Automotive News Table of Contents

January 26, 2015



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Family feud disrupts DARCARS

Tamara Darvish, a well-known face of the DARCARS dealership group, filed a lawsuit against her father, John Darvish Sr., and the company he founded. The suit will have a ripple effect on the chain’s 22 dealerships, experts say. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

How VW veered off target

Competition has heated up, the Jetta and Passat have cooled off, and with back-to-back yearly declines, VW has missed out on a key boom period in US auto sales -- a sore spot with dealers who made big bets on sustained sales growth. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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Super Bowl advertisers hype their messages early and often

Building an elaborate pregame hype machine reflects a growing trend among Super Bowl advertisers: To get the most bang for the buck from the biggest advertising event of the year, use social media early and often -- emphasis on "early." 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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NEWS ANALYSIS

Nissan steps back from cutting-edge offerings

Nissan and its luxury Infiniti sibling have mellowed in their message of cutting-edge future products as 2015 begins. Missing from talking points this month at the Detroit auto show was any discussion of recent racy concepts. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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NO COWBOYS

With Titan, Nissan aims for 'white space' below biggest pickups

Nissan has a new strategy for scratching out a piece of Detroit's full-size pickup market: It will stop chasing cowboys. And it will instead think about Roman gladiators, Spartacus, NFL football players, and maybe even flesh-eating zombies. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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As the new year begins, Sonic goes shopping

Sonic Automotive Inc. plans to buy more dealerships in 2015 than the four it bought last year. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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For Infiniti Q50, 'we need to give it some love' in ads

Infiniti's new global ad agency will help "re-stimulate" the brand's volume leader, the Q50 sedan, this spring, nearly two years after its U.S. launch. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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GM seeks speedy customer feedback

General Motors has launched a customer-satisfaction survey that combines a short-form questionnaire with a space for shopper comments. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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Beyond SUVs, VW weighs van, Golf pocket rocket for U.S.

VW development chief Hans-Jakob Neusser said VW is close to deciding whether to produce the Golf R400 concept shown at the Beijing auto show in April. The pocket rocket is capable of 395 hp and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in under four seconds. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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Land Rover has high conquest goals for new Discovery Sport

With a more mainstream design, optional seven-seat configuration and improved technology, the new Discovery Sport compact SUV is expected to draw mostly new buyers to Land Rover, executives say. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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Opel's next-gen Adam could also be a Buick

Buick's top U.S. executive wants to bolster the brand's U.S. lineup with a rebadged Opel Adam, a sporty three-door minicar that competes with the Fiat 500 and BMW's Mini brand in Europe. But the prospect is likely several years off. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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Stadler: Audi to build range-topping Q8 SUV

Audi will launch a flagship SUV called the Q8 before the end of the decade, CEO Rupert Stadler said. The SUV will be aimed at markets such as the U.S., China and the Middle East. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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Renegade comes through, on-road and off

When Jeep introduced the Compass -- and later, its platform mate, the Patriot -- with front-wheel drive and continuously variable transmissions, it was derided by the faithful as an affront to the brand's off-road heritage. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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Volvo's revival plan 'starts now'

After its U.S. market share fell to the lowest level since 1978, Volvo has put its global product strategy chief in charge of North America and significantly boosted its marketing budget in preparation for an upcoming blitz of new vehicles. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

Claims against GM over ignitions pass 2,800

General Motors has received 108 claims for compensation for ignition switch defects in its cars in the past week, bringing the total to 2,818, according to the official administering the compensation program. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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GM eager to squeeze more out of BDCs

GM is using the Year of the Recall to reinforce the importance of operating a business development center, on both the sales and service sides of the dealership. 11:00 am U.S. ET | Jan. 25, 2015

EDITORIAL

Be bold, spend big -- and don't go overboard

Dealers, automakers and suppliers enter the new year on an investment kick. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Forcing EVs on us is a good idea?

Electric vehicles and hybrids should not be socially engineered into our lives whether people want them or not. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

Ford again wins customer-loyalty title

Ford Motor Co. retained the crown in the 2014 model year for most-loyal customers, while Maserati won top honors for conquests, according to the IHS Automotive Loyalty Awards. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Just think of the money you save

From $4-$5 a gallon to $2-$3 is good news for every driver and the auto industry. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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KEITH CRAIN

Time to rethink auto safety

Keith Crain is looking forward to seeing how new Administrator Mark Rosekind reshapes the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

FCA US touts volunteer program for its dealers

FCA US is expanding its in-house volunteer program to dealers nationwide to provide a way for dealerships to increase community involvement. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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TrueCar: App can 'hypertarget' consumers

Online car-buying service TrueCar Inc. said the mobile app it will release this year will enable dealers and automakers to collect an unprecedented amount of information on customers. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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BEST PRACTICES

Chevy store redo goes above and beyond

Keith McCluskey put on steroids the Apple Inc.-like approach that many dealers are using to modernize their customers' experience. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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Obituaries

J. Stuart Perkins, who steered Volkswagen to a U.S. sales record that has held for 45 years, died Dec. 25. He was 86. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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STYLE & SUBSTANCE

Viewing the 2015 Detroit show through a designer's eyes

To get a read on the visual appeal of this year's Detroit auto show, we sought a designer's perspective on the Ford GT, Chevy Bolt and Infiniti Q60. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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Suppliers dream up future innovations. Will automakers bite?

Suppliers try to look over the horizon and craft new features and equipment for autos. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

LEGAL FILE

Calif. dealer again loses claim that Nissan misled him Eric Freedman

A California dealer who claims Nissan misled him about the market visibility of his store before he closed his purchase has lost his case in a second court. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

CDK warns of security threat to its older DMS

Dealerships using an older type of dealer management software from CDK Global have been advised by the company to buy a more advanced system because of a data-security threat. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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Dealers

Dealers featured this week include Matthew Welch, dealer at Auburn Volkswagen in Auburn, Wash.; Kirt Frye, dealer principal at Sunnyside Toyota in North Olmsted, Ohio; Ray Catena, president of Ray Catena Infiniti of Edison in Edison, N.J. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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TIM LEULIETTE, CEO, VISTEON CORP.

Visteon zeros in on 1 segment: The connected car

With Visteon Corp.'s announcement last month that it would sell its division that produces heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, the supplier is concentrating on one product segment: cockpit information systems. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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STEFAN SOMMER, CEO, ZF FRIEDRICHSHAFEN

With TRW, ZF can offer advanced driverless tech

ZF Friedrichshafen AG's acquisition of TRW Automotive will make it a key player in collision avoidance and driverless cars. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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PHIL MARTENS, CEO, NOVELIS

Game on with steel, says aluminum supplier Novelis

Phil Martens, CEO of aluminum giant Novelis, knows both sides of the auto metals business. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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Dealers see another good year in 2015

Dealers expect 2015 to be another good year, though perhaps not quite as good as 2014. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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Certified used sales poised for another record

Buoyed by an uptick in off-lease vehicles flowing back into the market, the industry will sell at least 2.5 million certified used vehicles this year, breaking last year's record, some analysts predict. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

Used-vehicle prices finish 2014 strong

Greater volumes of off-lease, retired rental and other used vehicles returned to the market last year, but overall values of used vehicles closed 2014 with prices in December registering year-over-year increases. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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Sales staff certification gets a new twist

FCA US wants better performing dealerships with lower sales staff turnover and top-notch experts who reach out to potential customers. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

SHAREHOLDER VALUE REPORT

Retailers set the pace in shareholder return for 2014

Publicly traded U.S.-based auto retailers continued to build shareholder value in 2014, while global automakers and suppliers returned to earth. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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ZF chief: TRW to keep its own identity -- for now

TRW Automotive Holdings will remain a stand-alone company for at least three to five years after the completion of its merger this spring with ZF Friedrichshafen AG. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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Connected-car ecosystem will take a big test

Automakers and suppliers are working on cars that not only maneuver independently but also communicate with one another and with the surrounding infrastructure, creating a buzzing community among themselves. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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EJECTING CD PLAYERS

Hyundai's new infotainment strategy: Leveraging smartphone apps

Over the next few years, Hyundai plans to remove CD players from mainstream cars such as the Elantra and Sonata as it rolls out an infotainment system called Display Audio that's built around Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto interfaces. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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Maps to track every bump in the road

Navigation maps that display roads and highways accurately to within 20 centimeters could be available as early as 2017. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

2 DMS newcomers fight the odds for customers

Two relative newcomers to dealer management system software are trying to get traction in an industry dominated by well-established giants CDK Global and Reynolds and Reynolds. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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Hyundai's ready for cars coming off lease

Hyundai Motor America, despite concerns from some analysts, is ready to handle a wave of vehicles coming off lease, CEO Dave Zuchowski promises. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 25, 2015

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Hot Subaru sets its sights on the Sunbelt

Subaru, gunning for a seventh straight year of record U.S. sales, hopes to get an additional boost by bringing its retail network in Sunbelt states in line with those of rivals. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2015

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Social isn't selling cars, Acura chief says

The promise of social media helping dealers to sell cars has yet to be realized, says Mike Accavitti, Acura division general manager. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 25, 2015

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THE CAT COMES BACK

Jaguar expects record rewards from huge investments in products and plants

Jaguar appears poised to have a record 2015 and to keep increasing global sales to well more than 200,000 this decade as a massive investment in products, plants and underpinnings starts to pay dividends, executives and analysts say. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

Exec: Enterprise holds steady on program cars

Unlike its two closest competitors, Hertz Corp. and Avis Budget Group Inc. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

2014 N.A. output up 6%

North American car and truck production rose 6 percent to 17,568,729 vehicles in 2014, according to preliminary estimates. It is the third-largest year ever, surpassed only by 17,598,866 in 2000 and 17,582,611 in 1999. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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Acura boss: What would Taco Bell do?

Acura boss Mike Accavitti let a case of the Mexican munchies get the better of him when he conceded Taco Bell was a source of marketing inspiration for his luxury auto marque. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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Auto writers go ga-ga for the Ford GT

Hardly ever (let's back up, never) can we recall a car getting such a warm auto show welcome as the Ford GT, the surprise stunner at the 2015 Detroit extravaganza. Auto writers were left gasping for air. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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YANG JIANG

China dealers fight back as stock piles up

The China Automobile Dealers Association has been a weak and loose organization. Its main job was to produce an annual list of China's top 100 dealerships and to hold a few national conferences for dealers. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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GM's got no beef with suppliers' dough

If Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is looking for an ally to wring price concessions from suppliers, he won't find one in Steve Kiefer, General Motors' new head of purchasing. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

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Tom Kowaleski, attention-grabber

Tom Kowaleski, the former Chrysler, General Motors, BMW and Lincoln public relations executive who died suddenly last week at age 63, always knew how to tease a product story. 12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015


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