Headlines for Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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VIDEO: AutoNews Now: Dependable out of the gate

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 13, 2013
All-new or redesigned cars beat unchanged models; Lexus wins again; Chrysler S. Africa exec shot; butting in on talking cars.

UAW presses Flex-N-Gate on wages, worker treatment

8:40 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 13, 2013
UAW members and supporters rallied Wednesday at a Flex-N-Gate plant outside of Detroit and other company facilities to bring attention to what the union cites as mistreatment of workers and lagging wages and benefits.

VIDEO: First Shift: Shifting off oil 'for good'

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 13, 2013
After falling short of goals, Obama proposes research trust; UAW chief rips Nissan in organizing push; Ford salutes dealers.

Lexus again tops J.D. Power dependability study; Detroit 3 narrow gap

10:00 am U.S. ET | Feb. 13, 2013
Lexus remains the most dependable vehicle brand after three years of ownership but the Detroit 3 continue to close the gap with foreign rivals, J.D. Power and Associates says.

JAMIE LaREAU

‘We’ll go to the mat’ on 3rd-party financing

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 13, 2013
Don Chalmers used to wrestle. So he’s used to going to the mat, he says. And he’s prepared to do just that to protect dealers’ finance and insurance business.

Audit blasts U.S. loans to support Michigan battery plant

2:36 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 13, 2013
An LG Chem battery plant in Michigan that received $150 million in U.S. Department of Energy grants used federal dollars to pay employees who played games, watched movies or did community service during work hours, a government audit says.

JIM HENRY

The dealer, F&I vendor disconnect

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 13, 2013
There’s a disconnect in the F&I space that’s getting more obvious.

EPA looks to audit more mpg claims

3:54 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 13, 2013
A senior EPA engineer says he expects the government to more closely monitor automakers’ fuel economy ratings after Hyundai and Kia overstated mileage claims on some nameplates.

PSA to shift Peugeot brand upscale in bid to return to profit

1:57 am U.S. ET | Feb. 13, 2013
PSA laid out plans to move its namesake Peugeot brand upscale to help the automaker return to profit after the company posted a record 5 billion euro ($6.73 billion) net loss for 2012.

PSA will move Peugeot brand upscale in bid to return to profit

Feb. 13, 2013 07:57 CET
PSA laid out plans to move its namesake Peugeot brand upscale to help the automaker return to profit after the company posted a record 5 billion euro ($6.73 billion) net loss for 2012.

BMW-loving Canadians pile up auto debt

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 13, 2013
When it comes to borrowing for a new Porsche or BMW, Canadians aren't holding back. Canada's major banks have more than tripled their lending to car buyers since 2007, the year before the global credit crisis struck, and automakers are increasing dealer financing.

Willie Racine, Vermont Jeep dealer, dies at 89

12:24 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 13, 2013
Willie Racine, a longtime Jeep dealer in Burlington, Vermont, died Feb. 9. He was 89.

U.S. studying 550,000 Pontiac G6s for bad brake lights

8:31 am U.S. ET | Feb. 13, 2013
U.S. safety regulators are investigating an estimated 550,000 Pontiac G6 cars because the brake lights may malfunction, raising the chances of an

Chrysler expects to nearly double leasing with new lender

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 13, 2013
Chrysler Group expects dealers nearly to double the number of new vehicles they lease after Chrysler Capital, the group's new financial joint venture with Banco Santander SA, launches May 1.

Industry fights Ga.'s looming tax burden on leases

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 13, 2013
The Georgia Legislature is considering a bill to amend a new state tax law effective March 1 that would disproportionately hurt auto leases. Unless it's changed, the new Georgia state sales tax would levy a 6.5 percent tax on a leased vehicle at the time of the deal and another 6.

VW, Audi dealers get tools to speed financing

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 13, 2013
The captive financing arms of Volkswagen and Audi are using new online tools to enable their dealers to submit financing deal terms electronically and receive instant validation of the contracts.

Lenders hold on to margins – for now

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 13, 2013
Is increased competition forcing lenders to cut margins? In interviews at the American Financial Services Association Vehicle Finance Conference here, lender executives acknowledged the pressure to cut margins, but most denied they're doing it.

Penske uses training, consistency to boost F&I

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 13, 2013
Roger Penske, chairman of Penske Automotive Group, said last week the group will rely on more F&I training and more consistent efforts across the group to sell more F&I products in 2013.

Taking a leaf from Apple, BMW dealers will hire product explainers

Feb. 13, 2013 06:01 CET
Inspired by Apple retail stores, BMW will soon require dealers to hire young, tech-savvy employees to handle questions about its vehicles on the showroom floor. The "BMW Genius Everywhere" program is being launched across Europe after a trial at several large dealership groups in the UK last year.

DOUGLAS A. BOLDUC

Toyota hybrids gaining traction in Europe

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 13, 2013
Annual sales of Toyota and Lexus hybrids topped 100,000 in Europe for the first time last year. It took the brands 12 years to reach the milestone in Europe, which was seven years longer than it took in the United States.

UAW bonuses approach records on rising Detroit 3 profits

6:19 am U.S. ET | Feb. 13, 2013
Because of record North American profits, the Detroit 3 plan to hand out profit-sharing checks totaling more than $750 million to about 122,000 workers. Besides Ford's $8,300 payout, the most ever by a Detroit automaker, Chrysler is paying hourly workers $2,250.

2013 GENEVA AUTO SHOW

Toyota to reveal GT86 convertible concept

Feb. 13, 2013 06:01 CET
Toyota has produced a concept previewing a possible convertible version of the GT86 sports car. The FT-86 Open will debut at the Geneva auto show and is likely to go into production.

Bosch's auto unit boss expects sales rebound in 2013

Feb. 13, 2013 06:01 CET
Bosch's auto division boosted global sales by 1.7 percent last year but missed its 2012 sales target, Bernd Bohr, the unit's boss, said. For 2013, he expects sales to increase by 3 percent to 5 percent, but to reach that goal cuts will need to be made.

BMW-loving Canadians pile up auto debt

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 13, 2013
When it comes to borrowing for a new Porsche or BMW, Canadians aren't holding back. Canada's major banks have more than tripled their lending to car buyers since 2007, the year before the global credit crisis struck, and automakers are increasing dealer financing.

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