People

Dealers mourn Tonkin, miss his spunk

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 27, 2014
Auto dealers are longing for another outspoken advocate like Ron Tonkin, the Oregon dealer who crusaded against what he considered overbearing factories while president of NADA 25 years ago. Tonkin died Jan. 17 at age 82.... Read More »

 

Nissan's Palmer pursues the right formula

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 27, 2014
To Andy Palmer, a British high school dropout who was anointed Nissan's global No. 3 executive on Nov. 1, it's an immutable mathematical truth: Brand matters. Therefore, his plan to remake the carmaker's middling image will rely heavily on massaging fickle public opinion.... Read More »

 

Ron Tonkin, in his own words

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 27, 2014
Quotes from the fiery dealer leader... Read More »

 

Tonkin's tenure at NADA, and after

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 27, 2014
Here’s a review of Ron Tonkin’s tenure as NADA head, and afterward.... Read More »

 

THE SUPPLIER SPEAKS

Bosch invests heavily in collision avoidance, infotainment

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 27, 2014
Only suppliers with deep pockets have the resources to develop cutting-edge technology such as collision avoidance systems, infotainment systems and EV batteries.... Read More »

 

THE SUPPLIER SPEAKS

Big investments in seat acquisitions are starting to pay off

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 27, 2014
Beda Bolzenius, chief of Johnson Controls Inc. seating operation, explains why JCI made a big bet on seats -- but not interior components or electronics.... Read More »

 

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS

Profits too small for Fiat, SRT

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 20, 2014
Chrysler Group should work to improve the profitability of its Fiat and SRT brands, the new chairman of the Chrysler National Dealer Council says. Chuck Eddy, 55, owner of Bob & Chuck Eddy Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram near Youngstown, Ohio, says that most Chrysler dealers are more profitable than they have ever been.... Read More »

 

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS

Nissan dealers size up new stair-step rules

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 20, 2014
Nissan dealers will find out early this year whether the new ground rules for their factory stair-step sales events are more palatable than in the past. The company spent much of 2013 working out new procedure for the often controversial industry sales practice, which gives retailers incentive to sell beyond their normal forecasts. Members of the Nissan National Dealer Advisory Board worked with automaker executives to come up with a new approach.... Read More »

 

NADA PREVIEW

McConnell steps up at NADA; regulation tops agenda

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 20, 2014
Forrest McConnellForrest McConnell, the 2014 chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association, takes over at a time when NADA is pushing back hard against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which sees a risk of discrimination in dealership-arranged auto lending. NADA is also defending the franchise model from insurgents such as Tesla Motors Inc., which prefers to own its own stores.... Read More »

 

Top powertrain exec leaves Chrysler

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 20, 2014
Chrysler Group has parted ways with the executive responsible for the 2014 Jeep Cherokee's innovative but initially troubled drive system. Mircea Gradu, 50, who had been of head of transmission, powertrain and driveline engineering since 2011, left the company to pursue other interests, Chrysler said last week. Chrysler appointed Bob Lee, 57, to assume Gradu's responsibilities on an interim basis.... Read More »

 

George Youmans, Georgia Chevrolet dealer, dies at 75

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 20, 2014
George Youmans, who owned a Chevrolet dealership in Macon, died on Nov. 26 at age 75.... Read More »

 

Once again, Jackson sees clouds forming

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 20, 2014
There's trouble ahead if carmakers continue to boost vehicle production, Mike Jackson says.... Read More »

 

Mulally plans strong finish, focusing on tech and Lincoln

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 20, 2014
Is 2014 more or less a victory lap for Ford CEO Alan Mulally now that he has taken himself out of the running for the top job at Microsoft?... Read More »

 

2014 AUTOMOTIVE NEWS WORLD CONGRESS

Akerson: Hectic days, proud moments

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 20, 2014
Newly retired General Motors CEO Dan Akerson had been on an informal farewell tour before his departure last week, highlighting the strides GM made under his watch.... Read More »

 

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS

Kia dealer wants marketing shift

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 20, 2014
Kia's dealer council chairman expects sales to rebound in 2014 after the brand last year posted its first annual sales decline since 2008. Don Hobden, executive manager of six Kia dealerships in Kentucky, Alabama and Indiana and chairman of Kia's dealer council, says Kia's marketing budget last year was consumed by a busy launch schedule while rivals spent heavily on incentives and marketing designed to drive showroom traffic.... Read More »

 

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS

Volvo dealers push execs to improve marketing

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 20, 2014
Volvo dealers were unhappy with the Swedish brand's slump in 2013 sales and are urging executives to improve and refocus marketing, said the chairman of the Volvo Retail Advisory Board. "We were frustrated with the sales results of 2013," said Chip Gengras, president of Gengras Motor Cars and owner of two Connecticut stores, Gengras Volvo in East Hartford and Gengras Volvo of Meriden in Meriden.... Read More »

 

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS

70% of M-B dealers to get service bonus

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 20, 2014
Last year Mercedes-Benz dangled a big carrot: more money payable in early 2014 if dealers upped their customer service. Most have responded because the top performing 70 percent will get a bonus payment, said Joseph Agresta Jr., president of Benzel-Busch Motor Car Corp. in Englewood, N.J., and chairman of the Mercedes-Benz Dealer Board.... Read More »

 

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS

Higher allocation is top priority for Land Rover

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 20, 2014
Land Rover's U.S. dealers want more vehicles to sell. Getting increased allocation of Land Rover production is the top priority for the brand's dealers this year, said Michael Levitan, chairman of the Jaguar Land Rover Retailer Cabinet. The cabinet was formed in 2013 by merging the Jaguar and Land Rover dealer councils.... Read More »

 

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS

Honda dealers await answer on halo sports car

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 20, 2014
Honda has been without a true sports car since the S2000 convertible was canceled in 2009. Dealers would like to change that. Erik Nelson, a suburban Seattle Honda dealer and chairman of Honda's national dealer council, says the council has asked Honda to consider a halo sports car for the brand.... Read More »

 

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS

VW dealers are skeptical of lighthearted marketing

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 20, 2014
Volkswagen dealers are asking top U.S. executives to tweak their marketing strategy, saying that the brand's lighthearted marketing has gotten customers' attention, but that it could do a better job of moving metal. A shift to more "tactical" marketing could compensate for an aging lineup and soften the VW brand's recent sales slump, says Jimmy Ellis, a VW dealer with three stores in the Atlanta area and chairman of the Volkswagen National Dealer Advisory Council.... Read More »

 

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS

Lease turn-ins will be major test for Buick

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 20, 2014
Buick this spring expects to begin reeling in customers whose leases are expiring from a 24-month promotion it rolled out in spring 2012. The 24-month Experience Buick program helped General Motors' near-premium brand gain market share last year. Buick's leasing in 2013 increased to account for more than one-third of its sales, which grew 14 percent, to 205,509.... Read More »

 

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS

Subaru financial aid will help dealers expand service capacity

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 20, 2014
Subaru of America Inc. will pay U.S. dealerships to expand their service capacity during the next three years. A new program dubbed FOX, for Fixed Operations Expansion, runs through at least 2016 and includes financial assistance for dealerships that take on the projects. "Some need immediate help, and some are planning to need help, and some will decide to do it," said Phil Porter, chairman of the Subaru National Dealer Advisory Board.... Read More »

 

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS

Audi must expand to meet growing sales, service needs

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 20, 2014
Audi dealers have invested heavily in their stores to handle the luxury brand's rapid U.S. growth -- and they're not done yet, says the chairman of Audi's dealer council. Carl Sewell, an Audi dealer from Houston, is well-known in the industry for his book Customers for Life, a guide to customer service. One of his main points of emphasis on Audi's council has been the need to prepare for a growing number of vehicles in service.... Read More »

 

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS

Mazda dealer leader happy with progress

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 20, 2014
After years of underperforming the industry, Mazda is starting to fire on all cylinders, the head of the brand's dealer council says. The redesigned Mazda3 compact car and redesigned Mazda6 mid-sized sedan that went on sale last year helped Mazda boost retail sales by 16 percent in 2013 to 262,970 units, its best retail sales year since 1994. Tom Carey, chairman of the brand's dealer council, attributes the gains to Mazda's new vehicles and a consistent marketing presence.... Read More »

 

DEALER COUNCIL LEADERS

Chevy sees gains from new models, fleets

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 20, 2014
The chairman of Chevrolet's National Dealer Council believes the brand is poised to take market share this year on the strength of its rejuvenated product lineup and an uptick in fleet and commercial sales. Steve Hurley, dealer principal at Stingray Chevrolet in Plant City, Fla., says Chevy's sales in 2013 -- up 5 percent in a market that was up 8 percent -- were disappointing.... Read More »

 

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