BLOG: James B. Treece

Is CHAdeMO headed for CHAde-NO?

Posted 11:03 am U.S. ET, Jan. 8
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The Nissan Leaf includes a CHAdeMO port next to the SAE-spec port.
DETROIT -- When I opened the charging door on the passenger side of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrid crossover, I found a charging port and a large empty space covered with a flat slab of plastic. The charging port is the same SAE-standard version I have on my Chevrolet Volt. The empty space? That’s where a large CHAdeMO port should have been. CHAdeMO i ...
     Continue reading "Is CHAdeMO headed for CHAde-NO?" » Jan 8, 2016 11:03 am U.S. ET
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As head of a desperate Nissan, Hanawa knew where he stood

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 30
If Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is tempted to revive his push to acquire -- I’m sorry, merge with (cough, cough) -- General Motors, he might do well to consider the tale of Yoshikazu Hanawa. Hanawa, who died this month at the age of 81, was the Nissan CEO who essentially sold control of the automaker to Renault. Renault hadn’t been Hanawa’s first ...
     Continue reading "As head of a desperate Nissan, Hanawa knew where he stood" » Dec 30, 2015 12:01 am U.S. ET
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On the road in Japan

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Nov. 26
After the Tokyo Motor Show in late October, I stayed in Japan for some vacation time. Among other things, my wife and I trekked for 10 days on parts of a traditional Buddhist pilgrimage trail on the island of Shikoku. It was great to be amid fall foliage on the steep mountain paths, even if my knees didn’t always agree. But I couldn’t entirely stop being an a ...
     Continue reading "On the road in Japan" » Nov 26, 2015 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Mexico in Tokyo

Posted 6:45 am U.S. ET, Oct. 30
TOKYO -- Don’t be misled. If there’s hardly anybody around the Mexico booth at the Tokyo Motor Show, it’s only because the exhibitor already has accomplished its mission. Japanese automakers such as Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mazda have been adding or expanding production in Mexico like crazy over the past few years. This booth is located across from the ...
     Continue reading "Mexico in Tokyo" » Oct 30, 2015 6:45 am U.S. ET
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Tokyo Motor Show continues to surprise, sometimes delight

Posted 1:30 pm U.S. ET, Oct. 29
TOKYO -- Random thoughts from a stroll through the Tokyo Motor Show … Genius vs. pretenders I’ve never pretended to be an expert judge of automotive design. To quote the immortal Dirty Harry, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” But even I can tell genius from pretenders. Consider the Mazda RX-Vision. Elegant. Gorgeous. There is absolute ...
     Continue reading "Tokyo Motor Show continues to surprise, sometimes delight" » Oct 29, 2015 1:30 pm U.S. ET
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Checking out the competition

Posted 1:45 pm U.S. ET, Oct. 29
TOKYO -- It’s common to see senior auto executives strolling through an auto show, checking out the competition. The various ways they do it offer insight into their styles. Some, like VW’s Ferdinand Piech, can’t travel without a large entourage. Others will walk alone, if their staffers allow. At the Tokyo Motor Show, I turned around to see Osamu Suzuk ...
     Continue reading "Checking out the competition" » Oct 29, 2015 1:45 pm U.S. ET
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Why U.S. isn't ready for a law that grounds vehicles with open recalls

Posted 3:36 pm U.S. ET, Sept. 8
AutoNation Inc.’s declaration, announced today, that it won’t sell a vehicle that has an open recall may prompt renewed calls to make that policy the law of the land. Such a law would be a mistake, at least under our current system of government recalls. The idea of prohibiting the sale or rental of cars under recall has been bandied about by consumer advocate ...
     Continue reading "Why U.S. isn't ready for a law that grounds vehicles with open recalls" » Sep 8, 2015 3:36 pm U.S. ET
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CarMax dodges a bullet, thanks to NADA, NIADA and NAAA

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 8
CarMax Inc. owes the National Automobile Dealers Association, the National Auto Auction Association and the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association an enormous thank you. Those associations last week helped CarMax dodge what could have been a devastating bullet. Oh, that wasn’t their objective. The associations’ goal was to scuttle the so-called B ...
     Continue reading "CarMax dodges a bullet, thanks to NADA, NIADA and NAAA" » Aug 8, 2015 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Group 1 makes terrific lemonade

Posted 1:03 pm U.S. ET, July 23
Don’t feel sorry for Group 1 Automotive. They’re doing just fine, thank you. More than fine, in fact. From the outside, one might assume Houston’s Group 1 would be hurting. The nation’s third-largest dealership group gets 48 percent of its U.S. new car and truck sales in Texas -- with 20 percent in the Houston area alone -- and another 9 percent i ...
     Continue reading "Group 1 makes terrific lemonade" » Jul 23, 2015 1:03 pm U.S. ET
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Lessons for Americans from Hamp's case

Posted 12:00 pm U.S. ET, July 10
My colleague, Philip Nussel, in a blog posted Thursday, draws parallels between the tale of Julie Hamp’s run-in with Japanese law and the price-fixing scandal that has embroiled a number of Japanese auto suppliers. I’d like to offer a seemingly more far-fetched comparison: to the 2006 case where Toyota’s top-ranking Japanese executive in the U.S. was acc ...
     Continue reading "Lessons for Americans from Hamp's case" » Jul 10, 2015 12:00 pm U.S. ET
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Startups just keep coming in the used-car market

Posted 7:14 am U.S. ET, July 9
In case you missed it, this week brought more reminders that the used-car market is in flux. First, there was an article on Monday in Crain’s Chicago Business, an affiliate of Automotive News, about yet another online startup seeking to help dealers find specific used vehicles. “A new model for used cars” proclaimed the headline. Next was a Bloomberg ar ...
     Continue reading "Startups just keep coming in the used-car market" » Jul 9, 2015 7:14 am U.S. ET
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How credit unions, as a group, will become the largest auto lender

Posted 11:45 am U.S. ET, June 3
Credit unions as a group, largely working through Credit Union Direct’s CUDL platform, are poised to become the largest single lender to auto buyers -- eventually. Here’s how. First, a disclaimer. I moderated a panel of dealers at a conference in May sponsored by Credit Union Direct. Hearing four dealer panelists and a roomful of credit union representatives t ...
     Continue reading "How credit unions, as a group, will become the largest auto lender" » Jun 3, 2015 11:45 am U.S. ET
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Care about new-car sales? Keep an eye on CPO sales

Posted 12:53 pm U.S. ET, March 30
Can the robust CPO market handle the rising tide of used-vehicle supply? That’s one of the critical questions facing everyone in the used-car market -- and the new-car market, too. For more than a year, Automotive News staff reporter Arlena Sawyers has monitored used-car prices closely, knowing that rising supply ultimately would push prices lower. (I’m Sawye ...
     Continue reading "Care about new-car sales? Keep an eye on CPO sales" » Mar 30, 2015 12:53 pm U.S. ET
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North of U.S. border, mixed blessings from oil's skid

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 14
TORONTO -- In the U.S., the drop in oil prices is seen as a boost for most of the economy, with some localized pain in the oil patch. Here in Canada, the view is reversed. The media drumbeat has been that resource-rich Canada is going to take a major hit from lower oil and gas receipts. The Toronto Stock Exchange index collapsed in September, when oil prices did, and aga ...
     Continue reading "North of U.S. border, mixed blessings from oil's skid" » Feb 14, 2015 12:01 am U.S. ET
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In praise of consumer-focused auto shows

Posted 2:00 pm U.S. ET, Feb. 13
TORONTO -- The auto shows I’ve covered repeatedly for Automotive News are major global shows: Detroit, Tokyo, Beijing and Shanghai. I’ve also been to Chicago, New York, Geneva, Seoul and Frankfurt, but not often or recently enough to really know them. At these global shows, other reporters and I flock to global debuts and chances to interview the bosses of the ...
     Continue reading "In praise of consumer-focused auto shows" » Feb 13, 2015 2:00 pm U.S. ET
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In Canada, celebrating the classics

Posted 3:29 pm U.S. ET, Feb. 12
This week at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, an exhibit called “Art and the Automobile” includes a number of classics and historically significant concepts. Among them: A reconstructed version of Henry Seth Taylor’s 1867 Steam Buggy. Believed to be the oldest car in Canada, the Steam Buggy was designed and built by Taylor, a jeweler an ...
     Continue reading "In Canada, celebrating the classics" » Feb 12, 2015 3:29 pm U.S. ET
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Where are you spending your dollars on digital?

Posted 5:00 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 23
SAN FRANCISCO -- The impact of digital tools on dealerships’ marketing has grown exponentially. Those tools have been a hot topic at the last few NADA conventions. But it may be time for the focus to shift. “Digital marketing has left the building,” Scott Gruwell, general manager of Courtesy Chevrolet in Phoenix, told me on the sidelines of an automotive ...
     Continue reading "Where are you spending your dollars on digital?" » Jan 23, 2015 5:00 pm U.S. ET
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Building a new fortress to protect data

Posted 2:00 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 23
SAN FRANCISCO -- It may be too late to be paranoid. When it comes to protecting sensitive data against hackers, the days of building thick digital walls and moat are over, said Boulton Fernando, chief security officer at Toyota Financial Services. We should assume the hackers are already inside our preliminary defenses, he said. Now it’s about moving the crown jewe ...
     Continue reading "Building a new fortress to protect data" » Jan 23, 2015 2:00 pm U.S. ET
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Luddites? Really?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Jan. 22
Maybe you saw this: Four states received a “Luddite Award” from a Washington, D.C., think tank for laws preventing Tesla from opening its own stores. The four -- Arizona, Michigan, New Jersey and Texas -- collectively were one of 10 organizations or individuals that got the dubious award for having “done the most in 2014 to smash the engines of innovatio ...
     Continue reading "Luddites? Really?" » Jan 22, 2015 12:01 am U.S. ET
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