Headlines for Wednesday, February 20, 2013

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Huntington Bank's Stanutz frets about discipline loss

Huntington Bank's Nick Stanutz worries 'that the best day for us and for our dealers was yesterday.' As the auto-lending sector thrives, Stanutz discusses how lenders and dealers can avoid the financial pitfalls of the past. Read More »

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HANS GREIMEL:

Catch the wave at Toyota's new motor show booth

What do you get when you take a piece of Toyota corporate stationery and roll up one end like a tube of paper towels? It's the new look of Toyota's global motor show stand. Toyota calls it “The Wave.” Read More »

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AutoNews Now: Honda pushing solar power

Deal with Elon Musk affiliate could aid thousands of customers; Volvo seeking help with small-car efforts; Toyota on a roll? Read More »

Daimler says refrigerant dispute won't delay S-class launch

Daimler's summer launch of the Mercedes S class will not be delayed by uncertainty over whether the carmaker must use a new air-conditioning refrigerant. Daimler is banking on the success of the new S class, expected to hit European markets in July, to help it to offset a weak first half. Read More »

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Jeep serves as poster child for the Twitter-hacked

Jeep is becoming a corporate poster child for the Twitter-hacked -- and automakers are taking note and playing defense. Companies should reassess the way they handle social media passwords after Jeep's Twitter account was invaded yesterday, a computer forensics expert suggested today. Read More »

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Tesla loss widens but EV maker expects to become profitable in Q1

Tesla Motors expects to become profitable in the first quarter as it works to reduce manufacturing costs and benefits from a backlog of Model S orders. Tesla's fourth-quarter revenue jumped to $306.3 million compared to $39. Read More »

Mercedes tops BMW in 2012 U.S. registrations, Polk says

Mercedes-Benz had more U.S. new-vehicle registrations than BMW in 2012, giving the German automakers one more point of disagreement over which is the leading seller of luxury vehicles. Read More »

Volvo plans to cut 1,000 jobs to reduce costs

Volvo will cut 1,000 more jobs and save more than $200 million to reach breakeven this year after sales and Chinese growth have lagged. Read More »

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First Shift: Jeep back after hack

Humorous response to Twitter attack; more Audi SUVs?; Group 1 to revise pay; Impala's little secret; Nissan in Silicon Valley. Read More »

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Hyundai Europe expects to keep market share in 2013

Hyundai Europe says it expects to keep the 3.5 percent market share it enjoyed in 2012, despite overall regional sales beginning their sixth year of decline. Read More »

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Mercedes tops BMW in 2012 U.S. registrations, Polk says

Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz had more U.S. new-vehicle registrations than BMW AG's BMW in 2012, giving the German automakers one more point of disagreement over which is the leading seller of luxury vehicles. Read More »

Lithia reports big earnings, outlines aggressive growth plans

Lithia Motors executives said today that they expect the dealership group to increase annual revenue by 10 to 15 percent in coming years through dealership acquisitions. To reach that goal, they said, Lithia will have to look beyond its traditional western U.S. base for acquisition targets. Read More »

Audio: Why buying a car never changes

The car-buying process won’t change easily because state laws are designed to protect the franchised dealer, NPR reports in this Planet Money feature. Read More »

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More delinquencies loom, GM Financial boss says

Dan Berce, CEO of GM Financial, said the period of record-low delinquencies and credit losses for bad loans for the industry is just about over. “It's clear this trend has peaked,” he said. Read More »

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JIM HENRY:

Regulation overload would test Einstein

Federal regulations on auto finance are on the short list of things for dealers to worry about in 2013, according to a recent panel of National Automobile Dealers Association leaders. Read More »

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Sonic will add more stores; posts 48% rise in profit

Sonic Automotive won’t close any dealership purchases during the first quarter, but company President Scott Smith still expects the retailer to acquire stores adding $500 million in annualized revenues during the balance of 2013. Read More »

Connected cars may lose exclusive Wi-Fi access band under FCC proposal

Facing intense pressure to open up more airwaves to Wi-Fi devices, regulators today voted to rethink a 1999 decision giving vehicles exclusive access to part of the wireless spectrum as a way to make driving safer. 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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Ford plans 2-liter engine output in Ohio, report says

Ford Motor Co. plans to begin making in Ohio a small four-cylinder engine that it builds in Spain, according to a person familiar with the matter. Read More »

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Ally taps Starbucks in quest to rev dealer test drives

Ally Financial has rolled out a program nationwide to help dealers attract showroom traffic. Working with a local dealership, Ally sets up a vehicle display at a neighborhood “hot spot. Read More »

LEGAL FILE:

Calif. appeals panel affirms arbitration in dealership-customer dispute

A California Court of Appeal panel has ordered the buyer of a 2006 Toyota Sequoia to arbitrate her claims in her finance dispute with the dealership. Read More »

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Group 1's Hesterberg: F&I's strong; now let's work on margins

It's a nice problem to have, but F&I revenue per vehicle has gotten so high, and done such a good job of offsetting thinner margins in new cars, that it could actually be seen as a problem. Read More »

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Q&A:

Experian's auto finance analysis has surprises

Experian Automotive's Melinda Zabritski said that despite conventional wisdom, it's too soon to say auto finance is all the way back, especially in some states that were hit hard when the housing bubble burst. For the fourth quarter of 2012 vs. Read More »

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Auto lenders' business is great. Now what?

Business is so good for auto lenders, it actually scares them a little. Several auto lenders interviewed at the AFSA conference and during the NADA convention listed specific concerns about the future. Read More »

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Fisker technology shouldn’t go to the Chinese, U.S. senator says

The technology of Fisker Automotive, the plug-in hybrid carmaker that owes American taxpayers about $200 million, shouldn’t be sold to Chinese companies, Senator Charles Grassley said. Read More »

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HANS GREIMEL:

Catch the wave at Toyota's new motor show booth

What do you get when you take a piece of Toyota corporate stationery and roll up one end like a tube of paper towels? It's the new look of Toyota's global motor show stand. Toyota calls it “The Wave.” Read More »

Italy's Brembo sees first-half sales boost as U.S. car demand surges

Brembo, the Italian maker of brake systems for Ferrari and Porsche sports cars, is forecasting first-half sales growth as demand jumps in the U.S. Read More »

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Ford to give Mulally bonus payment after he retires

Ford is planning to pay a bonus to CEO Alan Mulally after his employment ends as a reward for leading the automaker through its turnaround. Read More »

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Volvo, Geely will establish joint R&D center in Sweden

Volvo and its Chinese parent Geely will set up a joint research and development center in Sweden to produce technology for new cars from both carmakers. Read More »

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Cheap, easy credit gives lift to leases

Encouraged by cheap and easily available credit, several mass market brands will get more aggressive with leasing this year to boost sales and customer loyalty. Read More »

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2013 GENEVA AUTO SHOW:

Nissan counts on tech upgrades to boost Note's appeal

Nissan believes that a stronger focus on design and technology will boost the next-generation Note's appeal, allowing it to expand its customer base beyond its core small minivan buyers. Read More »

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Audi set to double SUVs to close BMW's luxury lead

Audi plans to double its lineup of sport-utility vehicles to close the sales gap behind BMW as more customers seek high-riding vehicles with the cachet of a luxury brand. Audi is developing the Q2, Q4 and Q6 as a sportier alternative to its current range of three SUVs. Read More »

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Infiniti names ex-Mazda exec to head key European markets

Infiniti has named Christian Blank its director for Germany and three other key European markets as the carmaker gears up for a major sales push in the region led by a new premium compact to rival the Audi A3 and BMW 1 series. Read More »

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