Headlines for Monday, April 1, 2013

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APRIL FOOLS' NEWS:

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

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. Read More »

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BEST PRACTICES:

Live on the lot

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. Read More »

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Spain's car sales fell 14% in March

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. Read More »

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AutoNews Now: Japan's reversal of fortune

As export machine sputters, N.A. manufacturing picks up; GM touts truck MPG; Honda haircut hijinks, Volvo safety cushion. Read More »

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NEW YORK AUTO SHOW:

Z28 revs Chevy's performance line

Chevy's performance division is on a roll. And GM plans an advertising campaign to spread the word. Read More »

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Kia aims to add technology, protect quality

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. Read More »

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Volkswagen to boost headcount by 9%, report says

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. Read More »

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First Shift: Hyundai ponders a pickup

Sales chief: 'We are studying that one very hard'; 900 dealers to get Corvette Stingray; Tesla profit; Snyder: Sales to savor. Read More »

Tesla says it turned profitable as Model S sales beat forecast

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. Read More »

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Lear reaches deal with dissident shareholders, expands buyback

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. Read More »

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'Enough!' say the weather-beaten

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. Read More »

Cherokee moves upscale and over rocks

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. Read More »

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

Porsche switches gears on hybrid powertrains

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. Read More »

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

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. Read More »

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Publisher Peter Brown honored

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. Read More »

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Scion weighs a move to entry-lux

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. Read More »

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Larry H. Miller Group adds seven dealerships in Ariz.

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. Read More »

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

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. Read More »

YIN AND YANG OF YEN:

Mulally, Ghosn revive touchy Japanese currency issue

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? Read More »

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EV cash dries up; Obama pushes for research effort

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. Read More »

Engineers squeezing more mpg from gasoline engines

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. Read More »

Sulfur plan is big win for automakers

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. Read More »

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Buy a Fiat 500e, use alternate cars for free

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. Read More »

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1 in 3 Chevy dealers can get Corvette at launch

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. Read More »

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NEW YORK AUTO SHOW:

Some dazzled N.Y.; some blew their noses

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. Read More »

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NEW YORK AUTO SHOW:

Jeep to sell new Cherokee in China

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. Read More »

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NEW YORK AUTO SHOW:

Dodge: Bigger engine will boost Dart sales

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. Read More »

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NEW YORK AUTO SHOW:

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

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. Read More »

NEW YORK AUTO SHOW:

CLA gets film support

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. Read More »

NEW YORK AUTO SHOW:

Low bar for Mercedes EV

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. Read More »

NEW YORK AUTO SHOW:

Diaz: Keep it simple

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. Read More »

NEW YORK AUTO SHOW:

GM's new product cycle: Fix problems now

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. Read More »

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KEITH CRAIN:

Lots of choices for everyone

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. Read More »

EDITORIAL:

Dealers deserve exemplary service from Lincoln

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. Read More »

EDITORIAL:

Sharing good ideas: What a concept

Good ideas can come from anywhere. Companies that break down barriers and collaborate with dealers, suppliers and other partners are stronger competitors. Read More »

LETTER TO THE EDITOR:

Tesla's retail model: Let market decide

Since Tesla is not competing with its own dealers, why not let the market decide? Read More »

LETTER TO THE EDITOR:

What Tesla does differently

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. Read More »

NEW YORK AUTO SHOW:

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

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. Read More »

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NEW YORK AUTO SHOW:

Toyota Highlander gets roomier

Toyota will launch a larger, redesigned Highlander crossover early next year, with the focus on providing more room for occupants. Read More »

NEW YORK AUTO SHOW:

Diaz: Ram weighs mid-sized pickup

Chrysler Group is seriously considering a mid-sized pickup for the Ram brand. But an entry-level Chrysler 100 sedan is not a priority. Read More »

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

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. Read More »

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Fed agency: We're watching auto lending

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. Read More »

PRODUCTION:

Jetta cracks Feb. top 10 list

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). Read More »

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