Erik Derr


Based in Los Angeles, Erik writes about the California market, its dealers and politics.

Mitsubishi Looks to Connect With Younger Buyers 2
The inclusion of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay infotainment systems in the 1.2L, 3-cyl. Mirage offers functionality “today’s young buyers are absolutely going to love,” Mitsubishi Motors North America executive Don Swearingen says.
Impreza Concept No Sedate Sedan for Surging Subaru
Spokesman Michael McHale calls the Impreza Sedan Concept the first example of a new generation of vehicles developed on a modular, less angular platform and employing the automaker’s Dynamic x Solid design language.
Mercedes-Benz Highlights G-Forces at LA Auto Show
Mercedes-Benz USA is in the middle of its largest product offensive in its history, with nine new models coming to market over the next 12 months, President and CEO Steve Cannon says.
Honda Taps Into Culture of Silicon Valley Innovation
Nick Sugimoto, the Honda lab’s senior program director, compares high-tech innovators’ entrepreneurial spirit with that of Honda founder Soichiro Honda, whose vision saw his fledgling auto-parts supply company grow into the global automaker it is today.
Can Fisker Create Better Karma Second Time Around?
Perhaps the main difference “between Fisker then and now is that we’re not under this enormous pressure for money that they were in the fundraising,” marketing chief Jim Taylor says. ‟So, we can take the time to do it properly.”
Tech Guru Doubts Women Will Shun Driverless Cars
Tim Bajarin, a leading high-tech industry strategist, takes exception to results of a national online survey suggesting most female consumers would not be interested in driverless cars and, as a result, could prove an obstacle to market adoption.
California Incentives to Put EVs, PHEVs in Hands of Low-Income Buyers
Should a potential car buyer qualify for the maximum amount of state funding available, he or she conceivably could end up driving off with a free EV.
Will CARB’s Eased ZEV Rules Grow Cleaner-Car Demand?
Regulators are granting Volvo, Mitsubishi, Mazda, JLR and Subaru an added hybrid option and a later compliance date of Jan. 1, 2018, by which time each company will be expected to have an approved pure ZEV or hybrid transitional ZEV on the market.
California Auto Recall Bill Pulled Despite Strong Lawmaker Support
Automakers are happy for the holdup, believing consumers should be protected from defective used cars by way of a federal law, not by 50 different regulations enacted by individual states.
California Car Retailers Outrunning Recall Storm
Even as California dealers face an enormous volume of recalls through actions by Takata, General Motors and other companies, their sales numbers continue to rise. A spokesman suggests some of the credit goes to consumers who appear not to be panicked over the recalls.
Honda Initiative Clears Career Path to Manufacturing
The impetus behind EPIC is concern the auto industry will lack manufacturing expertise in coming years, either because current workers’ skills will become outdated or the number of new mechanics and engineers will fall short of demand.
Green Not Fading as Fisker Fulfills Need for Speed
It’s anybody’s guess whether Henrik Fisker – acclaimed for his designs of the Aston Martin DB9 and V-8 Vantage, BMW Z8 and his own Fisker Karma hybrid-electric vehicle – will put his new effort into a traditional combustion-based product or again pick up the green baton.
Rebate Cutoff Ups Cost of Uber Bid for Greener Fleet
EV dealer Doug Snower, who plans to buy 200 Chinese-made BYD e6 electric vehicles to lease to drivers for ridesharing service Uber, says his business model in part is based on the $4,000-a-vehicle rebates the state no longer offers.
BMW Infuses X-Series CUVs With Sports-Car Performance
BMW says the new M TwinPower Turbo engines for the X5 M and BMW X6 M are the most powerful unit ever developed by the automaker for an AWD vehicle.
Mini Bills New Cooper-Based Hardtop as 5-Door Hatch
The hardtop “is more than just a Mini with two additional doors,” BMW board member Peter Schwarzenbauer says. “It's a completely new Mini with a longer wheelbase, more space, more luggage volume, more functionality and flexibility and four doors.”

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