BLOG: Lindsay Chappell

Some New Yorkers really want that Nissan cab

Posted 9:48 am U.S. ET, April 17
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Despite a judge voiding Nissan's lucrative 10-year, billion-dollar Taxi of Tomorrow contract with the city in October, the company has gone ahead with sales here. (LINDSAY CHAPPELL)
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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Why the road to autonomous vehicles is uphill

Posted 1:16 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 7
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- To hear a panel of industry experts describe it Tuesday afternoon, taking consumers into the world of fully autonomous self-driving cars is going to be a long and challenging trip.For starters, consumers don't particularly want it.A survey conducted in April for the Alliance of Automobile Manufactures found that 42 percent of men think the technolog ...
     Continue reading "Why the road to autonomous vehicles is uphill" » Aug 7, 2013 1:16 pm U.S. ET
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How will smaller suppliers keep up with demand?

Posted 12:33 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 6
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- While many are asking how automakers will keep pace with new car demand, Kim Hill is asking the other half of that question: How will Tier 2 and Tier 3 suppliers keep up with rising automaker demand?"We're looking at a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," says Hill, director of sustainability and economic development strategies at the Center for Autmoti ...
     Continue reading "How will smaller suppliers keep up with demand? " » Aug 6, 2013 12:33 pm U.S. ET
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Suppliers latch on to benefits of green thinking

Posted 5:46 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 5
Environmentalism is nice. But environmentalism and a check are even nicer. Suppliers have embraced the dollars-and-cents value of green thinking at their factories, Traverse City audiences are hearing this week. Factories are shaving thousands -- or millions -- of dollars out of their operating overhead by doing what environmentalists would urge them to do as the right thi ...
     Continue reading "Suppliers latch on to benefits of green thinking" » Aug 5, 2013 5:46 pm U.S. ET
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'Fiat in Tennessee' is absurd -- and yet …

Posted 1:02 pm U.S. ET, July 10
Last month, the governor of Tennessee had the audacity to propose to Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne that the Italian automaker move its global headquarters to Tennessee.Sure. That'll happen.But it didn't hurt to ask. Marchionne and Gov. Bill Haslam were together on Father's Day in the little town of Pulaski, Tenn., where the Fiat boss was cutting the ribbon, so to speak, on a ...
     Continue reading "'Fiat in Tennessee' is absurd -- and yet …" » Jul 10, 2013 1:02 pm U.S. ET
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More dealership employees = more sales?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, June 12
Japanese-brand auto dealerships added 11,894 employees in the United States last year, according to a recent report from the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association in Washington.JAMA's numbers are sometimes called into question -- such as when auto dealership workers are included in total U.S. employment figures for Japan's automakers. That won't fly.But this statistic ...
     Continue reading "More dealership employees = more sales?" » Jun 12, 2013 12:01 am U.S. ET
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How GM and Nissan avoided a UAW thorn

Posted 3:15 pm U.S. ET, May 15
A labor taboo still exists in the North American auto industry, and Nissan and General Motors sidestepped it this week.GM revealed that it will buy Nissan's compact commercial vans to provide Chevrolet with a competitor to Ford's Transit Connect compact van.Nissan builds its NV200 compact van in Cuernavaca (kwehr-nah-VAH'-kah), Mexico. During their chat with the press on T ...
     Continue reading "How GM and Nissan avoided a UAW thorn" » May 15, 2013 3:15 pm U.S. ET
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The auto boom -- without new jobs

Posted 2:49 pm U.S. ET, May 14
NASHVILLE -- Bill Strauss has some very good news for the American auto industry. Or he has some very bad news. You can take your pick.Strauss, a Federal Reserve Board senior economist and economic adviser for 30 years, has spent the past few years examining what's going on in auto manufacturing. He concludes, in a nutshell, that the United States is now sitting pretty.The ...
     Continue reading "The auto boom -- without new jobs" » May 14, 2013 2:49 pm U.S. ET
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Slow and steady wins at Subaru

Posted 10:32 am U.S. ET, May 9
Score one for the tortoise.Subaru's plan to invest $400 million to expand its U.S. auto factory is evidence that a long-term business outlook and a steady commitment to growth are worth more than neon headlines and Wall Street drooling.Even in the car business.Outsiders pronounced Subaru's Indiana assembly plant dead more than once in years past. The outsiders were always ...
     Continue reading "Slow and steady wins at Subaru" » May 9, 2013 10:32 am U.S. ET
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The past is no indication of Japanese trade barriers

Posted 7:21 pm U.S. ET, April 12
The free-trade proposal that’s on the table between Japan and the United States and other countries has been a flash point because Japan’s critics have grave doubts that the Japanese government will allow American cars to sell there unencumbered.If only the Japanese government would stop making it difficult to import autos with regulations and currency manipula ...
     Continue reading "The past is no indication of Japanese trade barriers" » Apr 12, 2013 7:21 pm U.S. ET
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