• The Message At Cobo Hall Last Week Could Have Been 'The Truck Stop's Here'
    Honda said 2015 would be the year of Honda. Cadillac said it will be the year, or maybe the decade, of Cadillac. It was definitely the year of Cobo Hall, as everyone says it was the best Detroit show since before the recession.
  • Icons, Coupes, And Supercars Roar In Cobo Hall
    Generalize about the different auto shows, and what they represent? Makes no sense. But that doesn't mean you can't do it: The Tokyo auto show is outrageous design and auto ontology; Frankfurt is, well, just big; Los Angeles is about who has the best new technology, drivetrain advances and buttons and buzzers. And the Detroit show, the North American International Auto Show, that is, is about hype, heritage, iconography, and even a little histrionics.
  • Low Gas Prices Help Auto Sales Heat Up 2014
    Gasoline prices are incredibly low. I was upstate last week and had to do a double take: It was close to $2 a gallon. December's strong sales numbers certainly reflect that fact, as the month was driven by an appetite for crossovers, SUVs and pickups. Gasoline prices won't stay low for long, and most consumers understand the inherent volatility at the pump. So the influence of dollar-per-gallon on auto sales might have as much to do with the fuel-efficiency technology SUVs/crossovers and cars have now. It might just make it easier for a skittish consumer to consider an SUV, even ...
  • With K900, Kia Moves Up, Way Up
    I went to see the "Annie" movie with my daughter, and it kind of made me think of Kia, which has big dreams of moving into a mansion. Kia: luxury brand. Seriously. Kia's K900 is, in fact official luxury vehicle of the NBA. Great ride, gorgeous car, Jaguar-esque even. You have to see it and drive it to appreciate it, which I got to do last week.
  • From Chrysler To FCA. Make That FCA U.S. LLC
    When Fiat announced that the Chrysler corporate name is heading into the dustbin of history, to be replaced by FCA U.S. LLC, my first thought was something along the lines of, "Now that's a rebranding guaranteed to generate real passion."
  • What Does Jason Vines Drive?
    "It's simple. Whatever you do, don't blame the customer." Those were sage words of advice from Tom McDonald, Audi director of public affairs during the Audi 5000 unintended-acceleration PR maelstrom in the '90s, to PR legend/villain/crisis guy Jason Vines, who at the time was dealing with the same faux issue with Jeep. And it is a central central theme of Vine's autobiographical bumper-car ride through the auto industry, "What Did Jesus Drive: Crisis PR in Cars, Computers and Christianity."
  • Carlos Ghosn Talks Green Drivetrains, Connectivity, And Autonomous Cars
    Emissions, and connected and autonomous cars. Those are the key challenges and opportunities in the automotive business over the the next 10 years and longer. There are several reasons for this, and one big one is that the developing countries are the growth markets, and are suffering the most from pollution, sclerotic roads, and booming auto sales. Anyone who has tried to drive from one side to the other of, say, Manila, knows how that works. Autonomous cars would change a lot of that, and emissions technology might just make the air breathable there and in places like Beijing.
  • Trucks Back On A Roll This Year. Detroit Gets The Benefit. Ford Preps For December
    Trucks, baby. There hasn't been this much going on in the pickup truck business for years. You have the new aluminum body Ford F-150, Chevrolet's killer mid-sized pickups including a diesel version of the Colorado introduced in Los Angeles last week, and Ram, which has been on a growth boom, partly because of its own diesel 1500.
  • With Hyundai Sonata, If At First They Don't Bite, Bait The Hook A Bit
    The 2015 Hyundai Sonata, seriously redesigned, has gotten its share of mixed reviews from dealers, buff books and consumers, who have opined that, while the car may be highly competitive in terms of its features, amenities and technological refinements, it has lost one striking differentiator: its looks. Now, they say, it is not all that different, from the aesthetic point of view, from the competitive set.
  • Self-Driving Cars Will Redefine Life, Liberty, And Out-Of-Home
    The autonomous car. It's not ready for the shiny tiled floors just yet, but visit your local Nissan/Mercedes/Volvo/GM dealer in five years and you might see one. That's when the Mayan calendar, Elon Musk, Google and several car companies say the world will end. The world of steering wheels, road rage and traffic jams and wasted, wasted time, that is.
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