Headlines for Wednesday, October 3, 2012

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Toyota, Subaru chase rough idle problem for sporty coupes

8:02 pm U.S. ET | Oct. 3, 2012
Toyota and Subaru are grappling with reports of rough idle and stalling conditions on their new sporty coupes. The problems on initial batches of the Subaru BRZ coupe and its Scion FR-S twin -- known as the Toyota FT-86 outside the U.S. -- is being caused by a software mapping glitch.

GM teams with Costco to offer added spiffs

3:46 pm U.S. ET | Oct. 3, 2012
GM and Costco Auto Program are offering Costco members preferred pricing and a $500 Costco Cash Card when they buy selected models — some of which have suffered recent sales declines.

Visteon CFO Welch resigns

5:38 pm U.S. ET | Oct. 3, 2012
Supplier Visteon said Executive Vice President and CFO Martin Welch has resigned. Welch will be replaced on an interim basis by Michael Widgren, who has served as Visteon's vice president, corporate controller and chief accounting officer since May 2007.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: Ford's weapon of 'choice'

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 3, 2012
With Fusion, automaker piles on powertrains to battle rivals; how sleek style aids MPG; plus, why plug-ins outsell pure EVs.

VIDEO: First Shift: Sept. winners, losers

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 3, 2012
A big month for small cars as Smart, Scion and Fiat sales soar; founder of Better Place start-up quits; Fisker's to-do list.

Troubled supplier Renesas to shed 17% of work force

11:19 am U.S. ET | Oct. 3, 2012
Renesas Electronics, the world's top maker of microcontroller chips for cars, will let about 17 percent of its work force leave through an early-retirement program as the unprofitable company seeks to restructure.

Toyota moves up a notch in global brand rankings

10:47 am U.S. ET | Oct. 3, 2012
Toyota, Mercedes-Benz and BMW retained their ranking among the world's top 15 global brands, while Nissan made the biggest gain from last year among automotive brands in an annual survey. Kia joined the list for the first time.

9 Japanese autos, 8 U.S. make N.A. Car/Truck of the Year short list

2:54 pm U.S. ET | Oct. 3, 2012
Japanese companies placed nine vehicles and U.S. automakers placed eight on the short list of entries in the running for the 2013 North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year awards.

LEGAL FILE

Ex-Suzuki dealer arraigned on charges of illegal credit practices

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 3, 2012
A former South Carolina dealer has been arraigned on charges he conspired with two finance managers and other employees to defraud customers, lenders and American Suzuki Motor Corp. through long-running illegal credit and marketing practices.

Daimler shareholder Abu Dhabi is exiting investment, report says

Oct. 3, 2012 19:44 CET
Abu Dhabi is exiting its investment in German carmaker Daimler AG, a German magazine reported, citing unidentified people within Daimler.

Daimler shareholder Abu Dhabi is exiting investment, report says

1:44 pm U.S. ET | Oct. 3, 2012
Abu Dhabi is exiting its investment in German carmaker Daimler AG, a German magazine reported, citing unidentified people within Daimler.

Orange Motors teams F&I, sales staffs to win big

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 3, 2012
Dealer Carl Keegan lets finance and insurance managers take risks and make mistakes. And that's made all the difference at his store, Orange Motors in Albany, N.Y.

Q&A

TD Auto's growth plan starts with near prime

11:15 am U.S. ET | Oct. 3, 2012
U.S. dealers can expect TD Auto Finance to keep moving down-market into near-prime and subprime loans as it expands, but don't look for it to offer leasing any time soon. That's the word from Paul Clark, the lender's new CEO.

Consumer credit scores vary from what lenders see

11:07 am U.S. ET | Oct. 3, 2012
One in five U.S. consumers is likely to receive a credit score different from the one given to lenders, potentially closing off access to credit for millions of Americans, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found in a new study released last week.

Tire-and-wheel balancing act: Affordable prices, high claims

9:10 am U.S. ET | Oct. 3, 2012
F&I administrators are looking for ways to avoid across-the-board price increases on tire-and-wheel policies despite a high level of claims in some markets. One obvious fix is to charge customers in those markets more, and administrators are doing exactly that, experts say.

JIM HENRY

A reason to cheer the CFPB

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 3, 2012
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has given auto lenders a lot to worry about in the past year, though so far, its bark has been a lot worse than its bite.

AutoNation retail sales surge 23% in Sept.

11:13 am U.S. ET | Oct. 3, 2012
AutoNation said retail sales of new vehicles surged 23 percent in September to 22,982 units. Import brands made the largest jump -- 38 percent above September 2011 -- to 11,854, the company announced today. Domestic brands rose 10 percent and luxury brands were up 11 percent.

First Investors sold as private equity snaps up another subprime lender

11:11 am U.S. ET | Oct. 3, 2012
Private-equity group Aquiline Capital Partners in New York has agreed to acquire Houston-based First Investors Financial Services, an independent, subprime auto lender, in a $100 million deal.

Volvo counts on sedan updates to boost global sales

Oct. 3, 2012 06:01 CET
Volvo's sedans will get a major refresh next year that should boost sales, said Doug Speck, global head of marketing and sales for Volvo Car.

Turkish car sales rise 15.8% in September

Oct. 3, 2012 14:53 CET
Turkish car and light commercial vehicle sales rose 15.8 percent year-on-year to 69,629 units in September, the Automotive Distributors' Association said on Wednesday.

Mercedes expands U.S. luxury sales lead over BMW

Oct. 3, 2012 06:01 CET
Sales of Mercedes-Benz cars rose 7 percent in the United States last month, helping the premium German marque to extend its nine-month lead over rival BMW brand to 5,221 deliveries.

HANS GREIMEL

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

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 3, 2012
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.

Volkswagen will add dealers in U.S.

Oct. 3, 2012 06:01 CET
Volkswagen expects to add up to 15 new dealers by year end in the United States, bringing the brand's dealer count in the country to 615.

Continental launches sensor output in China

Oct. 3, 2012 10:02 CET
Continental has launched three production lines to build NOx (nitrogen oxide) sensors, high temperature sensors and canister purge solenoids at its plant in Changchun, China.

Qoros to display its first car at Geneva auto show

Oct. 3, 2012 08:59 CET
Qoros Auto Co., a 50-50 joint venture between Chery Automobile Co. and Israeli investment company Israel Corp., will display its first model at the Geneva auto show next March.

Q&A

Ford Credit stays on mission -- and gets results

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 3, 2012
While its Detroit competitors were buffeted by bankruptcy and the loss of their captive finance arms during the 2009 financial crisis, Ford Motor Credit Co. soldiered on doing what it was created to do when it was founded in 1959: provide funds for Ford dealers and their customers.

Mopar adds used-vehicle service plans

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 3, 2012
Mopar is offering several inexpensive service plans for pre-owned vehicles, part of a rebranding of its service contract business.

Automotive News
Special Video Report
Nissan's Munoz: 'You Grow or You Go'

Nissan's Munoz: 'You Grow or You Go'

Nissan North America Chairman Jose Munoz has a tough goal to meet: Raise the combined U.S. market share of the Nissan and Infiniti brands from 8.4 percent last year to 10 percent by March of 2017.
» Watch the Video
     
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