Headlines for Monday, January 7, 2013

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Mass. dealers lose fight to block Tesla stores

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
Winning a court appeal or intervention by the attorney general may be the last hopes for Massachusetts dealers trying to block Tesla Motors Inc.'s retail stores.


DCH Auto blends tradition with new twists

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
Dah Chong Hong Ltd., a Chinese food and textile distributorship, survived World War II by relocating to avoid military occupation.

ZEV 'straitjacket'?

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
They rarely say so in public, but automakers are worried about California's law requiring that zero-emission vehicles account for 15 percent of sales in the state by the 2025 model year.

GE backs off plan to buy 25,000 EVs, plug-in hybrids

12:06 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
General Electric's commitment to buy 25,000 electric autos, promoted as the largest ever when it was announced more than two years ago, is taking a detour. The obstacle: Customers of GE's corporate fleet-services unit wanted more options.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: Early look at Detroit show

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
A hint from Acura, a cloaked Corvette, and an eye on Infiniti; GE adds non-EV options to green plan; unplugged at LAX.

Toyota's carbon-fiber foray

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
The soaring Japanese yen has killed any hope of launching a variant of the money-losing, carbon-fiber Lexus LFA sports car, at least for now. When the last $375,000 LFA was built Dec. 14, Toyota was left with a very costly and sophisticated -- yet nearly idle -- carbon-fiber factory.

How Honda hustled to redo Civic

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
Jay Guzowski was getting more nervous by the day. As senior product planner for the redesign of the 2012 Honda Civic, Guzowski was shepherding the compact car from design freeze to market.


Nissan whips up fragrance, new display to lure Detroit show visitors

6:23 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
After keeping a low profile at several recent North American auto shows, Nissan is mounting a full-blown return to the spotlight at next week's Detroit auto show -- complete with the release of a new show fragrance the brand hopes will become its trademark smell.

Volvo sees challenging year ahead after 2012 sales drop

Jan. 7, 2013 12:31 CET
Volvo said its global sales fell 6 percent last year, including double-digit drops in China and Sweden and a small rise in the United States, and warned of a tough 2013.

VIDEO: First Shift: Japan's China woes easing

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
Nissan, Toyota, Honda and Mazda still down, but spiffs are slowing the bleeding; Volvo: Rough 2013; best sales forecasters.


Win on Sunday, maybe, maybe not sell on Monday

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
Is the theory of Win on Sunday, sell on Monday a myth? Alain Visser says yes. Volvo's sales chief is a diehard race fan, but he's also a realist when it comes to the true return on investment provided by a motor sports sponsorship.

UK races to revive supplier industry

Jan. 7, 2013 06:01 CET
The revival of car production in the UK has prompted the government to take action to rebuild the country's supplier industry.


Hanger-on Avenger mars the Dart's start

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
It's not yet quite fair to compare monthly Dodge Dart sales with sales of such segment stalwarts as the Ford Focus, Chevy Cruze and Honda Civic.


Toyota pursues 'co-pilot' car over self-driving vehicle system

4:50 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
Toyota said autonomous safety technologies it’s developing are intended to create a virtual “co-pilot” in vehicles to help drivers avoid accidents rather than self-driving cars and trucks.


More connected car innovations take stage at CES

4:13 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
At the world's largest technology conference that kicked off today, the most intriguing innovations showcased may be gadgets and technology that turn vehicles into connected, smarter machines.


Hyundai hints at fastback-style roofline for next Genesis

3:04 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
Hyundai seems poised to adopt a fastback-style roofline similar to those of the Audi A7 and other sedans with coupelike styling for its next-generation rear-wheel-drive premium sedans.

NHTSA proposes rules for automakers to add sound to hybrids, EVs

1:29 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
Automakers would need to make hybrids and electric vehicles emit sound under rules that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed today.


Remember, trucks make the bucks

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
Car sales rose 18 percent in 2012, twice the gain of light trucks. But trucks are where the money is.

Daimler stake eyed by China investment fund

Jan. 7, 2013 16:18 CET
China's sovereign wealth fund may buy a stake in Daimler, a China media outlet reported Monday.

2012 tally: The big stars and stumblers

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
Lots of vehicles overachieved like crazy in what was a big, booming sales year for the industry, but many failed to live up to expectations in 2012. Winners benefited from fresh designs with fuel efficiency and appealing technology.


Ford to offer Rhapsody online music service in 1 million vehicles

10:40 am U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
Ford will offer Rhapsody International's Internet music service in more than 1 million Ford and Lincoln vehicles, the online company's first tie-in with an automaker.

Daimler stake may be acquired by China investment fund

10:18 am U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
China's sovereign wealth fund may buy a stake in Daimler AG, a China media outlet reported today.


Ex-Audi designer Schreyer is a Kia president without the pressure

Jan. 7, 2013 06:01 CET
It has yet to be shown that star designers can be transformed into heads of big car company divisions. So when designer Peter Schreyer was named president of Kia Motors over the holidays, we wondered about the wisdom of the move.

Audi plans 2016 start in Mexico

Jan. 7, 2013 06:01 CET
Audi is firming up plans for its plant in San Jose Chiapa, Mexico. In the employee newspaper Audimobil, Mattias Rust, project manager for staff in Mexico, said construction will begin in 2014 and production will start in May 2016 with about 3,800 employees.

PSA may sell Faurecia stake to reduce debt, analyst says

Jan. 7, 2013 12:19 CET
PSA may be forced to dispose of its stake in partsmaker Faurecia to further reduce its debt, a Paris-based analyst said on Monday.

Rising Star nominations sought

Jan. 7, 2013 10:00 CET
Automotive News Europe needs your help to find the Rising Stars in the European automotive industry. We define a Rising Star as an automotive executive with a pan-European profile who has driven change, fostered innovation and made courageous decisions. The deadline for nominations is Feb. 1.


Destination Detroit

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
Next week's Detroit auto show will demonstrate that automakers are gunning for good looks and speed, even as cars and light trucks are shrinking to save fuel. Audi is showing the RS7, a high-performance version of the A7. And Chevrolet will unveil a redesigned Corvette.

Mercedes' December sales rise on U.S. demand

Jan. 7, 2013 06:01 CET
Daimler said global sales at its Mercedes-Benz Cars unit rose 0.4 percent to 132,589 in December as strong U.S. demand offset weaker deliveries in China and western Europe. Through December, sales rose 4.5 percent to a record 1.42 million.

UK car sales rise to 4-year high in 2012

Jan. 7, 2013 12:49 CET
British new-car registrations rose 5.3 percent to 2.04 million cars in 2012, the highest level since 2008, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said today. The rise was in stark contrast to other major European markets, which all suffered major declines last year.

Volvo sees challenging year ahead after 2012 sales drop

6:31 am U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
Volvo said its global sales fell 6.1 percent last year, including double digit drops in China and Sweden and a small rise in the United States, and warned of a tough 2013.

JLR's UK sales rise 19.7% in 2012

Jan. 7, 2013 11:42 CET
Jaguar Land Rover said UK vehicle sales rose 19.7 percent to 68,586 in 2012. Deliveries of Land Rover SUVs rose almost 25 percent to 54,480, boosted by demand for the Range Rover Evoque, while registrations of the Jaguar brand increased 2.4 percent to 14,105 vehicles, the company added.

Slower growth, but still on the right track

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
U.S. auto sales may not surpass 16 million units for at least two years, but with most automakers already posting healthy profits and struggling to find production capacity to meet demand, few are in a hurry to get there. And as sales grow more slowly, competition will intensify.

Avis Budget, Zipcar to share cars

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
Avis Budget Group Inc.'s proposed purchase of Zipcar Inc., a car-sharing company, will enable the combined company to meet swings in customer demand with fewer vehicles, the top executive at Avis Budget said. The result could be annual savings of $50 million to $70 million.

Former Automotive News staffer honored

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
Veteran journalist and former Automotive News staff member Kathy Jackson, 62, will receive the 2013 Urban Wheel Lifetime Achievement Award. Peter Brown, publisher of Automotive News, will present the award to Jackson at the 17th Annual Urban Wheel Awards on Sunday, Jan. 13, in Detroit.

Watch your e-mail for our streamlined newsletters

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
Beginning today, Jan. 7, readers of Automotive News' e-mail newsletters will receive more streamlined versions aimed at delivering the most important industry news and insight more efficiently.


After a weak '12, Ford looks ahead

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
Ford Motor Co. finished 2012 with a 5 percent sales increase. But industrywide sales grew 13 percent, so Ford lagged behind many major rivals and lost market share for the second year in a row.

2012 SALES

Reuss: Judge us in mid-2014

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
If you want a true read on the strength of General Motors in the U.S. market, wait until mid-2014. That was the message last week from GM North America President Mark Reuss as he fended off questions about GM's 17.9 percent U.S. market share for 2012.

2012 SALES

New 3 helps BMW keep luxury crown

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
A redesigned 3 series that debuted in February made the difference as BMW won its second straight U.S. luxury sales crown in 2012 by 7,376 units over Mercedes-Benz.


Remember, trucks make the bucks

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
Car sales rose 18 percent in 2012, twice the gain of light trucks. But trucks are where the money is.


Let's not kill the golden goose

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
Last year was a very good year. Nearly everybody ended the year smiling. Dealers saw the best profits in quite a while, and suppliers also did well. Manufacturers had financials that showed healthy profits after a long period of drought.


Settlement offers proof of the need for tort reform

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
Toyota Motor Corp. has bungled many aspects of the unintended-acceleration mess. But the proposed settlement of lawsuits involving a presumed loss of value in some used Toyota and Lexus models is outrageous and amounts to legalized extortion, which could total as much as $1.4 billion.


Marketing destroys buyers' trust

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
The majority of customers shop more than one dealer, which leads to the dickering. And why do most shoppers not trust the first price they get? Because the manufacturers are constantly changing the marketing programs and consequently the prices of vehicles.


People are dealer's most important tool

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 7, 2013
Auto dealers spend serious money on technology aimed at putting them in contact with customers. But investing in a phone system or developing a Web site isn't enough. Dealers must develop their people.

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