Headlines for Wednesday, March 20, 2013

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2013 NEW YORK AUTO SHOW:

Subaru to show hybrid XV Crosstrek in New York

Subaru will unveil a hybrid version of its Subaru XV Crosstrek small crossover at next week's New York auto show. The car will be the brand's first gasoline-electric vehicle and employ technology based on Toyota Motor Corp.'s hybrid system. Read More »

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AutoNews Now: How Audi lights the way

LED tech that's coming to Europe, but held back in U.S.; Energy loans in limbo; Subaru's first hybrid; Jeep Easter concepts. Read More »

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PRODUCTION:

Opel will build next Mokka in Europe

Opel says it will build the next generation of its Mokka subcompact crossover in Europe and not in Korea, where the current model is manufactured. Read More »

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PRODUCTION:

Ford to pay $750 million severance to workers at Belgium plant

Hourly workers at Ford's plant in Genk, Belgium, will get $750 million in severance as part of a deal to close that factory by the end of 2014. The per-worker severance payment is less than what GM spent in 2010 to close its factory in Antwerp, Belgium Read More »

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China imposes strict fuel-economy standards on auto industry

China imposed long-debated stringent fuel economy standards on Wednesday, making life tougher for cash-strapped small domestic brands that are already struggling amid a slowdown of the world's biggest auto market. Read More »

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PRODUCTION:

Renault's Dacia output halted by pay strike in Romania

Renault's Romanian unit Dacia stopped production as employees went on strike in a dispute over pay, the company said. Read More »

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First Shift: Jeep lag is Fiat drag

Sales slump as Italian automaker needs U.S. boost; a designer steel challenge; BMW to rely on S.C.; Ford's allergy attack. Read More »

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CHINA:

VW China recall may cost more than $600 million

VW Group's recall in China to fix defective gearboxes may cost it more than $600 million. The recall affects 384,181 vehicles including the VW Golf Audi A3, China's quality inspector said. Read More »

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RETAIL SALES/NEW PRODUCT:

Skoda sees new models helping to offset Europe slump

Skoda is confident that deliveries this year will rise as the introduction of new or updated models, including a new large SUV, the Octavia compact and the Rapid Spaceback compact hatchback, offsets a drop in European demand. Read More »

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Jeep, Mopar unveil concepts ahead of annual Utah safari

Jeep and Mopar today showed off six heavily modified off-road vehicles, including a Jeep Wrangler made to look like a Navy battleship, that the brands will take this month to the annual Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah. Read More »

Arnie Addison, founder of Bay Cities Auto Auction in Calif., dies

Arnie Addison, a founder of Bay Cities Auto Auction in Hayward, Calif., died March 1. He was 83. Read More »

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German union chief to VW Tennessee workers: Join UAW

The UAW has won the backing of the head of an influential German union in its effort to represent the hourly workers at Volkswagen AG's Chattanooga, Tenn., assembly plant. Read More »

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Certified used-vehicle sales, Feb. & YTD

This is data compiled by the Automotive News Data Center and requires a Data Center subscription to access. Read More »

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Detroit 3, Hyundai-Kia capturing larger share of youth market

U.S. automakers and South Korean affiliates Hyundai and Kia are boosting their share of sales to younger U.S. buyers at the expense of Japanese brands, according to a pair of market researchers. Read More »

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Buick, Caddy recall 33,700 new vehicles to fix transmission software

GM is recalling about 33,700 model-year 2013 Buick LaCrosse sedans and Cadillac SRX crossover vehicles globally to address a potential software problem that could increase the risk of a crash. Read More »

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Customer Incentives

This is data compiled by the Automotive News Data Center and requires a Data Center subscription to access. Read More »

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VW's China recall may cost more than $600 million

Volkswagen AG recalled a record number of vehicles in China to replace defective gearboxes that may result in the loss of acceleration, in a move that may cost the company more than $600 million. Read More »

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JAKE LINGEMAN:

Corvette Stingray price? Read the fine print for a clue

If you're counting pennies to buy a 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, your target price is $71,860. Read More »

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Q&A:

Why every second matters in service lane F&I sales

Selling extended-service contracts and other F&I products in the service lane is an appealing idea, says dealership F&I chief Mike Komander, but it's complicated and time-consuming. Read More »

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Leasing growth hinges on carmakers, Ally says

Leasing continues to recover but is unlikely to take a much larger share of retail deliveries unless automakers pay out more incentive money, said Bill Muir, president of Ally Financial. Read More »

Ford sees credit losses inching up

Ford Credit CFO Mike Seneski expects the lender's credit losses for bad loans to rise slightly this year while losses stay well below the company's 10-year average.
Read More »

GREEN CARS:

EU politicians back compromise on car emissions targets

The European Union's industry committee has backed a compromise that would give carmakers limited leeway in the race to cut CO2 emissions in line with targets while rejecting German calls for more lenient rules. Read More »

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U.S. scrutiny of dispute provisions in loan contracts threatens dealerships

U.S. dealerships, which increasingly ask car buyers to sign binding arbitration agreements in the finance and insurance office, soon could be barred from using that dispute-resolution provision. Read More »

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Dealers urged to replace loan reserve profit

Auto dealers are saying it's urgent to sell more F&I products, such as extended-service contracts, now that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau seems ready to put stricter limits on how much dealers can earn on customer interest rates, also known as the dealer reserve. Read More »

Legal experts split over class-action waivers

Class-action waivers minimize the risk of car-buyer class actions that are costly for dealerships to defend. But are they enforceable? Read More »

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JIM HENRY:

Dealers and credit unions: Strife or synergy?

Is there peace or war between auto dealers and credit unions -- or something in between? From many angles it looks like peace. Read More »

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TECHNOLOGY:

Audi headlights banned in U.S. by 1968 ruling

Audi customers buying the A8 sedan in the United States will have to live without new matrix-beam headlights because of a 45-year-old regulation that prohibits their use on U.S. roads. Read More »

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2013 NEW YORK AUTO SHOW:

Subaru designs will embrace angular face of Viziv concept

Subaru will gradually adopt the angular face of the Viziv concept crossover shown at the Geneva auto show across its lineup, the brand's global design chief says. Read More »

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JAMIE LaREAU:

A case for a la carte menus

Many F&I managers believe bundling is their best friend. By bundling, they can offer customers several F&I products in a package costing less than buying each product individually. A bundle might consist of an extended-service contract, key fob protection and GAP, all for a single price. Read More »

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LATEST LAUNCHES:

Mazda6 seeks gain in shrinking sector

Mazda hopes to have a bigger impact in the shrinking mid-sized segment with the new Mazda6. Buyers are increasingly switching to crossovers from sedans. As a result, European sales of mid-sized cars dropped by 13 percent to 751,805 last year, according to researchers JATO Dynamics. Read More »

Special Report
Fla. store chain goes for easy sell

Fla. store chain goes for easy sell

Under owner Scott-McRae Group, the Duval family of dealerships in Jacksonville has shed traditional titles, traditional sales techniques and even traditional workweeks, and found its way to higher customer... Mon., June 16
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