Commentary

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Michelle Krebs

is Editor-in-Chief of AutoObserver.com. Follow @AutoObserver on Twitter.

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contact: editorsAO@edmunds.com

Articles by this author:

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"Small" Car Of The Year Awards

November 28, 2011

The ballot for voting on the 2012 North American Car and Truck of the Year awards just arrived in my email, and I’m flummoxed. Every year, the awards’ jurors -- 50 journalists from across North America who cover all facets of the auto industry -- insist selecting the winners is more difficult this year than in the past. But, truly, this year is a challenging one because the car category is dominated by small cars, and the truck category has not a single “real” truck. more

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Fiat NA Management Shake-Up No Surprise

November 22, 2011

It came as no surprise that Laura Soave, who headed the Fiat brand in North America during its launch, had left the auto company and quickly was replaced by Chrysler Group LLC Monday. For weeks, her whereabouts within the Chrysler/Fiat organization had been grist for the rumor mill. Only last week, Chrysler/Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne hinted changes were coming due to disappointing sales result for the Fiat 500. So on Monday, Chrysler, indeed, announced Soave (above) had left the automaker to “pursue other interests.” She was replaced by Timothy Kuniskis, most recently director for Chrysler and Fiat brand product more

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Two-Tier Wage Structure Can't Last

October 28, 2011

A two-tier wage structure – a system whereby new hires make substantially less than current workers – has been hailed as a major victory for U.S. auto company executives and by Wall Street analysts. But on Friday, Chrysler Group LLC/Fiat S.p.A. CEO Sergio Marchionne (above) raised concerns that the scheme is riddled with problems and is not good business in the long term. Indeed, the simple fact of the matter is that an organization cannot possibly maintain morale and constantly improve quality and productivity when employees working side-by-side performing the same tasks make meaningfully different amounts of money. more

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Steve Jobs' Vision Spread To Cars, Auto Industry

October 6, 2011

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who died Wednesday, leaves an imprint on many aspects of our lives, and today’s cars are no exception. As Edmunds.com’s technology editor Doug Newcomb points out, no external devices (nor any single company) has had as much impact on car infotainment as Apple's iPod and iPhone. I would add to that list the iPad, with the potential of its impact on the car and the auto industry nowhere close to being fully explored and realized. more

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Bailout Snub Haunts Presidential Hopeful Romney

June 9, 2011

When Mitt Romney arrived in his native Michigan to raise funds for his 2012 Presidential campaign this week, he got a chilling homecoming in some quarters. Here, he’s haunted not by health care, but by his snub of Detroit automakers and the people who depend on them for their livelihood. Specifically, Michiganders – Democrats and some Republicans – vividly recall Romney’s November, 2008, Op-Ed piece in The New York Times that carried the headline: “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” In it, Romney (above, campaigning in New Hampshire) argued against the federal government financing the bailout of General Motors and Chrysler more

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Fukushima Matches But Differs From Chernobyl

April 12, 2011

Chernobyl and Fukushima now rank as the worst nuclear disasters in history, but the situations differ widely in terms of their impact, not only on the lives of residents in those areas but also on the world economy and global auto industry. On Tuesday, Japan raised to the highest level the severity rating of its nuclear crisis at its Fukushima nuclear plant, damaged during the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. If radiation continues to leak from the plant, the severity rating could exceed Chernobyl’s. more

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No Price Hikes -- Yet

March 17, 2011

Since the earthquake and tsunami hit, shutting down virtually everything in Japan including automobile assembly plants, speculation has run rampant that U.S. car buyers are or will be seeing price spikes on vehicles imported to the U.S. because of inventory shortages. more

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AO Readers Curious About Millenials

February 28, 2011

They are the questions automakers ponder often: what will millenials drive, if anything? what will they want in their vehicles? So it's no surprise that this week's reader favorite on AutoObserver.com was a post written by frequent contributor Dale Buss asking those questions of auto company marketers. more

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Jeep Fuel-Spillage Posts Draws Readers

February 18, 2011

A post discussing consumer complaints for fuel spit-back on some Chrysler and Jeep models was the favorite item of AutoObserver.com readers this week, and since the item posted, Chrysler addressed those complaints in a new service bulletin. Edmunds.com Features Editor Carroll Lachnit reported on Feb. 11 for AutoObserver.com that growing number of consumer complaints were being filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about fuel spilling from the gas tank during a fill-up – mostly on Jeep Wrangler models. more

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Ditching smart is Smart Move for Penske

February 15, 2011

Automotive entrepreneur Roger Penske makes few bad bets, but, from the start, his acquisition of the distribution rights for the smart brand from Germany's Daimler AG seemed a questionable one. more

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