Blogs

Another hole-in-one gives California dealer a second chance

Posted 2:41 pm U.S. ET, July 29
blogs Jamie LaReau covers the automotive retail beat for Automotive News.
 
For eight years, Folsom Lake Kia and Folsom Lake Ford near Sacramento, Calif., have sponsored charity golf tournaments without anyone ever hitting a hole-in-one. Yet for the second time this year, a golfer has put it in the cup, winning a new car. The dealer ironically calls it a karmic blessing. See, the first time it happened, at a May 7 golf event Folsom Lake Kia sponsored, it turned into a pu ...
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GM, Manheim kiss and make up

Posted 3:15 pm U.S. ET, July 25
blogs News Editor James B. Treece oversees Automotive News' coverage of auto retailing.
 
Editor's note:  Update deletes references to GM Financial and its relationship with Manheim. About four years after a spat strained their business relations, General Motors and auction company Manheim are starting to kiss and make up. The companies aren’t eager to discuss the origins of the dispute, but the result was a near-boycott of Manheim auctions by GM, which uses auctions to di ...
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N.Y. Times story on subprime offers feds ammunition

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 23
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
A withering account of subprime auto lending in Sunday’s New York Times reinforces bad stereotypes about used-car dealers, smears subprime lenders and their investors, takes out of context an increase in delinquencies and loan losses from record lows, and provides ammunition to auto finance industry critics in Washington. It also blurs the differences between subprime mortgages, which contr ...
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Maybe the EPA should just hire Consumer Reports for mpg ratings

Posted 10:10 am U.S. ET, July 23
blogs Dave Guilford is news editor for Automotive News.
 
Maybe the federal government should adopt Consumer Reports as a model for fuel economy testing. Or just outsource the task to the magazine. The EPA seems to be feeling the heat over its miles-per-gallon ratings, which adorn new-car window stickers. As just about anyone who has checked their fuel economy can attest, EPA numbers are at best rough indicators of actual performance. Consumer frustrat ...
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Where U.S. shoppers draw the line on buying very small cars

Posted 12:02 pm U.S. ET, July 22
blogs
The new Smart ForTwo coming in just more than a year looks slightly better on paper.
RICHARD TRUETT:  Daimler says it’s giving the Smart car another go in the United States by rebuilding it from wheels to roof, complete with new powertrains. It may not help. When it comes to small cars, American buyers have a limit to how low they will go. The Fiat 500 appears to be the smallest car Americans are willing to buy in decent volume. And because BMW’s Mini Cooper has ballooned in size a ...
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Gobsmacked by Nick Scheele's kindness

Posted 5:34 pm U.S. ET, July 21
blogs Bradford Wernle covers Ford for Automotive News.
 
I’ll never forget the day Nick Scheele helped me clean the fresh paint off my suit. Back in May 2001, when I was working for Automotive News Europe, I was among a group of journalists invited to Turkey for a press conference and festivities to launch production of the Transit and Transit Connect commercial vans at Ford’s Otosan Kocaeli, factory about 50 miles east of Istanbul. After ...
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Let's hope for a litter of Hellcat kitties

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 19
blogs
The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat -- packing a 707-hp, 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V-8.
LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE:  Spend a few minutes with Chrysler Group’s new monster power plant -- the 707-hp, 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V-8 -- and you will be left, as I was, with one overriding question: What else can you put it in? Not to say that it’s out of place in the 2015 SRT Challenger. It’s not. It absolutely belongs there and fits like a glove. But very few automakers that want to stay in busin ...
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GM waive liability shield? It can't

Posted 3:22 pm U.S. ET, July 18
blogs Krishnan Anantharaman is a news editor for Automotive News in Detroit.
 
Is it conceivable that Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who is both a lawmaker and lawyer, has only a tenuous grasp of the law? How else to explain the Connecticut Democrat’s persistence in arguing that General Motors should waive -- as if by magic wand -- the liability shield it gained upon exiting Chapter 11 in 2009? That shield protects today’s General Motors from being sued over accident ...
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Will de Nysschen take Caddy into small cars?

Posted 1:01 pm U.S. ET, July 16
blogs Lindsay Chappell is the Mid-South bureau chief for Automotive News.
 
Johan de Nysschen is barely a week into his new job as president of Cadillac. It will take some time to learn what he will attempt to do there. But keep your eye on the small-vehicle end of the luxury spectrum. That will be de Nysschen’s most likely play for the American premium king. As the global leader of Infiniti for the past two years, de Nysschen made clear and compelling arguments a ...
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Credit union ads highlight misperceptions of dealer reserve

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 16
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
A Florida credit union’s ad campaign beating up dealers and auto lenders for “rate markups” is hard to look at, but dealers and lenders should check it out to see what they’re up against in terms of public perception and in case the approach catches on in other states. The Space Coast Credit Union ads treat dealer reserve -- the small amount of interest lenders allow deale ...
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Acura claims a sales honor with MDX

Posted 11:55 am U.S. ET, July 15
blogs

MARK VAUGHN:  Carmakers are always defining segments and claiming sales crowns for their own purposes, and here's the latest instance. Acura is touting the MDX as “America's All-Time Best-Selling 3-Row Luxury SUV.” It's certainly a nice SUV, we won't argue that. Acura released a statement late last week stating that the MDX is not only outselling all other luxury SUVs with three rows of seating so ...
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Why fuel economy faces law of diminishing returns

Posted 3:02 pm U.S. ET, July 11
blogs

LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE:  In economics, it’s known as the law of diminishing returns, the shrinking benefit you get when you pour ever-increasing resources toward achieving a singular goal. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Agency showed a good mathematical example of the principle today with a graphic it released about the consumer benefits of fuel economy. For consumers, the EIA points out, ...
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How Infiniti will move ahead without de Nysschen

Posted 6:55 am U.S. ET, July 11
blogs Hans Greimel is Asia editor for Automotive News.
 
TOKYO -- It’s unsettling when a newly-hired executive bolts for the door after a short stay, without achieving his goals. Dealers and employees at Infiniti understandably may feel some unease following today's news that President Johan de Nysschen is leaving the brand after just two years to take over as president of Cadillac.  To be sure, de Nysschen's unexpected departure to General ...
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How UAW can leverage minority support in Chattanooga and elsewhere

Posted 2:15 pm U.S. ET, July 10
blogs Gabe Nelson is a reporter for Automotive News.
 
WASHINGTON -- With its defeat at the ballot box in Chattanooga this February, the UAW lost what seemed to be its most winnable organizing battle at a Southern assembly plant. But at Solidarity House, the war isn’t over. Today’s surprising news that the UAW will set up a union local for Chattanooga’s Volkswagen AG factory -- despite losing the organizing vote there -- signals a ...
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Minivans are too practical to have the reputation they have

Posted 3:13 pm U.S. ET, July 9
blogs
Chrysler is preparing a redesign of its Town & Country for 2016.
LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE:  Here’s an automotive exercise: Think of the most practical product you own, something you use every day. Maybe it’s a pen you keep in your pocket, or a garment, a briefcase, a handbag -- whatever. Do you like it? Probably, or you’d switch to an alternative. Is it stylish? Maybe, but it doesn’t really have to be in order to be practical. Yet, because of the parameters of t ...
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Why buy-here, pay-here is losing some turf

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 9
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
Even though broccoli is better for them, lots of people won’t eat it when they can have ice cream instead. The scenario is playing out more often these days in the auto finance world, too. That’s according to top executives of America’s Car-Mart, the giant buy-here, pay-here used-car retailer based in Bentonville, Ark., as more consumers pass on the broccoli -- offers from buy- ...
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Is the maligned Mitsubishi Mirage a good value?

Posted 12:40 pm U.S. ET, July 7
blogs
The Mirage easily beat its EPA window label numbers -- 37 city/44 highway and 40 combined.
RICHARD TRUETT:  Editor's note: The Mirage’s EPA rating is 37 city/44 highway and 40 combined. Earlier versions of this blog transposed the numbers. The Mitsubishi Mirage is one of the strangest cars I have ever driven -- and it’s one of the most polarizing new models of 2014. Consumer Reports, The New York Times and others have savaged the small inexpensive hatchback. Yet a few popular online e ...
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Compensation, yes, but no happy endings for GM crash victims' families

Posted 3:07 pm U.S. ET, July 3
blogs Nick Bunkley is an enterprise reporter for Automotive News.
 
Daryl Chansuthus bristled at the word “compensation” when we spoke on the phone this week. Compensation doesn’t fill the void created on a rainy December night five years ago, when her 25-year-old daughter’s Chevrolet Cobalt SS hit a tree off Interstate 24 in Tennessee and no airbags deployed. More than compensation, Chansuthus wants accountability. Actually, she added af ...
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Hyundai's safety tech video shows what a sales pitch can't

Posted 2:16 pm U.S. ET, July 3
blogs
In the Hyundai Genesis video demonstrating the car's adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist system, stunt drivers climb out of the cars and leap to a flatbed truck.
RYAN BEENE:  The biggest problem with selling consumers on the idea of active safety technologies is that unless you experience what happens when they intervene, it’s hard to fully appreciate their potential. Automatic braking systems, for example, are triggered only before a potential crash. Short of having a near miss during a test drive at a dealership -- which hopefully doesn’t happen too ofte ...
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Don't do much leasing? Better bone up

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 2
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
Leasing’s not just for luxury brands anymore. It’s spreading to mass-market brands too, experts say. That means F&I managers who are inexperienced or just rusty at leasing paperwork had better prepare for more customer demand for leases. That includes cobbling a menu of lease-friendly F&I products such as excess wear-and-tear protection or tire-and-wheel coverage. Leasing alr ...
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How can 1% growth feel so good?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 1
blogs Jesse Snyder is editor of the opinion page at Automotive News.
 
June turned out to be a great month for U.S. auto sales. Ignore that goofy 1 percent increase in units sold. It’s a calendar fluke. The 17 million selling rate tells the tale. And the story, for June and the first half, is a good one. First half sales rose 4 percent to 8.2 million, overcoming horrible January and February weather and putting the U.S. auto industry back on track to finish we ...
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Gesture recognition makes dials, buttons obsolete

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 1
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is Managing Editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Buttons and dials may become obsolete to control your car's radio, heater and navigation system. That’s because those functions can now be managed with the wave of the hand. Gesture-recognition technology could appear in a production car as early as next year, SoftKinetic Chief Marketing Officer Eric Krzeslo told me on the sidelines of the we.CONECT Car HMI Concepts & Systems conference ...
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Inside the Camaro's transformation for latest 'Transformers' film

Posted 4:09 pm U.S. ET, June 26
blogs
The edgier, more aggressive Bumblebee that Michael Bay envisioned demanded extensive design modifications not seen on the road today.
VINCE BOND JR.:  The reimagined Camaro in the latest Transformers film features a slew of design alterations unique to the movie. Chevy Camaro enthusiasts hitting theaters for Transformers: Age of Extinction this weekend should have a field day identifying changes amid the over-the-top explosions as Bumblebee fights alongside Optimus Prime and the rest of the Autobots. The rebooted Bumblebee came to life after d ...
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GM's Mary Barra is a woman. Get over it

Posted 4:15 pm U.S. ET, June 26
blogs

JAMIE LAREAU:  DETROIT -- I learned some shocking news this morning watching “Today” with Matt Lauer. General Motors CEO Mary Barra is a woman. That’s right, she’s even considered the “most powerful woman in the history of the auto industry,” Lauer says. Psst: That might be because she is the only woman in history to hold the top executive position at a major carmaker. She ...
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Honda aims to take 3D leap forward with advanced crash-test simulation software

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, June 25
blogs
A closeup image of the Acura MDX after a virtual side-impact crash test captured by the new 3D software. (HONDA)
DAVID PHILLIPS:  It takes roughly five years, on average, to develop and launch an all-new vehicle these days. A redesigned crossover or sedan can require less time from drawing board to showroom. Numerous automakers have tried to shorten product development cycles over the past 20 years but often with little success. Too many complex facets in r&d, product planning, and manufacturing often get in the way, I ...
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