Headlines for Monday, March 11, 2013

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AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE CONGRESS

Learn how to thrive in tough times

April 11, 2013 06:00 CET
The head of Renault's entry-level models, Arnaud Deboeuf, will share insights on how Dacia has thrived during Europe's debt crisis at the 16th Automotive News Europe Congress on June 12 in Paris.

NEWS ANALYSIS

European auto execs see rebound next year at the earliest

March 11, 2013 06:01 CET
The struggling European auto industry will bounce back next year. Or maybe in 2016. Or maybe later. It depends on whom you talk to among the executives here coping with depressed sales and the uncertain government response to Europe's economic crisis.

BEST PRACTICES

How small-town dealer tripled his F&I take

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
When Ford Motor Co. offered dealers free training to sell finance and insurance products in 2010, Joel Higley turned it down. He had hired his own F&I trainer the year before.

BEST PRACTICES

Mazda dealer reaches out to military families

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
Jim Bagan has an audacious goal for the Mazda dealership he manages in the military town of Killeen, Texas: a 9 percent share of the local new-vehicle market. That target is a tall order, given that Mazda's U.S. share of the new-vehicle market last year was 1.9 percent.

VIDEO: Behind the transformation of a Las Vegas dealership

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
When Jamaal McCoy took over as GM of a Findlay Automotive Group dealership in Las Vegas two years ago, he found a bickering staff that had produced a laggard in customer satisfaction. But that was then.

Infiniti will offer hybrid version of JX

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
Infiniti will launch a hybrid version of its seven-passenger JX crossover this summer as a 2014 model.

Service moves up front

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
Bill Underriner is building the dealership of the future. Underriner's new dealership reflects what architects and industry leaders say is a growing trend: dealerships putting the service department in the front of the building, next to the showroom.

Dealers' fraud suit against Mahindra can move ahead, U.S. judge rules

2:29 pm U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
Five dealers who claim they were defrauded by Mahindra & Mahindra have won their first small legal victory in federal court against the Indian automaker -- the right to be heard.

GM considering Campbell Ewald for Cadillac ad work

8:02 pm U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
Cadillac is considering naming a longtime General Motors partner, Campbell Ewald, to become its new advertising agency of record in a deal that could be worth about $244 million in media billings annually, sources have told Crain's Detroit Business, an affiliate of Automotive News.

U.S. sold $489.9 million in GM shares in February

6:19 pm U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
The U.S. Treasury, which is exiting its ownership stake in GM, accelerated its sell-down of the automaker in February, saying it received $489.9 million in proceeds from the sale of common shares.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: Nissan's Leaf relief plan

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
Amid disappointing sales, a top exec takes personal charge of electric efforts; seeking EV alternatives; Audi's superhero role.

Study: Dealerships respond better to Internet leads

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
Car dealerships are doing better at responding to Internet leads, but the quality of the responses still leaves something to be desired, according to a new study.

Toyota targets solid-state batteries in '20

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
Toyota Motor Corp. aims to commercialize solid-state batteries around 2020 and lithium air batteries several years later, as successors to today's lithium ion batteries.

GENEVA AUTO SHOW

Next Mustang must gallop on global stage

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
Ford's product development team is facing its toughest challenge yet in developing a global design language: creating a Mustang that works outside North America.

Chrysler slows minivan production at Canada plant

3:01 pm U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
Chrysler Group has slowed production at its minivan plant in Windsor, Ontario, this week. The plant's three shifts will work four-hour shifts instead of eight-hour shifts for at least the next week making the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans.

Obama nominees: EPA insider, MIT scientist

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
President Obama last week chose his nominees to lead agencies that regulate auto emissions and handle alternative energy programs.

Q&A: TRIP HALL, PRESIDENT, CAPITAL ONE AUTO FINANCE

Diamond program propels Capital One

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
Capital One Auto Finance booked a record $16 billion in auto loan originations last year. Much of that success, says President Trip Hall, stemmed from the lender's Diamond Dealer incentive program, which was launched in 2010.

VIDEO: First Shift: Porsche's 'mystery' fans

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
Sports-car maker rated best by online shoppers; Chrysler, VW score highest sales gains per franchise; Subaru recall probed.

Nexteer planning $500 million stock offering in Hong Kong, report says

4:12 pm U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
Nexteer Automotive, the one-time GM and Delphi steering operation controlled by China’s biggest aerospace company, may seek as much as $500 million in an initial public offering in Hong Kong, two people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg.

Marchionne bets billions on Alfa, Maserati

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
Sergio Marchionne is betting billions that Alfa Romeo and Maserati will help drive Fiat's money-losing European operations back into the black by 2015-16.

PHILIP NUSSEL

Why GM should go all out with hot spots

1:43 pm U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
If General Motors wants to take the industry lead in installing Internet hot spots in its vehicles in coming years, then it should go all out.

GENEVA AUTO SHOW

XL1 coupe paves the way for VW plug-in hybrids

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
The debut of the Volkswagen XL1, touted by VW as the world's most fuel-efficient production car, marks VW's entry into the plug-in hybrid market.

Mpg improvements aid mid-sized sales

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
After several big years for small cars, larger sedans and trucks are returning to the forefront, even as gasoline prices remain high.

Bosch auto boss sees slight growth in car parts sales in 2013

March 11, 2013 15:46 CET
Robert Bosch expects revenue from the sale of car parts to grow slightly this year as it grabs a bigger share of components built in each car.

Q&A

Jaguar Land Rover bullish on Europe

March 11, 2013 06:01 CET
Jaguar Land Rover head of European operations Bernhard Kuhnt sees a positive 2013 for both UK brands in Europe because of strong demand for the recently launched new Range Rover and the early-summer arrival the Jaguar F-Type.

Nissan promotes purchasing exec Saikawa to chief competitive officer

9:40 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
Nissan Motor is elevating Executive Vice President Hiroto Saikawa to a newly created position of chief competitive officer that encompasses oversight of global manufacturing, supply chain management, r&d and customer satisfaction.

Toyoda shake-up empowers non-Japanese execs

March 11, 2013 06:01 CET
After four tumultuous years of natural disasters, recalls and record losses, President Akio Toyoda is restructuring Toyota Motor Corp. to empower regional CEOs to anticipate problems and respond quickly. The new structure is less insular and more international.

DOUGLAS A. BOLDUC

LaFerrari and Golf were Geneva Web winners

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
Ferrari's new supercar and Volkswagen's award-winning top seller were the big Web winners from this year's Geneva auto show, according to a study.

Russian car sales growth slows to 2% in February

March 11, 2013 14:01 CET
Russian car sales grew 2 percent year-on-year in February to 210,666 units, slowing from a 5 percent increase in the previous month, the Association of European Businesses (AEB) said on Monday.

VW brand sales flat in February, hit by weak Europe

March 11, 2013 13:17 CET
Volkswagen said sales of its main namesake brand edged up 0.4 percent in February, the smallest gain in 13 months.

PSA, Renault woo younger drivers with new small SUVs

March 11, 2013 07:04 CET
French automakers aim to win customers in the growing small SUV/crossover segment with the Peugeot 2008 and Renault Captur. Peugeot says the first reaction to the 2008 has been positive.

LATEST LAUNCHES

Fiat aims 500L at families

March 11, 2013 06:01 CET
Fiat added the 500L to provide a car for customers who have grown out of three-door 500, specifically at couples who have started families. The 500L – the L stands for large – is a five-door small minivan that is 602mm longer than the 500.

NEWS ANALYSIS

Europe: Just how bad is it?

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
The struggling European auto industry will bounce back next year. Or maybe in 2016. Or maybe later. It depends on whom you talk to among the executives here coping with depressed sales and the uncertain government response to Europe's economic crisis.

GENEVA AUTO SHOW

Sales disaster is deja vu for Docherty

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
Susan Docherty, head of Chevrolet and Cadillac in Europe, is girding for an industry sales slide of 6 percent this year atop last year's 8 percent drop. But there's a bright side: She has seen this play before.

Toyoda shake-up empowers non-Japanese execs

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
After four tumultuous years of natural disasters, recalls and record losses, President Akio Toyoda is restructuring Toyota Motor Corp. to empower regional CEOs to anticipate problems and respond quickly. The new structure is less insular and more international.

Chrysler, VW sales per store soar

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
The Chrysler and Volkswagen brands increased sales and raised their average sales per franchise last year by about a third, even as they added franchises.

AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE CONGRESS

Learn how to thrive in tough times

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
The head of Renault's entry-level models, Arnaud Deboeuf, will share insights on how Dacia has thrived during Europe's debt crisis at the 16th Automotive News Europe Congress on June 12 in Paris.

Volvo may add models to aid struggling dealers

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
Volvo says it will come to the aid of struggling U.S. dealers by bolstering its lineup, increasing margins and spending more on marketing. The company will decide in the next quarter whether to reverse a decision not to sell the V60 station wagon in the United States.

GM puts cars on strict diet

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
When General Motors CEO Dan Akerson vowed last week to cut the weight of new models 15 percent by the 2016 model year, he put his engineers on a rigorous schedule. Is it doable? Yes, but it's a stretch, says one knowledgeable industry consultant.

NEWS ANALYSIS

Side-by-side Civics: The chaotic Honda sell-off

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
A proper sell-down of an aging nameplate is almost seamless on the showroom floor. But reality gets in the way sometimes. Take the Honda Civic.

GENEVA AUTO SHOW

U.S. execs lead VW's quality quest in N.A.

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
This winter, when Volkswagen Group of America discovered that diesel versions of the Volkswagen Jetta and Passat were having trouble in Canada's cold climate, executives in the United States didn't need permission from Germany to fix the problem.

GENEVA AUTO SHOW

BMW will field 'more usable' GT

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
U.S. buyers haven't warmed to hatchbacks, BMW executives say -- so the execs expect the 3-series Gran Turismo to be a niche vehicle when it debuts in the United States this fall.

Launch woes make Ford get tough on prototypes

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2013
After recent launch problems, Ford Motor Co. is tightening the build quality of prototype vehicles, says Barb Samardzich, vice president for product development at Ford of Europe.

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