1:00 pm U.S. ET | Aug. 27, 2015 | UPDATED: 8/27/15 2:39 pm ET - adds detail
Monthly U.S. auto sales are expected to fall for the first time in 19 months in August, but analysts say it's a blip caused by a later-than-usual Labor Day rather than a softening of consumer demand. Still, that could be enough to halt Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' streak of consecutive year-over-year gains after 64 months.
Fiat Chrysler dealers meeting in Las Vegas on Tuesday were wowed by a parade of new products coming to their dealerships, including a Dodge Barracuda convertible and a swoopy next-generation Dodge Charger said to resemble a popular 1999 concept designed by Tom Gale.
Ford is in discussions with the UAW about bringing the Ranger midsize pickup and Bronco SUV back to the U.S. market, according to media reports and a person with knowledge of the talks. The company is considering a plan to build the vehicles at Michigan Assembly Plant near Detroit after production of the Focus and C-Max ends in 2018, the source said.
Toyota's redesigned Prius is still weeks away from its global debut, but new spy photos captured this week give the clearest look yet at the fourth-generation hybrid. Caught during a photo shoot in Malibu, Calif., the latest shots reveal the dramatic front and rear design of the 2016 Prius, set to debut in Las Vegas on Sept. 8.
After reports this week of a ruptured Takata airbag in a Volkswagen vehicle, two U.S. senators today called on Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata to immediately recall all vehicles containing the company's airbags. U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Edward Markey said their move was prompted by an incident in June, in which a Takata airbag inflator in a 2015 VW Tiguan ruptured after a collision
Dealertrack Technologies has moved to clear a regulatory impediment to its merger with Cox Automotive by agreeing to sell its inventory-management software business to DealerSocket for $55 million in cash.
Audi issued a teaser picture and some details of an all-electric SUV that it will launch to rival the upcoming Tesla Model X. The SUV will have a range of more than 310 miles and will go into production in 2018 as the brand's first volume electric car, Audi said.
Toyota said today more than 50 of its employees were injured by Wednesday night's explosions in the Chinese port of Tianjin that killed 56 people. Several other automakers including Volkswagen and Hyundai scrambled to assess damage to their cars and facilities at China's largest auto import hub.
Dean Evans, who managed the feel-good advertising at Subaru from 2011 to 2014 and pushed the automaker to concentrate more strongly on digital marketing, has been hired by Hyundai as its U.S. marketing chief.
After a follow-up test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said Ford "shortchanges" some buyers of its redesigned 2015 F-150 pickups by equipping certain models with protective steel bars while leaving them off others. In response, Ford said it will add "countermeasures" to improve crash-test performance.
TrueCar and Sonic Automotive reached a settlement in TrueCar's lawsuit against the dealership group over trademark infringement. As part of the deal, Sonic agreed to transfer to TrueCar all rights to and use of its True Price, True View and all other True-related marks. Sonic also will lift a ban on using TrueCar at its dealerships.
Mike Accavitti, vice president and general manager of Acura, has abruptly left the company and has been replaced by Jon Ikeda, American Honda Motor said. Ikeda was formerly division director of auto design at Honda's R&D Americas division and has been with Honda since 1989.
Fiat Chrysler is recalling 1.4 million vehicles to close a software loophole that allowed hackers to remotely take control of a 2014 Jeep Cherokee. The company previously only advised owners to download a software patch or take their vehicle to a dealer to have it installed.
Johnson Controls plans to spin off its automotive seating and interiors businesses, which will operate as an independent, publicly traded company. Bruce McDonald, currently JCI's vice chairman and executive vice president, will become chairman and CEO of the new company.
GM's strong second-quarter results in China seemed to allay investors' concerns that a slowdown in Chinese demand would dent the company's bottom line. The automaker posted net income of $1.1 billion last quarter, fueled by strong demand for pickups and SUVs, and higher pretax profit and margins in China.
Tesla Motors, channeling a moment from the Mel Brooks comedy “Spaceballs,” announced a $10,000 option on its newest Model S variant that runs zero to 60 in a face-stretching 2.8 seconds -- a feature Tesla calls "Ludicrous Mode." That compares with 3.2 seconds for the "Insane Mode" setting on its previous high-end model.
Chevrolet is scrapping the long-running dual stacked headlights on the freshened 2016 Silverado and giving the hot-selling pickup a mean-machine look. The 2016 model also adds a more muscular hood and a new front fascia. The changes are designed to keep the truck competitive against Ford's revamped F-150 and Fiat Chrysler's Ram 1500.
AutoNation is severing ties with TrueCar following a protracted contract dispute centered on access to customer data. AutoNation informed TrueCar executives that its dealerships would stop using the Internet vehicle shopping service at the end of July. AutoNation says 226 of its 240 U.S. stores use TrueCar.
U.S. light-vehicle sales, fueled by strong truck volume at Nissan, Fiat Chrysler, Honda and Toyota, rose 3.9 percent last month as the industry continued to climb toward one of its biggest sales years ever. The seasonally adjusted sales rate came in at 17.16 million, slightly below forecasts, and down from May's 17.78 million rate but higher than the 16.91 million pace set in June 2014.
Toyota said Julie Hamp, its first female managing officer, had resigned following her arrest last month on suspicion of illegally importing the painkiller oxycodone into Japan. Hamp, 55, notified Toyota of her intent to resign, the company said in a statement today.
Osamu Suzuki, the outspoken patriarch of Suzuki Motor, positioned his son Toshihiro as his successor, appointing him president and COO of the family's namesake carmaker. Osamu Suzuki will keep his positions as chairman and CEO.
Hyundai and the NFL jointly announced a four-year sponsorship deal today as the Korean automaker continued its push into sports marketing. The new sponsorship, which replaces General Motors, allows Hyundai to use NFL trademarks in its own advertising.
U.S. auto sales have shown no signs of weakening this month after a blowout performance in May, with forecasters projecting an industrywide gain of about 5 percent to close out the best spring in a decade.
The Alfa Romeo Giulia's most sporty version will offer more power than rival models from BMW and Mercedes-Benz because it will use Maserati's Ferrari-derived 510-hp V-6 engine. Dubbed the Giulia Quadrifoglio, the car was unveiled today at the Alfa Romeo museum near Milan.
Ford said its work on autonomous vehicles has moved into the second of three phases, shifting "from a research effort to an advanced engineering program" that brings the technology closer to production.
Kia topped all other nonpremium brands in J.D. Power and Associates' latest survey of new-vehicle quality for the first time ever, while Japanese brands fell below the industry average -- another first in the study's 29-year history.
Cox Automotive's $4 billion blockbuster acquisition of Dealertrack Technologies brings together software giants with complementary strengths and little product overlap, the CEOs of the two companies said today.
BMW's sixth-generation 7-series flagship sedan will use gee-whiz technology aimed at keeping buyers from defecting to rivals. Features include the largest head-up display in the industry, fully autonomous parking and the world's first use of gesture-recognition controls in a production car.
Johnson Controls said it is "exploring strategic options" for its automotive business -- the first step in the possible sale or spinoff of its seating and interiors units. CEO Alex Molinaroli said the company “had no specific timetable for the completion of the strategic review, which includes a full range of strategic options for the automotive business.”
On the verge of UAW negotiations, Fiat Chrysler said Al Iacobelli -- its head of North American employee relations -- is retiring and is being replaced with the HR head in Mexico. Iacobelli, 55, who has been a key driver of Chrysler's labor relations for more than a decade, “has announced his plans to retire from the company” effective immediately, FCA US said in a statement today.
Automakers and suppliers can expect tougher data requests and more frequent audits from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the agency said today as it outlined a plan to prevent safety lapses similar to General Motors' ignition switch crisis of 2014.
GM has assigned Bryan Nesbitt the new global head of design for Buick amid a broader shuffling of design executives at the company. Nesbitt shot to fame when he penned Chrysler's retro-styled PT Cruiser. He joined GM in 2001.
Light-vehicle sales -- fueled by robust demand for trucks, crossovers and SUVs -- rose 1.6 percent last month, setting a May record and bucking projections for a modest decline. FCA, Honda, GM, Kia and Subaru generated gains while Ford, Nissan, Toyota and Hyundai fell as the industry enjoyed the strongest pace of sales in nearly a decade.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is reducing its powertrain warranty for the 2016 model year to five years or 60,000 miles from five years or 100,000 miles. The move follows a similar change in March by General Motors.
Chevrolet is giving the sixth-generation Camaro a leaner design and a broader engine lineup as it tries to challenge the revitalized Ford Mustang for pony car sales supremacy. The 2016 Camaro coupe retains the overall shape of the late 1960s-era cars, but loses some of the hard edges of today's model.
Volvo has chosen a site in South Carolina for a $500 million investment in its first U.S. plant, the automaker said today, targeting a bigger share of the increasingly competitive North American premium market.
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.