Headlines for Monday, March 26, 2012

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Mexico car and truck sales, Feb. & YTD

This is data compiled by the Automotive News Data Center and requires a Data Center subscription to access. Read More »

Powertrain experts join green-car panel

The Automotive News Green Car Conference has been cancelled for 2012. Read More »


Dealer VandenBerg learns survival post-Chrysler

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. Read More »


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

Chrysler Group took a star turn in the mainstay of broadcast news Sunday with a lengthy appearance on CBS's “60 Minutes. Read More »


How Dilts became a danger-zone dealer

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. Read More »


AutoNews Now: VW, Mustang man fans

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. Read More »


The mojo of car ownership is lost on millennials

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. Read More »


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

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. Read More »


First Shift: Sergio's big fear

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. Read More »


Denso exec agrees to plead guilty in price-fixing case

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. Read More »


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

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. Read More »


BMW recalls 1.3 million cars worldwide for battery cable issue

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. Read More »


A Ford, yes -- but a FLEX first

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. Read More »


Updated Mercedes GLK crossover will get a diesel engine

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. Read More »


VW to offer small 4-door with coupe styling

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. Read More »


Acura RL gets NSX's hybrid drivetrain

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. Read More »


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

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. Read More »

Recovery hits red-hot Stage 2

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. Read More »

NADA data: Fat year for store profits

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. Read More »

Tell us why your store is a great place to work

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. Read More »

GM ad agencies await Akerson's ax

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. Read More »


Dealers aim higher to fill jobs

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. Read More »


Fiat vendors likely to win U.S. business

Chrysler Group's purchasing boss says Fiat suppliers likely will win business in the United States as Chrysler introduces Fiat-based vehicles. Read More »


Retailers pumped up used-car sales in 2011

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. Read More »


Acura shifts its focus to sensible Gen Y shoppers

Honda is ready to begin the makeover of its Acura premium brand this spring, and the timing could hardly be better. Read More »


Federal-Mogul's next big thing: The aftermarket

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. Read More »


Fresh face for the Outlander Sport

The 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport gets a freshening. Read More »


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

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. Read More »

Right to Repair battle revs up in Massachusetts

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. Read More »


Hidden splendor?

The redesigned 2014 Chevrolet Impala is among the world debuts planned for next month's New York auto show. Read More »


VW will add 800 workers in Tenn. to build Passats

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. Read More »


Florida is a car lover's state

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. Read More »


Right to Repair issue rears its ugly head again

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. Read More »


Good for Chrysler

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. Read More »


'GM must be run by a car guy'

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. Read More »


EV column was disappointing

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. Read More »


Dealer's day in court

A Georgia dealership group can pursue RICO, fraud and related claims against American Suzuki Motor Corp., a federal judge has ruled. Read More »


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. Read More »


Chrysler aims to help minority suppliers

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. Read More »


How Hyundai hoists quality of sales leads

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. Read More »


RedBumper hopes to avoid lanelogic's shadow

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. Read More »


Lincoln event aims to lift residuals

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. Read More »


Dealers find opportunity in hiring veterans

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. Read More »

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