Automotive News Table of Contents

April 20, 2015



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FCA puts the squeeze on dealer profits

Fiat Chrysler is squeezing U.S. dealerships’ profits by boosting vehicle invoice prices but not the corresponding sticker prices. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

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SAE WORLD CONGRESS: DRIVERLESS CAR DILEMMA

How to interface with a human

If autonomous driving is Megatrend No. 1 in the global industry, the matter of how to handle the human interface may be Conundrum No. 1. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 26, 2015

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GM'S WHIZ KID

In short order, Dan Ammann has soared to GM's top operations jobs

After a surprise career change and startling ascension, Dan Ammann now oversees General Motors' operations around the world. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

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Dealership employees, payrolls top prerecession levels

U.S. dealerships added to their employee count for the fifth year in a row last year, causing the average store's payroll to rise sharply above its pre-recession levels. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

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Small-car production migrates to Mexico

Toyota's plan to build the Corolla at a new plant in Guanajuato is the latest sign that Mexico is becoming a giant in small cars. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

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U.S. at the center of VW's crisis in Germany

The turmoil that nearly cost Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn his job last week is rooted in the company's travails in the U.S., where the VW brand has made precious little progress since Winterkorn took charge eight years ago. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

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Ex-rival revamps Mitsubishi design

In his 40 years at Nissan, designer Tsunehiro Kunimoto had a knack for reinventing the brand's image through design. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

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Google's top visionary to address engineers

Consider it a speech from the future. Ray Kurzweil, Google's director of engineering and renowned inventor, author and futurist, will be the keynote speaker at SAE International's World Congress in Detroit. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

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Chevy to unveil EV in Shanghai

General Motors is debuting a concept electric sedan dubbed the Chevrolet FNR at the Shanghai auto show this week. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

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Fiat exec touts 500X crossover as 'the game changer for us'

The 2016 Fiat 500X is a subcompact crossover that will give the brand an all-wheel drive offering for regions that have inclement weather. The subcompact crossover is expected to arrive in U.S. dealerships next month. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

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Freshened Fusion

The Ford Fusion, due for a freshening next year as a 2017 model, gets a restyled rear end, as shown in this spy photo. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

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Reuss: CT6 underpinnings could support a big Buick

General Motors may base a Buick flagship sedan on the same large, rear-wheel-drive platform used for the new Cadillac CT6, says GM product chief Mark Reuss. But it won't happen right away. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

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VW says it could cut battery costs with single design

Volkswagen's r&d boss says using a single type of lithium ion battery cell for all VW, Porsche, Audi and other group electrified vehicles could lead to a two-third reduction in what the automaker currently spends on the technology. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

VW to build awd vehicles in Puebla

Volkswagen will outfit its Puebla, Mexico, plant to build all-wheel-drive vehicles, according to a company source. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

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Alfa's pitch will be luxury, Italian style

As he prepares the campaign to reintroduce Alfa Romeo to the United States, Fiat Chrysler marketing chief Olivier Francois says he may exploit the notion that shoppers have become tired of lookalike German luxury cars. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

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GM avoids some ignition switch liability

The bankruptcy judge who approved GM's reorganization in 2009 refused to override the liability shield he had granted it but said plaintiffs can keep suing New GM for any mishandling of an ignition-switch defect 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

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RFJ buys Dave Smith Auto

Fast-growing dealership group RFJ Auto Partners is expanding in the Northwest by buying Dave Smith Auto Group, which operates two of the highest-volume stores in the U.S. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 25, 2015

Ally change saves dealers big money

The 4,200 dealerships that finance their vehicle inventory through Ally Financial are seeing savings from Ally's recent shift to peg interest rates to LIBOR rather than a prime-rate benchmark. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

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Judge backs Mitsubishi in franchise lawsuit

Mitsubishi has prevailed in a long-running legal dispute with one of its largest dealers. But, an attorney for the dealer says the fight will continue as a new lawsuit is in the works. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

EDITORIAL

Toyota's Mexico move

Production capacity is shifting rapidly to Mexico. Last week, Toyota was the latest automaker to announce plans to build or expand a plant there. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

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COMMENTARY: DAVE GUILFORD

A GM-FCA hookup? 'Put' it in perspective

Perhaps Sergio Marchionne is banking on a loss of institutional memory at General Motors. That's the only way I can see that he might expect GM to consider buying Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

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KEITH CRAIN

Most mergers come from weakness

Once again, there is talk about consolidation of the global auto industry. The fundamental problem with mergers is that, historically, they almost always have been of two turkeys rather than two eagles. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

EDITORIAL

There's no need to come to blows over 2-tier wages

The Detroit 3 and the UAW are headed for conflict this fall over the controversial two-tier wage system that was put in place in 2007 and helped those companies return to profitability. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

Mini and Rolls leader to speak at congress

BMW board member Peter Schwarzenbauer, who is leading Mini and Rolls-Royce through periods of major change, will speak at the Automotive News Europe Congress on June 10 in Birmingham, England. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

BEST PRACTICES

Rural dealer becomes used-car powerhouse

Small-town Schafer Chevrolet has turned the devastating loss of three new-car franchises into a used-car powerhouse. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

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Where the heck is Apple CarPlay?

Validation testing has delayed the rollout of Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto, showing the challenge of updating cars at smartphone speed. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 26, 2015

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ROGER WOOD, CEO, DANA CORP.

Financially strong Dana on hunt for acquisitions

Seven years after Dana Corp. emerged from bankruptcy, the supplier is looking for acquisitions. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

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DANIEL SANDBERG, CEO, BREMBO NORTH AMERICA

Brembo thrives on growing performance market

Brembo, the Italian brake manufacturer, is on a roll. The company's global 2014 revenue grew 15 percent to nearly $2.20 billion. But Brembo has plenty of challenges. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

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Higher octane fuel could add mpg, SAE panel says

In a world of higher octane gasoline -- in which 95 would replace 87 and become the new regular -- automakers could more easily and affordably meet stringent fuel economy standards as well as reduce carbon dioxide emissions. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 25, 2015

Jaguar adds horsepower to the dashboard

Jaguar Land Rover is not known for cutting-edge dashboard computers, but a lightning-quick navigation system in the redesigned XF sedan may change that. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 26, 2015

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Booming Ford banks on China product blitz

Ford, on a rampage in China, aims improve on its 4. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 25, 2015

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Dealers

Max Jamiesson, left, and Nathen Hughes, center, of Salinas Toyota in Salinas, Calif., receive a 50-year award from Pete Carey, general manager of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.'s San Francisco region. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

Nissan to get lift from M-B pickup

Mercedes-Benz's plan to sell pickups in world markets will help Nissan improve its Latin American market share, Nissan's regional chief says. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

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High-volume battle of the in-car audio brands

On March 26, Bose Corp. said its 34-speaker Panaray system will appear in the 2016 Cadillac CT6 sedan. Five days later, rival Harman International Industries Inc. counterpunched, saying it would pay $154 million to acquire Bang & Olufsen. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

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How a resilient small bolt maker survived the recession and started shipping to global markets

Many small auto suppliers folded during the recent recession. But Shannon Precision Fastener survived and now is thriving. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

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RICHARD TRUETT

Self-driving tech building blocks already in place

Kathy Winter, Delphi's vice president of advanced engineering and software service, declined to predict when autonomous cars would be ready for the market. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

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JAMES VERRIER, CEO, BORGWARNER

Electrification 'friend,' not threat, to BorgWarner

BorgWarner CEO James Verrier, 52, sees electrification of the powertrain as a positive for his company despite the supplier's heavy reliance on parts that electric vehicles don't need. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

Lackluster profits drive FCA's higher invoice prices

The reason behind Fiat Chrysler's wholesale pricing action is simple: profits -- or the lack thereof. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

Obituaries

Frank Audette, a suburban Detroit dealer, died April 10. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

S.C. called a contender for Volvo plant site

Volvo Cars is weighing a site in South Carolina against one in another Southern state as it prepares to invest $500 million in its first U.S. plant, people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

N.A. output up 4.2% in March

North America car and truck production in March rose 5.4 percent from March 2014 volumes, to an estimated 1,628,340 vehicles. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015 | UPDATED: 4/23/15 3:25 pm US ET - corrects figures

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Cadillac's conundrum: Dare to change Escalade?

To say the redesigned Cadillac Escalade is a hit would be an understatement. Cadillac's product planners already are mulling the next iteration of the hulking SUV, says Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen. That's where it gets tricky. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

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Chevy's Man U sponsorship scores from miles away

The crowd mobbing the Chevrolet stand at this month's Seoul Motor Show highlights the oft-overlooked upside of the brand's controversial Manchester United sponsorship. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

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De Niro starts the engines on Ferrari film

Fans of Enzo Ferrari have waited a long time for a biopic of the great man. Now it appears they'll get their wish -- with Robert De Niro in the lead role. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015

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RICHARD JOHNSON

Piech's career battles will be his legacy

Ferdinand Piech started out his career with a pretty serious rivalry -- tangling with cousin Ferdinand "Butzi" Porsche, designer of the 911. Now it appears he'll bow out in more or less the same fashion. At war. It's just his style. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 20, 2015


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