Jim Mateja


A long-time veteran of the auto beat, Jim is based in Chicago and covers new product, sales, marketing and management issues.

Illinois Dealers Likely to Stay Closed on Sundays
The Chicago Automobile Trade Assn. reports that with the Illinois General Assembly’s scheduled spring adjournment approaching, there won’t be time to act on the latest attempt to open car dealerships to sales on Sundays.
Buick Clicks With Concepts, Crossovers, Conquests 1
Chief marketer Tony DiSalle dismisses speculation the Avista concept will be converted from a coupe and replace the Regal sedan in the Buick lineup. He says public reception to the Avista wasn’t quite enthusiastic enough to earn a production thumbs-up.
Illinois Lawmaker Takes Another Shot at Sunday Sales 3
The newly proposed legislation would allow a dealer to operate any six days of the week of his choosing, so that dealers who worship on a day other than Sunday, could operate on Sundays and close another day.
Toyota Adds to New Tacoma’s Off-Road Credentials With TRD Pro Model
Based on the Tacoma TRD Off-Road 4x4 Double Cab Short Bed model, the midsize pickup will be powered by a 3.5L, 24 valve V-6 with variable valve timing.
Hyundai Polishes Up Santa Fe for ʼ17
Depending on the model, new features include active cornering control, power height-adjustable passenger seat, second-row cupholders, rearview camera and cruise control with stop-start function.
Kia Niro Hybrid Takes U.S. Bow
The new member of the Kia lineup, which was unveiled in Korea in January and goes on sale in the U.S. early next year, joins the Optima gas/electric hybrid and battery powered Soul EV as the green machines in the automaker’s stable.
Ram Power Wagon Punches Off-Road Ticket
FCA’s Ram brand rolls out its latest model, the off-road-focused ’17 Power Wagon. The truck is based on a Ram 2500 Heavy Duty chassis.
Nissan Launches Revamped Armada Just in Time for Fuel-Price Trough
Low gas prices helped prompt the decision to upgrade the Armada, with the automaker saying that the sharp decline in fuel prices has kept consumer interest alive among those needing a large SUV to haul people and their stuff and to tow heavy loads.
Ford Pumps Explorer With Sport Package
Ford adds a Sport Appearance Package for the built-in-Chicago ’17 Explorer. The company reveals the upscale version at the Chicago auto show.
Illinois Dealers Get Bump in Doc Fee
The 0.5% increase set for next year is pegged to the federal cost-of-living index.
Diesel Colorado Pickups on Way to Dealers 2
GM expects the diesel to account for 10% of its midsize-truck sales, and officials aren’t too worried about cannibalizing fullsize pickup sales.
Early Tacoma Sales Hot 1
Sales executive Rick LoFaso says most of the initial sales of the ’16 Tacoma have been to existing owners, a significant number considering 3 million have been sold in the past 20 years and 75% still are on the road.
Fiat to Rely on 4WD, Not Pope, to Draw Buyers; More on Way From Ram 2
The new 500X is first 500 model with all-wheel drive, expected to expand the brand’s appeal in the Snow Belt.
Jaguar Looks to Up Sales With Downmarket XE, F-Pace
The arrival of the XE and F-Pace will benefit Jaguar since it doesn’t offer a small sedan or CUV now. And the two new offerings should lower the average age of Jaguar owners while potentially keeping them in the family longer.
Honda HR-V Outrunning Sales, Conquest Projections
The HR-V is important because it was designed as a conquest vehicle to draw new buyers to Honda, truck planning chief James Jenkins says: ‟The goal was conquest and about 50% percent of the buyers are conquests.”


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