Automotive News Table of Contents

May 14, 2018

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Auto shows scramble to remain relevant
Author: Amy Wilson

BMW's decision to unveil a car in a video game illustrates how the digital era is transforming the way automakers introduce vehicles, forcing Detroit and other big auto shows to figure out how to stay relevant.

Political window opens for high-grade fuel standard
Author: Eric Kulisch

Automakers and others sense an opportunity to create a national high-octane standard that satisfies Big Oil, agribusiness, regulators and the auto industry.

Supplier fire ripples across the industry
Author: Michael Martinez

A magnesium plant fire is the kind of black swan event that's unavoidable in an era when auto parts often are delivered just hours before they're needed on the assembly line, but prior disasters have taught automakers valuable lessons.

'U.S. is the highest priority,' Mazda's new CEO says
Author: Hans Greimel

Mazda's incoming CEO will focus on strengthening Mazda's dealership network in the United States and making the most of an expanded partnership with Toyota.

Automaker-supplier ties take a hit
Author: Lindsay Chappell

One more sign that automakers are under pressure from a spate of new industry challenges — their relations with suppliers have worsened.

Former GM purchasing scourge Bo Andersson is reborn as a supplier
Author: Lindsay Chappell

Bo Andersson has been dispatched by the president of Japan's giant family-owned wiring supplier, Yazaki Corp., to fix the business where it needs it most — North America and Europe.

Fisker's comeback powered by new battery
Author: Urvaksh Karkaria

Automotive design maven Henrik Fisker's new venture might be less about the automobile than the technology that will power it.

PSA plots lower-cost course for U.S. return
Author: Urvaksh Karkaria

PSA Group is considering a tech-centric, digital shopper-focused approach to selling cars as it plots its comeback in the United States.

Hellcat Charger gets a nose job

The new Charger nose has what Dodge calls a more prominent Air Catcher in the grille to help the supercharged 707-hp motor breathe easier

Jeep Wrangler gets big boost in fuel economy
Author: Richard Truett

A new 2.0-liter turbo-four engine, more gears in the transmission, close attention to aerodynamics and greater use of lightweight materials helped give the redesigned 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL a nice bump in fuel economy.

Mitsu gets back to a profit on N.A. boost
Author: Hans Greimel and Naoto Okamura

Rebounding profits in North America helped troubled Mitsubishi Motors Corp. jump back into the black in the just-finished fiscal year, as the recovering Japanese automaker rode a tail wind of surging sales, big cost cuts and favorable exchange rates.

Profit drop in once reliable N.A. drags down Subaru
Author: Hans Greimel

North America, long the earnings engine for Subaru, suddenly turned into a drag on global profits amid spiraling incentives due to increased crossover competition.

Ford makes coming back to work easier
Author: Michael Martinez

Ford last fall launched the Career Re-Entry Program, which offers six-month assignments in product development, information technology and manufacturing jobs.

Crosstrek becomes new workhorse for Subaru
Author: Jack Walsworth

The Crosstrek, which began life as a lifted Impreza hatchback in 2012, has turned into a sales workhorse for Subaru of America.

Everyone finds the hidden jewels
Author: Keith Crain

My guess is that it has been going on for years — new-car dealers have been making more money on used cars than new. It has been the industry's great secret.

EVs have makings 
of a failed product

I've been reading with fascination Keith Crain's recent columns about the rush to electric vehicles by just about every manufacturer on the planet.

F&I pioneer merits Hall of Fame entry

The Automotive Hall of Fame was founded in 1939 by the “Automobile Old Timers” to perpetuate memories of early pioneers. But the scope for potential inductees has expanded to include significant contributors from across the automotive spectrum. As such, Pat Ryan warrants consideration.

Ford is making the right choice

As a Ford dealer for decades, I'm excited to hear the company's vehicle plans. Every day, we see a growing number of customers shift their interest to pickups and utilities. Ford's decision to revamp its lineup while preparing for future mobility is the right one.

Where is German justice in Volkswagen emissions case?

Martin Winterkorn's indictment by a U.S. grand jury should be an important step toward justice and recompense for the costliest cover-up in automotive history -- but it won't be.

How my president's tariffs would cripple my company -- and U.S. manufacturing

A Trump supporter and owner of an automotive supplier is angry, frustrated and a little scared, because the unintended consequences of the president's $50 billion tariffs on China.

Union program helps refine transactions
Author: Leigh Raper

Georgia dealership partners with Union Auto Program for union-member leads, smoother transactions.

An electric NASCAR? Why not?
Author: Urvaksh Karkaria

NASCAR, a powerful marketing platform, could help automakers sell mainstream America on the electric vehicle. But getting the NASCAR fan base to accept whirring electric motors in place of roaring engines will take time.

Lincoln's unlikely comeback journey
Author: Michael Martinez

In mid-2011, a rival CEO snidely suggested someone should "sprinkle holy water" on Lincoln. But instead of planning for a funeral, the brand's executives were quietly crafting a plan that would eventually lead Ford's luxury marque back to relevance.

Ford exec remembers his IndyCar season
Author: Michael Martinez

Early in his engineering career at Ford, product development and purchasing boss Hau Thai-Tang was embedded with Newman/Haas Racing for the 1993 IndyCar season. Here's what he learned.

Mercedes' EQ will define an electric ecosystem
Author: Amy Wilson

What's the best way to market the explosion of EVs coming from across the industry? Automakers are trying to figure that out.

The long and painful birth of Genesis
Author: Hans Greimel

As thorny as Genesis' retail rework has been, the U.S. dealer showdown is just one of many trials testing global brand chief Manfred Fitzgerald as he births a luxury brand. Zoom out to the global scale, and Genesis is clearly a work in progress on other measures, too.

A quest to ban banality
Author: Douglas A. Bolduc

Former BMW chief designer Chris Bangle has strong feelings about the future of car design. He believes companies should be doing more to stand out from their rivals.

Supplier's quest for a better lug nut
Author: Stephanie Hernandez McGavin

Fastener and metal component supplier MacLean-Fogg overhauled its entire concept of invention, implementing new design-thinking processes to spur everyday innovation.

Automakers got game

Some of the world's biggest automotive badges are affixed to marketing vehicles — professional sports stadiums in particular.

Mazda picks up a German accent
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

While Mazda can't pass itself off as a luxury brand, the mix of quality, handling and design have proved potent enough to draw upscale consumers who drive German cruisers.

Can tamer TrueCar be true to itself?
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

Under Chip Perry, TrueCar is not a different company, but it's a very different brand, casting itself more clearly as the friend of the auto dealer. In the process, TrueCar gave up some of what made it distinctive in a sea of lead generators.

TrueCar's Perry: 'We embraced the need to change'
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

Do consumers want the lowest price or a fair price? TrueCar is betting on a fair price.

Horizon Watch: Mishawaka, Ind.

SF Motors's larger plan is to create an EV assembly plant out of the old AM General Hummer plant in Mishawaka, Ind.

Mahindra's giant leap into Detroit
Author: Anisa Jibrell

After failing to enter the United States in 2010, India's Mahindra & Mahindra is taking a novel approach in its second attempt -- making vehicles in Detroit.

Why build aluminum mill in Ky.?
Author: Stephanie Hernandez McGavin

Why is Braidy CEO Craig Bouchard preparing to spend $1.3 billion to build automotive aluminum capacity on the edge of Appalachia?

All public dealership groups raise average F&I profit per vehicle
Author: Jackie Charniga

All six public new-vehicle dealership groups improved average F&I gross profit per unit in the first quarter, driven primarily by F&I training and an increase in product sales.

Regulating auto retail compliance goes beyond party lines
Author: Jackie Charniga

Although political affiliation plays a role in a state attorney general's likelihood of pursuing auto retail compliance cases, other factors can also have an effect.

GM Financial works to boost loyalty programs
Author: Hannah Lutz

GM Financial wants to expand its GM loan share, increase floorplan penetration and improve the customer experience, CEO Dan Berce says in this Q&A.

Dealer anniversaries

Dealers featured this week include Dennis Davenport, general manager of Nucar Mazda in New Castle, Del., Charles Vaillant, dealer principal of Triangle Dealers del Oeste in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico and Gerardo Pascual, dealer principal of AutoGrupo Chrysler in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

For many brands, regional auto shows are big deals
Author: Amy Wilson

With one in four new-car buyers attending an auto show before they purchase, many automakers are figuring out new ways to attract visitors to their displays.

How the extravagant Tokyo show lost its mojo
Author: Hans Greimel

Back in its crazy, hazy heyday, the Tokyo Motor Show was the place to be. Even after Japan's economic miracle deflated in the late 1990s, the show sustained much of its allure. But then it was unceremoniously knocked off-kilter by a brutal one-two punch.

Inventories creep up as summer approaches
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Total inventory was up on May 1, but the industrywide days supply retreated slightly from a year ago thanks to a strong selling rate.

Got any leads on that profit statement?
Author: James B. Treece

Providing sales leads to dealerships is hardly new. Third-party companies have done it for years, if not decades. But first-quarter earnings statements from four publicly traded lead providers — TrueCar, CarGurus, Cars.

Horsepower? What about star power?

The phrase "lovers of classic film" has a slightly different meaning in the Automotive News realm.

Molten Mustang fires up Internet

Ford Motor Co. is killing most of its cars, and Mother Nature appears eager to help out.

Putin dumps his Mercedes for limo made in Russia
Author: Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin ditched his stretched Mercedes when traveling to his inauguration last week.

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