Headlines for Wednesday, February 6, 2013

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JIM HENRY:

Sky’s the limit for AutoNation F&I

It looks like AutoNation Inc. has upped the ante once again in F&I revenues per vehicle, having reached a record $1,307 in the fourth quarter of 2012. Read More »

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AutoNews Now: Europe another Japan?

Slowdown may signal long-term change that's 'more than just cyclical'; sunny shift for Subaru; Mazda, Lexus easiest on wallet. Read More »

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UK car sales buck Europe downturn with 11.5% rise in January

New-car registrations in the UK rose 11.5 percent to 143,643 in January as the market continued to buck the downward trend in other key European markets. Read More »

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Penske, tweaking acquisition strategy, eyes U.S. brands

Penske Automotive Group plans to snap up more dealerships overseas, but shift its product mix toward domestic brands in the United States. That's a change for the dealership group, which has largely focused on acquiring volume foreign brands for more than a decade. Read More »

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2013 GENEVA AUTO SHOW:

Pininfarina honors former CEO with Geneva concept

Pininfarina has created a concept car named Sergio to pay tribute to the company's longtime CEO Sergio Pininfarina. The car will be unveiled at next month's Geneva auto show. Read More »

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BMW quits industry group testing safety of new refrigerant

BMW stepped down from its role in an automotive industry research program investigating the safety of a potential new air conditioning refrigerant, disagreeing with the test methods employed. Read More »

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Redesigned Nissan Titan pickup truck due next year

Nissan's U.S. arm is preparing to expand its lineup of full-sized pickup trucks as it replaces the aged Titan, which has not been significantly refreshed since it was introduced in 2003. Engineers and designers are leaving "nothing off the table" in delivering a competitive truck to U.S. Read More »

Janie O’Dell, GMC dealer in Missouri, dies

Janie O’Dell, president of Westfall GMC Truck in Kansas City, Mo., died Jan. 15. She was 89. Read More »

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Piech says VW may add a 13th brand

Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piech indicated that the automaker plans to add at least one brand to the current lineup as part of a strategy to claim the industry's top spot by 2018. Read More »

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Penske Q4 and year-end results driven by acquisitions, retail sales

Penske Automotive Group, coming off a year that saw higher earnings and revenue amid the U.S. auto industry’s steady recovery, is targeting several initiatives to keep profits and sales growing in 2013. Read More »

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VW's finance arm expands U.S. customer service center to push sales goal

Volkswagen expanded its U.S. auto-loan unit's central customer-service office to increase the work force 28 percent as part of a push to reach the top spot in global vehicle deliveries. Read More »

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BMW quits industry group testing safety of new refrigerant

BMW stepped down on Wednesday from its role in an automotive industry research program investigating the safety of a potential new air conditioning refrigerant, disagreeing with the test methods employed. Read More »

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Chrysler reaches deal making Santander preferred lender in U.S.

Chrysler Group agreed to make a U.S. unit of Banco Santander SA its preferred provider for auto loans, replacing Ally Financial. Chrysler and Santander Consumer USA will form Chrysler Capital to provide customers with financing to purchase and lease vehicles, the company said today in a statement. Read More »

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MARK RECHTIN:

No sympathy prize for the ATS

The Cadillac ATS is a fine car. But North American Car of the Year? Not to me. Like many reviewers, I find things to cheer and jeer about the sedan. The suspension is crisp but jarring. Read More »

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RYAN BEENE:

Sorting the winners, losers in Super Bowl commercial derby

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this week, you know the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl. But which automakers’ commercials won the battle for the most eyeballs? Read More »

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Google, regulators at odds over timing of self-driving cars

Google sees self-driving cars being available to consumers in three to five years. Regulators and the insurance industry aren't so sure it can happen that quickly. States may have to decide how to license machines rather than people. Read More »

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Key to AutoNation's F&I might: 'Better execution'

AutoNation, the biggest U.S. auto dealership group, is sticking to a strategy of selling from a short menu of F&I products, especially extended-service contracts and prepaid maintenance. Read More »

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Chrysler dealers set contract sales mark

Chrysler Group dealers in the United States sold a record 1.4 million service contracts in 2012, a 16 percent increase over the previous year, the head of the Mopar brand said. Read More »

Tony Merritt, CEO of Arizona Lexus dealership, dies at 75

Tony Merritt, CEO of Superstition Springs Lexus in Mesa, Ariz., died Jan. 15 in Gold Canyon, Ariz. He was 75. Read More »

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Audi sales rise 16% in January on robust China, Europe growth

Audi's global sales rose 16.3 percent to 111,750 in January, boosted by strong growth in China and Europe, the carmaker said on Wednesday. Read More »

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VW's Piech says automaker may add a 13th brand

Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piech indicated that the automaker plans to add at least one brand to the current lineup as part of a strategy to claim the industry's top spot by 2018. Read More »

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U.S., China boost Mercedes' January sales

Global sales at Mercedes-Benz Cars unit rose 8.1 percent to 102,180 in January as the United States and China helped lift demand. Read More »

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First Shift: Still too many Malibus

High inventories of Chevy sedan and Buick LaCrosse idle Kansas plant again; EV-ready Ford stores; taking helm at NADA. Read More »

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Mazda, Subaru hike profit outlook as yen weakens

Mazda and Subaru are in the best position to benefit from the weakening yen, raising their earnings forecasts today as exported goods generate more cash. Mazda hiked its operating profit outlook for the year ending in March to $482 million, which would be its highest since the year ended March 2008. Read More »

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Germans A-OK in the USA

German automakers expect to partially offset Europe's sales slump with another year of double-digit volume gains in the hot U.S. market. “We expect to grow by about 10 percent this year,” Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Steve Cannon told Automotive News Europe Read More »

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Check out the ANE monthly e-magazine

The new issue of the Automotive News Europe monthly e-magazine is ready for you to view. Inside this issue we look at why demand for electric cars is weaker than expected and why Dacia and Renault think more and more people will be buying their new cars with the click of a mouse. Read More »

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Ally posts Q4 profit as U.S. vehicle sales increase

Ally Financial, the biggest auto lender in the United States, swung to a fourth-quarter profit as more consumers went shopping for cars and trucks Read More »

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Q&A:

Why is your best closer doing admin work?

F&I trainer Tony Troussov says dealerships looking to close deals faster and more smoothly need to get sales and F&I working together more effectively, with fewer awkward turnovers. Read More »

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Kia's not-so-secret sales sauce: Leasing

Higher residual values and higher lease penetration are contributing to Kia's U.S. sales increases. "We specifically have used lease as a growth strategy," said Tom Loveless, executive vice president of sales for Kia Motors America. Read More »

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