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Regulation vs. technology -- why are U.S. roads getting safer?

Posted 9:21 am U.S. ET, Dec. 20
blogs James B. Treece is a News Editor at Automotive News.
 
Here’s some good news you didn’t read much about this year: U.S. roads are safer. The number of people who died in U.S. traffic crashes fell 3 percent in 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on Friday. The year’s total: 32,719 fatalities. That’s still 32,719 more than anyone would like to see, but it’s a huge improv ...
     Continue reading "Regulation vs. technology -- why are U.S. roads getting safer?" » Dec 20, 2014 9:21 am U.S. ET
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Free of U.S. ownership, Ally expects cheaper funds, maybe more subprime deals

Posted 3:13 pm U.S. ET, Dec. 19
Ally Financial Inc. is “free at last,” to borrow a phrase CEO Michael Carpenter used earlier this year to describe how it would feel for Ally finally to put six years of government ownership behind it. “We are appreciative of the investment the U.S. Treasury made in Ally and their understanding of how important available financing was to the U.S. auto re ...
     Continue reading "Free of U.S. ownership, Ally expects cheaper funds, maybe more subprime deals" » Dec 19, 2014 3:13 pm U.S. ET
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Will the CFPB redefine “larger”?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 17
Auto industry watchers that formally weighed in on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s definition of “larger” auto lenders took predictable positions before the public comment period closed last week. The CFPB proposes to extend its jurisdiction to larger nonbanks, which it defines as those that generate 10,000 auto loans or leases annually. The ...
     Continue reading "Will the CFPB redefine “larger”?" » Dec 17, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Handicapping the finalists for North American Car, Truck of Year

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, Dec. 16
You never see the people who most appreciate the yearly awards handed out to automakers for best car, best truck, best engine, best this and best that. Automakers love winning these awards. Most would dispatch an executive to Nome, Alaska, in February to pick up some shiny hardware for the company’s trophy case. One reason automakers covet these awards, of course, i ...
     Continue reading "Handicapping the finalists for North American Car, Truck of Year" » Dec 16, 2014 11:00 am U.S. ET
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Why the Chinese auto shows will refocus on the car models

Posted 12:41 pm U.S. ET, Dec. 15
TOKYO -- One hallmark of Chinese auto shows is their politically incorrect zeal for, ahem, “alluring” floor models. In one stunt at the 2012 Beijing show, a mystery model clad in only a mirror-visored crash helmet and white string bikini strolled the halls pitching an automotive magazine. (For the record, it wasn’t Automotive News.) Packs of paunchy shut ...
     Continue reading "Why the Chinese auto shows will refocus on the car models" » Dec 15, 2014 12:41 pm U.S. ET
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FTC finds fine print too fine, imposes fines

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 14
Here’s a tip for dealers: In your advertising, remember that Americans are getting older. And while smartphone screens are getting bigger, they’re still dinky compared to that big-screen TV on your wall. Think big print. On Friday, the Federal Trade Commission charged two auto dealership groups with violating earlier orders from the FTC to avoid misleading ad ...
     Continue reading "FTC finds fine print too fine, imposes fines" » Dec 14, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Who says the Detroit 3 can't sell luxury?

Posted 3:40 pm U.S. ET, Dec. 12
Editor's note: An earlier version of this blog misstated the campaign with which Chrysler introduced the "America's Import" tagline. SAN FRANCISCO -- We hear an awful lot about the sorry state of Detroit's luxury brands. There is Chrysler, which uses the tagline "America's Import" -- a baffling choice, partly because the 300 sedan is actually assembled in Ontario, and pa ...
     Continue reading "Who says the Detroit 3 can't sell luxury?" » Dec 12, 2014 3:40 pm U.S. ET
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BMW refreshes 6 series

Posted 3:38 pm U.S. ET, Dec. 12
BMW has freshened all three of its 6-series variants that will debut next month at the Detroit auto show and go on sale in the second quarter of 2015. The two-door coupe and convertible and the four-door Gran Coupe with coupelike styling are niche vehicles for BMW. But the head-turning designs have made them halos for the German brand. The engine lineup remains unchange ...
     Continue reading "BMW refreshes 6 series" » Dec 12, 2014 3:38 pm U.S. ET
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Nissan offers rare peek into battery making

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 12
A rare tour of Nissan's UK battery plant demonstrated how tricky it is to build the product. Nissan is very secretive about its commercially sensitive production processes. My visit this month was the first time Nissan let outsiders into the 420 million pounds (534 million euros) plant in Sunderland, northeast England, since it opened in 2013. Security was tight. No cell ...
     Continue reading "Nissan offers rare peek into battery making" » Dec 12, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Mercedes' $29,900 CLA -- now you see it, now you don't

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 11
It was bound to happen, although it came sooner than expected and with no changes in equipment. Mercedes-Benz has increased the price of the 15-month-old CLA front-wheel-drive compact sedan above $30,000 -- excluding destination. Mercedes surprised some of the competition when it launched the all-new car in September 2013 for $29,900. Audi responded by matching the price ...
     Continue reading "Mercedes' $29,900 CLA -- now you see it, now you don't" » Dec 11, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Why Honda is touting its new 'Green Dealer' guide

Posted 8:00 am U.S. ET, Dec. 11
Honda is releasing its internal “Green Dealer” guide today to help automakers and other franchised businesses reduce their carbon footprints. Developed in 2011 and refined over the last three years, the 93-page roadmap shows how to implement certain techniques to save the most energy. For instance, automating the thermostat and turning off the lights after bus ...
     Continue reading "Why Honda is touting its new 'Green Dealer' guide " » Dec 11, 2014 8:00 am U.S. ET
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Toyota, dealers get pop culture boost on 'Modern Family'

Posted 4:23 pm U.S. ET, Dec. 11
Pop culture can have a powerful impact on social perceptions. In which case, the TV show “Modern Family” on ABC polished the tarnished image of the modern car dealership in Wednesday night’s episode. That episode also proved the show’s product placement deal with Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. is alive and well. The recap In the episode, Phil Dunphy ...
     Continue reading "Toyota, dealers get pop culture boost on 'Modern Family'" » Dec 11, 2014 4:23 pm U.S. ET
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Why loyalty leads to fewer dealership visits

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 11
A customer visited a dealership an average of six times in the UK before completing a purchase in 1994. That number dropped to 1.2 visits in 2012 and it’s still falling, a successful retailer says. “I think it is possible that at some point in the future we may go down to just 0.7 to 0.8 visits per dealership,” said Steve Penman, dealer principal at Elms ...
     Continue reading "Why loyalty leads to fewer dealership visits" » Dec 11, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Who distorted what? Wording of CFPB statement will get its own investigation

Posted 11:30 am U.S. ET, Dec. 10
The ombudsman’s office for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said it would conduct an independent review into complaints that the CFPB’s press releases don’t match the consent orders they describe -- something auto finance insiders have complained about bitterly but privately, for fear of provoking the bureau. The complaint: that the press release ...
     Continue reading "Who distorted what? Wording of CFPB statement will get its own investigation" » Dec 10, 2014 11:30 am U.S. ET
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F&I jobs hold a powerful lure for women

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, Dec. 10
It seems women are keen to work in the finance and insurance department. In fact, F&I has the highest percentage of women employees in a dealership, after the office/administration department. Women make up 92 percent of the office/administration staff at dealerships, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association’s 2014 Dealership Workforce Study Ind ...
     Continue reading "F&I jobs hold a powerful lure for women" » Dec 10, 2014 11:00 am U.S. ET
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You can call it a crossover, but I know a hatchback when I see one

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, Dec. 9
Holding up a picture of the Honda HR-V in the newsroom the other day, I asked a couple of editors what makes it and similar vehicles crossovers and not hatchbacks? “The marketing department,” Phil Nussel, Automotive News’ online editor, blurted out, half-joking. We laughed. But then I thought about it. He’s right. Small utility vehicles -- or mayb ...
     Continue reading "You can call it a crossover, but I know a hatchback when I see one" » Dec 9, 2014 11:00 am U.S. ET
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BMW's manufacturing arm also produces future leaders

Posted 6:44 am U.S. ET, Dec. 9
BMW's manufacturing division not only builds great cars -- it also produces the company's future leaders. With the appointment of Harald Krueger as CEO to succeed Norbert Reithofer, BMW builds on its tradition of appointing manufacturing experts from within the company to the top job. BMW has also picked a relatively young executive who can steer the automaker for years ...
     Continue reading "BMW's manufacturing arm also produces future leaders" » Dec 9, 2014 6:44 am U.S. ET
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VW's Diess takes pole position to replace Winterkorn

Posted 6:30 am U.S. ET, Dec. 9
Volkswagen’s announcement that it poached BMW development chief Herbert Diess to run its flagship VW brand puts the 56-year-old manager in pole position to succeed Martin Winterkorn as head of what could soon be the world’s largest automaker. Winterkorn’s contract runs until 2016, but VW unions want him to stay through the end of 2018. Whenever he steps ...
     Continue reading "VW's Diess takes pole position to replace Winterkorn" » Dec 9, 2014 6:30 am U.S. ET
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What the big fuss over small crossovers is all about

Posted 10:45 am U.S. ET, Dec. 9
SAN DIEGO -- It looks like the over-under bet on U.S. sales of Chevrolet’s new Trax small crossover next year is about 50,000. I’m taking the over. That’s not so much a wager on the Trax itself, though I found it a nimble, comfortable little ride during a media test drive here. It’s more that I’m buying into the buzz about small crossovers b ...
     Continue reading "What the big fuss over small crossovers is all about" » Dec 9, 2014 10:45 am U.S. ET
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BMW's manufacturing arm also produces future leaders

Posted 6:44 am U.S. ET, Dec. 9
BMW's manufacturing division not only builds great cars -- it also produces the company's future leaders. With the appointment of Harald Krueger as CEO to succeed Norbert Reithofer, BMW builds on its tradition of appointing manufacturing experts from within the company to the top job. BMW has also picked a relatively young executive who can steer the automaker for years ...
     Continue reading "BMW's manufacturing arm also produces future leaders" » Dec 9, 2014 6:44 am U.S. ET
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VW's Diess takes pole position to replace Winterkorn

Posted 6:30 am U.S. ET, Dec. 9
Volkswagen’s announcement that it poached BMW development chief Herbert Diess to run its flagship VW brand puts the 56-year-old manager in pole position to succeed Martin Winterkorn as head of what could soon be the world’s largest automaker. Winterkorn’s contract runs until 2016, but VW unions want him to stay through the end of 2018. Whenever he steps ...
     Continue reading "VW's Diess takes pole position to replace Winterkorn" » Dec 9, 2014 6:30 am U.S. ET
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Prepare to embrace McLaren's anticipate-and-act tactics

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 8
People in the car business are so used to being lectured on how they are doing things wrong -- social media, customer service, what have you -- that it’s notable whenever an automotive company sets a new benchmark for the rest of the world. Zoom in for a closer look at the McLaren Racing pit crews doing their lightning-speed maintenance work the next time you’ ...
     Continue reading "Prepare to embrace McLaren's anticipate-and-act tactics" » Dec 8, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Dealer missteps do not a lender meltdown make

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 6
Six short years ago, it looked like the entire U.S. banking system might crash like a pyramid of champagne glasses. Dubious mortgage practices all over the country had caused the pyramid to sway in the breeze, and mortgage defaults wrecked the American economy. There has been good reason to watch lending practices ever since. This year, as car sales sail toward the 17-mi ...
     Continue reading "Dealer missteps do not a lender meltdown make" » Dec 6, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Prepare to embrace McLaren's anticipate-and-act tactics

Posted 10:20 am U.S. ET, Dec. 5
NASHVILLE -- People in the car business are so used to being lectured on how they are doing things wrong -- social media, customer service, what have you -- that it’s notable whenever an automotive company sets a new benchmark for the rest of the world. Zoom in for a closer look at the McLaren Racing pit crews doing their lightning-speed maintenance work the next ti ...
     Continue reading "Prepare to embrace McLaren's anticipate-and-act tactics" » Dec 5, 2014 10:20 am U.S. ET
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France is hurting its domestic automakers with diesel policy shift

Posted 5:55 am U.S. ET, Dec. 5
For environmental and public health reasons France is ending a government policy that has long promoted the purchase of diesel cars, but the move will hurt domestic automakers Renault and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen. Diesel models accounted for 71 percent of Peugeot brand sales through October, 68 percent for Citroen and 64 percent for Renault, according to industry analysts Inov ...
     Continue reading "France is hurting its domestic automakers with diesel policy shift" » Dec 5, 2014 5:55 am U.S. ET
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Canadian dealer buries a Jeep, hires an ambassador and puts on the Ritz

Canadian dealer buries a Jeep, hires an ambassador and puts on the Ritz

At Bay King Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram in Hamilton, Ontario, dealer Jamie Richter has put luxury-hotel touches in his new showroom. They include concierges who see to the needs of service customers. Mon., December 15
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