Automotive News Table of Contents

August 29, 2016

Subscribers Click Here
In Louisiana, devastation 'beyond belief'
Author: Amy Wilson and Stephanie Hernandez McGavin

Devastating floods in Baton Rouge have displaced 1,500 or more families with members working at the area's dealerships. NADA aims to raise $2 million for aid to the flood victims and already has begun handing out relief checks.

VW scandal casts long shadow on product plans
Author: Ryan Beene

At first glance, it looks like business as usual for product launches at the Volkswagen Group through the end of the decade. But it's the years after 2020 that will show the impact of the diesel emissions scandal, in terms of its sky-high costs and shifting priorities at the giant German automaker.

Cadillac vows no retreat on Project Pinnacle
Author: Nick Bunkley and David Undercoffler

Cadillac chief Johan de Nysschen isn't bending to accusations that his plan to transform the brand's retail network violates franchise laws and threatens smaller stores' survival. Critics of the plan, he says, are merely resistant to change.

Safety technology still needs work
Author: Dave Guilford

The first wave of active safety technology - features such as emergency braking, lane-departure warning and adaptive cruise control - has reduced accidents.

VW dealer aid: How much is enough?
Author: Ryan Beene

Volkswagen dealers are finally in line for some much-needed financial relief nearly a year after watching their franchise values dwindle in the wake of the automaker's diesel emissions scandal. But will it be enough to cover what they've lost, and still stand to lose?

Mercedes shuffles U.S. sales team
Author: From staff reports

A management shuffle at Mercedes-Benz USA has elevated 18-year Mercedes veteran Bart Herring to one of the brand's top U.S. sales positions.

Talent shortage stalls buy-sells
Author: Jamie LaReau

Buyers looking to acquire dealerships are facing a personnel bottleneck in the form of a shortage of qualified and available individuals to run the acquired stores. To cope, some would-be buyers are stepping up efforts to groom future managers.

The man who stood up to VW -- and won
Author: Lindsay Chappell

Nijaz Hastor began his career building Volkswagens in a factory in Slovenia. Last week, he brought Volkswagen to its knees when he refused to back down on a contract dispute between the automaker and his diverse parts company.

FCA moves to lock down security codes
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Fiat Chrysler is threatening serious repercussions to anyone who uses its internal DealerCONNECT software and provides outsiders with "key codes, radio codes and other anti-theft or security measures."

Toyota case tests warranty limits for military families
Author: Sharon Silke Carty

Automaker argues a Germany deployment complicated the repairs process

4th-gen Kia Rio gets sportier design
Author: Paul McVeigh

Kia is giving a sporty look its Rio subcompact, which will be redesigned for the 2018 model year.

Aston plans Vanquish Zagato roadster

Aston Martin will build a limited-edition, open-top sibling car to the Vanquish Zagato coupe it debuted this year. Only 99 Vanquish Zagato Volantes will be built, with deliveries beginning next year.

Lambo's superhot supercar

Lamborghini's $2.3 million Centenario Roadster is so exclusive, it sold out before its debut this month at Monterey Car Week.

Pininfarina's racer 'for gentleman drivers'
Author: David Undercoffler

Pininfarina plans to build 10 copies of the wild H2 Speed Concept from the Geneva auto show in March.

VW closes Santa Monica design studio
Author: Jens Meiners

Volkswagen Group's Design Center California in Santa Monica will close in November. Meanwhile, Audi plans to open its first U.S. design studio in Malibu, Calif.

Amazon primed for shoppers, not buyers
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

Third-party sites are keeping an eye on Amazon Vehicles. The new site offers photos, reviews and other vehicle information, but doesn't sell vehicles or offer links to dealerships, so sites such as and Autotrader don't see Amazon's site as a direct competitor -- yet.

Auto sales in line for decline
Author: Nick Bunkley

U.S. new-vehicle sales are expected to decline in August, decreasing the industry's chances of beating the full-year record it set in 2015.

Self-driving in Singapore

The first driverless taxi showed up last week in a public trial on the streets of Singapore.

Detroit supplier to open Ohio plant to make Jeep parts
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Detroit Manufacturing Systems plans to open a Toledo plant for the next-generation Jeep Wrangler.

Toyota bets on South America recovery
Author: Hans Greimel

Toyota Motor Corp. is investing in design and manufacturing in South America to capitalize on the region's rebound when it comes.

Acura NSX: A hybrid in more ways than one
Author: Hans Greimel

Honda Motor Co.'s second-generation NSX sports car carries a hybrid engine, a hybrid development approach and now, a hybrid branding role.

Delphi, Mobileye plan self-driving system by 2019
Author: David Sedgwick

Delphi and Mobileye's new partnership proposes Level 4/5 autonomous systems for automakers by 2019.

Dealers must screen data partners
Author: J Ferron

New sources of information about consumers are giving auto retail managers better potential tools to sharpen their brands and win customer loyalty. At the same time, rapid changes in how consumers shop in physical and digital dealerships, and how vehicles are serviced and used add to the urgency.

Help Louisiana's displaced dealership workers

The flood waters are receding in dozens of parishes across central Louisiana and most auto retailers are reopening, but hundreds of dealership employees are still struggling to put their lives back together.

NADA's 100 years: Quite a record
Author: Keith Crain

In 2017, NADA will mark its 100th anniversary with an appropriate celebration during its dealer convention in New Orleans.

New sounds from an old microphone factory
Author: David Undercoffler

Richard Fisher's dealerships in high-rent Evanston, Ill., were constrained on space. So when he learned of a closed factory nearby, he spent $5 million turning it into a massive service and vehicle-storage facility.

Avis taps into TrueCar for used-car sales
Author: Arlena Sawyers

A partnership between Avis Budget and TrueCar is helping the rental-car company sell more retired rental cars directly to consumers for more money than it can get from selling the vehicles at traditional auto auctions.

Used-car shops, by the numbers
Author: James B. Treece

The NIADA Used Car Industry Report 2016 offers multiple insights into the used-only stores that franchise dealerships' used-vehicle departments compete with daily.

Embattled VW faces tough decisions
Author: Ryan Beene

A duo of key crossovers arriving in 2017 will headline one of the busiest years Volkswagen has seen in some time. After that, things start to get a little more murky.

VW marred by scandal, but not paralyzed
Author: Ryan Beene

Despite the seemingly all-consuming scope of the diesel emissions scandal, the Volkswagen Group's wheels are still turning in Wolfsburg, Ingolstadt and Stuttgart.

Audi makes its move into the electric era
Author: Ryan Beene

Fast, sporty small cars and fresh new sedans will define the next several years of Audi's product plan, along with a push toward electrified powertrains.

Porsche retunes for better fuel economy
Author: Amy Wilson

Porsche's product plan is largely on track despite the diesel-related financial hit to parent company Volkswagen Group. The brand is expanding into new body styles while adding alternative power plants as part of a push to improve fuel economy.

Eye candy by the sea
Author: David Undercoffler

Head-turners at this year's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, the auto universe's premier beauty pageant

Tired of the 'turn signal nanny'
Author: Dave Guilford

As advanced safety technology spreads throughout automakers' vehicle lineups, automakers and suppliers are getting broader feedback about their effectiveness. Two safety systems illustrate the varying results.

How cars make sense of sensor info
Author: John Irwin

Automakers are increasingly turning to cameras, radar, lidar and other sensor technologies to make vehicles safer and more autonomous.

Could dealers benefit from an ethics code?
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

Even though most dealerships do right by their customers, a few bad apples can generate negative headlines that blanket the industry with nagging stereotypes about dishonesty. A code of ethics could help change that.

Lexus leads in converting CPO shoppers
Author: James B. Treece

Lexus dealerships do the best job of converting shoppers who consider certified used vehicles into CPO buyers.

Court paves way for Indiana store to move
Author: Eric Freedman

Indiana dealership Ed Martin Toyota successfully fought off a prolonged bid by three rival stores to block its relocation. Now it's prepping for fast construction of a store at its new site in the Indianapolis suburb of Fishers, with plans to open in about a year.

Photo booth is shooting for clicks
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

Having a professional photo booth allows dealerships to showcase high-quality vehicle photos on their website. A provider of an indoor booth touts the ability to take photos even in inclement weather, perhaps with the dealership's logo in the background.


A look at dealers celebrating anniversaries with Chevrolet, Ford, Nissan and Toyota.

EVACUATION: 'No one was coming for us'
Author: Amy Wilson

After two days stranded in a second-story loft, Tara Andrews, a dealership Internet director, escaped Baton Rouge's flood waters with her parents, three-year-old daughter and nine dogs.

LOSS: 'Everybody's lives at the curb'
Author: Amy Wilson

With his house and cars wrecked by flood waters, this dealership employee is focused on rebuilding and reuniting his family.

RECOVERY: Back to work, in search of 'normalcy'
Author: Stephanie Hernandez McGavin

Flood waters chased April Bower, a service writer at Acura of Baton Rouge, from one relative's house to another. But as soon as she could, she returned to the dealership. She was met at the store by others wanting to help her.

Virginia dealers donate to West Virginia flood relief efforts
Author: Stephanie Hernandez McGavin

The Virginia Automobile Dealers Association has donated $75,000 to a relief fund for people affected by the flash floods in West Virginia in June.

Who led the charge for VW settlement?
Author: Ryan Beene

In March, a panel of VW dealers set out to negotiate a compensation deal with VW that would avert a lawsuit against the factory. But when the deal finally came together, it was disclosed by someone else: the lawyer for a dealer who defied the six-member committee and sued.

Chase launches direct lending, with dealers
Author: Hannah Lutz

Chase, the consumer and commercial lending arm of JPMorganChase & Co., has launched a digital car shopping and financing tool for its customers in partnership with TrueCar Inc.

China pulls Borgward back on its feet

Against long odds, the Chinese-bankrolled resurrection of the long-dead German brand Borgward apparently is working.

Here's one way to build on that German heritage

Trying to underscore its German heritage, Borgward is hiring away high-profile designers and engineers from German premium brands.

Jeff Beck unleashes fiery riff against the driverless car

As a pioneering rock 'n' roll guitarist, Jeff Beck has fearlessly pushed the limits of electric guitar and amplifier technology for more than half a century. But Beck, now 72, has little use for the latest boundary-pushing technology in the auto industry - autonomous cars.

Polite nods for Escala

The latest trip to the Monterey Peninsula for Cadillac -- to introduce the five-door Escala -- has thus far elicited the auto show equivalent of polite golf claps from auto scribes.

What's Lutz got to say about it?

Bob Lutz's opinions may be a dime a dozen, but they are never boring. Thus -- courtesy of Car and Driver -- here are new takes on several hot-button topics from the ex-BMW/Ford/Chrysler/General Motors superstar, now 84.