Jim Mateja


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

Chrysler Still Mulling Minivan Strategy, Exec Says
Brand CEO Al Gardner continues to push for the minivan to be badged a Chrysler and says if the new 200 sedan isn’t a home run, he’ll be stunned.
Ford’s Hinrichs Says Currency Manipulation Still Tilting Playing Field
The executive says his company will urge Congress to oppose the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade deal covering 12 countries, if the agreement doesn’t include “strong and enforceable currency disciplines.”
Chevrolet Wins Another Award, Looks Forward to Moving More Pickups
Global marketing chief Tim Mahoney says he is happy with the receptivity of the brand’s Super Bowl ad. “We were successful building an image and pulling people into our fold.”
BMW Adds Turbodiesel to 7-Series Lineup
The long-wheelbase, all-wheel-drive 740Ld features BMW’s 3.0L DOHC inline 6-cyl., a 2014 Ward’s 10 Best Engines winner, mated with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Kia Circumspect on Soul EV Volume; Plug-In Hybrid to Come?
Sales will be limited, a Kia executive says, citing the slow rollout initially limited to California and Oregon this spring.
Chevy City Express Bows; Impala Sedan Among CNG Vehicles Coming
Retail buyers always can purchase a City Express for the family, GM Fleet Operations chief Ed Peper tells WardsAuto, "providing they realize it only comes with two front seats and a large cargo hold in back."
Chicago Auto Show Features Consumer-Driven Marketing
“People often wait in line 45 minutes to take a test drive,” Chicago Auto Trade Assn. President Dave Sloan says. “If a person is waiting 45 minutes to ride in one of your vehicles, that’s 45 minutes not being spent over in your rivals’ exhibits.”
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 1
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.
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