Headlines for Friday, March 1, 2013

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China gains greater share of automakers' investments

3:24 pm U.S. ET | March 1, 2013
China boosted its share of automakers' global spending on capacity increases last year, while Mexico again attracted the bulk of North American investment, a university study says.

Ally says U.S. probing retail financing practices

6:52 pm U.S. ET | March 1, 2013
Ally Financial said in a securities filing that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has recently told the U.S. auto lender that it is being investigated for certain "retail financing practices."

PSA in talks with Russia's ZIL on vehicle making pact

March 1, 2013 16:19 CET
PSA confirmed it is talking with Russian vehicle manufacturer AMO ZIL about the possibility of cooperating as the French company plans to boost sales in the country.


Automakers push into new niches

March 1, 2013 06:01 CET
This year's Geneva auto show highlights how automakers are increasingly pushing into new market niches as they seek to maximize showroom sales and profits. Ultraluxury niche models will debut alongside limited-edition supercars by Ferrari and McLaren.

VIDEO: First Shift: Electrifying the wheel

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 1, 2013
EV-1 vet makes rounds for in-wheel motors; Marchionne: Chrysler, Fiat 'belong together'; Edsel designer dies; teen setback.

Strong Accord sales can't overcome Civic transition for Honda

4:17 pm U.S. ET | March 1, 2013
American Honda's February sales fell 2 percent, as rare slumps by such volume models as the Civic, CR-V and Odyssey offset a strong month for the redesigned Accord.


Sales rise modest 4% on solid light-truck demand

8:00 am U.S. ET | March 1, 2013
U.S. light-vehicle sales rose a modest 4 percent to 1.19 million units last month, with Volkswagen AG, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors setting the pace as automakers overcame severe winter weather, higher taxes and rising gasoline prices to keep the industry's recovery on track.

Chevy offers free maintenance on aging Silverado

1:17 pm U.S. ET | March 1, 2013
General Motors is including scheduled maintenance in the price of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup for sales in March and April, matching a promotion it began last month on the GMC Sierra.

Lincoln sales plunge, but Ford Motor advances 9%

1:19 pm U.S. ET | March 1, 2013
Continued delays in getting the 2013 Lincoln MKZ to dealers hobbled Lincoln sales in February, but sales rose 11 percent for the Ford brand and 9 percent for Ford Motor Co. overall.

GM rises 7%; trucks shine, cars slip

2:58 pm U.S. ET | March 1, 2013
GM customers shrugged off higher fuel prices and snapped up pickups, SUVs and large crossovers in February, propelling GM to a 7 percent sales gain. GM sold 224,314 units last month, the company said today. Its gain outpaced the industry's modest 4 percent growth.

Mercedes tops BMW to extend U.S. luxury lead

4:04 pm U.S. ET | March 1, 2013
Mercedes-Benz reported a 22 percent surge in U.S. sales last month, building on its early lead as it tries to unseat BMW as the leader in luxury-auto deliveries this year.

Q5 becomes Audi best-seller; VW sales slow again

12:40 pm U.S. ET | March 1, 2013
Now that Audi AG has shuffled production schedules to build more crossovers, the automaker expects to have a new U.S. best-seller this year. Audi of America sold 2,753 units of the five-seat Q5 crossover in February, up 57 percent from a year ago.

Less flash, more substance as recovery forges ahead

5:27 pm U.S. ET | March 1, 2013
U.S. auto sales rose 4 percent from strong year-ago results in February, as modest growth by the Detroit 3 and Toyota offset declines at Honda, Hyundai-Kia and Nissan. Along the way, the seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate inched up to 15.4 million, the fourth straight month above 15 million.

Chrysler records best Feb. in Canada since 2000

1:44 pm U.S. ET | March 1, 2013
Chrysler Canada recorded a 2 percent rise in Canadian vehicle sales last month, selling the most vehicles in any February since 2000 and extending its streak of year-over-year gains to 39 consecutive months.

Autobytel posts gains in Q4 from growth in online leads

3:09 pm U.S. ET | March 1, 2013
Online automotive lead provider Autobytel posted a modest increase in net profits for the fourth quarter last year due to an increase in demand from automotive dealers and manufacturers. Net income for the quarter rose to $351,000, up from $341,000, a year ago.

Lincoln sputters even with Super Bowl ad blitz

2:33 pm U.S. ET | March 1, 2013
Ford's Lincoln brand, which aired two ads during the Super Bowl in February, posted a 29 percent U.S. sales slide for the month as dealers continued to run short of the MKZ sedan featured in the commercials.


So far, so good; but politics will take a toll

5:31 pm U.S. ET | March 1, 2013
Today is an interesting juncture. On one hand U.S. automakers are reporting a fourth straight rousing sales month.

Crossovers, trucks juice Toyota's Feb. gains

5:20 pm U.S. ET | March 1, 2013
Toyota Motor Sales posted a 4 percent sales gain in February, to 166,377 units, with big gains in crossover and truck sales countering declining volumes for Camry and Prius.

Despite record February, Hyundai sheds share

5:07 pm U.S. ET | March 1, 2013
Hyundai's redesigned Santa Fe crossover propelled the brand to its best-ever February, despite slower sales of its top-selling Sonata sedan and slipping market share.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: A modest rise in sales

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 1, 2013
VW Group, Ford among winners in a month of political and winter storms; GM's 4G possibilities; Lapham: Right leap for Jeep?

Video: Behind the Europeans' success in the U.S.

March 1, 2013 06:01 CET
European automakers are marking record achievements in the United States. Jesse Snyder, a former editor for Automotive News Europe, explores why in this segment from Automotive News TV's First Shift newscast on Feb. 26.


China's newest brand is one to watch

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 1, 2013
European automakers reeling from the region's car sales slump have another reason to worry as ambitious Chinese brand Qoros will unveil three models at the Geneva show March 5.


Alfa 4C, Act II

5:34 am U.S. ET | March 1, 2013
Getting a close look at the Alfa Romeo 4C when it debuts in Geneva will be a challenge if there is a repeat of what happened two years ago at the same show.

Wheel maker Superior's Q4 profit plummets; supplier to build plant in Mexico

1:08 pm U.S. ET | March 1, 2013
Aluminum wheel supplier Superior Industries International reported a sharp drop in fourth-quarter net income and said it plans to build a plant in Mexico to help boost its North American business.

Fleet shift cuts into Nissan volume

2:06 pm U.S. ET | March 1, 2013
Nissan Division's pullback from fleet sales this year was partly responsible for a 7 percent sales decline in February.


Don't mess with Ferrari

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 1, 2013
Give credit to the organizers of the Geneva auto show, they know better than to mess with Ferrari.

Last C6 Corvette rolls off the line

12:23 pm U.S. ET | March 1, 2013
All the Chevrolet Corvette talk these days is focused on the 2014 Stingray, the seventh-generation car that arrives this fall. But the C6 era only ended on Thursday as the last car rolled off the assembly line in Bowling Green, Ky.

Spain car sales fell 10% in February

March 1, 2013 12:01 CET
Spanish car sales fell 10 percent year-on-year in February, mirroring January's decline, car manufacturers' association Anfac said on Friday.

Magna raises its forecast for 2013 N.A. production by 500,000 units

5:31 am U.S. ET | March 1, 2013
North America's largest auto supplier today bumped its 2013 forecast for auto production on the continent by 500,000 vehicles to 15.8 million units. Canada's Magna International also upgraded its North American profit and revenue projections as auto sales continue to climb in the key U.S. market.

ThyssenKrupp offices raided in German auto steel suppliers probe

March 1, 2013 06:01 CET
ThyssenKrupp AG, Germany's biggest steelmaker, said an antitrust watchdog in the country raided its offices in the western city of Duisburg.

Europe's turnaround to take longer than U.S. rebound, Visteon CEO says

March 1, 2013 06:01 CET
The auto industry's turnaround efforts will take longer to gain traction in Europe than in the United States, where some companies were able to see the positive results from their plans within a year, Visteon CEO Tim Leuliette said.

Auto recovery will take longer in Europe than U.S., Visteon CEO says

9:10 am U.S. ET | March 1, 2013
The auto industry's turnaround efforts will take longer to gain traction in Europe than in the United States, where some companies were able to see the fruits of their plans within a year, Visteon CEO Tim Leuliette said Thursday.

GM-Opel labor deal faces opposition from Bochum union chief

March 1, 2013 14:19 CET
GM may still struggle to push through a labor deal announced yesterday after the works council leader at a German Opel factory slated to end production in 2016 said he doesn't support the plan.

Volvo promotes China manufacturing head Danielson to regional chief

March 1, 2013 12:21 CET
Volvo has promoted China manufacturing boss Lars Danielson to its top job in the key market, where the automaker plans a major sales push this decade.

Marchionne sees clarity on Chrysler ownership in Q3

March 1, 2013 11:34 CET
Sergio Marchionne, the CEO seeking to combine Chrysler and Fiat, predicted that Chrysler's future ownership structure won't be clear until the third quarter. He said his "best estimate" is that Fiat has a 50-50 chance of avoiding a Chrysler IPO and creating "one organization."

Ford hurt most by French car sales decline

March 1, 2013 09:27 CET
Ford was hurt most by a steep decline in French car registrations in February as a weak economy continued to weigh on demand for new vehicles.

ANE monthly e-magazine goes live Monday

March 1, 2013 06:01 CET
The new issue of the Automotive News Europe monthly e-magazine goes live on Monday, March 4. Our cover story examines Sergio Marchionne's multi-billion-euro bet that he can turn Alfa Romeo and Maserati into global sales powerhouses.

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