Headlines for Monday, May 7, 2012

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GM-PSA alliance in focus at industry event

May 7, 2012 06:01 CET
PSA's alliance with General Motors and the French company's troubles in Europe will be in focus when PSA CEO Philippe Varin speaks at the 2012 Automotive News Europe Congress. Varin is one of a number of key executives speaking at the 15th Congress, which will be held in Monte Carlo on June 20-21.


Suppliers' opinions sought for key survey

May 7, 2012 06:01 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.

Ford exec to speak at green conference

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
The Automotive News Green Car Conference has been cancelled for 2012.

GM reorganizes, trims r&d unit

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
General Motors is reorganizing and cutting back its r&d operation. As part of the changes, it plans to cut about 100 r&d jobs at the Warren Technical Center in suburban Detroit and 90 more r&d jobs in India, said a source familiar with the cuts who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Toyota back on track

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
Suddenly, Toyota is looking like the juggernaut of old -- a warning to rivals that the window of opportunity for stealing market share from the former No. 1 brand may have snapped shut.

Former controller at Acura dealer in Pa. faces sentencing for wire fraud

2:31 pm U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
A former Acura dealership employee who stole $10.2 million from the Pittsburgh-area store where she worked could face six years in prison, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported today.


Flying Lady 1, flying object 0

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
Rolls-Royce -- the automaker known for its Flying Lady on the hood -- forever proved to me and two others that the new Phantom is much more than just a luxury lounge on wheels. When asked to dart around an unidentified flying object, the Phantom performed perfectly.

Pushing plants to pump up output

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
With stocks of popular vehicles dwindling, carmakers are wringing all the capacity they can out of their plants. It's a startling about-face for an industry that spent the last few years stripping out excess capacity.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: Toyota's transpacific trek

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
Toyota's rising North American production, Denso predicts surge of Japanese N.A. output, GM dealer dilemma: Hoard or halt pickups?

Toyota RAV4 EV priced at $50,610 before tax incentives

3:11 pm U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
Toyota today unveiled the production version of its RAV4 electric vehicle, which carries a battery pack and electric motor system developed in collaboration with Tesla Motors.

VIDEO: First Shift: Second chance for Ford

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
As one judge reverses $2 billion verdict against Ford, another dismisses claims against Toyota; Mazda cutbacks; roots of Arkansas dealer group.

Toyota seen exceeding GM's profit this fiscal year ‎

3:49 pm U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
Toyota's profit may climb to a five-year high and exceed GM's earnings this year, signaling Asia's biggest automaker is close to full force after reeling from natural disasters and a recall crisis.

U.S. highway deaths fall 1.7%, drop for 6th year

5:49 pm U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
The number of people killed on U.S. highways fell in 2011 for the sixth straight year, the longest streak of declines in the nation's history. Crash fatalities dropped 1.7 percent to an estimated 32,310 from a year earlier, NHTSA said Monday in a report.

GM, Ford rise in Fortune 500 rankings

4:10 pm U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
Two Detroit 3 automakers are among the top 10 in Fortune magazine's ranking of the 500 largest U.S. companies released today. More than 23 auto-related companies made the list. GM rose three spots to No. 5 and Ford rose one place to No. 9.

Ford-driven interiors JV with Faurecia is next test for minority supplier

11:15 am U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
A joint venture with French auto supplier Faurecia SA could be Andra Rush's biggest accomplishment -- and challenge -- yet. Ford Motor last week sold its $1.1 billion book of business at a Michigan plant to Faurecia.

Ally's financial problems festering after bailout

1:21 pm U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
Pressure is increasing on Ally Financial and its government overseers to find a solution to its festering financial problems that date back before its government bailout in 2009.

Used-vehicle prices ease in April, index shows

2:41 pm U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
For the first time in six months, used-vehicle prices in April stopped their upward trajectory and showed signs of easing, according to a closely followed gauge released today. The Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index in April stood at 126.1, down slightly from 126.2 in March and down from 126.

Chrysler recalls 127,346 Dodge Chargers, Chrysler 300s in U.S., Canada

12:31 pm U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
Chrysler Group will voluntarily recall 127,346 2011 and 2012 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans in the United States and Canada to fix a fuse problem that could disrupt the vehicles' antilock brakes and electronic stability control systems.

GM prices Cadillac ATS at $33,990

12:13 pm U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
GM will price its new Cadillac ATS at $33,990 including shipping, just below the German rivals that GM is targeting with the new sports sedan. The base price of the ATS, which goes on sale this summer, will be $1,805 less than the BMW 3 series and $1,685 less than the Mercedes C class.


Flying Lady 1, flying object 0

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
Rolls-Royce -- the automaker known for its Flying Lady on the hood -- forever proved to me and two others that the new Phantom is much more than just a luxury lounge on wheels. When asked to dart around an unidentified flying object, the Phantom performed perfectly.

VW will launch two small SUVs, newspaper reports

May 7, 2012 12:35 CET
Volkswagen plans to add two SUVs positioned below the Tiguan compact model because of booming demand for such vehicles, a newspaper report said.

Bosch, Chery to form infotainment JV

May 7, 2012 14:07 CET
Robert Bosch plans to set up a joint venture with Chery Automobile to develop and produce instrument clusters and infotainment systems for Chinese automaker Chery's vehicles.

GM plans to end Astra production at Opel's home plant, report says

May 7, 2012 10:35 CET
General Motors plans to end production of the Opel Astra at its Ruesselsheim plant in Germany to help stem losses at the automaker's European operations, a report said.

Italy's Pininfarina will soon draw bulk of revenue from China

May 7, 2012 13:00 CET
China is poised to surpass Germany as Pininfarina's largest market by year end, company CEO Silvio Pietro Angori says.

Continental appoints Spanish exec to lead hybrid-EV powertrain unit

May 7, 2012 06:01 CET
Continental has appointed Xavier Pujol to take charge of its hybrid-electric vehicle business unit in Nuremberg, Germany.


Mini milestone: A Fiat store hits triple figures

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
April was the first month in which one of the freshly minted Fiat dealerships -- pardon us, salons, in official parlance -- topped 100 sales in a single month.


We had all better learn about BRICS

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
The Beijing auto show proved that the huge Chinese market is still a very important place for the world's automakers, even if some people think the market is nearing saturation. There are other emerging markets that will show lots of growth.

Difficult times yield big rewards for dealer group

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
Forging a dealership group during a deep recession is fraught with risk, but three bold entrepreneurs -- Robert Johnson, Mack McLarty and Steve Landers -- not only created a profitable venture, they more than doubled the group's original size to 25 stores.

GM's pickup plans divide dealerships

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
Texas dealer Rox Covert has roughly four months' worth of full-sized pickups in stock at his two Chevrolet and two GMC stores. Normally he prefers a three-month supply. That extra slug of Chevy Silverados and GMC Sierras is reality for many General Motors dealers lately.


NADA seeks data on renovation payback

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
In the three months since a National Automobile Dealers Association study concluded that manufacturer facility renovation programs cost too much and produce uncertain results, NADA leaders have hopscotched the country meeting with factory executives, seeking more data and appealing for slowdowns in...

N.A. production will slash Toyota imports

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
Several of Toyota's top-selling U.S. vehicles that are built both in North America and Japan soon will be produced exclusively in North America, the company's top U.S. executive said.


Blind brothers' store thrives on the sum of its parts

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
Bruce Young calls himself the most accessible parts manager in the country. That accessibility has helped him build a wholesale parts empire at Delray Motors Inc., the dealership that he co-owns with his brother Tim in Delray Beach, Fla. Young, 50, doesn't wander around for a reason.

Feds confront gray area on distracted driving regulation

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
Federal officials' crusade against distracted driving faces a major snag: U.S. regulators are unsure who can set rules on how cell phones are used behind the wheel.

Krafcik: 3rd shift will boost Elantra, Sonata output

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
Hyundai's U.S. chief favors boosting output of the Elantra compact when a third shift begins at its Alabama assembly plant in September. The additional shift will boost the plant's production by 20,000 units between September and year end.

Dan Knott remembered for integrity

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
Dan Knott was remembered by colleagues and competitors last week as a straight-talker whose integrity helped Chrysler Group restore its relationships with suppliers.


Kia's new flagship is expected in N.A.

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
The large luxury sedan Kia introduced last week in Korea probably will be exported to North America. The rear-wheel-drive K9 shares a platform with Hyundai's Equus sedan.


Enzo replacement will get 1st Ferrari hybrid

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
Ferrari will introduce its first gasoline-electric hybrid system next year in the sports car that will replace the limited-edition Enzo. The hybrid system "will slash fuel consumption and increase performance," Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa said at the recent Beijing auto show.


New Mitsubishi is '50-50' call

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
Mitsubishi product planners are on the fence about whether to bring the new Mirage small car to the United States. The minicar will debut in Canada in the first quarter of 2013.


Sylphy is Sentra preview

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
The Chinese-market Sylphy compact sedan Nissan rolled out at the Beijing auto show last month previews the redesigned Sentra due here this fall.


Jaguar 'F' to get a V-8

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
The Jaguar F-Type will get a V-8 engine option in addition to a supercharged V-6 when it debuts in 2013, sources tell Autoweek.

For Landers, auto dealing is a family affair

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
Steve Landers is as comfortable buying used cars in an auction lane as he is buying diamond-in-the-rough dealerships.

Johnson: Power in partnerships

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
Robert Johnson knows the power of good partnerships. In 1980 he launched Black Entertainment Television, the nation's first TV network aimed at black viewers.

McLarty wants to merge into emerging markets

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 7, 2012
Business leader. State legislator. Former White House chief of staff. Mack McLarty has been all of those. Now, in an increasingly important role in the auto industry, he's a pioneer in retailing and distributing vehicles abroad.

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