Automotive News Table of Contents

January 16, 2017

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Cars matter after all
Author: David Undercoffler

Their volumes may be declining, but sedans -- along with their coupe and hatchback cousins -- still sell by the millions each year and will continue to do so for years.

VW's plot to fool the feds: How high up did it go?
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Even as VW pleaded guilty to felony charges and agreed to a record settlement of its emissions scandal, the noose of law enforcement has tightened around the automaker's highest executives.

Asia's luxury brands charge into EVs
Author: Hans Greimel , David Undercoffler and Laurence Iliff

Lexus, Genesis, Acura and Infiniti are considering EV offerings - in some cases to meet emissions rules, in others because zippy, futuristic EV cachet enhances the luxury buzz.

EPA move could set up new fight over CO2
Author: Richard Truett

The auto industry's relationship with the Obama administration is ending just as awkwardly as it began.

Forecasts call for mostly sunny '17
Author: Jamie LaReau

The boom times will continue. Most forecasters see another 17 million-plus new-vehicle U.S. sales year. But there are wild cards.

Sonic, Beepi leaders will share sales insights

Scott Smith and Owen Savir will share their retailing insights at the Automotive News Retail Forum on Jan. 26 in New Orleans.

BMW, Mercedes execs plead for more crossovers
Author: Dave Guilford

Even as they launch two key cars – the BMW 5 series and Mercedes E-class coupe -- the traditional arch-rivals have a common challenge: Satisfy U.S. dealers' hunger for more crossovers.

Lexus execs see holes in the lineup
Author: Hans Greimel and Laurence Iliff

Lexus sees possibilities for expanding its lineup. Among them, a subcompact crossover, a three-row crossover, a broader range of F-badged performance cars and even possibly a Tesla-fighting all-electric entry.

Revised product strategy could result in lower prices for top-end Wagoneers, Grand Wagoneers
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

An altered product strategy giving Jeep new truck-based luxury SUVs and an Alfa Romeo-based Grand Cherokee in 2019 could make it easier for Fiat Chrysler dealers to win business from rival General Motors.

Hits and misses of the Detroit show
Author: David Undercoffler

Our Los Angeles reporter, David Undercoffler, braved Detroit's winter elements and numerous potholes to take a look at what went well at the auto show -- and what didn't.

2018 Camry: The more things change …
Author: Laurence Iliff

The new Camry is about as daring as is prudent for the loyalists who buy several hundred thousand of these cars a year - even in a bad year for cars.

Cruze diesel may get 50 on highway
Author: Richard Truett

The upcoming diesel version of the Chevrolet Cruze may be General Motors' first non-hybrid vehicle since the 1990s to get an EPA-certified fuel economy rating of at least 50 mpg on the highway.

A reliable recipe for dealership success

Many people in our industry fail to grasp the relationship between great employees and customer satisfaction, writes Alan Starling, former NADA chairman.

At Detroit show, something for everyone
Author: Keith Crain

The consumer has spoken, and the auto industry has responded. Americans want SUVs and crossovers, and you'll see them at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Lots of them.

VW case starts new era of accountability

In a complicated industry using advanced technology that is governed by Byzantine rules and regulations, will this have a chilling effect on executives as they seek to do their jobs? We hope so.

As Pacifica ramps up, Grand Caravan lives on
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Fiat Chrysler will keep the Dodge Grand Caravan around a little longer than planned as it continues to ramp up sales of the old minivan's more expensive new line mate, the Chrysler Pacifica.

FCA's sedan plans stall amid trade tumult
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

After Fiat Chrysler dealers sell down their current stocks of remaining Dodge Darts and Chrysler 200 sedans, those segments may stay vacant for a while on their lots.

Yanfeng envisions a lounge on wheels
Author: Stephanie Hernandez McGavin

Yanfeng Automotive Interiors is preparing for the day when people need more to do in a car than drive.

Ghosn pushes commonization at measured pace
Author: Lindsay Chappell

Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn would like Nissan and its alliance partner Renault to pick up the pace on commonizing their platforms and technologies. But not too fast.

Toyota's Lentz: Tariff would depress industry
Author: Laurence Iliff

President-elect Donald Trump's threatened border tax on autos and auto parts coming into the U.S. would depress the entire industry, said Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor North America.

Dealer's post-Katrina relief effort keeps growing
Author: Laurence Iliff

When Hurricane Katrina tore through New Orleans in 2005 and left three of Troy Duhon's car dealerships completely under water, it changed the way he did business.

Determined to prove the skeptics wrong
Author: Nick Bunkley

GM's product chief says the skepticism of GM lifers has helped drive him and CEO Mary Barra as they instilled the focus and discipline that's now helping to produce record profits.

NADA's Welch: Seize the political opportunity
Author: Jamie LaReau

The National Automobile Dealers Association is eager to push a Republican-led government to reduce regulations and keep new-car sales humming.

'Tinkering' gets results at Waymo
Author: Katie Burke

John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo, formerly known as Google's self-driving car project, said the company's vertically integrated self-driving platform was born when Google engineers "began tinkering."

Bill Ford: Mobility can lift margins
Author: Michael Martinez

More than a century after Henry Ford put the world on wheels, his great-grandson Bill Ford is trying to reinvent mobility.

They said it: Quotes heard from the 2017 Automotive News World Congress

A collection of quotes from the 2017 Automotive News World Congress.

Honda's Mendel criticizes ultralong loans
Author: Hans Greimel

American Honda chief John Mendel decries the drift toward ultralong loan periods for car buyers as hurting the overall auto industry and suppressing new-car turnover.

Nissan's Munoz: U.S. gets priority in new global role
Author: Lindsay Chappell

With sales records stacking up for Nissan in the U.S. market, Nissan North America Chairman Jose Munoz wants to keep his eyes on local affairs - even though he now has a critical job to do around the world.

Rosekind calls for more focus on human factors
Author: Krishnan M. Anantharaman

NHTSA's Mark Rosekind cautioned that the march of autonomous-vehicle technology also must be accompanied by serious attention to human factors, including whether people will accept it.

Bentley thinks best bet for its buyers is plug-in hybrid EV
Author: David Undercoffler

It's a scenario scary enough to give any chauffeur the sweats: You're en route to pick up your boss who's headed to a crucial meeting -- or date -- and the all-electric ultraluxury sedan you're driving doesn't have enough juice to get there. Forget range anxiety. That's job anxiety.

Suppliers' pitch: We're one-stop shops
Author: David Sedgwick

The complexity of self-driving vehicles has created a golden opportunity for key suppliers to market themselves as one-stop shops for automakers.

Aisin Seiki reboots for electric age
Author: Hans Greimel

Aisin Seiki Co., the massive Toyota Group supplier of transmissions and powertrain components, is looking long term, and the company doesn't necessarily like what it sees.

Facial-recognition technology comes to the car
Author: David Sedgwick

In a car-sharing economy, how does a vehicle recognize which motorist is in the driver's seat? Judging by Chrysler's Portal electric minivan concept, the answer may be facial recognition.

Number to watch: 604

A settlement pool of $604 million is awaiting final court approval to be distributed to consumers in an auto parts price-fixing class-action lawsuit.

The man who assembled Tesla's supply base
Author: Lindsay Chappell

Peter Carlsson was a Swedish purchasing executive in cellphones and computer chips before taking over procurement and supply chain management for Tesla Motors in 2011.

Suppliers say recruits are demanding more money
Author: Jack Walsworth

Suppliers have their work cut out for them in 2017 when it comes to hiring talent.

Automakers manage to keep stocks under control
Author: Jesse Snyder

U.S. automakers and dealers had a 63-day supply of unsold light vehicles on Jan. 1, up two days from the same time a year before but below the 65-day average for that date over the past 24 years.

Magna puts doors on a diet
Author: Stephanie Hernandez McGavin

While suppliers lined up at the Detroit auto show to showcase their involvement in autonomous-drive and connected-car technologies, Magna International reminded the industry that automakers are still hungry to reduce vehicle weight for improved fuel efficiency.

Creativity shines in golden age of light fixture technology
Author: Lindsay Chappell

The increasing use of flexible LED applications in auto headlights and accent lights has resulted in a golden age of light design across the industry.

Brands push boundaries at the Detroit auto show

Detroit's auto show traditionally sounds the opening bell for the new year. This year, it showed brands stretching into new segments and testing new design cues.

A lighter Traverse with high-end trim levels

After a first generation that has been forced to last nine years, the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse has a more trucklike appearance.

Subaru 'not done yet' with sales surge
Author: Hans Greimel and Jack Walsworth

Subaru is targeting a 9 percent sales surge in 2017 for a ninth straight year of record U.S. results, despite a plateauing overall market.

Linamar CEO urges unity against tariffs
Author: Jack Walsworth

Suppliers from Canada, Mexico and the U.S. need to come together and make a case against import tariffs to the incoming Trump administration sooner rather than later, Linamar Corp. CEO Linda Hasenfratz said.

Uber tech effort aims to ease 'surge pricing'
Author: Richard Truett

Uber drivers needn't worry about the company's heavy push into self-driving vehicles, a top executive says.

A decade of deception

Key events in the ongoing Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal, taken from law enforcement documents

Continental-Nexteer JV targets self-driving cars
Author: David Sedgwick

Now that automakers are preparing to roll out driverless cars in the next three to five years, suppliers are forming alliances to offer a complete product portfolio.

Toyota's line into Trump: Mike Pence
Author: Hans Greimel

Broadsided by this month's Trump tweet targeting Toyota, the Japanese carmaker's president, Akio Toyoda, is wasting no time in appealing to the new administration.

FCA at odds with EPA on emissions
Author: Richard Truett

The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine available in the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 has been operating under a dark cloud since at least last fall.

Automakers, NASCAR surprise Mandel in Autoweek

Longtime Autoweek publisher Dutch Mandel took his own personal checkered flag at the end of 2016. After 32 years at the magazine - owned by Crain Communications, publisher of Automotive News - six seven automakers and NASCAR didn't let Mandel leave Detroit without a proper send-off.

De Nysschen meets his Infiniti baby

Spotted at Infiniti's Detroit auto show stand last week was the brand's former global president Johan de Nysschen. Now president of Cadillac, de Nysschen said he had to come see the QX50 Concept.

Moray Callum's retro ride
Author: Michael Martinez

Moray Callum, Ford chief designer, is cruising around in a 1976 Bronco SUV as he oversees design of the nameplate's 2020 revival.

Sergio: Trump 'should like' a GM-FCA merger

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne says President-elect Donald Trump might support the idea of General Motors merging with his company - an idea Marchionne tried and failed to get GM to consider in 2015.

Toyota's Hollis: Don't count out midsize sedans yet

Midsize cars were among the biggest sales losers last year as customers flocked instead to crossovers and other light trucks. But good old competition may reinvigorate the segment as soon as next year, as when Japan's big three roll out redesigns of their flagship four-doors.

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.

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.).

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.