Industry News

FCA Lights the Way

FCA US dealerships are brightening the night for their customers who shop for new cars and trucks after sundown.

FCA US has launched its “FCA Bright Initiative” that will not only provide customers and dealership employees with a brighter and safer environment at night, but also slash a dealership’s total electricity costs by up to 50 percent through the installation of new Light-Emitting Diode (LED) lighting.

FCA US has already tested the new LED lighting at a California Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram Truck and FIAT dealership and is rolling out the initiative to its entire network of 2,600 dealerships in the U.S.

“This new wave of lighting is a win for both the dealership and its customers,” said Al Gardner, Head of Network Development, FCA – North America. “Converting traditional lighting systems to eco-friendly LED lighting enhances the customer experience in the showroom, service and parts departments and on dealership lots, while the dealership immediately begins to save on lighting costs.”

FCA US has partnered with Revolux LED Solutions and GE Lighting to plan and install the new lights and fixtures.

The Houston-based Revolux already has completed more than 375 lighting upgrade projects, including 40 FCA US dealerships nationwide. In addition to saving on energy costs, Revolux notes that with LED lighting, dealerships can reduce their fixture count by up to 25 percent, maximize light distribution, reduce placement costs, showcase inventory in true colors, and improve productivity in service and parts departments.

FCA US and Revolux introduced the initiative in a pilot at San Leandro Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, in San Leandro, California.

While savings will vary by dealership, the pilot installation saved the San Leandro dealership more than 50 percent in total electricity costs since installing the LED lights in August.

FCA US dealers interested in the LED lighting upgrade should contact Revolux in Houston at 1-800-FCA-BRIGHT, or email at FCABRIGHT@RevoluxLED.com.

Mazda North America Changes Senior Management

Mazda North American Operations announced changes to its senior management structure for operations in the United States. The changes were:

  Robert Davis, previously senior vice president, U.S. operations, will assume the newly created role of senior vice president, special assignments. Davis will lead teams in the ever-growing areas of recall compliance and cybersecurity, with a focus on upcoming legislation, regulations and compliance and their impact on Mazda and the industry.  He also will play an integral role in the coaching and mentorship of the company’s next generation of senior leadership.

• Tom Donnelly, previously regional general manager for the Western

Region, has been promoted to vice president, sales and retail

operations, replacing Ron Stettner. Stettner leaves Mazda after nine years

to pursue other opportunities.

• Kara Hudson, previously director, training, was promoted to Regional

General Manager, Western Region, replacing Tom Donnelly. 

Honda Introduces 2018 Odyssey Minivan

Honda took the wraps off a sleek, sophisticated and innovative new 2018 Odyssey minivan, launching at dealerships nationwide this spring. Already the most popular minivan with individual American car buyers for seven years running, the next-generation Odyssey brings a host of new features and technologies for 2018, including a uniquely versatile new Magic Slide™ second-row seat; new CabinWatch and CabinTalk technologies; new Display Audio touchscreen with Honda-developed OS; 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity; new Rear Entertainment System with streaming video; and Honda Sensing™ safety and driver-assistive technologies, now offered standard on EX and above trims.

“This new Odyssey raises the stakes for family-friendly packaging, performance and technology in the minivan segment,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “In all aspects of its design, the new Odyssey is made to keep every member of the family happy, no matter the seating position, no matter the destination.”

A major innovation to family-friendly cabin seating flexibility is the Odyssey’s new Magic Slide™ second-row seat, easily reconfigurable for optimal passenger comfort, people- and cargo-hauling flexibility, and easy access to third-row seating – even when one or two rear-facing child seats are placed in the second row.

The 2018 Honda Odyssey will be powered by a 3.5-liter, direct-injected i-VTEC™ V-6 engine with Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM™). Peak engine output is 280 SAE net horsepower (+32 HP) and benefits from the advanced capabilities of its two available new transmissions – a 9-speed automatic and, for upper grades an all-new, Honda-developed 10-speed automatic, the first of its kind in a minivan, providing more confident and refined performance.

Free eBook for Service Departments

Helion Automotive Technologies announced the release of a free eBook for auto dealerships, titled Three Service Department Pain Points, Solved! How Faulty IT Infrastructures are Causing Dealerships to Lose Revenue, Lose Customers and Lose Employee Buy-In. The eBook spotlights the problems that many service departments are facing because their current networks do not support all the new technologies and tools that require massive amounts of bandwidth. 

“When I tell dealers they need to upgrade their networks, the thing I hear the most is that they just upgraded two years ago and they don’t understand why it needs to be done again,” said Erik Nachbahr, founder and President of Helion Automotive Technologies. “The reason is because of the Internet of Things, and the number of connected devices has nearly tripled in the last three years. This trend is accelerating and bandwidth requirements are expected to nearly triple again in the next few years. Most dealers are really behind the curve in where they need to be right now and to prepare for the future.”  

In the ebook, Helion gives specific recommendations and minimum benchmarks for dealerships’ IT networks, including Internet, WiFi and switches. Helion also addresses the issue of call flow, the number of leads that dealers are losing because of poor call flow, and how most dealers overlook this critical component to their phone system.

To download a copy of Helion’s free eBook, Three Service Department Pain Points, Solved! click here: http://bit.ly/2iPbOUu

Marx Group Names VP, Sales and Accounts

 Marx Group, a full-service research, strategy and marketing communications agency highly focused in the automotive, performance and trucking industries, has announced the promotion of Steffanie Savine to vice president, sales and accounts.

In her new role, Savine is responsible for supervising current accounts and recruiting new business. Her 20 years of professional experience include 14 years in the automotive industry, specializing in both aftermarket and OE.

Savine plays an active role in the automotive industry. She is a member of Women in Auto Care, formerly the Car Care Council Women’s Board (WB), and the immediate past president of the Automotive Communications Council (ACC). She served a one year term as ACC president from 2015 to 2016.

Nissan Sets Price for Rogue Hybrid

Nissan announced U.S. pricing for the new 2017 Rogue Hybrid, which is on sale now at Nissan dealers in the West, Northwest and Mountain regions (18 states total). Pricing starts at $26,2405 for the Rogue Hybrid SV grade – $1,000 above a non-hybrid Rogue SV front-wheel drive model. The Rogue Hybrid, the newest addition to the popular Rogue crossover lineup and first-ever available, offers a second powertrain choice for Rogue buyers in both FWD and AWD applications.

The new Rogue Hybrid produces estimated fuel economy1 of 33 mpg city, 35 mpg highway and 34 mpg combined for the front-wheel drive model. Rogue Hybrid all-wheel drive models are estimated at 31 mpg city, 34 mpg highway and 33 mpg combined1. Most significantly, it achieves these numbers with virtually no compromise of performance, interior roominess or cargo space (compared to standard Rogue models).

The MSRP start at: Nissan Rogue Hybrid: Rogue SV FWD Hybrid,

$26,240; Rogue SL FWD Hybrid, $31,160; Rogue SV AWD Hybrid,

$27,590; Rogue SL AWD Hybrid; $32,510

Rogue Hybrid goes on sale nationwide in Spring 2017.

Volkswagen Sponsors Skiers

Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced a new sponsorship with the Professional Ski Instructors of America and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI) to promote access to snow sports in communities throughout the United States. As part of the collaboration, Volkswagen will be providing 4Motion® all-wheel-drive 2017 Golf Alltrack support vehicles to nine PSIA-AASI divisions nationwide, to help PSIA-AASI members, who work as ski and snowboard instructors at resorts across the country.  The vehicles will be used to transport both equipment and instructors throughout the winter season.

“The collaboration with PSIA-AASI is a great opportunity for Volkswagen to support the active lifestyles of its customers,” said Vinay Shahani, senior vice president of marketing, Volkswagen of America.

Comprising a community of more than 32,500 U.S. snow sports professionals across the United States, PSIA-AASI members teach an average of 20 days a winter, offering traditional alpine, cross country, snowboard and telemark lessons as well as adaptive curriculum for disabled winter sports enthusiasts.

Subaru Adds New Apps

Subaru of America, Inc. announced the addition of eight new cloud-based apps to the SUBARU STARLINK multimedia system in the new 2017 Impreza. Magellan NAVI, eBird, Best Parking, YELP, Glympse, RightTrack, Tweddle Quick Reference Guide, and “eventseeker” by Wcities work through the STARLINK in-vehicle technology and in conjunction with a customer’s smart phone. The apps are housed in the STARLINK cloud and operate from the vehicle’s multimedia screen after a customer connects their smartphone and launches the STARLINK app.  

All eight apps are available for immediate use on the 2017 Impreza and 2016-17 BRZ and will be available on additional models in the near future. 

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