Headlines for Monday, April 8, 2013

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FINANCE & INSURANCE

Service lane focus lifts Lithia's F&I sales

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
New software and a boost in spiffs have made it easy -- and lucrative -- for Lithia Motors Inc.'s service advisers to sell extended service contracts and lifetime oil change plans.

BEST PRACTICES

From high-tech lasers to ultraluxury vehicles

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
Antoine Dominic was set to ease into early retirement in 2008 after selling the high-tech laser company he had run for several years and making a fortune on the stock he owned. But fate took him in a new direction.

AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE CONGRESS

How to prosper during tough times

April 8, 2013 06:01 CET
With sales slowing and government debt a growing crisis, the European auto industry is in for a rough ride over the next few years. What are the solutions? Which companies will emerge as winners? The 16th Automotive News Europe Congress will explore answers to those questions on June 12 in Paris.

Ex-GM marketing boss LaNeve takes over Lincoln's ad agency

5:15 pm U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
Mark LaNeve, former top North American marketer at General Motors and ex-head of Cadillac, has taken over as president of the Lincoln brand's ad agency. LaNeve replaces Cameron McNaughton, who had been president of the agency, Hudson Rouge, since it was founded in 2011.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: Rivals gun for Camry

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
Nissan's Altima squeezes to top in March, Fusion also in the game; Impala's conquest hopes; Thatcher: Iron Lady and auto backer.

Wheelchair van makers see growth

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
Colorado retailer Tim Myers sums up his optimistic outlook for the wheelchair van market this way: More Americans with disabilities simply want vehicle mobility. And that's creating an opportunity for retailers.

THERE'S AN APP FOR THAT?

Ford wants to see if smartphones can boost fuel economy

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
Ford Motor Co. wants consumers to see how their driving habits affect fuel economy and is offering big bucks to find an entertaining way to do that.

PRODUCTION

Weak car output hits Czech economy

April 8, 2013 11:46 CET
Czech industrial production edged up in February but thinning order books show the central European country may not yet be coming out of its longest recession in two decades. The main problem has been falling car production.

VIDEO: First Shift: Hollywood heat on Nissan

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
Actor Danny Glover backing UAW organizing effort: GM Australia cutbacks; Fisker layoffs spark lawsuit, fuel political debate.

VW patriarch Piech's wife up for election to Audi board

April 8, 2013 18:18 CET
Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piech's wife looks set to join the supervisory board of Audi in a move by the controlling Piech-Porsche family to solidify its sway over Europe's biggest carmaker.

SALES

Porsche's March sales rise 19.8% on strong German, U.S. demand

April 8, 2013 06:01 CET
Porsche said today its global vehicle sales rose 19.8 percent to a record 14,494 units in March on strong demand in Germany, the United States and China.

(No heading)

5:37 pm U.S. ET | April 8, 2013

SUPPLIERS

SAIC unit aims to buy JCI's electronics business, report says

April 8, 2013 06:01 CET
An automotive supplier majority owned by China's SAIC Motor Corp. is in talks with Johnson Controls Inc. about acquiring the U.S. supplier's electronics business, a daily Chinese business newspaper reports.

RICHARD JOHNSON

Britain's Iron Lady forged lasting imprint on Europe's luxury brands

4:07 pm U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
Britain's auto industry changed dramatically on Maggie Thatcher's watch. Japanese carmakers began setting up assembly plants in the United Kingdom in the 1980s, starting with Nissan in Sunderland in the North East of England in 1986.

LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE

Confused by pickup claims? That's the idea

3:01 pm U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
The five automakers that build full-sized light-duty pickups must hate tree-grown fruit because they sure go out of their way to avoid apples-to-apples comparisons.

GM Holden cuts 500 Australian workers citing currency strength

2:16 pm U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
GM's Holden division will cut about 500 jobs in Australia, saying the strong local dollar and currency devaluations in competing markets had made operations in the nation among the most expensive in the world.

GM predicts sales growth for Impala, large-sedan segment

1:16 pm U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
General Motors expects this month's launch of the redesigned 2014 Chevrolet Impala to boost sales of the tired nameplate and help revitalize the overall large-sedan segment.

TONS OF CREDITS

As Obama's CO2 regulations get tough, automakers -- especially Japanese -- have already earned a big cushion

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
As automakers ratchet down the fuel consumption of their cars to meet tougher federal standards, the top Japanese automakers already have an enormous head start from credits they earned since the 2009 model year.

As Korea gets hot, automakers remain cool

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
The expressway from downtown Seoul to the city's auto show venue is lined with tank traps, barbed wire and guard towers. Mounting tensions with North Korea are a chilling reminder why. Automakers there have long factored this into their business plans.

ASIA

As Korea gets hot, carmakers stay cool

April 8, 2013 06:01 CET
The expressway from downtown Seoul to the city's auto show venue is lined with tank traps, barbed wire and guard towers. Mounting tensions with North Korea are a chilling reminder why. Automakers there have long factored this into their business plans.

Fisker's job cuts fuel political debate on green energy projects

10:36 am U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
Fisker Automotive's dismissal last week of 75 percent of its employees, after it once received federal loans to build luxury plug-in cars, is adding to the political debate over the federal government's funding of clean-energy programs.

Mid-sized crown up for grabs

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
The Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion have entered the thick of the mid-sized sedan sales chase -- long a battle mainly between the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord -- leaving the rest of the pack a few laps behind.

SALES

Audi sets March and first-quarter sales records

April 8, 2013 11:16 CET
Audi said today it increased global vehicle sales 3 percent in March to a record 147,700 because of strong demand for its SUVs. The Volkswagen Group subsidiary finished the first-quarter will an all-time high of 369,500 sales, up 6.8 percent on the year-ago period.

AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE E-MAGAZINE

Renault takes aim at VW

April 8, 2013 06:01 CET
Renault says its net prices last year were higher than domestic rivals Citroen and Peugeot. Now the company wants to narrow the gap with Europe's price leader among volume brands: Volkswagen. Carlos Tavares explains how Renault will do this.

SUPPLIERS

Pirelli studying plan to offset weak Europe demand, source says

April 8, 2013 06:01 CET
Pirelli plans to offset weakening demand in Europe for its premium tires by shipping tires produced in Europe to emerging markets, where demand is growing, said an industry source on Sunday.

CHINA

Dongfeng-PSA venture sales, fueled by 2 new models, jump 20% in March

April 8, 2013 06:01 CET
Dongfeng Peugeot Citroen Automobile Co.'s sales in March rose 20 percent year-on-year to 49,009 Peugeot and Citroen vehicles.
The company, a joint venture between PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and Dongfeng Motor Corp.

VIDEO: Rechtin drives the Tesla Model S

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
Automotive News West Coast Editor Mark Rechtin puts Tesla's Model S to the test during a road trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. In this video, Rechtin discusses the electric vehicle's driving range, handling, and recharging time as well as a potential flaw in Tesla's plan.

NUTS & BOLTS

Ford seeks to register 'inflatable light urban vehicle' trademark

April 8, 2013 06:34 CET
Ford has filed an application to register the term "inflatable light urban vehicle (iLuv)" as a trademark, according to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Lexus plans rival to Q3, X1

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
Lexus plans to show a production-ready premium compact crossover to rival the Audi Q3 and BMW X1 at next year's Geneva auto show, a company source said.

MARK RECHTIN

A flaw in Tesla's plan: It's Chargie McVanish

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
Driving range and recharging time have been significant hurdles for electric vehicles to gain mainstream acceptance. Tesla Motors is addressing the problem with stations for Tesla owners only that can recharge 150 miles of range in half an hour.

Massive Fisker layoffs may be prelude to bankruptcy

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
Absent an 11th-hour financial lifeline, a bankruptcy filing for Fisker Automotive looks likely soon, company sources said after the startup maker of hybrids fired three-quarters of its employees last Friday.

Refining the Hyundai-Kia brand plan

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
Only two months into his new job as the first joint global design chief of Hyundai and Kia, Peter Schreyer is guarded about his burgeoning makeover plans. But this much, he says, is clear: The sibling brands need more distinct identities.

AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE CONGRESS

How to prosper during Europe's tough times

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
With sales slowing and government debt a growing crisis, the European auto industry is in for a rough ride over the next few years. What are the solutions? Which companies will emerge as winners? The 16th Automotive News Europe Congress will explore answers to those questions on June 12 in Paris.

Miller deal shows domestics' stores are hot

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
Larry H. Miller Group Dealerships' purchase of seven stores in Arizona, mostly selling Chrysler Group brands, signals two major developments in the increasingly active market for dealership acquisitions.

Feds weigh new safety gear ratings

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
To score high on the government's five-star safety program, car companies may soon need to do more than just protect passengers during a crash. They might need to keep their customers out of accidents, too.

For Tesla's EVs, credits turn into dollars

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
Based on Tesla's fuel economy during the 2010 and 2011 model years, the company earned 49,772 EPA credits. The company says it is selling those credits to other automakers.

Loopholes and the mpg game

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
Car companies have a long record of working the system to inflate their fuel economy ratings. The EPA's new program has broad potential for similar maneuvering.

How new CO2 credits differ from NHTSA's

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
The new EPA credits differ from credits that automakers accumulated under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's long-standing CAFE standards.

Tesla CEO opens fire on Texas dealers

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is firing all barrels against dealers in Texas in a franchise-law battle over whether the electric-car maker can sell its cars directly to the public.

BMW expands 4-series lineup

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
The BMW X4 concept crossover with coupe styling debuts this month at the Shanghai auto show and will be built in Spartanburg, S.C.

8 states in Tesla's growth plan

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
Tesla Motors aims to add stores and service centers in at least eight more states: Minnesota, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Missouri, Nevada, Georgia, Hawaii and Virginia.

KEITH CRAIN

Maybe we need SAE to get involved

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
One of the greatest dangers to drivers of motor vehicles is distracted driving. And some recent research suggests adults are more prone to texting than younger drivers.

EDITORIAL

Updating auto safety ratings makes sense

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 8, 2013
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is examining three possible revisions to its new-car assessment program, which provides shoppers with ratings to help guide their vehicle purchases. All three have merit.

Automotive News
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