Headlines for Wednesday, December 5, 2012

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GM's pickup pileup threatens 2013 launches, profits

7:33 am U.S. ET | Dec. 5, 2012
General Motors, with more than double a typical supply of trucks, is facing the prospect of cutting production or increasing discounts, threatening to squeeze 2013 profits. Clearing away that inventory is critical.

Subaru mulls expansion of Indiana assembly plant

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 5, 2012
Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.'s Subaru unit is studying expanding its Indiana assembly plant as the Toyota affiliate seeks to boost U.S. output to curb currency losses and meet growing demand for its models.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: Akerson's hope for Volt

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 5, 2012
Will plug-in finally make a profit in second generation?; GM technology, with the flavor of Apple; plus, BMW's new 4 Series.

Right-to-work issue inflames labor in UAW home

1:11 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 5, 2012
Michigan, home to carmakers and the UAW, may ban mandatory union-dues payments if Republicans who run the Legislature pass such a law, making it the 24th right-to-work state.


BMW to rename 3-series coupe, convertible as 4-series models

10:13 am U.S. ET | Dec. 5, 2012
BMW, in a major marketing shift, is renaming the next-generation 3-series coupe and convertible the 4 series to create more exclusivity and command higher prices on some of its sportiest, high-volume models.

VIDEO: First Shift: One EV battle gets ugly

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 5, 2012
Nissan, Fiat tangle over styling; nearly all Suzuki dealers say yes to wind-down offer; Subaru expansion; Mercedes 'Bowl' goal.

American Honda places $700 million U.S. ad account under review

7:53 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 5, 2012
American Honda, facing a challenging but growing light-vehicle market in the United States, is placing its $700 million creative and media accounts for the Honda and Acura brands under review.


Why Lincoln needs me (and you and Jimmy Fallon) to reinvent itself

3:46 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 5, 2012
I have some exciting personal news to share. I've been asked to help create a Super Bowl ad. How did I get so lucky? You see, Lincoln -- not the movie that everyone is talking about, but rather the brand of cars that hardly anyone talks about -- has a big plan to reinvent itself.

Honda to become 'net exporter' of vehicles from North America

4:04 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 5, 2012
Honda, Japan's first automaker to build cars in the United States, said it expects to export more cars and light trucks from North America than it imports to the region within two years.

Asbury buys Atlanta-area VW, Bentley dealerships

4:14 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 5, 2012
Asbury Automotive Group, the nation's seventh-largest auto retailer, is buying two Atlanta-area dealerships with annual revenue of $60 million for an undisclosed amount. The acquisitions of Gossett Volkswagen and Bentley Atlanta will give Asbury, of nearby Duluth, Ga., 12 stores in the Atlanta area.

Chrysler sets up charitable foundation honoring Marchionne

4:24 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 5, 2012
Chrysler's board has established a charitable foundation in honor of CEO Sergio Marchionne to help pay for education of employees' children. Company contributions to the foundation over the next five years could total $38.15 million, the company said.


Low delinquencies help dealers

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 5, 2012
Although delinquencies have shown a slight uptick lately, dealers should appreciate that late payments are still near historic lows. Delinquencies are “defying gravity,” says Peter Turek, automotive vice president for TransUnion’s financial services business unit.

Supplier to resume production of key chemical used in auto plastics

3:17 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 5, 2012
Evonik Industries has completed repairs to its CDT feedstock plant in Marl, Germany -- less than eight months after a fatal explosion and fire there created a global shortage of the nylon 12 resin used in many plastic auto parts.

Direct-loan channels expand, but no big impact on dealers -- so far

11:08 am U.S. ET | Dec. 5, 2012
Consumers have more and more opportunities to apply for direct loans online, but so far, direct loans don't seem to be making much of a dent in indirect loans negotiated at the dealership.

New-car subprime financing, leasing grow

11:43 am U.S. ET | Dec. 5, 2012
The market share for nonprime, subprime and deep subprime lending for new vehicles expanded 13.6 percent in the third quarter over the same period a year ago, according to a report by Experian Automotive.

Subaru, Nissan look to avoid 84-month loans

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 5, 2012
Executives for a couple of brands say they are reluctantly going along with consumer demand for longer-term loans, but they're still trying to draw a line and avoid going to 84-month paper.


On our Web site today: Selling service contracts in service lane

10:50 am U.S. ET | Dec. 5, 2012
Management buy-in is the key to success in selling extended-service contracts in the service lane, according to F&I trainer Rick McCormick. He is scheduled to conduct an Automotive News PowerTRAINING webinar today, Dec.


With F&I, 'You can't hire from your gut'

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 5, 2012
Dealers often complain about high turnover in the F&I department and elsewhere. But some dealers can be their own worst enemies in that regard, dealership trainer Becky Chernek says.

Swedish debt office takes control of Saab parts unit

Dec. 5, 2012 15:05 CET
The Swedish National Debt Office will take ownership of Saab Automobile Parts AB, a unit of bankrupt carmaker Saab.

VW names former Renault Europe boss as France president

Dec. 5, 2012 06:01 CET
Volkswagen Group has named Renault's former chief of Europe, Jacques Rivoal, as president of the German automaker's French operations.

Mercedes, Nissan poised to gain from crisis at London taxi maker

Dec. 5, 2012 10:01 CET
The Mercedes-Benz Vito and Nissan NV200 could become London's taxis of choice as the maker of the city's famous black cabs fights bankruptcy.

Fiat Polish plant wins automaker's first gold efficiency award

Dec. 5, 2012 13:30 CET
A Fiat engine plant in Poland has become the first manufacturing facility to receive a gold award under the company's World Class Manufacturing system for factory efficiency.

Nissan hits back at Fiat for criticism of Leaf styling

Dec. 5, 2012 09:45 CET
Nissan has hit back at Fiat for its recent criticism of the looks of the Japanese automaker's Leaf EV. “Let's face it, Fiat has not shied away from controversial styling themselves,” Nissan head of global marketing communications Simon Sproule said.

Porsche loses bid to appeal Piech duty ruling in German court

Dec. 5, 2012 06:01 CET
Porsche SE can't appeal a ruling saying Ferdinand Piech violated his duties when commenting in 2009 about options transactions carried out as part of a takeover bid for Volkswagen, Germany's highest civil court has said.

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