Headlines for Saturday, February 9, 2013

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New-generation Mini Cooper hardtop to be unveiled next week

2:55 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
Mini dealers will get a glimpse of the new-generation Cooper hardtop next week at a worldwide dealer meeting in Helsinki, Finland.

Rising sales tide lifts new-vehicle grosses

11:44 am U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
Dealers at three-fourths of the auto industry's brands are experiencing improved new-vehicle grosses as sales return to pre-recession volumes.

Dealers face sticker shock on health plans

6:02 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
Auto dealers have 10 months to re-evaluate and change their employee health care benefits under the national Affordable Care Act, and complying with it could leave many of them with sticker shock.

NADA economist: 15.4 million in U.S. vehicle sales this year

5:17 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
With the United States economy gaining momentum, NADA chief economist Paul Taylor predicts industry sales will top 15.4 million vehicles this year.

Panel backs embedded, simple telematics systems

1:35 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
Telematics systems run the risk of becoming too complicated and distracting for drivers, yet they also can become outdated well before the vehicle's life is complete. So said a panel at the JD Power International Automotive Roundtable here.

Old car, new repair prospect

4:02 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
Expect consumers to keep their cars longer, requiring more repair work, and expect more dealership groups to follow AutoNation's lead and brand themselves.


Store's fitness focus is a win-win for losers

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
Crevier BMW is shedding dead weight. Since starting its Biggest Loser contests seven years ago, the dealership has shed 640 pounds. That's how much weight employees at the Santa Ana, Calif., dealership have lost by participating in the contests.


Dealerships' test drives build social media buzz

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
Dan Boismier said interacting with a customer who had complained on Twitter about the Suburban Collection gave the brand exposure to thousands of local consumers who are connected to them on social media. The cost? A few hundred miles and a tank of gasoline.


Dealers profit by helping Jeep owners go topless

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
For Jeep Wrangler owners, going topless in the summer -- swapping the Wrangler's hard shell for a canvas soft top -- can be a pain in the neck, back and legs.


'Huge!' commercials get into people's heads

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
Just try to get away from Billy Fuccillo in Florida's Fort Myers-Cape Coral market. He won't let you. In an era that is tilting toward soft-spoken sales pitches and Internet-based social-media relationship marketing, Fuccillo is blowing it out like a brass band.

Outgoing NADA chairman urges factories to be flexible on facilities

5:08 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
With little payback proven, automakers should back off demands on dealers for massive investment in facility image programs, outgoing Chairman Bill Underriner told dealers today at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention.

Passion cools on facilities issue

9:00 am U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
Expansive new dealership buildings still aren't worth the millions of dollars invested in them, but facility renovation programs aren't as dramatic an issue for dealers as they were a year ago. So concludes an NADA study that was released Saturday.

VW CEO may stay on to launch next Golf, report says

Feb. 9, 2013 12:27 CET
VW CEO Martin Winterkorn said he may stay at the helm of the carmaker beyond the term of his current contract to launch the new Golf model. Winterkorn's second term as CEO of VW runs out in December 2016.

Chevy to kick off 'Find New Roads' campaign at Grammys

8:28 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
Chevrolet will launch its "Find New Roads" global advertising campaign with two lengthy anthem commercials that will air Sunday during coverage of the Grammy Awards, General Motors' top marketer said.

VIDEO: Sat. Newscast 1: Why AutoNation's gone 'solo'

7:45 am U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
CEO Mike Jackson's views on the digital revolution, and the automotive equivalent of 'heroin'; plus, Honda's take on 'stair steps.'


Farley accumulates fascinating facts over the years

6:11 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
Jim Farley didn't join Ford until November 2007. But Ford's executive vice president of global marketing, sales, service and the Lincoln brand has already amassed a wealth of historical knowledge and trivia about the company and its dealers around the world.

A plug for franchised dealers

7:46 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai Motor America, praised the franchised dealer system during his keynote address Saturday, calling it the "concentrated distillation" of American free enterprise. "The current system works," he said. "Really well."

Lincoln has presence at Grammys

7:01 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
Lincoln will kick off a multimedia campaign called "Hello Again" tonight with two commercials during the Grammy Awards telecast.

Mini expects record sales this year

7:01 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
The Paceman, Mini's seventh model, will go on sale in the United States on March 16, said Jim McDowell, vice president of Mini USA. It's the only new Mini launching in 2013. McDowell told dealers the brand will set a sales record in 2013. In 2012, sales were 66,123, up 15 percent.


Buick-GMC dealers are looking for more leases

7:01 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
General Motors wants to help Buick-GMC dealers raise their lease rates and customer retention, says Brian Sweeney, Buick-GMC's vice president of U.S. sales and service.

NADA brass pays a visit

7:30 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
NADA leaders dropped by the Ford display. From left: NADA President Peter Welch, outgoing NADA Chairman Bill Underriner, incoming Vice Chairman Forrest McConnell III and Ford COO Mark Fields with the 20113 Lincoln MKS.

Good times

7:26 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
Dealers received a warm welcome at the Cars.com reception at the House of Blues Orlando. Cars.com President Mitch Golub, left, and Senior Vice President of Sales Alex Vetter, right, are shown with Hyundai of St. Augustine's Andrew DiFeo, second from left, and Joe DiFeo.

Question of the day

6:47 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
How fierce is the competition between captive finance companies and other lenders for your retail auto-loan business?

On the Record

6:47 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013

What's happening Sunday

6:17 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
Various workshops, receptions and other events on Sunday

Helping those in need

6:46 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
Edsel Ford II, left, honors Jack Kain of Jack Kain Ford in Versailles, Ky., for his philanthropic efforts at Ford's Salute to Dealers ceremony Friday night. Kain is dedicated to numerous causes, foremost among them organ donation.

Rising sales tide lifts new-vehicle grosses for most brands

6:56 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
Dealers at three-fourths of the auto industry's brands are getting higher new-vehicle grosses as sales return to pre-recession volumes.

4 women receive Spirit of Leadership awards

6:53 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
The Women's Automotive Association International presented Spirit of Leadership awards to four people Saturday in recognition of their professional accomplishments and contributions to the automotive industry.


Mood swing in Orlando: This year, deals are everywhere

6:43 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
A lifetime ago -- like, way back in the bad old times of early 2010 -- you could have shot a cannon down one side of the Orange County Convention Center and not hit a soul. This weekend the message is clear: Dealerships are open for business. And people are buying in style.

Time magazine honors Michael Alford as 2013 dealer of the year

6:17 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
Michael Alford is the 2013 Time Dealer of the Year. Alford, 48, received the award here Saturday. He is president of Marine Chevrolet-Cadillac in Jacksonville, N.C. Fifty-seven auto dealers were nominated, and Alford was picked from among four finalists.


Heavy snow won’t stop auction action, NAAA president says

6:22 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
The roads are blocked, businesses are closed and people have hunkered down in their homes as the Northeast rides out the great blizzard of 2013.

Q&A: Lincoln will fund a 'date night' for buyers waiting for delayed MKZ

5:42 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
Matt VanDyke is global director of marketing, sales and service for Lincoln, which recently said it would do additional quality inspections of the 2013 MKZ sedan at Ford's Flat Rock, Mich., plant to help out the Hermosillo, Mexico, plant where the car is built.

Lincoln kicks off media campaign at Grammys

4:51 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
Lincoln will kick off a multimedia campaign called “Hello Again” with two commercials Sunday night during the Grammy Awards telecast.

VIDEO: Sat. Newscast 2: The cost of store fixes

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
As controversy cools, NADA still finds more cons than pros; big SUVs lose clout; 20,000 attendees in Orlando

VW execs seek ways to shave sales costs

3:22 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
Volkswagen of America executives on Sunday plan to discuss with dealers a new plan for achieving an old goal: slashing the per-unit cost of selling cars.

Supplies are tight for redesigned Range Rover

4:24 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
Land Rover dealers in most of the country are sold out of the new-generation Range Rover SUV through early summer.


Newborn Chrysler Capital shows up at NADA

3:42 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
There are lots of young companies on the expo floor at the NADA convention pushing this product or that service to help dealers. But as far as I can tell, there's only one so young that it ought to be wearing diapers.


How the NADA and EPA want to save energy at dealerships

2:17 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
The National Automobile Dealers Association and the EPA may not always see eye to eye, but they are collaborating on some common ground: saving energy at car dealerships.

Used-car auction volumes seen rising 5% in 2013

10:51 am U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
New-vehicle sales to rental car companies in 2012 rose 11 percent to 1.55 million units in the United States, which will help increase the number of vehicles returning to the used-car market in 2013, predicts an annual report on the state of the used-car industry.

Honda planner: Civic, Accord hitting stride

10:22 am U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
Vicki Poponi, American Honda assistant vice president of product planning, is seeing the results of her department’s work: a swath of new products hitting dealerships or on the way. She spoke with Staff Reporter Mark Rechtin about what 2013 holds in store.

PSA, Renault realities force French gov't rethink

Feb. 9, 2013 06:15 CET
With France on the brink of recession and PSA and Renault seeking to shed thousands of jobs, the country's government may be forced to follow Germany's path that helped Volkswagen to restructure.

Does your store have what it takes?

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
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.

Supplier Linamar searching for talented hires as business surges

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 9, 2013
Linamar, the third-best performing auto supplier stock in the past year, says the biggest obstacle to its goal of tripling revenue and boosting profit seven-fold is finding skilled workers willing to earn C$80,000 ($80,000) a year.

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