Headlines for Wednesday, January 2, 2013

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AutoNews Now: Top stories from 2012

From politics to pump prices, and from tiles to tribulations, a countdown of 2012; plus, dealers, 'death tax' and the fiscal cliff. Read More »

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Honda launches Civic campaign -- again

Trying to build momentum behind the midcycle freshening of its core compact car, Honda is launching the Civic with a new advertising campaign for the third time in 20 months. This time, the campaign's focus is on Honda's quest for continuous improvement. Read More »

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First Shift: 2013's people to watch

On the radar: Mulally's lieutenant, Infiniti's global chief and GM's purchasing leader; car demand rising; Volt tools too pricy? Read More »

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Video: Engineering dean raps route to better cars

David Munson, engineering dean at the University of Michigan, lets his hair down in this rap holiday greeting. He also touts his students' quests to tackle some of the most pressing problems of the day, including designing better vehicles and developing fuels of the future. Read More »

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Avis Budget acquires car-sharing service Zipcar for $491 million

Avis Budget Group agreed to buy U.S. car-sharing company Zipcar for $491 million, targeting consumers looking for an alternative to owning their own auto. Read More »

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How Renault's low-cost Dacia has become a 'cash cow'

Once considered a risky bet, Romanian automaker Dacia has become Renault's global profit machine. Europeans think of Renault's Dacia lineup as cheap, entry-level models that compete with used cars for sales. Read More »

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Subaru to hike U.S. production capacity by 30 percent, report says

Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.'s Subaru brand will increase production capacity at a U.S. plant by about 30 percent by fiscal 2016, the Nikkei business daily said. Read More »

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NHTSA's backup-camera rules delayed

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has missed its deadline to release rules spurring automakers to outfit more cars and trucks with backup cameras. Read More »

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Q&A:

BMW captive: Dealers want more than best price

It's no accident that BMW Group Financial Services is an early mover in e-contracting and the use of iPads in the F&I office, and also No. 1 in dealer satisfaction,. So says Shaun Bugbee, vice president of sales and marketing at the captive finance company, based in Woodcliff Lake, N.J. Read More »

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What will define F&I in 2013

As 2013 gets under way, here are five F&I trends that experts say merit watching in the months ahead. The last two, greater volume and sharper competition, began in 2012 but are expected to accelerate as the year progresses. Read More »

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U.S. new-auto registrations to grow 6.6% in 2013, Polk estimates

Sales of new autos, a bright spot for the U.S. in 2012, will grow further this year as an improving economy and demand for pickups and for mid-sized cars boosts registrations 6.6 percent, according to R.L. Polk & Co. About 15. Read More »

Credit unions gained ground in 2012

Credit unions are regaining share in auto lending. During the recession and credit freeze, credit unions gained share when banks and even some captive finance companies pulled back on auto lending. Credit unions lost share when the captives and banks came back. Read More »

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JIM HENRY:

Time to take a risk

Suggesting a New Year’s resolution for someone else is risky business, but to me 2013 is the year dealerships should resolve to sell extended-service contracts in the service lane. Read More »

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Tailoring F&I to growing Hispanic market

Auto dealers in markets with large Hispanic populations learned long ago that they often need to communicate with customers in Spanish. But the growing economic influence of Hispanic consumers in other markets means more dealerships must develop that capability. Read More »

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Hyundai, Kia forecast smallest growth in global sales in 7 years

Hyundai Motor and smaller affiliate Kia Motors forecast their slowest sales growth in seven years as a slowing global economy and strengthening won saps demand. The two companies plan combined sales to rise 4.1 percent to 7. Read More »

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LUCA CIFERRI:

Getting to know Dacia

Until last year, I had not driven a modern Dacia model nor felt any compelling reason to do so. However, the huge sales success of the Duster SUV encouraged me to try one of the models made by Renault's low-cost subsidiary. Read More »

Special Report
Fla. dealer Daniel Hodges: 'We are so different now'

Fla. dealer Daniel Hodges: 'We are so different now'

A shift to no-haggle pricing has sparked a cultural overhaul at the Duval family of dealerships in Jacksonville, part of the Scott-McRae Group. The purchase time is shorter. The stores have no general managers. Mon., June 16
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