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Automakers can stop supplier price-fixing now, but will they?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Nov. 22
blogs Philip Nussel is online editor at Automotive News.
 
The U.S. Department of Justice has issued $2.4 billion in fines from 31 auto parts suppliers and charged 46 individuals -- nearly all of them Japanese -- in the largest antitrust prosecution in U.S. history. That’s just in the United States. The practice is a global epidemic that stifles fair competition, inflates the cost of components for automakers, erodes invest ...
     Continue reading "Automakers can stop supplier price-fixing now, but will they?" » Nov 22, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Ford F-150 mpg for 2015 is a mixed bag

Posted 3:26 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 21
In September, we crunched the numbers in an attempt to predict the fuel economy ratings for the aluminum-bodied 2015 Ford F-150 pickup. Turns out, we were pretty darn close. Today, Ford finally released those long-awaited official EPA numbers for its lightweight aluminum truck. Some of the gains are impressive. Some are not, and those are the ones that Ford would prefer ...
     Continue reading "Ford F-150 mpg for 2015 is a mixed bag" » Nov 21, 2014 3:26 pm U.S. ET
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Luxury brands go the way of free-trade coffee

Posted 2:41 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 21
LOS ANGELES -- Luxury automobiles typically offer customers a combination of high performance, advanced technology and plush comfort. But a new crop of upscale cars may offer wealthy car buyers something else: a clearer conscience. That trend was on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show, where Volvo Cars showed the plug-in hybrid version of its forthcoming XC90. It’s ...
     Continue reading "Luxury brands go the way of free-trade coffee" » Nov 21, 2014 2:41 pm U.S. ET
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Volkswagen raises the stakes in China

Posted 9:22 am U.S. ET, Nov. 21
Volkswagen's investment plans for the next five years tell one story very clearly – the company is becoming ever more dependent on growth in China in its bid to overtake Toyota as the world’s number one carmaker. For the first time in years, the planned increase in investment by VW's two Chinese joint ventures – internally financed through their own cash ...
     Continue reading "Volkswagen raises the stakes in China" » Nov 21, 2014 9:22 am U.S. ET
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Japan's fugitive execs have called DOJ's bluff

Posted 9:56 am U.S. ET, Nov. 21
TOKYO -- Are the fugitive Japanese businessmen indicted for alleged price fixing calling the U.S. government’s bluff? As many as 20 executives from Japanese suppliers are on the lam in Japan, evading U.S. indictments for bid rigging. Some have left their companies. Others are still gainfully employed by the companies for which they allegedly fixed prices. But all ...
     Continue reading "Japan's fugitive execs have called DOJ's bluff" » Nov 21, 2014 9:56 am U.S. ET
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Chevy Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo concept pays homage to past, future

Posted 3:36 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 20
It’s ironic that the most futuristic Vision Gran Turismo virtual racer to date also has the deepest historical ties to motorsports. Chevrolet revealed a real-life mock-up of its imaginative Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo concept during the Los Angeles Auto Show, simultaneously challenging the boundaries of vehicle design while paying homage to a legendary racing b ...
     Continue reading "Chevy Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo concept pays homage to past, future" » Nov 20, 2014 3:36 pm U.S. ET
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Fisker flexes muscle with coachbuilt 725-hp Mustang

Posted 2:55 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 20
LOS ANGELES -- Henrik Fisker, the Danish designer behind the Aston Martin DB9, BMW Z8 and the ill-fated Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid, apparently can design an American muscle car, too. Today at the Los Angeles Auto Show, with the Southern California tuner Galpin Auto Sports, Fisker unveiled the Galpin-Fisker Rocket, a 725-hp, carbon-fiber-bodied Mustang that goes on sale n ...
     Continue reading "Fisker flexes muscle with coachbuilt 725-hp Mustang" » Nov 20, 2014 2:55 pm U.S. ET
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Ghosn sets the record straight on price-fixing conspiracy

Posted 12:53 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 20
NEW YORK -- In our package of stories on supplier price-fixing published Monday, one report said Carlos Ghosn inadvertently created the bid-rigging tradition. The argument went thus: Ghosn arrived in 1999 as CEO of Nissan and broke up the cozy keiretsu culture, demanding competitive bidding. In response, suppliers started price fixing. It’s an intriguing scenario. ...
     Continue reading "Ghosn sets the record straight on price-fixing conspiracy" » Nov 20, 2014 12:53 pm U.S. ET
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Apple's CarPlay goes missing in L.A. and in the showroom

Posted 11:09 am U.S. ET, Nov. 20
Tech giants Apple and Google have generated a lot of hype over the past 12 months over their plans to tightly integrate their smartphones and app technology with in-car infotainment systems. Apple has made a show of publicly demonstrating its CarPlay software, which will enable drivers to use their dashboard screens and steering wheel buttons and knobs to control iPhone a ...
     Continue reading "Apple's CarPlay goes missing in L.A. and in the showroom" » Nov 20, 2014 11:09 am U.S. ET
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Mercedes gives Maybach interior the silent treatment

Posted 11:09 am U.S. ET, Nov. 20
One of the highlights of the new Mercedes-Maybach S600 superluxury sedan is something you’re not supposed to notice: noise, or more precisely, the lack of it. Mercedes-Benz is touting the $200,000 car as the quietest on the road, and went to significant lengths to ensure the car’s occupants are sealed off from outside distractions. The noise-deadening measure ...
     Continue reading "Mercedes gives Maybach interior the silent treatment" » Nov 20, 2014 11:09 am U.S. ET
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Free advice for consumers can be worth the price

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Nov. 19
There’s a bright spot for dealerships that do a lot of business with automakers’ captive finance companies and preferred lenders, data on the website Wallet Hub show: Car manufacturers (that is, captives) charge the lowest auto loan rates for new cars, at 40 percent below average. Credit unions follow, at 24 percent below average. National banks charge rates t ...
     Continue reading "Free advice for consumers can be worth the price" » Nov 19, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Popping the subprime bubble myth

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Nov. 19
There is no subprime auto loan bubble, darn it. That message came through loud and clear at session after session devoted to subprime lending during the Used Car Week conference sponsored by Auto Remarketing magazine last week in Las Vegas. The recurrent theme was sparked by recent media stories -- presumably those by The New York Times -- that claim there is a troubling ...
     Continue reading "Popping the subprime bubble myth" » Nov 19, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Honda opens Calif. garage to get Android rolling

Posted 1:00 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 18
LOS ANGELES -- To help Google Inc.’s new Android Auto system gain favor, Honda Motor Co. is doing something rare in the auto industry: subsidizing its rivals. Today, at a connected-car conference ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show, Google released the first software developer kit for Android Auto, which puts the navigation and other features from an Android smartpho ...
     Continue reading "Honda opens Calif. garage to get Android rolling" » Nov 18, 2014 1:00 pm U.S. ET
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Just how bad is that traffic jam ahead? New tech lets drivers see it

Posted 3:36 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 18
Traffic apps that alert users about upcoming delays aren’t new. Mobile app Waze, for instance, has turned the navigation experience into a community event thanks to a crowd-sourcing approach where drivers notify one another of upcoming road closures, police traps and traffic conditions -- dotting maps with an array of colorful notification icons. It’s a usefu ...
     Continue reading "Just how bad is that traffic jam ahead? New tech lets drivers see it" » Nov 18, 2014 3:36 pm U.S. ET
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Assembly redo: How Mercedes' Sprinter dodges chicken tax

Posted 11:15 am U.S. ET, Nov. 18
LADSON, S.C. -- A curious exercise in automobile manufacturing takes place daily inside the old, 350,000-square-foot Western Star truck plant here that is now owned by Daimler. This is where Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner Sprinter cargo vans are reassembled after being fully built and tested in Dusseldorf, Germany. It’s the “chicken tax” at work. After ...
     Continue reading "Assembly redo: How Mercedes' Sprinter dodges chicken tax" » Nov 18, 2014 11:15 am U.S. ET
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U.S. driver data rules are not tough enough for Europe

Posted 4:56 am U.S. ET, Nov. 17
Privacy protection guidelines agreed to last week in the U.S. won’t become a global template because they fall short of what is already required in Europe to keep driver data safe, a lawyer specializing on topic says. BMW, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai-Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen agreed on Nov. 12 to industrywide principles to handle consu ...
     Continue reading "U.S. driver data rules are not tough enough for Europe" » Nov 17, 2014 4:56 am U.S. ET
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Great product isn't the only ingredient for making happy customers

Posted 3:48 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 14
I’m remodeling my kitchen, and I can’t help but notice how buying a countertop is like buying a car. Both are expensive and time-consuming purchases. And ultimately, my satisfaction will not rest on a granite, quartz or laminate countertop. It will come from other fuzzy, nontangible factors such as my rapport with the salesperson, the service I get from the in ...
     Continue reading "Great product isn't the only ingredient for making happy customers" » Nov 14, 2014 3:48 pm U.S. ET
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‘Disparate impact’ opposition sees hope

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Nov. 12
Hope remains among opposers of the “disparate impact” theory that the U.S. Supreme Court could ultimately rule against the theory in court, maybe in 2015. Law firm Ballard Spahr even described the disparate impact theory as “on the ropes” in a online article not long ago because a federal district court recently ruled against the theory in a case i ...
     Continue reading "‘Disparate impact’ opposition sees hope" » Nov 12, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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On the line, new F-150 is good for workers, not so ideal for haberdashers

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Nov. 12
DEARBORN -- When Ford Motor Co. transformed the body shop at its Dearborn truck plant in Michigan from making the F-150 pickup body from steel to aluminum, it had a major beneficial effect on Ron Ketelhut’s wardrobe budget. Now that there are no longer any big robot-mounted welding guns throwing off showers of sparks, Ketelhut doesn’t have to worry about getti ...
     Continue reading "On the line, new F-150 is good for workers, not so ideal for haberdashers" » Nov 12, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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GM victim's family left in the dark with compensation clock ticking

Posted 4:12 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 11
For 11 years, Jean Averill’s family had no idea that her death was connected to a defective ignition switch. For the past five months, Averill’s name sat in a footnote at the bottom of Page 103 in the Valukas report, which details the findings of General Motors’ investigation into that defective ignition switch. But her name, and the name of every other ...
     Continue reading "GM victim's family left in the dark with compensation clock ticking" » Nov 11, 2014 4:12 pm U.S. ET
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Why turbocharger fans owe Saab a thank-you

Posted 11:30 am U.S. ET, Nov. 11
We are gathered here today to pay our respects to Saab. The deceased Swedish automaker’s lasting legacy is not the unconventional place it put the ignition switch. It isn’t the blackout feature that allowed the driver to turn off all the instrument lights except the speedometer, nor is it the clamshell hood or any other quirky Saab feature. Saab’s contr ...
     Continue reading "Why turbocharger fans owe Saab a thank-you" » Nov 11, 2014 11:30 am U.S. ET
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How to humanize autonomous driving

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Nov. 11
Self-driving cars are coming, but few people will hand over control to the vehicle unless the computer can match the way they like to drive. The good news is that there is a surprisingly small level of variance in what most people consider acceptable for certain key situations, said connected driving expert Floris van de Klashorst of Nokia subsidiary HERE. He told the Te ...
     Continue reading "How to humanize autonomous driving" » Nov 11, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Ford's Odell: Sharp, talented and respectful

Posted 7:17 am U.S. ET, Nov. 10
As Jim Farley prepares to run Ford of Europe, staff in sales and marketing at the automaker’s headquarters in Dearborn are getting ready to greet current Europe boss Stephen Odell, who will replace Farley as global head of sales, service and marketing on Jan. 1. The change says a lot about Ford today. Farley is considered a marketing wunderkind. But I don’t t ...
     Continue reading "Ford's Odell: Sharp, talented and respectful" » Nov 10, 2014 7:17 am U.S. ET
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What the rich and single drive these days

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Nov. 9
You’re rich, hot, single and on the prowl -- in a Lincoln. That’s right: A Lincoln, baby! Apparently, sleek product redesign and TV spots featuring handsome movie star Matthew McConaughey are resonating among some wealthy singletons. Or something? LUXY, a new dating app, has compiled and ranked its 25,000 users’ top luxury auto brand preferences. It d ...
     Continue reading "What the rich and single drive these days" » Nov 9, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Joe Herman's lessons about the business will live on

Posted 9:46 am U.S. ET, Nov. 8
ATLANTA -- When my friend and former colleague Donna Harris left Automotive News in 2011, she suggested I get to know retailer Joe Herman. I talked to him on the phone here and there over the next couple of years -- he was always helpful and accessible -- but I never met Joe in person until early this year at the NADA convention in New Orleans. We made plans to meet on Su ...
     Continue reading "Joe Herman's lessons about the business will live on" » Nov 8, 2014 9:46 am U.S. ET
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