Headlines for Monday, October 1, 2012

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BEST PRACTICES:

Innovation spurs Serra's growth

Joe Serra, the Michigan dealer who was on the vanguard of no-haggle pricing 20 years ago, has long been an idea man. Now Serra is on a growth tear. Read More »

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2012 Guide to certified Pre-Owned Vehicle Programs

This is data compiled by the Automotive News Data Center and requires a Data Center subscription to access. Read More »

Nissan plans panel to advise Leaf owners

Nissan plans an independent global panel to review data for its electric Leaf batteries and help advise a small group of owners in Phoenix who believe their batteries are aging too fast. Read More »

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Dealer Tim White readies chain for a 2nd century

How does a dealership that started in 1914 keep on going? The White Family formula has included sticking to a business model, turning down suitors, and pursuing an expansion strategy that has stretched the group's Ohio roots to Spearfish, S.D., and beyond. Read More »

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Fisker's Posawatz says partner talks 'on our radar screen'

Fisker Automotive CEO Tony Posawatz, five weeks into leading the luxury plug-in hybrid carmaker, says the company has a lot of work to do -- and says discussions with strategic partners are “on our radar screen.” One task on his to-do list, Posawatz said, is to start a leasing program. Read More »

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AutoNews Now: Fisker boss on 'missteps'

Toyota, Honda on rise
Read More »

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Mazda names ad veteran Wager to lead U.S. marketing

Mazda North American Operations today named longtime automotive advertising executive Russell Wager as vice president of marketing. Wager once handled Mazda's United States account for ad agency Doner. Read More »

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Nissan sets new Sentra pricing below outgoing 2012 model

Nissan will start pricing on its redesigned 2013 Sentra compact sedan at $440 less than the outgoing Sentra. Read More »

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Fiat may delay $1 billion Russian factory, official says

Fiat may delay building a plant in St. Petersburg, Russia, because of overcapacity in Europe. Read More »

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First Shift: Congress and car sales

Snyder: Why sparking sales may take an act of Congress; Chrysler-CAW contract ratified; GM, Ford team on transmissions. Read More »

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LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE:

Why Chrysler's new onboard navigation system makes me chuckle

The advances in onboard navigation systems have come at a breakneck pace in recent years. But sometimes, it's what gets overlooked -- and what doesn't -- in the hurly-burly rush for the latest and greatest mapping software that gives me cause to chuckle. Read More »

TRW to spend $1 billion on share buybacks

Automotive safety systems supplier TRW Automotive said today it would spend up to $1 billion to buy back its shares. Read More »

Magna to acquire German supplier Ixetic for $397 million

Canada’s Magna International plans to buy Ixetic Verwaltungs GmbH, a German maker of automotive vacuum, engine and transmission pumps, for about 308 million euros ($397 million). Read More »

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VW's Browning: Political discord hampers U.S. auto investment

The United States needs to address rising debt and reduce political discord if it wants further investment from foreign companies such as Volkswagen AG, the top executive for Europe's biggest carmaker in the United States said today. Read More »

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Visteon names Leuliette its permanent CEO

Visteon, confirming weeks of speculation, today named Timothy Leuliette its permanent CEO and president. Leuliette, 62, will also be replaced as chairman of the supplier by current board member Francis Scricco, 63. Read More »

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BMW to offer 3-bangers in the U.S.

BMW, known for high-performance engines, is considering a three-cylinder powerplant for vehicles sold in the United States. Read More »

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BRAIN DRAIN?:

Auto companies try new recruiting techniques and workplace practices to fill engineering vacancies in Detroit

Threatened by a chronic shortage of engineers -- exacerbated by years of industry restructuring -- auto companies are having trouble filling job vacancies in Detroit now that the industry is coming back to health. Read More »

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HANS GREIMEL:

Could Suzuki be the next subject of Marchionne vs. VW?

It’s no secret that VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech wants to prize Alfa Romeo away from Sergio Marchionne’s Fiat Group. Marchionne won't let it happen, but he may just be angling to snag his own piece of Piech’s Volkswagen turf. Read More »

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Honda expands N.A. recall to include over 600,000 Accords

Honda is expanding a recall in North America to include more than 600,000 Accord mid-size sedans to address a potential power steering fluid leak problem that could cause a fire under the hood. Read More »

GM to recall about 41,000 cars over fuel leak problem

GM is recalling about 41,000 Chevrolet, Pontiac and Saturn cars in the United States because of concerns that a defective plastic part might cause a fuel leak, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Read More »

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Spyker will oppose GM's motion to dismiss Saab lawsuit

Dutch sports car maker Spyker, which is suing General Motors for more than $3 billion on behalf of Saab, said on Monday it will oppose GM's motion to dismiss the case. Read More »

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PARIS AUTO SHOW:

BMW plans up to 12 models on new platform

BMW will develop 10 to 12 compact models based on its new front-wheel-drive platform, said Ian Robertson, board member for sales and marketing. The platform, known as UKL, debuted on the Concept Active Tourer at the Paris auto show. Read More »

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KEITH CRAIN:

The no-dicker sticker is back

More that a decade ago, one of the hottest topics in the retail business was the no-dicker sticker. Although some dealers still use this method, it largely hasn't been thought about for a while. Well, the no-dicker sticker is back. Read More »

Europe: It's 'a disaster'

As bad as European auto sales have been this year, they're about to get worse. That was the verdict from industry executives gathered at the Paris auto show last week. It marks a sharp turn from other European auto shows since the onset of the continent's stubborn debt crisis. Read More »

Toyota's engine overhaul

For years, Toyota Motor Corp. has put hybrids at the center of its powertrain technology strategy, all but oblivious to the rapid fuel economy advancements rivals have made in the humble gasoline engine. Now, in a major overhaul of its lineup, Toyota is playing catchup. Read More »

Ford, GM co-design trannies

General Motors and Ford Motor Co. are jointly designing nine- and 10-speed automatic transmissions for broad use across their vehicle lineups in a bid to boost fuel economy. GM is leading the design of a nine-speed gearbox for use in front-wheel-drive vehicles. Read More »

AutoNation's big digital push

AutoNation Inc. has poured $500 million into store renovations in the past three years. But customers still can't purchase cars as easily as they buy electronics at the Apple Store or books on Amazon.com. That's why the country's largest dealership group is trying to remake itself. Read More »

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Chevy ad campaign touts Malibu style

Chevrolet is heading into an epic mid-sized sedan battle with an advertising campaign that plugs its Malibu as a stylish alternative to the Honda Accord and other rivals. Read More »

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Chevrolet Spark sales are heating up

Texas Chevrolet dealer Rox Covert is in truck country. But you wouldn't know it from the way customers snapped up all 16 Spark minicars he had on his lot since August. Buyers have included seniors, college kids, moms -- and lots of non-General Motors customers. Read More »

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Toyota's quiet hero

Don Esmond was known for an easy smile, quiet demeanor and low-key public persona during his 30 years at Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. He was content to blend into the team effort. Read More »

In Vietnam: 900 missions, Purple Heart and Silver Star

Don Esmond never backed away from danger. But after his first tour at sea as a Navy ROTC candidate -- riding out a hurricane off Bermuda, watching destroyers vanish from view in the roiling sea -- Esmond decided he wasn't cut out for the seagoing life. Read More »

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Mopar adds used-vehicle service plans

Mopar is offering several inexpensive service plans for pre-owned vehicles, part of a rebranding of its service contract business. Read More »

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CARS & CONCEPTS:

Subaru XV Crosstrek goal: 18,000 N.A. sales

Subaru aims to sell 18,000 units of its new XV Crosstrek in North America annually, targeting the increasingly crowded market for small crossovers. The target represents nearly a third of the vehicle's annual sales plan of 60,000 Read More »

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CARS & CONCEPTS:

Toyota: Prius Plug-in needs more marketing

Toyota Motor Corp. says it misjudged the market for its Prius Plug-in, which went on sale in Japan in January and in the United States in the spring. The solution: more marketing and, maybe, revised styling. Read More »

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CARS & CONCEPTS:

Ram heavy-duty pickups get beefier diesel

Chrysler Group's re-engineered lineup of Ram heavy-duty pickups and chassis-cab trucks will feature a more powerful diesel engine and more Tradesman entry-level trim models to attract commercial customers, the company said. The Tradesman trim level now is just part of the Ram 1500 pickup line. Read More »

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PARIS AUTO SHOW:

Panamera wagon is 'more likely'

Porsche's Panamera Sport Turismo concept got such rave reviews at the auto show that it may get a green light for production. The Sport Turismo concept, based on the four-door Panamera, is a plug-in hybrid. Read More »

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PARIS AUTO SHOW:

Crosslane to join Audi's crossover lineup?

Audi's Crosslane concept, shown at the Paris auto show last week, may become the junior member of its crossover lineup -- perhaps the Q2. Read More »

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PARIS AUTO SHOW:

Audi: RS 5 convertible, more diesels on the way

Audi's decision to bring the RS 5 convertible to the United States in the first quarter of 2013 shows the increasing confidence of the brand's German executives in this market, says Scott Keogh, U.S. brand chief. Read More »

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PARIS AUTO SHOW:

Infiniti boss wants to fill gaps in U.S. and European lineups

Johan de Nysschen, who became head of Infiniti on July 1, says the brand needs substantial additions to its product lineup to become a credible global luxury player. Read More »

LEGAL BRIEFS:

Hawaii dealer pleads guilty to federal tax evasion

A Honolulu dealer faces up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine after pleading guilty to federal tax evasion. Read More »

LEGAL BRIEFS:

Ex-store president faces prison

The president of a closed Ford dealership in Whitehall, Wis., is scheduled to appear in federal court Oct. 18 to plead guilty to defrauding his store's floorplan lender. Read More »

LEGAL BRIEF:

Former dealer principal indicted

The former dealer principal of a Nissan store in Elizabeth City, N.C., faces a November arraignment on wire fraud and money laundering charges of submitting “substantial false and misleading information relating to vehicles under floor plans” to Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. Read More »

Personnel

Companies in this report: Alea Leather Specialist Inc., Cal-Tex Protective Coatings Inc., Manheim and Search Optics Inc, Read More »

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Canadian dealer buries a Jeep, hires an ambassador and puts on the Ritz

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