Automotive News Table of Contents

November 12, 2018

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Alert to dealers: Plan for your future, or plan to cash out
Author: Melissa Burden

Presidio Group, a dealership buy-sell advisory firm, recommends that its clients create a conversion plan to serve the future industry or opt to sell their dealerships ahead of predicted dealership disruption from autonomous vehicles.

Amid EV hype, the internal combustion engine keeps improving
Author: Richard Truett

This may be the dawn of the electric vehicle era, but 2018 has been a phenomenal year for the humble internal combustion engine.

Scams and schemes create enforcement morass at ports
Author: Eric Kulisch

The challenge for law enforcement is separating legitimate shipments from illegal ones in the murky area between criminal fraud and breach of private contracts.

Lawnmower sharing? GM's Maven eager to diversify
Author: Michael Wayland

Maven's current "car sharing marketplace" is the first product in a potential line of shared products for the emerging consumer platform.

Postelection forecast: Cloudy with a chance of tariffs
Author: Eric Kulisch

Auto industry stakeholders looking forward to some postelection progress on legislation and an end to the Trump administration's tariff volleys should probably expect the opposite.

Revived credit business helps GM finance its future
Author: Michael Wayland and Hannah Lutz

GM Financial is expected to serve as a fount of profits for General Motors to fund investments in emerging technologies.

For Carvana, wider losses, but higher hopes
Author: David Muller

Carvana Co.'s aggressive growth shows no sign of slowing: The online used-car retailer continues to charge into new markets on the strength of investor backing and improving vehicle sales and gross profit. Net profit, however, remains elusive.

Lentz wields the ax as Toyota aims to cut costs
Author: Hans Greimel

Toyota's North America CEO Jim Lentz is looking to chop unpopular nameplates from the U.S. lineup as bosses in Japan order him to restore sagging profitability to record levels.

Next Mazda3 takes mild hybrid approach
Author: Hans Greimel

Mazda pulls the curtains on its next-generation Mazda3 small car at this month's Los Angeles Auto Show, kicking off a new era of performance-oriented vehicle platforms and Skyactiv-X drivetrains.

Subaru quality problems extend to U.S.
Author: Hans Greimel and Naoto Okamura

Subaru has been dogged by rising quality problems in Japan. The lapses are now bleeding into the all-important U.S., and global President Tomomi Nakamura isn't happy.

Hella's PACE Award-winning LED Matrix Beam
Author: James B. Treece

Hella's PACE Award-winning LED Matrix Beam headlights could turn 25 LEDs on and off to shift high beams away from oncoming vehicles.

Jeep teaser leaks pickup debut

We know Jeep is building a Wrangler-inspired pickup -- it's just a matter of what it'll be named, what it will look like and when it will show up. Well, the folks at JeepScrambler Forum answered one of those questions -- the when.

Auction industry boosts effort to recruit technicians
Author: David Muller

The National Auto Auction Association is spending $125,000 on two initiatives to help members find and hire more technicians.

New chief brings tech chops to CDK
Author: Jackie Charniga

New CDK Global CEO Brian Krzanich has no experience in the auto industry, but he might just have the tech skills the company needs.

Volvo's subscription service copes with its success
Author: Pete Bigelow

Volvo's early success with its car subscription plan has put the company in an enviable position as automakers tinker with business models that don't revolve around traditional car ownership. But it has led to unforeseen challenges, namely a backlog of orders and tension with dealers.

How Hyundai homed in on buyers for 2018 Sonata
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

For a video campaign to promote the 2018 Sonata, Hyundai couldn't go in with a goal of reaching broad groups like millennials. It had to go hunting specifically for in-market sedan buyers, a pool that becomes shallower by the year.

Make cost cuts for the right reasons

While cost controls might telegraph prudence — especially to investors — they also carry great risk, depending on the timing and scope.

Retailer prioritizes female service providers
Author: Danielle Szatkowski

At Carter Myers Automotive, 18 of 40 service advisers — 45 percent — are women. That puts the retailer well beyond its peers, and the dealership group is reaping benefits in parts-and-service sales and customer outreach.

Don't talk the market into a recession
Author: Keith Crain

The economy may be delicate, but there's no reason strong automotive sales won't continue for the next few years.

Drop subsidies and just sell EVs

It may be time for government subsidies to end for producers of electric vehicles.

Hydrogen highway will need big spending

Fuel cells must play catch-up to battery-electrics and both need to address fuel availability concerns before they will complete with gasoline.

In autonomous age, remanufacturing is key

Automakers should stick to what they do well in this autonomous age, but design their cars to be remanufactured several times over.

Disrupters must trust the 'nonconsumer'
Author: Chandrasekar Iyer

The primary target for companies looking to establish a disruptive foothold in a market should be people who aren't yet customers of a product or service.

Comfort zone for customers
Author: Nancy Dunham

Finance directors have different ways of approaching customer interviews. Relying on the sales team works for some, while others want more independence.

More changes for Chase Auto
Author: Hannah Lutz

Chase Auto has handed responsibility for direct lending to its chief marketing officer, part of an effort to unify its customer-facing business and present services beyond traditional auto lending.

Aluminum supplier responds to growing demand
Author: Urvaksh Karkaria

As Novelis looks deeper into aluminum opportunities in automotive, it expands its research footprint.


In remote northern Nevada, an automotive supply chain hot spot emerges.

Rivian buys into beauty of brown

Rivian weighed the choices of greenfield, contract manufacturing or a brownfield site. In the end, Mitsubishi's trained work force made the decision easy.

Toledo: If you build it, they will come
Author: Stephanie Hernandez McGavin

Toledo's port authority is using spec building to stimulate the city's historic automotive manufacturing presence.

Data helps solve pre-owned sales puzzle
Author: David Muller

Margin compression in the used-vehicle market has made knowing the intricacies of data more important than ever for dealers.

Used-vehicle sales drive dealership
Author: Hannah Lutz

As new-vehicle sales slow and margins continue to tighten, the used-car department may be the center of the dealership's "wheel of fortune."

Used-to-new ratio worth watching
Author: Ken Wysocky

Morrie's Automotive Group dealerships sell significantly more used cars than new cars by mining for critical data and going outside the norm in their approach to selling used vehicles.

Dealerships increase focus on used-car sales

A survey found a majority of dealers are putting more focus on their used-car departments.

Used-car managers need data skills
Author: David Muller

Data is increasingly king in used-car sales, but there is still a place for auction-hardened experience, dealers say.

Suppliers fret as security probe lingers
Author: Jack Walsworth

The up-in-the-air status of a U.S. Department of Commerce 232 national security investigation remains a thorn in the side of suppliers, as they brace for potential price pressures throughout the supply chain.

VW'S HERBERT DIESS: Big changes ahead, 'big potential' in U.S.
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Herbert Diess has been CEO of Volkswagen Group only since April, yet the 60-year-old former BMW executive now heading one of the world's largest automakers has a clear vision of where he wants to lead his company.

HYUNDAI'S WONHEE LEE: Playing crossover catchup, with an eye on pickup
Author: Hans Greimel

Wonhee Lee is pushing Hyundai Motor Co. to introduce a full lineup of crossovers, roll out more electrified vehicles with next-generation batteries, and possibly even offer a pickup.

KIA'S HAN-WOO-PARK: Design, quality in focus to push Kia to next level
Author: Hans Greimel

Han-woo Park says Kia is graduating from its position as a fast follower to being a global leader in such areas as design and quality. The Kia CEO also wants to build up the brand's light-truck lineup.

Former NFL players' stores lose franchises
Author: Melissa Burden

A once-prospering dealership group has lost franchises at two of its dealerships in Pennsylvania, while two Michigan dealerships have closed.

Inventories make sharp jump in October
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

U.S. new-vehicle inventories rose sharply last month, reaching the highest level for the start of November since 2014.

Subaru plant evolves from uncertain to robust
Author: Jack Walsworth

Tom Easterday, Subaru of Indiana Automotive's executive vice president, has worked at Subaru Corp.'s lone manufacturing plant outside of Japan from its beginning, but after a nearly 30-year career, he'll retire on Dec. 31.

Dealer anniversaries

Dealers featured this week include Gary Jaffarian, CEO of Jaffarian Volvo in Haverhill, Mass.; John Youngblood, dealer principal of Youngblood Nissan in Springfield, Mo.; Frank DeLuca, dealer principal of DeLuca Toyota in Ocala, Fla.

Diess: VW can help make EVs mainstream
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

If electric vehicles fail to catch on globally over the next several years, it won't be because Volkswagen didn't try, CEO Herbert Diess says.

VW has put most of its scandal in past, CEO says
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

CEO Herbert Diess says that, thanks in part to a global strategy shift to electric vehicles and efforts to clean up its own house after spending more than $30 billion to make things right, VW has put "most" of the diesel scandal in the past.

House panel could shift auto finance stance
Author: Jackie Charniga

As Democrats gain control of the House, a new chairman of the House Financial Services Committee with views radically different from her predecessor could shift the panel's stance on automotive finance regulation.

A VW-FCA merger? What did you say?

VW CEO Herbert Diess, in a recent interview with Automotive News, said the company was "not very agressive in listening" to the aggressive advances of FCA, which was interested in a possible consolidation.

Congressional race another tough job for Boerio

Former Jaguar chief Bibiana Boerio knew the Pennsylvania congressional seat would be a tough job. It was. She lost 58 percent to 42 percent to Republican Guy Reschenthaler.

GM's bike business is old hat, er, helmet

General Motors' announcement that it plans to market a line of electric bikes marks a return to an industry where the company was once a major player.

Impossible to ignore Evelyn

Evelyn Y. Davis, the self-proclaimed "Queen of the Corporate Jungle," gave new meaning to the word "gadfly." She died Nov. 4 at age 89.

For California dealer, a court victory and a lesson learned
Author: Eric Freedman

The case -- involving a fictitious shell company, falsified documents and a rogue sales manager -- serves as a cautionary tale for dealerships on the need to monitor their employees and fully run down suspicions about potentially problematic transactions.

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