Headlines for Wednesday, February 6, 2013

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JIM HENRY

Sky’s the limit for AutoNation F&I

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 6, 2013
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.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: Europe another Japan?

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 6, 2013
Slowdown may signal long-term change that's 'more than just cyclical'; sunny shift for Subaru; Mazda, Lexus easiest on wallet.

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

Feb. 6, 2013 12:48 CET
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.

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

6:00 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 6, 2013
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.

2013 GENEVA AUTO SHOW

Pininfarina honors former CEO with Geneva concept

Feb. 6, 2013 11:23 CET
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.

BMW quits industry group testing safety of new refrigerant

Feb. 6, 2013 21:01 CET
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.

Redesigned Nissan Titan pickup truck due next year

4:31 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 6, 2013
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.

Janie O’Dell, GMC dealer in Missouri, dies

6:27 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 6, 2013
Janie O’Dell, president of Westfall GMC Truck in Kansas City, Mo., died Jan. 15. She was 89.

Piech says VW may add a 13th brand

9:19 am U.S. ET | Feb. 6, 2013
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.

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

11:51 am U.S. ET | Feb. 6, 2013
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.

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

3:34 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 6, 2013
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.

BMW quits industry group testing safety of new refrigerant

3:01 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 6, 2013
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.

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

1:04 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 6, 2013
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.

MARK RECHTIN

No sympathy prize for the ATS

2:46 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 6, 2013
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.

RYAN BEENE

Sorting the winners, losers in Super Bowl commercial derby

4:28 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 6, 2013
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?

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

8:04 am U.S. ET | Feb. 6, 2013
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.

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

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 6, 2013
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.

Chrysler dealers set contract sales mark

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 6, 2013
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.

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

10:05 am U.S. ET | Feb. 6, 2013
Tony Merritt, CEO of Superstition Springs Lexus in Mesa, Ariz., died Jan. 15 in Gold Canyon, Ariz. He was 75.

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

Feb. 6, 2013 15:10 CET
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.

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

Feb. 6, 2013 15:19 CET
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.

U.S., China boost Mercedes' January sales

Feb. 6, 2013 13:58 CET
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.

VIDEO: First Shift: Still too many Malibus

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 6, 2013
High inventories of Chevy sedan and Buick LaCrosse idle Kansas plant again; EV-ready Ford stores; taking helm at NADA.

Mazda, Subaru hike profit outlook as yen weakens

7:48 am U.S. ET | Feb. 6, 2013
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.

Germans A-OK in the USA

Feb. 6, 2013 06:01 CET
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

Check out the ANE monthly e-magazine

Feb. 6, 2013 06:01 CET
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.

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

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 6, 2013
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

Q&A

Why is your best closer doing admin work?

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 6, 2013
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.

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

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 6, 2013
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.

Automotive News
Special Video Report
Nissan's Munoz on dealers: 'You grow or you go'

Nissan's Munoz on dealers: 'You grow or you go'

Nissan N.A. boss Jose Munoz continues to push U.S. dealers for a big jump in market share while deflecting complaints that his stair-step sales targets are too hard to achieve.
» Watch the Video
     
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