Automotive News Table of Contents

May 23, 2016

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COMMENTARY: JASON STEIN
Bo Andersson, out of the shadows
Author: Jason Stein

In a tucked-away corner of an empty restaurant, the familiar face emerges from the shadows, slipping into the room like a character from a John le Carré Russian spy novel. It's Bo Andersson. Yes, that Bo Andersson.

Zuchowski to dealers: Get with the times
Author: David Undercoffler

Hyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski is sounding a call to his dealers that their way of doing business must change - fast.

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.

GM's Batey puts faith in numbers
Author: Mike Colias

Chat with General Motors' Alan Batey, and you'd hardly suspect that GM has given up more market share this year than any major automaker. That's because the North America chief sees plenty of other numbers he likes.

Nissan's Gonzalez sees upside in Mexico
Author: Laurence Iliff

Mayra Gonzalez, Nissan Mexicana's next president, sees Mexico as much more than an export platform. It's an aspirational market where students are increasingly in a position to buy their first car and young families to step up to their first SUV.

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.

FCA: Big-car output will stay in-house
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Even as Fiat Chrysler plans to outsource compact and midsize sedans to another manufacturer, CEO Sergio Marchionne says he is “totally” committed to engineering and building the company's large cars in-house.

GM plans stop-start fleetwide by 2020
Author: Richard Truett

General Motors is going all in on stop-start. By 2020, nearly every GM light vehicle produced globally will have at least one powertrain combination available with the fuel-saving feature, which turns off the engine when the vehicle isn't moving.

Alfa expects to unveil crossover by end of year
Author: Nick Gibbs

Alfa Romeo likely will reveal its new crossover by year end, brand chief Harald Wester said.

Concepts preview new Volvo compacts
Author: Douglas A. Bolduc

Volvo previewed its new compact-vehicle range by unveiling concepts for an XC40 crossover and a vehicle that hints at the next V40 hatchback.

Next Audi A8 takes cues from Prologue concepts
Author: Ryan Beene

A prototype of Audi's next-generation A8 flagship spotted by spy photographer in Europe shows how design elements from the brand's Prologue series of concept cars will be adopted for production vehicles.

NADA seeks allies to oppose FTC survey
Author: James B. Treece

The National Automobile Dealers Association is lining up allies for a fight with the Federal Trade Commission over a proposed survey of consumers regarding their experiences trading in, buying and financing vehicles at dealerships.

JUST ARRIVED
2017 Mercedes-Benz C-class coupe

More than a year and a half after Mercedes-Benz redesigned its C-class sedan, the C-class coupe gets its turn. On the outside, Mercedes gave the vehicle a sportier pure coupe shape. It is longer, wider and lighter with a bigger interior and more passenger room.

M-B: New variants to lift sales of C-class coupe
Author: Amy Wilson

Mercedes-Benz expects the mix of coupes in the C-class family to potentially increase to 20 percent with the introduction of the redesigned 2017 model. The new coupe lineup includes all-wheel drive in the base model for the first time and a new midrange AMG model.

COMMENTARY: KEITH CRAIN
Indy 500: Celebrate the automobile
Author: Keith Crain

The 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Memorial Day weekend is a great time to celebrate the automobile and the spirit of innovation marking the race and the industry.

EDITORIAL
There may be a way to zero deaths But is there a will?

The auto industry is on the cusp of a startling prospect: What if nobody died in traffic accidents? It's a huge leap from the stance acceptance that road fatalities are regrettable but inevitable to an attitude closer to the commercial aviation standard: Any death is extraordinary and requires...

Google positions updated Android as a standard for cars
Author: Gabe Nelson

Google introduced an updated version of the Android operating system that it promises will work easily with key in-car features such as climate control, radio and digital instrument clusters.

TALK FROM THE TOP with Alan Batey: GM isn't sweating share losses

GM's sliding market share doesn't faze Alan Batey, who says the company is finally focused on profitable growth and brand building, rather than chasing volume through daily rental sales or overproduction.

Dealers

Members of the Crouse family at Crouse Ford Sales in Taneytown, Md., received a 75-year award from Ford Motor Co. Pictured, from left, are Tom Crouse, Ken Crouse, Mike Crouse and David Crouse.

TALK FROM THE TOP
TALK FROM THE TOP with Joe Hinrichs: Restructuring paved way for Ford's renaissance

For all of the work Ford has done turning around Europe and growing in China, North America has generated 93 percent of the company's profits since 2011. It generated record earnings of $3.1 billion in the first quarter. Overseeing that profit machine is Joe Hinrichs.

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.

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.

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.

TALK FROM THE TOP with Dave Zuchowski: Hyundai well-positioned for new era
Author: David Undercoffler

Dave Zuchowski has a full plate of changes and challenges to deal with as CEO of Hyundai Motor America. But he's also taking stock of the immense changes that millennials, ride-sharing and autonomous vehicles will present to the industry at large.

JUST ARRIVED
2017 GMC Acadia

GMC is ceding people-hauling duties to its two Yukon SUVs as it shrinks the Acadia for the 2017 model year, the crossover's first redesign since its 2006 debut.

Buyers wanted smaller Acadia
Author: Mike Colias

GMC took cues from its customers by downsizing the redesigned Acadia for easier parking and better fuel efficiency.

Penske rolls out online shopping across U.S.
Author: Jamie LaReau

Penske Automotive Group's Preferred Purchase online shopping tool will be available on all 115 of its U.S. dealerships' websites by month end.

BEST PRACTICES
Contests boost benefits of just showing up
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Victorville Motors, a Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram dealership in Southern California, created a car-giveaway contest to encourage perfect attendance among students at local high schools. It not only has motivated kids to stay in class and get an education but also has enriched the schools.

Can PSA be most efficient carmaker?
Author: Luca Ciferri

Under PSA Group's Push to Pass plan, the automaker aims "to become the world's most efficient carmaker," CEO Carlos Tavares says.

Ghosn warns small makers: Beware a U.S. downturn
Author: Hans Greimel

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn says the robust U.S. market is covering over the vulnerabilities of small automakers.

Mobileye will supply 2 fully autonomous vehicles by 2021
Author: John Irwin

Mobileye reveals programs to supply two automakers with fully autonomous drive systems as soon as 2019.

Honda rethinks Henry Ford's assembly line
Author: Hans Greimel

Honda's new vehicle-assembly approach breaks with ideas that go back to Henry Ford. Instead of standing still as cars pass down the factory line, Honda associates in its newest plant work in teams that ride down the assembly line with the car.

Q&A: MCLAREN AUTOMOTIVE CEO MIKE FLEWITT
McLaren charts big investment for big growth
Author: Nick Gibbs

McLaren Automotive has achieved in seven years what few British luxury brands have managed over far longer periods: consistent profitability. CEO Mike Flewitt talks about the challenges ahead.

Connectivity for mom-and-pop fleets
Author: Mike Colias

General Motors wants to attract mom-and-pop operators with what it bills as the first integrated, hardware-free tool for small businesses to manage their fleets.

Feds flash their badges on auto data
Author: Gabe Nelson

On Feb. 12, some of the auto industry's leading cybersecurity experts gathered at a sprawling FBI complex to meet with an elite digital SWAT team called the Operational Technology Division. It wasn't until a few days later that the significance of the meeting began to sink in.

Eagles work in concert for Fiat ad shoot
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

To grab dramatic footage aerial footage of the Fiat 124 roadster, ad agency FCB Chicago used a trio of eagles with small Sony Action Cams attached to them, and tried to steer clear of crows.

Supercharging a Facebook marketing drive
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

Quirky outreach can be fun and memorable for consumers, but Jack Ingram Nissan's aim went beyond entertainment.

Campaign for zero fatalities started in safety-conscious Sweden
Author: Dave Guilford

The notion that traffic fatalities can be eliminated is a Swedish import. The initiative, known as Vision Zero, was written into Sweden's road safety law in 1997.

INDIANAPOLIS 500 PACEMAKERS
Driving Indy's pace car is an honor and a huge responsibility
Author: Bradford Wernle

In those heart-thumping first trips around the track -- and later when caution flags are out -- the pace car is in command of the Indy 500. It's a terrific responsibility and an honor for the driver and for the make and model of car.

As it turns out, in-store is on par with online

Consultants have warned dealerships that customers' in-store experience has to match the online one and that too often, they don't. A new survey shows that, in fact, they do.

Garage Italia's custom BMW puts on a light show

Garage Italia Customs has transformed the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid into the i8 Futurism Edition to celebrate BMW Italia's 50th anniversary. The inspiration for the wrap used on the i8 came from the oil painting, “Street Light,” by artist Giacomo Balla.

Hyundai design team hosts a Bentley reunion

Last year, Hyundai poached Bentley's chief designer, Luc Donckerwolke, and it has now brought in Bentley's exterior designer, Korean Sangyup Lee.

The pace car? What else but a Chevrolet

It has been a long time since anything other than a Chevrolet or General Motors vehicle was the official pace car of the Indy 500 - 1996 to be exact.

COMMENTARY: RICHARD JOHNSON
There's no beating Indy 500 in the '60s
Author: Richard Johnson

The most exciting era in the history of the Indianapolis 500 was the mid-1960s, when the Brickyard was shifting from front-engine, Offenhauser-powered roadsters to low-slung, rear-engine racers.

GM's Batey on respect for Tesla, fleet pullback, benefits of the Bolt

GM North America President Alan Batey says the company is driving long-term profitable growth by cutting fleet sales, keeping inventories tight and building its brands.

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