BLOG: James B. Treece

Toyota, supporter of Korean culture

Posted 12:28 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 8
blogs News Editor James B. Treece oversees Automotive News coverage of auto retailing.
 
Would you do a double-take if Volvo were the sponsor of the Country Music Awards? How about if BMW were the primary sponsor, and the only automotive sponsor, of a museum exhibit of Japanese samurai swords? Or if Hyundai were the sponsor of a North American tour of Germany’s hottest electronic-music band? Some pairings just aren’t that intuitive. So how in th ...
     Continue reading "Toyota, supporter of Korean culture" » Aug 8, 2014 12:28 pm U.S. ET
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GM Financial subpoena shifts investigation away from dealers

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 6
When dealers saw headlines saying the U.S. Department of Justice had subpoenaed General Motors Financial Co. last month to produce documents relating to its subprime auto loan contracts, they could be excused for worrying that this represented another threat to their arranging car loans for consumers. It appears there’s nothing to worry about on that front, at least ...
     Continue reading "GM Financial subpoena shifts investigation away from dealers" » Aug 6, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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GM, Manheim kiss and make up

Posted 3:15 pm U.S. ET, July 25
Editor's note:  Update deletes references to GM Financial and its relationship with Manheim. About four years after a spat strained their business relations, General Motors and auction company Manheim are starting to kiss and make up. The companies aren’t eager to discuss the origins of the dispute, but the result was a near-boycott of Manheim auctions by GM, ...
     Continue reading "GM, Manheim kiss and make up" » Jul 25, 2014 3:15 pm U.S. ET
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Texas politicians: Be careful what you wish for and what you hand out

Posted 4:10 pm U.S. ET, April 29
Texas politicians are exchanging high-fives over Toyota’s decision to relocate its U.S. headquarters to Plano. It’s undoubtedly a great boon to the state. But will it really prove so good for the politicians’ careers? At a news conference Monday, the Dallas Morning News reported: Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere hailed Toyota’s move as a “great ...
     Continue reading "Texas politicians: Be careful what you wish for and what you hand out" » Apr 29, 2014 4:10 pm U.S. ET
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If you like paying MSRP, then Tesla/Apple is for you

Posted 4:44 pm U.S. ET, April 2
The next time you’re in an Apple store, try this. When one of the product geniuses who work there approaches you, ask him or her, “So, how much below list price are you offering this iPhone 5 for this month?” The answer will tell you why I roll my eyes at the suggestion that Tesla’s fight against the franchised dealer system is all about aiding co ...
     Continue reading "If you like paying MSRP, then Tesla/Apple is for you " » Apr 2, 2014 4:44 pm U.S. ET
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What's on dealers' minds -- and what's not

Posted 1:20 pm U.S. ET, March 28
A small group of Florida dealers gathered last week at a Fort Lauderdale hotel to share best practices. Automotive News hosted the roundtable in conjunction with Ally Auto. The group swapped best-practices ideas and then talked about some of the challenges auto retailers will face over the next decade and how they might turn those challenges into opportunities. The sessi ...
     Continue reading "What's on dealers' minds -- and what's not" » Mar 28, 2014 1:20 pm U.S. ET
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Flawed study has lessons for F&I managers

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 5
There’s a lot not to like about a new study on discrimination in car loans. But there also are a few nuggets in it that indicate problems in the F&I office.The study is titled “Non-Negotiable: Negotiation Doesn’t Help African Americans and Latinos on Dealer-Financed Car Loans” and was conducted by the nonprofit Center for Responsible Lending in ...
     Continue reading "Flawed study has lessons for F&I managers" » Feb 5, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Test drives beat walk-arounds

Posted 10:21 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 26
NEW ORLEANS -- A few booths at NADA are hopping. Others are nearly empty. The majority have a good number of representatives of that company speaking with a smaller number of dealers and dealership managers who have stopped by.What makes certain exhibits stand out?Hands-on involvement.The exhibition floor has a large number of booths devoted to computer services, whether D ...
     Continue reading "Test drives beat walk-arounds" » Jan 26, 2014 10:21 pm U.S. ET
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What happens in 2016 if interest rates rise?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Jan. 24
NEW ORLEANS -- 2014 will be a good year for the industry. But what about 2016?The following draws from speeches at the American Financial Services Association conference, which precedes the National Automobile Dealers Association convention here.Imagine Mae. In March 2013, she traded in a six-year-old car for a three-year-old one. By mid-2016, she's looking to replace it. ...
     Continue reading "What happens in 2016 if interest rates rise?" » Jan 24, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Ron Tonkin and memories of the 1989 NADA convention

Posted 9:40 am U.S. ET, Jan. 23
NEW ORLEANS -- News of dealer Ron Tonkin's passing took me back to an NADA convention in New Orleans exactly 25 years ago.It was only my second time at NADA's wingding, and what an extravaganza it was!In New Orleans in 1989, Tonkin accepted his election as NADA president with a stem-winder of a speech vowing to stand up to the factories on behalf of dealers. He compared hi ...
     Continue reading "Ron Tonkin and memories of the 1989 NADA convention" » Jan 23, 2014 9:40 am U.S. ET
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Will incentive discipline hold? Watch the mid-sized car segment

Posted 8:45 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 12
DETROIT -- Keep your eyes on the mid-sized car segment.That was one of the messages from Kelley Blue Book's briefing for reporters today ahead of the Detroit auto show.Kelley Blue Book predicts new light-vehicle sales in 2014 will rise 5 percent to 16.3 million -- if the industry stays disciplined. That means keeping production in line with demand. Not overproducing. Not t ...
     Continue reading "Will incentive discipline hold? Watch the mid-sized car segment" » Jan 12, 2014 8:45 pm U.S. ET
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To sell service plans, remind customers about insurance hikes

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 18
Here’s a good reason for your customers to buy extended service contracts: to avoid hikes in their regular auto insurance.We all know that, but here’s additional evidence to cite.Drivers pay an average of 38 percent more for car insurance after making a single claim, a new study by insuranceQuotes.com found. The size of the premium hike varies by state, with Ma ...
     Continue reading "To sell service plans, remind customers about insurance hikes" » Dec 18, 2013 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Japanese auto industry leaders stand strong as survivors

Posted 8:15 am U.S. ET, Nov. 24
TOKYO -- The 2013 Tokyo Motor Show has been an unprecedented love fest.On Tuesday, the afternoon before the first press day, the bosses of each member of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association stood shoulder to shoulder on the same stage, as the sound of a revving engine from each of their lineups roared in turn.It was an unusual show of solidarity. And it wasn't t ...
     Continue reading "Japanese auto industry leaders stand strong as survivors" » Nov 24, 2013 8:15 am U.S. ET
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Honda S660 vs. Daihatsu Kopen? No contest

Posted 10:53 am U.S. ET, Nov. 22
TOKYO -- In theory, the Honda S660 and Daihatsu Kopen should compete head to head.In fact, it's more like head to navel.Both cars, shown at the Tokyo Motor Show, are designed to be sporty convertibles within the heavily regulated rules of Japan's minicar segment. That means engines no larger than 660cc and specific limits on length, width and so on.Daihatsu decided sporty ...
     Continue reading "Honda S660 vs. Daihatsu Kopen? No contest" » Nov 22, 2013 10:53 am U.S. ET
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Numbers suggest mediocre F&I performance

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Oct. 2
On average, the industry is doing a mediocre job of selling F&I products.That's my conclusion, based on Power Information Network numbers on penetration rates for F&I products, plus some insight from Tony Dupaquier, trainer extraordinaire at American Financial & Automotive Services.First, the numbers. PIN data show that an F&I product was sold to 40 percent ...
     Continue reading "Numbers suggest mediocre F&I performance" » Oct 2, 2013 12:01 am U.S. ET
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A video can be your best F&I defense

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 25
LAS VEGAS -- Several panelists here at last week’s Industry Summit, an annual F&I conference, endorsed videotaping all F&I presentations. Some cited it as a means of monitoring whether F&I managers presented all products to all customers while others said videos helped in training.F&I managers might be uncomfortable with those reasons. After all, moni ...
     Continue reading "A video can be your best F&I defense" » Sep 25, 2013 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Auction group's new president reflects the rank and file

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 2
The leadership of an association should reflect that group's members.That's why it is appropriate that Jack Neshe will take over as president of the National Auto Auction Association on Tuesday, Sept. 3.Consider the National Automobile Dealers Association. The NADA chairmanship seems to swing between dealers who run large dealership groups and those who run one- or two-sto ...
     Continue reading "Auction group's new president reflects the rank and file" » Sep 2, 2013 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Getting to yes on a lease

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 14
In the F&I office, it's all about getting the customer to say yes and sign.Ideally, that's for a well-structured loan with other F&I products as well. But sometimes it means getting the customer to say yes to a lease.A lease doesn't have the profit potential of a loan. But cash sales hold even less profit potential. If a cash customer can be persuaded to switch to ...
     Continue reading "Getting to yes on a lease" » Aug 14, 2013 12:01 am U.S. ET
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