Headlines for Wednesday, March 21, 2012

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Volkswagen plans low-cost car brand, report says

Volkswagen is planning a low-cost car brand for emerging markets, Ulrich Hackenberg, VW's head of research and development, told a German magazine. The car will sell for about 5,000 euros, Hackenberg said. Read More »

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Nissan bets on Datsun for sales push

Nissan is counting on its Datsun brand to attract a vast pool of first-time car buyers in emerging markets. Nissan is reviving the Datsun nameplate for entry-level cars in Russia, India and Indonesia. Read More »

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Chinese automakers use UK as testing ground in Europe

Geely Automobile and Great Wall Motor will launch inexpensive cars in the UK this year because the companies believe they can benefit from growing demand for low-cost models during tough economic times. Read More »

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AutoNews Now: Pay cuts before bailouts?

Canada urged to tie automaker aid to wage cuts, GM says consolidating global ad agencies will save billions, and automakers go on a man hunt. Read More »

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Kia resumes partial vehicle output in Georgia

Kia resumed limited production at its assembly plant in West Point, Ga., today after a weekend fire at a nearby supplier caused the automaker to halt production at its plant on Monday and Tuesday. Read More »

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Chrysler is requiring more minority purchases for parts

Chrysler Group's purchasing boss says his company has put “teeth” into its effort to encourage its largest suppliers to buy more parts from minority businesses. If the big suppliers fail to do so, Dan Knott says, it could mean lost business with Chrysler. Read More »

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Volvo, still an outsider in China, banks on 'Linsanity'

When Chinese automaker Geely bought Volvo in 2010, some predicted a government which has made it a priority to buy or build high-end global brands would roll out the red carpet for the country's first fully-owned premier marque. Not so. Read More »

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First Shift: Which ads sway buyers

Hyundai confirms Sonata makeover, Opel labor chief says cuts won't work, warming up to Fiat convertible, and messages that resonate with buyers. Read More »

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2012 NEW YORK AUTO SHOW:

Chevy to show redesigned Impala at New York show

GM will introduce the redesigned Chevrolet Impala next month at the New York auto show. The 2014 Impala will be the 10th generation of the large sedan. Read More »

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CHRISTINA ROGERS:

VW ready to test America's appetite to plug in

Get ready America. Here they come: Volkswagen is bringing its test fleet of all-electric Golfs to the United States. Read More »

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Retooled Beetle draws more men, aiding VW's prospects

The VW Beetle is cute as a bug. What it hasn't been: manly. Persuading men that it's cool to drive the Beetle has been a challenge since Volkswagen brought it back to showrooms in 1998. Read More »

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GM expects $2 billion in savings from marketing overhaul

GM projects it will save $2 billion over the next five years by sharply consolidating its worldwide marketing and advertising agencies. Read More »

Future auto bailouts must eye wage cuts, Canada study says

Future government subsidies like the $14.5 billion bailout of auto GM Canada and Chrysler Canada in 2009 should be pegged to commitments from skilled workers to take wage cuts, according to a study published on Wednesday. Read More »

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VW plans low-cost car brand for emerging markets, report says

Volkswagen AG is planning a new low-cost car brand destined for emerging markets, the head of research and development at the VW car brand told German magazine Auto Motor und Sport in comments published on Wednesday. Read More »

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U.S. dealer giant Penske expands into Italy

U.S. dealer giant Penske Automotive will expand into Italy via a joint venture with Bologna-based BMW-Mini dealer Andrea Mantellini and his family. The partners will buy and operate dealerships in northern Italy, the companies said in a release on Wednesday. Read More »

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Q&A:

How a Honda dealership excels at selling service contracts

Honda North of Danvers, Mass., claims a sales penetration rate for extended-service contracts of more than 50 percent. That's well above an industry average of around 30 percent, as measured by the Power Information Network. Read More »

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JIM HENRY:

One way to stifle 'predatory behavior'

Is it time to replace the dealer reserve with a flat fee?
Read More »

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Continental won't change outlook in wake of China comments

Continental said it has factored slowing Chinese growth in auto sales into earnings projections and won't be revising the outlook in the wake of comments from a Chinese official on Tuesday. Read More »

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Sales of tire-wheel plans balloon

Sales of tire-and-wheel protection policies are ballooning. Ray Ciccolo, president of Village Automotive Group in Boston, says sales of the products at his group's 10 stores have risen 40 percent in the last four years. Some other dealers report sales have doubled in five years. Read More »

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Taking the angst out of the F&I process

Shortly after joining Byers Ford in Columbus, Ohio, as general manager about two years ago, Chuck Greene became frustrated by the delay between when a customer agreed to buy a car and when that customer entered the finance and insurance office. Read More »

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Subprime lender Exeter eyes 50 states in 2012

Subprime auto lender Exeter Finance expects to be buying loans in all 50 states by year end, its chief executive says, up from only 13 states about a year ago. Read More »

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BMW Financial adds BMW-brand lease protection

BMW Financial Services this month added excess wear-and-tear coverage for lease customers to its arsenal of BMW-branded F&I products. Read More »

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Skoda is on track to boost annual production to 1.5 million

Skoda said it was well on its way to meeting its goal of producing at least 1.5 million cars a year by 2018, helped by new models and rising demand in India, China and Russia. Read More »

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VW can't overturn Suzuki's GTi trademark, EU court says

Volkswagen Group can't overturn a trademark for SWIFT GTi granted to Suzuki Motor by the European Union's Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market, the EU's General Court said. Read More »

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Jaguar Land Rover seals Chinese joint venture with Chery

Jaguar Land Rover has finalized a joint venture agreement with Chery Automobile to manufacture and sell vehicles in China. The $2.78 billion alliance will manufacture vehicles and engines for Jaguar Land Rover and a joint-venture brand, and establish a research and development facility. Read More »

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2012 BEIJING AUTO SHOW:

Renault, PSA to debut flagship sedans for China

Hit by slowing sales in their home markets, French automakers Renault and PSA are hoping for a boost from China. Both companies will use next month's Beijing auto show to debut flagship sedans for the world's No. 1 auto market. Read More »

Dealers spur Toyota wear-and-tear plan

Toyota and Lexus dealers asked Toyota to come up with its own lease-protection product and they got it, a Toyota Financial Services executive says. Read More »

LEGAL FILE:

Honda store avoids most claims in spot-delivery case

A federal judge in Florida has tossed out all but one claim, that of unfair trade practices, in a lawsuit by a car buyer whose financing application was rejected after she took delivery. The plaintiff will ask for a rehearing, her attorney says. Read More »

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Nissan names VW exec Willcox as new Europe head
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