Automakers and Suppliers

SRT versions of Jeep Grand Cherokee to stay -- for now

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 20, 2014
When Chrysler Group said in May that the SRT designation would be for Dodge vehicles only, it was silent on the fate of the SRT versions of the Chrysler 300 and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Now, clues are surfacing about the automaker's plans for the vehicles.... Read More »

 

Q&A

Geely set to debut its first 'Horbury'

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 20, 2014
Geely's GC9, the Chinese brand's flagship sedan set to debut at the Guangzhou auto show next month, is being touted as the first Geely developed under the design auspices of Peter Horbury.... Read More »

 

Concept to signal new era for Audi design

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 20, 2014
Audi will introduce a new design direction with a concept car debuting next month at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The concept will be the first Audi vehicle styled under Marc Lichte, who took over as Audi's design chief in February after leading exterior design at Volkswagen.... Read More »

 

Rolls-Royce renews the Ghost

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 20, 2014
Rolls-Royce has made extensive styling and technical changes to the Ghost Series II for its midcycle freshening. The 2015 model shown at a press event here has newly styled adaptive headlights, pushed farther outboard and ringed with white LED daytime running lights; a new hood with a stylized center section Rolls calls a "wake channel"; and redesigned front fenders, bumper and grille that give the car a wider appearance.... Read More »

 

NAMAD's 2nd film chronicles history for next generation

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 20, 2014
The nation's largest minority dealership group has released the second in what it hopes will be a series of documentaries chronicling the history of minority dealers in the United States. The National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers released Making Tracks II in September, about nine years after the first installment in 2005.... Read More »

 

JCI-Yanfeng could be first domino

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 20, 2014
The major joint venture between Johnson Controls Inc. and China's Yanfeng Automotive Trim Systems Co. has created momentum for further consolidation of the auto interiors business, says Beda Bolzenius, president of Johnson Controls' seating and interiors business.... Read More »

 

Q&A

Ford shrinks its supplier 'watch' list

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 20, 2014
Despite a blitz of model launches this year -- topped by the aluminum F-150 pickup -- Ford Motor Co. has fewer vendors on its "watch" list of suppliers that are struggling to meet production targets. Ford purchasing chief Hau Thai-Tang says the company learned its lesson about unreliable parts supply from the troubled Lincoln MKZ launch last year.... Read More »

 

Pulling the plug: EV battery module exchange put to test

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 20, 2014
A team of engineers at the University of California, San Diego, plans to make a cross-country trip in an electric vehicle -- without plugging the car in once. Instead of going by the traditional plug-and-wait protocol for EVs, the engineers will swap out rechargeable, briefcase-size battery modules on the fly as they travel from San Diego to the coast of South Carolina in less than 60 hours.... Read More »

 

Startups see opportunities flowing from data port

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 20, 2014
Some startups, impatient with automakers' progress and promising to bring older vehicles into the data-driven age, are racing to market with hardware and apps that tap into the OBD-II diagnostic port built into all new U.S. light vehicles' dashboards beginning in 1996.... Read More »

 

MIKE WOOD: How hard are you willing to work?

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 20, 2014
Long hours and hard work in the past few years turned Mike Wood from a dealership manager into a dealer with four stores. The market has been loaded with acquisition opportunities, he says, provided the buyer is willing to put in the sweat and hustle.... Read More »

 

JERRY VITZTHUM: Out, in and then back out again

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 20, 2014
Ask former small-town car dealer Jerry Vitzthum whether the auto industry is better or worse today than it was before the national economic crisis, and he shrugs.... Read More »

 

BILL LEA: Keep stores modern

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 20, 2014
"People keep asking us for our store designs," says Bill Lia, the 78-year-old CEO of Lia Auto Group in Albany, N.Y., which just finished building its 19th dealership. "We want to keep everything modern and up to date.... Read More »

 

FIVE-YEAR LOOK BACK

Dealers pursued opportunities from the rubble of '09

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 20, 2014
In the five years that have passed since the economic crash of 2009, the auto retailing sector has emerged from the ashes. The transition has been painful. There are fewer car dealers in 2014. Many have been pressed by automakers to invest in new stores. But what was a bitter industry shakeout for some in 2009 has led to better times in auto retailing in 2014 for others.... Read More »

 

Porsche expects to hit U.S. sales goal early

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 20, 2014
Porsche will meet its goal of selling 50,000 vehicles in the U.S. in 2015 -- three years earlier than originally envisioned, says Andre Oosthuizen, the brand's top U.S. marketing executive. "We would foresee 2015 would definitely be the year to surpass that threshold."... Read More »

 

BEST PRACTICES

A terrible wreck, but not a total loss

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 20, 2014
Most dealerships send totaled cars straight to the junkyard. White Bear Mitsubishi put one on display, and it has been reaping the rewards ever since.... Read More »

 

Porsche: 918 Spyder nearly sold out

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 20, 2014
Porsche's limited-run 918 Spyder is nearing sellout status. Production of the plug-in hybrid supercar's 918 promised units will end next July, and planned production is sold out through late March or early April, said Andre Oosthuizen, vice president of marketing for Porsche Cars North America Inc.... Read More »

 

TEAR-DOWN TEAM

Ford and suppliers jointly benchmark competitors' vehicles

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 19, 2014
Ford is inviting suppliers to help benchmark other companies' vehicles and parts before Ford launches new models -- a move that is starting to pay dividends.... Read More »

 

NEW PROVING GROUNDS

Where will autonomous cars prepare for urban challenges?

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 19, 2014
The advent of autonomous cars is forcing automakers to rethink the traditional proving ground and strike a balance between existing test tracks and the realities of today's bustling cities. The big hurdle for self-driving cars remains urban America, where the environment is more complex and the range of risks -- cyclists, stray dogs, children running into the street -- is greater.... Read More »

 

VW recalls 1.1 million cars in N. America, China over suspension issue

Oct. 18, 2014 06:01 CET
Volkswagen said it is recalling more than 1.1 million cars in North America and China to correct a potential problem with rear suspension parts.... Read More »

 

Takata engineers struggled to maintain airbag quality, documents reveal

9:27 am U.S. ET | Oct. 18, 2014
Manufacturing problems with Takata airbags go beyond what the supplier has disclosed to federal safety regulators about why the devices are at risk of exploding with dangerous force, according to internal company documents reviewed by Reuters.... Read More »

 

Renault's China vehicle sales could reach 800,000 a year, Ghosn says

Oct. 18, 2014 06:01 CET
Renault, a latecomer to China, could sell up to 800,000 vehicles annually in the country, CEO Carlos Ghosn said. Renault has a 4 percent market share globally and it is a "reasonable" objective to reproduce this in China, Ghosn said.... Read More »

 

Lutz on the Aztek: Blame GM culture

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 18, 2014
It's always assumed that Bob Lutz got his job as GM's product czar in 2001, coming out of retirement at age 69, because of the spectacular failure of the Pontiac Aztek.... Read More »

 

UAW, politicians will fight to keep Wrangler output in Toledo

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 18, 2014
UAW and political leaders plan to gather Monday in a community-wide effort to keep Jeep Wrangler production in its original home of Toledo, Ohio. Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne this month said the next Wrangler may have be built off a unibody platform, changes that could mean the SUV would have to find a production site outside Toledo.... Read More »

 

EPA plans more scrutiny of mpg tests

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 18, 2014
The EPA is preparing to tighten its oversight of fuel economy testing and reporting this year in an effort to align the ratings on vehicles' stickers more closely with their real-world capability. A key area of focus will be the agency's "coast-down" test, which has been the source of mistakes that prompted Hyundai, Kia, Ford and Mercedes-Benz to relabel several models since 2012.... Read More »

 

For 15 years, Nakamura has redrawn Nissan

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 18, 2014
Fifteen years after taking over Nissan's global design leadership, Shiro Nakamura has come full circle. Nissan will launch its third-generation Murano crossover late this year. In 2002, the Murano was the first Nissan nameplate that fully showcased Nakamura's creative touch. It also tops off a long list of edgy designs for Nakamura, who has begun to slip the word "retirement" into his conversations, as though testing the water. He turned 64 on Oct. 17.... Read More »

 

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