Automotive News Table of Contents

September 18, 2017

Subscribers Click Here
GM plots next phase of IT overhaul
Author: Michael Wayland

Randy Mott built General Motors' in-house IT team from virtually nothing. Now he must unlock the potential of the operation, bolster GM's bottom line and position it to be a leader in connected and autonomous vehicles.

How best to use Google? Now, there's a playbook
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

Dealers and their ad agencies have been asking Google for more transparency and guidance as they work to keep pace with the tech giant's growing portfolio of marketing tools. Google is responding.

Ford CEO Hackett to speak at congress

Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Hackett, who spent two decades running a Michigan office-furniture-maker, will be a keynote evening speaker at the Automotive News World Congress in January.

New dealer confidence index edges up
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

Dealers expect the auto market will remain strong in the near term, but profitability is constrained by market conditions and competition, a new survey found.

Genesis G70 has a bit of German DNA
Author: Hans Greimel

The first compact sedan out of Hyundai's premium Genesis brand is aiming squarely at the BMW 3 series and Mercedes C class.

Honda's packs N-Box with surprises
Author: Naoto Okamura

Honda's redesigned N-Box minicar touts an improved powertrain and driver assist safety technologies to hang on to its title as Japan's No.1 minicar .

Mazda upgrading U.S. dealership network
Author: Hans Greimel

Mazda has embarked on a three-year dealership upgrade targeting more than 100 outlets across the United States as part of its push to polish its brand image and achieve 2 percent market share.

The friendship that formed Auria Solutions
Author: Lindsay Chappell

When IAC decided to spin off its global soft-trim business, an old friend in China was the first person they called.

Bentley takes the leap to Level 3
Author: Nick Gibbs

Bentley will roll out Level 3 autonomous driving capability across its range starting two years from now, CEO Wolfgang Duerheimer said.

Big goals and bigger grille for BMW X7​
Author: Amy Wilson and David Undercoffler

After letting Mercedes dominate the large SUV segment for more than a decade, BMW aims to overtake its rival with the upcoming X7 and its dramatic front end.

BMW: Join autonomous group now
Author: Christiaan Hetzner

BMW has imposed a year-end deadline for industry partners to join its autonomous vehicle alliance. It believes more carmakers will follow FCA in joining.

PSA making cars for U.S. standards
Author: Peter Sigal

PSA is engineering its next generation of vehicles to meet United States regulations, allowing vehicles produced as soon as three years from now to be part of the automaker's return to North America.

U.S. won't get diesel version of Cayenne
Author: Amy Wilson

In the wake of the Volkswagen diesel scandal, Porsche will not bring the diesel-powered variant of the redesigned Cayenne midsize crossover to the U.S.

Frankfurt's best and wurst
Author: David Undercoffler

Spread out over an area roughly the size of Delaware but with better currywurst, the biennial Frankfurt Motor Show is the perfect place to take in the sights and flavors of the German auto industry while bleeding through your loafers from all the walking.

Sporty Toyota line will make waves in U.S.
Author: Hans Greimel

Toyota debuts a GR sports car series for Japan and beyond. The U.S. may not get the name, but its future products will get a healthy dose of the line's sporty spirit.

Mentally preparing for an 'armada of EVs'
Author: Richard Johnson

While electrified vehicles account for a tiny fraction of global auto sales today, few industry leaders are concerned about whether consumers will ever truly want to own battery electrics and plug-in hybrids.

Diesel: Whose fault is it?
Author: Keith Crain

The diesel disaster, made public two years ago today, has done more to move electric cars front and center than anything I can imagine

Is disclosure form about GM security?

With General Motors' market about to be inundated by aftermarket manufacturers at levels we haven’t seen before, is it possible its directive to dealers is a stop-gap measure by the company to get a handle on its parts and service revenue stream.

New autonomous-vehicle policy borders on neglect

Too much regulation on a nascent industry could indeed stifle innovation. But a completely hands-off approach from the federal government will turn drivers on public roads into unwitting lab rats, and it could result in fatalities.

What good is an EV in a disaster?

As I witnessed the mass evacuation in Florida this month, it crossed my mind that commonsense, true-life circumstances trump current mindsets and technology advances.

Audi on fuel cells: Maybe later
Author: David Undercoffler

The tepid outlook from one of the world's largest automakers could ripple across the industry by slowing or discouraging the adoption of fuel cell technology, which will require increased global scale and infrastructure investments to catch on.

Dealership becomes disaster shelter
Author: Anisa Jibrell

What began as a favor to one employee ended up being extended to almost 40 more people, including children, six dogs, six cats and a pet rat.

Smart leaves door open for dealers to return
Author: Amy Wilson

Smart is discontinuing its gasoline-powered models and losing two-thirds of its U.S. dealers, but the brand's CEO believes sales won't fall very much.

Volkswagen readies its robo-fleets
Author: Christiaan Hetzner

CEO Matthias Mueller said the Sedric self-driving concept shown in Geneva and Frankfurt was only the beginning.

Road rallies rev up dealership’s results
Author: Amy Wilson

The free Saturday drives at Porsche Plano are so popular that all 50 spots fill up within minutes.

Beyond Bond
Author: David Undercoffler

As Aston Martin transforms itself from a low-volume builder of just a few grand touring models into a high-end purveyor of supercars, it's changing its marketing to match.

'No limits': Chehab sees power in Kia's youth
Author: David Undercoffler

After leaving FCA on a hot streak in 2015, Saad Chehab is back in the advertising game, this time as chief marketing officer for Kia Motors America. He'll have a lot on his plate.

New York move opens up Cadillac's world
Author: Michael Wayland

Cadillac's New York journey has taken it on helicopter rides to the Hamptons, virtual-reality expeditions at auto dealerships, and forays into the worlds of art and fashion.

'Let Go' campaign pitches Cadillac as pioneer

Cadillac's CMO calls Super Cruise "the perfect product" for showcasing Cadillac's heritage as an innovator.

Bringing more mobility to marketing
Author: Michael Martinez

Tito Melega, the new creative chief of Ford's agency plans to invoke the company's long and global legacy of moving people.

Volvo marketing 'has to be different'
Author: Katie Burke

Ad agency Grey Group is taking advantage of Volvo's brand transformation to introduce ad campaigns built around unconventional storytelling. Matt O'Rourke, who leads the Volvo account at ad agency Grey Group, explains this new direction.

Mercedes spreads its wings at Falcons' new home
Author: Amy Wilson

The stadium sponsorship will put the Mercedes brand in front of millions of football, soccer and music fans. Those fans include many younger consumers who may not realize the breadth of the brand's expanding lineup.

Slaven: Social marketing is people-intensive
Author: Amy Wilson

Mercedes-Benz USA's Drew Slaven talks about the brand's shift of resources to social media.

Low-key ads mark autonomous era
Author: Katie Burke

Automakers continue to feed buzz about self-driving cars, but their marketing strategies are still very much hands-on.

Marketing the digital storefront
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

Dealerships that have adopted online purchase tools have also altered their marketing strategies to promote the shopping experience.

Can Tesla propel Panasonic into top supplier ranks?
Author: Hans Greimel

Japanese electronics giant Panasonic believes its association with Tesla will help it leapfrog into the top 10 global auto suppliers in just five years.

How ZF searches for bright new technology ideas
Author: Olive Keogh

ZF needs the fresh thinking of tech startups to help it into an autonomous technology future. Enter ZF's investment operation, Zukunft Ventures.

Visteon argues for more centralized controls
Author: Jim Henry

Visteon's emerging technology in augmented reality head-up display first required customers to consider a different way of controlling vehicle features.

Suppliers say Silicon Valley still has much to learn
Author: Jim Henry

Industry watchers think Silicon Valley tech companies will take over as Tier 1 systems suppliers. Big manufacturers respond: 'Good luck with that.'

Crossovers to pad Chrysler's lineup
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Chrysler's thin product lineup will be bolstered — eventually — with a pair of crossovers while its only sedan will stay on its current platform for another cycle.

Jeep, Ram kick off product renewal drive
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

With the exception of a few major projects for its Jeep and Ram brands, FCA has slowed some product development activities while trying to hit aggressive financial targets for 2018 that the automaker set in 2014.

Dodge cars to get Ghibli platform
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Dodge will put the Challenger and Charger through yet another refresh cycle. The next step will be a redesign for both models onto the platform underpinning the Maserati Ghibli.

Fiat is freshening lineup
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Fiat's U.S. lineup will be freshened over the next three years, including the 500 minicar.

Wait for Jeep pickup is almost over
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

A more fuel-efficient Wrangler will debut in early 2018, with a Wrangler-based pickup to follow the next year.

Midsize coupe is next for Alfa
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

With three nameplates now making up Alfa Romeo's U.S. lineup, Fiat Chrysler's resurrection of the brand gets more complicated given the global decline in sedan and coupe sales.

Ram takes aim at Silverado
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Ram and Chevy's Silverado are in a horse race for second place in the lucrative full-size pickup segment behind the Ford F series this year.

'The car business will become an'
Author: Jennifer Vuong

Builder-dealer Bill McDaniel says a few auto retailing groups will control the entire industry in a few years, with huge sway over products and pricing.

Frankfurt photo booth

A few of the most eye-catching models at this year's show. Some of them will never turn up at a dealership. And none of them will ever need to stop for gasoline.

Bugatti's single model could be a four-door
Author: David Undercoffler

The yet-to-be-named car would pick up where the Galibier concept left off and go on sale around 2024.

Fanciful visions of the autonomous vehicle
Author: Nick Gibbs

Personal avatars, windshield TVs and portable steering wheels. Automakers reached deep into their imaginations to combat fears of “autonomous anonymous.”

No shades of Perot-era drama with IT this time
Author: Michael Wayland

GM has rebuilt its own IT organization rather than rely on third-party vendors and is confident it won't repeat the mistakes of its past.

GM's complex relationship with IT

General Motors and its information technology operations have had a complicated relationship over the last 30 years.

Driverless taxis might be riderless, too
Author: David Sedgwick

Many drivers say they want no part of a robo-car. But that might be an opportunity for suppliers.

Dealer anniversaries

Dealers featured this week include Gary Force, left, of Gary Force Honda in Bowling Green, Ky.; and Jeff Enright, managing partner of Randall Reed's Park Cities Ford-Lincoln in Dallas.

O'Connell leaves Tesla

Diarmuid O'Connell, who led Tesla's fight to sell its cars through factory-owned stores, has left the company.

Chinese seek keys to U.S.
Author: Peter Sigal

A number of other Chinese brands with global ambitions made their presence felt at Frankfurt, including Future Mobility Corp., a startup created by veterans of BMW's electric-vehicle program.

Ghosn plans 12 new EVs, more platform sharing
Author: Staff and wire reports

Ghosn's new six-year business plan for the Renault-Nissan Alliance will develop more EVs and autonomous vehicles. It also will accelerate the pace of platform-sharing between Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi.


Lee Grey, who worked for Ford Motor Co. for three decades, died Aug. 29. He was 97.

3rd-grader schools EPA
Author: Eric Kulisch

A 9-year-old Washingtonian impressed the audience at a recent U.S. EPA hearing with a heart-warming plea to keep the Obama-era standards on greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy intact.

Honda EV hops back in time

Honda made waves last week at the Frankfurt auto show by unveiling an electric car that at first glance appears to be a 1970s Volkswagen Rabbit.

Seat man undercover for Ford
Author: Michael Martinez

Ford reveals that it was behind a seemingly driverless Transit Connect spotted last month on the streets of Virginia.

VWs awaiting diesel fix stolen from Mich. stadium

Dozens of Volkswagen vehicles repurchased from customers for violating diesel emissions standards have been caught up in a second scandal. They were stolen from their purgatory outside the abandoned Pontiac Silverdome in suburban Detroit and in some cases fraudulently resold.

Why Carlos, Dieter didn't perform in Frankfurt
Author: Christiaan Hetzner

The "Carlos and Dieter Show" did not take place at this year's Frankfurt auto show. That could be a sign of trouble.

Rolls-Royce gets driver input on EVs
Author: Nick Gibbs

Rolls-Royce is canvassing opinions from customers on how a Rolls electric car should look as it develops its first plug-in model.

The in-your-face face of Toyota design
Author: Hans Greimel

Ian Cartabiano enjoys a good bowl of ramen and cruising backstreet boutiques in Tokyo. But it's his California flair that's giving his U.S. design studio outsized influence at Japan's No. 1 carmaker.

Working closely with suppliers pays

It is great to see that the Toyota team has rekindled that process and brought the experts in the individual manufacturing processes back into the development mix.