Automotive News Table of Contents

September 26, 2016

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Can Chevy capitalize on Bolt's head start?
Author: Nick Bunkley

General Motors is on the verge of beating Wall Street's automotive darling, Tesla, to market with the first 200-mile electric vehicle for less than $40,000.

Texas fairground set for pickup battles
Author: Laurence Iliff

Texans' love affair with the pickup truck is being put to the test as the economy softens, dragged down by Houston's contracting energy sector and a strong dollar weighing on the state's sizable export sector.

Big auto shows forced to share the spotlight
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

Nissan's effort to grab headlines with a solo launch event in Miami shows how automakers increasingly are weighing alternatives to the major international auto shows.

A dealer's nightmare: $2 million embezzled
Author: Amy Wilson

Ford dealer O.C. Welch was stunned a year ago to find out his assistant comptroller was embezzling from him. On Sept. 15, she was sentenced to eight years in prison for stealing nearly $2 million from Welch's South Carolina dealership.

Dealer’s hard line on recalls costs him
Author: Ryan Beene

At his Florida Toyota dealership, Earl Stewart implemented a hard-and-fast ban on selling used cars with unrepaired safety recalls. He won't even wholesale used cars with open recalls. It hasn't been easy.

Diversification eases suppliers' r&d burden
Author: David Sedgwick

Diversified companies are finding that far-flung businesses may be a secret weapon in developing new automotive technologies.

Volvo revival reaches 'end of the beginning'
Author: Diana T. Kurylko

Volvo Car USA has turned a corner with two of its four 90 series vehicles on sale and two others due early next year, says its CEO.

Aston: DB11 Volante due in '18
Author: Nick Gibbs

Aston Martin will launch the convertible Volante version of the new DB11 coupe in spring 2018, the company announced on Twitter.

Bigger 7-seater for Subaru

Subaru is trying again with a new seven-seat crossover that will replace the ill-fate Tribeca in 2018.

Ford Focus EV gets faster charges, 100-mile range
Author: Nick Gibbs

Ford will give the slow-selling Focus Electric more range and quicker charging times in an upgrade due at year end, the company said.

Next-gen Jeep Compass surfaces in Brazil
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Spy photographers in Brazil caught the next-generation Jeep Compass in the middle of a photo shoot completely undisguised earlier this month.

VW considers small crossovers for U.S.
Author: Jens Meiners

Volkswagen is pondering a growth plan for North America that includes expansion of its portfolio to lower segments, particularly small crossovers.

McLaren and Apple: Perfect together?
Author: Nick Gibbs

McLaren may be the only carmaker that makes sense for Apple to purchase since it has the benefit of being nimble, focused on high-tech and tuned in to the art of aerodynamics.

September Equinox

The 2018 Equinox, unveiled aptly on Sept. 22, will be the first compact crossover offered in North America with a turbocharged diesel engine, according to General Motors.

Tesla's Autopilot upgrade keeps kids in mind
Author: Katie Burke

Tesla Motors' most recent Autopilot upgrade does a better job of reminding drivers that it doesn't put the car in self-driving mode and that it's actually more of a next-level cruise-control setting.

Ex-refugee is right at home selling cars
Author: Arlena Sawyers

When Ron Marhofer Chevrolet hired Bishnu Rai a year ago, it gave the group an opportunity to grow sales among the Bhutanese and Nepalese that have immigrated into the Akron area. Rai is on track to earn 50 percent more than he did at his previous job.

VW marketing chief sees opening with immigrants
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

Volkswagen figures Hispanics migrating to the U.S. likely are familiar with the brand when they arrive.

Between Canada and a hard place
Author: Keith Crain

The ongoing contract talks between the Detroit 3 and Canada's Unifor union expose a real dilemma.

Free trade's fallout needs to be discussed
Author: Dave Guilford

Until we seriously address the issue of retraining laid-off workers and revitalizing hard-hit communities, the anxiety and anger we're seeing in this election will continue.

In the know and at the show

Car companies are smart to give closer scrutiny to their auto show spending. Some are skipping the expensive show exhibits -- as Ford is this week in Paris -- and in some cases they're relying on piggyback events nearby.

Why does politics leave this industry so tongue-tied?

For the third consecutive presidential election cycle, the automotive industry and its business practices have been thrust into the middle of a political fight.

Dealership challenge foiled by letter of the law
Author: Eric Freedman

When Rick Case Maserati applied to open a new point in Davie, Fla., nearby competitor Maserati of Fort Lauderdale wasn't pleased. So it filed a protest with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

Infiniti readies Q60 for coupe resurgence
Author: Lindsay Chappell

Infiniti goes for a wow factor with its redesigned Q60 coupe, with a sleeker body design and more powerful engine choices.

VW answers Subaru with Alltrack

Volkswagen's family of Golfs gets a taller and more rugged sibling with the October arrival of the Golf Alltrack.

Beepi enters market for older used cars
Author: Jim Henry

Beepi, an online used-car marketplace that competes with dealerships, is looking to expand into older used cars. The new service, called Beepi Blue, will buy those cars from private individuals and sell them at wholesale auctions.

Kia expects big boost in CPO
Author: Arlena Sawyers

Kia expects to sell 75,000 CPO units this year. More off-lease vehicles, more CPO listings online and more full-time CPO reps calling on dealers can make that happen, said Kia's manager of CPO and remarketing.

Infiniti still believes in feats of clay
Author: Hans Greimel

In a world of digital design, old-school clay models may seem an anachronism that will someday fade away. But Infiniti's top designer says the iconic modeling medium is here to stay.

At GM: 'An engineer in a designer's body'
Author: Richard Truett

At a time when technology is transforming the automobile, newly promoted GM gearhead Mike Simcoe may be the industry's prototypical design chief.

BMW designers work inside out
Author: Christiaan Hetzner

When the creative minds behind BMW's Vision Next 100 sat down to conceive an autonomous driving car of the future, their approach was something of a revolution for the century-old company.

FCA's Busse goes slow with Italian legends
Author: Nick Gibbs

After 10 years designing in Detroit, Klaus Busse says he's been careful not to meddle with the controls too quickly in his new job running Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' historic Centro Stile studio in Italy.

Lincoln's lines fall into place
Author: Jens Meiners

Since taking over as Lincoln's design director nearly three years ago, David Woodhouse has launched a design language signified by a unique grille look and classic proportions.

Sometimes it all hinges on hinges
Author: Hans Greimel

One might think the hardest part about executing the curvaceously creased Infiniti Q60 sports coupe would be delicately stamping the scalloped sheet metal.

China taps Europe's design talent
Author: Jens Meiners

When Mini chief designer Anders Warming abruptly bid his employer goodbye in July, it was a surprise -- and it stung.

Pininfarina hits reset under Mahindra
Author: David Undercoffler

The last decade has been unkind to the Pininfarina; previous excellence pays only so many bills. Thus, under new ownership and with fundamental changes to mobility looming in the coming decade, the Italian powerhouse is reshaping itself for the future.

The real secret to striking design
Author: Christiaan Hetzner

Even the most beautifully sketched exterior remains just an idea on a piece of paper if, in the end, it can't be pressed into actual metal.

54 bits of brilliance on today's cars

To understand the genius of the modern car business, have a look at modern cars. Here is a sampling of design elements and wildly imaginative features found in cars and concepts unveiled in the past year or so.

Marc Lichte on the new shape of Audi
Author: Jens Meiners

When Marc Lichte took over Audi's design department in February 2014, a sense of stability returned to an operation that had suffered from considerable friction -- and a new styling direction.

'Autonomous is one everyone's mind'
Author: Bradford Wernle

Adient, emerging as an independent company as Johnson Controls spins off its seat-making operations, plans to make a big play in the autonomous vehicle space.

Try to fit a pickup truck in a box
Author: Nick Gibbs

Legendary Formula 1 designer Gordon Murray, who also created the first McLaren road car, has turned to a new project, a truck for emerging markets that comes pre-packaged in a box, like IKEA furniture.

Detroit 3 will skep a step in autonomy
Author: Katie Burke

Detroit 3 technology chiefs say their companies plan to skip a major step on the path to autonomous vehicles.

Paris auto show: It's electric
Author: Paul McVeigh

Germany's automakers will use the Paris auto show to highlight their latest battery technologies as they seek to recapture ground from Tesla.

Autonomous policy will strengthen regulators
Author: Ryan Beene

For the first time, the auto industry has a clear path ahead of it for the development and deployment of self-driving cars. But federal regulators will be right with them, just one lane over.

Inrix warms to Google's Waze
Author: Katie Burke

Traffic data supplier Inrix has agreed to provide data for the mapping app Waze that will help drivers find a parking spot more quickly. The partnership pairs Inrix with Waze's owner, Google, a company that it once deemed a competitor to its vision for in-car services.

Intel exec: In-vehicle content delivery to be $5 billion industry
Author: Katie Burke

In-vehicle content delivery figures to be a major emerging business opportunity.

Nissan makes the most of Miami show
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

Nissan felt the Miami International Auto Show was an ideal spot to reveal the Rogue because it's a prime market to reach Hispanic buyers. Nissan is among the leading brands for Hispanic consumers, with a market share around 12 percent among that demographic, according to IHS.

Bolt a chance for GM to atone for EV1 error

In the 1990s, bottom-line-focused leadership killed GM's EV1.

Musk power ballad takes off

One power metal band's song is all about Elon Musk.

Why Cadillac's head-turners don't turn up on the road

The Cadillac Escala Concept - star attraction at Monterey Car Week in California last month - suggests the future of Cadillac styling, says Mike Simcoe, General Motors new head of global design. But why don't mouth-watering concepts such as the Escala and the Cadillac Elmiraj get produced?