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Automotive News Table of Contents

June 11, 2018

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Auto tariff threat grows more ominous
Author: Eric Kulisch

There is little national security basis for the Trump administration's threatened tariffs on imported autos and parts, but they can't be dismissed as political theater or a negotiating ploy.

China in control as industry enters new era
Author: Hans Greimel

China has been the world's biggest auto market since 2009, when it eclipsed the United States. But only recently has it reached a long-anticipated, and in many quarters, long-feared, tipping point.

Ford plots future in a relic of Detroit's past
Author: Michael Martinez

Ford plans a one-of-a-kind research and engineering campus in Detroit, including 2,500 employees working in a grandiose former train depot to develop the vehicles of the future.

Tariff tussles may threaten GAC's U.S. launch
Author: Hans Greimel

GAC Motor, angling to become the first homegrown Chinese automaker to export light vehicles to the United States, is re-evaluating those plans after President Donald Trump's threat to level tariffs on imported vehicles.

2019 Ram launch slows to a trickle
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Delayed EPA approval for key versions of Ram's redesigned 1500 may spoil a plan to flood the market with old and new pickups and possibly overtake the Chevrolet Silverado in sales this year.

Has the Jeep Grand Wagoneer missed its moment?
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

FCA dealers worry that rising interest rates and fuel prices mean the overdue Jeep Grand Wagoneer luxury SUV may have missed the industry's SUV love affair.

Mercedes throws down the gauntlet with subscription program
Author: Urvaksh Karkaria

Mercedes joins the subscription craze with a bang -- undercutting the luxury competition on price.

Growing challenges dent dealers' optimism
Author: Jackie Charniga

Rising interest rates and stretched vehicle inventory could keep vehicle sales from growing in the coming months, a Cox Automotive survey finds.

Lexus' line of work
Author: Laurence Iliff

Like its competitors, Lexus is adding crowd-pleasing crossovers and taking a hard look at its car business, which has lagged in recent years.

Alfa Romeo's new halo model has some history
Author: Jay Ramey Autoweek

The Alfa Romeo 8C is still a bit of a mystery to many in the U.S. The model was offered in only a handful of dealerships when Alfa Romeo "returned" to the United States 10 years ago with a single model.

Aston CEO: Mass market must adapt or die
Author: Nick Gibbs

Andy Palmer, addressing the Automotive News Europe Congress, sounded the same worrisome themes about industry economics made famous by Sergio Marchionne, with a bit of Bob Lutz's doomsday talk thrown in.

Mexico's NAFTA hopes dim as trade war erupts
Author: Laurence Iliff

Now that NAFTA looks like a dead pact walking, Mexico finds itself with unexpected allies, but that's little consolation.

Dealership buy-sells fall in Q1
Author: Amy Wilson

Public retailers' acquisition spending is on the rise but private dealers bought fewer dealerships during the first quarter, dragging down overall buy-sells.

Strong May sales flatten inventory
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Strong sales in May flattened out industrywide inventory levels by June 1.

Fiat dealers deserve a better fate than slow starvation

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne has put to rest any lingering hope that the Fiat brand has a significant future in North America. For long-suffering Fiat dealers in the U.S., the brand's bleak product future is a bitter pill to swallow.

UAW's Williams leaves with a clouded legacy
Author: Michael Wayland

Dennis Williams' legacy likely will not be what many expected it to be when he was elected to lead the union in June 2014.

You'll need lots of insurance
Author: Keith Crain

Autonomous vehicles testing in real-world conditions have been in a number of accidents in recent months. It will take a long time before we fully understand liability and culpability in these cases.

Fuel-cell revolution is already happening
Author: Morry Markowitz

Fuel cells are powering our commercial transportation space today in a range of applications, and all these burgeoning vehicle markets are leading to growth in the hydrogen infrastructure needed to support them.

Staff plans celebrations for dealership's centennial
Author: Anisa Jibrell

Instead of hiring event planners to commemorate Adamson Ford's 100th year, each department was asked to come up with two community events, for one event every month.

After cute hamsters, Kia turns to cute kids
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

Saad Chehab, who joined Kia Motors America in May 2017 as vice president of marketing communications, said the brand needed the fresh look for its summer sales campaign.

Nissan's e-Pedal gives Leaf EV some street cred
Author: Hans Greimel

One of the Nissan Leaf's newest features, the go-cartlike e-Pedal, began life as a performance-enhancing technology prototyped for sporty driving in the Maxima sedan.

The tech effect
Author: Hannah Lutz

A tech-driven auto retailing transformation is inevitable, but what that transformation will look like, and how the industry will get there, is less predictable.

Fintech startups can find success by mixing skill sets
Author: Hannah Lutz

For a fintech startup breaking into automotive retail, should the top leadership have dealership experience, finance expertise or software skills?

How drones could open up new windows for drivers
Author: Jack Walsworth

By integrating drone technology into the vehicle's infotainment system , Mitsubishi Electric Automotive America is taking to the skies.

How to leverage the best of tech innovation, auto retail know-how
Author: Jackie Charniga

For dealership fintech companies to be successful in a space where many entrepreneurs have failed, a Silicon Valley mindset combined with traditional auto retail expertise could be a winning combination.

Market Scan powers fintech revolution
Author: James B. Treece

Market Scan's database powers many of the companies that are enabling online transactions, whether on dealership sites or independent apps.

Lenders can gauge how terms compare
Author: James B. Treece

Here is how Market Scan helps lenders know how best to structure their deals to win the business without overpaying.

Visteon CEO battle: 'Vendetta' or get-tough stance?
Author: Dustin Walsh

Visteon, in disclosing the online porn and prostitution pursuits of former CEO Tim Leuliette, appears to have joined a movement among corporations to air executive indiscretions rather than sweep them under the rug.

Hyundai design continues shift away from 'family look'
Author: Hans Greimel

Continuing a break with the family look that the South Korean brand cultivated in previous generations of vehicles, Hyundai will soon start rolling out a new design language that gives each model and each segment its own independent aesthetic.

Online retail requires more than tech savvy
Author: Hannah Lutz

As a tech expert but car-buying rookie, Drive Motors' CEO knew he needed automotive expertise to understand how to make the product easy and useful for dealerships.

Ex-dealer launches buying, financing app
Author: Anisa Jibrell

After decades in the brick-and-mortar world as a dealer, Rod Buscher launched Blinker, a mobile app for customers looking to buy, sell or refinance used cars without visiting a dealership.

Tools will vary as F&I digitizes
Author: Jackie Charniga

Digitalization of the F&I process is inevitable, but which tools will be uniform across the automotive retail terrain is less certain.

AutoGravity's new priority: Deepen ties with clients
Author: Hannah Lutz

AutoGravity's strategy was initially centered on client expansion, but going forward, the company will devote more attention to enhancing existing relationships.

Ally partners up to maintain tech edge
Author: Jackie Charniga

More than a decade ago, on the precipice of an epochal shift in the automotive finance sector, Ally Financial was born. The lender sees technology as part of its DNA.

Beyond credit scores: FICO fights fraud
Author: Jim Henry

FICO is synonymous with credit scores, but the company does a lot more in the automotive space.

Extending team spirit to the service dept.
Author: Nancy Dunham

If dealers want the service department to support finance and insurance efforts, they should treat service advisers as partners to both the F&I and sales teams.

Online quotes generally get payment right
Author: James B. Treece

When car shoppers are quoted a monthly payment online nowadays, most of the time, that is what they're actually going to pay, an online survey found.

F&I revenue outpaces vehicle sales in '17
Author: Anisa Jibrell

Finance and insurance revenue per vehicle and overall F&I revenue grew at the 150 largest dealership groups in the U.S., amid an industrywide light-vehicle sales slowdown, according to an Automotive News survey.

Design innovations spark Pierburg investments
Author: Lindsay Chappell

The project illustrates a trend in manufacturing capital spending today: As auto suppliers roll out new technologies, many are relying on more automated production processes to make the work fit into their existing space.

Horizon watch: Aguascalientes, Mexico

With the Trump administration putting the heat on automakers relying on Mexican assembly plants, the Nissan and Daimler joint-venture auto factory in Aguascalientes, Mexico has had a low profile for the past year.

Infield space gives Toyota a blank slate
Author: Jack Walsworth

The infield of an old supplier test track provides a blank slate for Toyota's newest U.S. investment.

TVA thinks smaller for suppliers
Author: Lindsay Chappell

Economic developers at TVA are applying their successful formula for auto plant megasites to smaller supplier sites.

Why Denso is spending big in east Tenn.
Author: Stephanie Hernandez McGavin

Denso is spending $1 billion on a 30-year-old plant in east Tennessee. Here's why.

Growth key for next BorgWarner CEO
Author: Anisa Jibrell

Incoming BorgWarner CEO Frederic Lissalde says he will focus on business growth, customer relationships, product strategy and growth execution. Former CEO James Verrier announced his retirement last week.

Waymo passes a milestone
Author: Christiaan Hetzner

Waymo's vehicles have passed the 7-million-mile mark of fully autonomous driving on public roads, CEO John Krafcik says. The head of Alphabet's self-driving subsidiary also said Waymo wants to expand to Europe.

Metal tariffs leave industry facing thicket of red tape
Author: Eric Kulisch

After losing the fight to forestall U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, the auto industry has another fight on its hands: navigating the process to win exemptions for certain specialty products that are critical to the supply chain.

Star power in Turin
Author: Photos by Luca Riva

Industry leaders and Europe’s Rising Stars were in the spotlight at the 21st Automotive News Europe Congress last week at Italdesign outside Turin. Speakers included Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer, Waymo boss John Krafcik and Fiat heir Lapo Elkann, founder and CEO of Garage Italia.

Dealer anniversaries

The dealer featured this week is John Nakamura, president of Albany Ford, in California.

70 years later, appreciating the genius of Ferry Porsche
Author: Richard Johnson

We all know Ferdinand Porsche. But history has forgotten that it was his boy, Ferry, who created the magic of Porsche.

Marchionne stomps on Viper — we think

Despite speculation of late, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne appears to have dashed any hopes that the Dodge Viper will return.

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