Automotive News Table of Contents

February 19, 2018

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Genesis snub leaves some Hyundai dealers reeling
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

While elite-level Hyundai dealers in key markets have the chance to bid for Genesis franchises, other pockets of the dealer body are bitter over the tumultuous rollout of the luxury brand's retail network.

Sergio Marchionne's final lap
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

One thing about Marchionne stands out as the onetime tax accountant and philosophy student prepares to step aside after nearly 15 years running first Fiat and now FCA: The guy knows how to make money.

Will scandal cripple the UAW, or transform it?
Author: Michael Wayland

UAW dissidents see the situation as an opportunity for profound change. They're urging rank-and-file members to "take back" the union from leaders they claim are overly willing to comply with employers' requests.

Ghosn's final challenge: Secure future of the alliance
Author: Peter Sigal

Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn's final task may be his toughest: Ensure the survival of the alliance after he is no longer around to lead it.

Nominate a go-getter for 40 Under 40 honors

Nominations open today in Automotive News' search for 40 people under age 40 who are making an impact at dealerships around the country.

Toyota's new execs see a crisis
Author: Hans Greimel

Toyota's latest batch of newly promoted executives injects new diversity of thought, but all are decidedly single-minded in warning that Japan's biggest automaker is beset by industry upheaval.

Another reinvention for AxleTech
Author: Lindsay Chappell

Detroit's heavy-duty and off-road axle and brake maker AxleTech is being reborn as a supplier to electric garbage trucks, buses and construction vehicles.

As CFPB retreats, what's next for dealer reserve?
Author: Hannah Lutz

Two lenders that ditched dealer reserve in favor of flat fees, when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau favored the latter, have revised their policies.

Gentex's two-way mirror strategy
Author: David Sedgwick

Auto mirrors will change in the future -- but which technology to bet on? Gentex is ready to go either way.

Innovative minds help tech realize his dream
Author: Michael Martinez

At Kenny Kent Toyota in Evansville, Austin Frazier, a 23-year-old with spina bifida, may be the dealership's most inspirational employee yet.

Living in the fast (service) lane has big rewards, risks
Author: David Kushma

A dedicated quick-service operation has become a common feature of most new-vehicle dealerships' service departments — and an increasingly vital source of fixed operations profits as vehicle sales cool.

M-B's 2019 C-class sedan to get new M264 engine
Author: Amy Wilson

Mercedes-Benz's 2019 C-class sedan will get the automaker's new M264 four-cylinder engine but it will come without the 48-volt system Daimler touted when the engine was announced.

Service Counter

How critical to a dealer's business is fixed operations?

Detailer loses suit against Case dealerships
Author: Eric Freedman

An Ohio detailer has lost its case alleging breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation by Honda and Hyundai dealerships and their dealership group.

Lexus testing new hybrid math
Author: Laurence Iliff

Lexus has quietly changed the math for the 2018 model year, significantly lowering the hybrid premium for its two most popular crossovers and rolling out a sporty new hybrid platform for its LC halo coupe and LS flagship sedan.

Program to speed border crossing advances
Author: Eric Kulisch

After testing the waters for more than a dozen years, authorities are gearing up to operationalize the concept of placing U.S. Customs officers on Canadian soil to clear shipments there, rather than at the U.S. port of entry.

BMW store enlists wrap artists
Author: Amy Wilson

A Chicago BMW dealership uses art to increase accessory sales.

Keep your customers: Give them the experience they want
Author: Jim Roche

Vehicle owners bring perceptions of inconvenience with them when they come to your dealership's service department. Are you working to ease these perceptions — or are you affirming them?

Battery-swapping for urban dwellers

I agree with Keith Crain that the electric vehicle industry “will need something that is not yet developed or commercialized.”

Dealership's quick service assembly line is weapon against aftermarket
Author: Richard Truett

Motorcars Honda has blended cutting-edge innovations with assembly line technology to offer ultrafast service — a recipe the dealership's owners are preparing to sell to other dealers nationwide.

Don't drag GM, Ford into this yet

It saddens me to see the UAW torn apart as a result of select corruption within the FCA-UAW organization.

Don't expect Nissan to ditch stair-steps

Just as car dealership sales personnel are offered incentives to increase business, Nissan has offered its dealers incentives to reach higher. And in recent years, they did and sales climbed.

No GM Rewards, no bonus either

Let's hope someone important at GM has the good sense to rethink this slashing of bonuses for dealership sales staff, and help support the people on the front lines.

This is no time to get sloppy
Author: Keith Crain

There is a great deal of uncertainty out there and it seems prudent to be conservative. Still, when the car business is bad, I am told, it is still pretty good.

Month-end close in one day? Here's how.
Author: Anthony Allison Brian Brueggeman Shelly Jackley

One giant dealership group manages to handle its month-end close in one day. Here's how.

Adient stumbles, but barrels ahead
Author: Jackie Charniga

Adient reported a painful financial quarter, but more than a year into its makeover, the seating giant is determined to stay focused on future products.

Changes grip embattled GKN
Author: Jackie Charniga

GKN has changed CEOs, embarked on a two-year profit drive and now is battling a hostile takeover -- all while launching its advanced eDrive technology.

Continental bracing for a world of bugs
Author: Lindsay Chappell

Continental needs software engineers. There will be a world of software bugs to keep them busy.

Toyota-Mazda venture offers opportunities
Author: Lindsay Chappell

Toyota and Mazda's planned north Alabama auto plant will operate as a separate entity, making its own supply chain decisions.

Backers of V2V aren't waiting for a mandate
Author: Shiraz Ahmed

Government groups and auto industry insiders are meeting up at conferences to talk about how to get this complicated tech out there.

Draining oil fast is key to ultraexpress service
Author: Richard Truett

The key to express service at Motorcars Honda is the Engine Vac, a machine that removes motor oil from a hot engine in just over two minutes.

Fast service pioneer says Motorcars price is too high
Author: Richard Truett

Chuck and Trevor Gile of Motorcars Honda are marketing their ultrafast express service system to other new-vehicle dealers. Based on his experience, John Rickards foresees a tough challenge for them.

Dealership quick service emphasize, but don't advertise, time over price
Author: Rick Popely

Dealerships generally shy away from advertising how long it takes to perform an oil change and other minor maintenance. But factory express service programs typically set internal targets to get vehicles in and out in an hour or less.

Marchionne's successor will come from within
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Besides Sergio Marchionne, there are 17 men on the FCA group executive council, but realistically, only a handful are likely candidates for CEO.

Speed is important, but not the only thing
Author: Rick Popely

Though speed is important in express lanes, it should not come at the expense of a multipoint inspection that reveals opportunities to sell other maintenance and repairs.

Ford dealers gain access to AI tool for used-car sales
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

The analytics tool from Vast helps dealers identify what makes a vehicle unique.

Navigating the quick service obstacle course
Author: Alysha Webb

A quick service lane can be a vital way for a dealership to enhance fixed ops profits, customer retention and technician recruitment. But if it isn't run properly, it can become a troublesome source of added expense and hassle.

Automakers train dealership techs in fast-service processes
Author: Alysha Webb

Successful express service depends on technicians working within a well-choreographed routine. Automakers offer brand-specific training for dealership quick service techs to ensure they know and follow the rules.

Dealerships partner with Costco to boost service, parts sales
Author: Jesse Snyder

Costco is working with new-vehicle dealerships to expand its members-only discount program beyond auto purchases to service and parts sales. More than 900 franchised dealerships are enrolled in the warehouse club's service and parts plan.

The hurdles of fixing automated vehicles
Author: Alan L. Adler

Automakers, dealers, industry groups and academics agree that a significant gap exists in education and marketing of careers for automated vehicle service technicians.

Promotion guarantees Saab 'parts for life'
Author: Jackie Charniga

A new parts warranty for the 350,000 Saabs still on the road in North America is intended to keep Saab service centers — and the vehicles themselves — from vanishing. The initiative also could offer ideas to active automakers about holding onto service customers.

Toyota's global design chief battles the pod
Author: Hans Greimel

Toyota's new global design chief, Simon Humphries, says car-sharing and autonomous driving will be a boon to cool, ultra-emotional design for your personal wheels.

Happy customers, if they come
Author: James B. Treece

Consumers who use dealerships’ quick-service lanes give them high marks, but more than half of those surveyed hadn’t been through one in the last 12 months.


Jenny Wegner, a fourth-generation owner of the oldest Buick dealership in the U.S., died Feb. 4. She was 62

Remote software updates help build service business, suppliers say
Author: Jim Henry

Automakers could use over-the-air software updates to prompt owners with customized messages directing them where to take their vehicles for service, suppliers say.

What the future of service looks like
Author: Richard Truett

If I were designing the service department of the future, I would look at where customers spend money on their vehicles away from my dealership: tire services, detail shops and fast oil change joints.

A design of the times? Why all the talk about Jaguar's I-Pace
Author: Richard Johnson

It's intriguing when, without prompting, designers talk up a rival vehicle. And that's happening with the Jaguar I-Pace electric crossover.

Dodging a bad review, Subaru fell into awd country

In 1969, Consumer Reports gave the Subaru 360 a rare designation: "not acceptable." Oh, and the magazine also called it "the most unsafe car on the market."

Pininfarina preps another Asian tiger

Italian design house Pininfarina will help to develop a sedan and SUV for VinFast, which aims to be Vietnam's first domestic automaker.

Software helping dealers manage loaners
Author: Mark Elias

Managing a loaner fleet requires service departments to maintain an adequate supply of cars and trucks, and prevent customers from keeping loaner vehicles too long or otherwise abusing the system. Software vendors are helping dealerships automate their loaner processes.

We don't have the words for Rolls' new SUV

A new Rolls-Royce model in a new segment is a rare occurrence.

Whatever it takes in Mercedes

Cities with higher auto debt-to-income ratios have lower incomes, while those with lower ratios have far higher incomes and more leases, a study found.

Artificial intelligence helps automakers, dealers improve fixed ops
Author: Mark Elias

Car companies, automakers, dealers, insurers and suppliers are making big investments in artifcial intelligence to make fixed operations more efficient, in such areas as parts supply chains, collision assessments and repair processes.

Augmented reality glasses, robots expand techs' repair horizons
Author: Alex Kwanten

New technologies are speeding the resolution of unfamiliar or complicated service problems. Techs at some Audi and Porsche dealerships can call on a factory tech to join them, virtually.

False starts for augmented reality
Author: Alex Kwanten

Augmented reality's journey to dealership service departments has included several false starts.

Accessories benefits

The first and most important point I have used in getting successful aftermarket sales is making sure that the people selling the products believe they will provide a benefit to the customer (“Auto add-ons,” December).

EVs and dealerships

After reading the cover story in the December issue, “Electrical storm,” I am not so pessimistic about the impact of electric vehicles on fixed ops revenue, at least in the intermediate term.

First service visit: Who cares?

About two years ago, I leased an Acura MDX. I do not remember whether people at the dealership asked me about scheduling a service visit. If they did, I would have said no.

Industry's bitter pill

The writer of a December letter to the editor seemed to imply that young people should flock to become service technicians if they are not in tune with four years of college.

Missed add-on opportunities

Accessories sales not only should be incentivized for every dealership employee, as mentioned in the December article “Auto add-ons,” but all departments should be having that conversation with the customer.

Shop talk
Author: Anisa Jibrell

What are you doing this year to increase the profitability of your quick-service operation?

Dealership oil changes for military, veterans boost loyalty
Author: Stephanie Hernandez McGavin

A dealership's offer of free oil changes for active military personnel and veterans makes it well known on the nearby Marine base and establishes its service department as a trusted source for future work.

Fixed in time

Chevy operated regional garages across the country where factory technicians performed diagnostic tests on the brand’s pickups.

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