Staff Commentary

RICHARD TRUETT

The new sticker shock: High costs to fix high-tech

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 6, 2015

We all know about showroom sticker shock. But here's another side of the affordability problem: the hefty repair costs for minor accidents. At least two factors are driving up the cost to fix vehicles: safety electronics and the way cars are built today.... Read More »

LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE

FCA may find perfect partner is from Asia

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 23, 2015

Sergio Marchionne wants a dance partner for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The financial media keep trying to fix him up with Volkswagen, but I think Marchionne has his eye on a mate in Asia. To me, the best partners, in descending order, are Suzuki, Mazda and Hyundai.... Read More »

LINDSAY CHAPPELL

A JLR plant in N. America? Do it already

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 16, 2015

Do not hesitate to build that North American vehicle assembly plant, Jaguar Land Rover. You will be amazed. Trust me on this one.... Read More »

HANS GREIMEL

Lexus' ideas about entry cars changing?

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 9, 2015

One of the most perplexing cars at the Geneva auto show is the Lexus LF-SA minicar concept. The Japanese luxury brand has said repeatedly that it won't dabble in the sub-$30,000 zone, yet that's exactly what the LF-SA is.... Read More »

JAMES B. TREECE

Why GAAP and the bottom line matter

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 9, 2015

Generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, is how accountants keep score across highly different industries. By agreeing to tally the figures in a consistent way, accountants provide scorecards that investors can review with confidence. So I take note how often publicly traded dealership groups present their earnings on an "adjusted" basis rather than on a GAAP basis.... Read More »

RICHARD TRUETT

De Nysschen, 'Dare' I say, needs a better plan to reconstruct Cadillac's image

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 2, 2015

It seems nothing gets people chattering these days like Cadillac, a brand in transition. So when reporter Richard Truett took to autonews.com last week with an "open letter" to Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen, reactions poured in. Here is Truett's column and excerpts from three emails that arrived in his inbox.... Read More »

JAMES B. TREECE

Car stores could be just like Apple stores, right?

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

"How's it going?" I asked my friend Gene-Erik Marketer. I hadn't seen him since the NADA convention. "Great!" he replied. "I really got our dealers fired up at our make meeting with my pitch to make our dealerships more like Apple stores!" I had to ask: "What does that mean?"... Read More »

NICK BUNKLEY

Year of the Recall wasn't all GM's fault

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

The final tally is in. In 2014, automakers sent out some 64 million recall notices in the United States, more than double the previous calendar-year record. GM was a big part of that, but plenty of others also contributed.... Read More »

RICHARD TRUETT

Has diesel had its day in Europe?

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 16, 2015

Pollution is one reason why the diesel engine has perhaps peaked at 50 percent of new-car sales in most of Europe.... Read More »

LINDSAY CHAPPELL

In the rush to digital, a defense of the old media

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2015

Digital, digital, digital was the clear, repetitive marketing message for auto dealers at this year's National Automobile Dealers Association convention. But ad agency owner Terry Lancaster had a different message for retailers: Don't be so quick to change horses.... Read More »

BRADFORD WERNLE

Bentley joins VW's party of quirky names

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 19, 2015

Now we can add a new head-scratcher name to the list: the Bentley Bentayga. That's what Bentley is christening its first-ever SUV, which will be introduced later this year and will go on sale in 2016.... Read More »

LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE

A million Jeep sales means hard choices

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 12, 2015

Hitting the 1 million mark -- which you have to pronounce one meeell-yon -- blasted Jeep's previous record of 731,565 set the previous year.... Read More »

RICHARD TRUETT

Why falling fuel prices are bad, bad news

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 12, 2015

Cheap gasoline usually brings higher incentives on hybrids and other fuel-efficient cars -- making it harder for automakers and suppliers to sell them at a profit.... Read More »

HANS GREIMEL

Exchange rate windfalls a mixed bag for Japan's Big 3

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 12, 2015

After trading at record highs for several years, the Japanese yen has tanked against the dollar and many other foreign currencies. The shift is generating huge windfalls for Japan's Big 3 automakers: Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. But the jackpot won't benefit the rivals equally.... Read More »

JESSE SNYDER

Strong margins signal more strong growth

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 12, 2015

The counting's done, so it's official: 2014 was a great year.... Read More »

JAMES B. TREECE

NHTSA had lots of help making roads safer

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 29, 2014

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.... Read More »

LARRY VELLEQUETTE

'Chrysler' gone, but definitely not silent

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 22, 2014

After bearing Walter P. Chrysler's name in one form or another since 1925, the U.S. automaker that the great man formed has dropped the pretense of independence and become simply FCA US.... Read More »

JESSE SNYDER

How auto dealers gained our esteem

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 15, 2014

Several trends in business and technology favor local merchants, including auto dealers, over national conglomerates in terms of treating customers right.... Read More »

HANS GREIMEL

Lexus RC: Nifty lighting, walk-in seats -- and more

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 1, 2014

Design is always subjective, but if the new RC coupe is a sign of future cars from Lexus, brand boss Tokuo Fukuichi is working magic in my book. Here are some cool flourishes that enhance the RC experience.... Read More »

PHILIP NUSSEL

How to stop supplier price fixing now

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 1, 2014

Supplier price fixing is a global epidemic that stifles fair competition, inflates the cost of components for automakers, erodes investor confidence and rips off the customer. Automakers can make it all stop right now, but will they?... Read More »

RICHARD TRUETT

How Sprinter dodges the chicken tax

12:01 am U.S. ET | Nov. 24, 2014

Daimler has devised a reasonably efficient system designed to avoid the "chicken tax." Between 66 and 74 Sprinter vans a day roll off the 17-station line five days a week in South Carolina. This after being built, then disassembled in Germany. The gyrations some automakers perform to avoid the 25 percent tariff seem wasteful and crazy.... Read More »

JAMES B. TREECE

Ford's Odell: Sharp, talented and respectful

12:01 am U.S. ET | Nov. 10, 2014

I know Ford's Jim Farley was considered a marketing wunderkind. But I don't think Odell is by any means a step down as marketing boss.... Read More »

JESSE SNYDER

Good times are rolling for pickup makers

12:01 am U.S. ET | Nov. 10, 2014

What a terrific month October was for sales of pickups. Large pickups rose 10 percent, outperforming a strong overall U.S. market. The 10-month numbers for big pickups look pretty good, too. In fact, everyone has something to smile about.... Read More »

DAVE GUILFORD

For some, a big downside to cheap gas

12:01 am U.S. ET | Nov. 10, 2014

The volatility of gasoline prices has long bedeviled teams devising business plans for battery electrics, plug-in hybrids and even standard Prius-type hybrids.... Read More »

RICHARD TRUETT

CT6? Cadillac missed chance to sell 'em on a sexy name

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 13, 2014

Car names derived from letters and numbers have been with us since at least the 1950s. So why the big fuss after Cadillac said it will name its big new sedan the CT6? Well, there's a good reason.... Read More »

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