Headlines for Monday, October 8, 2012

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Dealers call Tesla factory stores illegal

After opening several stores without much pushback, Elon Musk's ambition to replicate the Apple experience in Tesla factory stores is now facing potential roadblocks. Read More »

At the mall, Tesla staffers can meet, greet, tell -- but not sell

In Texas, manufacturers are prohibited from selling directly to consumers. So what is Tesla doing with a retail store in the Galleria shopping mall in Houston? On-site employees will do everything but sell the car. Read More »

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Oregon dealer's floating green turns a pond into a sales tool:

Gaining an edge with a wedge

Some might see an eight-acre pond amid three auto dealerships as a big chunk of wasted space. Scott Casebeer saw opportunity. Casebeer, owner of Capitol Auto Group in Salem, Ore. Read More »

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Lincoln gives sneak peeks at MKZ

As the launch of the redesigned 2013 MKZ approaches, Lincoln is taking the unusual step of letting select groups of customers test drive preproduction models. The test drives, which started Oct. Read More »

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Honda Accord campaign targets Hispanics, blacks

Honda's huge marketing launch for the redesigned 2013 Accord will include pitches aimed at Hispanic and black consumers. Read More »

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Navistar rises after conceding board seats to Icahn, investor

Shares in Navistar International, the truck- and engine-maker trying to end losses, rose the most in more than a month after it averted a proxy fight with investor Carl Icahn by agreeing to accept three new directors. Read More »

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AutoNews Now: Protesting Tesla stores

Dealer groups say factory showrooms could threaten franchise system, Honda aids local stores with ad dollars, Ram's 'earth moving' ads. Read More »

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Ram launches marketing for 2013 light-duty pickup

Chrysler Group's Ram brand has unveiled a new series of TV commercials featuring actor Sam Elliott and Latin musician Juanes that it will use to launch the re-engineered 2013 Ram 1500 pickup. Read More »

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First Shift: What's weighing on MPG

Study: Obesity rise a challenge to boosting fuel economy; GM adding shift for new Impala; Honda CR-V recall; CA pump surge. Read More »

AUTOMOTIVE NEWS PACE AWARD:

33 innovations are PACE finalists

Thirty-three innovations, in such diverse areas as turbochargers, short-range radar and infotainment, are vying as finalists for the 2013 Automotive News PACE Awards. The 19th annual awards honor auto suppliers' innovations in products, manufacturing processes and information technology. Read More »

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A big bet on EVs

More than three years after embarking on a plan to mass produce electric cars in America, Nissan North America is putting the final touches on its $1.6 billion factory in Smyrna, Tenn. Read More »

Chrysler and Eagle Auto Mall may head to court

Attorneys for Eagle Auto Mall, Terry Morris Chrysler-Jeep and Chrysler Group are scheduled to meet Thursday in a final pre-trial conference to hammer out a settlement or set a court date in a lawsuit that stems from when the dealerships were rejected during Chrysler’s bankruptcy. Read More »

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Fiat, trust differ over Chrysler stock value

The trust that manages health care for Chrysler retirees wants Sergio Marchionne to pay as much as possible for the trust's pool of Chrysler stock. Marchionne -- in his role as CEO of Fiat S.p.A., which owns 58.5 percent of Chrysler -- wants to pay as little as possible. Read More »

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Small car sales may capture largest U.S. share since 1993

Small cars are selling big for brands from Chevrolet and Fiat to Toyota, Volkswagen and Honda, on pace to capture the largest share of the United States auto market since 1993 and driving the best sales month in four years. Read More »

CARS & CONCEPTS:

Maserati names SUV, sedan

Maserati's first SUV will be called the Levante and its planned mid-sized sedan will be named the Ghibli. Read More »

North America car and truck production by plant, September & YTD

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

North America car and truck production by model, September & YTD

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

Forged components supplier HHI acquired by private equity firm

The New York City private equity firm American Securities LLC has acquired HHI Group Holdings LLC, which makes automotive forged components. Read More »

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Japan carmakers to cut China production by half, report says

Toyota, Nissan, and Honda plan to slash production in China by roughly half, the Nikkei newspaper reported today, as a territorial dispute between Asia's two largest economies cuts sales of Japanese cars in the world's biggest auto market. Read More »

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Peugeot cuts production of 208 subcompact on weak European market

PSA is cutting output of the Peugeot 208 subcompact because of slowing demand in Europe's weak auto market. Read More »

Chrysler recalls over 44,000 trucks in U.S.

Chrysler Group is recalling more than 44,000 pickup trucks in the United States because a rear-axle pinion nut could loosen and cause loss of vehicle control. Read More »

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FINANCE & INSURANCE:

How tech pitches boost service plans

"You're driving a spaceship." That's what Megan Jacoby tells customers when she pitches an extended-service contract to them. And when Jacoby, the finance director at Bob Smith BMW in Calabasas, Calif. Read More »

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GM to add 1,500 IT jobs in Mich. from outsourced work

General Motors plans to create 1,500 jobs at a new software development center in Michigan as part of the automaker's previously announced plan to shift information technology work back into the company. Read More »

Hyundai and Kia thrive in China as Japanese brands stumble

Hyundai and Kia forecast sales in China will exceed their targets as Korea's two largest carmakers benefit from a wave of anti-Japan protests in the world's largest vehicle market. Read More »

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Redone Mazda6 gets sporty stance

The current Mazda6 was designed to compete with such family favorites as the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. That was a mistake, says Hiroshi Kajiyama, program manager for both the current Mazda6 and the redesigned 2014 model that goes on sale in January. Read More »

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Audi boosts European sales in September despite region's weak economy

Audi bucked Europe's economic downturn by increasing sales in the region last month. Growth in Europe, the United States and China helped the automaker to boost its September global sales by 13.6 percent. Read More »

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GREEN SHOOTS:

Feds should pick goals, not technology

The Obama administration's tilt toward electric vehicles as a solution to global warming and dependence on foreign oil has always produced some grumbling. Read More »

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JASON STEIN:

Europe's auto collapse feels like a rerun

Dealers can't finance their floorplan. Incentives are running at 30 percent as sales hit historic lows. Some companies are stockpiling inventory just to keep the factories running. Cash is burning. Detroit, circa 2008? Yes and no Jason Stein is editor of Automotive News. Read More »

Toyota, Honda surge, splurge

After looking like the Japan juggernauts of old in September, Toyota and Honda aren't backing off one bit in October. Both headed into the month with aggressive new marketing pushes. Read More »

Honda turns on ad cash for dealers

Honda Division is reinvigorating its dealer advertising in major metropolitan markets with lavish new funding from the factory. Read More »

Steel giant seeks auto partnerships

South Korean steel conglomerate Posco Ltd. plans to spend at least $2 billion to create as many as 200 joint ventures -- many with U.S. auto suppliers. Read More »

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Edsel B. Ford II to receive award from Keith Crain

Edsel B. Ford II, a member of the board of Ford Motor Co., will receive the 2013 Keith Crain/Automotive News Lifetime Achievement Award on Jan. 31 during the 2013 Washington Auto Show. Read More »

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AUTOMOTIVE NEWS WORLD CONGRESS:

GM's Reuss to speak at World Congress

Mark Reuss, president of General Motors North America, will be a featured speaker at the 2013 Automotive News World Congress. Read More »

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GM woos dealers for fleet-sales push

General Motors is overhauling its commercial dealer network in a bid to boost sales to business customers. Read More »

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CARS & CONCEPTS:

VW may build Golf in Mexico, SUV in Tenn.

Volkswagen Group may build the redesigned Golf at its plant in Puebla, Mexico, CEO Martin Winterkorn told Automobilwoche. VW also could produce a large SUV at its plant in Chattanooga. Read More »

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CARS & CONCEPTS:

Ferrari shows off hybrid supercar's chassis

Ferrari says it will launch its most powerful road car ever at the Detroit auto show in January: a gasoline-electric hybrid that replaces the limited-edition Enzo. Read More »

CARS & CONCEPTS:

More Infiniti output likely in U.S.

Nissan wants to produce more Infinitis in North America. Colin Dodge, chairman of Nissan Americas, said shifting production out of Japan to the United States or Mexico is "common sense" given the strength of the Japanese yen. Read More »

CARS & CONCEPTS:

Acura RL to debut in in L.A.

Acura says the production version of its redesigned RL flagship will debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in late November. Read More »

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CARS & CONCEPTS:

Ragtop Beetle coming to L.A.

A ragtop version of the Volkswagen Beetle will debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in late November, soon before the car goes on sale. Read More »

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Nissan plans cheaper Leaf variant

Nissan Motor Co., looking to bolster lackluster sales of its Leaf electric vehicle, will roll out a lower-priced variant for 2013. The entry trim level will be positioned below the two variants already offered, people familiar with the plan say. Read More »

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Off-lease surge will trim used-car values in '13

Wholesale used-car prices are expected to soften further next year but not fall precipitously, despite projections of more off-lease vehicles entering the market than in any of the previous three years. Read More »

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Online tool will help GM dealers process, purchase off-lease vehicles

General Motors Financial Co. has created online tools to help dealerships process off-lease vehicles, starting in December. The tools also will provide dealerships easy access to off-lease vehicle inspection reports and give dealers who accept the off-lease vehicles first shot at buying them. Read More »

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KEITH CRAIN:

We need to solve this scary problem

We have put up with a lot of driver distractions over the decades. No one really cared when you grabbed a Coca-Cola and went driving down the road. And long before anyone had heard of cupholders, we grabbed a cup of hot coffee and found some place to set it. Read More »

Special Report
Fewer bosses, Disney savvy, $2 idea lift stores

Fewer bosses, Disney savvy, $2 idea lift stores

A Chrysler Group dealership chain is stripping away layers of management to sell cars faster. A Chevrolet-Cadillac store is enchanting customers through Disney training. Mon., July 21
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