Automotive News Table of Contents

January 23, 2017

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China growth buys time for Cadillac
Author: Nick Bunkley

Surging sales in China are giving Cadillac's U.S. business a luxury it lacked during previous attempts to regain its former luster: time.

Wal-Mart, CarSaver will sell cars
Author: Hannah Lutz

Wal-Mart Stores, the nation's largest retailer, is jumping into car sales through a partnership with CarSaver, an online automotive retail platform. CarSaver, in turn, is setting up partnerships with dealership groups, including AutoNation.

Automotive News makes staff changes in editorial, sales

Automotive News has made changes to its editorial team and additions to its sales staff.

Honda finds its sweet spot
Author: David Undercoffler

Discipline wins: That's the message Honda sent in 2016 with its U.S. sales performance.

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Will the next luxury flagship be a truck?
Author: Amy Wilson and Dave Guilford

Mercedes and BMW still sell a good volume of the luxury sedans known as brand flagships. But the identity builders for European luxury brands are likely to increasingly become crossovers and SUVs as the sales shift to trucks continues.

Audi 'fanatically focused' on dealer profitability
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Audi of America's six-year string of consecutive year-over-year monthly sales gains may grab headlines, but it is other industry-leading numbers associated with the luxury brand that turn dealer heads, says U.S. brand boss Scott Keogh.

SLOWING THE PACE
Lincoln dials back in China
Author: Michael Martinez

Lincoln will continue to expand in China this year, but the pace of growth for its dealership network will likely slow after targets were exceeded in 2016.

Uncertainty clouds Mexico’s record year
Author: Laurence Iliff

Mexico's auto industry celebrated record production, record exports and another year of double-digit sales gains in 2016, but the celebration has been muted.

Ford freshens '18 Mustang, drops V-6
Author: Michael Martinez

Ford Motor Co. is making midcycle changes to the Mustang in an effort to stay on top of the muscle car sales race, even as demand for such vehicles wanes. The biggest change as part of the popular pony car's 2018 model year freshening comes under the hood, where Ford is dropping its 3.

Jaguar tests smaller E-Pace crossover

Jaguar will add a smaller, more affordable utility vehicle -- the E-Pace -- to its lineup in about a year, probably in Europe first, then the U.S.

Jaguar's freshened F-Type has an app for that hot lap
Author: Richard Truett

Jaguar's midcycle freshening of the F-Type sports car adds a slew of new technology, upgraded seats and a new limited-edition model.

Mitsubishi crossover expected in Geneva

Mitsubishi will launch a compact crossover in March at the Geneva auto show, according to European press reports. The British magazine Autocar says the vehicle may be styled after the XR-PHEV concept first shown at the 2013 Tokyo auto show.

What sets Kia Stinger, Genesis G70 apart?
Author: David Undercoffler

Answering the question definitively will be crucial for both Kia and Genesis. Both cars are looking to challenge the established compact sport sedans and will need to carve out different identities for themselves.

EPA nominee calls for CO2 rule review
Author: Krishnan M. Anantharaman

Scott Pruitt distanced himself from candidate Donald Trump's promise to "gut" the agency and his claim that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by China.

Ford Credit program makes dealer visit optional
Author: Hannah Lutz

Ford Motor Credit customers will soon be able to purchase and finance new vehicles from a dealership's website, thereby making a visit to the store optional.

Trump moves quickly on trade
Author: Michael Martinez

Minutes after President Donald Trump was sworn in, the new administration declared its intention to abandon the Trans-Pacific Partnership and renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

EDITORIAL
Dealers must tend to their own profits

In light of last year's record 17.5 million light-vehicle sales in the U.S., it's distressing to see how many brands' dealer council leaders are concerned about their dealers' weak profitability.

KEITH CRAIN
NADA: 100 and still going strong
Author: Keith Crain

This week the auto retail industry will converge on New Orleans to honor and celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Automobile Dealers Association. That is quite a milestone.

JAMIE LAREAU
Profit gap lets best stores out-hire the rest
Author: Jamie LaReau

The act of recruiting and securing talent has never been as critical and competitive for dealers as it is now, due to a growing gap in profits allowing the best to out-hire the rest.

KRISTIN SCHONDORF
What Trump's team must do for autonomous age

President Donald Trump will witness the automotive industry completely change during his administration, writes Kristin Schondorf who leads the Automotive and Transportation Mobility practice at EY.

Dealership's return policy builds goodwill
Author: Katie Burke

The Maguire Family of Dealerships offers the Maguire Family Assurance policy, which guarantees the Ithaca, N.Y., based chain of dealerships will buy back a customer's vehicle if an unexpected life event, such as a family death or job loss, occurs during the first year of ownership.

Calsonic Kansei takes top Shareholder Value Awards
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Calsonic Kansei Corp., of Japan, grabbed both the one- and three-year crowns in the 2016 Global Automotive Shareholder Value Award from PwC and Automotive News, presented at the Automotive News World Congress Jan. 11.

Cheaper lidar on the way
Author: David Sedgwick

Lidar sensing technology is perceived as a critical component for autonomous vehicles, but is too costly to use. Some suppliers say they finally know how to produce lidar less expensively.

NADA PREVIEW: PEOPLE PROBLEM
Employee turnover costs dealers billions
Author: Amy Wilson

FIRST OF A FOUR-PART SERIES: When look-alike stores sell the same vehicles at roughly the same prices, only the people distinguish one dealership from another. Yet very few dealers are good at hiring and retaining employees. It's costing the industry billions of dollars a year.

NADA PREVIEW
Turnover set off alarm bells at Toyota store
Author: Amy Wilson

Bad hiring can cost a dealership plenty. Rick Evans figures his Toyota dealership lost at least $500,000 -- maybe even $1 million or more -- because of his hiring problems.

NADA PREVIEW: OUTGOING NADA CHAIRMAN JEFF CARLSON
Carlson keeps affordability at top of priority list
Author: Michael Martinez

Jeff Carlson, outgoing chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association, doesn't think the industry has plateaued just yet. In this Q&A, he comments on the outlook for 2017, what NADA accomplished last year, and what to watch for this year.

NADA PREVIEW: INCOMING NADA CHAIRMAN MARK SCARPELLI
New chairman talks Trump, regulations, sanity
Author: Jamie LaReau

Mark Scarpelli, NADA's incoming chairman, is eager to work with President Donald Trump's administration to bring more “sanity” to regulations and clarify recalls. He talks about his and NADA's top priorities for the coming year in this Q&A.

NADA PREVIEW
New AIADA chairman reaffirms focus on free trade

Paul Richie takes the helm as chairman of the American International Automobile Dealers Association as the organization faces a new Congress and possible threats to free trade from a new U.S. president. In this Q&A, he outlines his goals for the year.

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS
Retailer supports Ford's mobility push
Author: Michael Martinez

Bill Jarrett, president of the Ford National Dealers Council, thinks Ford's foray into broad mobility business ideas is a good business strategy.

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS
Subaru dealer expects more sales growth in 2017
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

Subaru's dealer-council chair sees yet another year of sales increases ahead in 2017, led by the brand's crossovers and a redesigned, Indiana-built Impreza.

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS
Caddy dealers ask brand for help with marketing
Author: Nick Bunkley

Cadillac dealers have asked the brand to boost its marketing efforts to help them weather an 18-month period with no major product launches.

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS
Honda dealers want more trucks
Author: Jim Henry

U.S. Honda dealers are off to a good start for 2017, celebrating the launch of the redesigned Honda CR-V and coming off a third straight year of record sales for Honda Division.

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS
Nissan looks to go green
Author: Lindsay Chappell

Even as Nissan seeks sales of fresh Titan variations, a redesigned Armada, a freshened Pathfinder and new Rogue models, the brand is still reaching out to environmentally minded consumers on electric cars and hybrids.

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS
FCA dealer wants less complexity, more consistency
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

The chairman of the FCA National Dealer Council said dealers need “decreased complexity and increased consistency” in their dealings with Fiat Chrysler as the automaker and its dealers work in a new era of plateauing sales.

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS
Lexus dealers psyched for halo car
Author: Laurence Iliff

While SUVs and crossovers are good for volume and profits, the impending arrival of the LC 500 sports coupe has Lexus dealers excited because of the message it sends about the brand.

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS
'Sexy Camry' could put pizazz in Toyota lineup
Author: Laurence Iliff

2017 could be the year that brings some of the pizzazz Toyota dealers have sought, with the new C-HR crossover, the next generation Camry and maybe even a sports car.

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS
2 big vehicles lift Lincoln
Author: Michael Martinez

Lincoln Motor Co. is going big in 2017, at least in terms of its product size.

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS
Mini dealers call for more brand awareness
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Mini dealers, struggling with the ongoing shift in consumer preferences away from passenger cars and toward crossovers and SUVs, could benefit from greater marketing to build brand awareness, the chairman of the Mini National Dealer Council said.

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS
Hyundai dealers see a difficult start for Genesis
Author: David Undercoffler

Hyundai's Genesis dealers are concerned that they will have to launch the new luxury brand with just two products in segments that are slowing down.

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS
Retailer: Volvo improves product mix in showrooms
Author: Diana T. Kurylko

Volvo dealers had too many of the brand's older models and not enough of the redesigned XC90 crossover toward the end of last year, but the mix has improved, says the head of the Volvo Retail Advisory Board.

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS
Dealer: Sedan-crossover mix hurt BMW's sales
Author: Diana T. Kurylko

BMW of North America straddled U.S. dealers with too many sedans not enough crossovers in a market that was clamoring for the utility vehicles, says Timothy Kraemer, head of the BMW National Dealer forum.

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS
JLR has big growth plans
Author: Richard Truett

Jaguar Land Rover dealers have big decisions ahead regarding their stores.

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS
Retailer vows to hold VW accountable
Author: Ryan Beene

The incoming chairman of Volkswagen's dealer council plans to keep the pressure on the factory to live up to its commitments to grow again in the U.S. market.

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS
Audi, dealers work on profitability
Author: Ryan Beene

Audi dealers and the factory have established a task force with the aim of restoring dealer profits dented amid the brand's record-setting sales streak.

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS
Buick dealerships benefit from shift to crossovers
Author: Nick Bunkley

Buick's shift to selling more crossovers than sedans has made dealers busier and more profitable.

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS
Mazda dealers want help lifting profits
Author: Jamie LaReau

The “majority” of Mazda Motor Corp.'s U.S. dealers are unprofitable and saddled with high inventories of new vehicles, as Mazda redefines the brand. But Paul Passarelli, the outgoing chairman of Mazda's National Dealer Advisory Council, is confident Mazda will fix things.

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS
Mercedes retailers push for more trucks
Author: Amy Wilson

Mercedes sales could rise in 2017. But dealers say they still need an increase in SUV and crossover suppliers to meet growing truck demand.

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS
Mitsubishi dealers await impact of Nissan
Author: Hannah Lutz

With the Nissan alliance, strong crossover sales and future-product announcements, Mitsubishi dealers had an exciting 2016. Now, dealers are waiting to see how the changes will affect them this year and beyond.

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS
Acura dealers want factory to fill gaps in lineup
Author: David Undercoffler

Acura dealers want something to fill the meaningful white space in the brand's lineup. The question is how to fill that space, and how many units it can sell.

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS
Chevy Cruze's slide challenges retailers
Author: Nick Bunkley

Two redesigned crossovers on the way should help Chevrolet increase its retail market share, the head of the brand's dealer council says, but Chevy needs to find ways to sell more of its Cruze sedan.

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS
Kia Stinger will need a hook to reel in luxury customers
Author: David Undercoffler

The success of Kia's new Stinger hatchback depends heavily on how Kia handles the launch, including lease options and marketing.

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS
Parent's moves may help Infiniti
Author: Lindsay Chappell

Two high-level business developments at parent company Nissan Motor Co. in 2016 had little to nothing to do with the U.S. operations of the Infiniti brand.

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS
Porsche dealer sees strong '17
Author: Amy Wilson

Porsche dealers expect the redesigned Panamera sedan to drive the brand to higher sales again in 2017.

NADA PREVIEW
2017 NADA convention events calendar

Here's a sample of the NADA convention social scene and affiliated events in New Orleans.

NADA PREVIEW
Exec: Alliance could benefit from Mitsubishi dealers
Author: James B. Treece

Mitsubishi Motors' alliance with Nissan Motor has sparked speculation about sharing parts, vehicles or production capacity. But Mitsubishi's No. 2 executive in North America says it also could benefit Mitsubishi dealers.

NADA PREVIEW
Suburban stores at greatest risk of consolidation?
Author: Amy Wilson

NADA consultant Glenn Mercer says suburban dealers are most likely to sell out in the next wave of store consolidation. Rural stores have lower volume, but also are less subject to price competition. And suburban real estate is worth more, so the suburban dealer has exit options.

NADA PREVIEW
Dealertrack aims to introduce 'seamless, easy' F&I platform
Author: Hannah Lutz

Dealertrack's next-generation F&I system is a simpler, more deal-centric approach to working with Dealertrack's tools, such as credit applications, bureau reports, compliance tools, desking solutions and F&I product menus.

NADA PREVIEW
Autonomous cars could mean new role for dealers
Author: Michael Martinez

The advent of autonomous cars and ride-sharing mobility services could mean massive changes for dealers. No one knows exactly what those changes will be, but industry officials are confident that the dealer body won't go extinct.

NADA PREVIEW
Dealers watching inventory, adding staff
Author: James B. Treece

Dealers, slightly cautious about 2017, are holding the line on facilities expansions or renovations. More plan to trim new-vehicle inventory in anticipation of flat to lower U.S. sales. But overall, dealers are almost evenly split on their inventory plans.

Denso changes its recruiting as needs widen
Author: Lindsay Chappell

Denso's new strategy for filling engineering vacancies: recruit engineers in Detroit and dispatch them all over the country.

Alexa, do I need a virtual assistant in the car?
Author: Katie Burke

In the quest to simplify your car, automakers are probably going to make life more annoying and difficult, at least for a while.

MIXED SIGNALS
Connected infrastructure runs into red lights
Author: Shiraz Ahmed

As automakers and suppliers eye the potential of fully connected cities, the hard realities of rolling out those technologies are quickly becoming apparent.

VW to test over-the-air options
Author: Sharon Silke Carty

Volkswagen AG is looking to change the way consumers buy new-car options by using over-the-air updates to offer some features on a trial basis.

McLaren will reveal new midrange road car
Author: Nick Gibbs

McLaren Automotive this year plans to replace the supercar that launched the British company's on-road challenge to Ferrari nearly six years ago.

Nissan, Hyundai-Kia join top fleet players
Author: Jesse Snyder

Nissan North America and Hyundai-Kia moved into the top tier of U.S. fleet players in 2016, joining the Detroit 3 in using bulk sales to boost marketplace presence.

Mexican officials game-plan for NAFTA talks
Author: Laurence Iliff

Mexican officials are gearing up for what looks like a fast-track renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement with a little bit of good cop, bad cop.

Don't bet on an Audi smaller than A3/Q3
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Audi may have room in its lineup for a larger three-row crossover and for more variants of current vehicles, but probably not for anything smaller than its current A3 sedan and Q3 crossover.

Penske ends no-haggle pilot
Author: Jamie LaReau

Penske Automotive Group has backed off a no-haggle pricing experiment and returned to a traditional sales model and a commission-based pay plan at Toyota of Surprise (Ariz.).

BMW departure adds to upheaval
Author: Christiaan Hetzner

Karim Habib's departure as head of BMW brand design creates more upheaval in the group's design organization following two key departures last year.

Nissan seeks sequel to 'Rogue One' campaign
Author: Stephanie Hernandez McGavin

After Nissan's Star Wars tie-in kicked Rogue sales into hyperdrive last month, its marketing team is tackling a new mission: spreading the compact crossover's success to other nameplates.

JLR bringing virtual reality to showrooms
Author: Richard Truett

Jaguar Land Rover hopes to boost sales using virtual reality to preview upcoming vehicles. All of its global retailers, including U.S. dealers, are getting virtual-reality kits.

Over-the-air updates may alter NHTSA recall policy
Author: Katie Burke

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it will evaluate how to conduct recalls in an age of remote fixes and over-the-air updates.

Cue the 'Comedians in Cars' laugh track

Jerry Seinfield's weekly celebration of classic-car life, "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee," shifts next month to Netflix from Sony's Crackle platform.

If only VW had stuck with Daimler?

Volkswagen might have stayed clear of the diesel cheating scandal had the company not pulled out of a promising deal with Daimler more than a decade ago, Bloomberg reports.

Kaellenius: AI awakening accelerated autonomous

What has driven the industry's recent surge toward autonomous vehicles? Ola Kaellenius, Daimler's new head of r&d, says breakthroughs in artificial intelligence have made all the difference.

Real Legos, not actors

In a funny new take on Chevy's "Real People, Not Actors" ad campaign, a focus group of animated Lego minifigures is asked what kind of person would drive Chevy's all-new Lego Batmobile.

When Bentley owners are the have-nots

Wolfgang Durheimer, CEO of both of the Volkswagen Group-owned brands, makes it sound like the Bentleys and Bugattis live on the other side of the tracks from each other.

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