BLOG: Lindsay Chappell

Who was Kirk Kerkorian? He was a money man

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, June 18
blogs Lindsay Chappell is the Mid-South bureau chief in the U.S. for Automotive News.
 
It was always about the money for Kirk Kerkorian, the auto industry provocateur who died Monday at 98. Maybe that’s the naked reality of high-stakes business. Kerkorian, a Las Vegas speculator and takeover mogul, took a powerful investment position at Chrysler Corp. in the 1990s. It looked to Kerkorian like a promising return. Kerkorian pressed Chrysler’s boa ...
     Continue reading "Who was Kirk Kerkorian? He was a money man" » Jun 18, 2015 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Why Nissan Leaf sales surged -- and yet fell 33%

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, June 11
NASHVILLE -- A number of news sites reported last week that U.S. sales of the Nissan Leaf and other electric-drive vehicles looked good in May -- “surging” was one of the words they used to describe it. The opposite was true. Leaf sales fell 33 percent from year-earlier levels, and that’s dramatic. Nissan has its hands full with the car right now, and th ...
     Continue reading "Why Nissan Leaf sales surged -- and yet fell 33%" » Jun 11, 2015 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Volvo finally gets its American factory

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, May 16
Volvo has wanted an American car factory for decades. But complications and setbacks have gotten in the way -- including an entire decade spent as a brand owned by Ford Motor Co. More than half a century before telling the world this week that it will build a $500 million vehicle assembly plant in Ridgeville, S.C., Volvo opened a small-volume final-assembly plant in Halif ...
     Continue reading "Volvo finally gets its American factory" » May 16, 2015 12:01 am U.S. ET
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The president should have said 'Mexico'

Posted 11:23 am U.S. ET, April 28
Is China really the competitive threat that will spur Congress to sign off on the proposed new free-trade pact with Japan and other Asian nations? That’s what President Barack Obama recently said as he tries to win over Democrat and Republican skeptics in Congress. Obama warned that if the United States fails to approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership with Japan, Viet ...
     Continue reading "The president should have said 'Mexico'" » Apr 28, 2015 11:23 am U.S. ET
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Traditional sedans fading away? Not in New York

Posted 12:10 pm U.S. ET, April 1
NEW YORK -- One of the more troubling sales trends for car buffs lately has been a shift away from sedans. Especially larger sedans. But watch the runway at this year’s New York auto show. There is a hot new sedan from Cadillac -- the CT6. A stylish new Kia Optima. An eighth-generation Nissan Maxima with an unprecedented collection of bells and whistles. A retooled ...
     Continue reading "Traditional sedans fading away? Not in New York" » Apr 1, 2015 12:10 pm U.S. ET
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India's Mahindra stills wants to sell in the U.S.

Posted 10:24 am U.S. ET, March 19
Pawan Goenka has not given up on the idea of entering the U.S. auto market. The head of automotive operations for India’s Mahindra & Mahindra, Goenka acknowledges that the company is “still in the middle of it” on the legal fallout from his first attempt at entering. Mahindra was scheduled to introduce an Indian-built compact pickup with a four-cyli ...
     Continue reading "India's Mahindra stills wants to sell in the U.S." » Mar 19, 2015 10:24 am U.S. ET
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Jaguar will discover the magic of U.S. production

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 7
Do not hesitate to build that North American vehicle assembly plant, Jaguar Land Rover. You will be amazed. Trust me on this one. I can’t tell you how many times history has repeated itself on this count. The story always goes like this: Automaker X wonders whether it has the chops to build vehicles in the U.S., Canada or Mexico. Automaker X shyly doubts its ow ...
     Continue reading "Jaguar will discover the magic of U.S. production" » Mar 7, 2015 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Why Renault should plan a U.S. return

Posted 2:07 pm U.S. ET, March 6
France’s Renault brand will eventually return to the U.S. market, I do predict. Not any time soon, I will concede. But sooner or later. To be sure, nobody at the Renault-Nissan Alliance has uttered a word publicly to indicate that this is being planned. And Carlos Ghosn, who runs both Nissan and Renault, has plainly stated that it will not happen. But sooner or la ...
     Continue reading "Why Renault should plan a U.S. return" » Mar 6, 2015 2:07 pm U.S. ET
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Infiniti gives a glimpse of Geneva's QX30

Posted 6:43 am U.S. ET, Feb. 5
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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