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BLOG: Larry P. Vellequette
Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, April 19
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Maybe it’s the five-year bankruptcy anniversary, or the juxtaposition of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles laying out its five-year business plan as General Motors struggles to contain a ballooning recall crisis.
Either way, time and careful observation have now clarified for me a theory that I’ve noodled over since that dark spring in 2009.
You see, there is a funda ... Continue reading "Why the bankruptcy legacy seems different at Chrysler and GM" » May 22, 2014 3:02 pm U.S. ET Post Comment
To borrow a line from The Blues Brothers movie a few decades ago, Chrysler Group is “getting the band back together” on Tuesday to reveal its next five-year business plan.
So I wonder: Is it too late to put in a request?
If it’s not, if there’s still time, then what I’d really like to hear next week is that CEO Sergio Marchionne and company ... Continue reading "Can I request a Jeep Gladiator in the plan? " » May 2, 2014 2:06 pm U.S. ET Post Comment
As a young man, Emery Ward Jr. fell in love in 1936 -- with a Ford.
He never got over the attraction. In fact, the older he got, the more it intensified.
After Ward died in 2007, the objects of his affection -- a collection of nearly two dozen 1936 Fords of every shape and stripe -- remained locked away in a barn in Sandusky, Ohio, near the shores of Lake Erie. Until now ... Continue reading "Ohio man's collection of '36 Fords going to auction" » Apr 19, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET Post Comment
Journalists chasing a meaty story can act like a pack of wild dogs sometimes.
They tear into the living flesh of their subject and rip it away, scurrying off to some more private place to process their information meal in peace.
For the most part, this process is figurative. No one’s flesh is ripped away.
But this week in New York -- and earlier this year at the D ... Continue reading "CEO media scrums are as ineffective as they are dangerous" » Apr 18, 2014 9:22 am U.S. ET Post Comment
If you show up decades late for your own surprise party, are guests still expected to cheer your arrival?
Maybe not for most. But it might be a different story if your name is Alfa Romeo.
This week, the Alfa Romeo 4C will appear at the New York auto show, marking the sporty two-seater’s North American debut.
There won’t be a formal news conference -- the 4C ... Continue reading "Waiting for Alfa. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting." » Apr 15, 2014 10:46 am U.S. ET Post Comment
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 ...