Automotive News Table of Contents

May 2, 2016

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Attempted murder? How store struck back
Author: Jamie LaReau

When an online review falsely accused Huntington Beach Mazda's staff of attempted murder and elderly abuse, dealer John Patterson went into action to mitigate the damage.

In Texas: 'Everyone is in hail mode'
Author: Laurence Iliff

Texas auto dealers are turning to “hail sales” to try and make the best of a bad situation: the Lone Star state's worst run of hail damage in years.

Joe Hinrichs has Ford humming
Author: Nick Bunkley

Since 2011, Ford Motor Co. has earned pretax profits totaling $45 billion in North America. It lost $1.8 billion in the rest of the world. And North America's position as Ford's profit driver keeps getting stronger. Ford's president of the Americas has a lot to do with that.

AutoNation, TrueCar kiss and make up
Author: Amy Wilson

Here's how TrueCar successfully wooed AutoNation to resume using it as a third-party lead provider, reversing their bitter July 2015 split.

Fast growth for a showroom ghost
Author: Nick Bunkley

U.S. sales of full-size vans are increasing eight times faster than the industry average. The growth has commercial vans on track to top half a million sales for the first time ever this year.

Fiat heir will speak at Europe congress

Fiat heir Lapo Elkann, who has held numerous jobs in the family business, will be among the speakers at the Automotive News Europe Congress in Munich on June 8.

More markets for U.S.-made Jeeps
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Jeep's fast-growing global manufacturing footprint will not only end the brand's “Sophie's Choice” allocation challenges, but will increase sales opportunities for top-end Jeeps made exclusively in the U.S., says Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne.

Ford's China route: Latecomer, contender, EV embracer
Author: Hans Greimel

In the next phase of its Chinese evolution, Ford plans to introduce electrified cars, as well as to bring in its first pickup and GT super sports car.

Jeep's push to produce in China is paying off
Author: Hans Greimel

Jeep is moving ahead in China, thanks to investments in local crossover production. But in a market haunted by factory overcapacity, premium brand Lexus is also pulling ahead purely as an importer.

Skepticism surrounds China EV boom
Author: Hans Greimel and Yang Jian

No one said electrifying China's auto market would be easy. But even as automakers flood the nation with new eco-models and the government pushes generous incentives, there remains much skepticism about the country's ballyhooed EV boom.

Freshening gives Lexus IS sedan a bolder look
Author: Hans Greimel

Lexus unveiled a freshened IS compact sedan last week at the Beijing auto show with an aggressive, heavily creased front fascia that echoes those of the RC coupe and upcoming LC 500 sports car.

Next Infiniti QX70, QX50 may borrow features from concept
Author: Hans Greimel

Infiniti previewed a new styling direction for its SUV/crossover lineup with the QX Sport Inspiration concept unveiled last week at the Beijing auto show.

Porsche to sell Panamera wagon in U.S.
Author: Amy Wilson

Porsche continues to expand its product offering outside traditional sports cars. The brand's U.S. CEO confirms Porsche will begin selling a wagon variant of its Panamera sports sedan in the U.S.

Nissan’s less-is-more plan on pickup variations
Author: Lindsay Chappell

Nissan's new Titan will be available with only a fraction of the configurations that are possible on the big-selling Detroit 3 pickups. But Nissan hopes that will actually please its customers.

VW whips up miracle view of U.S.
Author: Christiaan Hetzner

The U.S. may be ground zero for Volkswagen's diesel scandal, but company executives proclaimed it the most important source of long-term growth for VW and said they are at work on a new brand strategy for the region.

Stop-sale backlog hits public groups' earnings
Author: Jamie LaReau

Several publicly traded dealership groups noted that cars and truck languishing for months on their lots under stop-sale orders due to recalls hurt their first-quarter earnings. The problem could linger into 2017.

Fixing the U.S. recall loophole is a job for 'someone else'
Author: Krishnan M. Anantharaman

Last year, AutoNation staked out a bold and admirable position on recalls, pledging to go beyond federal law and not sell new or used vehicles with pending recalls. Turns out, AutoNation couldn't live up to its promise.

Nissan, dealers are both doing what they have to do

Nissan's blunt attitude, retailers say, is “deliver results or step aside.” But here's the harsh truth: The process of improving a brand's position in the market is not easy. In fact, it can be downright brutal.

Publics hop on buyback bandwagon
Author: James B. Treece

Several publicly traded dealership groups have reported strong, sometimes record, first-quarter earnings per share. Their net income didn't soar. Rather, they've been buying back their shares like crazy.

2017 Jaguar F-Pace

Jaguar is launching sales of the F-Pace compact this month, jumping into the sizzling luxury crossover segment. The F-Pace will be the new face of Jaguar and likely will pave the way for a full range of crossovers for the British brand.

How Jaguar spells U.S. future: F-Pace
Author: Diana T. Kurylko

Jaguar's new F-Pace compact crossover will be the key vehicle to boosting the brand's lackluster U.S. sales, Jaguar's top U.S. executive says. The F-Pace, which goes on sale next month, will capitalize on a hot segment and is expected to bring new, younger buyers to the brand.

Mini’s challenge: Growing while it shrinks
Author: Christiaan Hetzner and Luca Ciferri

BMW's top executive for Mini, Peter Schwarzenbauer, says it will be tricky to launch a fifth nameplate that both attracts consumers and fits the brand's image.

Subaru aims to sell more Impreza sedans
Author: Hans Greimel

Subaru has long leaned on the five-door version of the Impreza for volume in the small-car segment. But with the next-generation arriving this year, Subaru wants the sedan variant to do more heavy lifting.

Dealer anniversary awards

Dealers featured this week include members of the Witte family of Witte Inc. in Karnes City, Texas; Bob Allen of Bob Allen Motor Mall in Danville, Ky.; and Randy Marion, president of Randy Marion Chevrolet-Buick-Cadillac in Mooresville, N.C.

How Audi will move forward from scandal
Author: Christiaan Hetzner and Ryan Beene

In an interview, Stefan Knirsch, Audi's head of development, discusses the changes Audi has made in the aftermath of Volkswagen Group's diesel emissions-cheating scandal and his views on the future of diesels, e-motors and autonomous cars.

Mazda combats sales damage with redesigned CX-9 flagship
Author: Hans Greimel

Mazda executives expect the redesigned CX-9 crossover to reverse the automaker's U.S. market share slump and pull the brand back from the incentives it once vowed to avoid.

A diagnostic in the cloud
Author: Gabe Nelson

Motorcars Toyota is installing devices in customers' cars that remotely assess the vehicle's service needs. It hopes the experiment will help the dealership deliver better service and boost customer retention.

Braman technician training becomes a community service
Author: Arlena Sawyers

Dealer Norman Braman gives back to the Miami community by giving its young adults all-expenses-paid training to become service technicians.

Why Lithia plans to ratchet up tech hires
Author: Jamie LaReau

Lithia Motors expects its service and parts business -- both warranty and customer-pay -- to rise due to the back-up of recalled vehicles and the increased number of cars on the road.

2017 Porsche 911

The re-engineered Porsche 911 gets modest styling changes inside and out, and comes with a standard turbocharged engine for the first time as Porsche says goodbye to the naturally aspirated engines for which the 911 is known.

Porsche speeds ahead with 911 turbo; purists fret
Author: Amy Wilson

Porsche's U.S. leader thinks sales of the iconic 911 can go higher. Potential buyers nervous about the nameplate's move to turbocharged engines who test out the cars will be won over by its improvements, he says.

Lincoln in China

Lincoln President Kumar Galhotra, left, and Matt VanDyke, right, director of Global Lincoln, with Automotive News Group Publisher KC Crain at a dinner hosted by Automotive News during the Beijing auto show.

China: A maturing auto market that still has long road ahead of it
Author: KC Crain

The Chinese market is fascinating, but it shows you how sophisticated our dealers are here in the U.S. If it's like everything else over there, they'll catch up quickly.

Fine China

China is the world's biggest auto market and Beijing hosts one of the world's most colorful auto shows. Here's a peek at some noteworthy debuts, most of which are not headed for these shores.

Ford: Record quarter starts a 'strong year'
Author: Nick Bunkley

Higher first-quarter sales of the redesigned F-150 and a retooled crossover lineup drove Ford Motor Co. to the highest quarterly pretax profit in its 113-year history and its best-ever results in North America.

De Nysschen takes the long view on profit margin

Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen told Reuters in at the Beijing auto show last week that he is targeting an 11 percent operating margin in 10 years for the brand.

From guy off the street to executive VP

Pettercq Witt, who was named executive vice president, operations, for BMW of North America last week, used a variety of gimmicks to get hired in the first place.

Giulia's looks are not helping Alfa's case in U.S.
Author: Richard Truett

The Alfa Romeo Giulia looks good under the bright white lights of auto shows, but mixed in with traffic, the Giulia's styling comes across as dull and unimaginative. And that has to be the worst thing you can say about an Italian car.

The 'junk bond king' held court at 4 a.m.

Former Ford and Chrysler public relations chief Jason Vines is out with a new book - this one co-authored by former American Motors CEO Joe Cappy.

Ally makes a turn toward used market
Author: Hannah Lutz

Ally Financial, the No. 2 U.S. auto lender in the first quarter, is shifting more of its business toward the used-vehicle market with changes in its portfolio and its used-vehicle leasing program.

Fields: Ford EV will have range near 200 miles
Author: Nick Bunkley

Ford Motor Co. is developing an electric vehicle with range comparable to the Chevrolet Bolt, Tesla Model 3 and next-generation Nissan Leaf, CEO Mark Fields said.