BLOG: Jamie LaReau

Subaru-sponsored study identifies safe dog harness

Posted 6:21 pm U.S. ET, April 10
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Jamie LaReau is a reporter for Automotive News.
In the book Citizen Canine, author David Grimm examines whether dogs are on the edge of becoming legal “persons” in this country. For those who think the answer is, or is close to becoming, yes, Subaru of America has significant news: Only one of the 11 dog harnesses designed for use in cars can be rated “acceptable.” Subaru funded a study late la ...
     Continue reading "Subaru-sponsored study identifies safe dog harness" » Apr 10, 2014 6:21 pm U.S. ET
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Don't promise a customer what you can't deliver

Posted 1:14 pm U.S. ET, March 28
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani once said that to succeed, it is best to “under-promise and over-deliver.” Many dealers do a stellar job of over-delivering for their customers. But customer relationships are delicate. A mistake in one area can undercut goodwill built in another. In a dealership, the service department is where customer relationships ...
     Continue reading "Don't promise a customer what you can't deliver" » Mar 28, 2014 1:14 pm U.S. ET
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Why DCH Auto Group’s overhaul should give all dealers pause

Posted 2:40 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 29
When the vice chairman of a large dealership group says the company’s business model is “outdated,” you listen.You listen because if the big player admits to needing change, it probably means other dealers should examine their business models and make some tweaks, too.Susan Scarola, vice chairman of DCH Auto Group, said the New Jersey-based dealership gro ...
     Continue reading "Why DCH Auto Group’s overhaul should give all dealers pause" » Jan 29, 2014 2:40 pm U.S. ET
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FTC ad regulators could 'make an example' of 1 dealer in each state

Posted 12:01 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 26
NEW ORLEANS -- Colorado car dealers take heed and watch those ads.Leaders of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association outlined the pressing issues for dealers at CADA's breakfast on Sunday morning in New Orleans at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention.One of the big ones is the Federal Trade Commission's announcement that it would be heavily monitoring ...
     Continue reading "FTC ad regulators could 'make an example' of 1 dealer in each state" » Jan 26, 2014 12:01 pm U.S. ET
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2014 Detroit Auto Show: The Detroit show will stay in the cold weather

Posted 11:13 am U.S. ET, Jan. 20
Metro Detroit is beautiful in the late spring, summer and fall. Yet a large part of the world sees it only during the bleakness of winter when the Detroit auto show takes place.Cobo Center looked great inside last week. But people still have to wade through dirty-snow-lined streets under a fog of dreariness to get to it. In fact, we got lucky this year. Had the show been a ...
     Continue reading "2014 Detroit Auto Show: The Detroit show will stay in the cold weather" » Jan 20, 2014 11:13 am U.S. ET
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2014 Detroit auto show: AutoNation's Mike Jackson walks the show floor

Posted 10:06 am U.S. ET, Jan. 14
AutoNation's CEO Mike Jackson has a tradition at the Detroit Auto Show.He walks the show floor at 7 a.m., before most others arrive. Only once in his 25 years of attending the show was that ritual interrupted: In 1999, when a snowstorm forced the airplane Jackson was on to wait 9 hours on the runway for a gate, he says.He missed the first day of the show that year."I like ...
     Continue reading "2014 Detroit auto show: AutoNation's Mike Jackson walks the show floor" » Jan 14, 2014 10:06 am U.S. ET
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NADA's new chief economist returns to his roots

Posted 2:45 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 13
Detroit's cold winter temperatures don't bother Steven Szakaly.Szakaly grew up in Motown. He has returned to walk the auto show floor in his new role as the National Automobile Dealers Association's chief economist. He replaced Paul Taylor, who retired last spring.If there's one thing Szakaly loves about the Detroit auto show, besides being back in the D, is being back in ...
     Continue reading "NADA's new chief economist returns to his roots" » Jan 13, 2014 2:45 pm U.S. ET
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F&I and the female work force, what an attraction

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 18
Of all dealership departments, the F&I office has the highest percentage of women in key positions.About 19 percent of all F&I managers are women, says Ted Kraybill, president of DeltaTrends, a Largo, Fla.-based research and consulting firm focused on hiring and retention in the auto industry.That might not seem like a lot of women, but compare that to dealerships& ...
     Continue reading "F&I and the female work force, what an attraction" » Dec 18, 2013 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Building blocks and cars aren't just boys' toys anymore

Posted 3:32 pm U.S. ET, Dec. 13
Meet GoldieBlox -- a toy intent on shattering stereotypes and changing the future.GoldieBlox is a set of stories featuring heroine Goldie along with construction toys, her “blox.” It targets girls ages 4 to 9.The girls read the GoldieBlox storybooks -- two so far -- and play along to each story’s theme using the GoldieBlox pieces. It helps build spatial s ...
     Continue reading "Building blocks and cars aren't just boys' toys anymore" » Dec 13, 2013 3:32 pm U.S. ET
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Pioneers reflect on the meaning of Barra's promotion

Posted 4:07 pm U.S. ET, Dec. 10
In 1975, Maureen Kempston Darkes was the only woman executive in the General Motors’ executive dining room. Her peers were all men.“That was not a pleasant feeling,” Kempston Darkes said today. “There were times you wanted to shake your head and say, ‘What am I doing in this industry?’”But Kempston Darkes persevered.She retired as ...
     Continue reading "Pioneers reflect on the meaning of Barra's promotion" » Dec 10, 2013 4:07 pm U.S. ET
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For a higher SAAR, sweeten the deals, analyst says

Posted 12:05 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 26
Dealers need sweeter deals to offer car shoppers.That's if the industry wants dramatic sales gains for the near future, said an analyst."We think the great release of pent-up demand in the U.S. auto market has run its course," said Adam Jonas, a New York-based analyst with Morgan Stanley, in a monthly call. "From this point we need deals to drive further SAAR [seasonally a ...
     Continue reading "For a higher SAAR, sweeten the deals, analyst says" » Nov 26, 2013 12:05 pm U.S. ET
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A spiff tiff on the horizon? Dealers aren't sure

Posted 11:33 am U.S. ET, Oct. 23
The subject of incentives makes many dealers crazy because it is so tough to predict what the factories will do and what form any incentives might take.Then there is the issue of whether or not a dealer has the right inventory in stock to take advantage of any incentives. Also, if a competitor offers a killer deal, there is the threat of losing a customer to a competitor o ...
     Continue reading "A spiff tiff on the horizon? Dealers aren't sure" » Oct 23, 2013 11:33 am U.S. ET
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Why loving a car like a pet will never happen with Gen Y

Posted 3:20 pm U.S. ET, Oct. 9
Toyota President Akio Toyoda wants young people to love cars and have genuine feelings of attachment to their vehicles.Hmm, good luck.Toyoda preached the pluses of car ownership to about 900 Meiji University students in Tokyo on Sept. 26, said a Bloomberg News and Detroit Free Press report.Hoping to spark young people's lagging interest in cars in Japan, Toyoda told his au ...
     Continue reading "Why loving a car like a pet will never happen with Gen Y" » Oct 9, 2013 3:20 pm U.S. ET
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Chinese-owned Volvo searches for its self-image in Scandinavia

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Oct. 6
At Volvo Car Corp., defining and communicating what it means to be Scandinavian is serious business.The Chinese-owned Swedish automaker will hire a new global advertising firm next month that will be tasked with reinventing the Volvo brand's image, emphasizing Volvo's Scandinavian roots.And the advertising firm will have to do so with a smaller budget than many of Volvo's ...
     Continue reading "Chinese-owned Volvo searches for its self-image in Scandinavia" » Oct 6, 2013 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Colorado catastrophes force dealers to operate differently

Posted 12:27 pm U.S. ET, Sept. 27
Colorado dealers can't get a break from natural disasters."It's been pretty crazy out here," says Tim Jackson, president of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association in Denver.Because of wildfires and floods, dealers in Colorado are now selling and servicing cars at a different pace than perhaps dealerships in other parts of the country. Business in Colorado is especiall ...
     Continue reading "Colorado catastrophes force dealers to operate differently" » Sep 27, 2013 12:27 pm U.S. ET
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F&I managers: Prepare for more buyers with poor credit

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 25
F&I managers have their work cut out for them.That's because the average U.S. car buyer has pretty iffy credit, according to the latest data compiled by Morgan Stanley for its Auto Credit Quality and Auto Credit Availability indices.Auto credit quality fell 1.4 percent in July, compared with the year-earlier month, on higher losses and delinquencies as tracked by Moody ...
     Continue reading "F&I managers: Prepare for more buyers with poor credit" » Sep 25, 2013 12:01 am U.S. ET
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OMG! FYI -- vehicle transactions head toward texting

Posted 3:55 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 8
Several years ago the late Jack Teahen and I wrote a pair of opposing essays about our different car buying experiences.I was hip, so I thought, because I negotiated a car purchase over the telephone after locating the car online.Jack was old-school. He preferred to go in person to a dealership and "kick the tires."Today we might both be considered square.Swapalease.com ex ...
     Continue reading "OMG! FYI -- vehicle transactions head toward texting" » Aug 8, 2013 3:55 pm U.S. ET
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Lithia's challenge: To hire and inspire Gen Y

Posted 11:32 am U.S. ET, Aug. 2
A decade ago, everyone at Lithia Motors worked regular business hours, even on Christmas Eve, recalls CFO Chris Holzshu, an 11-year veteran."The dress code was white and blue shirts, suits and ties," says Holzshu, sitting in his Medford, Ore., office in a brightly colored, buttoned-up shirt and no tie."You wouldn't see me like this when I first came to work here, and I'm p ...
     Continue reading "Lithia's challenge: To hire and inspire Gen Y" » Aug 2, 2013 11:32 am U.S. ET
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Dealers, don't toss out that job application just yet

Posted 3:37 pm U.S. ET, July 11
Dealers beware: An arrest or conviction alone is not grounds for automatically disqualifying a job applicant.And doing so might result in legal action, lawyer Mike Charapp says.His warning follows a lawsuit filed in June by the U.S. government against BMW Manufacturing Co. over the allegedly discriminatory use of criminal background checks in hiring.In a complaint filed in ...
     Continue reading "Dealers, don't toss out that job application just yet" » Jul 11, 2013 3:37 pm U.S. ET
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Mad Men's auto characters are fiction, but loosely based on reality

Posted 4:28 pm U.S. ET, June 19
Maybe some auto executive or dealer really ticked-off a writer on Mad Men at some point and now that writer or producer is exacting revenge.That's how it seems when the series repeatedly bashes folks in the auto industry, often taking misguided stereotypes to an extreme.Sunday it was Chevrolet executives turn to get pummeled when fictional ad agency executive Ken Cosgrove ...
     Continue reading "Mad Men's auto characters are fiction, but loosely based on reality" » Jun 19, 2013 4:28 pm U.S. ET
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In F&I, man beats machine every time

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, June 19
Retail auto sales are built on human relationships.Whether the rapport is between the salesperson and customer or between the F&I manager and customer, the relationship is built on human-to-human interaction with trust as its foundation.And that's something no piece of technology or machinery can ever match.That's why it's interesting that so many F&I managers get ...
     Continue reading "In F&I, man beats machine every time" » Jun 19, 2013 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Lincoln's maintenance cutbacks offer F&I opportunity

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, June 12
Some Lincoln dealers see opportunity in Lincoln's plan to trim its complimentary maintenance program from 4 years/50,000 miles to 2 years/24,000 miles starting with 2014 models.They say the change presents an opportunity to pitch other aftermarket products that would enhance the shorter plans, thus boosting F&I sales. Or they say the change will motivate them to ratche ...
     Continue reading "Lincoln's maintenance cutbacks offer F&I opportunity" » Jun 12, 2013 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Ford dealers’ time to shine is during a recall

Posted 2:49 pm U.S. ET, June 6
A vehicle recall can be good for dealers.If handled right, a recall often helps boost a dealership’s customer retention rate and increase service revenues, an industry observer says.Ford Motor Co. issued a global recall Monday on more than 465,000 vehicles. The vehicles have fuel tanks that can leak and cause fires. Dealers will replace the fuel delivery module, whic ...
     Continue reading "Ford dealers’ time to shine is during a recall" » Jun 6, 2013 2:49 pm U.S. ET
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For happier customers, sales and F&I need to talk

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, May 22
Good communication between sales and finance staff cannot be overstated.That’s my takeaway from reading a recent chat on a Facebook page shared by finance managers.Many pondered why a customer can sometimes complain to the sales manager that the F&I manager was rude when the F&I manager had believed his or her rapport with the customer had been good.Some F&am ...
     Continue reading "For happier customers, sales and F&I need to talk" » May 22, 2013 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Proposals for automakers to help limit distracted driving seem fair

Posted 10:39 am U.S. ET, April 26
Here's a big thank you to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.The agency announced earlier this week some new guidelines to help address the hazards posed by complex in-car control systems and distracted driving.In short, NHTSA wants automakers to limit the distractions drivers could be exposed to. And the suggestion seems a fair compromise to an ongoing deb ...
     Continue reading "Proposals for automakers to help limit distracted driving seem fair" » Apr 26, 2013 10:39 am U.S. ET
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