Jim Mateja

Jim
Mateja
Correspondent,
WardsAuto

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

Articles
Pacifica, Fiat Deliver for FCA; Nissan Thinks Small
“Pacifica is outstanding for us in pulling in buyers from CUV utility buyers,” says Michael Downey, vehicle line executive for minivans and large cars for FCA. “It is doing what we wanted, expanding the buyer base” by attracting people new to the brand as well as traditional van buyers and soccer moms.
Chicago Dealers Report Sales Drop as Car Demand Weakens
Of the five best-selling vehicle segments, four were CUVs or SUVs and fullsize trucks were the other.
FCA’s Ram Commercial Operation Pulling Its Weight
Ram Commercial sells fullsize cab-chassis trucks derived from the Ram pickup along with fullsize Pro Master vans and a midsize Pro Master City commercial van derived from Fiat vehicles in Europe.
Chicagoland Reflects National Market: Trucks Hot, Cars Not
The region’s car sales fell 7.6% for the first half of the year, while SUV/CUV and truck deliveries rose 6%.
GM Has ‘Coast to Coast’ Vision for Maven Car Sharing
Marketing director Zafar Razzacki says Maven has offered at least 400 GM vehicles for ride sharing in the past four months, and that rentals run from a couple of hours during weekdays to an entire weekend for leisure activities.
New Leaf Doubles As Blender With Beefed-Up Battery 2
Although Nissan claims the 30-kWh battery pack gives the ’16 Leaf 107 miles of range, compared with the 24-kWh version’s 84, the automaker puts the extra juice to work powering mixers that whip up smoothies served at a recent media event.
Exec Sees Pacifica Pumping Up ‘Flat’ Minivan Segment
Minivans “used to be a million-sales-a-year segment and now it’s down to half of that at 500,000 units, but there still is a solid core of buyers who want a van because it makes life easier for them,” Chrysler brand chief Bruce Velisek says.
Illinois Dealers Likely to Stay Closed on Sundays 1
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.
Insights

Dec 6, 2016
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