Headlines for Monday, December 3, 2012

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BEST PRACTICES

Rewarding staffers pays off for Hendrick BMW

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
In January, receptionist Sherry Doherty became the first CEO at Hendrick BMW. But at the Charlotte, N.C., dealership CEO stands for chief energy officer, a snazzy term for outstanding employee of the month.

GM blames slow pickup sales on rivals' spiffs

1:56 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
General Motors' November sales rose 3 percent, but an unexpected decline in pickup sales left GM with swollen truck inventories. GM blamed an 8 percent drop in pickup sales on heavy incentives offered by Ford, Chrysler and other rivals in the full-sized pickup market.

GM plans early Malibu refresh

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
GM engineers are hurrying to complete a midcycle refresh of the Chevrolet Malibu for release by late next year, about 18 months after the redesigned sedan's launch, CEO Dan Akerson said. The move comes amid soft early sales of the car and unflattering media reviews.

A NEGATIVE CHARGE

How government, industry created lithium ion battery overcapacity

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
The drive to tool up lithium ion battery plants mixed environmentalism, national energy independence and a global race to dominate what seemed to be a coming boom.

Lincoln launching ad blitz to get back on radar

6:00 am U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
Ford Motor's Lincoln luxury brand today launched its biggest advertising campaign, a multimedia initiative that will include a one-minute spot during the Super Bowl on Feb. 3.

American Suzuki forges ahead with incentives amid U.S. wind-down

6:51 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
American Suzuki, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month, will continue to offer consumer rebates and zero percent financing to woo potential customers as the brand winds down its U.S. auto sales operations.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: Civic aids Honda sales

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
Compact's sales jump 75 percent in November; New ads tout heritage; Sedan gets early face-lift

Two crossovers help lift Nissan, Infiniti volume

2:13 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
Two sibling vehicles lifted November sales for Nissan North America's Nissan and Infiniti brands. The newly redesigned Pathfinder crossover delivered most of Nissan Division's 10 percent sales increase to 84,300 sales in November, up from 76,754 in November 2011.

Post-Sandy deals, flock of 'young buyers,' spur demand

5:30 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
U.S. auto sales jumped 15 percent in November and pushed the selling rate well above 15 million for the first time since early 2008.

JESSE SNYDER

Beneath the cliff, speak softly and walk away

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
We finally got a blowout sales month. But is November a harbinger of a boom year ahead? Or a last flurry of giddiness before yet another economic disappointment?

NOVEMBER U.S. SALES REPORT

Honda, BMW, VW, Toyota, Mazda set pace as volume climbs 15%

8:00 am U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
U.S. auto sales -- led by BMW, American Honda and Volkswagen Group -- rose 15 percent to 1.14 million in November, exceeding analysts' forecasts and setting the stage for the industry to finish 2012 on a high note heading into the new year. The annualized industry sales rate accelerated to 15.

L.A. AUTO SHOW

Porsche ponders sports car; no decision yet on small sedan

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
Porsche will add at least four new vehicles by 2018, including the Macan mid-sized crossover and 918 Spyder hybrid sports car due next year. Under discussion are a sports car slotted between the 911 and 918 Spyder and a sedan smaller than the Panamera.

L.A. AUTO SHOW

Mercedes plans big changes for '14 E class

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
With the rapid pace of technology, Mercedes-Benz says it no longer can rely on relatively minor midcycle changes for key models. So the E-class freshening planned for next year will be more extensive than usual, with major sheet metal and interior changes.

VIDEO: First Shift: Lincoln, reintroduced

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
Brand launches biggest ad campaign in history; Lexus sees 10% U.S. sales gain next year; Fourth recall for Ford crossover

Subaru's 60% gain helps smash full-year sales mark

2:50 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
Subaru of America sales soared 60 percent last month and 29 percent through November, shattering last year's full-year sales record. COO Tom Doll said Subaru likely will sell 330,000 vehicles in 2012, up 24 percent from the 266,989 units sold in 2011. Through November, Subaru sold 299,788 units.

Honda racks up best November ever

2:43 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
American Honda posted its best November ever, with sales rising 39 percent to 116,580 units. Despite the strong showing, Honda still trailed Chrysler Group by 5,985 units as the fifth-ranked automaker in the United States for the month.

Toyota sales jump 17% on strong car, truck demand

5:22 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
Toyota Motor Sales USA sales jumped 17 percent as the automaker reported its best November since 2007. Toyota remained the best-selling retail brand in the United States. Sales were paced by the best November for the Camry since 2007, and the best November ever for Corolla and RAV4.

Chrysler Group gains 14% in November on strong car, pickup sales

3:03 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
Chrysler Group relied on growing sales of sedans and coupes to boost sales 14 percent last month to 122,565 units, its best November since 2007. It was Chrysler's 32nd consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains.

NICK BUNKLEY

Awaiting the End Times? A new car helps

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
In case your Mayan word-a-day calendar has gone missing, let me remind you that we humans have less than a month to live. Armageddon is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 21, which means the next few weeks are prime car-shopping time Nick Bunkley is a staff reporter for Automotive News.

LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE

Fiat taps sex, supermodels to sell its cars

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
Most everyone agrees that sex sells. Chrysler Group will soon find out whether sex tinged with bawdy humor sells Fiats Larry P. Vellequette covers Chrysler Group for Automotive News.

New yen headache hits Honda Accord in U.S.

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
Virtually all Honda Accords sold in North America are built locally -- a nifty hedge against currency fluctuations. Yet the strong Japanese yen threatens to undercut U.S. sales of the Accord in another way.

BMW gains ground on Mercedes for 2012 luxury title

3:57 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
BMW's sales in the United States rose 45 percent in November, further chipping away at Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz in luxury-auto deliveries this year.

Porsche ponders sports car; no decision yet on small sedan

Dec. 3, 2012 06:01 CET
Porsche will add at least four new vehicles by 2018, including the Macan mid-sized crossover and 918 Spyder hybrid sports car due next year. Under discussion are a sports car slotted between the 911 and 918 Spyder and a sedan smaller than the Panamera.

Ford, Chrysler Canadian sales climb in November while GM drops

3:26 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
New vehicle sales at both Ford Motor of Canada and Chrysler Canada made big gains in November, lifted by strong consumer demand for cars and growth in the Canadian auto industry.

Ford sales rise 6% on pickups, small cars

3:01 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
Higher demand for pickups and small cars helped Ford achieve a 6 percent U.S. sales increase in November. Sales rose 18 percent for the Ford F-series pickup, putting it on pace for a full-year total of more than 600,000 units for the first time since 2007.

VW brand’s sales up 29% on Northeast storm recovery

2:53 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
The Volkswagen brand posted a 29 percent sales gain last month as customers in the key Northeast market headed to showrooms after Hurricane Sandy, helping give the brand its best November in the United States since 1973.

Mercedes' Super Bowl arsenal: New car, name on the stadium and Kate Upton

12:10 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
After joining the Super Bowl's ad ranks in 2011 and sitting out in 2012, Mercedes is poised to redefine its appeal to the game's massive TV audience.

DUSTIN WALSH

Eaton charged for super growth

10:49 am U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
Fuel efficiency remains on the forefront of technology innovation in the automotive industry. Every engineer in the industry is trying to push vehicles farther on less fuel -- whether through weight reduction, alternative propulsion or other methods.

Mazda, Fiat study more joint vehicles

Dec. 3, 2012 06:01 CET
As Mazda and Fiat work to finalize their deal to make roadsters together, the companies are looking at other possible joint projects, Mazda's CEO said.

L.A. AUTO SHOW

Reports of EV death premature

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
Electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids were just a fad, right? A now-faded dream from 2009.

Ex-GM engineer, husband found guilty of trade-secret theft

Dec. 3, 2012 06:01 CET
A former GM engineer and her husband were found guilty of conspiring to steal the automaker's trade secrets for hybrid and electric vehicles.

YANG JIAN

Beijing, it's time to release registration data

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
If one asks a Chinese auto executive what he needs most these days -- cutting-edge technology or accurate retail sales data -- he's likely to beg for better data.

JOHN C. HUMPHREY

China's leaders must rethink auto policy

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
China's automotive industry faces two critical challenges: substantial overcapacity and a massive proliferation of automotive companies and brands. Both challenges are structural but self-inflicted John C. Humphrey is senior vice president of global automotive operations at J.D.

KEITH CRAIN

Be careful what you buy or sell

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
Hurricane Sandy was particularly destructive to new- and used-car dealerships, destroying or severely damaging many thousands of vehicles.

Akerson zeros in on '13 launches

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
General Motors is assembling a team of 100 engineers to work hand-in-hand with suppliers ahead of a spate of key vehicle launches. They'll crawl deep into GM's supply chain, even down to tiers 3 and 4, to inspect parts for quality and ensure that those suppliers can deliver adequate volumes.

Ohio r&d for next Accord?

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
A clean-sheet redesign of the Honda Accord just left the gates, but engineers are already planning its successor. Development of Honda's next-generation flagship sedan, due in 2016 or 2017, likely will be led from Ohio instead of Japan.

AUTOMOTIVE NEWS WORLD CONGRESS

4 execs join World Congress panel on purchasing

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
Purchasing executives from Ford, Chrysler Group and two top suppliers will take part in a purchasing panel discussion on Jan. 16, the second day of the 2013 Automotive News World Congress.

Buick dealers want an Encore

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
When General Motors opened the order bank this fall for the Buick Encore compact crossover, GM had expected an initial allocation of about 2,000 units. Dealers requested 9,000. The brisk response reflects Buick dealers' pent-up demand for a crossover smaller than the full-sized Enclave.

L.A. AUTO SHOW

Ford takes new tack in latest software update

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
Determined to show that its infotainment systems are up to date and easy to use, Ford Motor Co. is launching another software improvement for MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch. But this time, the task is bigger.

L.A. AUTO SHOW

Audi expects diesel surge; equips more models, boosts ads

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
Audi expects to significantly boost diesel sales in North America within four years as it broadens its lineup of diesel-powered vehicles. Diesels now account for less than 10 percent of the brand's sales on the continent.

L.A. AUTO SHOW

Mazda, Fiat study more joint vehicles

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
As Mazda and Fiat work to finalize their deal to make roadsters together, the companies are looking at other possible joint projects, Mazda's CEO said.

L.A. AUTO SHOW

Subaru will get more BRZs to sell

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
Subaru of America will get 2,000 extra BRZs over the next four months as it tries to keep up with demand for the new coupe.

L.A. AUTO SHOW

Looming fiscal cliff troubles auto execs

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 3, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- Auto executives are watching federal negotiations to avoid looming spending cuts and tax hikes, but say they can only prepare for the worst if Democrats and Republicans in Washington fail to reach a deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff on Jan. 1.

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.
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