Headlines for Friday, February 8, 2013

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MARK RECHTIN:

No softballs at the Power roundtable

Most Q&A sessions at industry conferences are loaded with softballs, easy questions lobbed for the on-stage executive speaker to knock out of the park. Read More »

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U.S. sales growth to slow, yield healthy industry results, Power says

The double-digit sales increases notched by the U.S. auto industry since 2009 will give way to slower but steady growth through 2015, J.D. Power and Associates predicts. Sales should grow 4 percent this year, to 15.1 million, followed by 4 percent gains in each of the next two years, Power says. Read More »

Comeback for the service lane?

Dealers' service departments are about to benefit from a growing number of 3-year-old vehicles on the roads, says Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation, the nation's largest auto retailer. Jackson said energy and housing are growing bright spots in an otherwise anemic economic recovery. Read More »

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Honda to Detroit: Quit crying over exchange rates

Tough talk from Detroit about the more favorable yen giving Japanese automakers an unfair advantage in the U.S. market “doesn't pass the sniff test,” American Honda's top sales executive said today. Read More »

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Winterkorn seeks to cut his VW pay ahead of wage talks

VW CEO Martin Winterkorn proposed that he should take a self-imposed pay cut as the automaker prepares for wage talks with production staff in western Germany. Read More »

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First Shift: Coming clean about diesels

Snyder: Slow U.S. acceptance more about loot than soot; Nissan net falls; Peugeot 'must not disappear'; Better Place quits N.A. Read More »

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Q&A: JOSH WEEKS -- AUDI NATIONAL DEALER COUNCIL:

Audi's dealers have big hopes for the small A3 sedan

Audi had a solid year in 2012. Audi posted a 19 percent increase in sales without resorting to heavy incentives, helping a dealer network that used to struggle with thin profit margins. Sales of large sedans and crossovers soared. Read More »

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JASON STEIN:

How's business? Dazzling -- but we're keeping an eye on it

The year is off to a sizzling beginning, jump-started by a hot January for sales. Profits are near all-time highs across the dealer landscape. And, if you listen closely to those who escaped the winter blizzard and made it to Orlando, business is downright rocking. Read More »

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AutoNews Now: Mercedes' 2020 vision

Daimler ups ante with plan to roll out 13 more models; Chrysler, VW put performance on display; Lapham: A taste of NADA. Read More »

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French gov't could take a PSA stake, minister says

The French government may buy a stake in PSA/Peugeot-Citroen if it is necessary to save the ailing automaker, a minister said. The comment came after PSA announced second-half writedowns of 4.13 billion euros ($5.53 billion) as Europe's plunging auto sales pushed down the value of its assets. Read More »

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MIKE COLIAS:

Why millennials are a double-edged sword for dealers

There's been a lot of ink spilled about why car dealers must go out of their way to court young people. Here's one more reason: They're more likely to help -- or harm -- a dealership's reputation. Read More »

vAuto chief to finance folks: E-commerce is coming

autonews@crain.com Read More »

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M-B touts cultural change

Steve Cannon, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, said that automakers must improve their customer satisfaction if they are to survive in a crowded industry and that the effort must involve dealership employees. Read More »

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GM lowers Malibu pricing to compete with Camry in online searches

GM, aiming to make the mid-sized Chevrolet Malibu sedan more appealing to online car shoppers, lowered the car's price by hundreds of dollars to compete with better-selling mid-sized sedans. Read More »

Ford cites 6 dealers for efforts in community service

Ford Motor Co. has honored six dealers for their dedication to their communities. Read More »

DealerTrack to supply sales tools to Honda, Acura

DealerTrack Inc. said Friday that it has signed an exclusive agreement to provide Honda and Acura with loan-origination and other sales tools. The company said it will partner with American Honda Finance Corp. Read More »

Question of the day

What are you doing to increase sales and margins of service contracts and other insurance products? Is it working? Read More »

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Does your store have what it takes?

Wanted: The Best Dealerships To Work For. In partnership with Best Companies Group, Automotive News will identify dealerships in the United States and Canada that have excelled in creating quality workplaces. Read More »

On the record

JOHN MENDEL, American Honda Motor Co. executive vice president Read More »

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AutoNation's Jackson says retail recovery in 'early innings'

The automotive economic recovery is only beginning from a retail standpoint, despite a growing seasonally adjusted annualized selling rate, according to Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation, the nation's largest auto retailer. Read More »

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Mercedes exec touts cultural change in U.S.

Steve Cannon, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, said automakers must improve their customer satisfaction if they are to survive in a crowded industry, and that the effort must involve dealership employees. Read More »

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Reviews can grease or kill deals

Dealers are seeing a steady stream of studies asserting that online consumer reviews influence traffic and sales at dealerships. Read More »

What's happening on Saturday

Various workshops, receptions and other events on Saturday Read More »

Bid on a Harley, help disabled children and wounded veterans

For the second straight year, ADESA will auction off a Harley-Davidson motorcycle during the convention with the proceeds benefiting the Frank E. McCarthy Memorial Fund of the NADA Charitable Foundation. Read More »

Northwood pays tribute to dealers who aided education

Northwood University in Midland, Mich., will present eight Dealer Education Awards at a breakfast Sunday at the Rosen Centre Hotel. Read More »

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North America car and truck production - 02/11/2013

This is data compiled by the Automotive News Data Center and requires a Data Center subscription to access. Read More »

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Exhibitors shine light on facilities

Lighting is big at the convention this year. There are 24 show-floor exhibitors in the lighting category, up from 10 last year and just six in 2007, the last NADA convention before the recession. Read More »

Make meetings outlook: Grins and gripes

This year's make meetings at the convention generally should be upbeat affairs. After all, U.S. industrywide sales last year increased 13 percent, and only one brand's sales fell by more than 5 percent. The general rule is that when sales are good, make meetings are chummy. Read More »

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Shopping sites to dealers: Show us some love

AutoTrader, Edmunds, Cars.com and other online shopping sites are rolling out products to get dealers noticed by car shoppers. Now, if they could only get more credit from dealers for their efforts. Read More »

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Dominion expands Microsoft ties

Dominion Dealer Solutions is expanding its Microsoft ties to entice auto dealers to switch to Dominion's new dealer management system. Read More »

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American Axle earnings rise on large tax benefit

American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings, helped by a large tax benefit, said fourth-quarter net profits increased tenfold to $319.9 million from $31.1 million in the same period a year ago. Read More »

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Customer Incentives

This is data compiled by the Automotive News Data Center and requires a Data Center subscription to access. Read More »

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Lear investor group seeks board seats to boost shareholder value

Lear shares rose the most in more than two years after an investor group said it would nominate directors and push the auto-parts maker to return more cash to shareholders. Read More »

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Canada light-vehicle sales by make, January

This is data compiled by the Automotive News Data Center and requires a Data Center subscription to access. Read More »

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Canada light-vehicle sales by nameplate, January

This is data compiled by the Automotive News Data Center and requires a Data Center subscription to access. Read More »

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LINDSAY CHAPPELL:

Gross memories of 2009

Before we get around to cheering for the growth in vehicle sales, let us wax nostalgic for the good old days of 2009 and 2010. Even though it was cataclysmic on most counts, it wasn’t too shabby on at least one point. Dealership gross profits were better then. Read More »

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Better Place to wind down N.A. operations

Electric vehicle technology provider Better Place, saddled by rising losses and negative cash flow, will wind down operations in North America. Read More »

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LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE:

New van crop is ugly — but in a money-making way

Not to burst the ego of the automotive stylists who worked on them, but the new commercial vans that are about to flood the market are ugly. Beautifully, hideously ugly. The vans from Nissan North America, Ford Motor Co. Read More »

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Ally claims top spot in consumer auto finance volume

Ally Financial retained its top spot in consumer auto finance volume in 2012 for the second year in a row, the company said today, citing data from Experian Automotive. Read More »

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LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE:

New Chrysler council chairman slips in a sale wherever he can -- or bottle

The difference between regular auto dealers and successful auto dealers is simple: successful auto dealers never stop selling, even when they're hundreds of miles from home. Read More »

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Auto execs turn away from EVs, focus r&d on downsizing, hybrids

Optimism about electric cars is fading as manufacturers scale back investment in response to weak sales. Just 8 percent of auto executives said their companies would invest in pure battery technologies over the next five years. Read More »

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DOUGLAS A. BOLDUC:

A Mercedes in half the time

Daimler is determined to build its Mercedes-Benz and Smart cars in half the time it took just six years ago. Back then, the average production time at the Daimler subsidiaries was 60 hours, excluding the powertrain. Read More »

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France weighs stake in ailing PSA

The French government may buy a stake in PSA/Peugeot-Citroen if it is necessary to save the ailing automaker, a key minister said. The comment came after PSA announced second-half writedowns of 4.13 billion euros ($5.53 billion) as Europe's plunging auto sales pushed down the value of its assets. Read More »

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