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BLOG: Larry P. Vellequette
Posted 1:19 pm U.S. ET, Feb. 4
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Posted 10:12 am U.S. ET, Feb. 12
I know some of you will accuse me of heresy against a Higher Power for saying it, but I don’t like Apple. Never have.
That’s why talk that Apple might jump into the car business leaves me not only nonplused but giggling at the thought of how the world’s richest company would translate its current business practices from phones to automobiles.
Let’ ... Continue reading "Thanks, but no thanks, to an Apple car" » Feb 17, 2015 12:18 pm U.S. ET Permalink
SOMEWHERE EAST of SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- I had originally intended to write this piece about the Chicago Auto Show’s great untapped natural resource, it’s location near the travel hub of North America.
I had grand designs to write of how the Chicago auto show -- which already benefits from being housed in the massive and beautiful lakefront McCormick Center -- co ... Continue reading "This is no way to run a railroad" » Feb 12, 2015 10:12 am U.S. ET Permalink
Break out the Scooby Snacks, because I’ve got a mystery that might even stump Velma: Is Fiat Chrysler secretly developing a new 16-valve, 2.2-liter turbodiesel engine for its passenger cars?
A member of the FCA-centric website Allpar.com recently snooped around on the automaker’s secure dealer site, DealerConnect, and stumbled across an odd new power ... Continue reading "Does FCA have a new small turbodiesel coming to the states? Why, it's a mystery" » Feb 4, 2015 1:19 pm U.S. ET Permalink
I truly believe that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne would prefer to write a big check and keep the next generation Jeep Wrangler in its historic home in Toledo, Ohio.
The problem? There’s not much wiggle room right now in the corporate checking account.
One brand -- Alfa Romeo -- is in the early stages of a $6 billion makeover to get back in the ga ... Continue reading "Why Marchionne's Wrangler conundrum will require creativity" » Jan 19, 2015 12:22 pm U.S. ET Permalink
TOLEDO, Ohio -- One million.
That big, round, Dr. Evil-loving, base-ten global sales number has blasted any remaining doubt that 2014 was the Jeep brand’s year of the century.
Hitting the one million mark -- which you have to pronounce one meeeill-yon -- blasted Jeep’s previous record of 731,565 set the previous year.
And it’s early. There’s a ne ... Continue reading "A million Jeeps in 2014 means Marchionne has some hard choices to make" » Jan 6, 2015 11:26 am U.S. ET Permalink
I don’t know how else to describe it, and it’s an adjective I don’t use lightly.
How else could you describe the breadth and depth of the remarkable sales wave that Chrysler Group’s U.S. dealerships experienced in November? Especially in a month where gains from other automakers were so much smaller?
Dismiss for a moment the top line de ... Continue reading "Why Chrysler's November sales ought to make your jaw drop" » Dec 3, 2014 3:53 pm U.S. ET Permalink
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 Permalink
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 Permalink
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 Permalink
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 Permalink
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 Permalink
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 ...