Blogs

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
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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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Apple is a no-show at the New York show

Posted 10:19 am U.S. ET, April 2
blogs Neal E. Boudette covers Toyota and Honda for Automotive News.
 
NEW YORK -- Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto are finally here! Well, almost here. Kia unveiled its 2016 Optima sedan in New York and announced the car would offer both CarPlay and Android Auto, the heavily hyped and eagerly anticipated software systems designed to get your car and smartphone to operate seamlessly as one device. But the reality is a little fuzzier than that. ...
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March's thin win: No dip, less zip

Posted 4:56 pm U.S. ET, April 1
blogs Jesse Snyder is opinion page editor at Automotive News.
 
Hey, look at a smokin’ hot marketplace snatch another victory. Most forecasters expected March U.S. auto sales to fall a bit, but some last-minute fancy footwork pushed the industry back into plus territory by a half percent. Again. Now 61 times in the last 63 monthly reports that volume topped the year before. Even the two losers weren’t bad: February 2014 slipped 966 units amid wint ...
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Why last fall's Camry revamp is paying off for Toyota

Posted 1:28 pm U.S. ET, April 1
blogs Neal E. Boudette covers Toyota and Honda for Automotive News.
 
NEW YORK -- Toyota gave the Camry a major revamp last fall and Senior Vice President Bob Carter says it is boosting sales and pulling in younger buyers. The automaker sold 40,800 Camrys in March, according to its monthly report today. Although that's 2.7 percent fewer than a year ago, it came in a month with four weekends compared to the five weekends that March 2014 had, Carter said.  Cart ...
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Cadillac's challenge is to be incomparable. Escalade is.

Posted 12:34 pm U.S. ET, April 1
blogs
(BLOOMBERG)
KRISHNAN M. ANANTHARAMAN:  NEW YORK -- Having witnessed the dramatic unveiling of the new CT6 luxury sedan Tuesday night at a swanky soiree on the Brooklyn waterfront, I think it’s safe to say that Cadillac has something very special in its stable. But it’s not the CT6. For sure, the new range-topper from Cadillac looks like a capable vehicle. Brand chief Johan de Nysschen described it as being as large as a s ...
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Malibu? Not the biggest splash at Chevy this week

Posted 2:34 pm U.S. ET, April 1
blogs
GM President Dan Ammann said today that focus groups loved Chevy's new spots. Before seeing the commercials, they used words like “tough” and “traditional” to describe Chevrolet, Ammann said. Afterward, they were more likely to use “changing,” “innovative” or “leading.”
MIKE COLIAS:  NEW YORK -- Quick: What’s Chevrolet’s most important unveiling this week? You’d be forgiven if you answered the redesigned 2016 Malibu that debuted here today, the car that General Motors execs believe finally will put the midsize sedan on the shopping lists of Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata and Ford Fusion buyers. But you’d be wrong. The major Chevy brand ad ...
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Traditional sedans fading away? Not in New York

Posted 12:10 pm U.S. ET, April 1
blogs
Alan Batey, head of North American operations for GM, unveils the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu. The longer, lighter Malibu has been restyled to offer more interior space and improved fuel efficiency, more connectivity and more advanced safety features.
LINDSAY CHAPPELL:  NEW YORK -- One of the more troubling sales trends for car buffs lately has been a shift away from sedans. Especially larger sedans. But watch the runway at this year’s New York auto show. There is a hot new sedan from Cadillac -- the CT6. A stylish new Kia Optima. An eighth-generation Nissan Maxima with an unprecedented collection of bells and whistles. A retooled Chevrolet Malibu. And ju ...
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After two N.Y. unveilings, what's next for Scion?

Posted 9:50 am U.S. ET, April 1
blogs

NEAL E. BOUDETTE:  Scion unveiled two new cars Tuesday night and almost immediately shifted the focus to what’s coming next. “And a third model is coming within the next two years,” Scion brand group vice president Doug Murtha said The smart money is betting on a small crossover, which would give Scion an entry in a very hot segment. And at the Paris show back in September, Toyota showed a concep ...
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