Headlines for Monday, December 17, 2012

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BEST PRACTICES

Going above and beyond is part of Pa. Audi store's culture

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
It's one thing to go out of your way to help a customer and another to do it the Audi Mechanicsburg way.

VIDEO: Dealer Mungenast on keys to customer retention

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
At Ray Mungenast's signature Lexus store in suburban St. Louis, a commitment to customer satisfaction lives in the form of a fireside lounge, an in-store coffee bistro, and nearly three dozen service bays that have kept the traffic flowing, even when times were tough.

Dealership buy and sell

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
This Automotive News feature lists recent dealership acquisitions as reported by brokers, official announcements and news media.

FINAL ASSEMBLY

Who fingered Kia, Hyundai? A U.S. rival, Oge says

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
A complaint from a U.S. automaker led the EPA to investigate Hyundai-Kia's misleading mpg numbers, a former agency official tells our Washington reporter. But which automaker dropped the dime?

WEBINAR: Become a full Internet dealership

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
You may think your dealership is dialed in and ready for Internet sales growth in 2013. But to truly connect with the estimated 90% of consumers who start the car buying process online your entire staff needs to be thinking Web.

JAMES B. TREECE

GM pickups raise the 'wow' bar

4:02 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
General Motors' new pickups have plenty of cool extra features. I'm not talking about the big stuff. I give the Chevrolet and GMC pickup truck specialists the benefit of the doubt on the big stuff.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: Stores try 'no-dicker' sales

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
Some retailers are reviving one-price model to serve a new generation; Toyota Matrix leaving U.S.?; Nissan hybrid ramp-up.

GM idles Chevy Malibu plant, tries to clear glut

3:59 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
General Motors has idled the primary assembly plant that makes the Chevrolet Malibu for nearly three weeks amid swollen inventories of the mid-sized sedan.

Ford: We'll learn from launch recalls

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
Four recalls on the redesigned 2013 Ford Escape crossover, on the heels of embarrassing technology glitches and delays introducing other important models, have raised concerns about Ford's launch processes.

Infiniti to rebadge car, light-truck lineup under Q, QX series

7:00 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
Infiniti is renaming its entire product portfolio for the 2014 model year, returning to the letter “Q” from the brand's early history for every car and “QX” for every Infiniti crossover and SUV. Nissan Motor Co.'

Chrysler says startup van maker has won a U.S. monopoly

3:21 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
A startup van maker that has received U.S. government loans won a regulatory decision that Chrysler said will give its competitor a monopoly on selling wheelchair-accessible minivans to transit agencies.

VIDEO: First Shift: Toyota's big comeback?

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
As rival heads for sales finish line, GM, VW battle for second place; NY official raps Nissan taxi; GM 'hungry' to hype trucks.

Industry report exposes why some dealerships lose employees

4:15 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
Conventional wisdom would say the more hours a salesperson works, the more money he or she earns. Not so, according to a new industry report on the automotive dealership work force.

Johnson Controls appeals A123 bankruptcy sale to Wanxiang

3:44 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
Johnson Controls, the lead bidder at the auction for assets of bankrupt A123 Systems, said it is appealing the court decision that gave China's Wanxiang Group approval to buy most of the assets.

Chrysler would invest $162 million in transmission plant, create 850 jobs

3:00 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
Chrysler Group wants to invest nearly $162 million in an Indiana plant finished in 2008 but never occupied because of a failed joint venture and Chrysler's bankruptcy.

VW says it will resume Routan production in 2013

2:33 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
Volkswagen today wiped out rumors of the Routan's demise, saying that production of the Chrysler-built minivan should resume by summer 2013.

Ford loses bid for $445 million in interest on income taxes

12:37 pm U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
Ford can't collect $445 million in interest on overpayment of income taxes, an appeals court ruled, saying the Internal Revenue Service didn't improperly calculate what the company was owed.

Honeywell, DuPont coolant safe to use, auto engineers group says

Dec. 17, 2012 15:32 CET
An air-conditioning refrigerant that has been criticized as potentially unsafe to car passengers is actually safe to use, according to preliminary results released by the SAE, an influential automotive engineering association.

Honeywell, DuPont coolant safe to use, auto engineers group says

9:32 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
An air-conditioning refrigerant that has been criticized as potentially unsafe to car passengers is actually safe to use, according to preliminary results released by the SAE, an influential automotive engineering association.

THE DEALER SPEAKS: TOM MOOREHEAD, OWNER, BMW OF STERLING AND MINI OF STERLING

NAMAD chief: Minority dealers must help increase their ranks

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
Tom Moorehead is the owner of BMW of Sterling and Mini of Sterling in Sterling, Va. -- as well as two hotels. So he's used to working with several business models.

THE DEALER SPEAKS: TOM PRICE, CEO, PRICE FAMILY DEALERSHIPS

After selling out to Sonic, Price builds another empire

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
Tom Price built the First America Automotive retail empire in the western United States through the 1990s before selling it to Sonic Automotive Inc. in 2000. But Price chafed under the public-company structure, and after three years, he bailed out to start anew.

No-dicker stickers win backers in Internet era

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
Consumers now have unprecedented Internet access to vehicle prices, so some dealers are turning to an old retail concept: no-dicker selling.

Auto, oil execs open Round 2 of sulfur spat

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
By calling for cleaner gasoline to help reduce tailpipe emissions, automakers again have put themselves on a collision course with the oil industry. Automakers say they are willing to follow California rules across the United States.

King: UAW workers won't bolt

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
UAW President Bob King said he expects few defections by his members when Michigan's right-to-work law takes effect in March. Unionized workers at parts suppliers will be among the first to test King's confidence.

Chrysler eyes empty Indiana plant

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
Chrysler Group wants to make parts -- probably transmissions -- at an Indiana plant finished in 2008 but never occupied because of a failed joint venture and Chrysler's trip to Bankruptcy Court.

GM pickup strategy: Zig as rivals zag

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
Last week's premiere of General Motors' redesigned full-sized pickups spotlighted the divergent truck strategies of GM and its Detroit 3 rivals.

Diesels? 8-speed? Stay tuned

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
A diesel engine for the light-duty Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra? How about an eight-speed transmission? Will General Motors bring back a hybrid for its pickups and SUVs?

AUTOMOTIVE NEWS WORLD CONGRESS

Audi of America's Keogh to speak at World Congress

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
Scott Keogh, president of Audi of America, will be a featured speaker on Jan. 16, the second day of the Automotive News World Congress.

Ford store's busiest sales staffer doesn't sell

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
Jamie Wilson is among Village Ford's busiest sales staffers, but he doesn't sell any cars at the Dearborn, Mich., dealership.

Matrix looks like a goner, Toyota hints

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
Toyota will roll out Tundra and Corolla redesigns next year and will revise the RAV4, Avalon and Highlander, but there are some things the division probably won't do.

Nissan shifts Leaf marketing strategy

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
Nissan admits its launch strategy on the Leaf miscalculated the short-term market potential for the electric vehicle and says it will do a better job of targeting potential buyers.

Landers ends partner role in retail group

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
Longtime dealer Steve Landers is stepping away from the partnership that has been one of the industry's fastest-growing dealership groups in recent years. Landers, 59, is selling most of his interest in RLJ McLarty Landers Automotive Holdings of Little Rock, Ark.

Jaguar kills $1 million-plus C-X75 hybrid sports car

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
Jaguar has decided not to build the C-X75, a $1 million-plus hybrid sports car that was scheduled to go into production next year.

Tesla wins license; dealers fight on

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
When Tesla Motors Inc. won a dealer license in suburban Boston last week, it was the second blow for Massachusetts dealers who call the electric vehicle maker's retail stores illegal.

Ford van's diesel could migrate to pickups

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
When the Ford Transit commercial van debuts in early 2014, it will get the same two V-6 engines Ford offers in the F-150 pickup. But it's the Transit's third engine offering that could have the biggest long-term implications for Ford: a 3.

Honda to preview crossover, next MDX in Detroit

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
American Honda will preview two vehicles next month at the Detroit auto show, a small crossover that will join the lineup in 2014 and the redesigned Acura MDX. The company released teaser shots of two concepts that are expected to closely resemble the production versions.

Nissan's hybrid surge: 15 new models by 2017

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
Nissan Motor Co., aiming to challenge Toyota Motor Corp. in the hybrid vehicle segment, plans to expand its hybrid offerings by 15 models in five years. Eleven of those new gasoline-electric cars will feature Nissan's new front-wheel-drive hybrid system, scheduled to debut next year.

Amid slow sales, Coda idles 50

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
Coda Automotive, the U.S. assembler of Chinese-made electric vehicles, appears to be facing a cash crunch amid sluggish demand for its $38,000 sedan. The company has laid off about 50 employees, representing about 15 percent of its work force.

KEITH CRAIN

So who owns the data?

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
I talked to an expert in data resources about all the data that companies own, and how those companies may not have the foggiest notion of how much that information is worth.

OPINION

Refiners must do their part for clean air, emission rules

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
Automakers are telling regulators at the EPA it's OK to impose stricter emission standards, which the industry says it is willing to meet if refiners reduce the sulfur in gasoline.

EDITORIAL

Harmony works best

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
Michigan's conversion to a right-to-work state is a redefining moment in the history of organized labor. But it should not adversely affect the relationship between Detroit's automakers and the UAW.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

GM also needs to excite customers

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
CEO Dan Akerson's view of what General Motors needs to rectify isn't wrong ("Akerson's goal: Faster, leaner, smarter," Dec. 10).

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Consumers want clean-car options

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 17, 2012
Consumers Union respectfully disagrees with the editorial "CAFE is enough; ZEV rules defy logic, buyer choice" (Dec. 3).

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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