• Customer Experience Is Final Say In Dealer Revenue
    Good times for automobile manufacturers might be a mixed blessing for their dealers. Car companies saw, and are still seeing, blistering sales. But that also means tight supply, and supply is like blood pressure. It's nice if it's a little low, but deadly if it's too low. Industry average is about 62 days. Last fall, some of the hot-selling crossovers were at 24 days and the average for crossovers wasn't too much higher than that.
  • Reliability Bugbear Is Back As VW's Implosion Hits Detroit
    For several years, automakers have been on a convergent trajectory when it comes to the quality, durability and reliability of their vehicles. And, while these qualities are always stalwarts on shoppers' lists of consideration points, there have - or had - been a shift toward the perception that quality is price of entry. That has been good news for automakers, especially the domestics, as the fact that quality had slid down the list of shopper consideration points, suggests that lots of people kind of expect all vehicles to be made well.
  • Gauntlets Are Hurled At Detroit Show

    Hyundai threw down the gauntlet with Genesis; Chrysler did the same with its new Pacifica. It’s not accurate to say those were the disruption moments at the Detroit auto show this week, but they were emblematic for much of what happened there during press days: some automakers brought back older, sometimes iconic, names to help define who they are now and where they are going; others revealed new names and divisions to crash some old parties. 

    For Fiat Chrysler’s new vehicle, wearing that older, troubled name, I had my doubts, given what happened the first time around. I ...

  • General Motors' Lyft Deal Faces Inevitable Music
    Could the Consumer Electronics Show be the biggest auto show of the year? In some ways, yes. It could definitely steal some thunder from the Detroit Auto Show. Automakers are making big announcements both at CES and with an eye to the timing of the event. Kia, for example, will announce a new program on Tuesday, probably about autonomous driving techs. Fiat Chrysler will reveal its fourth-generation Uconnect telematics system there, and show how it spotlights Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
  • With CES At Hand, Cars Drive Tech
    Call 2016 the year of personal mobility. Automakers started injecting that catchphrase into the auto conversation a few years back, when BMW, Ford and others decided to go all-in on the great urban migration and how it is redefining driving around the world.
  • Acura Latest Automaker To Raise Periscope
    Excitement and urgency. How do you create that today, when just about everything digital screams "exciting and urgent" but isn't because, just like TV, you can watch it any time.
  • Ford's Study Sees 'Swiss Army Life' As Consumer Ethos
    Ford, which is ponying up - so to speak - $4.5 billion to expand its electric-vehicle and mobility programs, is probably looking to tease out some social and economic trends driving consumer behavior today, tomorrow, and next decade. Ford and everyone else.
  • They Want A Mini? Give Them The Works
    I was able to get my hands on a Mini Cooper Hardtop two-door last weekend. I'm not car shopping, right now, but when I drive someone's car, a new car, I pretend I am. I was driving the John Cooper Works factory-customized car, with specialized wheels, paint, spoiler, hand-stitched leather accoutrements, added comfort, all of the infotainment bells and whistles, and a 228hp twin turbo under the hood. It's a sporty car with a lot of kick.
  • Climate Action Means Industry, Government And People
    Thomas Paine wrote that government is inherently punitive, a necessary evil consequent to the "inability of moral virtue to govern the world." That comes to mind this week, as the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) meets in Paris. The goal, of questionable achievability, is to keep global warming at two degrees Celsius.
  • A Pitch For Film About Book About Korean Auto Biz
    I watched "Adaptation" last week. It's the Charlie Kaufman movie about Charlie Kaufman trying to make a movie about a book, "The Orchid Thief," by Susan Orlean. In the movie, Kaufman, played by Nicolas Cage, ends up taking Robert McKee's (played here by Brian Cox) famous screenwriting class. I took that class, too, and I'm thinking of doing something Kaufman-esque about the auto industry, the Korean auto industry.
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