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BLOG: Larry P. Vellequette
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Two bedrocks of late night TV did something so unseemly last week it looked as though they had responded to an unholy informercial.
Are you an artist looking to sell your soul, but don’t want to stand at the Crossroads waiting for the Devil?
If you are, then we’ve got great news! Detroit wants to make you a counteroffer!
That’s right: Cash-rich auto co ... Continue reading "Auto companies are buying the creative souls of late night TV" » Apr 1, 2014 6:42 pm U.S. ET Post Comment
Jeep set a global sales record in 2013 at 731,565 vehicles. It also had a big number of recalls of its vehicles.But one of last year's Jeep recalls led to an unintended consequence for some owners of 2005-10 Grand Cherokee and 2006-10 Commanders -- a consequence Chrysler now says it intends to fix, at least for most people.Here's what happened.In May, Chrysler Group recall ... Continue reading "Jeep's software fix and the law of unintended consequences" » Feb 21, 2014 12:30 pm U.S. ET Post Comment
Many journalists went into the Detroit auto show with questions about CEO succession at various automakers.Why didn't Ford's Alan Mulally trade Mustang 50.0 for Windows 8.1? Would Mark Reuss or Dan Ammann be team players for new coach Mary Barra at General Motors?Fiat-Chrysler tried to cut off speculation by announcing that CEO Sergio Marchionne would stick around for "at ... Continue reading "Succeed Sergio? You'd have to be a bit crazy" » Jan 20, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET Post Comment
Did Chrysler Group's Ram truck brand just show the face of its next pickup?In a new commercial that appeared during the final regular season NFL games, Ram threw in two images that show a pickup featuring the familiar Ram's head badge and a decidedly different nose. The images -- which appear onscreen for only a few of the spot's 30 seconds -- were first noticed by a comme ... Continue reading "Did new Chrysler spot show hot-selling Ram pickup with a nose job?" » Dec 30, 2013 3:39 pm U.S. ET Post Comment
Most dealers right now are struggling with a fundamental part of their business: how best to deliver sold cars.Specifically, how should dealers educate their paying customers on all the cool technology that a new car, pickup or SUV contains?Should the salesperson do it as part of the overall relationship-building process, even though that will suck away valuable commission ... Continue reading "Why dealers should hire teachers, not tech guys, to deliver cars" » Dec 11, 2013 2:35 pm U.S. ET Post Comment
You know that plethora of new, hilarious Ron Burgundy ads for the 2014 Dodge Durango? The ones that helped propel Durango sales up 59 percent in October?Well, Dodge's new pitchman , comedian Will Ferrell -- in character as the oafish San Diego newscaster Ron Burgundy -- went decidedly off-message during an appearance Wednesday on Conan O'Brien's late night show."It's a ter ... Continue reading "Dodge pitchman Burgundy calls Durango 'terrible car'" » Nov 21, 2013 3:59 pm U.S. ET Post Comment
Smart dealers and sales reps should look hard at the customer satisfaction opportunity as the CD player disappears from vehicles.The CD player's main replacement, the Secure Digital card reader, does a better job than its predecessor in about a quarter of the space.Meanwhile, SD cards themselves -- known to most consumers as the little one-inch plastic things that store th ... Continue reading "SD card players offer good customer service opportunities" » Nov 7, 2013 4:03 pm U.S. ET Post Comment
DETROIT -- I know government moves at its own pace, and sometimes that pace seems agonizingly slow.It has now been more than four months since Chrysler Group reached its settlement with federal safety officials over a request to recall 2.7 million Jeep Grand Cherokees and Jeep Libertys.In that time, none of the estimated 1.56 million 1993-98 Grand Cherokees and 2002-07 Lib ... Continue reading "What's happening with Jeep's trailer hitch recall? Not much" » Oct 25, 2013 3:33 pm U.S. ET Post Comment
It looks like the polyester-clad cult icon who believed diversity "was an old, wooden ship used during the Civil War era" is the newest spokesman for the Dodge Durango.Great Odin's raven!Ron Burgundy -- the bombastic, fantastically ill-informed San Diego newsman created by comedian Will Ferrell in 2004's Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy -- is hawking the Dodge brand's ... Continue reading "Great Odin's raven! Ron Burgundy shills Dodge Durango" » Oct 4, 2013 3:11 pm U.S. ET Post Comment
The breathless hullabaloo over Chrysler Group's long-awaited filing for an initial public stock offering has the automotive world abuzz with revelations of perceived palace intrigue under the Pentastar.Contained in Chrysler's nearly 400-page S-1 filing Monday were details of executive compensation and suggestions of another delay of Alfa Romeo's return to the United States ... Continue reading "Chrysler's IPO filing an expensive distraction" » Sep 24, 2013 5:31 pm U.S. ET Post Comment
Chrysler Group has planned a hurricane for 2016, and like a parched Texas ranch, frankly, it could use the rain.The Hurricane coming three years from now is actually a rework of the company's base 2.0-liter I-4 engine, or, more specifically, the 2.0-liter engine's cylinder head, code-named Hurricane.The new head, according to Chrysler documents, "is an engineering challeng ... Continue reading "Chrysler's Hurricane engine coming in 2016" » Sep 19, 2013 3:12 pm U.S. ET Post Comment
I don't want to say I told you so, but … wait; that's not entirely true.I do want to say I told you so.Back in mid-October, about two weeks after I bought my 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid SEL, I wrote a column explaining that I couldn't come close to its promised 47 city/47 highway/47 combined mpg.I went so far as to meet with the C-Max's chief engineer, asking him what I ...