Staff Columns

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

JAMES B. TREECE

How to end predatory auto-loan practices

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

Americans won't abide companies that gouge minorities and other vulnerable consumers. By acting aggressively to adopt and publicize the NADA and AFSA solution, auto retailers and lenders can show they are determined to fight discrimination before the heavy hand of government steps in.... Read More »

LINDSAY CHAPPELL

Sedan-heavy brands also pile on the incentives

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

The guys who stepped up their incentive spending last month are brands that are counting on strong sedan strategies in an era of crossover growth.... Read More »

RICHARD TRUETT

For GM, the self-driving car of the future is also a thing of the past

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

A close look at the Firebird II video shows GM made a lot of the right calls on the issues facing self-driving cars -- issues that are still being resolved.... Read More »

DAVE GUILFORD

Gigafactory: Tesla's key to meeting cost, range targets

12:01 am U.S. ET | Sept. 8, 2014

The ceremony last week announcing Tesla's decision to build its lithium ion battery "gigafactory" in Nevada was filled with phrases such as "as many as" and "as much as."... Read More »

JESSE SNYDER

Sit-highs: The lucky ducks have trucks

12:01 am U.S. ET | Sept. 8, 2014

August's U.S. auto sales report was full of good news. But forget the normal scorecard of unit sales. Let's look at some real winners: trucks and the automakers that have more of them.... Read More »

LINDSAY CHAPPELL

Settlement rolls Tide coach into Birmingham

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

Nick Saban occupies a social position in Alabama that is approximately equal to Julius Caesar's in imperial Rome. So imagine the surprise at Crown Automobile, the Mercedes-Benz dealership in Birmingham, Ala., when it learned last year that Mercedes had quietly awarded the champion football coach a letter of intent authorizing them to open a Mercedes dealership in ... Birmingham.... Read More »

LINDSAY CHAPPELL

Automakers called out on lousy voice recognition

12:01 am U.S. ET | Aug. 11, 2014

The world's automakers are going to be doing a lot of cringing now that J.D. Power plans to lay into them for one of the most poorly executed technologies they peddle to consumers -- voice recognition.... Read More »

RICHARD TRUETT

New systems amaze, but what about the joy of driving?

11:00 am U.S. ET | Aug. 6, 2014

Recent visits to Visteon Corp. and Valeo North America threw me into a bit of a funk. They are working to create a cloud-based, always-connected information pod. Taking a back seat is the joy of driving.... Read More »

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