Larry P. Vellequette


BLOG: Why fuel economy faces law of diminishing returns

3:02 pm U.S. ET | July 11, 2014

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 DOE showed a good mathematical example of the principle today with a graphic it released about the consumer benefits of fuel economy.... Read More »


BLOG: Minivans are too practical to have the reputation they have

3:13 pm U.S. ET | July 9, 2014

If all vehicles represent compromises to necessity, I would argue that minivans are the least compromised of any segment.... Read More »

Larry P. Vellequette

Replacing the Wrangler is a puzzler

12:01 am U.S. ET | July 7, 2014

The Wrangler -- Jeep's own mud-encrusted halo -- is being redesigned for 2017, when it must comply with more stringent fuel economy requirements.... Read More »


BLOG: Why the bankruptcy legacy seems different at Chrysler and GM

3:02 pm U.S. ET | May 22, 2014

There is a fundamental difference today between Chrysler and GM because of what did and did not happen during their gut-wrenching bankruptcy crises five years ago. Chrysler came close enough to death in its bankruptcy to dramatically alter its culture, while GM never stopped believing it was too big to fail.... Read More »


BLOG: Can I request a Jeep Gladiator in the plan?

2:06 pm U.S. ET | May 2, 2014

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?... Read More »


BLOG: Ohio man's collection of '36 Fords going to auction

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 19, 2014

As a young man, Emery Ward Jr. fell in love in 1936 -- with a Ford. He never got over the attraction. In fact, the older he got, the more it intensified.... Read More »


BLOG: CEO media scrums are as ineffective as they are dangerous

9:22 am U.S. ET | April 18, 2014

Journalists chasing a meaty story can act like a pack of wild dogs sometimes. But this week in New York -- and earlier this year at the Detroit auto show after landing her new job -- GM CEO Mary Barra and her entourage must have realized how injured wildebeests feel as they are set upon by jackals.... Read More »


BLOG: Waiting for Alfa. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

10:46 am U.S. ET | April 15, 2014

If you show up decades late for your own surprise party, are guests still expected to cheer your arrival? Maybe not for most. But it might be a different story if your name is Alfa Romeo.... Read More »


BLOG: Auto companies are buying the creative souls of late night TV

6:42 pm U.S. ET | April 1, 2014

Two bedrocks of late night TV did something so unseemly last week it looked as though they had responded to an unholy informercial.... Read More »


BLOG: Jeep's software fix and the law of unintended consequences

12:30 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 21, 2014

One of last year's Jeep recalls led to an unintended consequence for some owners of 2005-10 Grand Cherokee and 2006-10 Commanders -- a consequence Chrysler now says it intends to fix, at least for most people.... Read More »


Succeed Sergio? You'd have to be a bit crazy

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 20, 2014

Fiat-Chrysler tried to cut off speculation by announcing that CEO Sergio Marchionne would stick around for "at least" three more years.... Read More »


BLOG: Succeed Sergio? You'd have to be a bit crazy

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 20, 2014

Fiat-Chrysler tried to cut off speculation about CEO Sergio Marchionne's successor. With the exception of anybody named Tavares or Piech, who would want his job?... Read More »


BLOG: Did new Chrysler spot show hot-selling Ram pickup with a nose job?

3:39 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 30, 2013

Did Chrysler Group's Ram truck brand just show the face of its next pickup? In a new commercial that appeared during the final regular season NFL games, Ram threw in two images that show a pickup featuring the familiar Ram's head badge and a decidedly different nose.... Read More »


BLOG: Why dealers should hire teachers, not tech guys, to deliver cars

2:35 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 11, 2013

Most dealers right now are struggling with a fundamental part of their business: how best to deliver sold cars. Specifically, how should dealers educate their paying customers on all the cool technology that a new car, pickup or SUV contains?... Read More »


BLOG: Dodge pitchman Burgundy calls Durango 'terrible car'

3:59 pm U.S. ET | Nov. 21, 2013

Dodge's new Durango pitchman , comedian Will Ferrell -- in character as the oafish San Diego newscaster Ron Burgundy -- went decidedly off-message during an appearance Wednesday on Conan O'Brien's late night show. "It's a terrible car," Ferrell told the host during an interview segment.... Read More »


BLOG: SD card players offer good customer service opportunities

4:03 pm U.S. ET | Nov. 7, 2013

Smart dealers and sales reps should look hard at the customer satisfaction opportunity as the CD player disappears from vehicles. The CD player's main replacement, the Secure Digital card reader, does a better job than its predecessor in about a quarter of the space.... Read More »


BLOG: What's happening with Jeep's trailer hitch recall? Not much

3:33 pm U.S. ET | Oct. 25, 2013

It has now been more than four months since Chrysler reached its settlement with federal safety officials over a request to recall 2.7 million Jeep Grand Cherokees and Jeep Libertys. In that time, none of the estimated 1.56 million 1993-98 Grand Cherokees and 2002-07 Libertys remaining on the roads have had a supplemental trailer hitch installed.... Read More »


BLOG: Great Odin's raven! Ron Burgundy shills Dodge Durango

3:11 pm U.S. ET | Oct. 4, 2013

It looks like the polyester-clad cult icon who believed diversity "was an old, wooden ship used during the Civil War era" is the newest spokesman for the Dodge Durango. Great Odin's raven!... Read More »


BLOG: Chrysler's IPO filing an expensive distraction

5:31 pm U.S. ET | Sept. 24, 2013

The breathless hullabaloo over Chrysler Group's long-awaited filing for an initial public stock offering has the automotive world abuzz with revelations of perceived palace intrigue under the Pentastar.... Read More »


BLOG: Chrysler's Hurricane engine coming in 2016

3:12 pm U.S. ET | Sept. 19, 2013

Chrysler Group has planned a hurricane for 2016, and like a parched Texas ranch, frankly, it could use the rain. The Hurricane coming three years from now is actually a rework of the company's base 2.0-liter I-4 engine, or, more specifically, the 2.0-liter engine's cylinder head, code-named Hurricane.... Read More »


BLOG: Many C-Max owners -- including me -- knew the mpg estimate was askew

12:41 pm U.S. ET | Aug. 15, 2013

Back in mid-October, about two weeks after I bought my 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid SEL, I wrote a column explaining that I couldn't come close to its promised 47 city/47 highway/47 combined mpg.... Read More »


BLOG: GM exec: Young people still have passion for cars

5:46 pm U.S. ET | Aug. 6, 2013

The auto industry can stop wringing its hands over the notion that young people seem to be losing interest in buying cars. According to General Motors' top economist and others, young people are not drifting away from driving in favor of the Internet and cool gadgets.... Read More »


BLOG: Why recall letters could be a real boon for Jeep dealers

3:47 pm U.S. ET | Aug. 2, 2013

Chrysler Group late next week is expected to mail out the 1.56 million notification letters to owners of recalled Jeep Grand Cherokees and Libertys offering a free trailer hitch to improve the safety of the aging vehicles.... Read More »


BLOG: Time to raise the white flag on dual clutch trannies

2:25 pm U.S. ET | July 19, 2013

This is a historic week for white flags in Detroit, given the city's bankruptcy filing Thursday, so I'm going to suggest that domestic automakers take the opportunity to wave one of their own.... Read More »


BLOG: Why Consumer Reports' Ram review elicits mixed feelings at Chrysler

11:11 am U.S. ET | July 17, 2013

Chrysler Group must be a little conflicted about Consumer Reports and its recommendation of the 2013 Ram 1500 pickup.... Read More »

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