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BLOG: Lindsay Chappell
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TRAVERSE CITY -- Nissan executives have grown fond of telling audiences that their vehicle assembly plant in Smyrna, Tenn., is now North America’s largest.
Last year’s output: 648,000 cars and SUVs.
But it’s not mere bragging.
Maybe it is a little.
What it really is is strategic messaging. Nissan keeps repeating it because it needs the auto industry t ... Continue reading "Nissan wants you to know that size matters" » Aug 3, 2015 10:26 am U.S. ET Permalink
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 Permalink
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 Permalink
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 Permalink
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 Permalink
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 Permalink
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 Permalink
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 Permalink
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 Permalink
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 Permalink
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 Permalink
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 ...