Cars

Car dealers fixated on costs

Executives at Crown Automotive Group have controlled expenses since the Great Recession, but this year, they are getting more rigorous about it. “It’s crucial. If you do nothing, you’ll go backwards because everything’s going up in cost — insurance is going up, cost of wages is going up — you have to focus in and make reductions to make the ...

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Car dealers competing with brands in auto subscription business

FlexWheels sounds a lot like the subscription plans that Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz and other auto brands have been rolling out in the past year. Customers can swap vehicles up to three times a month and don’t have to worry about insurance, maintenance and other hassles that come with traditional ownership. But there’s a key difference: FlexWheels  is run by a Florida dealership group ...

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Toyota goes out on a limb with V2V

DALLAS — Toyota is hoping to break an awkward silence in the discussion over getting vehicles to talk to one another. A proposed federal mandate for in-vehicle technology known as dedicated short-range communications has ground to a halt under the Trump administration, which has resisted all manner of new regulations on industry. Nonetheless, Toyota announced last week that it would ...

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Honda sweetens lease deals, a little

Accord sales have been down and dealers have blamed a lack of competitive lease offers for its failure to keep pace with the updated Toyota Camry. Honda dealer Rick Case thinks the Accord is “back in the ballgame” after the automaker trimmed $800 from the down payment on its 36-month lease deal. Accord sales have been down for months, and ...

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Florida dealership cafes taste like success

The cafe at Sun Toyota in Holiday, Fla., serves customers as well as employees. When Morgan Auto Group purchased Brandon Honda in Tampa, Fla., in 2007, investing in a full-service cafe was a success. So much so that in 2016, the group bought Sun Toyota in Holiday, Fla., and allocated space for another one. Under the guidance of recent hire ...

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California bill would add muscle to franchise laws

Chrysler Group in 2011 settled a complaint over Motor Village, a factory-owned dealership in Los Angeles, being operated near other Chrysler stores. The California legislature will take its first step toward possibly enacting a new franchise bill when AB 2107, backed by the California New Car Dealers Association, is heard by the Assembly Transportation Committee on Monday, April 23. The ...

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Washington angles to check CFPB’s power

“I don’t know of any director of any bureaucracy who has ever come to you and said, ‘Please take my power away,’ but that’s what I’m doing.”Mick Mulvaney, acting director, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Photo credit: BLOOMBERG The U.S. Senate voted to repeal the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s auto lending guidance last week. Meanwhile, the CFPB’s acting director pushed for ...

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Nissan wants 9,000 stories renovated worldwide in next 5 years

Customers expect “a more digital and customized experience,” says Nissan’s Daniele Schillaci. YOKOHAMA, Japan — In a glimpse of what changes Nissan Motor Co. has in mind for the next five years, officials here said last week that the automaker wants 9,000 of its dealerships around the world to be renovated during the period. They did not provide details on ...

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Texas’ Reagor Dykes group climbs used-car ranks

On October 2003, Bart Reagor ponied up his own money to buy a used-car store in Lubbock, Texas, with a lot that could hold about 80 vehicles. He had three employees. Today, he heads a 21-store dealership group employing about 800 full-timers that is a growing powerhouse in used-vehicle sales, with a reach that extends beyond the borders of Texas. ...

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Self-driving cars hitting red lights

Jake Fisher, left, director of auto testing for Consumer Reports, shows Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., the features of a Tesla Model 3 at Consumer Reports’ test track in Colchester, Conn. Federal and state officials, once eager advocates of self-driving cars, now are pumping the brakes and demanding greater accountability and information that autos and tech companies may not be willing ...

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GM brings Cadillac back into the fold

DETROIT — What’s good for General Motors is good for Cadillac, and vice versa. That proposition will be put to the test as Cadillac transitions to a new leader — and a new style of leadership — following the ouster last week of Johan de Nysschen. Over his nearly four years as the brand’s global chief, de Nysschen’s impact was ...

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Retooled QX50 fills Infiniti’s ‘biggest void’

The 2019 Infiniti QX50, designed and engineered on an all-new platform, went on sale in March. WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — For Infiniti, the 2019 QX50 is a pivotal reboot engineered to fortify the luxury brand’s standing in the U.S. market. That’s why Infiniti executives here called the crossover — all-new inside and out — the brand’s most important product launch ...

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