Headlines for Monday, April 30, 2012

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AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE CONGRESS 2012

Suppliers' opinions sought for key survey

April 30, 2012 12:00 CET
The 8th annual Automotive News Europe/SupplierBusiness OEM-supplier relations online survey is underway. Suppliers around the world are invited to take part in the survey, which asks partsmakers to rate their automaker customers on everything from commercial aspects to organizational issues.

Scion's FR-S coupe is a sporty category-buster

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
Toyota's new compact coupe will be marketed in the United States as the Scion FR-S. The initials stand for "front engine, rear-wheel drive, sport." In other words, it's a small sporty coupe for drivers who appreciate speed and good driving dynamics.

Mercedes may regain No. 2 premium sales position from Audi by 2015, study says

April 30, 2012 06:01 CET
Mercedes may regain its position as the world's second-largest manufacturer of luxury cars in 2015 after losing it to Audi last year, a German newspaper reported, citing forecasts from the Center of Automotive Research at the university of Duisburg-Essen in Germany.

Hyundai plans 3rd shift at Alabama factory to lift Sonata, Elantra output

8:27 pm U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
Hyundai, moving to boost supplies of the Sonata mid-sized sedan and compact Elantra, plans to add a third production shift at its plant in Montgomery, Ala., starting in September.

JAMIE LaREAU

Why a trade-in might become an offer I can't refuse

3:36 pm U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
When it comes to trade-ins, make me an offer I can’t refuse. I believe there’s a sweet spot for consumers to sell their cars.

APRIL U.S. AUTO SALES

Monthly sales expected to hold strong, hitting annual pace of 14.4 million

3:49 pm U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
Auto sales in April are expected to remain on pace with the previous month, continuing the momentum that saw America's appetite for new vehicles drive first-quarter demand to its highest rate in four years.

Quirky Scion shifts to regular cars, regular ads

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
Nearly a decade after Toyota launched Scion with quirky cars and edgy music, the subbrand's sales have dropped far below their modest peak. And the so-called youth brand's customers are getting older.

Chrysler restarts minivan output after supplier strike ends

12:03 pm U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
A strike by a parts supplier that shut down Chrysler Group's Windsor Assembly plant early this morning ended after workers revoted today and overwhelmingly approved the contract -- allowing Chrysler to restart minivan production this afternoon.

VIDEO: First Shift: GM dating again?

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
GM is reportedly set to renew ties to Japan's Isuzu; Dan Knott is remembered for his 'huge contribution' to Chrysler; Jesse Snyder on April sales.

Tenneco reports lower Q1 profits, shares plunge

2:02 pm U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
Tenneco, which makes emission control and ride control systems, posted lower quarterly profits because of headwinds in the aftermarket segment. Net income in the first quarter sank to $30 million, or 49 cents a share, compared with $47 million, or 75 cents a share, a year ago.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: Chrysler gains in Calif.

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
Chrysler find nuggets of success out West; Sergio sounds warning on supplier strike, then it ends; Toyota a top company for diversity

MIKE COLIAS

GM's Peper brings competitive fire to fleet biz

12:53 pm U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
Zero to 60 in just under 16 seconds normally is nothing to brag about. Unless you're Ed Peper. GM recently floated a press release touting a 15.58-second acceleration time for its Chevrolet Express 4500 van.

Slowdown in China sales is just a blip, automakers say

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
It was inevitable, right? China was too hot not to cool down. And the country's once-torrid auto market, which surged 54 percent in 2009 and another 33 percent in 2010, hasn't just slowed. In the first quarter, auto sales actually fell. But global automakers are more gung-ho than ever.

Chrysler assigning 70 people to new Detroit office

10:34 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
Chrysler Group is leasing offices in downtown Detroit and will assign about 70 people there, CEO Sergio Marchionne said today.

Renault may sign Algeria factory deal, source says

April 30, 2012 09:00 CET
Renault may sign an agreement in early May to build a factory in Algeria, an industrial source told Reuters. CEO Carlos Ghosn had confirmed the ongoing discussions on Feb. 9 on the sidelines of a ceremony to inaugurate a plant in neighboring Morocco.

Porsche's Mongolian push shows Chinese wealth heading inland

April 30, 2012 06:01 CET
Forget Beijing or Shanghai. Porsche, Maserati and Bentley are taking the fight for China's rich to the deserts of Inner Mongolia.

Cha-ching! Dealership profits soar

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
Rising new-vehicle sales are boosting dealership profits. Most public retailers reported much higher first-quarter earnings last week, and other dealers tell similar stories.

BEST PRACTICES

GMC + RV = mountain of sales

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
Drivers passing by Greg Holman's GMC dealership outside Cincinnati likely can't help but notice the four-story mountain of boulders strewn with more than a dozen pickups and SUVs. But as big as the boulder display is, it's only a small aspect of Holman Motors.

Infiniti sees 2012 sales of 200,000

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
Infiniti expects record global sales of more than 200,000 units this fiscal year and sees more overseas production coming to Europe and possibly the United States.

European execs assess a market in turmoil

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
The European auto industry has been rocked by overcapacity, high debt and lagging sales.

California, here we come

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
It's early, but Chrysler Group's comeback effort in California is showing results. In the first two months of this year, Chrysler Group vehicles accounted for 6 percent of all retail registrations in the state, its largest share of the California market since 2008, according to Polk data.

Escape, Fusion: Ford's 1-2 punch at imports

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
Jim Farley, Ford Motor Co.'s global marketing chief, calls 2012 "Ground Zero for the American garage." Translated, that means Ford is launching redesigned versions of two of its top three sellers this year into segments where the competition is white hot: mid-sized sedans and crossovers.

Toyota wants high-volume U.S. Prius output by '15

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
Toyota Motor Corp. wants to source hybrid drivetrain components in North America to begin building the next-generation Prius in the United States by 2015.

Mercedes eager for U.S. retailers in China

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
Joachim Schmidt, Mercedes-Benz's global sales chief, wants U.S. public dealership groups to take the plunge and enter China. But so far nobody seems willing.

Supplier execs: In China, local r&d is crucial

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
Foreign auto suppliers must invest rapidly in China r&d facilities to tap a market that is maturing rapidly and demanding more high-tech features, executives say.

China helps Honeywell chase phony parts

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
Honeywell Transportation Systems, which has been victimized by makers of counterfeit turbochargers, says it has gained the Chinese government's help in a crackdown on bogus aftermarket parts.

Everybody's building a plant and betting big on growth

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
Despite slow growth in China last year and in the first quarter, the world's automakers are increasing their capacity in the country dramatically.

KEITH CRAIN

Whose rules do you play by?

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
It's pretty simple when you do business in the United States. You don't cheat or bribe anyone to increase your company's revenue or profits. That simple, straightforward rule works well for most of the Western world.

EDITORIAL

Dealers: Enjoy the good times but stay lean

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
In this era of rising new-car sales, dealership operations seem to be hitting on all cylinders. But it is important to avoid the temptation to get fat and happy.

EDITORIAL

Counterfeiters beware

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
There can be no illusions that a few court convictions will shut down China's thriving counterfeit auto parts industry. But recent convictions of counterfeiters prove that fighting back can make a difference.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

A game-changer for the good

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
Thank you for the editorial about Chrysler Group's Dan Knott and his efforts to reinvent the automaker-supplier paradigm ("Stay the course," Opinion, April 23).

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Brake override system isn't new

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
I read with disbelief what Keith Crain said about the brake-throttle override mandate ("Brake-throttle override? This is nuts," April 23). I would like to point out that many auto manufacturers have had such an override system for several years, including Mercedes-Benz.

SHAREHOLDER VALUE REPORT

All auto sectors deliver strong 1st-qtr. returns

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
Shareholder values turned upward in the first quarter in all automotive sectors after six months of mixed or losing results. Automakers, suppliers and retailers all posted substantial returns for investors in the quarter, as measured by the Automotive News-PwC Shareholder Value Index.

1st-qtr. profits soar at Chrysler

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
Higher U.S. and global sales in the first quarter enabled Chrysler Group to quadruple net profits compared with the first quarter of 2011.

Chrysler, Ally will part ways

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
Ally Financial and Chrysler Group will part ways in a year, in terms of Chrysler support for cut-rate auto loans and leases, the companies said last week.

Car sales propel Ford to a strong first quarter

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
When it comes to racking up profits, Ford Motor Co. has learned it does not have to live by trucks alone.

Chrysler tailors ad blitz to California market

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
Since mid-January, Chrysler has blitzed California TV audiences with spots tailored for the nation’s largest automobile market.

Industry moves to develop substitutes for resin in short supply

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
Auto executives expect the industry to avoid shutdowns from the shortage of an ingredient used in resins for fuel lines, brake lines and other plastic products. But industry experts say there's no guarantee the proposed solutions will work.

Viewers, tweeters tune in to 'Escape Routes'

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
"Escape Routes," Ford's experiment in prime-time reality TV, is drawing more than 1 million viewers per episode. The program, which airs on NBC and the Hispanic network called mun2 Saturday nights, pits six teams against one another.

Suppliers' PACE contributions: Cleaner, safer, more efficient cars

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
The internal combustion engine just keeps getting better, a trend embraced by the 2012 Automotive News PACE Award judges last week.

LEGAL FILE

Judge: Axed Nissan dealership had time to improve but didn't

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
A Detroit-area Nissan store has lost its fight against termination by the automaker.

AUTOMOTIVE NEWS CHINA CONFERENCE

Press: 'Gold rush' still on for China retailers

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
China's auto sales may have cooled this year, but there is still a "gold rush" of opportunity in the country's retail network, said former Toyota and Chrysler executive Jim Press.

AUTOMOTIVE NEWS CHINA CONFERENCE

Akerson: Fill CEO job from inside GM

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 30, 2012
General Motors CEO Dan Akerson says he's not talking succession with the board but adds that he would prefer an internal successor when it's time for him to move on.

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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