Automotive News Table of Contents

May 30, 2016

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FCA's 'sales carnivore' adds more to his plate
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Reid Bigland's added assignment running FCA's struggling Italian luxury brands, Maserati and Alfa Romeo, is about more than bolstering brands and boosting sales. Insiders say the move is very much an examination to see whether the 49-year-old Canadian has the chops to succeed Sergio Marchionne.

Recall battle shifts to states
Author: Amy Wilson

State dealer associations are going to their legislatures seeking -- and getting -- new protections they say dealers need to cope with the burden of unrepaired vehicles on their lots, especially as the Takata airbag recalls expand. Maryland and Virginia have already moved forward.

Toyota's Texas headquarters begins to rise
Author: Laurence Iliff

Toyota's Plano, Texas, plot is beginning to look like a world-class corporate campus as it emerges from the dusty construction site just north of Dallas in anticipation of a migration of employees from the old headquarters in Southern California and from offices in Kentucky and New York.

Are Japan’s automakers too U.S.-dependent?
Author: Hans Greimel

Japan's automakers are beginning to position themselves for a slowdown in their cash-cow market - the United States.

FCA's sales streak rides on minivans
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

If Fiat Chrysler ekes out its 74th consecutive year-over-year sales increase in May, as expected, it will likely do so with a big assist from a segment often dismissed as a has-been -- minivans.

More carmakers race into ride-sharing
Author: Hannah Lutz

Automakers are staking their claims in the ride-sharing world -- and fast. Last week, Toyota invested in ride-share giant Uber, Volkswagen Group in Gett, a ride-hailing company popular in Europe, and BMW in the company behind a carpooling app. General Motors invested in Uber rival Lyft in January.

Can Volvo play small ball?
Author: Diana T. Kurylko

Volvo's first entry into the compact crossover segment, the XC40 arriving late next year, is meant to capitalize on the market's seeming unquenchable thirst for these vehicles. It will be a key element in the China-owned Swedish brand's push to expand U.S. sales.

Nissan sees ads transcending borders
Author: Lindsay Chappell

Nissan will launch a new U.S. advertising campaign this week, but other significant marketing changes are coming.

VW’s e-Golf to close the gap with i3
Author: Christiaan Hetzner

Volkswagen says it will substantially expand the range of its e-Golf when a face-lifted version of the battery electric hatchback goes into production in December.

Bentley close to compact decision
Author: Jens Meiners

Bentley is working on a compact model line previewed by last year's EXP 10 Speed 6 concept.

High-performance Nissan Sentra to get sporty looks, more power
Author: Jack Walsworth

Nissan's compact Sentra sedan looks ready to get the Nismo treatment. Recent spy photos show a Sentra with a sporty body kit, spoiler and a more aggressive front end.

Next-gen Dodge Charger could cut weight, offer twin-turbo I-4
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

The next generation Dodge Charger is expected to shed nearly 500 pounds from its base curb weight, and could come with a 300-hp, twin-turbo inline-four engine in development for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler, according to sources.

Single-cab, full-size Titan breaks cover

Nissan has made clear that it intends to modify the redesigned Titan pickup for several market niches over the coming year.

How Bill Ford lured Flex-N-Gate to Detroit
Author: John Irwin

Flex-N-Gate, owned by low-profile magnate Shahid Khan, will build a new plant in Detroit, a move Bill Ford advocated for.

Toyota, Nissan seek battery breakthroughs
Author: Hans Greimel

Toyota and Nissan are working on advanced battery technologies they hope will give new-generation electrified vehicles greater driving range.

Essentially, store investor was a dealer, judge says
Author: Eric Freedman

When does a prospective dealer meet the legal definition of “dealer” and thus become entitled to protection from manufacturers under federal and Arizona law? There's no precise formula to answer that question, a federal judge in Phoenix said.

Recruiting college grads to the dealership
Author: Mike Colias

Ray Skillman Auto Group revamped its recruiting process to target college graduates with retail experience, part of its switch to a product-specialist model to replace traditional sales staffers.

Auto industry must earn trust for its own sake

The auto industry faces skepticism and distrust from regulators and the public on safety, fuel economy and emissions standards. It must work to reverse this alarming trend.

VW has lost a lot more than money
Author: Jesse Snyder

It's hard to measure exactly how much Volkswagen's enormous diesel emissions cheating will cost the company. Volkswagen has put the 2015 financial toll at about $18 billion. The real damage to VW is just starting.

Who wants an autonomous vehicle?
Author: Keith Crain

Has anyone stopped to ask: Who wants a driverless vehicle? It would be sad if the industry were chasing a technology that no one wanted or was willing to pay for.


James Sinclair, John Willett and Mike Detwiler celebrated 50 years with Ford at Dave Sinclair Ford in St. Louis. Pictured, from left, are Kevin Klossner, Ford Motor Co.'

Signs of a buy-sell slowdown
Author: Jamie LaReau

Dealership buy-sell activity could plateau this year after several years of big growth. And buyers' lust for luxury brands is cooling somewhat, experts say.

App helps dealers make fast bids for consumers' vehicles
Author: Arlena Sawyers and Pearl Technology have partnered to help dealers buy consumer-owned used vehicles. But dealers have to be quick to win the deal.

CarGurus validates used-car prices on dealership sites
Author: Arlena Sawyers

CarGurus has become the latest third-party shopping site to allow dealers to place its rating of used-vehicle prices - such as “good deal” or “great deal” - directly on a dealership website's inventory pages.

Q auto’s smaller stores yield bigger results
Author: Arlena Sawyers

Asbury will add two smaller stand-alone used-vehicle stores in the Tampa area this summer, bringing its total there to four, after having closed its only large-format store in Jacksonville, Fla., in February. The larger store couldn't generate enough volume to break even, said CEO Craig Monaghan.

Rembrandts help refine the art of the sale
Author: Bradford Wernle

Robert Hoehn is a 21st century American car dealer who became obsessed with collecting prints made by a 17th century Dutch master who conjured dark, magical images using copper plates, acid, an etching tool and a press.

Toyota patent activity soaring
Author: David Sedgwick

EV-related technologies have triggered a boom in automotive patents, and they are streaming out of Toyota. And the gap between the number of new Toyota patents and those at the industry's second-place company, Robert Bosch, is enormous.

Here come the hydrogen stations
Author: David Undercoffler

Hydrogen fuel cell cars are beginning to trickle onto California's roads. And thanks to a push from regulators, automakers and startup FirstElement, more filling stations are arriving, too.

VW goal: 1 million electrified vehicles by 2025
Author: Christiaan Hetzner

Volkswagen Group expects it will have to sell about 1 million battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles a year worldwide by 2025 to fulfill increasingly strict carbon dioxide emission limits in major markets.

VW weighs second EV platform
Author: Christiaan Hetzner

Volkswagen is examining whether its modular architecture for electric cars under development, dubbed MEB, is flexible enough for a top-of-the-line Phaeton, or whether a second groupwide platform is needed.

2016 Mazda CX-9

After years of talking about moving into a semipremium space, Mazda has finally done it with the 2016 CX-9 crossover. The three-row family hauler is the best example yet of Mazda's quest for a more discerning customer and higher profits.

Mazda ventures back into premium tier
Author: David Undercoffler

For more than a decade, Mazda has talked about occupying a quasi-premium space in the U.S. The redesigned CX-9 is a step in that direction.

Race cars are laps ahead on connectivity
Author: Richard Truett

Although some might think the fuss about connected cars is a relatively recent phenomenon, it's not. Race cars -- including those at today's Indianapolis 500 -- have been transmitting fuel and performance data to pit crews for decades.

Challenger outmuscled in crash tests
Author: Richard Truett

The Dodge Challenger may be the fastest and most powerful American muscle car, but in crash tests, the coupe, which is in its ninth year, isn't keeping pace with its rivals, the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro.

Ford to hire adults with autism in pilot program
Author: Dustin Walsh

Ford Motor Co. is launching a pilot program this week to hire adults with autism.

U.S. Buick Verano output to wind down in October
Author: Mike Colias

The Buick Verano will stay in production for an abbreviated 2017 model year before being phased out this fall.

Inside Toyota's new digs
Author: Laurence Iliff and Shiraz Ahmed

Check out photos of Toyota's new North American HQ and temporary offices.

Range of Ford Fusion Energi plug-in gets boosted to 610 miles
Author: Richard Truett

Minor tweaks yield big results as Fusion Energi range increases to 610 miles on a single tank of fuel

BMW concept pays Hommage to the 2002 coupe

BMW has come up with a design study to mark the 50th anniversary of the launch of the 2002 coupe, one of the most significant models in its history.

F-Pace's tag line has some miles on it

Jaguar's F-Pace is busting into a new market segment for the British automaker, performance utilities. But the slogan being rolled out along with the F-Pace is certified used.

Ford puts the focus on supplier engineer for RS success

It's rare for suppliers to be publicly outed, but Ford is so impressed with GKN's active torque vectoring system on the Focus RS rear axle that it handed GKN's engineer on the project an award usually only given internally.

Mercedes puts up fight in China

China is starting to look like a barroom brawl for the German luxury brands. And Mercedes is landing some punches.

Will Google's idea stick?

Google has been granted a patent for an adhesive coating on the car hood, so that any pedestrian who gets hit by accident would stick to the vehicle until the motorist stops.

You thought cars were big polluters?

Volkswagen's diesel emissions scandal may be bad, but the pollution from diesel automobiles is a breath of fresh mountain air compared with what spews out of the smokestacks of some huge cruise ships.