Blogs

Uber might trump the cost of car ownership, but not leasing…yet

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, April 25
blogs Jamie LaReau covers the automotive retail beat for Automotive News.
 
Most dealers probably don’t lose sleep with worry that Uber, the popular app-based service that pairs private drivers with riders, will usurp car ownership anytime soon despite Uber’s ambitions to make it so. In most cases, when a person drives more than 13,500 miles a year, car ownership is still ideal and ultimately cheaper than using ride-sharing, according to published reports tha ...
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Maybe NHTSA could use excessive force to fix old Jeeps -- or leg traps

Posted 2:25 pm U.S. ET, April 24
blogs Larry P. Vellequette covers Fiat Chrysler for Automotive News.
 
So the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is considering its options on how to speed up the repair rate on a couple older recalls, including one involving hundreds of thousands of old Jeep Grand Cherokees and Libertys. May I suggest leg traps? You know, those inhumane devices that capture an unsuspecting animal by an appendage and then keep them restrained until they either bleed out, ...
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Buick chief says new China duties won't distract from 'a lot more to do' in U.S.

Posted 6:00 am U.S. ET, April 24
blogs
Aldred: “We've got a good start, but there's a lot more to do.”
MIKE COLIAS:  SHANGHAI -- In the year since he took over the Buick and GMC brands in the U.S., Duncan Aldred has made a lot of fans among dealers. He's earned a reputation as a sales and marketing exec willing to try new things, such as a 16 percent cash-back offer tied to the 'Sweet Sixteen' during the NCAA men's basketball tournament last month. He also successfully pushed for a 50 percent increase in suppl ...
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Midsize with a four-banger or large and loaded? How auto insurance affects consumers' buying power

Posted 11:32 am U.S. ET, April 23
blogs Jesse Snyder is opinion page editor at Automotive News.
 
Want $7,700 more to spend on a new car? Move from Michigan to Maine before you insure it. That’s because U.S. insurance premiums on a new vehicle vary wildly by state, according Insure.com, from a high of $206 a month in Michigan to $67 in Maine. All else equal, a buyer can spend $139 a month more for car payments in the Pine Tree State than in the Great Lakes State. That adds up over the l ...
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Why the auto industry should root for Tesla's battery play

Posted 3:20 pm U.S. ET, April 22
blogs Gabe Nelson covers Silicon Valley for Automotive News.
 
When it unveils its first batteries for homes and businesses next week, Tesla Motors will no longer be a car company. It will be an energy company, competing against electric utilities just as it has gone after the car market. Any automaker or supplier that has invested heavily in electric cars or fuel cells should be quietly cheering for Tesla to succeed, because it would mean that car companies ...
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Toyota's message to critics who, um, pooh-pooh fuel cells

Posted 3:40 pm U.S. ET, April 22
blogs
Toyota's video was directed by filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, who directed and starred in the 2004 documentary Super Size Me.
VINCE BOND JR.:  Toyota has a message for critics who call bullsh*t on hydrogen fuel cells: You’re right -- in one sense. Tongue planted firmly in cheek, Toyota launched a new campaign today showing how cow pies are a viable source of renewable energy. The catch phrase: “We’re driving down the road, running on bullsh*t,” uttered by a dairy farmer as he wheeled the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fu ...
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Auto finance critic Warren stands firm on CFPB dealership oversight

Posted 11:15 am U.S. ET, April 22
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
Sen. Elizabeth Warren is once again calling for direct regulation of auto dealerships by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In a stinging speech last week, she also advocated for what amounts to a ban on dealer markup on auto loans and equated auto loans with “the pre-crisis housing market,” which helped bring about the 2008-09 recession. “It’s no coincidence&rdquo ...
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With 3-D printing, product development flies

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, April 21
blogs
An axle casing made of resin.
RICHARD TRUETT:  It’s not uncommon for an engineer or designer at Fiat Chrysler’s tech center in Auburn Hills, Mich., to see a prototype part deposited on his or her desk less than 24 hours after ordering it. That kind of speed -- never before consistently possible in the auto industry -- reduces development costs by cutting dramatically the amount of time and labor expended in the vehicle creation pr ...
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Who's using whom in the Mazda-Toyota Mexican marriage?

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, April 21
blogs
Scion's Doug Murtha reveals the Scion iA sedan in New York.
HANS GREIMEL:  TOKYO -- From the beginning, Mazda Motor Corp.’s deal to build a small car for Toyota Motor Corp. at Mazda’s new plant in Mexico was a marriage of convenience. But the debut this month of the vehicle, the Scion iA sedan, raises the question of which company is getting the better bargain. Mazda is loaning a rival one of its biggest brand assets: its distinct Kodo design language. Scion ...
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Why Lincoln is ready to toss the alphabet soup

Posted 2:44 pm U.S. ET, April 21
blogs
Joe Hinrichs: "Another way Lincoln could distinguish itself is to leverage its heritage. So I'll leave it at that."
NICK BUNKLEY:  DETROIT -- Does the Lincoln Continental mark the beginning of the end of the brand’s confusing “MK” naming scheme? Joe Hinrichs, Ford Motor Co.’s president of the Americas, today gave the strongest hint yet that the company is ready to bring back real words, possibly by reviving iconic names such as the Town Car. “Without divulging the future,” Hinrichs said, ...
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Why it could be the Volt's time to shine in China

Posted 7:17 am U.S. ET, April 20
blogs

MIKE COLIAS:  SHANGHAI -- Since the Chevrolet Volt hit U.S. showrooms in late 2010, it's been dogged by a central question: How can General Motors drive down the plug-in hybrid's cost enough to make it affordable to more people, and eventually turn a profit? I think I know at least part of the answer: Sell a boatload of them in a Chinese market that's fast warming to EVs. GM has sold a miniscule number of Vol ...
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Why this Tampa dealer reset Latino marketing efforts

Posted 9:53 pm U.S. ET, April 20
blogs David Barkholz is a reporter for Automotive News.
 
TAMPA -- Latinos account for about one third of the car buyers at Kuhn Honda in Tampa. But Internet sales director Joshua Smith still feels as though the store should be doing better. Sporadic efforts to reach Latinos on Spanish-language television and radio in Tampa have yielded almost no sales, he said. So as the Kuhn Honda launches a new media campaign to promote the opening of its new locat ...
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Shanghai show cleans up its act

Posted 6:36 am U.S. ET, April 20
blogs
Attire at this year's Shanghai auto show displays is much more conservative than in recent years. (HANS GREIMEL)
HANS GREIMEL:  SHANGHAI -- Automakers in China have once again proved where there’s a will, there’s a way. And this time, they found a way around a much-ballyhooed ban of floor models at this year’s Shanghai auto show. The new code had been foisted upon exhibitors by organizers looking to clean up an image largely associated with plunging necklines, see-through blouses and crowds of camera ner ...
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Fiat meeting goes from legendary to ordinary

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, April 17
blogs Luca Ciferri is editor of Automotive News Europe.
 
Fiat needed less than 2 hours to complete its first shareholder meeting in Amsterdam on Thursday, which was attended by just 17 people. It's previous gatherings near Turin would draw hundreds -- including a who's who of the Italian auto industry -- and take up to 12 hours to complete because of all the drama. Those meetings were legendary. Thursday’s meeting was ordinary. I remember more t ...
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Why we won't 'put' credence in GM-FCA merger talk

Posted 10:26 am U.S. ET, April 15
blogs Dave Guilford is a news editor at Automotive News.
 
Maybe Sergio Marchionne is banking on a loss of institutional memory at General Motors. That’s the only way I can see that he might expect GM to consider buying Fiat Chrysler. Perhaps Marchionne sees an opening because the Whitacre-Akerson administrations purged nearly all the old GM executive team. You know, the ones who twitch when they hear the words “GM-Fiat alliance” -- or, ...
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Honda manager says effective auto design stretches well beyond the vehicle

Posted 4:01 pm U.S. ET, April 15
blogs Vince Bond is a reporter for Automotive News.
 
The car is just one piece of the mobility pie that auto designers consider when pursuing new ideas. Just take a look at autonomous cars. While some consumers are reluctant to give up control of their cars to computers, there are many other scenarios outside of the vehicle itself that designers have to consider. Before Honda’s Advanced Design Studio forges ahead on a new idea, for instance ...
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Women in automotive seek more peers

Posted 12:15 pm U.S. ET, April 15
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
NEW YORK -- A lot of dealer principals and general managers swear by their female salespeople and F&I managers and wish they had more. But in the business world at large, auto industry careers for women are a “best-kept secret,” according to panelists at a conference hosted by the Women’s Automotive Association International this month in conjunction with the New York auto s ...
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Self-driving building blocks already in place

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, April 14
blogs
The Audi SQ5 SUV that Delphi used during a coast-to-coast autonomous vehicle demonstration was outfitted with many technologies and systems the company already has -- or soon will have -- in production. (DELPHI)
RICHARD TRUETT:  No one had ever done it before. And for such a massive undertaking, it didn’t really get a lot of media attention. On the surface, you could, I suppose, see it as some kind of flashy PR stunt. But what auto supplier Delphi Automotive just did -- completing a 3,400-mile drive from San Francisco to New York in a self-driving car -- is an amazing technological feat. And it shows just how rapid ...
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Mazda gets artsy in Milan

Posted 7:38 am U.S. ET, April 14
blogs
Ikuo “Speedy” Maeda debuted a futuristic bicycle at an art exhibit in Milan, Italy, today. The seat design borrows from the MX-5 Miata.
HANS GREIMEL:  TOKYO -- Is Ikuo “Speedy” Maeda, the black-clad lead stylist at Mazda Motor Corp., making good on his ambition to launch a designer goods line tied to the Japanese carmaker? Just months after he floated the dream, his studio debuted a futuristic bicycle and avant garde sofa at an art exhibit in Milan, Italy, today. The “Mazda-designed artworks” are part of an event dubbed ...
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Mercedes scores, too, as Duke tops Wisconsin

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, April 8
blogs

VINCE BOND JR.:  Duke vs. Wisconsin wasn’t the only battle taking place Monday night. Automakers were on offense, too, lobbing commercials at consumers to boost purchase intent and raise awareness. Out of all of the brands running ads, a familiar battle took center stage. The national title game was basically an extension of the hotly contested U.S. luxury race involving Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Lexus and the ...
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Lenders' outcry against CFPB 'narratives' is justified

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, April 8
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
It’s no wonder auto lenders cried foul last month when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced its plan to begin posting consumers’ first-person tales of their grievances with auto loans later this year. Lender trade groups issued statements complaining that publishing unverified, and conceivably false, narratives online could not only harm lenders’ reputations unjust ...
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Look-alike cars? Whether by design or not, it's an old, familiar story

Posted 11:30 am U.S. ET, April 7
blogs
Bentley: The Lincoln Continental Concept, top, mimics the Bentley Flying Spur, bottom.
RICHARD TRUETT:  Ford found itself in an uncomfortable position yet again last week over design. By now you’re aware of the kerfuffle over the new Lincoln Continental. Ford is very familiar with this kind of controversy. Let’s go back to 1960. Check out the grille on Ford’s final Edsel. It looks like a twin of the one used on the 1959 Bonneville, doesn’t it? ...
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Remembering the rise and fall of MG Rover

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, April 4
blogs
The 1986 Rover SD1 helped usher in the aerodynamic era.
RICHARD TRUETT:  Ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here to pause for a moment and remember dear, old Rover. Ten years ago (Saturday) in England, MG Rover Group called in the receivers -- the British version of declaring bankruptcy -- and ended the journey of one of the most pioneering companies in all of transportation history. As an American, you probably have never driven a Rover car. They were never popul ...
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Meet South Korea's newest automaker

Posted 11:10 am U.S. ET, April 3
blogs
Cony's trucks are funky little retro-styled two-seaters with flared fenders, mini-running boards and pie-pan wheels.
HANS GREIMEL:  SEOUL -- Cony Motor Co. doesn’t have a factory or a single customer. Its vehicles aren’t even street-legal yet. But South Korea’s youngest would-be automaker -- at less than a year old -- just splurged on a front-and-center stand at the country’s premier auto show, right next to Bentley no less. The audacious startup hopes its prime and pricey position at the Seoul Motor ...
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Why Honda's Mendel doesn't care about Nissan

Posted 12:20 pm U.S. ET, April 2
blogs
Honda's Mendel, discussing Nissan: “I'm tired of going to their press conferences and hearing 'Honda' 15 times." (File photo)
NEAL E. BOUDETTE:  NEW YORK -- Nissan has outsold Honda in each of the last three months, but Honda’s John Mendel isn’t bothered by it. “I don’t give a damn about Nissan,” the executive vice president of American Honda told reporters at a roundtable discussion after Honda unveiled a Civic coupe concept at the auto show here. Honda brand’s U.S. sales rose 2.4 percent to 294,299 v ...
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