Fiat Chrysler, seeking to curb the industry's “dramatic” turnover rate among dealership employees, said it will offer “no-cost, no-debt” college educations to workers at participating U.S. dealerships.
Ford, which has forecast a "breakthrough year" for itself after remaking a large swath of its global lineup, today said its first-quarter net income fell 6.6 percent to $924 million as the launch of its aluminum-bodied pickup cut production.
New-vehicle sales in the United States are projected to reach the highest April level in a decade, capping the best four-month start to a year since 2001. Four forecasts -- calling for a year-over-year increase of about 5 percent to 6 percent this month -- show the industry remains on track to finish 2015 right around 17 million units, a threshold last crossed in 2001. TrueCar.
Ferdinand Piech, a towering figure at Volkswagen for more than two decades, resigned as chairman on Saturday after losing a showdown with CEO Martin Winterkorn. Piech, the 78-year-old grandson of the inventor of the VW Beetle, had previously ousted other executives who crossed him, including his hand-picked successor as Volkswagen CEO, Bernd Pischetsrieder.
General Motors posted stout first-quarter profits from truck sales in North America, but trouble in Russia and Brazil and lingering fallout from last year's recall binge kept a lid on earnings. GM's operating income excluding onetime items -- the figure that GM says best reflects its core performance -- was $2.08 billion.
BMW Group, which thinks computerized headsets such as Google Glass could be the next big thing, has unveiled a prototype of goggles that turn the world into a digital display, making it easier to follow navigation directions and park in a BMW or Mini.
Opening its purse after a three-year expansion freeze, Toyota announced plans today to spend nearly $1.5 billion on a new factory in Mexico and a new line in China to support sales growth in key markets and underpin a global overhaul in the way it builds vehicles.
Ford plans to announce on Friday an investment of about $2.5 billion in Mexico, industry sources told Reuters. Ford will invest $1.3 billion to expand its plant in northern Chihuahua state, where it will build two new diesel engines. Another $1.2 billion is destined for a transmission plant in central Guanajuato state, the sources said.
In a shake-up at Hyundai-Kia, Byung Mo Ahn, group vice chairman and CEO of Kia Motors America and Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, will leave those posts for an advisory role. Meanwhile, Michael Sprague, 49, was promoted to the newly created role of COO of Kia Motors America.
Daimler will expand its cooperation with Nissan to develop a midsize pickup for Mercedes-Benz. The new pickup will target commercial and private clients and will share some of the underpinnings with an all-new Nissan NP300 truck.
Just three years after giving its Civic compact a major overhaul, Honda is doing it again. The company's latest compact is based on a new global platform with a distinctly American pedigree. The car's sporty turn is aimed at luring coveted Generation Y buyers now in their 20s and 30s.
German auto parts giant Robert Bosch agreed to plead guilty to price-fixing and pay a $57.8 million fine for its role in conspiring to rig bids for spark plugs, oxygen sensors and starter motors sold to the Detroit 3 automakers, the U.S. Department of Justice said today.
Cadillac continued its comeback quest by introducing the CT6, a rear-wheel-drive sedan rivaling the Mercedes S class in size while being touted for the driving performance of a smaller car. Extensive use of aluminum allowed GM to field a model 200 pounds lighter than BMW's 5 series.
Volvo will spend about $500 million to build its first assembly plant in the United States as part of an ambitious effort to jump-start lagging sales. The automaker is talking to three states on a possible location and plans to start production in 2018.
Lincoln is resurrecting the Continental name and phasing out the brand's signature split-wing grille. A full-size sedan named the Continental will go on sale in North America and China in 2016. Lincoln will then discontinue the MKS, which perennially has been one of the slowest-selling cars in its segment.
Mercedes plans to launch its first pickup truck by 2020, targeting sales at the European, Latin American, Australian and South African markets. The automaker hasn't decided yet whether to sell the pickup in the U.S, Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, told the Wall Street Journal.
Automotive News today won the Grand Neal Award for its coverage of the GM ignition-switch recall crisis. The Grand Neal, given by the Association of Business Information and Media Companies, marks the pinnacle of achievement in business-to-business media. It was the first time a Crain Communications publication received the honor.
The Federal Trade Commission is broadening its enforcement of car dealerships to crack down on deception and fraud in operations that go beyond advertising. The latest actions, announced today, also target auto-loan application fraud and deceptive practices related to add-on products and services.
March could be just the sixth month since 2009 in which the U.S. auto industry posts a year-over-year sales decline, a sign the market is starting to flatten out after one of the longest stretches of growth ever.
General Motors' Opel division will exit the plunging Russian market and abandon production at its plant in St. Petersburg by the end of the year. In addition, Chevrolet will scale back its presence in Russia, selling “iconic” U.S.-built models such as the Corvette, Camaro and Tahoe.
Plaintiffs suing GM over faulty ignition switches have gained access to previously confidential documents produced by the automaker, and their attorneys plan to depose current and former top executives this year. Two of the plaintiffs' lawyers contend the documents contradict conclusions reached by GM's internal investigation last year.
The Georgia parents who forced GM to acknowledge an ignition switch defect linked to the deaths of their daughter and at least 64 other people have settled a second case against the company, their lawyers said today. The terms of the new settlement are confidential. GM revealed the ignition switch defect in February 2014, when it announced a recall that was eventually expanded to cover 2.
General Motors plans to cut its powertrain warranty on Chevrolet and GMC vehicles for the 2016 model year, concluding that its standout offer of 100,000-mile coverage -- in place for nearly a decade -- wasn't a strong enough selling point.
Dealers representing 117 new-car franchises are suing TrueCar for more than $250 million, claiming they are victims of false advertising and unfair competition. In the complaint, the dealers argue that TrueCar's advertisements falsely claim that consumers who use the vehicle-shopping site's services can buy a car without haggling or negotiations.
GM will buy back $5 billion in shares by the end of 2016 and return "all available" free cash flow to shareholders, a move that sidesteps a proxy battle with activist investor Harry Wilson. A former member of the federal automotive task force that restructured the company in 2009, Wilson will withdraw his nomination to join GM's board at its June meeting.
Toyota will elevate U.S. executive Julie Hamp and add Europe boss Didier Leroy to its board in a wide shuffle at the automaker. The overhaul also consolidates power in North America under regional CEO Jim Lentz, who will also assume oversight of the region's sprawling manufacturing operations.
General Motors plans to roughly double its total spending on its GMC truck brand over the next decade with the goal of boosting its U.S. market share by two-thirds, the brand's top executive said today. Duncan Aldred, vice president of the GMC and Buick brands, said the doubling of investment in GMC will cut across vehicle development, marketing and other areas.
Toyota's Lexus claimed its fourth consecutive title as most-dependable automotive brand after three years of ownership while corporate sibling Scion jumped to ninth place from 22nd a year earlier, J.D. Power and Associates said today. Buick came in at No. 2, rising three spots from last year.
U.S. auto sales are on pace for the best February since 2002, forecasters say, even as relentless snow slowed demand in the Northeast. February is expected to mark the 12th consecutive month of year-over-year gains for the industry.
British sports car manufacturer McLaren Automotive plans to introduce the 675LT at next week’s Geneva auto show. The sleek coupe can top 120 mph in a faster amount of time than many normal cars can get to 60 mph.
Buick climbed into the Top 10 while Acura, Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz fell hard in the latest report card on reliability and performance from Consumer Reports. Lexus finished No. 1 for the third straight year, ahead of a rising Mazda. Fiat Chrysler's Fiat brand came in last, just below corporate sibling Jeep.
Honda President Takanobu Ito said he will step down and named Takahiro Hachigo, an r&d executive with wide international experience, as his replacement following a string of quality lapses that spurred a round of internal reforms.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today slapped Takata with a $14,000-per-day fine for failing to "fully cooperate" with the agency's investigation into exploding airbag inflators made by the supplier that have been linked to at least six deaths. NHTSA also warned Takata that it will refer the situation to the Department of Justice if it fails to remedy the situation.
General Motors has named Craig Glidden, the top attorney at a global plastics and chemicals refiner, to succeed departing chief counsel Michael Millikin. Glidden, 57, oversaw legal, communications, government-affairs and compliance functions at LyondellBasell Industries, a Dutch company with US headquarters in Houston. Before that, he was general counsel at Chevron Phillips Chemical Co.
Michael Bartsch, a former Porsche executive hired in 2013 to lead Infiniti in the Americas, has left the company in the latest executive shakeup at Nissan's luxury brand. Bartsch has been replaced by Randy Parker, who has been vice president of Nissan's Western Region, Infiniti said in a statement today.
Apple is hiring automotive technology and design experts to staff up a top-secret research lab, with the possible intention of building a car, the Financial Times reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The Wall Street Journal reported the project, code-named “Titan,” has an initial design of a vehicle that resembles a minivan.
Ford is adding 1,550 hourly employees in the first quarter to increase output of its aluminum-bodied F-150 pickup. The hires will cause between 300 and 500 UAW members earning Tier 2 hourly wages of $19.28 today to rise to top-tier status with hourly wages of $28.50.
General Motors said its fourth-quarter pretax profit rose 27 percent to $2.41 billion, its best fourth-quarter result since the 2009 bankruptcy, thanks to stronger pricing across its major markets and stout pickup and SUV sales in North America.
Booming North America powered Toyota to a 27 percent operating profit increase in the October-December quarter even as sales shrank in every other major market. The region was Toyota's only bright spot as the company cut its sales outlooks for Japan, Europe and Asia.
Ford has exceeded its cap on employees earning second-tier wages and will promote 55 workers hired in 2010 to its top wage scale, the UAW said late Friday. It would be the first time since the UAW agreed to two-tier wages in 2007 that any of the union's members have been moved up to the higher pay scale.
Ford posted a drop in fourth-quarter profit and said earnings fell 56 percent in 2014 as it introduced 24 vehicles worldwide while US market share declined. CFO Bob Shanks predicted "a lot of strong growth numbers from Ford in 2015."
Wall Street powerhouse Soros Fund Management is ready to move on a deal to acquire auto dealerships, a representative of the fund said at a private dinner Saturday in San Francisco, according to two sources who attended the event. Soros is prepared to invest as much as $1 billion on dealerships, one of the sources said.
Toyota defended its crown as the world's biggest automaker in 2014, keeping a slim lead over Volkswagen. But Toyota forecast sales to slump 1 percent in the current calendar year, on the back of slowing demand in Japan and emerging markets.
Volvo is reshuffling its North American management, moving CEO Tony Nicolosi to head of its finance company for the Americas and bringing global corporate product strategy chief Lex Kerssemakers to replace him.
Established car companies must accelerate the development and sale of electric vehicles, despite a drastic decline in oil prices, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk said today during a speech to auto executives at the Automotive News World Congress.
With three engines -- including a Cummins diesel V-8 -- two frame sizes and three bed lengths, the redesigned Titan coming this fall is Nissan's ambitious new push to become a true contender in the tough full-size pickup market. The revamped pickup, unveiled today at the Detroit auto show, is intended to make the Titan appealing to a wider audience from construction workers to suburbanites.
Volkswagen of America plans to add about 100 new dealerships to its US retail network through 2018 as part of its plan to revive its growth in the market. Michael Horn, one year into his tenure as CEO of Volkswagen of America, told reporters at the Detroit auto show that VW wants to add the additional 100 rooftops in open points where the VW brand currently lacks a presence.
The second-generation Chevrolet Volt will go about 50 miles on an electric charge, up from 38 on today's model, as General Motors looks to broaden the plug-in hybrid's appeal beyond environmentalists and tech geeks.
Volkswagen is mobilizing an SUV and crossover offensive over the next few years to strengthen its presence in those fast-growing segments and revive the VW brand's sagging U.S. sales. A long-wheelbase Tiguan crossover assembled in North America will arrive in the market in 2017, Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn said in remarks prepared for delivery today.
Honda agreed to pay a record $70 million in fines and submit to stricter oversight for failing to tell the US government about warranty claims and more than 1,700 injuries and deaths linked to potential defects in its cars.
Cadillac is cutting prices on its CTS sedan in the US by as much as $3,000, a partial walk back of a big price increase 15 months ago that dealers say has driven away some loyal buyers. Cadillac told dealers in a memo that it will reduce sticker prices on most 2015 CTS models by $1,000 to $3,000, effective today.
Ford today said Mark LaNeve, a former top sales executive at General Motors, will take over as its new head of US sales, marketing and service as of Feb. 1. LaNeve, 55, replaces John Felice, who was the company's US sales chief for only 15 months. Ford said Felice, 53, “has elected to retire” after a 30-year career at the automaker.
Toyota's struggling Scion brand will add a sedan to its lineup for the first time as it battles slumping sales in the United States. The sedan will be introduced in April at the New York auto show along with the all-new Scion iM five-door hatchback, the brand said in a statement today.
Mercedes-Benz USA will relocate its headquarters from New Jersey to Atlanta to lower operating costs and to chase sales growth it foresees in the South. Beginning in June, Mercedes will move from New Jersey to temporary offices in Atlanta, where it will build a greenfield headquarters complex by the end of 2017.
Forecasters say U.S. new-vehicle sales likely jumped 10 percent in December, bringing the total for 2014 to 16.5 million, beating even the most optimistic projections from early in the year. The month was filled with good reasons for consumers to buy a new car or truck: big discounts, very little snow and gasoline prices falling like a rock.
Ford will use the first-ever College Football Playoff to launch the advertising campaign for the redesigned F-150, but viewers won't hear a word about how the truck's lighter aluminum body helps improve fuel efficiency. The initial series of three commercials aims to show that the switch from steel to lighter-weight aluminum makes the F-150 more durable and stronger.
Takata, the auto supplier embroiled in a global safety crisis, said today its president, Stefan Stocker, would step down and CEO Shigehisa Takada, 48, would once again assume the role to unify the company's response to the recall of millions of vehicles carrying defective airbags.
Several automakers, led by Chrysler, will be working overtime during the Christmas and New Year's holiday period at North American plants that build SUVs, crossovers and pickups, signaling confidence that the U.S. light-truck market will remain hot heading into 2015.
Hyundai and affiliate Kia hired Albert Biermann, chief engineer for BMW's M performance cars and light trucks, to develop performance models and improve ride and handling. As executive vice president, Biermann will become the South Korean automakers' second-highest foreign executive after design chief Peter Schreyer, formerly of Audi.
FCA US, the former Chrysler Group, said Friday it will replace driver-side airbag inflators in as many as 3.3 million more older-model vehicles, in a capitulation to a demand by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Mark Rosekind, confirmed to head the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, faces immediate pressure to take a tougher stance with automakers and suppliers on safety matters, reset the agency's culture and manage the coming wave of autonomous-vehicle and other advanced technologies.
Chrysler is Chrysler no more. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the Netherlands-based parent company of what was Chrysler Group LLC, said today that it has changed the name of its United States affiliate from Chrysler Group to FCA US LLC.
General Motors is offering to repair customers' Chevrolet Cobalts and other older small cars to prevent keys from getting stuck in the ignition, but the company said it isn't issuing a recall because the problem doesn't pose a safety risk.
The Ford Mustang, Hyundai Genesis and the Volkswagen Golf were named finalists today for North American Car of the Year, while the Lincoln MKC, Ford F-150 and the Chevy Colorado were named truck/utility finalists.
Honda President Takanobu Ito said his company is planning to launch a worldwide investigative airbag recall, just days after extending a similar callback in the United States. Ito also expressed frustration with the response of Japanese airbag supplier Takata, but said Honda will offer support if Takata tips into financial difficulties.
BMW said CEO Norbert Reithofer would step down in May, one year early, and hand the reins of the luxury carmaker to production chief Harald Krueger. Reithofer, who has run BMW since 2006, is slated to succeed Joachim Milberg as chairman of the company's supervisory board, BMW said in a statement today.
Peter Grady will retire as head of Chrysler Group's dealer network on March 31, and will step down as head of Maserati North America at the first of the year. Grady, 54, will retain his current responsibilities until then, Chrysler said in a written statement today.
Bob Thomas, who led Nissan's United States sales operations in the 1990s before joining AutoNation and Edmunds, has died in Hawaii. Thomas died November 23 after a brief illness, according to friends and former colleagues. He was 69.
Robert Rewey, a former Ford sales and marketing chief who helped the company become dominant in the SUV market, pioneered leasing as an alternative to traditional financing and pushed a controversial consolidation of Ford's dealership network in the late 1990s, died Saturday at his home in Palm Beach, Fla., after a brief illness.
The U.S. auto industry may post its highest November sales volume since 2001, and one forecaster says light-vehicle transaction prices are on pace to reach the highest level ever for a second consecutive month. Year-end clearance sales and the lowest gasoline prices since 2010 are two big factors behind the forecasts.
Safety regulators have closed investigations into about 500,000 Ford Motor and about 100,000 General Motors vehicles without calling for recalls, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said today.
Takata's plant in Ciudad Frontera, Mexico, has been confirmed as the source of defective airbags made in 2001 and 2002 and again around 2012, Reuters reported today, citing information from recall records, automakers and regulators. In 2006, the factory blew up -- driving home for workers and residents the volatility and risk of the explosive compound at the core of Takata's airbags.
Takata plans to shift production of BMW airbag inflators from Mexico to Germany, BMW said on Wednesday in a filing with federal safety regulators who have been probing questions about the quality of manufacturing at the plant.
President Barack Obama nominated transportation expert Mark Rosekind to lead the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which has come under heavy criticism this year for a perceived slow response to major recalls and safety concerns.
Hyundai Motor America marketing chief Steve Shannon, the General Motors veteran who joined Hyundai in 2011 to help the Korean brand continue its ascendance in the United States market, has parted ways with the company.
Delphi Automotive agreed to give thousands of documents to lawyers suing General Motors over faulty ignition switches and to let the lawyers speak with the supplier's employees in exchange for being dropped as a defendant.
Ford global marketing chief Jim Farley will move to Germany to steer Ford of Europe starting January 1 in a job swap with European boss Stephen Odell, the company said. Odell, who has led European operations for Ford since 2010, will succeed Farley as executive vice president in charge of global marketing, sales and service, Ford said in a statement today.
Chrysler Group today reported net income rose 32 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier to $611 million as strong sales of its Jeep and Ram lines bolstered profits. Chrysler gained just over one point of market share in the United States over the same period a year ago to 12.3 percent on sales of 1,556,059 vehicles.
U.S. light-vehicle sales, led by double-digit increases at Chrysler Group and Nissan Motor, rose 6 percent last month to 1.28 million, matching forecasts, with crossovers and light trucks fueling much of the industry's gains. The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate, a broad measure of the industry's health, hit 16.5 million, slightly above projections and up 7 percent from 15.
Fiat Chrysler's quality chief has left the company, a day after the automaker ranked last in a closely watched scorecard on vehicle reliability in the United States. Doug Betts, 51, who joined Chrysler from Nissan in 2007, will “pursue other interests,” Chrysler said in a statement today.
New light-vehicle sales are expected to rise about 6 percent in the United States this month from last October to about 1.27 million vehicles, according to three forecasts. It would be the highest October sales volume since 2004.
Ford CEO Mark Fields today delivered the first report card on his performance since taking over for Alan Mulally. He gave every sign that he'll have more to show off next year. While earnings and revenue fell, Fields said new vehicles on tap will deliver "strong, profitable growth."
GM's record transaction prices in North America and booming sales in China weren't enough to offset weakness in just about every other region, as the company's third-quarter operating profit fell 14 percent.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill today that effectively bars Tesla Motors' direct-sales model in the state. While Tesla's model was already prohibited in Michigan, the wording of its franchise law left an opening that the automaker could potentially exploit as it has in Massachusetts, where dealers unsuccessfully tried to stop it from operating a store there.
GM's top lawyer, Michael Millikin, 66, is retiring three months after he withstood withering criticism by lawmakers for his department's handling of GM's deadly ignition switch defect. The company said it will begin an immediate external search for his replacement.
The average fuel economy of cars and light trucks, driven by wider use of technology, rose to a record 24.1 mpg in the 2013 model year, though the pace of improvement slowed. Fuel economy will average 24.2 mpg across the industry for 2014 models, the EPA estimated, but cautioned the final figure will likely be revised higher.
Cadillac will offer a plug-in hybrid version of the CT6 large sedan scheduled to debut late next year. GM global product chief Mark Reuss said the plug-in hybrid would get at least 70 mpg. The CT6 will also be powered by a six-cylinder, turbocharged engine that makes around 400 hp.
GM instructed dealers to halt deliveries of the new 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups because of a pending safety recall to fix an airbag defect, just two weeks after shipments began for the high-profile launch.
The next-generation Jeep Wrangler may be built off a unibody platform, feature smaller and turbocharged engines, and switch to an aluminum body, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said today. Such significant changes to the hot-selling SUV would likely mean leaving its longtime, historic production site in Toledo, Ohio, Marchionne added.
Chrysler Group, struggling to keep pace with demand for one of its newest products, plans to boost output of light-duty Ram pickups equipped with diesel engines. The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel will account for 20 percent of the light-duty Ram pickup's annual production volume, up from 10 percent now, Chrysler said today, without giving details.
Ford aims to raise global sales 52 percent annually by 2020 by tapping fast-growing Asian markets, investing heavily in Lincoln, and expanding its global offerings of small cars and utility vehicles. But company officials today warned 2014 profits will be sharply lower than previous estimates because of higher warranty outlays and wider losses in South America.
Ford is recalling 850,050 2013 and 2014 vehicles for an electrical flaw that could cause airbags and seat belt pretensioners to malfunction in the event of a crash. The affected vehicles include the 2013-14 Ford C-Max, Fusion, Escape and Lincoln MKZ. Ford said the restraints-control module in the vehicles could short circuit, causing the airbag warning indicator to illuminate.
September U.S. auto sales are expected to come in about 10 percent higher than a year ago, according to four analysts' estimates, with no sign of a typical post-Labor Day slowdown. With three months to go, analysts are increasingly confident that total industry sales for the year will reach at least 16.4 million.