Headlines for Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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AutoNews Now: Dependable out of the gate

All-new or redesigned cars beat unchanged models; Lexus wins again; Chrysler S. Africa exec shot; butting in on talking cars. Read More »

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

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. Read More »

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First Shift: Shifting off oil 'for good'

After falling short of goals, Obama proposes research trust; UAW chief rips Nissan in organizing push; Ford salutes dealers. Read More »

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

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. Read More »

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JAMIE LaREAU:

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

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. Read More »

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

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. Read More »

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JIM HENRY:

The dealer, F&I vendor disconnect

There’s a disconnect in the F&I space that’s getting more obvious. Read More »

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EPA looks to audit more mpg claims

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. Read More »

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

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. Read More »

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

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. Read More »

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BMW-loving Canadians pile up auto debt

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. Read More »

Willie Racine, Vermont Jeep dealer, dies at 89

Willie Racine, a longtime Jeep dealer in Burlington, Vermont, died Feb. 9. He was 89. Read More »

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

U.S. safety regulators are investigating an estimated 550,000 Pontiac G6 cars because the brake lights may malfunction, raising the chances of an Read More »

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Chrysler expects to nearly double leasing with new lender

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. Read More »

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Industry fights Ga.'s looming tax burden on leases

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. Read More »

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VW, Audi dealers get tools to speed financing

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. Read More »

Lenders hold on to margins – for now

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. Read More »

Penske uses training, consistency to boost F&I

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. Read More »

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

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. Read More »

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DOUGLAS A. BOLDUC:

Toyota hybrids gaining traction in Europe

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. Read More »

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UAW bonuses approach records on rising Detroit 3 profits

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. Read More »

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2013 GENEVA AUTO SHOW:

Toyota to reveal GT86 convertible concept

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. Read More »

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Bosch's auto unit boss expects sales rebound in 2013

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. Read More »

BMW-loving Canadians pile up auto debt

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. Read More »



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