Blogs

Beyond the headlines, humdrum recalls annoy consumers

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 22
blogs Lindsay Chappell is the Mid-South bureau chief in the U.S. for Automotive News.
 
The year has been monopolized by headlines about General Motors ignition-switch recalls and Takata airbag recalls. But a broader perspective is in order. According to iSeeCars.com, a vehicle search engine headquartered near Boston, the single most recalled nameplate of the 2007-13 model year period has been … the Toyota FJ Cruiser. And the second most recalled nameplate of the period? A ...
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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 improvement. The 2013 rate of ...
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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
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
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 recovery,” Carpenter ...
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Will the CFPB redefine “larger”?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 17
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
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 American Financial Servic ...
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Handicapping the finalists for North American Car, Truck of Year

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, Dec. 16
blogs

RICHARD TRUETT:  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, is so they can tout them i ...
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Why the Chinese auto shows will refocus on the car models

Posted 12:41 pm U.S. ET, Dec. 15
blogs Hans Greimel is Asia editor for Automotive News.
 
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 shutterbugs buzzed around her ...
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FTC finds fine print too fine, imposes fines

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 14
blogs James B. Treece is a News Editor at Automotive News.
 
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 advertising regarding payme ...
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Who says the Detroit 3 can't sell luxury?

Posted 3:40 pm U.S. ET, Dec. 12
blogs Gabe Nelson is a staff reporter for Automotive News.
 
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 partly because it implies t ...
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BMW refreshes 6 series

Posted 3:38 pm U.S. ET, Dec. 12
blogs

DIANA T. KURYLKO:  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 unchanged: 640i models get a turb ...
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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
blogs
Mercedes surprised some of the competition when it launched the all-new car in September 2013 for $29,900. (BLOOMBERG)
DIANA T. KURYLKO:  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 on the new A3 sedan that ...
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Why Honda is touting its new 'Green Dealer' guide

Posted 8:00 am U.S. ET, Dec. 11
blogs Jaclyn Trop is West Coast bureau chief for Automotive News.
 
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 business hours can save a de ...
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Toyota, dealers get pop culture boost on 'Modern Family'

Posted 4:23 pm U.S. ET, Dec. 11
blogs
In last night's "Modern Family" episode, Phil Dunphy, right, and his father-in-law, Jay Pritchett, go to a Toyota dealership.
JAMIE LAREAU:  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 and his father-in-law, Ja ...
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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
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
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 releases overhype the wrongdoing ...
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F&I jobs hold a powerful lure for women

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, Dec. 10
blogs Jamie LaReau covers the automotive retail beat for Automotive News.
 
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 Industry Report, released De ...
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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
blogs
VW's Golf.
RICHARD TRUETT:  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 maybe small vehicles with a l ...
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BMW's manufacturing arm also produces future leaders

Posted 6:44 am U.S. ET, Dec. 9
blogs Luca Ciferri is Editor of Automotive News Europe.
 
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 to come. Krueger is 49 a ...
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VW's Diess takes pole position to replace Winterkorn

Posted 6:30 am U.S. ET, Dec. 9
blogs Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
 
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 down he is the most likel ...
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What the big fuss over small crossovers is all about

Posted 10:45 am U.S. ET, Dec. 9
blogs
Buyers can add all wheel drive on the Trax for $1,500, even on the base model.
MIKE COLIAS:  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 being the next big thing. ...
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Dealer missteps do not a lender meltdown make

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 6
blogs Lindsay Chappell is the Mid-South bureau chief for Automotive News.
 
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-million mark, the Justice D ...
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Prepare to embrace McLaren's anticipate-and-act tactics

Posted 10:20 am U.S. ET, Dec. 5
blogs Lindsay Chappell is the Mid-South bureau chief for Automotive News.
 
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 time you’re watching ...
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Why it will be a different Nissan that returns to the Super Bowl

Posted 10:05 am U.S. ET, Dec. 4
blogs Lindsay Chappell covers Nissan for Automotive News.
 
NASHVILLE -- Jeremy Tucker was still in college the last time Nissan ran an ad during the Super Bowl back in 1997. Now 38 and vice president of U.S. marketing for the automaker, Tucker will execute Nissan’s return to the high-profile advertising stage in February. Tucker says the Super Bowl offers Nissan a “big moment” to show America what it has to offer. “Nissan has som ...
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Auto finance benefits from looser purse strings

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 3
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
Here’s good macroeconomic news for the auto finance industry: The Federal Reserve Bank of New York says U.S. households have concluded a “deleveraging period,” a fancy way of saying households have quit spending less and saving more. Instead, they are spending more and borrowing more -- including $105 billion in auto loan and lease originations, the highest amount in almost 10 y ...
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Why Chrysler's November sales ought to make your jaw drop

Posted 3:53 pm U.S. ET, Dec. 3
blogs Larry P. Vellequette covers Chrysler for Automotive News.
 
Stunning. I don’t know how else to describe it, and it’s an adjective I don’t use lightly. How else could you describe the breadth and depth of the remarkable sales wave that Chrysler Group’s U.S. dealerships experienced in November? Especially in a month where gains from other automakers were so much smaller? Dismiss for a moment the top line descriptor that normally de ...
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With all the buzz over quality, what does it even mean?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 2
blogs
An error message flashed on the instrument screen of a recently tested Tesla Model S. (RICHARD TRUETT)
RICHARD TRUETT:  Vehicle quality has been in the news quite a bit lately. Chrysler’s quality watchdog left his job in October right after Consumer Reports placed all of the company’s brands near the bottom of its latest list of most reliable and recommended vehicles. And General Motors just moved several executives into new jobs in part to help improve the company’s quality. GM, like Ford, now h ...
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The good times keep rolling along

Posted 5:00 pm U.S. ET, Dec. 2
blogs Jesse Snyder is editor of the opinion page at Automotive News.
 
We’re merrily motoring down the monthly sales expressway, scarcely a pothole in the past 60 reports. We opened the throttle in November and the road ahead looks clear and dry. The whole industry is anticipating the latest milestones of progress along the way: 2014 will be the fifth straight year of higher sales, likely 6 million units above 2009 and the first year since 2007 to top the 16 m ...
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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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