Headlines for Wednesday, March 27, 2013

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JTEKT helps reduce fuel use in new Mercedes B class

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
Mercedes improved the steering on the new B class to help reduce fuel consumption. The JTEKT-sourced electromechanical power steering system improves fuel use because energy is only required by the steering assist function when steering actually takes place.

Fisker furloughs U.S. workforce for a week

9:45 pm U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
Fisker Automotive, the struggling maker of $100,000 plug-in hybrids whose namesake founder abruptly resigned earlier this month, has furloughed its entire workforce in the United States this week to preserve cash as it seeks a financial lifeline.

It's official: CFPB gunning for dealer reserve

9:56 am U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
After keeping mum on plans for auto lending for more than two years, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last week confirmed some of the worst fears of dealers and lenders.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: Big moments in Big Apple

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
Toyota Highlander, pair of Jeeps debut; Acura unwraps MDX; Volvo wagon; Camaro surprise; end of road for VW minivan.


Chevy revives Camaro Z/28 for track duty

1:08 pm U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
Chevrolet surprised onlookers at the New York auto show today by unveiling a new Camaro Z/28, a built-for-the-racetrack performance coupe. The car will have a small-block V-8 engine that produces 500 hp and 470 pounds-feet of torque.


Hyundai Equus flagship refreshed for 2014

5:31 pm U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
The refreshed 2014 Hyundai Equus debuted at the New York auto show on Wednesday. The flagship sedan is receiving upgrades in almost every area, including the interior, exterior, chassis and technology.

VW to drop Routan minivan from U.S. lineup

1:20 pm U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
Volkswagen plans to discontinue sales of the Routan, a rebadged Chrysler-built minivan VW has offered since 2008, the company's top U.S. executive said today.


Toyota Highlander gets bigger, roomier for 2014

9:30 am U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
Toyota will launch sales of a larger, redesigned version of its Highlander crossover early next year providing more room to occupants. The 2014 Highlander will be nearly three inches longer and a half-inch wider than the current version, Toyota said today.


Toyota will sell vehicles under parts-sharing, platform framework in 2015

March 27, 2013 12:42 CET
Toyota will begin selling vehicles built under its parts-sharing and platform framework in 2015, the company. The automaker is pursuing the strategy adopted by rivals including Volkswagen, to share parts among vehicles using the same platform in order to save costs and manpower.


Mercedes-Benz rolls out B-class EV

12:03 pm U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
Mercedes-Benz, marking its first U.S. foray into electrified vehicles, today introduced the five-seat, five-door B-class Electric Drive at the New York auto show. The 2014 battery electric vehicle will go on sale in early 2014.

Infiniti drops price on G replacement by $900

4:07 pm U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
Infiniti's 2014 Q50 sedan will start at $37,355, including shipping, a $900 reduction from the base price of the 2013 G37 sedan it replaces.

Nissan plunges into hybrids

3:55 pm U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
Nissan brand plans to put at least four hybrid models into showrooms in the United State over the next four years as it prepares for what it expects to be the "era of electrification."

Nissan expects Leaf to set monthly U.S. sales record in March

3:40 pm U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
The Nissan Leaf electric vehicle, a month after the company dropped its sticker price by $6,400, is on its way to setting a monthly United States sales record in March of more than 1,900 units, Nissan executives said today.

GM lays foundation for 10% margins by mid-decade, exec says

3:02 pm U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
GM is laying the groundwork to achieve 10 percent profit margins by mid-decade by launching new models and taking better advantage of its global scale, North American Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens said.


Pathfinder launches Nissan's hybrid push

2:30 pm U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
Nissan plans to create a portfolio of gasoline-electric hybrids starting late this summer with the 2014 Pathfinder Hybrid crossover.


Audi backfills lineup with new A3

2:44 pm U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
The auto industry is full of creeps. By that, I mean automakers that engage in the phenomenon known as "segment creep" -- that gradual increase in vehicle size with each subsequent generation of product. Example: The current Honda Civic is as large as a '90s-era Accord.

Ford seeks best real-world mileage measurements

11:31 am U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
Carmakers that figure out the best ways to help consumers measure their real-world fuel economy could enjoy a competitive advantage, Jim Farley, Ford's global marketing chief, said today in a speech at the New York auto show.


Volvo will launch XC90 successor next year

March 27, 2013 16:08 CET
Volvo will introduce a successor to the XC90 in late 2014, CEO Hakan Samuelsson said. The model will be the first all-new vehicle launched by Volvo as a unit of China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.


Why the next wave of Italians is important

12:56 pm U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
The next wave of Italians has arrived, as the wall at the Fiat stand here proclaims: The 500, 500c, 500e and 500L. You might argue there's only one Italian in U.S. Fiat stores -- the 500 -- and that until dealers get some more product, Fiat is extending the brand any which way it can.


Acura adds longer wheelbase, roominess to MDX

12:00 pm U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
While slightly narrower, the redesigned 2014 Acura MDX gains several inches of wheelbase and two inches of overall length to increase roominess. Responding to Sun Belt dealers' requests, the MDX will be sold with a front-drive powertrain as well as with its traditional all-wheel-drive setup.


German union bosses approve Opel deal despite split

March 27, 2013 18:02 CET
German trade union IG Metall's federal executive board approved a labor deal with Opel, paving the way for the unit to begin restructuring its domestic operations.

Service contract execs to pay $53,000 to settle dispute with Missouri attorney general

9:48 am U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
The Missouri attorney general's office has reached a $53,000 settlement with the owners of the former Enterprise Warranty Group for claims of improperly selling extended-service contracts and "additive warranties" in ways designed to get around insurance regulations.


Kia bares its new Soul in New York

10:55 am U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
The redesigned Soul introduced by Kia today at the New York auto show has new sheet metal, a stiffer body, a longer and wider chassis and powertrains that deliver more torque. Kia also unveiled the 2014 Forte Koup, a two-door variant of Kia’s compact car, and a freshened Optima.


The CFPB's new, scary truth

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
Last week the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Director Richard Cordray threw cold water on a common notion among advocates for dealers and lenders: The CFPB doesn't understand how the business works and everything would be OK if the feds were just “educated.”

Georgia fixes tax hike on leases

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
The Georgia Legislature has fixed a glitch in a new state tax law that disproportionately penalized auto leases.


Kia compact coupe, hatchback go turbo

10:15 am U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
Most compact cars are engineered to be a means of affordable transportation for the masses, often sacrificing fun for practicality. With its redesigned Forte lineup, Kia seems to be doing the opposite.


Why it pays to have lots of lenders

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
Many dealership managers prefer to limit themselves to a short list of go-to lenders, but not Tim Tucker, the high-energy general manager of Car Loans Express.


BMW may get rid of its retire-at-60 rule

March 27, 2013 06:01 CET
Age 62 soon may be the new 60 for BMW's top executives, including CEO Norbert Reithofer.

VIDEO: First Shift: NY show sights, sounds

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
Cadillac beefs up CTS; Audi's family of A3s; Honda minivan has vacuum; Bond meets Rover; workers fired over Ford ad gaffe.


'14 Jeep Cherokee brandishes better fuel economy, new off-road system

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee -- the first Jeep to be built from the wheels up with help from Fiat -- will deliver a 45 percent improvement in fuel economy and will be more capable of off-roading than the Jeep Liberty it replaces.


Autoliv seeks acquisitions to expand in high-tech car safety

March 27, 2013 13:54 CET
Swedish supplier Autoliv says it is keen to expand its car-safety business through the acquisition of high-tech active technology that help vehicles avoid accidents.


Volvo to re-enter wagon market with V60 in early '14

8:00 am U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
Volvo will return to the U.S. station wagon market in early 2014 after a two-year hiatus with the V60. Volvo decided not to offer the compact V60 in the United States when the vehicle was redesigned for the 2011 model year.


This Toyota Group hybrid has small sales, huge size

7:06 am U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
While the sales tally for these Toyota Group hybrids aren't huge, the vehicles themselves are big. Really big. In fact, given they are light, medium and heavy-duty trucks, it's perhaps surprising that Hino Motors sold any at all.


Chill in car sales spreads to northern Europe

March 27, 2013 11:15 CET
Dealers in northern Europe are feeling the chill after a slump in new-car sales spread to countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. The outlook is grim for some markets that had until now escaped the worst of the euro zone debt crisis.


Fiat bets on SUVs and sporty cars in India reboot

March 27, 2013 10:01 CET
Fiat will open a fully-owned dealer network in India almost a year after it ended an unsuccessful partnership with Tata to build and distribute cars in the country. Fiat hopes to crack the world's seventh-largest car market by tapping into fast-growing areas such as SUVs and sporty cars.

VW finance arm pushes to go paperless

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
VW Credit, Volkswagen Group of America's captive finance company, wants its dealers to file consumer loan applications and submit signed agreements electronically, down to the last piece of paper.


Chase auto unit CEO is bullish on lending outlook

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 27, 2013
Marc Sheinbaum has been CEO of Chase Auto Finance since 2007. Though he will leave the finance company at the end of March, Sheinbaum remains bullish on the outlook for continued growth in auto lending this year.

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