BLOG: Lindsay Chappell

Infiniti gives a glimpse of Geneva's QX30

Posted 6:43 am U.S. ET, Feb. 5
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The QX30 crossover will join the Q30 hatchback and a third unidentified new-entry compact.
NASHVILLE -- Infiniti retailers face a product drought for most of 2015. And if most of them don’t seem particularly worried about it, it is because of images like this one, released Thursday by Infiniti, teasing a peek of the upcoming QX30 crossover. The barely discernible shape is that of a compact crossover concept that Infiniti will unveil at the Geneva auto sho ...
     Continue reading "Infiniti gives a glimpse of Geneva's QX30" » Feb 5, 2015 6:43 am U.S. ET
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Sometimes success comes from a loving push

Posted 12:00 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 24
SAN FRANCISCO -- A few months ago, I interviewed a West Virginia car dealer named Mike Wood. You might have caught the article we ran in Automotive News. Wood struck me as a dynamo. He is building a dealership group the old-fashioned way -- long hours. Wearing many hats. Doing without. Getting by on too little sleep. Praying for good weather. Celebrating every little move ...
     Continue reading "Sometimes success comes from a loving push" » Jan 24, 2015 12:00 pm U.S. ET
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The other side of the digital ad craze

Posted 7:15 am U.S. ET, Jan. 23
SAN FRANCISCO -- Car dealers will be deluged with talk of digital advertising this week at the National Automobile Dealers Association’s annual convention here Digital ad spending by dealers will increase 25 percent this year, according to a recent forecast by market watchers Borrell Associates. But ad agency owner Terry Lancaster has some different advice for reta ...
     Continue reading "The other side of the digital ad craze" » Jan 23, 2015 7:15 am U.S. ET
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Beyond the headlines, humdrum recalls annoy consumers

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 22
The year has been monopolized by headlines about General Motors ignition-switch recalls and Takata airbag recalls. But a broader perspective is in order. According to iSeeCars.com, a vehicle search engine headquartered near Boston, the single most recalled nameplate of the 2007-13 model year period has been … the Toyota FJ Cruiser. And the second most recalled na ...
     Continue reading "Beyond the headlines, humdrum recalls annoy consumers" » Dec 22, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Prepare to embrace McLaren's anticipate-and-act tactics

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 8
People in the car business are so used to being lectured on how they are doing things wrong -- social media, customer service, what have you -- that it’s notable whenever an automotive company sets a new benchmark for the rest of the world. Zoom in for a closer look at the McLaren Racing pit crews doing their lightning-speed maintenance work the next time you’ ...
     Continue reading "Prepare to embrace McLaren's anticipate-and-act tactics" » Dec 8, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Dealer missteps do not a lender meltdown make

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 6
Six short years ago, it looked like the entire U.S. banking system might crash like a pyramid of champagne glasses. Dubious mortgage practices all over the country had caused the pyramid to sway in the breeze, and mortgage defaults wrecked the American economy. There has been good reason to watch lending practices ever since. This year, as car sales sail toward the 17-mi ...
     Continue reading "Dealer missteps do not a lender meltdown make" » Dec 6, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Prepare to embrace McLaren's anticipate-and-act tactics

Posted 10:20 am U.S. ET, Dec. 5
NASHVILLE -- People in the car business are so used to being lectured on how they are doing things wrong -- social media, customer service, what have you -- that it’s notable whenever an automotive company sets a new benchmark for the rest of the world. Zoom in for a closer look at the McLaren Racing pit crews doing their lightning-speed maintenance work the next ti ...
     Continue reading "Prepare to embrace McLaren's anticipate-and-act tactics" » Dec 5, 2014 10:20 am U.S. ET
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Why it will be a different Nissan that returns to the Super Bowl

Posted 10:05 am U.S. ET, Dec. 4
NASHVILLE -- Jeremy Tucker was still in college the last time Nissan ran an ad during the Super Bowl back in 1997. Now 38 and vice president of U.S. marketing for the automaker, Tucker will execute Nissan’s return to the high-profile advertising stage in February. Tucker says the Super Bowl offers Nissan a “big moment” to show America what it has to offe ...
     Continue reading "Why it will be a different Nissan that returns to the Super Bowl" » Dec 4, 2014 10:05 am U.S. ET
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Bad weather will shape future retailing

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Nov. 27
Six feet of snow in Buffalo. And then a seventh. And then floods of melted snow. November blizzards up the East Coast just in time to ruin Black Friday sales. They call all this “freakish” weather. But is it? Or is it that science-fictiony “climate change” thing that alarmists are always warning is on the way? Pick your point of view, but consider ...
     Continue reading "Bad weather will shape future retailing" » Nov 27, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Cheaper gas led to increased light-truck and crossover sales? Not necessarily

Posted 11:51 am U.S. ET, Nov. 6
Cheaper gas is being widely credited with October’s gains in the sales of crossovers, SUVs, pickups. And no doubt, lower pump prices are figuring into consumer thinking right now. But sometimes the easiest explanation of the month’s sales trends isn’t always the most satisfying. Does anyone really observe that gas is suddenly down 25 cents a gallon and ...
     Continue reading "Cheaper gas led to increased light-truck and crossover sales? Not necessarily" » Nov 6, 2014 11:51 am U.S. ET
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Scrap Nissan's Leaf battery plant? Hardly

Posted 3:23 pm U.S. ET, Sept. 17
News broke this week that Nissan and Renault are debating the future of their electric-vehicle battery technology sourcing. Frankly, it would be bigger news if the two automaker partners weren’t debating it. According to the news reports, Nissan purchasing leaders believe Nissan and Renault can be most competitive continuing to source EV battery technology from Jap ...
     Continue reading "Scrap Nissan's Leaf battery plant? Hardly" » Sep 17, 2014 3:23 pm U.S. ET
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Incentives prop up sedan-heavy strategies

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 13
NASHVILLE -- Take a look at who’s been increasing incentives lately and you will see a larger trend in U.S. vehicle strategy. The guys who stepped up their incentive spending last month are brands that are counting on strong sedan strategies in an era of crossover growth. Honda, one of the most powerful brands in the American market, raised its incentives-to-transa ...
     Continue reading "Incentives prop up sedan-heavy strategies" » Sep 13, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Settlement allows Mercedes to award dealership to Alabama's Saban

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 23
NASHVILLE -- A plan by Mercedes-Benz USA to award a dealer franchise in Alabama to Crimson Tide football coach Nick Saban and a business partner can move forward now that litigation with a longtime Mercedes dealer there has been settled. With three national titles for the Tide, Saban occupies a social position in Alabama that is approximately equal to Julius Caesar’ ...
     Continue reading "Settlement allows Mercedes to award dealership to Alabama's Saban" » Aug 23, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Why Americans are rediscovering Italian cars

Posted 8:52 am U.S. ET, Aug. 16
MONTEREY, Calif. -- Fiat aside, Italian cars live in a rarefied world of the very rich and the very few. Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Pagani, Zagato -- those luminary brands barely add up to a percent of a percentage point worth of sales in America. But oh, the mystique. Oh, the power of the Italian design -- the curves of the Italian body and the seducti ...
     Continue reading "Why Americans are rediscovering Italian cars" » Aug 16, 2014 8:52 am U.S. ET
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Automakers to face intensified scrutiny over voice recognition

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 14
The world's automakers are going to be doing a lot of cringing now that J.D. Power plans to criticize them for one of the most poorly executed technologies they peddle to consumers -- voice recognition. In brief, vehicle voice-recognition technology is awful. It was lousy when it emerged in the early 1990s. And after 15 years of inclusion in vehicles across the price spect ...
     Continue reading "Automakers to face intensified scrutiny over voice recognition" » Aug 14, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Automakers to get rude wake-up call on voice recognition

Posted 11:41 am U.S. ET, Aug. 5
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Check your pride at the door Wednesday afternoon when J.D. Power plans to lay into the auto industry for one of the most poorly executed technologies it peddles to consumers -- voice recognition. In brief, vehicle voice recognition technology is awful. It was lousy when it first emerged in the early 1990s. And after 15 years of inclusion in vehicle ...
     Continue reading "Automakers to get rude wake-up call on voice recognition" » Aug 5, 2014 11:41 am U.S. ET
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Toyota goes where the jets fly

Posted 1:03 pm U.S. ET, May 2
NASHVILLE -- After all the sensible explanations about why Toyota is closing down its manufacturing headquarters in Erlanger, Ky., there is still one other factor: the consolidation of the U.S. airline industry. Blame it on Delta. For 18 years, Toyota has run a robust organization in Erlanger -- which is really a commuter community just south of the Ohio River from Cinci ...
     Continue reading "Toyota goes where the jets fly" » May 2, 2014 1:03 pm U.S. ET
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Some New Yorkers really want that Nissan cab

Posted 9:48 am U.S. ET, April 17
NEW YORK -- First a New York judge blocked a deal to make the Nissan NV200 the city’s official taxi last year. Now the cops want to write one of the van’s drivers a ticket. A stiff-upper-lipped Nissan is rolling out a couple of mock NV200 yellow New York taxis this week to carry visitors and VIPs around the city during the New York auto show. But the pretend ...
     Continue reading "Some New Yorkers really want that Nissan cab" » Apr 17, 2014 9:48 am U.S. ET
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Brace yourself for 'velocity'

Posted 1:06 pm U.S. ET, April 16
NEW YORK -- There’s a new buzzword trending through the car business right now: velocity. It has been popping up in conversations and presentations for a while, and is on the lips of visitors here at the New York auto show. And it might be a good thing. In its new use, velocity simply means the speed with which auto dealers can process a customer from tire-kicker i ...
     Continue reading "Brace yourself for 'velocity'" » Apr 16, 2014 1:06 pm U.S. ET
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Why new world Tesla needs old world factory relief

Posted 7:27 am U.S. ET, April 12
Analysts, pundits and commentators have been mesmerized of late by two very big issues facing Tesla Motors. Issue 1: Will state dealer laws allow Tesla to go on selling its cars direct, without a retail franchise network? And Issue 2: How will little Tesla build its $5 billion “Gigafactory” -- a breathtaking plan to build batteries on a scale that vastly outrea ...
     Continue reading "Why new world Tesla needs old world factory relief" » Apr 12, 2014 7:27 am U.S. ET
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Why GM dealers have a chance to shine

Posted 7:30 am U.S. ET, April 5
NASHVILLE -- There’s no getting around the fact that General Motors is taking a clubbing right now. A huge recall, several lawsuits, a blistering congressional hearing, apologies to consumers, potential criminal investigations -- it’s all bad. But then there are the retailers. The image of 2.6 million cars being recalled is ugly. But the prospect of 2.6 mill ...
     Continue reading "Why GM dealers have a chance to shine" » Apr 5, 2014 7:30 am U.S. ET
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