted 5:11 pm U.S. ET, Feb. 2
Better run down to the local Asterisks R Us store and load up. The industry always wants January U.S. auto sales to foretell the year ahead, but it’s a lousy month for soothsaying. There’s truth buried in the numbers. But you must adjust for so many quirks, it’s hard to get a clear picture. There’s the usual seasonal stuff: weather, mood and the i ...
     Continue reading "Despite a quirky January, industry is on the right path" » Feb 2, 2016 5:11 pm U.S. ET
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Sergio's plan to sell rebadged Dart, 200 replacements could work -- if he chooses wisely

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, Feb. 2
Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne's plan to replace the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 with vehicles built under contract by other automakers faces long odds. Can you name a captive import (a car built by one automaker, but sold by another) or rebadged car that has been successful? There are very few. The closest that comes to mind is the 1970-78 Mercury Capri. Ford Motor ...
     Continue reading "Sergio's plan to sell rebadged Dart, 200 replacements could work -- if he chooses wisely" » Feb 2, 2016 11:00 am U.S. ET
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In Daihatsu deal, Toyota zigs while Detroit zags

Posted 11:14 am U.S. ET, Feb. 1
TOKYO -- Toyota Motor Corp. is zigging while Detroit zags on a key question: How important are small cars and emerging markets to determining future winners and losers? Toyota last week doubled down on its bet on Japanese minicar maker Daihatsu, agreeing to buy the remaining 48.8 percent of the company it doesn’t already own. President Akio Toyoda said he would bui ...
     Continue reading "In Daihatsu deal, Toyota zigs while Detroit zags" » Feb 1, 2016 11:14 am U.S. ET
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Nissan claims win in Europe, but Toyota had more sales

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Jan. 29
Nissan claims it achieved its goal of becoming the No. 1 Asian automaker in Europe by outselling Toyota last year. The problem is that Nissan says it sold 715,623 vehicles in Europe last year, which is well below the 810,085 vehicles Toyota says it sold in Europe. So which automaker won? It depends on the definition of Europe. The winner was Toyota if we look at "core" ...
     Continue reading "Nissan claims win in Europe, but Toyota had more sales" » Jan 29, 2016 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Sales reporting transparency? Yeah, right

Posted 5:32 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 28
In 2010, AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson told me about being in the office of a sales executive at a domestic automaker years earlier on the closing day of the month. An aide walks in and asks whether the executive wants a rental car deal for 75,000 vehicles assigned to that month or the next one. The exec’s reply: “Hmm, I think we need it this month. Put it in.&rd ...
     Continue reading "Sales reporting transparency? Yeah, right" » Jan 28, 2016 5:32 pm U.S. ET
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