Headlines for Monday, March 4, 2013

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BEST PRACTICES:

Selling cars, planning a community

Mike Alford never planned to become a car dealer. He was a young banker, who ventured into auto retailing in the late 1990s when his father-in-law asked him to help run his store in Jacksonville, N.C. Read More »

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AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE CONGRESS:

Paris congress will explore Europe's rocky road

The European auto industry is in for a rough ride over the next few years. What are the solutions? Which companies will emerge as winners? The 16th Automotive News Europe Congress will explore answers to those questions on June 12 in Paris. Read More »

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Innovator Panoz aims to retool the sports car

Don Panoz lives and plays on the outer periphery of the U.S. auto business. But when it comes to the future of sports cars, he may be in the dead center. Read More »

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FIXED OPERATIONS:

Ford pilot cuts service e-mails

Ford Motor Co. and its dealers are on a mission to reduce the number of service bulletins and promotional materials that clutter customers' e-mail boxes. Read More »

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FIXED OPERATIONS:

Honda helps dealerships find old cars to service

American Honda is launching a program this year that will attempt to channel owners of old vehicles to Honda dealerships. Read More »

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Google poised for major retail push

Google is poised to expand its online car-shopping service to dealers throughout California and enter more states, sources say. By expanding the pilot, Google is signaling its intention to be a more significant force in online auto shopping. Read More »

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Opel aims to match last year's European car sales in softer 2013 market

Opel aims to match last year's European sales results in 2013 thanks to the launch of the new Adam subcompact and Cascada cabriolet models, the brand's sales chief Duncan Aldred said. Read More »

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2013 GENEVA AUTO SHOW:

VW design arm Giugiaro creates coupe-SUV concept

VW Group-controlled design firm Italdesign Giugiaro unveiled a concept car in Geneva that hints to a new type of Grand Tourism luxury model. What makes the sleek two-seat coupe unique is that it also offers go-anywhere off-road capability typically reserved for SUVs. Read More »

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Jeep Cherokee design is a love/hate thing on Twitter

Chrysler Group said it was going for a "polarizing design" with the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. Mission accomplished, judging from the torrent of comments that streamed into the Twitter feed of Ralph Gilles, Chrysler's head of design. Read More »

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2013 GENEVA AUTO SHOW:

'Vette convertible photos carry clues, raise questions

The first official images of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray convertible -- but no details -- have been released ahead of the car's debut at the Geneva Motor Show on Tuesday. Read More »

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2013 GENEVA AUTO SHOW:

VW sees U.S. demand for new Golf wagon

Volkswagen introduced its next-generation compact wagon at the Geneva auto show. The wagon, which is identical to the new seventh-generation Golf from the front bumper to the B-pillar, is scheduled to go on sale in Europe in August and in the United States in late 2014. Read More »

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2013 GENEVA AUTO SHOW:

VW stays loyal to wagons with Jetta SportWagen successor

Volkswagen AG, staying loyal to the traditional station wagon, introduced its next-generation compact wagon at the Geneva auto show. Read More »

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LUCA CIFERRI:

Mercedes A class suffers decisive defeat

The Mercedes-Benz A class suffered a surprisingly decisive defeat in the 2013 European Car of the Year contest won easily by the Volkswagen Golf. Read More »

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AutoNews Now: GM aids NY stores

Dollars for metro-area makeovers, with a hitch; Stingray convertible breaks cover ahead of Geneva; You’ve got too much mail Read More »

8 Southern states unite to woo r&d

Eight Southern states, organized by a Michigan research group, are forming a coalition to encourage overseas automakers and suppliers to locate r&d centers in the Southeast. Read More »

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Obama taps insider as EPA chief; MIT professor to lead Energy Dept.

President Barack Obama today announced his nominees to lead a new federal push to tackle climate change, choosing an air quality expert to run the Environmental Protection Agency and a nuclear physicist to head the Department of Energy. Read More »

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Three luxury brands OK AutoNation's strategy

Some luxury brands are giving AutoNation the OK to put the AutoNation brand name on their dealerships. But continued reluctance from the best-selling luxury automakers -- the German manufacturers, in particular -- may keep AutoNation's branding strategy from spreading to the rest of its network Read More »

Tesla delays filing annual report on accounting error

Tesla Motors said it’s delaying the company’s annual report after finding an error related to accounting for capital expenditures. Read More »

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AutoNation's vehicle sales rise 6% in February

Buoyed by strong luxury-brand sales, new dealerships and a robust California market, AutoNation, the country's largest auto dealership group, reported a 6 percent gain in sales in February. Read More »

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MIKE COLIAS:

Here's the deal behind Shaq's Buick commercials

You might have seen the new commercial over the weekend that has Shaquille O'Neal's 7-foot-frame folded into a Buick LaCrosse. The 15-time NBA All Star appeared last year in another LaCrosse spot. But no, he's not Buick's first official celebrity endorser since parting ways with Tiger Woods in 2010. Read More »

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German new-car sales down 10.5% in February

New-car sales in Germany fell 10.5 percent to 200,683 in February, the KBA federal transport agency said on Monday. Read More »

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2013 GENEVA AUTO SHOW:

Small SUVs poised to dominate at Geneva

Renault and PSA will use the Geneva auto show as the launching pad for models that are forecast to go to the top of Europe's fast-growing small SUV segment. Read More »

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First Shift: Feb. winners, losers

Porsche, Ford gain as Lincoln slips further; AutoNation's Benz disconnect; Corvette and the engine-iPhone tussle Read More »

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Zetsche defends his strategy, job with CLA unveiling

Embattled Daimler boss Dieter Zetsche will this week defend his strategy -- and his job -- by unveiling a new Mercedes model which is part of a compact vehicle lineup, seen as key to the premium carmaker's turnaround. Read More »

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Alfa Romeo reboot marks tough road for Fiat recovery

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has set himself a tough task to take the sporty Alfa Romeo brand global with more expensive models and triple its sales volume by 2016 -- after years of losses. Read More »

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New Opel CEO Neumann stands behind rescue plan

New Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann is standing behind Opel's restructuring. Neumann has seen the Drive 2022 plan and wants to implement it without major changes, sources close to Opel said. Opel was the major contributor to parent General Motors' $1.8 billion operating loss in Europe last year. Read More »

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Check out the ANE monthly e-magazine

The new issue of the Automotive News Europe monthly e-magazine is ready for you to view. Inside this issue we look at why new Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann might be in a perfect position to succeed and why Bosch and PSA are so bullish on their new battery-free hybrid. Read More »

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Ace marketer finds a new road

Tim Mahoney, Chevrolet's new global marketing chief, knows something about putting spark into struggling brands and giving focus to confused marketing. He comes to General Motors after a two-year stint at high-flying Volkswagen of America. Read More »

Good news fuels 4% gain in Feb. sales

For most of last year, auto sales gained steam in spite of considerable economic uncertainty. Now automakers say they finally are getting help from an improving housing market and rising consumer confidence, two factors that helped push U.S. new-vehicle sales 4 percent higher in February. Read More »

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GROWLIN' -- FOR NOW:

Sports cars are hot today, but who'll buy them tomorrow?

A new SRT Viper and an upcoming Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, Alfa Romeo 4C and Acura NSX. If consumers didn't know better, they might think that all is well in the sports car business. It's not. Read More »

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GM cash for dealers aims to revive NYC area sales

General Motors is spending tens of millions of dollars to buff up its dealership network in metro New York, where its sales badly lag rivals. Read More »

Group 1 adds 4 U.K. Ford stores

Group 1 Automotive Inc. continued to expand its overseas portfolio last week by acquiring four Ford dealerships in the United Kingdom. Read More »

Obituaries

Information about Maxie Price Sr., a car dealer in the Atlanta area for many years; Willie Racine, a longtime Jeep dealer in Vermont; Joseph Allen Sartain, a longtime Ford dealer in Alabama; and Phil Smart Sr., a longtime car dealer and civic leader in Seattle. Read More »

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How Mercedes slid the CLA below $30,000

As Mercedes-Benz's U.S. marketers brainstormed in 2009 about how to attract youthful buyers with a compact sedan then being developed, it quickly became clear what they needed most -- an un-Mercedes-like sticker price. Something, say, less than $30,000. Read More »

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Lincoln may extend Mich. MKZ inspections

Ford Motor Co. may extend quality inspections of the 2013 Lincoln MKZ at its Flat Rock, Mich., plant even after reaching normal dealer stocking levels on the new luxury sedan by the end of this month. Read More »

AUTOMOTIVE NEWS MARKETING SEMINAR:

Finding marketing opportunities in a changing world

Four influential automotive marketers will speak May 14 at the Automotive News Marketing Seminar at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles. Read More »

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DOE plans modest push for fuel cells

The U.S. Department of Energy soon will launch a campaign to promote hydrogen cars, embracing a technology that was favored by the administration of President George W. Bush but initially shunned under Barack Obama. Read More »

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Some Ford dealers miss small pickup

Ford's compact Ranger pickup is gone, but for many dealers it's not forgotten. Read More »

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AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE CONGRESS:

Paris congress will explore Europe's rocky road

The European auto industry is in for a rough ride over the next few years. What are the solutions? Which companies will emerge as winners? The 16th Automotive News Europe Congress will explore answers to those questions on June 12 in Paris. Read More »

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VW will show next GTI hatchback in Geneva

Volkswagen AG plans to unveil the next-generation GTI hatchback at the Geneva auto show this week, giving the first glimpse of the high-performance Golf variant that will go on sale here next year. Read More »

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Chrysler will build 9-speed in Tipton, Ind.

Chrysler Group, which is betting on high-tech transmissions as a way to improve fuel economy for traditional gasoline engines, will invest $374 million in several Indiana plants responsible for building eight- and nine-speed gearboxes. Read More »

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KEITH CRAIN:

In Geneva, frowns behind the smiles

This week the automotive world converges on Geneva for a couple of days to reveal new models for European consumers and in some cases the world. Executives also will talk about their businesses. Things are not going well in Europe Keith Crain is editor-in-chief of Automotive News. Read More »

EDITORIAL:

Obama's switch on fuel cells is a smart move

It is welcome news that the Obama administration has flip-flopped on fuel cells as a power source for electric vehicles. Read More »

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