Headlines for Wednesday, March 6, 2013

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Ford calls for mutual U.S.-Europe auto standards in trade deal

March 6, 2013 14:19 CET
Ford wants trade tariffs between the U.S. and Europe removed and believes the two markets' regulators should accept each other's safety and environmental standards.

U.S. car and light-truck inventories, on Mar. 1

4:50 pm U.S. ET | March 6, 2013
  DaysDays
  

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: Geneva's supercars

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 6, 2013
Eye candy from Lambo, McLaren, Ferrari; GM goal: 15 percent weight loss; Toyota borrows page from West in exec shuffle.

GM's Akerson vows lighter vehicles, hails potential of CNG

1:35 pm U.S. ET | March 6, 2013
General Motors aims to cut the weight of its North American vehicles by as much as 15 percent by the 2016 model year, compared with GM's current fleet, CEO Dan Akerson said today. GM estimates that a 10 percent reduction in curb weight cuts fuel consumption by about 6.5 percent.

GM struggles to overcome Chevrolet-Opel rivalry

March 6, 2013 17:03 CET
The rivalry between GM's Opel and Chevrolet brands in Europe risks damaging both automakers. While Chevrolet is GM's largest and most important brand worldwide, selling roughly 5 million cars last year alone, it is outsold five-to-one by Opel on its home turf in the EU.

VIDEO: First Shift: Exec shakeup at Toyota

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 6, 2013
New jobs for N.A. leaders, board seat for ex-GM exec Hogan; Mulally's reward; an eye on distraction; Subaru's pet project.

Johnson Controls explores sale of auto-electronics division

2:01 pm U.S. ET | March 6, 2013
Johnson Controls said it has hired JP Morgan to explore the potential sale of its automotive electronics unit and denied having plans to sell its interiors business.

Tesla opposes Minnesota legislation that would block its stores

4:04 pm U.S. ET | March 6, 2013
Tesla Motors is trying to amend Minnesota legislation that would block it from opening stores and service centers in the state.

GM hiring 1,000 information technology workers in Ariz.

3:34 pm U.S. ET | March 6, 2013
General Motors plans to hire 1,000 information technology employees for a new office in Chandler, Ariz., as part of its effort to bring such work back into the company instead of using outside contractors.

U.S. Fleet Sales, Feb. & YTD

3:25 pm U.S. ET | March 6, 2013

LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE

A prenatal nose job for the Jeep Cherokee? Or...

2:19 pm U.S. ET | March 6, 2013
Is Jeep planning a nose job for the 2014 Cherokee, even before its official unveiling this month in New York? A mule spotted last week by an Automotive News reporter in Los Angeles shows that they're at least testing the idea.

NICK BUNKLEY

Whitacre-as-savior concept gets the Lutz lash

11:58 am U.S. ET | March 6, 2013
So Ed Whitacre thinks he saved General Motors. Bob Lutz thinks that claim is a total crock of (rhymes with part of “Whitacre”).

Q&A

Why Ford Credit is more frog than swan

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 6, 2013
Ford Motor Credit appears unchanged compared with the morphing that the former captive finance companies of General Motors and Chrysler underwent as a result of those automakers' bankruptcies.

COMMENTARY

Facebook fills F&I training void

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 6, 2013
Do you feel you get enough in-house training? I posted that question on a Facebook page catering to F&I managers and trainers last week and got about a dozen replies. Responses were mixed, but the overall sentiment was no Jamie LaReau covers auto dealers for Automotive News

HANS GREIMEL

Japan may crack open market to join U.S. free-trade agreement

10:22 am U.S. ET | March 6, 2013
Is Japan poised to open its market to more imports? Japan's automakers are desperate for their country to enter a free-trade deal with the United States. But U.S. automakers oppose Japan's entry, saying Japan's market is closed.

U.S. investigating Ally's retail financing practices

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 6, 2013
Ally Financial said the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has recently told the U.S. auto lender that it is being investigated for certain "retail financing practices."

How dealerships can fall prey to bank fraud

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 6, 2013
Identity theft and bank fraud are a real minefield for dealerships, according to dealership consultant Gil Van Over. In a recent presentation aimed at lenders, he showed how dealerships face threats from many directions.

2013 GENEVA AUTO SHOW

European automakers go big on small SUVs

March 6, 2013 12:42 CET
The popularity of subcompact SUVs is one of the bright spots in Europe's auto-sales slump and mass-market carmakershave been quick to join this growing segment.

EDITORIAL

Flat fee ahead?

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 6, 2013
It seems likely that the Consumer Financial Protection Board will get lenders to reduce the allowable finance reserve further or move to a flat fee, which many lenders have done. Such a change affects dealership profits.

Renault gains union OK to cut 7,500 jobs, freeze pay

March 6, 2013 14:19 CET
Renault can eliminate 7,500 jobs and freeze wages as part of a labor deal offering increased domestic production, after one of the main French unions at the carmaker gave their approval today.

Automaker chiefs urge end to European austerity

March 6, 2013 09:49 CET
Automakers joined growing opposition to Europe's austerity measures. Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn urged government spending to revive the region's anemic sales, which he forecast won't recover for another three years.

BMW shrugs off Europe market decline as Daimler seeks capacity

March 6, 2013 06:01 CET
BMW and Daimler are shrugging off the European auto-market decline as sales growth in China and the United States pushes their luxury-car production to maximum rates.

NICK GIBBS

EcoSport shows flaw in Ford's global design policy

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 6, 2013
Ford is downplaying sales expectations of the EcoSport subcompact SUV in Europe, admitting it was designed with emerging markets in mind.

LUCA CIFERRI

The LaFerrari is a Ferrari first

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 6, 2013
The LaFerrari supercar is the first model entirely designed by the company's styling center. Ferrari says it is not a bad sign for longtime partner Pininfarina.

DOUGLAS A. BOLDUC

Honda shows its European side

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 6, 2013
Honda is showing its European side with the Civic Tourer concept. The car was designed by a German specifically for Europe with the aim of being sleeker than BMW's wagons.

Toyota revamps management to battle GM, Volkswagen

March 6, 2013 12:49 CET
Toyota President Akio Toyoda overhauled his top management for a second straight year, strengthening his control over the world's largest carmaker to vie with General Motors Co. and Volkswagen.

LUCA CIFERRI

The LaFerrari is a Ferrari first

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 6, 2013
The LaFerrari supercar is the first model entirely designed by the company's styling center. Ferrari says it is not a bad sign for longtime partner Pininfarina.

2013 GENEVA AUTO SHOW

Ford to import EcoSport crossover, key to European margins

March 6, 2013 14:28 CET
Ford will import its EcoSport compact crossover from India for the European market, where the vehicle will compete in a growing, but increasingly crowded segment.

Ford awards Mulally nearly $12 million in performance bonuses

March 6, 2013 06:01 CET
Ford CEO Alan Mulally this week was awarded performance bonuses worth nearly $12 million, Ford disclosed to U.S. regulators.

DAVE GUILFORD

For Ghosn, just another impressive day in the media glare

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 6, 2013
For several years at major auto shows, Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has invited media to freewheeling Q&A sessions. Ghosn continued the tradition here today in an unscripted, open-ended session with about 75 international journalists.

DAVE GUILFORD

In the limelight, exotics shrug off austerity

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 6, 2013
So where's the new austere, euro-pinching European auto industry, the one that's struggling to cut capacity and bring wages to a competitive level? No where to be seen, at least at the luxo-elite displays here in Geneva.

2013 GENEVA AUTO SHOW

Hyper-hybrid LaFerrari could redefine green cars

March 6, 2013 10:50 CET
The LaFerrari is one of the most electrifying debuts at this year's Geneva show, and not only because of its sleek carbon-fiber body or its top speed of more than 350 km/h.

Toyota names former GM exec Hogan to board in overhaul

5:55 am U.S. ET | March 6, 2013
Toyota appointed former General Motors executive Mark Hogan to its board, installing the first foreigner since 2007 and the first outside director ever in an attempt to breathe fresh perspective into the mammoth Japanese carmaker.

Marchionne says Fiat is in talks with banks about Chrysler merger

March 6, 2013 08:19 CET
Fiat- Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said he is in talks with banks about financing a merger of the two automakers. The deal would involve purchasing the 41.5 percent of Chrysler that Fiat doesn't own.

JIM HENRY

A little education can save a lot of complaining

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 6, 2013
It's easy to be cynical about this, but consumer education could ease the sting of tougher regulations that seem to be in the works for auto lenders and dealers.

JAMIE LaREAU

Facebook fills F&I training void

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 6, 2013
Do you feel you get enough in-house training? I posted that question on a Facebook page catering to F&I managers and trainers last week and got about a dozen replies. Responses were mixed, but the overall sentiment was no.

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