Automotive News Table of Contents

March 20, 2017

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For Chevy Bolt, discounts here, markups there
Author: Nick Bunkley

Just seven states into Chevrolet's gradual rollout of the Bolt EV, some dealerships already are discounting the car by several thousand dollars, even as others demand a markup above sticker price to take advantage of early demand.

Uber puts the ire in Iron City
Author: Katie Burke

Although many Pittsburghers see Uber as a symbol of their city's turnaround from an ailing former steel town to an up-and-coming tech hub, others resent the company's unwillingness to assimilate to the city's distinctive community.

With EPA victory comes new uncertainty
Author: Michael Martinez

Automakers face a new wild card in the form of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, whose views on climate change and federal power challenge the foundations of the landmark deal they struck with the government in 2012.

An invention that sparked a backlash

In the second episode of Season 2 of our “Futurismo” podcast, we tell the story of one safety technology and how it rose from obscurity to a national mandate within years

Buy-sell activity poised to rebound
Author: Jamie LaReau

Buy-sell advisors expect activity to rebound this year as more sellers come to market and bring a realistic price expectation with them.

How Nissan's Shiro Nakamura became the crossover king
Author: Hans Greimel

Shiro Nakamura, who will retire next month after transforming Nissan design over the past 17 years, also holds the distinction of making "crossover" a household word.

Intel becomes an insider, and goes all in
Author: David Sedgwick

Intel Corp. is a new player at the auto industry's poker table, but the company's $14.7 billion acquisition of Mobileye gives it a hand with a pair of aces.

Bernie Moreno's unexpected U-turn
Author: Jamie LaReau

Bernie Moreno once had visions of owning 100 dealerships. But frustration with factory performance targets has prompted a store selloff and a focus on select brands.

Ford plans regional incentives for dealers
Author: Michael Martinez

Dianne Craig, who has taken over as Ford's director of US sales amid rising incentives and cooling demand, expects to find answers to her challenges in the marketplace, not Dearborn.

Search for synergies delays Mitsubishi products
Author: Hans Greimel

Mitsubishi is delaying the next-generation redesigns of the Outlander crossover and Outlander Sport compact crossover, key pillars of its lineup, as engineers seek ways to share components with Nissan under a new alliance.

Audi gives details of 3 EVs to debut in next 3 years
Author: Nick Gibbs

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler offered details of three full-electric cars the German automaker plans to introduce in the next three years.

Audi to launch coupe-styled Q4 crossover in '19
Author: Christiaan Hetzner

Audi will launch a coupe-styled Q4 crossover in 2019 to challenge models such as the Range Rover Evoque and upcoming BMW X2.

Buick preps Regal hatchback and wagon
Author: Michael Wayland

Buick's Regal sedan will be replaced in the U.S. with a sedan-styled five-door hatchback and Buick's first wagon in two decades, according to two auto forecast firms.

McLaren supercar gets stratospheric price
Author: Nick Gibbs

McLaren Automotive's three-seat hypercar will cost a cool 2 million pounds ($2.5 million at current exchange rates) in its home market when it launches in 2019.

Porsche plans to offer variants of Mission E

Porsche plans to offer variants of its Mission E, a fully electric vehicle expected to go on sale in late 2019.

BMW i8 Spyder hits the streets

New spy photos give a glimpse at BMW's next green convertible.

Trump budget hits EPA, clean-energy programs
Author: Staff and wire reports

President Donald Trump's proposed budget would cut the EPA by 31 percent and the Transportation Department by 13 percent, among other reductions.

VW to launch T-Roc in U.S. in '19
Author: Christiaan Hetzner

Volkswagen will launch the T-Roc compact crossover in the United States in 2019 after dealers gave a firm commitment they can sell enough of the vehicle to make it profitable.

2017 Mini Countryman
Author: Amy Wilson

The 2017 Mini Countryman's move to a new front-wheel-drive architecture makes for a pretty big jump. The redesigned Countryman, now on the same architecture that underpins the BMW X1, is longer, wider, has a roomier cabin and more cargo space than its predecessor.

Crossover boom should help Mini Countryman
Author: Amy Wilson

The redesigned Mini Countryman should help turn around sales for the brand. As the brand's biggest vehicle yet, Mini expects the Countryman to tap into the surge in industrywide small crossover demand. The redesigned Mini Countryman should help turn around sales for the brand.

Mercedes-AMG expects another vroom year
Author: Amy Wilson

Following a big rollout of new models, Mercedes-AMG sales are up 30 percent so far in 2017, according to Mercedes-Benz USA. While the pace will slow, a double-digit percentage increase is expected for 2017.

'Back on track' VW derailed by widening probes
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Top Volkswagen executives had spent hours March 14 trying to convince a global audience of journalists and analysts that VW was "back on track" after its three-year diesel scandal.

Betting billions on unproven tech
Author: Keith Crain

It is amazing how boards of directors allow their executives to invest billions in unproven technology for which no one even knows if there is a market, Keith Crain writes.

Dealerships must prepare for online F&I

Dealerships must figure out how to present the benefits of F&I products to prospects who prefer to purchase online.

GM plays Moneyball

Today's GM can act more decisively because its finances are not only more stable, but also more transparent. Thanks to an accounting system overhaul that Dan Ammann spearheaded as CFO, GM has much clearer intelligence on the performance of its various markets, subsidiaries and product lines.

Management is the problem at GM

If you can't build decent cars in Germany, where car talent exists in overabundance, then it is management that is inept, a reader writes.

Natural gas vehicles a practical solution

With more effective regulation, natural gas vehicles can allow the U.S. to meet clean air and energy independence goals, Subaru of America co-founder Harvey Lamm writes.

Trump has a natural ally in car dealers
Author: Mack McLarty

America's car dealerships are the paragon of successful Main Street businesses on which Trump heaped praise during his campaign, Mack McLarty writes.

Dealer Anniversaries

Dealers featured this week include Kent Stevinson, president of Stevinson Toyota East in Aurora, Colo.; and Ron Theis, dealer principal of University Honda in Corvallis, Ore.

Dealer makes waiting customers stew
Author: Laurence Iliff

When Carlos and Laurie Liriano moved from Louisiana to the heart of Texas, they brought along with them their taste for New Orleans hospitality -- and their gumbo recipes.

Delphi: How to get paid, even when parts didn't get made
Author: Jim Henry

Delphi says in an SEC filing that a number of suppliers have negotiated contracts to be compensated by automakers irrespective of actual volumes. And why not?

Georgia’s winning streak with suppliers
Author: Stephanie Hernandez McGavin

Georgia has tapped a vein of small to midsize privately owned German parts companies that are ready to build their first American factory.

Rebounding Renesas sets up for growth
Author: Hans Greimel

Japanese chipmaker Renesas bottlenecked much of the auto industry when its plant was damaged by Japan's 2011 killer earthquake. It now plans big growth thanks to its takeover of an American rival.

Wake up! Your supplier's plant is on fire!
Author: Lindsay Chappell

Somewhere in the world this month, a typhoon might delay a shipment of auto parts. A violent mob could shut a supplier's factory, or a faraway boardroom spat might halt a critical product investment.

Dealer Dave Wright: 'It’s all about the team'
Author: Tom Worobec

In this Q&A, Dave Wright, owner of a Nissan-Subaru dealership near Cedar Rapids, Iowa, talks about growing a small dealership, competing against large groups for acquisitions and winning Automotive News' Best Dealerships To Work For award five times.

Japanese carmakers seek trade peace with Trump
Author: Hans Greimel

Japan's auto market is open, says Hiroto Saikawa, chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, but its carmakers, including Toyota, Nissan and Honda, are willing to work with governments in Tokyo and Washington to smooth out disputes over access.

Leadership diversity is vital for innovation
Author: Randy Miller

Automakers need diverse and creative thinking to solve problems and take advantage of opportunities to innovate, writes Randy Miller, global automotive and transportation sector leader at EY.

Tata Steel seeks more takers for tailored blanks
Author: Nick Gibbs

Under pressure from low-cost imported steel, Tata Steel is stepping up its European production of higher-margin tailored blanks.

Can Hyundai's Ioniq make inroads against Prius?
Author: David Undercoffler

Since the Toyota Prius went on sale in 2000, nameplates such as Ford's C-Max and Honda's Insight have tried to mount a serious challenge to its domination of the hybrid market. And they have fallen woefully short.

Mercedes' self-driving tech takes on curves
Author: Luca Ciferri

Daimler's new r&d boss, Ola Kaellenius, says the new Mercedes-Benz S class coming this summer will be the first production car that links navigation with semiautonomous sensor data.

A new era for Nissan design
Author: Hans Greimel

Two non-Japanese designers, one a veteran insider, the other just poached from a luxury-brand rival, face a difficult balancing act leading Nissan Motor Co. into an era of new technology.

Moreno has his own 'Roger and Me' tale
Author: Jamie LaReau

In 1982, a teenage Bernie Moreno wrote to then-General Motors CEO Roger Smith with some advice. Smith's three-page reply influenced Moreno's car career.

Nvidia self-driving partnerships detailed
Author: Katie Burke

Last week, Nvidia spelled out details of two partnerships it has for its self-driving computer chips: one deal with in which Robert Bosch GmbH that will use Nvidia's chips to power its self-driving supercomputer, and one with truckmaker Paccar to make self-driving vehicles.

Faraday fumes: Nio's concept looks familiar

When Chinese electric vehicle startup Nio, formerly known as NextEV, revealed its self-driving concept this month, another Chinese-backed firm took umbrage.

Mercedes-AMG GT Concept: A Neanderthal's jaw, plus 4 doors

When the smoke cleared in Geneva, it seemed the Mercedes-AMG GT Concept was the one world debut that people still wanted to talk about.

Normal job shuffling gets Trumpified
Author: Dave Guilford

It happened again last week. President Donald Trump turned his attention to the auto industry, and, sure enough, an automaker coughed up plans to add jobs in the U.S. Sort of.

Smart isn't going anywhere, Winkler says

This is not exactly the golden age of microcars. Indeed, at a time when gas is cheap and looks like it will stay cheap, can Smart really hope to grow?

Mouse that roared: Porsche hires Disney for training
Author: Amy Wilson

Exciting customers is about to become more than a mission statement at Porsche Cars North America.