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BLOG: Larry P. Vellequette
Posted 12:12 pm U.S. ET, Oct. 3
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Consider this a free idea -- the kind that hopefully somebody out there takes and develops and uses to make a lot of money.
Dealers need to offer new-vehicle customers a kind of “CarFax” protection plan that spares them from the inevitable dings to vehicle equity that are now commonplace in an age of nearly unlimited information.
Here’s how it should wo ... Continue reading "Looking for a new F&I product? Mull this" » Nov 5, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET Post Comment
It’s been just over two weeks since Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne casually revealed that he might have to move Jeep Wrangler production out of its historic home in Toledo, Ohio.
In his comments, Marchionne said that it would be prohibitively expensive to build an aluminum Wrangler in Toledo, if that’s what Jeep decides to do with the 2017 red ... Continue reading "Why Wrangler’s Toledo decision may depend on keeping the money spigot flowing" » Oct 18, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET Post Comment
PARIS -- My hometown completely freaked out Thursday.
Lost its mind, flipped its lid, blew a gasket -- pick any phrase you like, because they all apply.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne revealed here in Paris that the next-generation Jeep Wrangler might have to be manufactured somewhere else other than in its historic home in Toledo, Ohio.
Nobody would lo ... Continue reading "Wrangler is so engrained in its DNA, the city should be spelled Toledo, OIIIIIIIO" » Oct 3, 2014 12:12 pm U.S. ET Post Comment
PARIS -- Ford Motor Co. on Wednesday lifted the mask on its next-generation C-Max at a special event at the Opera National de Paris, the setting for the fictional The Phantom of the Opera.
The irony may have been lost on the Ford execs on hand, who also showed off the next-generation European S-Max and Grande C-Max before their scheduled press conference Thursday at the P ... Continue reading "Ford puts refreshed C-Max in the Phantom's spotlight" » Oct 1, 2014 6:00 pm U.S. ET Post Comment
Here is something that will happen in 2015 upon which you can bet serious money: The UAW will strike one -- and likely all three -- Detroit automakers before reaching a deal on a new labor agreement.
And here’s the thing: There is nothing that any of the automakers could offer that would avoid that inevitability.
The 2015 strike(s) will not be long. They will not b ... Continue reading "Why the UAW will strike in 2015 -- no matter what's offered" » Sep 19, 2014 10:22 am U.S. ET Post Comment
Since Fiat was reintroduced to the United States in 2011, the Italian brand has stretched the advertising envelope.
But a new animated spot set to debut on Gas Station TV this month touting the fuel and ecological advantages of a Fiat 500 minicar may be the brand’s most wry offering yet.
The one-minute commercial features animated woodland creatures -- a rabbit, a ... Continue reading "Fiat's cute cartoon characters suggest buying a 500 -- or else" » Aug 27, 2014 3:38 pm U.S. ET Post Comment
Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne today seemed like a grizzly bear standing amid a stream of happily swimming salmon.
In comments to analysts, the enigmatic Chrysler boss said he was "envious" of the profit margins of his suppliers, and vowed to seek a share of their newfound wealth.
Have no doubt: Profitable suppliers are the salmon in this scenario, and Marchionne i ... Continue reading "Will Marchionne's profits grab come up empty?" » Aug 6, 2014 5:16 pm U.S. ET Post Comment
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Take note: there is a squeeze coming to an auto dealer near you.
Two important factors to new automotive sales -- low interest rates and relatively high values for used automobiles – are forecast to move in unwelcome directions that soon will make it more expensive to buy a new car, SUV or pickup.
The forecasts, delivered at the 2014 Managem ... Continue reading "Why a squeeze is coming to auto dealers" » Aug 5, 2014 10:28 am U.S. ET Post Comment
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- There's three dozen people in the auto supply chain who should be on the mind of everyone attending the Management Briefing Seminars here this year.
For more than three years, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division and its counterparts in Europe and Japan have been working over automotive suppliers like a boxer on a heavy b ... Continue reading "Why the supplier price-fixing investigation looms large" » Aug 4, 2014 9:40 am U.S. ET Post Comment
Spend a few minutes with Chrysler Group’s new monster power plant -- the 707-hp, 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V-8 -- and you will be left, as I was, with one overriding question:
What else can you put it in?
Not to say that it’s out of place in the 2015 SRT Challenger. It’s not. It absolutely belongs there and fits like a glove. But very few automakers t ... Continue reading "Let's hope for a litter of Hellcat kitties" » Jul 19, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET Post Comment
In economics, it’s known as the law of diminishing returns, the shrinking benefit you get when you pour ever-increasing resources toward achieving a singular goal.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Agency showed a good mathematical example of the principle today with a graphic it released about the consumer benefits of fuel economy.
For consu ... Continue reading "Why fuel economy faces law of diminishing returns" » Jul 11, 2014 3:02 pm U.S. ET Post Comment
Here’s an automotive exercise: Think of the most practical product you own, something you use every day.
Maybe it’s a pen you keep in your pocket, or a garment, a briefcase, a handbag -- whatever.
Do you like it? Probably, or you’d switch to an alternative. Is it stylish? Maybe, but it doesn’t really have to be in order to be practical. Yet, becau ... Continue reading "Minivans are too practical to have the reputation they have" » Jul 9, 2014 3:13 pm U.S. ET Post Comment
Maybe it’s the five-year bankruptcy anniversary, or the juxtaposition of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles laying out its five-year business plan as General Motors struggles to contain a ballooning recall crisis.
Either way, time and careful observation have now clarified for me a theory that I’ve noodled over since that dark spring in 2009.
You see, there is a funda ... Continue reading "Why the bankruptcy legacy seems different at Chrysler and GM" » May 22, 2014 3:02 pm U.S. ET Post Comment
To borrow a line from The Blues Brothers movie a few decades ago, Chrysler Group is “getting the band back together” on Tuesday to reveal its next five-year business plan.
So I wonder: Is it too late to put in a request?
If it’s not, if there’s still time, then what I’d really like to hear next week is that CEO Sergio Marchionne and company ...