Headlines for Monday, March 25, 2013

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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

Spanish exec to head Infiniti personnel

March 25, 2013 10:55 CET
Infiniti has promoted Spanish national Antonio Lasaga to the newly-created position of global head for human resources. Lasaga is a former director of human relations and general affairs for Nissan in Spain.

BEST PRACTICES

Young, inexperienced and very successful

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
Rick Case Fiat's top salesman is a 19-year-old from Jamaica. The finance and insurance manager is a 24-year-old former cashier with no previous dealership experience. But the dealership last year was the top-selling Fiat store in its region and No. 4 in the nation, Chrysler Group says.

VIDEO: 'Service is everything' at BMW of Sterling

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
Tom Moorehead peddles the nation's top-selling luxury brand in its richest county. But the heart of his BMW-Mini business lies in what he does after the sale. His repair bays have stayed open 22 hours a day to handle demand, and his technicians routinely replace parts in owners' driveways.

DIFFICULT BIRTH

The MKZ's difficult birth

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
Lincoln executives admit they have only one shot at reinventing their faded brand for a new generation of luxury customers.

MIKE COLIAS

Why the LaCrosse facelift is sorely needed

2:00 pm U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
Buick is showing a refreshed LaCrosse sedan this week at the New York auto show. And it's not a moment too soon. The LaCrosse has been the workhorse of Buick's recovery.

PRODUCTION

Dacia unions seek new wage deal after strike ends

March 25, 2013 15:21 CET
Dacia unions are negotiating a new work agreement at the Renault unit's plant in Pitesti, Romania, after employees resumed work on Friday following a spontaneous strike over pay.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: MKZ's troubled launch

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
Bottleneck means lost sales opportunities for Ford; Manheim's Schwartz to take helm at AutoTrader; '14 LaCrosse revealed.

MARKETING

Ford apologizes for mock ads showing tied-up women

March 25, 2013 16:52 CET
Ford and a WPP unit apologized over unauthorized ads for the Figo in India, including a version depicting former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi tying up and gagging three young women.

VIDEO: First Shift: Ford apologizes for ads

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
Indian spots show women bound in trunk; Toyota retailer ordered to pay $15.7M; Volvo China sales flap; Ford-Fiat friendship.

NADA: Dealer profit hits record in 2012

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
Rising new-vehicle sales lifted average dealership pretax profit to a record $843,697 last year, a National Automobile Dealers Association survey shows. The average store's 2012 profit rose 6 percent from the previous record set in 2011.

Ford apologizes for mock ads showing tied-up women

10:52 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
Ford and a WPP Plc unit apologized over unauthorized ads for the Figo in India, including a version depicting former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi tying up and gagging three young women.

AutoTrader CEO Perry to resign May 1

11:41 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
Chip Perry, AutoTrader.com's only CEO since the company began operating in 1997, will resign effective May 1. His duties will be handled by Sandy Schwartz, who will become president of AutoTrader Group and will remain president of vehicle auction giant and sister company, Manheim.

Subaru of America COO, CFO Doll adds president title

4:10 pm U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
Subaru of America has promoted Tom Doll to president, effective April 1. He will remain COO and CFO. Doll, 57, is the highest ranking non-Japanese executive at Subaru's U.S. subsidiary. He joined Subaru of America in 1982.

Major U.S. automakers come to the aid of destitute Detroit

2:51 pm U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
The Detroit 3 automakers joined other Michigan businesses today in donating $8 million for new ambulances and police cars to Detroit as state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr took over running the destitute city.

As sales rise, so do dealers' gifts to charities

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
Rising vehicle sales are boosting dealership revenues, making it easier for dealers to give more to charities.

De Nysschen picks new Infiniti team

10:00 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
Johan de Nysschen, president of the Infiniti luxury brand, has overhauled his top management with hand-picked executives tasked with taking the brand global. The sweeping changes inject the top ranks with non-Japanese executives, many poached from rivals, for international flair.

Infiniti will get new DMS

12:13 pm U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
Infiniti is preparing to retire InfinitiNet, a homegrown dealer communication and management system that Infiniti dealers have used since the premium brand's first U.S. vehicle sales in 1989.

SUPPLIERS

Bosch will sell or close its money-losing solar energy unit

March 25, 2013 12:54 CET
Bosch said it will sell or shut down its money-losing solar energy operations. The supplier has lost 2.4 billion euros ($3.10 billion) since it created the solar energy unit in 2008.

Lexus IS is heavy on carryover, still strong

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
Lexus' redesigned 2014 IS, which arrives this summer, is the brand's third attempt to match the BMW 3 series, the longtime leader in the compact luxury sedan segment.

2013 NEW YORK AUTO SHOW

Buick revamps LaCrosse interior, adds more technology for 2014

9:03 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
The Buick LaCrosse -- the brand's biggest sedan -- receives a new interior design, more safety and technology features, and a mild exterior revamp for 2014.

NEW YORK AUTO SHOW PREVIEW

Show to star a cavalcade of crossovers and SUVs

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
A parade of new and redesigned crossovers and SUVs will headline the New York auto show this week. The list includes the Jeep Cherokee, which replaces the Liberty, and new renditions of the Acura MDX, Toyota Highlander and Range Rover Sport. Subaru will debut a hybrid version of its XV Crosstrek.

Autos seen as flashpoint in EU-Japan trade talks

March 25, 2013 14:08 CET
Japan and the EU agreed to begin talks on a trade deal despite opposition from European automakers who are suspicious of how far Japan is committed to open up its market to imports.

GREEN CARS

EU needs stricter car CO2 standards to keep driving affordable, consumer body says

March 25, 2013 11:52 CET
High oil prices will make driving a car less and less affordable unless the European Union's vehicle industry faces more stringent emissions limits than those the European Commission is battling to enforce, the body representing European consumers said.

SUPER SEGMENT

Ford counts on 5 cars and crossovers to make inroads against imports

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
Super Segment is Ford Motor Co.'s term for five Ford brand vehicles: the Fiesta subcompact, Focus compact, Escape compact crossover, C-Max Hybrid crossover and Fusion mid-sized sedan. The vehicles are Ford's import fighters.

PLUGGING ALONG

Plugging along

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
Are sales of electric-drive vehicles disappointing? No doubt. Has the buzz faded? Undeniably. So are electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids dead? Not really.

Barra remakes GM product development

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
It has been just over two years since Mary Barra became the surprise pick to steer General Motors' global vehicle development. She'll get a report card soon. Over the next 18 months, GM is embarking on one of the company's busiest-ever launch schedules.

Wanted: Dealership stars under 40

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
Are you a rising star at an auto dealership? Or do you know someone who is? For the second year, Automotive News will spotlight these achievers in "40 Under 40," a special section in the July 15 issue.

Pizazz, passion, props win Acura ad account

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
With a flashy and well researched pitch, Mullen Advertising won American Honda's Acura account over incumbent RPA and others by promising to focus Acura's message and inject more emotion into its ads.

Scion to Kansas City: We have a Google problem

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
Scion is changing its online presence in a pilot it launched in December. Scion is buying pay-per-click advertising on Google for all 41 Scion stores in the six-state Kansas City region.

Hyundai will alter upscale sales strategy

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
Hyundai plans to create retail marketing procedures for its Genesis and Equus nameplates as it prepares to launch a second generation of the upscale cars.

Modified Jeeps hit the trails

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
A Jeep Wrangler that has been decorated with rust and made to look like a Navy battleship is one of six Jeeps -- all heavily modified by Chrysler Group's Jeep and Mopar units -- that will be put through their paces during the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, which was scheduled to begin Saturday,...

Infiniti will get new DMS

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
Infiniti is preparing to retire InfinitiNet, a homegrown dealer communication and management system that Infiniti dealers have used since the premium brand's first U.S. vehicle sales in 1989.

Bad cable, fires cause Challenger recall

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
A faulty terminal on a battery cable caused Chrysler Group last week to warn about 2,500 owners of 2013 Dodge Challengers to park their cars immediately or risk a fire.

Hyundai concept previews Genesis Coupe

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
Hyundai's bold HND-9 luxury coupe concept, which debuts this week at the Seoul auto show, likely hints at the design of the next Genesis Coupe.

Chrysler exec: 'Imported from Detroit' will grow

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
Chrysler brand head Saad Chehab says 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.

KEITH CRAIN

Who cares about Europe? We all should

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
Just because you're a single-point dealer in the middle of the United States with a franchise from one of the Detroit 3 doesn't mean you should not worry about Europe. Europe is in tough economic condition.

EDITORIAL

Dealers must make Hispanics, too, feel welcome

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
The message for marketers and dealers is clear: It would be shortsighted to ignore this expanding group. Hispanics likely will emerge as a battleground between Detroit 3 and Japanese automakers.

EDITORIAL

Winning teams

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
Among the nation's 17,800 auto dealerships, there are a variety of business models. But whether a store is part of a large publicly held dealership group or a small single-franchise operation, the success of the business ultimately depends on the quality of the people working there.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Retailer's brand matters to buyers

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
I couldn't agree more with Keith Crain's forecast of a multibrand retail environment and an anticipated welcoming embrace by consumers ("The brand is king! What's the brand?" March 11).

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

What would we do without dealers?

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
Auto dealers, their families and team members provide strong support for the communities they serve every day.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

RPA has been part of Honda's success

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
RPA has been a great part of the Honda success story. I look forward to the next generation of Honda products and the next level of RPA marketing support.

Lurching at launch is nothing new at Ford

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
The quality glitches that have plagued the 2013 Lincoln MKZ launch are not isolated. Ford Motor Co. has had a recurring problem with recent vehicle launches.

PRODUCTION

VW Puebla led in Feb. output

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 25, 2013
The top 10 plants in North America in February, ranked by output, were Volkswagen Puebla, Mexico; Honda Marysville, Ohio; Toyota Georgetown, Ky.; Nissan Smyrna, Tenn.; Honda Alliston, Ontario; Hyundai Montgomery, Ala.; Ford Louisville Assembly; Kia West Point, Ga.

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