BLOG: James B. Treece

Regulation vs. technology -- why are U.S. roads getting safer?

Posted 9:21 am U.S. ET, Dec. 20
blogs James B. Treece is a News Editor at Automotive News.
 
Here’s some good news you didn’t read much about this year: U.S. roads are safer. The number of people who died in U.S. traffic crashes fell 3 percent in 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on Friday. The year’s total: 32,719 fatalities. That’s still 32,719 more than anyone would like to see, but it’s a huge improv ...
     Continue reading "Regulation vs. technology -- why are U.S. roads getting safer?" » Dec 20, 2014 9:21 am U.S. ET
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FTC finds fine print too fine, imposes fines

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 14
Here’s a tip for dealers: In your advertising, remember that Americans are getting older. And while smartphone screens are getting bigger, they’re still dinky compared to that big-screen TV on your wall. Think big print. On Friday, the Federal Trade Commission charged two auto dealership groups with violating earlier orders from the FTC to avoid misleading ad ...
     Continue reading "FTC finds fine print too fine, imposes fines" » Dec 14, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Why the bid-rigging? Ask the automakers

Posted 12:29 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 26
Toyota Motor Corp. employees are taught to solve problems with the “Five Whys.” Ask why it happened, and why that happened, and so on until you get to the fundamental problem. If a part is faulty, why? If the machine that made it malfunctioned, why? If the machine hadn’t been maintained properly, why? And so on. Ask ‘Why’ five times, not jus ...
     Continue reading "Why the bid-rigging? Ask the automakers" » Nov 26, 2014 12:29 pm U.S. ET
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Ford's Odell: Sharp, talented and respectful

Posted 7:17 am U.S. ET, Nov. 10
As Jim Farley prepares to run Ford of Europe, staff in sales and marketing at the automaker’s headquarters in Dearborn are getting ready to greet current Europe boss Stephen Odell, who will replace Farley as global head of sales, service and marketing on Jan. 1. The change says a lot about Ford today. Farley is considered a marketing wunderkind. But I don’t t ...
     Continue reading "Ford's Odell: Sharp, talented and respectful" » Nov 10, 2014 7:17 am U.S. ET
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Art program could help shape auto industry's next creative minds

Posted 1:33 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 7
Thursday night, I went to a fundraiser, called #onthefridge, for Art Road. This group arranges supplies and teachers for art classes and programs for schoolchildren in Detroit and southeast Michigan. It does more than that, but that’s the core mission: Let kids have an art class. Too many schools across the U.S. have had to cut those classes. The event was hosted b ...
     Continue reading "Art program could help shape auto industry's next creative minds" » Nov 7, 2014 1:33 pm U.S. ET
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Why loan length doesn’t matter

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Oct. 22
Here’s another reason not to fret over longer loans: Their numbers are misleading. Consider these comments from Dave Mondragon, executive director of U.S. sales for Ford and Lincoln at Ford Motor Co. Speaking at Automotive News’ Best Dealerships To Work For event last week in Chicago, Mondragon noted that the most recent data show that 60 percent of all vehic ...
     Continue reading "Why loan length doesn’t matter" » Oct 22, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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In praise of the Best Dealerships To Work For

Posted 3:07 pm U.S. ET, Oct. 17
Here’s why I love Automotive News’ annual special section and event to honor the Best Dealerships To Work For: We’re celebrating the good guys. These are the folks who give car dealers a good name. These are dealers who treat their people well. Call me naive, but I honestly believe that employees who are treated well are more likely to treat their custom ...
     Continue reading "In praise of the Best Dealerships To Work For" » Oct 17, 2014 3:07 pm U.S. ET
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How Jim Harbour and David Power improved the U.S. auto industry

Posted 6:39 am U.S. ET, Sept. 9
Jim Harbour, who died Saturday at age 86, was one of two men who dramatically improved the American auto industry at a time when Detroit was deeply in denial about how far short of world class it was. You won’t find two men more dissimilar in personality than Harbour and J. David Power III. But what they shared was an absolute insistence on data and facts. Power fa ...
     Continue reading "How Jim Harbour and David Power improved the U.S. auto industry" » Sep 9, 2014 6:39 am U.S. ET
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Searching far and wide for service techs

Posted 9:30 am U.S. ET, Aug. 20
How far is your dealership willing to go to get well-qualified service technicians? General Motors dealers in the Mideast went all the way to the Philippines. On Aug. 7, a group of technicians graduated from the GM Advanced Technician Training Center in a ceremony held at the Lourdes High School Complex in Angat, Bulacan, north of Manila. The center is sponsored by GM M ...
     Continue reading "Searching far and wide for service techs" » Aug 20, 2014 9:30 am U.S. ET
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Toyota, supporter of Korean culture

Posted 12:28 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 8
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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Canadian dealer buries a Jeep, hires an ambassador and puts on the Ritz

Canadian dealer buries a Jeep, hires an ambassador and puts on the Ritz

At Bay King Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram in Hamilton, Ontario, dealer Jamie Richter has put luxury-hotel touches in his new showroom. They include concierges who see to the needs of service customers. Mon., December 15
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