Headlines for Monday, February 25, 2013

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Ex-Porsche designer aims to give Chery a styling boost

Feb. 25, 2013 07:04 CET
Chery Automobile is counting on ex-Porsche designer Hakan Saracoglu to improve the Chinese carmaker's styling. Saracoglu, who has also worked at Ford of Europe, is leading a team of 30 at Chery's Shanghai-based design center to come up with new concepts for models from sedans to SUVs.

Ford unveils EcoSport SUV for Europe

Feb. 25, 2013 13:55 CET
Ford today unveiled the European version of its EcoSport subcompact SUV, a model the automaker hopes will help counter the company's falling sales in the region. The EcoSport will go on sale in Europe at the end of the year.

Chase Auto Finance names new CEO

5:07 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
JPMorgan Chase & Company named Thasunda Brown Duckett CEO of Chase Auto Finance, one of the nation's largest auto lenders. Marc Sheinbaum, 55, had been CEO of Chase Auto Finance since 2007. He is leaving the company after asking to pursue other opportunities, the bank said.

GM denies reports of proposed hike in CEO Akerson's 2013 pay

8:11 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
GM today strongly denied several media reports that it has requested an increase in CEO Dan Akerson's 2013 compensation. Akerson's pay last year of $11.

Dealer Ernie Boch ponders bid for Boston Globe

4:16 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
Boston car dealer Ernie Boch Jr. is considering buying The Boston Globe. Boch, who called the Globe an “institution,” said the process is still in the preliminary stages.

GM hires VW's Mahoney to steer Chevy global marketing

12:29 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
GM named Volkswagen of America executive Tim Mahoney to the newly created post of global chief marketing officer for Chevrolet. Mahoney also will carry the title of global GM marketing operations leader, reporting to Alan Batey, vice president of U.S.

GM denies reports of proposed hike in CEO Akerson's 2013 pay

Feb. 26, 2013 02:11 CET
GM today strongly denied several media reports that it has requested an increase in CEO Dan Akerson's 2013 compensation. Akerson's pay last year of $11.

VIDEO: First Shift: GM cars as 4G hotspots

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
Plan would un-tether driver from phone; Jeep Liberty successor named; Ford called best value; Nissan performance re-do?

2013 GENEVA MOTOR SHOW

Alfa Romeo teases 4C interior before Geneva

3:58 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
Alfa Romeo today revealed the interior of the new 4C sports car, before its official Geneva motor show debut. The small sports car is expected to weigh in at less than 2,200 pounds, and deliver 240 hp from a turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder engine.

GM hires VW's Mahoney to steer Chevy global marketing

Feb. 25, 2013 18:29 CET
GM named Volkswagen of America executive Tim Mahoney to the newly created post of global chief marketing officer for Chevrolet. Mahoney also will carry the title of global GM marketing operations leader.

2013 GENEVA AUTO SHOW

Bertone stretches the Aston Martin Rapide

Feb. 25, 2013 12:04 CET
Italian design house Bertone will unveil a one-off wagon-like version of the Aston Martin Rapide sports car at the Geneva auto show on March 5.

Ford sedans, SUVs face U.S. safety probe for stalling problem

1:08 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
Federal safety investigators are probing 725,000 Ford Motor Co. sedans and crossover vehicles after receiving reports of possible fuel system problems that could cause a sudden loss of engine power.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: Jeep's 'saucy' diesel

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
Grand Cherokee gets a makeover under the hood, GM tech and distraction, Ford links with Spotify, VW exec heads to GM.

LINDSAY CHAPPELL

The big star drops into the mass market

3:22 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
One thing that stands out on the new Mercedes-Benz CLA four-door coupe, which goes on sale in September, is that big Mercedes star on its grille. You can see it from down the block.

LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE

Why this Jeep should sell -- whether you call it Cherokee or not

3:08 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
Here's the thing about the 2014 Jeep Cherokee that Chrysler Group was forced to reveal on Friday: It's a really good, modern take on the AMC Eagle.

GM cars to be Internet hotspots

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
General Motors, laying down a high-stakes bet on the future of vehicle connectivity, plans to make each of its cars an Internet hotspot with a high-speed broadband connection.

Ford, Spotify pair up to offer in-car music streaming

1:14 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
Streaming music service Spotify has partnered with Ford to allow its subscribers to listen to music in more than one million Ford vehicles in North America.

Daimler cuts Zetsche's pay as management bonuses are reduced

6:49 am U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
Daimler has cut CEO Dieter Zetsche's total pay by 5.8 percent to 8.15 million euros for 2012 as managers' bonuses were reduced following the scrapping of profit targets.

Volkswagen's start to year is worse than in 2012, Poetsch says

Feb. 25, 2013 09:49 CET
Volkswagen CFO Hans Dieter Poetsch predicted the first quarter would be worse than a year earlier, adding to a forecast last week that VW's 2013 operating profit probably wouldn't increase as Europe's auto market shrinks.

China's wealth fund is unlikely to become key Daimler shareholder, Uebber says

Feb. 25, 2013 12:59 CET
Daimler does not expect China's sovereign wealth fund to take a 10 percent stake in the automaker, thereby giving the automaker another anchor shareholder besides Kuwait. Chief Financial Officer Bodo Uebber told a German newspaper today that Chinese investment in the company is unlikely.

Daimler cuts Zetsche's pay as management bonuses are reduced

Feb. 25, 2013 12:49 CET
Daimler has cut CEO Dieter Zetsche's total pay by 5.8 percent to 8.15 million euros for 2012 as managers' bonuses were reduced following the scrapping of profit targets.

VW board cuts Winterkorn's 2012 pay

Feb. 25, 2013 06:01 CET
The VW supervisory board has taken steps to limit bonuses for CEO Martin Winterkorn and other top executives.

GM expects Opel labor deal soon

Feb. 25, 2013 15:02 CET
GM believes it can strike a deal in the next few days with German labor unions over a restructuring of its money-losing European unit Opel, GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky said on Monday.

Nissan to sell Datsun cars in South Africa from next year

Feb. 25, 2013 14:35 CET
Nissan will start selling its Datsun brand in South Africa next year, the automaker said on Monday, as it aims to grab more first-time buyers in emerging markets with entry-level cars.

GENEVA AUTO SHOW PREVIEW

Luxury to the max

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
European automakers are reeling from a slump in sales, but the focus at the Geneva auto show next week will be on the kinds of cars that have largely escaped the region's downturn -- super-expensive ones.

Amid insults, Mercedes and BMW both claim U.S. luxury crown

Feb. 25, 2013 06:01 CET
Mercedes-Benz and BMW have been trading insults since BMW sprinted ahead of Mercedes in December to snatch the 2012 luxury-sales crown in the U.S. The late burst by BMW ratcheted up as Mercedes laid claim to being the true winner based on newly released vehicle registration data.

SHOP, CLICK -- HOLD ON A MINUTE

GM pilot program shows that shoppers resist buying without seeing and trying

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
To attract Web-savvy customers, General Motors is experimenting with easy-to-use online shopping. Consumers can cut time at dealerships, for instance, by filling out credit applications online and getting preliminary values on trade-ins.

Feds eye finance reserve

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
For more than two years, dealers have been bracing for possible actions by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, formed after the financial crisis of 2008. Now the federal agency has taken its first auto-related action.

How to succeed by adding brands

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
Volkswagen Group, bent on becoming the world's largest automaker, has amassed an expansive collection of brands to help put that goal within reach. Chrysler Group keeps adding logos to its dealers' showrooms.

GM targets big growth in floorplanning

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
General Motors' finance arm has an ambitious goal: to provide floorplan financing to at least 20 percent of GM dealers, the unit's top executive said.

Amid insults, bitter rivals both claim luxury crown

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
Mercedes-Benz and BMW have been trading insults for six weeks, ever since BMW sprinted ahead of Mercedes in December to snatch the 2012 luxury-sales crown.

Texas dealer wins $136 million in Mercedes lawsuit

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
A Texas jury has awarded $136 million to a Mercedes dealer who alleged that Mercedes-Benz USA tricked him into believing he could move a store he spent $7 million to acquire to a more affluent community.

Connected cars may have to share the air

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
The Federal Communications Commission sent a clear warning to the auto industry last week: Show progress on "connected car" technology or risk losing exclusive access to a coveted section of the wireless spectrum.

Fiesta's buzz builders

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
Advertising material for the 2014 Ford Fiesta will come from videos, photos and other digital content created by 100 young bloggers -- not by Ford's ad agency.

Study: Customers turn to social media for service

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
Mastering social media is getting tougher for auto companies and dealers because of shifting consumer expectations. Consumers increasingly want their service questions answered via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and fan sites, a new study by J.D. Power and Associates says.

Public groups plan U.S. acquisition blitz

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
Despite forays into overseas markets by Group 1 Automotive Inc. and Penske Automotive Group, public retailers intend to roll full speed ahead on U.S. acquisitions this year.

Mercedes sees safety technology as its edge

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
A major weapon in Mercedes-Benz's ambitious 2013 product-launch schedule is an array of safety and convenience technology called Intelligent Drive, which harnesses all the sensors and controls in a Mercedes vehicle.

Auto trade talks will target tariffs, unified rules

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
Automakers on both sides of the Atlantic are enthusiastically backing trade talks between the United States and Europe that President Barack Obama announced during his State of the Union address. But a host of obstacles stand in the way of a trade deal.

Almost all Fords will get EcoBoosts

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
By bringing production of its 2.0-liter, four-cylinder EcoBoost engine to a Cleveland plant in late 2014, Ford Motor Co. is setting the stage for using the engine brand through nearly its entire lineup.

LEGAL FILE

Appeals panel OKs arbitration in buyer's tiff with store

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
A California Court of Appeal panel has ordered the buyer of a 2006 Toyota Sequoia to arbitrate her dispute with the dealership that sold the vehicle.

App makes GM sales a 24/7 gig

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
Larry White recently sold a Chevrolet Suburban -- while he was at his kid's hockey game.

KEITH CRAIN

You can't have both -- or can you?

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
For some reason that only oil tycoons understand, gasoline prices are heading for the roof , and many people are predicting $5-a-gallon gasoline by summer. Great timing for the Detroit 3, which are all launching or about to launch new trucks Keith Crain is editor-in-chief of Automotive News.

EDITORIAL

Obamacare is real; it's time dealers made plans

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2013
Few pieces of legislation in recent years have triggered as bitter a debate as the federal Affordable Care Act, the national health care plan. Realistically, auto dealers who hoped for repeal need to develop a plan to deal with Obamacare when major portions of the law go into effect Jan. 1.

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