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Automotive News Table of Contents

December 10, 2018

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GM's fast-rising CFO takes on high-speed strategy
Author: Michael Wayland

Dhivya Suryadevara has quickly risen through the ranks of GM since starting as a senior financial analyst in 2005. But her new tasks — a multibillion-dollar restructuring, overseeing business development and driving shareholder value — will pose some of the toughest challenges yet.

Sergio's influence lingers for Manley
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Mike Manley clearly learned many lessons from his predecessor -- and even some the late Sergio Marchionne never intended to teach.

VW-Ford talks are gaining steam
Author: Michael Martinez

As Ford has tried to downplay its ongoing talks with Volkswagen Group, VW CEO Herbert Diess, who last week said VW is eyeing access to Ford's U.S. manufacturing footprint, keeps upping the ante.

Affordability worries put dealers in a gloomy mood
Author: Jackie Charniga

Price pressure, rising interest rates and a shrinking supply of affordable vehicles have auto dealers worrying more about business as they look toward 2019, according to the Cox Automotive Dealer Sentiment Index survey for the fourth quarter.

GM cutbacks complicate USMCA's path to passage
Author: Eric Kulisch

General Motors' decision to idle four U.S. assembly and parts plants could provide ammunition for critics of President Donald Trump's new North American trade agreement.

As Calif. AV population doubles, so do crashes
Author: Pete Bigelow

With three weeks left in 2018, California already has had a record year for the number of manufacturers permitted to test autonomous vehicles, the number of those vehicles permitted on the road and the number of crashes involving those vehicles.

Collateral damage in Tokyo
Author: Hans Greimel

Carlos Ghosn's arrest in Tokyo is already having consequences, from product marketing to international diplomatic relations. More complications could be ahead.

New platform, altered body, same Soul
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

While other boxy designs have come and gone — Scion xB, Nissan Cube, Honda Element — Kia's Soul has built longevity through loyalty.

Magna's PACE Award-winning door latch
Author: James B. Treece

Magna's engineers were looking for styling improvements when they began rethinking door latches. And they kept asking, "What if?"

New Land Rover Defender may be produced in Slovakia
Author: Nick Gibbs

It seems likely that the much-discussed new Land Rover Defender will be built outside of England.

VW Beetle gets special colors for latest farewell
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

The latest Final Edition of the iconic Volkswagen Beetle will have special colors, badging and wheels as the bug drives into the sunset next year, just as it did 15 years ago.

Acura turns attention to cars
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

The redesigned RDX has gotten off to a torrid start, but brand chief Jon Ikeda says Acura isn't planning more crossovers.

Florida dealership settles robocall suit for $4.8 million
Author: Eric Freedman

A Florida store's $4.8 million settlement of a robocalling lawsuit is the latest wake-up call for dealers to remain vigilant about unwanted advertising messages to current and prospective customers.

Volvo dealers in California revolt against subscriptions
Author: Melissa Burden and Urvaksh Karkaria

As Volvo prepares a new and improved version of its Care by Volvo subscroption service, California hears the grumbling of dealer protests.

Genesis decline tied to licensing bump
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

Genesis' steep sales dropoff is largely a byproduct of the brand's accelerated separation from Hyundai.

Mazda goes for emotional appeal
Author: Vince Bond Jr.

Mazda doesn't see the slowing sedan market as an excuse to become complacent about its cars. In fact, it sees this as the perfect time to raise the bar with an artistic approach to design that enhances some of their emotional allure.

Female Saudi car buff is hope for future

An Automotive News reader writes that the story of the Saudi woman and car buff, Amjad Alamri, and change in the Saudi automotive market gives him hope for the future.

GM worker transfers come with asterisk

In a letter to the editor, an Automotive News reader questions GM's approach to hiring temporary employees while workers await transfers.

It is still all about the product
Author: Keith Crain

Auto designers today face a difficult task: designing products that are truly distinctive in the growing lineup of SUV's and pickups on the market.

Rescued GM has a short memory

General Motors' plans for job cuts, ten years after its bailout, draws criticism.

Shadow of '09 bailout shouldn't haunt GM forever

GM has many stakeholders that it must answer to, and do right by, as it undertakes this restructuring. But as of five years ago this week, the federal government isn't one of them.

Volt was well on way before bankruptcy

The Chevy Volt was not the product of Chapter 11, writes an Automotove News reader, it was well on its way before the reorganization.

Two-faced industry on display in L.A.
Author: David Reichmuth

While the industry has been touting next-gen mobility here on the West Coast, its lobbying teams in Washington have pursued a backward-looking strategy.

'Crazy Ivan' strategy gets shoppers' attention
Author: David Muller

What does a 2014 Jeep Compass Sport have in common with a Soviet submarine?

Dealerships and their F&I departments make strides toward a culture rooted in ethics
Author: Hannah Lutz and Jackie Charniga

Ethical practices in automotive finance have evolved significantly in recent decades, with a boom in automotive retail regulations. Automotive News explores this evolution in this special section.

Real-world scenarios reinforce behavior
Author: Melissa Burden

The Association of Finance and Insurance Professionals certifies F&I personnel in areas of ethics such as payment packing and deceptive acts, plus Catch 22 compensation plans.

It's not the money; it's how you make it
Author: Jackie Charniga

As new-vehicle margins continue to melt away, structuring a pay plan that rewards the F&I department but still ensures the job is done ethically and legally is one of dealers' greatest challenges, auto retail experts said.

Building a hiring plan around good behavior
Author: Nancy Dunham

Many dealers leave nothing to chance with ethics. Internal training, external audits and promoting from within as often as possible are the top tactics used to prevent compliance and ethical land mines.

Is it fair to reward for doing the right thing?
Author: Jackie Charniga

When it comes to compensating for compliant behaviors, should F&I managers be incentivized?

Killer clown case spawned auto career
Author: Arlena Sawyers

There's always a back story. For Terry O'Loughlin, director of compliance for Reynolds and Reynolds, a case involving a killer clown led him on the path to an automotive career.

F&I managers use Facebook for support
Author: Jackie Charniga

In 2009, a Facebook group was launched to help educate F&I managers on ethics and compliance. The intention to build an online community of experts, educators and comrades was a way to reach those in need of guidance without charging a fee.

One-person, one-price strategy aids ethics
Author: Melissa Burden

The transparency of a one-person, one-price approach lends itself to a more ethical culture, said some dealers who have made the switch.

Perfecting the sales-F&I handoff
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

DCH Millburn Audi in New Jersey has spent the last several years perfecting the sales-to-F&I handoff. The strategy has not only improved the sales process for the customer, but also increased the store's F&I profit.

Set ground rules for self-promotion

Self-promotion can erode customer trust, F&I experts caution, and dealerships should have ethical ground rules for displays of personal achievement in the office.

Some dealerships stray from the title of F&I manager
Author: Jackie Charniga

Whether it's better for mitigating sales resistance from customers or preventing cash-buyer confusion, some dealerships stray from the traditional title of finance and insurance manager.

How the auto compliance industry was born
Author: Jackie Charniga

An investigation almost 20 years ago of suspected criminal activity at Gunderson Chevrolet, one of AutoNation's largest dealerships, shook the automotive world and led to today's compliance practices in the auto industry.

Small size keeps Brembo fast, focused

Brembo navigates the curves of supplying high-end brakes while managing the transition to brake-by-wire.

$1.7B battery plant in Georgia won't be enough to meet industry's needs
Author: Stephanie Hernandez McGavin

SK Innovation will spend $1.67 billion to build an EV battery plant in Commerce, Ga. Some think that is just the beginning.

Ethics and F&I compliance go hand in hand
Author: David Muller and Hannah Lutz

The relationship between compliance and ethics is especially acute in the F&I department.

Ethics evolution
Author: Hannah Lutz

Today, unethical behavior at dealerships is more difficult to get away with than in the past. Dealers set policies to weed out unethical characters, and social media and consumer resources often shed light on unethical business practices.

Group eyes Detroit airports for automotive hub
Author: Stephanie Hernandez McGavin

With industrial space in Detroit in short supply, a regional group is eyeing two Detroit airports as a site for future industrial development.


Enel Group's $325 million wind farm project in Illinois will power General Motors' factories around the Midwest when it becomes fully operational, in a step toward GM's goal of 100 percent reliance on renewable energy by 2050.

Mazda-Toyota's Ala. greenfield charts new path
Author: Urvaksh Karkaria

Toyota and Mazda will spend $1.6 billion to build an assembly plant in Huntsville. Things have changed since their last greenfield ventures.

'Tax-refund season could be a disaster this year'
Author: Jackie Charniga

Cox's chief economist warns dealers to be conservative on inventory next spring as changes to the tax law may significantly reduce refunds in 2019.

Chevy launches year-end employee pricing campaign
Author: Michael Wayland

Chevrolet has launched a national employee pricing sales campaign on all 2018 and some 2019 models through the end of the year.

A Jeep pickup doesn't happen very often, indeed

Naturally, the reveal of Jeep's 2020 Gladiator midsize pickup at the Los Angeles Auto Show brought back memories of the last Jeep pickup, which debuted more than three decades ago.

And with one more race, Hendrick was off

Rick Hendrick may be the ultimate car-guy dealer, and so it seems fitting that he'll receive the National Automotive Dealer Lifetime Achievement Award at the Boca Raton Concours d'Elegance in February.

Can you spot all the differences?

The original Danny and the Cruisers album coverlike photo, above, was apparently such a hit that General Motors decided to re-create it.

UAW needs to get house in order before '19 talks
Author: Larry P. Vellequette

When GM announced plans to trim its work force by as many as 18,000 employees and "unallocate" future product at five North American plants, more than a few people saw it as saber rattling before upcoming UAW contract talks.

November numbers reflect surprisingly good sales year
Author: David Muller

Heading into 2018, U.S. auto sales appeared headed for a second-straight annual decline. But it hasn't played out as expected: Sales have remained steady even as incentives were disciplined and prices rose further.

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