Headlines for Thursday, March 21, 2013

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AutoNews Now: Uncle Sam warns lenders

Consumer bureau: Banks liable for 'discriminatory' dealer reserves; Jeep's recovery vehicle; MKZ inspections program at end. Read More »

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NHTSA app aims to ease consumers' access to safety info

Federal regulators are offering a free app for iPhones and iPods that provides the latest vehicle safety information to consumers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's SaferCar.gov Web site. Read More »

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March U.S. auto sales will rise 8%, LMC predicts

March auto sales in the United States are expected to rise 8 percent and the annual sales pace should top 15 million for the fifth straight month as consumers shake off worries about the economy, according to research firm LMC Automotive. Read More »

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First Shift: UAW push wins backing

Head of VW German union: Tenn. workers need to join UAW; LED dealership lights gain intensity; Lexus dealer's golf gambit. Read More »

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PRODUCTION:

Ford's European sales slide threatens revival plan

Ford's plan to cut jobs and close plants may not be enough to halt losses in Europe where moves to rein in margin-crushing discounts have sparked a further sales plunge. Ford's European slide reflects efforts to end a discount blowout, according to industry insiders. Read More »

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EUROPEAN RESTRUCTURING:

Opel will close Bochum plant early after workers reject deal

GM's Opel unit said it would close down its factory in Bochum earlier than planned after the plant's employees turned down a deal that would have saved 1,200 jobs. Read More »

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JESSE SNYDER:

The scientist-juggler heart of car guys

Blake Zuidema is a master juggler. Like the rest of us (I'll explain). Juggler isn't on his ArcelorMittal business card. That reads "Director, Product Applications." His job: Make steel, specifically ArcelorMittal sheet and bar steel, fit the needs of auto designers and manufacturers. Read More »

Nissan, dealers report hail-damaged vehicles in Miss.

A downpour of tennis ball-sized hail in central Mississippi damaged more than 1,000 new vehicles at local dealerships as well as new Nissan vehicles in transit from its nearby assembly plant. Read More »

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U.S. financial regulator warns auto lenders on markup discrimination

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today issued a warning to auto lenders: Make sure dealer participation in interest rates does not lead to discrimination or face the consequences. Read More »

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Chrysler brand boss says 'Imported from Detroit' campaign will grow

Chrysler brand head Saad Chehab today said the brand will expand its "Imported from Detroit" marketing theme with special-edition vehicles and partnerships that further tie Chrysler to the financially embattled city. Read More »

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Lincoln MKZ inspection backlog nearly eliminated, Ford says

Ford Motor Co. has stopped routing redesigned Lincoln MKZ sedans from their Mexico assembly plant to a Michigan factory for quality inspections and repairs. Read More »

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New Mazda3 coming to U.S. dealerships this fall, sources say

Mazda, working to surpass 300,000 U.S. sales for the first time since the mid-1990s, plans to have its redesigned Mazda3 compact car in U.S. dealerships this fall, Automotive News has learned. Read More »

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Hyundai will show luxury coupe concept in Seoul

Hyundai said it will show a luxury sports coupe concept next week at the Seoul Motor Show that could hint at a design direction for the next-generation Genesis Coupe. Read More »

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PLANT CLOSURES:

Opel turnaround plan faces union vote at Bochum plant

General Motors faces a test in its plans to restructure Opel as workers at its Bochum, Germany, assembly plant vote on a deal that would guarantee the jobs of more than 20,000 German workers in exchange for a wage freeze through 2015, and keep their plant running until 2016. Read More »

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VW agrees to settle Audi CVT class-action case in U.S. court

A federal judge has granted preliminary approval for the settlement of a class-action suit against Volkswagen Group of America over alleged defects with continuously variable transmissions in about 64,000 2002-06 Audi A4 and A6 models. Read More »

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Estimated Europe registrations by make, 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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Estimated Europe registrations by country, 2 mos.

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

Ally to sell remaining mortgage servicing rights to Quicken

Ally Financial, the former GMAC lending unit that had its capital plan rejected last week by the Federal Reserve, agreed to sell its remaining agency mortgage servicing rights to Quicken Loans Inc. for about $280 million. Read More »

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PRODUCTION:

Volkswagen's Slovak factory doubles output on Up minicar launch

Volkswagen doubled output of its Slovak factory to a record level last year as the introduction of the Up minicar offset slowing demand for cars across Europe. Read More »

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LABOR RELATIONS:

German union chief to VW Tennessee workers: Join UAW

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

SUPPLIERS:

Schaeffler sees N. America, Asia gains pushing revenue growth in 2013

German supplier Schaeffler said demand in North America and Asia will more than make up for a sales drop in Europe to allow volume growth in 2013. Read More »

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Jeep boss says another sales record depends on new Cherokee

Jeep has been on a three-year run of year-over-year sales gains, but extending that streak in 2013 will depend on the success of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, brand boss Mike Manley says. Read More »

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NEW PRODUCT:

Satellites control new Rolls' gearshifts

The Rolls-Royce Wraith, a fastback that debuts in the final quarter of 2013, will use satellite data that detect changing road conditions to help shift its ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. Read More »

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GREEN CARS:

EU industry boss defies German pressure on car coolants

The European Union's Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani say he will enforce new rules that ban extremely potent greenhouse gases in car air-cooling systems, defying opposition from the German government and the country's automakers. Read More »

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LATEST LAUNCHES:

Bigger Toyota RAV4 aims to win back lost buyers

Toyota has made its latest RAV4 longer and wider to win back ground in the compact SUV segment. First launched in 1994, the RAV4 for many years led the segment in Europe, but last year slipped to sixth place. Read More »



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