Headlines for Thursday, April 4, 2013

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BMW, amid crossover surge, preps X4 for U.S.

6:00 pm U.S. ET | April 4, 2013
BMW, capitalizing on a surge in its U.S. light-truck sales, is expanding its new 4-series lineup with the X4 crossover that will be built in South Carolina and is expected to go on sale next year.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: GM keeping eye on Korea

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 4, 2013
Akerson: General Motors making contingency plans to protect workers; Feds mull 'silver' safety ratings; World's fastest EV?

Detroit Electric unveils $135,000 battery-powered sports car

1:38 pm U.S. ET | April 4, 2013
Detroit Electric, a startup electric-car maker reviving a brand that dates back more than a century, unveiled its first model on Wednesday: a $135,000, battery-powered sports car that is to go into limited production in August.

VIDEO: First Shift: Goodbye, spark plugs?

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 4, 2013
Federal-Mogul's new way of getting fired up; Hyundai, Kia recall to grow?; Nissan's China confidence; Chrysler's new test site.

Mazda, aided by weaker yen, eyes first annual profit in 5 years

3:52 pm U.S. ET | April 4, 2013
The slide in the yen has turned Mazda's biggest weakness into its biggest strength. All Japan's most export-dependent automaker has to do now is sell more cars. Still, more-profitable exports and cost reductions may steer Mazda toward its first annual profit in five years.

Lawrence Handy, longtime Vermont dealer, dies

4:24 pm U.S. ET | April 4, 2013
Lawrence Handy, co-founder of Handy Auto Dealerships in St. Albans, Vermont, died April 1. He was 83.


Should dealers give lease customers tutorials on down payment risk?

4:05 pm U.S. ET | April 4, 2013
A friend recently wanted my advice on leasing a new car. I've only leased a car once, but I knew enough to want to put zero cash down. I let the lender bear the depreciation risk. But many customers don't know about that risk, and few dealerships explain it to them.

U.S. seeks to revise crash ratings to protect seniors

11:24 am U.S. ET | April 4, 2013
Auto-safety regulators plan to change the rating system for new cars sold in the United States to keep up with advances in safety technology and better protect older drivers and passengers.

GM reviews South Korea operations as tensions rise with North

9:26 am U.S. ET | April 4, 2013
General Motors CEO Dan Akerson said the automaker is making backup plans for its operations in South Korea as tensions with North Korea heighten.

Distracted driving fatalities most often caused by 'lost in thought,' study says

10:42 am U.S. ET | April 4, 2013
Drivers involved in fatal car crashes in the United States were more often “lost in thought” than distracted by mobile phones, according to new data from police.

Hyundai to take 'global action' to fix brake light switch

April 4, 2013 06:01 CET
Hyundai and its affiliate, Kia, will take "global action" to fix a potentially faulty brake light switch, after they said they planned to recall almost 1.9 million cars in the United States.


Mercedes may allow China partner BAIC to share platforms

April 4, 2013 14:43 CET
Mercedes could allow China partner BAIC to build cars using its vehicle platforms, parent company Daimler said. Daimler has agreed to buy a 12 percent stake in its local joint venture partner for 640 million euros ($822.3 million).

GM board will meet in Germany to review Opel's progress

April 4, 2013 13:19 CET
General Motors' board will hold its quarterly meeting in Germany next week as the U.S. carmaker examines the efforts of its Opel/Vauxhall unit to become profitable. GM's European operations have lost $18 billion since 1999, but the U.S. carmaker is expecting the division to break even by 2015.

GM to invest $332 million in four sites to build fuel-efficient engines

7:36 am U.S. ET | April 4, 2013
General Motors said it will invest about $332 million in four manufacturing sites to produce more fuel-efficient engines and transmission systems.

Ferrari sales in Japan hit 12-year high on economic boost

April 4, 2013 10:34 CET
Ferrari registrations in Japan surged to the highest in 12 years amid growing optimism Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push to weaken the yen will help boost the world's third-biggest economy.

Daimler's Bernhard sets sights on beating truck rivals

April 4, 2013 10:34 CET
New Daimler trucks chief Wolfgang Bernhard aims to beat rivals Volvo and Scania in more than just sales. Closing the earnings gap with rivals would increase Bernhard's chances of eventually succeeding Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche.

BMW mulls exports of China joint-brand cars

April 4, 2013 06:01 CET
BMW may export cars built under a new brand developed with Chinese partner Brilliance Automotive to mature and developing markets, global sales boss Ian Robertson said.

Former A123 battery maker settles supply claim with Fisker

April 4, 2013 06:01 CET
The bankrupt electric-car battery maker formerly called A123 Systems, renamed B456 Systems, reached a settlement in which Fisker Automotive reduced its claims by 89 percent to $15 million.

Opel says crash test shows new refrigerant is safe

April 4, 2013 06:01 CET
Opel has found no evidence in a crash test on its new Mokka small SUV that a controversial air conditioning refrigerant could catch fire in a collision and release toxic fumes.


Mercedes said to plan X-class range to rival BMW's Mini

April 4, 2013 06:01 CET
Mercedes plans to launch a subcompact car range with the help of Renault-Nissan, a German magazine reported. The cars, badged as X-class models, would be priced below 20,000 euros and compete with BMW's Mini brand and the Audi A1.


Toyota targets growth in Europe

April 4, 2013 06:01 CET
Since he was appointed Toyota Europe CEO in 2010 French engineer Didier Leroy led the automaker's operations in the region back to its first profit since 2007 for the fiscal year that ended March 31.

Beetle marketing push in U.S. pays off for VW

April 4, 2013 06:01 CET
Volkswagen brand's U.S. vehicle sales rose 3 percent last month from a year earlier with most of the gains coming from one nameplate: the Beetle. The brand sold 37,704 vehicles in March, its third straight month of single-digit sales increases after a nearly two-year run of double-digit gains.


Germany stumbles in global sales race

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 4, 2013
Germany knows just how powerful the BRIC nations have become. Once the world’s third-largest vehicle-sales market, Germany is at risk of falling to seventh in the global ranking this year because of the rise of the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China).

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