Headlines for Monday, March 26, 2012

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Powertrain experts join green-car panel

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
The Automotive News Green Car Conference has been cancelled for 2012.

VIDEO: Dealer VandenBerg learns survival post-Chrysler

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
Jim VandenBerg wondered if there would be a 'tomorrow' after Chrysler terminated his franchise agreement in 2009. Faced with the task of reducing staff by 20 percent, VandenBerg endured many sleepless nights. But in the months that followed, sales soared in his five, smaller import showrooms.

LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE

Was 'Cuda lurking in the '60 Minutes' piece on Chrysler?

1:55 pm U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
Chrysler Group took a star turn in the mainstay of broadcast news Sunday with a lengthy appearance on CBS's “60 Minutes.

How Dilts became a danger-zone dealer

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
For some auto executives, leaving Detroit and opening a dealership is a well-traveled path to retirement. But former Chrysler sales chief Gary Dilts may be the only one who employs men with Kalashnikov rifles to guard the inventory.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: VW, Mustang man fans

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
Mustang for men, Beetle for women?; U.S. dealer groups sold more used cars in 2011, Battery-maker A123 takes blame for Fisker Karma failure.

JAMIE LaREAU

The mojo of car ownership is lost on millennials

8:00 pm U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
Take note: The next generation of car buyers, just isn’t that into it. Nearly half of those aged 18 to 24 say they would choose Internet access over car ownership, according to The New York Times.

A123 will replace defective battery packs, takes blame for Fisker Karma glitch

9:48 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
A123 Systems is replacing lithium-ion battery modules and packs that could fail due to a manufacturing defect, a problem that recently led to the high-profile shutdown of the Fisker Karma luxury sedan during testing by Consumer Reports magazine.

VIDEO: First Shift: Sergio's big fear

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
Sergio on Chrysler's risk; Dealer profits highest since 1970; Report: GM Europe to close plants, shift output to lower-cost sites; 'gray' area for dealers.

Denso exec agrees to plead guilty in price-fixing case

3:15 pm U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
A Denso executive has agreed to serve just over a year in prison and pay a $20,000 fine as part of a plea agreement for his role in rigging bids for heater control panels, the Justice Department said today.

U.S. suggests Ally breakup, wants GM to buy captive finance unit, report says

11:57 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
The United States Treasury, which put $17.2 billion into a bailout of Ally Financial, has indicated it would prefer a breakup and sale of the lender -- including selling the company's captive finance auto business back to General Motors, its original owner.

BMW recalls 1.3 million cars worldwide for battery cable issue

1:36 pm U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
BMW AG is recalling about 1.3 million cars for repair worldwide due to a possible problem with a battery cable cover in the car boot, the carmaker said today.

A Ford, yes -- but a FLEX first

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
It's a Ford, all right, but the 2013 Flex crossover sure doesn't advertise that fact. In mammoth block letters, the word "FLEX" is written across the front and the rear liftgate.

CARS & CONCEPTS

Updated Mercedes GLK crossover will get a diesel engine

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
Mercedes-Benz will add a diesel-engine option to the freshened GLK crossover that debuts at next month's New York auto show. The GLK gets midlife exterior updates, including new front headlamps and a sportier rear bumper.

CARS & CONCEPTS

VW to offer small 4-door with coupe styling

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
Volkswagen will offer another four-door sedan with coupelike styling -- this one smaller than the CC, sources tell Autoweek, a sibling publication of Automotive News.

CARS & CONCEPTS

Acura RL gets NSX's hybrid drivetrain

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
Acura's redesigned RL flagship sedan will get the all-wheel-drive hybrid drivetrain earmarked for the brand's NSX sports car in a bid to inject fresh technology into the struggling premium lineup.

GOLF, INTERRUPTED

New TrueCar exec aims to mend company's strained dealer ties

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
Pat Watson, the newest member of TrueCar Inc.'s executive team, was months away from retiring. Watson's new mission: use his years of connections and inside knowledge of auto retailing and regulation to repair TrueCar's ties with U.S. dealers.

Recovery hits red-hot Stage 2

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
This year's faster-than-expected sales recovery has entered a key new phase: "Want" buyers are joining the "need to replace" buyers who have been carrying the market.

NADA data: Fat year for store profits

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
It's a good time to be a dealer. How good? Dealers even made money on new cars last year. The average retail net profit on a new vehicle was $23 in 2011 vs. a loss of $180 in 2010, said Paul Taylor, chief economist for the National Automobile Dealers Association.

Tell us why your store is a great place to work

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
If your dealership is a great place to work, please tell us this week. Automotive News is working with Best Companies Group to identify dealerships that have created high-quality workplaces.

GM ad agencies await Akerson's ax

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
General Motors CEO Dan Akerson often talks about his desire to reduce cost and complexity. The latest example: GM is chopping the number of its global marketing agencies from more than 100 to just a handful. GM projects that the consolidation will save $2 billion over the next five years.

RECRUITING: THE NEXT LEVEL

Dealers aim higher to fill jobs

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
As unemployment remains high, many large dealership groups are becoming more picky in hiring. Increasingly they are targeting college-educated people -- and aiming to keep them for a long time.

Fiat vendors likely to win U.S. business

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
Chrysler Group's purchasing boss says Fiat suppliers likely will win business in the United States as Chrysler introduces Fiat-based vehicles.

Retailers pumped up used-car sales in 2011

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
Publicly held CarMax Inc., which specializes in used-vehicle sales, was by far the top retailer of used cars and light trucks in 2011, followed by a number of other publicly traded companies, according to data from the Automotive News list of the top 125 U.S. dealership groups.

Acura shifts its focus to sensible Gen Y shoppers

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
Honda is ready to begin the makeover of its Acura premium brand this spring, and the timing could hardly be better.

Federal-Mogul's next big thing: The aftermarket

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
Federal-Mogul Corp. is getting a new CEO -- and another makeover. The company plans to create a separate and independent aftermarket unit that will report directly to the board of directors.

CARS & CONCEPTS

Fresh face for the Outlander Sport

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
The 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport gets a freshening.

CARS & CONCEPTS

Mercedes to drop R-class wagon in U.S.

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
Mercedes-Benz will drop the slow-selling R-class wagon from its U.S. lineup after the 2012 model year but will keep building it in Alabama for export.

Right to Repair battle revs up in Massachusetts

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
The fight over giving independent repair shops the same access to diagnostic information as dealerships is intensifying in Massachusetts, where proponents of so-called Right to Repair legislation are pushing to put the issue on the ballot in November.

Hidden splendor?

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
The redesigned 2014 Chevrolet Impala is among the world debuts planned for next month's New York auto show.

VW will add 800 workers in Tenn. to build Passats

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
Volkswagen Group of America plans to add 800 jobs at its plant in Tennessee to boost production of the Passat mid-sized sedan. The move will increase the factory's work force to 3,500 by year end.

KEITH CRAIN

Florida is a car lover's state

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
The car business is a lot more than just selling and servicing new cars and trucks. Many vehicles leave an indelible mark on society. I recently had the pleasure of participating in a couple of great auto shows in Florida Keith Crain is editor-in-chief of Automotive News.

EDITORIAL

Right to Repair issue rears its ugly head again

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
Like a snake that refuses to die, the so-called Right to Repair initiative keeps popping up around the country. This time, it is in Massachusetts where proponents filed a petition to put the matter on the ballot; that will happen unless the legislature steps up and kills it before May 1.

EDITORIAL

Good for Chrysler

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
Chrysler's purchasing boss is putting his company's money where its mouth is. Dan Knott wants Chrysler Group's largest suppliers to buy more parts from minority businesses.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

'GM must be run by a car guy'

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
Luca Ciferri's March 19 opinion piece, "GM should follow strategy of One Ford," is the best one I have read that analytically, factually and statistically explains the foolhardiness of the General Motors-PSA Peugeot Citroen alliance as well as its foreseen consequences.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

EV column was disappointing

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
Keith Crain's March 12 column, "Don't write off EVs yet" was disappointing. In light of the scandalous waste of resources we have seen in the chase for electric vehicles, I was curious to know his take.

LEGAL FILE

Dealer's day in court

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
A Georgia dealership group can pursue RICO, fraud and related claims against American Suzuki Motor Corp., a federal judge has ruled.

Dealers

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
Dealerships in this report: Anderson Ford-Lincoln of Grand Island in Grand Island, Neb.; Apostolakis Honda in Cortland, Ohio; and the South Carolina Automobile Dealers Association.

Chrysler aims to help minority suppliers

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
Chrysler Group is pressing its big suppliers to buy more parts from minority-owned suppliers. Dan Knott, 51, Chrysler's head of purchasing, said the company is measuring how much business its Tier 1 suppliers do with companies owned by women and members of minority groups.

How Hyundai hoists quality of sales leads

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
Hyundai Motor America believes it is whittling away at the problem of poor-quality sales leads from the Internet. About 700 Hyundai dealerships, with the company's encouragement, are buying leads that have been scrubbed of poor prospects.

REMARKETING

RedBumper hopes to avoid lanelogic's shadow

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
Jim Carter, marketing director at Napa Ford-Lincoln in Napa, Calif., has used other tools to manage his used-vehicle inventory, but he is sold on RedBumper.

REMARKETING

Lincoln event aims to lift residuals

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
Lincoln will hold its first certified pre-owned marketing event in April as part of its effort to put its certified program on a par with those of its luxury-brand rivals.

RECRUITING: THE NEXT LEVEL

Dealers find opportunity in hiring veterans

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
Ryan Medina, 26, isn't a typical car salesman. His first job was with the U.S. Army. Medina's three years in the Army, including eight months in Afghanistan, armed him with skills that he uses today to sell cars at Performance Mazda of Houston.

RECRUITING: THE NEXT LEVEL

Ford fishes for recruitment companies to help dealers

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 26, 2012
Ford Motor Co. dealers are turning to the automaker for help finding employees from outside the auto industry. Ford will launch a pilot program April 1 to choose a recruiting firm and an employee assessment firm whose services eventually will be available to the automaker's dealer body.

Automotive News
Special Video Report
Toyota's Lentz in Texas: A Lexus regret, fixing 'starved' Scion, the next Prius

Toyota's Lentz in Texas: A Lexus regret, fixing 'starved' Scion, the next Prius

Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz is a pioneer. He and a handful of other employees moved to north Texas last September to help build the automaker's new U.S. headquarters.
» Watch the Video
     
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