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Melissa Burden

Retail reporter
Address: 1155 Gratiot Ave.
48207-2997 Detroit, Mich.
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Phone: 313-446-1637
E-Mail: mburden@crain.com
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Recent authored articles

Alert to dealers: Plan for your future, or plan to cash out

Presidio Group, a dealership buy-sell advisory firm, recommends that its clients create a conversion plan to serve the future industry or opt to sell their dealerships ahead of predicted dealership disruption from autonomous vehicles.

Former NFL players' stores lose franchises

A once-prospering dealership group has lost franchises at two of its dealerships in Pennsylvania, while two Michigan dealerships have closed.

Dealerships owned by ex-NFL stars lose Nissan, Kia franchises

A dealership group facing lawsuits by two captive lenders over allegations of failing to repay millions of dollars in floorplan loans lost at least two of its franchises, while two other dealerships have now closed.

China's auto retailers waiting in the wings

Chinese dealers and retail investment groups are testing the waters for U.S. operations

NISSAN: Cars slump, Infiniti jumps

Nissan Division's U.S. sales fall 13% in October on sharp decline in car sales

HONDA: Sedans a drag yet Acura advances

American Honda saw strong U.S. sales in October from its Acura brand, but a 14 percent drop in overall car sales pulled sales down for the company by 4.1 percent.

Sonic's Q3 net income drops 22%, but EchoPark thrives

UPDATED: 10/25/18 4:22 pm ET - adds stock close

Sonic Automotive's net income dipped in the third quarter because of lower revenue and new-vehicle sales, though the company saw gains in its standalone EchoPark used-vehicle operations.

Penske profits jump on sales gains, tax benefit, U.K. boost

UPDATED: 10/25/18 4:18 pm ET - adds stock close

Penske Automotive's third-quarter earnings set records, aided by increases in overall sales, plus higher gross profits in most parts of its retail automotive business.

Dealers in Florida and Georgia rebuild after Hurricane Michael

Dealerships in several states were damaged after Hurricane Michael, but in terms of concentrated wreckage, Panama City, Fla., appears to be ground zero.

Dealers sue Mazda over multi-tier bonus plan

Florida dealership Kuhn Mazda and the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers are suing Mazda Motor of America Inc. in two lawsuits alleging its new Mazda Brand Experience Program 2.0 violates state franchise laws and includes price discrimination.

Ohioan in line to lead NADA

Ricart, 61, CEO of Ricart Automotive Group near Columbus, was elected last week as NADA's next vice chairman, putting him in line to become chairman in 2020.

Ohio dealer Rhett Ricart elected NADA's next vice chairman

The National Automobile Dealers Association has elected Ohio dealer Rhett Ricart as its next vice chairman, meaning Ricart is in line to become chairman in 2020.

Dealers collect what's left following Hurricane Michael

It's been five days since hurricane Michael made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, but the restoration for the affected dealerships and their communities could take years.

Why brands assist dealers with retention

About 40 percent of the 2018 Best Dealerships To Work For say their automaker partners encourage or incentivize better hiring, employment and retention practices.

Florida dealers brace as Hurricane Michael hits landfall

UPDATED: 10/10/18 4:08 pm ET - adds details

Hurricane Michael is hitting Florida's Panhandle as a Category 4 storm with winds of 100 mph or more, as many dealership owners in its path brace for what the National Hurricane Center is calling a "potentially catastrophic" storm.

Dealers in Florida panhandle prepare as Hurricane Michael strengthens to Category 4

UPDATED: 10/10/18 7:06 am ET - updates hurricane's status

Dealers in the Florida Panhandle on Tuesday were preparing for Hurricane Michael, which was barreling through the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 4 storm.

Dealership buy-sell deals gain momentum

Tax code changes and more sellers entering the market are boosting dealership buy-sell activity.

Honda appears to back controversial dealership group's plans in Texas

American Honda appears to back a dealership group that plans to open a 100,000-square-foot-plus Honda store in Grapevine, Texas — despite the group's legal troubles.

FCA US: Outsells Ford Motor for first time since 2015

UPDATED: 10/3/2018 1:21 pm ET

FCA US sales soared 15 percent to 199,819 in September, led by record Ram and Jeep results for the month, topping crosstown rival Ford Motor Co.'s 196,496 car and light-truck deliveries.

FORD: F-series streak snapped

UPDATED: 10/3/2018 1:17 pm ET

Ford's U.S. light-vehicle sales sank 11 percent to 196,496 in September. The decline dropped Ford behind FCA US, whose sales jumped 15 percent to 199,819, for the first time since November 2015.

At Sonic, new leaders, but same agenda

Sonic's new CEO David Smith says he is committed to the retailer's strategy of growing its EchoPark brand of used-only stores.

California dealer bill vetoed by governor over warranty payment formula

UPDATED: 10/1/18 2:12 pm ET - adds statement

California Governor Jerry Brown, in a surprise move, vetoed a wide-ranging bill backed by the California New Car Dealers Association over his concerns regarding a formula automakers would have had to use to pay dealers for warranty and recall repairs.

Porsche store to aid scam victims

Champion Porsche says it will compensate more than two dozen customers who were victims of a scam by an employee who allegedly bilked them of more than $2.5 million dollars.

Sonic CEO Scott Smith steps down, succeeded by brother

UPDATED: 9/27/18 9 am ET - adds ages, details

Sonic Automotive CEO Scott Smith is stepping down and the nation's fifth-largest auto retailer said it promoted his brother David Smith to CEO and named Jeff Dyke as president.

How America's auto retail giants transformed and navigated the recession

In two tumultuous days in September 2008, Lehman Brothers and mega-insurer AIG collapsed, and Bank of America acquired Merrill Lynch, which was on the verge of sinking. The Wall Street panic and credit crunch that ensued devastated the U.S. auto industry. Apocalypse loomed. The publicly traded titans of American auto retailing were gravely exposed. One question stood above all: Could they avoid b

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