BLOG: Jamie LaReau

GM's Mary Barra is a woman. Get over it

Posted 4:15 pm U.S. ET, June 26
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DETROIT -- I learned some shocking news this morning watching “Today” with Matt Lauer. General Motors CEO Mary Barra is a woman. That’s right, she’s even considered the “most powerful woman in the history of the auto industry,” Lauer says. Psst: That might be because she is the only woman in history to hold the top executive position a ...
     Continue reading "GM's Mary Barra is a woman. Get over it" » Jun 26, 2014 4:15 pm U.S. ET
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With Gen Y, where is online selling headed?

Posted 8:07 am U.S. ET, June 14
Imagine buying a car while picking up milk and eggs. Bryan Murphy’s friend did that. Murphy, the GM of eBay Motors, said his Gen Y friend wanted a used car and had a specific vehicle in mind. While grocery shopping, she glanced at her phone and saw that vehicle for sale on eBay Motors. She messaged the dealer with an offer. The dealer replied with a counteroffer, w ...
     Continue reading "With Gen Y, where is online selling headed?" » Jun 14, 2014 8:07 am U.S. ET
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Why dealers should have more senior moments in their stores

Posted 11:35 am U.S. ET, May 9
Many dealers might be missing a golden opportunity to help drivers in their golden years. The number of Americans aged 65 and over is expected to double by 2050, said a report in the Detroit Free Press. As a result, many senior citizen advocates, car companies and government agencies are looking for ways to keep the elderly safe behind the wheel for as long as possible. ...
     Continue reading "Why dealers should have more senior moments in their stores" » May 9, 2014 11:35 am U.S. ET
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Barra's commencement speech is still on, as it should be

Posted 4:10 pm U.S. ET, May 2
As a graduate of Michigan State University, it is rare that I cheer for the University of Michigan. But today, I salute U-M for standing by the decision to keep General Motors CEO Mary Barra as the scheduled speaker to deliver Saturday’s commencement address. That decision comes despite pressure from two U-M groups demanding the school rescind Barra’s invitati ...
     Continue reading "Barra's commencement speech is still on, as it should be" » May 2, 2014 4:10 pm U.S. ET
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GM dealers will do a lot of recall repairs, but not all of them

Posted 3:38 pm U.S. ET, April 29
I have joked with some dealers that they’re prophets. That’s because they had made predictions that ended up being spot on. Now some General Motors dealers’ predictions could be right again. Many GM dealers said they do not expect to repair all, or even close to all, of the millions of recalled GM vehicles. That’s because many car owners never r ...
     Continue reading "GM dealers will do a lot of recall repairs, but not all of them" » Apr 29, 2014 3:38 pm U.S. ET
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Subaru-sponsored study identifies safe dog harness

Posted 6:21 pm U.S. ET, April 10
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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Special Report
Fewer bosses, Disney savvy, $2 idea lift stores

Fewer bosses, Disney savvy, $2 idea lift stores

A Chrysler Group dealership chain is stripping away layers of management to sell cars faster. A Chevrolet-Cadillac store is enchanting customers through Disney training. Mon., July 21
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