Headlines for Monday, April 1, 2013

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APRIL FOOLS' NEWS

Today's innovations: In-vehicle hair care, dating app, more

2:31 pm U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
The auto industry was full of revolutionary technology and new product announcements today. Honda and BMW said they are carving out new niches by putting hair-care and dating technologies at busy drivers' fingertips. Subaru announced a new BRZ variant and Volvo heralded a new safety system.

BEST PRACTICES

Live on the lot

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
On Jan. 26, Mike Bowsher had a record day at Carl Black Chevrolet-Buick-GMC of Orlando. About 1,000 people jammed his lot for a two-hour concert by Florida Georgia Line, an up-and-coming country band.

Spain's car sales fell 14% in March

April 1, 2013 12:38 CET
Spanish car sales fell nearly 14 percent in March. Industry association Anfac said a government subsidy scheme aimed at boosting sales was working despite the slump.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: Japan's reversal of fortune

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
As export machine sputters, N.A. manufacturing picks up; GM touts truck MPG; Honda haircut hijinks, Volvo safety cushion.

NEW YORK AUTO SHOW

Z28 revs Chevy's performance line

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
Chevy's performance division is on a roll. And GM plans an advertising campaign to spread the word.

Kia aims to add technology, protect quality

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
Not only is Kia benchmarking BMW and Audi; it is crawling out of the shadow of its bigger corporate sibling, Hyundai. Its new goal: model its own brand identity after Volkswagen's as it seeks to be mass-market yet one notch above the pack in terms of quality and flair.

Volkswagen to boost headcount by 9%, report says

April 1, 2013 12:55 CET
Volkswagen will boost its global headcount to 600,000 by 2018 from 550,000 as part of its aim to become the world's biggest carmaker, works council chief Bernd Osterloh said.

VIDEO: First Shift: Hyundai ponders a pickup

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
Sales chief: 'We are studying that one very hard'; 900 dealers to get Corvette Stingray; Tesla profit; Snyder: Sales to savor.

Tesla says it turned profitable as Model S sales beat forecast

7:27 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
Tesla Motors, the electric carmaker headed by billionaire Elon Musk, said it turned profitable in the first quarter, citing higher-than-expected sales of its Model S sedan.

Lear reaches deal with dissident shareholders, expands buyback

12:23 pm U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
In the midst of a proxy fight with dissident investors, Lear announced an agreement with shareholders Marcato Capital Management LLC and Oskie Capital Management LLC to expand a stock buyback and keep the hedge funds' nominees off Lear's board.

'Enough!' say the weather-beaten

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
After battling Hurricane Sandy last fall, the blizzard that paralyzed New York City in early February and the spring snowstorm that swiped New Jersey early last week, residents in the Northeast are weather-weary. Dealers, too.

Cherokee moves upscale and over rocks

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
The 2014 Cherokee, the first Fiat-based Jeep, offers a long list of conveniences, such as automatic parking and an 8.4-inch center-stack screen, but it also has four-wheel drive available for off-roading Jeep loyalists.

Q&A: WOLFGANG HATZ, PORSCHE R&D CHIEF

Porsche switches gears on hybrid powertrains

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
It wasn't long ago that gasoline was the only fuel a Porsche could use. Today, the powertrain options at the Volkswagen Group subsidiary include diesel, gasoline-electric hybrid and, soon, plug-in hybrid. Wolfgang Hatz, Porsche's r&d boss, is spearheading the changes.

GM says fuel economy of new big pickups will top Ford F-150's

11:19 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
General Motors today said its upcoming redesigned full-sized pickups will have the most fuel-efficient V-8 engines in the segment, even promising better highway fuel economy than the turbocharged V-6 engine that has become popular in the Ford F-150 pickup.

Publisher Peter Brown honored

2:46 pm U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
J.D. Power and Associates President Finbarr O'Neill, right, presents Power's President's Award to Peter Brown, publisher and editorial director of Automotive News, during the 2013 Automotive Forum at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York last week.

Scion weighs a move to entry-lux

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
Toyota is weighing a major shift in positioning for its struggling Scion brand: moving upscale to target entry-level luxury models coming from European makes.

Larry H. Miller Group adds seven dealerships in Ariz.

2:15 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
Larry H. Miller Group Dealerships has acquired seven dealerships in Arizona for an undisclosed price. It is the privately held group's largest acquisition to date.

Hyundai exec: We're studying pickup for U.S.

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
Hyundai Motor Co. is looking into launching a pickup in the United States, Hyundai's sales boss says. Product planners and engineers at headquarters in South Korea are studying what size truck would be best.

YIN AND YANG OF YEN

Mulally, Ghosn revive touchy Japanese currency issue

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
A long-distance debate last week between two CEOs -- Ford's Alan Mulally and Nissan-Renault's Carlos Ghosn -- reignited a hot-button debate in the industry over the value of the Japanese yen. Is the weakening value of the yen giving the Japanese an unfair edge?

EV cash dries up; Obama pushes for research effort

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
The era of free-flowing federal funds for electric vehicles is over, so President Obama is returning to an old strategy to advance their cause: research.

Engineers squeezing more mpg from gasoline engines

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
Automakers have been slow to deploy electric vehicles, but they are rapidly redesigning gasoline-powered cars to save fuel, a survey by the EPA shows.

Sulfur plan is big win for automakers

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
The Obama administration's proposal for low-sulfur gasoline is a boost for automakers trying to comply with stricter emissions standards. The fuel would enable them to develop lean-burn direct-injection gasoline engines with higher fuel economy than current engines.

Buy a Fiat 500e, use alternate cars for free

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
When it goes on sale this summer in California, the 2013 Fiat 500e electric car will come with an unusual standard feature: another vehicle. 500e buyers may use rental vehicles for up to 12 days a year for free.

1 in 3 Chevy dealers can get Corvette at launch

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
Fewer than one in three Chevrolet dealerships will be eligible to sell the 2014 Corvette Stingray when it begins rolling off the assembly line in late summer.

NEW YORK AUTO SHOW

Some dazzled N.Y.; some blew their noses

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
As West Coast Editor Mark Rechtin considered the vehicles unveiled at the New York auto show, he encountered a design trait we're destined to see more of: Sleek, sloping hoods are being replaced with bulkier snouts and corners.

NEW YORK AUTO SHOW

Jeep to sell new Cherokee in China

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
Jeep will sell the new Cherokee mid-sized SUV in China, Jeep CEO Mike Manley says. It did not sell the Cherokee's predecessor, the Liberty, in China.

NEW YORK AUTO SHOW

Dodge: Bigger engine will boost Dart sales

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
Dodge brand chief Reid Bigland says the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine coming this spring in the new Dodge Dart GT model will boost sales of the compact car -- and may become the dominant engine for the Dart.

NEW YORK AUTO SHOW

Toyota ups '13 sales target, sees share loss for Camry

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. has revised its 2013 sales objective upward. It now aims to sell "2.2 million-plus" vehicles in the United States, compared with 2.08 million units last year.

NEW YORK AUTO SHOW

CLA gets film support

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
Mercedes-Benz USA has hired a hip young filmmaker to create a series of short videos starring the CLA compact sedan, which goes on sale this fall.

NEW YORK AUTO SHOW

Low bar for Mercedes EV

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
The B-class Electric Drive five-door that debuted at the New York show will be a low-volume vehicle, said Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Steve Cannon.

NEW YORK AUTO SHOW

Diaz: Keep it simple

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
Fred Diaz, CEO of Chrysler Group's Ram truck brand, says the 2013 Ram 1500 pickup's Uconnect infotainment system has been well received by buyers because it's not designed with early adopters in mind.

NEW YORK AUTO SHOW

GM's new product cycle: Fix problems now

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
General Motors' speedy revision of the slow-selling Chevrolet Malibu reflects the company's new determination to fix problems quickly when they arise, rather than letting them linger until the next scheduled change.

KEITH CRAIN

Lots of choices for everyone

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
If you were at the New York auto show last week or just read about what went on, you quickly realized that consumers and dealers have more product choices than ever. And the offerings these days run the gamut Keith Crain is editor-in-chief of Automotive News.

EDITORIAL

Dealers deserve exemplary service from Lincoln

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
The example Lincoln set for its dealers during the difficult launch of the MKZ fell short of the service the automaker hopes those dealers will lavish on consumers.

EDITORIAL

Sharing good ideas: What a concept

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
Good ideas can come from anywhere. Companies that break down barriers and collaborate with dealers, suppliers and other partners are stronger competitors.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Tesla's retail model: Let market decide

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
Since Tesla is not competing with its own dealers, why not let the market decide?

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

What Tesla does differently

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
It will be a surprise to me if the only really successful EV turns out to be a car built by a noncar guy and not named after himself.

NEW YORK AUTO SHOW

Nissan sales chief Munoz aims for 10% U.S. share

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
Jose Munoz, who led Nissan's market leading team in Mexico, comes to the United States with a big sales bogey. His boss, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, wants the automaker to increase its share of the U.S. market to 10 percent by 2016.

NEW YORK AUTO SHOW

Toyota Highlander gets roomier

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
Toyota will launch a larger, redesigned Highlander crossover early next year, with the focus on providing more room for occupants.

NEW YORK AUTO SHOW

Diaz: Ram weighs mid-sized pickup

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
Chrysler Group is seriously considering a mid-sized pickup for the Ram brand. But an entry-level Chrysler 100 sedan is not a priority.

N.Y. service center opens, and the rest is history

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
Gary Flom, owner of Bay Ridge Ford, did the near-impossible in New York City. He found an 88,000-square-foot parcel with a 33,000-square-foot building. "That might not sound like a lot to a dealer in Texas but for New York, that's a giant piece of land," he says.

Fed agency: We're watching auto lending

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
For more than two years, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau kept mum on its plans related to auto lending. But at the end of March, it showed that it intends to aggressively oversee the sector.

PRODUCTION

Jetta cracks Feb. top 10 list

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 1, 2013
The top 10 vehicles built in North America in February were the Ford F series, Chevrolet Silverado, Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Toyota Camry, Ram pickup, Nissan Altima, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V and the Volkswagen Jetta (sixth generation).

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