Keith Naughton

Stories by Keith Naughton

  • Racial Politics in Detroit

    Trying to hang on, Detroit's mayor says the issue is not his sex scandal, but racism.
  • Small. It’s The New Big.

    Poor countries are getting rich, gas costs are rising and our planet is heating up. The result: a new breed of 21st-century cars that are cooler, cheaper and more compact than ever.
  • Bob Lutz: The Man Who Revived the Electric Car

    When General Motors was fingered as the prime suspect in the 2006 documentary "Who Killed the Electric Car?" Bob Lutz's inbox filled with hate mail. "I hope you rot in hell," read one missive to the GM vice chairman, known for his love of gas-guzzling sports cars. But now the movie's director wants Lutz to star in a possible sequel, "Who Saved the Electric Car?" "Now that they've done their mea culpa, I'm bullish on GM," says director Chris Paine. "I'd like to include Lutz in my next film."What explains this turn of events? Lutz—the man who brought us the Dodge Viper muscle car and the 1,000-horsepower Cadillac Sixteen—has become the unlikely champion of the Chevy Volt, a 150mpg plug-in electric car that GM is fast-tracking for production in 2010. GM's car czar now admits he was wrong to dismiss the popular Toyota Prius hybrid as a PR ploy. Though he still loves fast cars (and fast fighter jets, which the ex-Marine flyboy pilots on weekends), Lutz, 75, is undergoing a green...
  • A Rock Star’s Rebirth

    Carlos Ghosn made history saving Nissan. Then the company stumbled. Now he's trying for a comeback.
  • A Rock Star Is Reborn

    Carlos Ghosn made history by saving Nissan from bankruptcy. Now for his second act, he's engineering a turnaround at his Franco-Japanese auto alliance.
  • Toyota’s Green Problem

    Despite the Prius, environmentalists are turning on the carmaker for opposing new gas-mileage laws.
  • GM Spins Its Wheels

    Behind the automaker's historic losses--and the worries on Wall Street
  • Excuse Me, Mr. Ford

    How to tell the man whose name is on the building that you're overhauling the family firm he once ran
  • The Models Chrysler Is Likely to Kill

    With a new management team in place, the automaker is primed for change. And some of its big-gulp SUVs appear destined to become roadkill.
  • Talk To The Hand

    A 49-year-old traveling salesman allegedly seeking sex in a Minneapolis airport bathroom in June noticed a boyish young man with short, sandy hair and an athletic build standing at a urinal. The salesman, peering over the top of his stall, motioned the young man to move to the adjoining commode. Once they were sitting side-by-side, the salesman tapped his left foot. The young man tapped back. The salesman then reached his hand under the stall divider and grabbed the young man’s leg. No response. The salesman peeked over the top of the divider. Staring back at him was Sgt. Dave Karsnia and his police badge; Karsnia had just nabbed another man allegedly seeking anonymous action in a restroom known on gay Web sites as Minnesota’s “cruisiest.” But rather than humiliate the man with a showy arrest next to the stalls, Karsnia wrote in his police report that he quietly led him away. As the man was being released after being booked and fingerprinted, he turned to Karsnia to say: “Thank you...
  • A Case Of Prius Envy

    Peter Kessner, a devout environmentalist, bought a Honda Civic hybrid four years ago to show everyone that he wants to save the planet. The only problem: no one noticed, since, other than the hybrid badge on the trunk, it looked like a regular Civic. So he traded it in for a Toyota Prius. Suddenly, strangers began stopping him on the street to ask about his hybrid, with its space-age styling and miserly mileage. “That’s a big part of why I bought the Prius,” says the Floral Park, N.Y., retiree. “It opens up conversations, and I push my theory that we’ve got to do our best to conserve.” The Honda, on the other hand, didn’t deliver what Kessner craved: green street cred. “If I’m driving a hybrid,” he says, “I want people to know it.”Customers like Kessner have left Honda with a bad case of Prius envy. In the low-octane race for the environmental high ground, Honda is running a distant second to Toyota—despite the fact that Honda was first to sell a hybrid in America and remains a...
  • Business: How H&M Is Remaking U.S. Fashion

    Even on a soggy spring morning, H&M is causing a commotion outside its newest store in suburban Chicago. Madonna and Beyoncé blast from giant speakers as workers hand out gift cards to dozens of shoppers lining up before the doors open to the Bolingbrook, Ill., store. These shivering shoppers are attracted by the two things H&M creates best: discount designer duds and get-it-now buzz. "It's, like, the only store I go into at the mall," says 23-year-old Sabrina Biziarek, while clutching her gift card and waiting for the doors to open.Since its first U.S. store opened in 2000, H&M has transformed the calculus of cheap chic. With an in-house staff of 120 designers and a nimble network of Asian and European factories, the Swedish retailer can move the latest look from runway to rack in three weeks. And H&M sells high style at crazy-low prices ($3.90 necklaces, $29.90 minidresses). America has become H&M's fastest-growing market, ringing up $231 million in sales this...