Automotive News Table of Contents

April 14, 2014



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Clues in GM crashes easy to miss

At the time, many of the crashes now tied to faulty General Motors ignition switches looked like the predictable consequences of drunken driving, speeding or inattentiveness late at night. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014 | UPDATED: 4/14/14 10:30 am ET - adds details, background

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2014 NEW YORK AUTO SHOW

Honda, Nissan: A brand new battle

The auto industry is always full of head-to-head rivalries, and right now the battle between Honda and Nissan is one of the hottest. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2014

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ADP Dealer Services to spin off, go public

Hot U.S. auto sales and the rise of online shopping have triggered a frenzy of merger and capital-raising activities among auto-retailing vendors. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

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Automotive News moves 2 reporters, adds copy editor

Automotive News will open a Silicon Valley bureau this year to cover the technology companies that are playing a greater role in the industry. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

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HOW HONDA GOT ITS GROOVE BACK

With the new Honda Fit, engineering solutions once again take priority

If there is any question about whether smart engineering is on its way back at Honda Motor Co., one need look no further than the second-row "magic" seats of the 2015 Honda Fit. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

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Dodge tests innovative 1-year lease on '14 Charger, Challenger

Dodge will defy industry convention this week with its "Double-Up" deal on the Charger and Challenger. The one-year lease on the outgoing 2014 editions comes with an incentive to switch to next year's refreshed models. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

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Nissan sells dealers on new spiff strategy

Nissan's U.S. chief is convinced that a dealer sales incentive program launched nationally on April 1 will make his retailers bigger and richer, and propel Nissan toward its goal of a 10 percent U.S. market share. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

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Ruling on terminated dealers keeps Chrysler case in the courts

About 150 dealerships that lost Chrysler franchises during the company's 2009 bankruptcy won a round in federal court last week. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

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As rivals swarm, Nissan hurries refreshed Versa

Nissan will hustle a refreshed 2015 subcompact Versa sedan into showrooms this month, just two years into the car's model cycle. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

Lincoln design director Wolff is quietly replaced

Lincoln has installed a new design director after quietly replacing Max Wolff. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

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FLAIR FIGHT

Nissan sees styling as the Altima's path to mid-sized sales leadership

With the redesigned Nissan Murano, which debuts at the New York auto show this week, Nissan Motor Corp. aims to replicate some of the design magic that worked wonders for rival Hyundai Motor Co. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014 | UPDATED: 4/14/14 4:12 pm ET - correction

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Ram beefs up Power Wagon

The re-engineered 2014 Ram Power Wagon will get a new frame, bigger tires and a five-link coil suspension to improve on-road performance and off-road ability. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

Tests toughened F-150 bed

Ford Motor Co. decided to increase the thickness of the aluminum used in the 2015 F-150's bed floor by almost half after conducting testing with three commercial fleet customers. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

Wrangler to the max

The Jeep Wrangler Maximum Performance is one of six customized off-roaders that Jeep and Mopar are taking to the annual Easter Jeep Safari from Saturday, April 12, through Sunday, April 20, in Moab, Utah. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

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14 new Toyota engines seek 10% gain in mpg

Toyota Motor Corp. will unleash a blitz of 14 new gasoline engines through 2015 in a long-awaited powertrain overhaul that aims to boost fuel efficiency by at least 10 percent. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

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JASON STEIN

Krafcik's back: Many projects, scads of ideas

Somewhere between a conversation on the future of retailing and the excitement over meeting a big investor for a lunch in Century City, John Krafcik has discovered something incongruous in the way the world works. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

EDITORIAL

Beware of knee-jerk reactions to GM's recalls

The U.S. auto industry needs to be prepared for greater scrutiny, more government regulation and stronger enforcement. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

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KEITH CRAIN

Happy 50th to an American icon

The Ford Mustang is 50 years old. It deserves a celebration, and I am sure Ford is planning an appropriate party. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Keys, push buttons and first responders

I have had concerns about push-button, fob and stop-start systems for some time now. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Where were Barra's PR, legal people?

The performance of General Motors CEO Mary Barra, a seasoned Fortune 500 executive, during her congressional testimony was amazing. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

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BEST PRACTICES

JM Lexus drops middleman to speed sales

Eliminating the middleman from negotiating has helped JM Lexus cut the time a customer spends in the store after deciding to buy a specific vehicle to 2.5 hours from 3.5 hours, including delivery. It also is among the reasons that the Margate, Fla. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

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Dealers

Dealers featured this week include members of the Cifaldi family at Cifaldi Motors (Chrysler-Dodge-Ram-Jeep) in Cumberland, Wis.; and Anthony Galardi, AnnaLynn Wheeler and Stephen Wheeler of A-1 Toyota in New Haven, Conn. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

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Honda Fit raises the ante for subcompacts

In the subcompact segment, small can no longer mean cheap. It's not only price but a product's execution that makes the difference between a sale and a walkaway. With the 2015 Fit, Honda looks to be leading the pack -- at least on the execution side. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

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'Inner frame' makes Fit stronger, less costly

In creating the 2015 Honda Fit's body-in-white, Honda engineers changed the manufacturing process to make the car lighter, stronger and less expensive. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

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Into Africa: Toyota taps last emerging market

Toyota President Akio Toyoda visited Kenya for the first time last fall, touring Toyota's knockdown production plant and Toyota Group companies. 8:35 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

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Bosch plans automatic park system in '15

Robert Bosch GmbH says it will start producing an automatic parking system -- a step toward autonomous driving -- in 2015 for a customer it did not identify. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

Detroit 3: High octane has pluses

Automakers could increase fuel economy as much as 5 percent if the United States used the same blend of high-octane gasoline that is sold in Europe, Detroit 3 powertrain chiefs say. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

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Ford honors the past, launches new pony for a shifting market

The golden shine from the Mustang's spectacular launch in 1964 has long since faded. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2014

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SEAT RELIEF

Lear, others devise high-tech ways to support bad backs

Lear Corp. wants motorists to sit up straight. The seat maker is developing a "smart" seat that adjusts itself automatically to correct a motorist's posture, important for comfort on long trips. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 19, 2014

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'Slow to act' GM rankled NHTSA, e-mail shows

Discussions between the NHTSA and GM went back and forth for months, and GM eventually sent out two batches of recall notices to owners of about 7,000 cars. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 19, 2014

Less reliance on fleet sales in March

Automakers continue to cut their reliance on U.S. fleet sales as car rental companies strategically reduce vehicle purchases. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

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Q&A

CEO defends Audi's record for innovation

BMW and Mercedes-Benz get top marks for their technical prowess, but Audi chief Rupert Stadler says his company is keeping up with its German rivals, especially in areas such as lightweight construction, lighting and plug-in hybrids. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

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SPEAKING ENGLISH

'Villains' campaign aims to recast Jaguar's reputation for badness

A Shakespeare soliloquy might seem out of place in a car ad, but Jaguar wants to make a key point -- that it is a quintessentially and unapologetically British challenger to BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

Honda, Acura, dealers tangle for Google ads

A battle is shaping up among Honda, Acura and their dealers for control of Google shoppers. Competition for keywords can drive up Google ad prices. It's a quandary Honda Motor Co. and its Acura brand seem intent on tackling. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

Despite high-profile recalls, GM hardly the worst offender

Consumers in the United States may be watching in dismay as General Motors trudges through its high-profile safety recalls. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014 | UPDATED: 4/14/14 1:38 pm ET - adds link

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Battered doorstop makes the pitch: Get wheel protection

Finance and insurance professionals say sales of tire-and-wheel protection policies were higher in the first few months of 2014 than they were in 2013 as motorists contended this year with roads ravaged by one of the coldest, snowiest and iciest... 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

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Chrysler Capital offers perks for dealers' loyalty

Chrysler Capital has launched a dealer-loyalty program that offers participants longer car loans and lower rates but requires them to get a quote from Chrysler Capital for every customer loan. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

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2014 BEIJING AUTO SHOW

Luxury models take center stage in China

A few months ago, industry analysts speculated that China's fast-growing luxury market soon would stagnate as the economy cooled and Communist Party leaders discouraged conspicuous consumption. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

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2014 NEW YORK AUTO SHOW

Mid-sized sedans and crossovers to square off in the Big Apple

Hyundai will roll out its 2015 Sonata while Toyota offers an aggressive midcycle freshening of the Camry at the New York auto show this week. And Subaru will pit its redesigned 2015 Outback crossover against the next Nissan Murano. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014 | UPDATED: 4/14/14 9:30 am ET - adds Nissan Murano details

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Cost quandary hits Japan's advanced factories

It's a cruel paradox for Japan's manufacturers. Auto suppliers here have some of the world's most automated factories. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014 | UPDATED: 4/14/14 9:25 pm ET - adds correction

Innovation, safety are winners at PACE Awards

It's difficult to look disruptive dressed in a tuxedo. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

March sales melt winter's frozen stocks

Brisk light-vehicle sales in March sharply reduced supply levels that had built up on U.S. dealership lots in January and February. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

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At beleaguered GM, finally some good news

Amid the furor over faulty ignition switches, life goes on at General Motors. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

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First Mulally, then Fields, then . . . ?

To encourage donations, United Way of Southeastern Michigan has put up billboards in the Detroit area that show children portraying local heroes. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

Tesla, lawyer trade grenades in lemon-law suit

When life hands you lemon-law suits in Teslatown -- hey, forget lemonade; come out swinging. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

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YANG JIAN

Why compact SUVs will play big in Beijing

Ten years ago, the average Chinese family could not afford a car. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

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AutoNews Now: Big Apple showstoppers

A tour of the vehicles turning heads at the NY show; VW's World Cup play; Corvette camaraderie; Easter eggs on wheels? 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 18, 2014

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AutoNews Now: Camry's mid-cycle overhaul

Amid tough competition, Toyota tries a makeover; Sonata trims its curves for '15; VW exec on sales drop; Mustang's lofty feat. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 16, 2014

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AutoNews Now: Defending franchised dealers

NADA chair: Factory stores hurt competition, says dealers best during recalls; EV luxury; Tesla setback; BMW raises i3 output. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 15, 2014

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AutoNews Now: NY auto show highlights

Subaru updates Outback, Honda shows photo of HR-V crossover, Infiniti goes long on Q70; GM judge denies 'park it' request. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 17, 2014

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AutoNews Now: Ready to hit NY stage

Racier Nissan Murano, roomy Kia Sedona, tech-laden Chevrolet Cruze to make debuts; Bentley's rise; GM PR chief leaving. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

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First Shift: 'We know the world is watching'

Barra faces barrage in NY; GM creates safety team; scrutiny turns to Delphi; MyFord Touch upgrade; Camry tweak peek. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 16, 2014

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First Shift: GM exploring victims' fund

Disaster-compensation expert Feinberg discloses effort, Continental sued over recall; Ford legal setback; Kia's 'muscular' minivan. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 18, 2014

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First Shift: In NY, spotlight on luxury

Acura shows 'backbone,' BMW unveils X4, Mercedes meets 'Mad Men,' and Land Rover displays Vision; face-lift for VW Jetta. 7:45 am U.S. ET | April 17, 2014

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First Shift: Lease '14 Dodge, get a '15

1-year 'double-up' lease extends terms to refreshed Charger, Challenger; drop-top Z06; GM recall update; NY show preview. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014

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First Shift: M-B expects off-lease surge

Brand may have to steer sales through non-Benz dealers; Barra to address execs; why Mustangs face left, and other fun facts. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 15, 2014


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How a Texas Toyota store solved used-car-supply challenge

How a Texas Toyota store solved used-car-supply challenge

Mike Shaw Toyota in Corpus Christi, Texas, struggled to find good used cars. So it started providing free appraisals to service customers and offered to buy their vehicles on the spot. Mon., April 14
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