BLOG: Lindsay Chappell

Scrap Nissan's Leaf battery plant? Hardly

Posted 3:23 pm U.S. ET, Sept. 17
blogs Lindsay Chappell is the Mid-South bureau chief for Automotive News.
 
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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In Chicago, trucks get their mojo back

Posted 1:53 pm U.S. ET, Feb. 7
CHICAGO -- A new groundswell is taking place for sporty trucks.Of all the vehicles on display this week at the Chicago Auto Show, the pickup segment stands out. There are General Motors' redesigned mid-sized pickups, the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, getting back into the game.There is Toyota's new batch of off-road-capable TRD Pro Series trucks. There is the Ford F-150 S ...
     Continue reading "In Chicago, trucks get their mojo back" » Feb 7, 2014 1:53 pm U.S. ET
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Why the sales process still wastes so much time

Posted 10:57 am U.S. ET, Jan. 25
NEW ORLEANS -- It’s frightening to consider how much time is being wasted on the typical car sale.It’s a wonder sales personnel -- or even the dealership, for that matter -- manage to make any money, says retail consultant Mark Rikess.Rikess’ firm, the Rikess Group was hired to conduct an efficiency study of more than 100 dealerships not long ago. Conside ...
     Continue reading "Why the sales process still wastes so much time" » Jan 25, 2014 10:57 am U.S. ET
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Just whose NADA is this?

Posted 9:40 am U.S. ET, Jan. 24
If you see Michael Bartsch at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in New Orleans this weekend, you will probably find him empty-handed.That's because Bartsch, Infiniti's new vice president for North America, says he comes to NADA without an agenda, without a formal presentation for his dealers, and most certainly without a PowerPoint presentation."I thin ...
     Continue reading "Just whose NADA is this?" » Jan 24, 2014 9:40 am U.S. ET
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Why Detroit’s auto show should be longer -- not shorter

Posted 4:02 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 17
Over the past several years, the Detroit auto show's press preview has evolved into a neatly compact event that celebrates new cars for about 36 hours, give or take.That’s very efficient. Very considerate to executives who have important meetings somewhere. But it’s a missed opportunity.The Detroit show ought to be longer -- not shorter.It ought to be a week-lo ...
     Continue reading "Why Detroit’s auto show should be longer -- not shorter" » Jan 17, 2014 4:02 pm U.S. ET
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Eau Rouge points to sportier Infiniti portfolio

Posted 7:37 am U.S. ET, Jan. 14
DETROIT -- With key new products some two years away, Infiniti is showing audiences a concept car that heralds the brand's new racing direction.The Q50 Eau Rouge, unveiled at the Detroit auto show, remakes the recently introduced Q50 sedan into a Formula One racing-inspired sports sedan, with sculpted body-side rocker wings, carbon-fiber body components, ceramic exhausts a ...
     Continue reading "Eau Rouge points to sportier Infiniti portfolio" » Jan 14, 2014 7:37 am U.S. ET
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How Nissan thought outside the Amazon box

Posted 5:50 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 7
NASHVILLE -- All according to Nissan's 2013 marketing schemes, the automaker has managed to create a viral buzz about the launch of its Versa Note.Internet readers have become fascinated with images of very large cardboard boxes from Amazon.com sitting on the back of flatbed delivery trucks -- very large as in "roughly the size of a Versa Note."That was the plan, as we rep ...
     Continue reading "How Nissan thought outside the Amazon box" » Jan 7, 2014 5:50 pm U.S. ET
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One wish -- just make it simpler

Posted 3:04 pm U.S. ET, Dec. 20
My wish for the holidays is that the auto industry will get its act together next year on electronics and cabin controls.As in -- just put a doggone “OFF” switch on the thing.Who out there thinks I want to go through two display screens to reach the command that enables me to turn off the defroster?Why do I have to press a button that says “audio” a ...
     Continue reading "One wish -- just make it simpler" » Dec 20, 2013 3:04 pm U.S. ET
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Nissan challenges assumptions with BladeGlider

Posted 9:21 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 18
YOKOHAMA, Japan -- Nissan Motor Co. says it is serious about building an electric car that looks nothing like any other vehicle on the world's roads -- or at least some piece of the car."This will be a production car," Andy Palmer, Nissan's global product planning chief, insisted as he pointed at the BladeGlider concept at an off-site reception prior to its display at this ...
     Continue reading "Nissan challenges assumptions with BladeGlider" » Nov 18, 2013 9:21 pm U.S. ET
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Nissan at 80 is a transformed company

Posted 3:56 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 18
TOKYO -- On the cusp of this year's Tokyo Motor Show, Nissan Motor Co. is celebrating its 80th anniversary in business.And putting aside car talk for just a second, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn deserves recognition for achieving something that still eludes auto industry leaders around the globe: Ghosn has transformed Japan's oldest automaker into one of the most geographically ...
     Continue reading "Nissan at 80 is a transformed company" » Nov 18, 2013 3:56 pm U.S. ET
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Nissan's taxi slap could be you next time

Posted 3:16 pm U.S. ET, Oct. 29
Nissan's competitors no doubt find it gleeful that just three weeks before the launch of its New York City yellow taxi, the city welched on the deal.Nissan had envisioned $1 billion in sales from its New York taxi contract. And it might or might not still see that. Nissan dealers have begun selling the taxi there anyway.But wipe that competitive glee off your faces.What Ne ...
     Continue reading "Nissan's taxi slap could be you next time" » Oct 29, 2013 3:16 pm U.S. ET
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American content vs. American* content

Posted 12:03 pm U.S. ET, Oct. 9
NASHVILLE -- Baseball fans hate it when an asterisk pops up next to a player's name in the stats. The argument erupts: "Well, are the stats correct or are they not?"Nissan isn't crazy about asterisks either, or the company might lobby for one on the window sticker of its 2013 electric Leaf.According to the sticker, the Leaf rates a mere 15 percent North American content.Wh ...
     Continue reading "American content vs. American* content" » Oct 9, 2013 12:03 pm U.S. ET
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The South is singing the Mexican blues

Posted 5:02 pm U.S. ET, Oct. 8
NASHVILLE -- That high, lonesome sound of sorrow coming out of the South these days is no bluegrass song. It is the sound of an auto industry pining for its one true love -- who has run off to Mexico.Automaker after automaker -- Mazda, Honda, Audi, Toyota, Nissan -- have invested $3.5 billion in Mexican assembly plants since 2007. Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti might ...
     Continue reading "The South is singing the Mexican blues" » Oct 8, 2013 5:02 pm U.S. ET
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Calif. dealer offers staff spiritual care

Calif. dealer offers staff spiritual care

Calif. dealer Bill Hoehn has something few retailers have: A full-time chaplain. The chaplain provides care and support for employees, is available 24/7 for crisis needs and even presides over weddings. Mon., September 22
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