Headlines for Tuesday, May 1, 2012

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Can Renault succeed in China?

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 1, 2012
Renault's push into China may be a case of better late than never. The French automaker has a lot of catching up to do, but it has some advantages that may help.

Ford says future of European sites hinges on length of slump

May 1, 2012 14:34 CET
Ford said the size of its manufacturing base in Europe will be determined by how long the region's demand for new cars remains subdued. "We're taking out temporary workers and cutting hours and we'll continue to do that," Ford of Europe CEO Stephen Odell said.


U.S. sales rise 2% in April; SAAR stays at 14.4 million

7:23 am U.S. ET | May 1, 2012
U.S. light vehicle sales rose 2 percent last month to 1.2 million units, slightly above expectations, with consumers continuing to snap up new cars and other fuel efficient models. In another sign the U.S.

Mercedes leads BMW in U.S. luxury sales after 24% April gain

4:19 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2012
Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz brand regained the U.S. luxury-vehicle sales lead for the year over BMW with April deliveries rising 24 percent.


Pare it down or beef it up?

4:55 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2012
It finally happened. Lincoln is now just a rounding error for Ford Motor Co.'s U.S. sales. In April, Ford brand sales fell 5 percent, the same percentage as FoMoCo's total. Lincoln lost 13 percent, but it's too small -- and too alone -- to affect the corporate number.

U.S. sales gains cool, SAAR stays hot as 'headwinds' persist

5:58 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2012
U.S. sales rose 2 percent in April. It was the smallest monthly advance since July. Hyundai and Kia recorded posted their tiniest increases in 20 months. Ford and General Motors lost ground.

VIDEO: First Shift: Hyundai lifts U.S. output

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 1, 2012
Hyundai adds 3rd U.S. shift to ease inventory shortage; GM's Akerson lists Mary Barra as potential successor; Kia's Calif. HQ gets design award

Ford adding 3rd shift in Ohio engine plant for EcoBoost

1:27 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2012
Ford said it will launch a third shift Monday at its Cleveland engine plant to handle higher demand for light vehicles using its fuel-efficient 3.5-liter EcoBoost and 3.7-liter V-6s.

Ford dragged down by weak car, Lincoln demand

3:04 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2012
Slower car sales pushed Ford Motor Co. to a 5 percent sales decline for April. The automaker sold 179,658 vehicles last month.

Toyota rebounds with sales up 12% on Camry, Prius surge

5:20 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2012
Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.'s April sales jumped 12 percent over last year's results, trailing stumbling Ford Motor Co. by just 1,614 units. Toyota's April market share -- 15 percent -- is the automaker's strongest showing since December 2010.

Chrysler soars again on strong SUV, sedan volume

1:45 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2012
Surging sales of Chrysler Group's mid-sized sedans, minivans and SUVs led the automaker to a 20 percent sales increase in April, its 25th consecutive month of year-over-year gains. Chrysler reported U.S. sales of 141,165 units, the group's best April since 2008.

Honda sales down 2% on weak Civic, Fit demand

4:48 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2012
American Honda sales fell 2 percent in April as big gains for the Accord and CR-V were countered by slumping demand for the Civic and Fit. The recently redesigned CR-V's strong launch continued, with sales up 9 percent to a monthly record.

Discontinued models put dent in Mitsubishi sales

4:42 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2012
Mitsubishi Motors, hurt by discontinued models, posted its fourth straight monthly sales decline in April, a trend Mitsubishi's top U.S. official expects to continue for months.

Altima slowdown flattens Nissan's April volume

4:39 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2012
Lower incentives and a wind-down of its big-selling Altima sedan in preparation for a model change left Nissan Division sales flat in April. Nissan Division sales totaled 64,200, for the month, a decline of just under 1 percent from April 2011.

Ford names first dealerships to sell Focus Electric

4:35 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2012
Ford has named the first 67 dealerships that will sell its Focus Electric, a battery-powered hatchback. The 67 dealerships, which applied to sell the car and went through a certification process, are all in New York, New Jersey and California. Sales begin this month.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: Prepping for the Prius

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 1, 2012
Toyota prepares to build the next-gen Prius in N.A. by 2015; VW sets U.S. April sales pace; 67 Ford stores are certified to sell EVs.

GM's sales drop 8% as fleet sales fall

4:26 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2012
GM's U.S. sales in April dropped 8 percent, partly from a decline in fleet sales, leaving GM's market share so far this year below its 2011 levels. GM sold 213,387 light vehicles in April, giving the company a market share of 17.7 percent for the first four months of the year, down from 19.

Jim Garrett dead at 89

11:36 am U.S. ET | May 1, 2012
Former auto dealer Jim Garrett died April 20. He was 89. During his long career, he owned three dealerships in northeast Ohio: Garrett Dodge in Akron, Southland AMC-Jeep in Middleburg Heights, and Garrett Oldsmobile-Cadillac in Kent. All three dealerships eventually were sold.

GM trims 200 advanced r&d jobs in restructuring

12:56 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2012
General Motors plans to cut nearly 200 employees who work on advanced r&d, part of a broader reorganization of its research operation.

Ally boosts dealer credit lines

3:59 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2012
Ally Financial said it is increasing wholesale credit lines for dealers to take advantage of the U.S. auto market momentum, expanding limits for more than 40 percent of its U.S. dealer clients in the first quarter.

Ford Focus ST priced at $24,495

3:27 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2012
The Ford Focus ST will cost $24,495 when it arrives late this year including $795 in destination fees, according to Ford Motor Co.'s consumer site.


Faurecia takes minority stake in Detroit supplier JV, announcement coming

2:36 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2012
Faurecia North America is the minority stakeholder in Rush Group's joint venture, Detroit Manufacturing Systems LLC.

Subaru overcomes lean stockpiles to post 6% gain

1:55 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2012
Subaru of America sales rose 6 percent in April, marking a fifth consecutive month of gains and paving the way for another record year, the company said. Sales increased to 26,310 units last month despite a shortage of inventory.

TRW posts lower Q1 net income, raises annual sales forecast

10:24 am U.S. ET | May 1, 2012
TRW Automotive Holdings posted lower first-quarter net income, but raised its full-year sales outlook as U.S. auto sales continue to improve from last year.

Auto ad spending will grow 14% in 2012, report predicts

9:58 am U.S. ET | May 1, 2012
As the auto industry motors toward a broad recovery in the United States, Borrell Associates forecasts that national and local advertising spending will rise nearly 14 percent in 2012, to $30.8 billion, and that about 40 cents of every media dollar will be channeled toward digital.

GM's next CEO could be a woman, Akerson says

May 1, 2012 14:00 CET
GM CEO Dan Akerson said that the automaker's most senior woman executive, Mary Barra, could be one of his potential successors. Other candidates tipped for the job include Vice Chairman Steve Girsky, 50, and North American operations chief Mark Reuss, 48.

Volvo has big plans for China

May 1, 2012 10:00 CET
Volvo plans to nearly double its retail network in China as it also expands into new luxury segments, almost triples its model lineup and increases its technology and engineering capability in the region.

France's Valeo aims to double China revenue by 2015

May 1, 2012 13:00 CET
French supplier Valeo plans to double its China sales to 1.5 billion euros (12.5 billion yuan) by 2015, the company said. Last year, Valeo's China sales accounted for 8 percent of its global total.

Italy's Brembo opens brake factory, foundry in China

May 1, 2012 12:00 CET
Italy's Brembo Group has opened a 70 million euro (585 million yuan) factory and foundry in China that will produce as many as 6 million brake discs a year.

GM China JV to build microvans in Egypt, India

May 1, 2012 12:00 CET
General Motors' Chinese microvan joint venture plans to launch production at two plants in India and Egypt using kits imported from China. In July, SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co.

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