Automotive News Table of Contents

June 20, 2016

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How GM contained quake's ripple effect
Author: Mike Colias

An April earthquake in Japan forced the closure of four GM plants in North America - but the fallout could have been far worse if not for changes in GM's supply chain management to keep parts flowing to key plants.

Long wait puts VW in a hole
Author: Ryan Beene

Even as Volkswagen nears a settlement with regulators on a package of repair proposals and customer compensation, it faces a long road ahead in restoring consumer confidence in the brand and rebuilding sales volume, dealers and analysts say.

Mulally’s fast track to fame
Author: Nick Bunkley

Nine years and 10 months ago, Alan Mulally was an aerospace executive whom almost nobody east of Seattle had ever heard of. Next month, he'll enter the Automotive Hall of Fame. Ford. Sloan. Iacocca. Mulally. Pretty neat company.

Across the border, a safety chasm
Author: Laurence Iliff

In the past few years, auto sales in Mexico have surged to record levels, thanks to plentiful financing and aggressive competition to get small, cheap cars into the hands of the working class. But that focus on a low sticker price has held back safety, consumer advocates say.

Dissecting dealers' attitudes
Author: Jamie LaReau

NADA's latest survey of dealers' views on brands' value, policies and people yielded few surprises in the top- and bottom-ranked brands. But some of the changes in the middle were notable.

Small-car prices sink at resale
Author: Arlena Sawyers

After years of new-vehicle lease growth, a surge in the flow of off-lease vehicles has started. It's already depressing prices of small cars -- used and new -- that consumers don't want anyway. Automakers are taking steps to cope.

Supplier M&A is glowing hot again
Author: David Sedgwick

Supplier M&A surged last year as conglomerates sorted out what's profitable and what's not. In the center of it? Interiors.

BMW's Mexico plant will have wide range
Author: Diana T. Kurylko

BMW's new Mexico plant, slated to begin producing the next-generation 3-series sedan in 2019, will be capable of building any of the automaker's rear-wheel-drive vehicles.

Dealer lobby to scrutinize Cadillac plan
Author: Mike Colias

Dealer attorneys say the outline presented to retailers so far indicates that Cadillac's dealer-incentive plan may test the bounds of state franchise laws meant to protect dealers from unequal treatment by the factory.

Nissan's to-do list: Range, autonomy
Author: Hans Greimel

Nissan will introduce two new technologies this year to move the needle on CEO Carlo Ghosn's goal of making Nissan a leader in electric vehicles and self-driving cars.

No takers for Ford's lease sharing plan
Author: Hannah Lutz

In March, Ford Credit launched Ford Credit Link, a pilot lease sharing program that allows three to six customers to share a lease, scheduling their driving time and dividing payments any way they'd like. Three months later, there are still no takers.

Extra-tall Mercedes G-Wagen to arrive in U.S. next year
Author: Jack Walsworth

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz G550 4x4 — a rugged, towering variation of the venerable G-class SUV — will arrive in the U.S. early next year.

Jeep's small models to soldier on
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Jeep will extend production of the Compass and Patriot into the 2017 model year as it prepares to build a successor in Mexico in early 2017, Automotive News has learned.

Mopar offers limited-edition version of Ram Rebel for '16
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Mopar will offer a limited-edition, accessorized version of the 2016 Ram Rebel, the first time Fiat Chrysler's parts and service brand has used a pickup for its once-a-year special edition.

Range Rover Sport Coupe in the works?
Author: Jack Walsworth

Spy photos taken in Scotland show a longer version of the Range Rover Evoque, code-named L560, in development.

Is Dodge taking Journey to Italy?
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Fiat Chrysler will shift Dodge Journey production from Mexico to Italy when the compact crossover is redesigned for the 2019 model year, supplier sources say.

Red tape snags Mercedes E-class
Author: Amy Wilson

A certification slowdown means Mercedes-Benz dealers will have to wait longer than expected to sell the redesigned 2017 E-class sedan.

Toyota: New Prius plug-in ready for prime time
Author: Hans Greimel

The first Prius plug-in hybrid was a “failure,” Toyota acknowledges. Now the company really want to sell it.

Change comes before build-to-order

Many things have to change before build-to-order becomes a reality, writes dealer Roger Schlegel.

Dealers discourage build-to-order sales

Chris Orth, vice president of Go Industries Inc., says U.S. dealers discourage build-to-order sales..

Get ready: Change is coming
Author: Keith Crain

It has been great to be in the auto manufacturing and retailing business the past few years. Now it looks like the U.S. economy is going to change, which will make things even more exciting for dealers and manufacturers.

Regulations have saved a lot of American lives

Voters and their representatives chose to act on automotive safety -- often over vociferous industry objections. And it was the right choice.

Dealers vulnerable to hackers, survey warns
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

A new survey suggests some dealerships could be vulnerable to cyber attacks that would endanger the personal information of their customers. Such data breaches would be not only an immediate business threat, but could result in spooked consumers never doing business with hacked stores again.


Peter Fong, 52, to senior vice president of dealership operations. Fong, who has held executive positions in sales and marketing at Ford Motor Co.

GM making 'leaps and bounds' in supplier ties
Author: Bruce Meyer

Bill Kopicki, director of brakes, tires and wheels within General Motors' Global Purchasing & Supply Chain unit, helps oversee an annual spend of $6 billion. In an interview with sister publication Rubber & Plastics News, he discussed the carmaker's improving relations with suppliers.

Bosch still finds N. America fertile
Author: David Sedgwick

Already the industry's largest global supplier, Robert Bosch sees big growth ahead in North America through 2020.

Japan's NSK sets sights on Detroit 3
Author: Hans Greimel

NSK Ltd., a Japanese supplier of electric power steering systems and old-school components such as ball bearings, sees growth potential in the era of electrified cars, thanks to increasing demand for high-spec bearings in motors and actuators.

JCI: Future of battery market isn't EVs
Author: David Sedgwick

Johnson Controls will spend $780 million to expand capacity for advanced absorbent glass mat batteries around the world. JCI's battery chief, Joe Walicki, believes the product is powerful enough to support the industry's move into bigger power users, such as stop-start systems.

A dealer's journey from survivor to successor
Author: Jennifer Vuong

Sam Slaughter, owner of the Sellers Auto Group in suburban Detroit, talks in this Q&A about how having leukemia at age 25 affected his life decisions and management style, as well as his views on Internet marketing and the role of the service department.

Fewer customers may mean more time to sell
Author: Hannah Lutz

Dealers wince at the prospect of slowing vehicle sales. But there could be a bright spot: With fewer customers, F&I managers will have more time to focus on sales penetration for add-on products.

Mercedes: Google doesn't scare us
Author: Amy Wilson

Mercedes-Benz executives say they're well-positioned to capitalize on technological and demographic changes that will transform the industry over the next 10 years.

Dealer anniversaries

Dealers featured this week include the Heutel family, owners of Sunset Ford in St. Louis; and Jet Tune, president of Volvo of Nashville.

Dealer poised to ride Kia's rise
Author: David Undercoffler

Lady luck has been kind to Ken Phillips, the country's top Kia dealer by volume. Now he hopes that trend continues with the opening of his multimillion-dollar Car Pros Kia store in Carson, Calif., along the busy Interstate 405 freeway.

Message to Trump: Check your numbers
Author: Laurence Iliff

The voice of Mexico's auto industry, a former free-trade negotiator, says the sector has proven itself to be vital to the country's economy. And he warns Donald Trump that trade restrictions would batter many U.S. states that depend on supplying Mexican factories.

Digital world requires collaboration
Author: Douglas A. Bolduc

Automakers will have to collaborate more and adapt to change faster as pressure from companies such as Tesla, Apple and Google increases the need to offer connected, electrified, autonomous cars, executives said.

Bentley: Yes, we still build sedans
Author: David Undercoffler

Despite the popularity of the Bentayga crossover, Bentley says the Mulsanne sedan will remain king of its lineup.

CEO: 'A Smart always has to be a unique concept'
Author: Luca Ciferri and Christiaan Hetzner

Why would Smart want an SUV? It would only make the brand like everybody else.

Toyota pitches hybrids in diesel country
Author: Paul McVeigh

Automakers have plenty to fret about in Europe. Toyota Motor Corp. is coping with it all by focusing on building market share, selling more hybrids and boosting production to give its European dealers more locally built products.

How JLR got back on track in China
Author: Nick Gibbs

Jaguar Land Rover sales boss Andy Goss explains in this Q&A why he has high hopes for the F-Pace crossover, and how lessons learned in China will spill over into auto retailing in other markets around the world.

Nissan develops e-bio fuel cells for 2020
Author: Hans Greimel

Nissan has developed a new fuel cell technology that replaces pressurized hydrogen with ethanol. It expects to have it on the market around 2020.

Tesla, Nordstrom team up for gallery in L.A. mall
Author: Jack Walsworth

Tesla Motors Inc. is teaming with upscale retailer Nordstrom Inc. to give shoppers a look at the automaker's Model X crossover.

How we keep score

To examine compensation trends for CEOs and other select executives, Automotive News asked Equilar Inc., an executive compensation data firm, to compile and analyze pay data from corporate filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

More and more, CEO pay is linked to stock
Author: John Irwin

Outgoing Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. CEO Roy Armes topped the list of the 42 highest paid CEOs at publicly traded U.S.-based automotive companies in 2015.

Difference makers of a higher order

It would be difficult to exaggerate the impact of Bertha Benz, Roy Lunn, Alan Mulally and Ralph Nader -- the four newest members of the Automotive Hall of Fame -- on the global auto industry.

Nader honored by the industry he challenged
Author: Richard Truett

Ralph Nader, the consumer safety advocate who forced the auto industry to prioritize safety and build cleaner cars, will be inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.

Roy Lunn turns to the next 'people's car'
Author: Richard Truett

Roy Lunn is one of the original disrupters. The British engineer being inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame oversaw the development of the legendary Ford GT40, the sleek, low-slung sports car that dislodged Ferrari by winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans four consecutive times from 1966 to 1969.

Bertha Benz's Hall of Fame ride
Author: Richard Johnson

Is Bertha Ringer getting a free ride into the Automotive Hall of Fame simply because she married the genius Karl Benz 144 years ago? Not at all.

Dealer puts heart into sales promotion
Author: Laurence Iliff

A partnership between Sheehy Auto Stores and the American Heart Association has several goals, including charitable giving, educational outreach, and oh, selling 7,000 vehicles in 50 days from mid-May to early July.

Mercedes plans multiple electrified vehicles for U.S.
Author: Amy Wilson

Mercedes-Benz's U.S. boss said a long-range electric vehicle that will be introduced at the Paris auto show is just the tip of the iceberg for the brand's electrification strategy.

How the Grand Cherokee became a Jeep

The Last American CEO, a new book co-authored by ex-American Motors CEO Joe Cappy and former Ford and Chrysler public relations chief Jason Vines, describes Chrysler's acquisition of AMC from Renault in 1987 -- a momentous deal largely because then-Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca got his hands on...

Nissan scores reflect concerns for franchise value
Author: Jamie LaReau

The Nissan brand's scores on all of the 12 major indexes in the Winter 2016 NADA Dealer Attitude Survey declined. Scores for past, current and future franchise value all declined “significantly,” the executive summary said.

Scores surge at Volvo
Author: Jamie LaReau

Dealers gave Volvo high scores in the Winter 2016 NADA Dealer Attitude Survey. Volvo jumped in the brand rankings to an overall ranking of No. 13 out of 31 brands, up from No. 26 a year earlier.

Mueller's plan for a leaner and humbler VW
Author: Christiaan Hetzner

Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller last week unveiled a 15-point strategic plan to transform a hierarchical, engineering-driven German carmaker plagued by low margins in its core business into a nimble company of entrepreneurs focused on serving its end customers.

Ford small-car strategy in Europe overhauled
Author: Christiaan Hetzner

Ford Motor is repositioning itself in Europe's small-car market by abandoning the minicar segment and focusing on subcompact customers with a larger Ka and a more upscale Fiesta.


Ron Hall Sr., founder of Bridgewater Interiors, and Charles Walton, former president of the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers.

Alfa finally free to make the sports sedan it wants to

With the launch of the Giulia later this year, Alfa Romeo will finally have a sports sedan designed to its own tastes: lightweight, rear-wheel-drive and free from the input of a partner.

Fords at home

A bronze, life-size sculpture of Edsel and Eleanor Ford walking arm-in-arm was unveiled last week at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House, the couple's mansion in Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich. The sculpture commemorates the 100th wedding anniversary exhibit at the Ford House.

Picking up some stamps

On July 15, the U.S. Postal Service will issue another set of stamps in its "America on the Move" series paying tribute to classic American vehicles.

Seems like some VW managers are looking to escape

Lots of managers and senior development engineers at crisis-plagued Volkswagen in Germany are sniffing around for new job opportunities, according to sister publication Automobilwoche.

Time for Chinese regulators to punish the copycats
Author: Yang Jian

Over the years, most major Chinese carmakers have outgrown their copycat phase. They've built their own car design teams and tapped foreign design talents to lead them. Yet, China's regulators still protect domestic companies that continue to copy foreign models.

2015 Top Suppliers Supplement

Automotive News top global, Europe and North America suppliers ranked by sales of automotive original equipment parts in 2015