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
Hyundai Weighing Consumer Response to ’15 Sonata 1
“The feedback we get is that the car looks conservative when you see it in pictures but looks better in person,” says Mike O’Brien, vice president-corporate and product planning.
Murano Production Launch Leads Nissan’s U.S. Agenda 
Canton production marks the first time since the Murano bowed in 2003 that it will be built outside Japan.
Chrysler, Dodge Execs Confident in Brand-Shifting Strategy 
Making Dodge a performance-oriented marque doesn’t mean volumes will decline, says brand CEO Tim Kuniskis. “We sold 100,000 Dodge Chargers last year, and that's high volume,” he tells WardsAuto.
Flat Rock to Get Back Up to Speed, Ford Exec Says
Once the new Mustang is launched, Flat Rock can more effectively balance its production mix, the auto maker says.
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."
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