Jim Mateja


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

Chicago Dealers Get 1.2% Hike in Allowable DOC Fees 
The now-regulated fee, which goes to cover the cost of paperwork involved with each sale, dates back to the early 1980s, when dealerships began advertising low prices but added often exorbitant charges to boost the bottom line.
Chevy’s Gamble on Stop/Start Paying Off, Exec Says
Other automakers offer stop/start mainly in their upper-level niche hybrids, but the Malibu’s stop/start technology is featured on a mainstream engine, marketing manager John Hahn points out.
GM Sees Vehicles Getting Smaller Outside, Bigger Inside 1
Top engineer John Calabrese says new vehicle segments will emerge by 2025. “Several are being considered. At the same time, some current segments will be gone (and) some will simply be morphed.”
Chrysler De-Bugging New Cherokee’s 9-Speed Gearbox
“We aren't going to ship Cherokees to customers until it's ready,” product planning manager John Critzer says. “You only get one chance to make a first impression."
Chrysler Raises Durango’s Profile Along With Output  3
Dodge executive Bob Broderdorf says the boost in production coincided with traditionally strong fourth-quarter demand for fullsize SUVs and, as a result, “We are selling them as fast as we can."
Ethanol Touted as Part of Propulsion-Technology Mix 2
The problem, ethanol marketer Mike O'Brien says, is that few service stations sell E15, a problem compounded by the fact not all auto makers recommend the use of the 85% gasoline-15% alcohol mix in their vehicles.
Chicago-Area Car Dealers Warned of Key-Swap Scam
The thieves return a key when done inspecting the car, but it’s not the actual one. Either they take the real key with them or hide it in the car and return a short time later to slip in and take it for a "one-way" test drive.
Fledgling Service Brings New-Vehicle Test Drive Home
Startup Tred has received $1.7 million in seed money from such investors as former General Motors Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner, automotive-investment firm Fraser McCombs Capital and venture-capital firm Maveron Capital.
Chevy Cruze Diesel Attracting Buyers With Quiet Engine, Extended Range
Engineers can’t make the Cruze diesel totally quiet. That will take another evolution. But someday the totally noiseless diesel will come, Gary Altman says, noting it will take changes in combustion technology as well as engine materials.
No Diesel No Problem for Silverado Buyers, Chevrolet Says 
The ability to get the work done and haul or tow the load still is the most important attribute buyers are looking for in a pickup, says Silverado Product Manager Carl Hillenbrand.
Chevy Marketing Chief ‘Pleased’ With Malibu’s 7% Share, But Wants More 
“Camry and Accord (used to have) 50% (share), and the rest of us fought for the other half,” Russ Clark says. But a new Malibu, Fusion, Altima, plus new cars from the South Koreans, have made midsize cars the most competitive segment again.
Diesel Grand Cherokee to Give Jeep Four Models at 30 MPG 5
Jeep’s top North American executive confirms more diesels are eyed, says the new Cherokee represents a critical launch for the brand and indicates the future of the Patriot and Compass remains in the balance.
ATS Winning Respect for Cadillac, Brand Director Says
With sales of more than 11,500 units in the year’s first four months, Cadillac intends to capitalize on the momentum generated by its new compact luxury car and expand the model lineup.
Lutz Expounds on New No-Holds-Barred Book, Future Auto Technology 
Lutz discredits the impact of short-time boss Ed Whitacre at GM, and says broomed CEO Rick Wagoner was intelligent but lacked “the killer instinct and sometimes ruthlessness a CEO must have.”
Fiat Gains Ground in Domestic-Brand Stronghold of Chicago 
Chrysler Group brands are off to a fast start in the Chicagoland territory, with Fiat, Ram and Dodge the three fastest-growing marques.
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