Automotive News Table of Contents

July 6, 2015



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BEAR TRAP?

Chevy ad escalates pickup war, puts steel vs. aluminum issue on the table

Chevrolet is escalating the pickup wars with a social media campaign that takes a swipe at Ford's aluminum-body F-150. UPDATED: 7/6/15 10:41 am ET - adds videos, Ford response

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Detroit 3 seek EPA credits for paint, glass

The latest round of requests from the Detroit 3 for “off-cycle” emissions credits highlight some of the many tools automakers can use to comply with EPA regulations that seek to cut carbon dioxide.

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Fleet stats cloud sales picture

June brought another surge in U.S. new-vehicle sales, with Ford showing modest growth while General Motors was alone among major manufacturers in recording a decline.

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Halftime score for U.S. sales

What was hot and not-so-hot in the U.S. light-vehicle market through June

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Marketing test awaits Hyundai with NFL kickoff

A sponsorship of the NFL will give Hyundai a chance to elevate its stature in the U.S. market, but the company is still searching for its marketing quarterback.

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Automakers say they're open to outside dealership investors, despite skepticism

Some automakers insist they are willing to take a chance on outside investors — provided they have a long-term focus and tap people with substantial dealership operation experience.

FTC remains vigilant on deceptive dealership ads

After two Las Vegas dealerships agreed last week to settle charges that they used deceptive advertising, the Federal Trade Commission said dealers can expect vigilant enforcement of dealers' practices to continue.

PACE Awards website taking applications for '16

The Automotive News PACE Awards, jointly presented with EY and TRC Inc. and which honor game-changing, commercialized innovation by suppliers, has opened its website to accept applications for the 2016 competition.

Rosekind expects NHTSA to act fast against FCA

Despite overhauling its safety and recall operations since September, Fiat Chrysler is almost certain to face enforcement actions by federal regulators over alleged violations of auto safety laws.

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Audi adds diesel to its best-selling A4

Audi will offer a diesel engine in its best-selling sedan, the A4, for the first time when the redesigned car arrives in U.S. showrooms next year.

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Jeep will keep Cherokee's 'spot on' shape, styling

The popular Jeep Cherokee departed from the brand's traditional boxy styling, and Jeep strategists plan to keep the polarizing look when the midsize SUV is freshened in mid-2016.

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Scion packs automatic braking into iA

Scion's new iA sedan packs impressive collision avoidance tech for a little sedan that starts under $17,000. Thanks to Mazda.

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Toyota claims top range for hydrogen-powered Mirai

Toyota Motor Corp. said last week that its hydrogen-powered Mirai has a range of 312 miles between fueling stops, the most of any emissions-free car on the market, though finding a location for a fueling stop will be a challenge.

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XT5 flaunts side crease, wider grille

Cadillac's new XT5, the replacement for the SRX midsize crossover, keeps the SRX shape but features a pronounced side crease that cuts above the door handles for a slightly higher beltline, show recent spy photographs.

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A new Suzuki leader for a new era

Toshihiro Suzuki, tapped June 30 as president of Suzuki Motor Corp., is a different leader for a different era. A wallflower next to his father Osamu, Toshihiro says he has no intention of sitting as long at the helm as the chairman CEO.

Toyota Financial resists CFPB

Toyota Financial Services said it has no plans to change its use of dealer reserve, despite scrutiny from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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Dealers

Dealers featured this week include Gordon Faulkner, dealer principal of Mercedes-Benz of Hilton Head in Bluffton, S.C.; Donald Bessette of Don Bessette Hyundai in Minot, N.D.; and Domingo Vara Jr., dealer principal at Vara Chevrolet in San Antonio.

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How Infiniti climbed quality chart

The entire auto industry got a little bit better on quality this year, but few brands jumped in the rankings of a closely watched survey the way Infiniti did.

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Volvo exec pledges to protect drivers from hackers

Volvo's information-technology boss says the Swedish automaker's commitment to safety includes the promise to protect its customers from vehicle hackers.

EDITORIAL

Chop chicken tax to lift competition and innovation

It's time to eliminate the so-called chicken tax. The onerous 25 percent U.S. tariff on imported pickups has stifled competition for a half century. Elimating the tariff would lead to greater competition among small pickups in the U.S.

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Did Piech's prodding revive Alfa?

So now that the Alfa Romeo plan is more fully hatched and the strategy is clear -- horsepower and hair-raising versions come first, and mainstream models follow -- here's a nagging question: Do we have Ferdinand Piech to thank for all of this?

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HANS GREIMEL

Toyota must keep on pushing for diversity

Toyota derives three-quarters of its sales from overseas. About 80 percent of its 338,875 employees are outside Japan. Yet only two non-Japanese are board members.

18 months later, checks will be coming to Ally customers

In a 2014 settlement over alleged discriminatory lending, Ally paid $80 million and listed consumers that might have been affected.

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BEST PRACTICES

Uber lifts Toyota dealership's marketing

Toyota of Plano offers its best deals to Uber drivers, who make up about 6 percent of the store's new-car buyers and serve as evangelists for the Dallas-area dealership.

A winning combination: Service with a free manicure

In 2001, Priority Auto Group President Dennis Ellmer was looking to boost service orders on Wednesdays, the slowest day of the week at the first two stores he owned in Chesapeake, Va.

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Asbury takes tech shortage into own hands

Asbury Automotive wants 200 to 400 more technicians, so it is developing its own. Master technicians who otherwise would have retired are training new technicians at a vacated store in Atlanta.

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Service growth comes down to the details

David Kelleher made a number of improvements at his David Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep-Ram store here as part of a $3 million expansion and renovation, but one often overlooked area drew particular attention: service.

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THE SUPPLIER SPEAKS: GUILLAUME DEVAUCHELLE, HEAD OF INNOVATION, VALEO

'Everything will be different' with self-driving tech

Autonomous driving will become Valeo's main growth driver by 2020, says Guillaume Devauchelle, who is head of innovation at the French supplier.

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THE SUPPLIER SPEAKS: TADASHI ARASHIMA, PRESIDENT, TOYODA GOSEI CO.

Toyoda Gosei 'on track' to loosening Toyota ties

Toyoda Gosei President Tadashi Arashima says his company is on track to reducing its dependence on Toyota Motor Corp., which accounts for nearly two-thirds of the Japanese supplier's annual sales.

Chevy has a cool answer when phone gets too hot

Chevrolet is beating the heat this summer by rolling out a phone-cooling system in select 2016 models.

NADA offers compliance help

The Federal Trade Commissions's aggressive policing of dealers' advertising practices has won the attention of the National Automobile Dealers Association. In January, NADA published HYPERLINK "https://www.nada.

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Austria deal to ease JLR production

Jaguar Land Rover has signed a contract to build vehicles at Magna Steyr's plant in Graz, Austria, to ease production constraints in the United Kingdom.

Financial aid for hydrogen infrastructure

Japan's three biggest automakers plan to help cover the cost of operating hydrogen stations in the country to popularize cars powered by fuel cells.

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Giugiaro steps aside; Audi takes over

Legendary car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, whose work includes the original Volkswagen Golf and first Fiat Panda, last week resigned from Italdesign Giugiaro S.p.A., the styling and engineering company he founded in 1968.

Germany issues fines to 5 suppliers for price fixing

The Federal German Cartel Office has fined five automotive acoustic parts suppliers a total of 75 million euros ($83.1 million) for their roles in price fixing.

Nissan axes Pathfinder Hybrid

Nissan Motor Co. has killed the hybrid version of its Pathfinder crossover as consumers look increasingly to traditional crossovers, SUVs and pickups.

Obituaries

Former Ford Motor Co. President Philip Benton died June 14. He was 86.

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NICK BUNKLEY

A sales record not worth breaking

By the numbers, the U.S. auto industry just had its best spring selling season in a decade. But that's not the whole story. rather misleading. June 2015 was actually far better than June 2005.

By the numbers: $33,340

The estimated average transaction price for new light vehicles in June was $33,340, according to Kelley Blue Book. That's up $821, or 2.5 percent, from a year earlier. Ford Motor Co. led the industry, KBB said, with a 4.6 percent rise.

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Google Maps will sound train whistle

Google, responding to a call from the Federal Railroad Administration to help reduce the occurrence of train-vs.

UAW wages may be flat, but workers' pay is up

In contract talks with the Detroit 3, the UAW will be looking to boost the pay of veteran Tier 1 workers, who haven't had a wage increase in a decade. But that doesn't mean their pay hasn't gone up.

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What other deals will Kanye foresee?

In his 2005 hit "Gold Digger," rapper Kanye West told a story of a football star whose onerous child-support payments force him to “win the Super Bowl and drive off in a Hyundai.


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