Blogs

The dream Mr. K offered in the Nissan 300ZX is alive and well

Posted 3:44 pm U.S. ET, Feb. 26
blogs
Yutaka Katayama, Nissan's first U.S. president, is seen with the Datsun 240Z. (NISSAN)
JAMIE LAREAU:  “If I had a Z … ” That’s the opening line to the car commercial that I most remember from my youth. It touted the Nissan 300ZX sports car. So I’m melancholy after hearing that the man behind the car, Yutaka Katayama, died last week at age 105. Mr. K, as Katayama was popularly known, was Nissan’s first U.S president. He was dubbed the father of the Z. He intr ...
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Toyota, Mazda bet against each other in quest for 94 mpg

Posted 4:54 pm U.S. ET, Feb. 26
blogs Hans Greimel is Asia editor for Automotive News.
 
TOKYO -- Japan’s largest auto manufacturer and one of its smallest are betting against each other on divergent paths to the same goal -- an incredible fuel economy rate pushing 94 mpg. Toyota Motor Corp., not only Japan’s, but the world’s No. 1 maker, will be turning to its tried-and-true hybrid technology. Mazda Motor Corp., long constrained by a shoestring budget that won&rsq ...
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Lender groups want answers from the CFPB

Posted 12:15 pm U.S. ET, Feb. 25
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
A letter sent last week by the American Financial Services Association and other trade associations to Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, was aimed at prodding the CFPB to publicly respond to a study AFSA commissioned last year. “There certainly has been more than enough time for them to address some of the issues,” Chris Stinebert, CEO of AFSA, tol ...
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De Nysschen, 'Dare' I say, needs a better plan to rebuild Caddy's image

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 24
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Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen shows off the Cadillac ATS-V. (GM)
RICHARD TRUETT:  DETROIT -- An open letter to Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen: Fixing Cadillac will be the biggest challenge of your career, a far larger task, even, than breathing new life into Audi. My brother is a perfect example why. He’s 42 and a current -- and very satisfied -- owner of a General Motors product. He’s a voracious reader of automotive publications. He can easily afford an ATS, C ...
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A no-holds-barred online Q&A with Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen

Posted 3:46 pm U.S. ET, Feb. 23
blogs
Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen couldn't respond to all of the questions, but he answered many -- and gave it back to some of the smart alecks.
OMARI GARDNER:  Jalopnik beckoned its readers this afternoon to “Ask Cadillac President de Nysschen anything.” They were more than happy to oblige. A day after Cadillac’s “Dare Greatly” advertising campaign showcasing the new top-of-the-line CT6 debuted during the Oscars broadcast, the oft-irreverent auto industry Web log scored an hour of the Caddy boss’ time -- a rare opport ...
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Is an identity crisis the reason behind the Ram pickup's new styling?

Posted 12:14 pm U.S. ET, Feb. 20
blogs
The RAM letters are a stunning 5 inches tall on the tailgate.
LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE:  It’s been nearly two months since I got my first up-close looks at the Ram Rebel and Ram Laramie Limited — the two trims Fiat Chrysler’s truck brand rolled out at this year’s auto shows in Detroit and Chicago. Like a lot of armchair critics online, I’m not a fan of the styling of the two pickups’ front fascias and tailgates, but I’ve developed a theory as ...
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Cadillac has a new brand strategy involving subtlety and fashion

Posted 2:05 pm U.S. ET, Feb. 20
blogs

HANNAH ELLIOTT:  (Bloomberg) -- Bet you never thought you’d utter the words "Anna Wintour" and "Cadillac" in the same breath. Well, think again, bucko. Last week, Cadillac hosted arguably the hottest ticket during New York Fashion Week this season when it allowed Public School to show its Autumn/Winter 2015 mens- and womens-wear collection in the automaker’s new offices at 330 Hudson St. The space is ...
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Japan Toyota dealer hits 2 million milestone

Posted 9:28 am U.S. ET, Feb. 20
blogs Hans Greimel is Asia editor for Automotive News.
 
TOKYO -- It took more than half a century, but one of Japan’s biggest Toyota dealers just passed a major milestone. Nagoya Toyopet Corp. sold its 2 millionth new Toyota vehicle on Feb. 16, making it the first independent retailer from Japan’s top manufacturer to reach that rarified stratosphere. The company, run by CEO Kazuo Oguri, started selling Toyotas back in 1956, when few Japan ...
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Volvo captive finance's plan to help spur sales of Volvo's XC90

Posted 3:30 pm U.S. ET, Feb. 19
blogs Jamie LaReau covers the automotive retail beat for Automotive News.
 
The redesigned 2016 Volvo XC90 is “the big” launch facing Volvo’s captive finance company. Just ask Dan Romagnoli. He is the man responsible for making sure dealers get enough financing support to sell the heck out of the crossover when it goes on sale in May. Volvo wants to sell 28,800 XC90s in the U.S. this year. Romagnoli is CEO of Volvo Car Financial Services U.S. I spoke t ...
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GM Financial-Chevy lease exclusivity seems likely

Posted 11:15 am U.S. ET, Feb. 18
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
There wasn’t much doubt, but General Motors disclosed for the first time in an SEC filing on Feb. 4 that it is considering plans to throw all Chevrolet lease incentives to GM Financial instead of sharing them among GM Financial, Ally Financial and U.S. Bank. GM Financial became GM’s exclusive preferred lease lender for the Buick and GMC brands this month and will take over those dutie ...
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Are flat finance fees inevitable? How to lessen the blow

Posted 11:30 am U.S. ET, Feb. 18
blogs Jamie LaReau covers the automotive retail beat for Automotive News.
 
Flat finance fees are coming. And if you now derive more than 40 percent of your F&I revenue per vehicle from a finance reserve, you’re in trouble. So says Larry Dorfman, CEO of F&I provider EasyCare. He warned that flat fees are on the horizon during a conversation on the sidelines of the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in San Francisco last month. Last week I ...
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Buyers make big bets on dealerships in a seller's world

Posted 9:55 am U.S. ET, Feb. 18
blogs Jamie LaReau covers the automotive retail beat for Automotive News.
 
You know it is a seller’s market when the seller can dictate all the shots, and I mean all the shots. I was speaking to a buy-sell adviser this week, who shared an unsolicited anecdote because this adviser was so awe struck by it. The adviser asked not to be identified, but here is the story: A buyer approached the owner of two dealerships, out of the blue, with an offer in the “tens ...
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Have no fear, Hyundai cracks the fuel-cell code

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, Feb. 17
blogs
The biggest issue for Hyundai and other automakers is figuring out how to make and sell fuel cell vehicles profitably. (BLOOMBERG)
RICHARD TRUETT:  CHICAGO -- The valet at the Hyatt Regency hotel rolls up in the hydrogen-fueled Hyundai Tucson and opens the front doors for me and a Hyundai communications executive. Pleasantries are exchanged and then we glide away silently into 10 degree winter weather. If the valet noticed that he was driving the future, he didn’t mention it. Indeed, looking at the Tucson fuel cell vehicle, you wouldn& ...
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National Corvette Museum -- a year after the sinkhole

Posted 10:45 am U.S. ET, Feb. 17
blogs
Eight rare Corvettes were swallowed up by the sinkhole.
GRAHAM KOZAK:  It was just over one year ago that a massive sinkhole appeared on the floor of the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky. Though eight rare Corvettes were swallowed up by the sinkhole, the 20-year-old museum turned the headline-grabbing disaster into a publicity bonanza: Attendance was up 67 percent year-over-year, and the museum seems well-positioned to come out of the whole affair stand ...
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Thanks, but no thanks, to an Apple car

Posted 12:18 pm U.S. ET, Feb. 17
blogs Larry P. Vellequette covers Fiat Chrysler for Automotive News.
 
I know some of you will accuse me of heresy against a Higher Power for saying it, but I don’t like Apple. Never have. That’s why talk that Apple might jump into the car business leaves me not only nonplused but giggling at the thought of how the world’s richest company would translate its current business practices from phones to automobiles. Let’s dispense with these in ...
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Resist the temptation, Apple: Cars are a tricky proposition

Posted 9:13 am U.S. ET, Feb. 14
blogs
Charles Child is news editor for Automotive News.
CHARLES CHILD:  So if media reports are true, Apple wants to join Google in the car business. Apple, please resist -- for your own good. It wasn’t so long ago that the Detroit 3 lurched from one diversification project to another. Chrysler, for instance, built corporate jets in the 1980s when it owned Gulfstream. And General Motors manufactured refrigerators with Frigidaire until 1979. But the automakers ...
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North of U.S. border, mixed blessings from oil's skid

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 14
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The Athabasca Oil Sands near Fort McMurray, Alberta. Fewer new-car sales are expected in Canada's oil-producing provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador. (BLOOMBERG)
JAMES B. TREECE:  TORONTO -- In the U.S., the drop in oil prices is seen as a boost for most of the economy, with some localized pain in the oil patch. Here in Canada, the view is reversed. The media drumbeat has been that resource-rich Canada is going to take a major hit from lower oil and gas receipts. The Toronto Stock Exchange index collapsed in September, when oil prices did, and again in December, although ...
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In praise of consumer-focused auto shows

Posted 2:00 pm U.S. ET, Feb. 13
blogs Jim Treece is retail editor for Automotive News
 
TORONTO -- The auto shows I’ve covered repeatedly for Automotive News are major global shows: Detroit, Tokyo, Beijing and Shanghai. I’ve also been to Chicago, New York, Geneva, Seoul and Frankfurt, but not often or recently enough to really know them. At these global shows, other reporters and I flock to global debuts and chances to interview the bosses of the world’s largest au ...
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Why you can't blame only GM for the Year of the Recall

Posted 10:31 am U.S. ET, Feb. 13
blogs Nick Bunkley reports on Ford for Automotive News.
 
Don’t blame General Motors for the Year of the Recall. At least not entirely. Sure, GM started it. But like those predictable, out-of-control TV sitcom parties that begin by “just inviting a few friends over” when someone’s parents go out of town, it turns out that GM didn’t actually make most of the mess. The finally tally of 2014’s damages came in from fede ...
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In Canada, celebrating the classics

Posted 3:29 pm U.S. ET, Feb. 12
blogs
A 1936 Delahaye Type 135 Competition Court Teardrop Coupe (JAMES B. TREECE)
JAMES B. TREECE:  This week at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, an exhibit called “Art and the Automobile” includes a number of classics and historically significant concepts. Among them: A reconstructed version of Henry Seth Taylor’s 1867 Steam Buggy. Believed to be the oldest car in Canada, the Steam Buggy was designed and built by Taylor, a jeweler and clockmaker, in Stanstea ...
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This is no way to run a railroad

Posted 10:12 am U.S. ET, Feb. 12
blogs Larry P. Vellequette covers Fiat Chrysler for Automotive News.
 
SOMEWHERE EAST of SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- I had originally intended to write this piece about the Chicago Auto Show’s great untapped natural resource, it’s location near the travel hub of North America. I had grand designs to write of how the Chicago auto show -- which already benefits from being housed in the massive and beautiful lakefront McCormick Center -- could truly cement itself a ...
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Japan automakers cut forecasts but enjoy slumping yen.

Posted 6:47 am U.S. ET, Feb. 12
blogs Hans Greimel is Asia editor for Automotive News.
 
TOKYO -- Japan’s earnings season wrapped up this week on what would have been a sour note in any other auto market. Bracing for lower sales at home and in emerging markets, five of Japan’s top six carmakers cut their sales forecasts for the current fiscal year. Only Toyota kept its outlook unchanged. Yet, Japan’s automakers largely laughed it off. Why? Because of the tumbling y ...
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Brady handoff generates more publicity for Colorado

Posted 12:31 pm U.S. ET, Feb. 11
blogs
New England Patriots' cornerback Malcolm Butler made the game-clinching interception in the game's closing seconds. (GM)
VINCE BOND JR.:  Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady made his final handoff of the season Tuesday, a new Chevrolet Colorado for teammate Malcolm Butler. Brady’s gesture gives Chevy another infusion of publicity for the Colorado. What vehicle the Super Bowl MVP receives is normally an afterthought, but Brady’s handoff has kept the Colorado in the news long after the Feb. 1 game. The New England Patriots quarterb ...
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A positive outlook for e-contracting

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 11
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
When it comes to e-contracting, maybe the glass is finally more half full than half empty. Consider that e-contracting accounted for 56 percent of U.S. contracts for Ford Motor Credit Co. in 2014, according to Joy Falotico, executive vice president of marketing, sales and the Americas at the captive. Meanwhile, Toyota Financial Services said in September it was on track to generate 65 percent of ...
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How much damage can GM's financial 'fortress' sustain?

Posted 1:54 pm U.S. ET, Feb. 10
blogs Mike Colias covers General Motors for Automotive News.
 
Editor's note: This blog was updated to clarify details on GM Financial and on Cadillac spending. DETROIT -- Marauders are storming General Motors’ “fortress balance sheet.” Or at least, they’re knocking loudly on the door. Since GM’s 2009 bankruptcy, executives have used that fortress analogy to describe a fiscal philosophy marked by a comfortable cash cushion and ...
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