Headlines for Monday, April 22, 2013

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Dealership groups expected to post first-quarter gains

4:29 pm U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
Dealership groups that announce their first-quarter earnings over the next two weeks should see continued growth as new- and used-car sales outperform 2012 levels, analysts say. Asbury Automotive Group, Sonic Automotive and Lithia Motors release their quarterly reports this week.

SAE panel: Will people trust self-driving cars?

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
Consumer acceptance could be the biggest barrier to autonomous vehicles, one expert said at the SAE World Congress in Detroit last week.

VIDEO: Brown reflects on the good, bad and ugly

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
As he approaches the end of his 25-year career at Automotive News, Publisher Peter Brown hands out his last batch of Petey Awards. In this video, Brown names the winners and losers in 15 categories -- from worst car to best dealmaker.


Va. group cultivates home-grown talent

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
Brown Automotive Group used to search far and wide for top talent, picking off store managers and executives who promised to work magic. That changed after the dealership group's president left for a job at Asbury Automotive Group.

Boston-area dealership had bird's eye view of bombing suspects' gunfight, arrest

4:23 pm U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
A week after the Boston Marathon bombings, the city was beginning to return to normal today with shops reopening and residents heading back to work.

'Ask my manager' is taboo to car buyers, study says

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
Dealers who want showroom shoppers to have a satisfying buying experience should avoid getting more than one employee involved in price negotiations, a study by Maritz Research says.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: GM, dealers in parts tiff

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
Factory's components push falls flat; GM hints at China-built cars for U.S.; Prius sales lose steam; 25 years of winners, losers.


As retirement approaches, Publisher Peter Brown honors some of the best, and worst, automotive adventurers

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
In his 25th year as editor or editorial director of Automotive News, Peter Brown says he can now state with conviction that in the automotive industry, about every three years, everything you know is wrong.

Energy Department recovers $21 million from Fisker

6:12 pm U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
The Department of Energy says it recovered $21 million in cash from struggling Fisker Automotive that will go toward repaying nearly $200 million in loans extended under a federal program to spur advanced vehicle development.

VIDEO: First Shift: Toyoda tries a trendy twist

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
Promoting Lexus as aspirational brand; Ford Escort reborn as concept; Buick's future look; 2's a crowd on price quotes.

Daimler human rights case to be heard by U.S. Supreme Court

April 22, 2013 17:37 CET
The United States Supreme Court agreed to hear Daimler's appeal of a lawsuit claiming the company violated human rights against workers at an Argentina plant in the 1970s.


China's Great Wall targets U.S. sales by 2015

1:40 pm U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
Great Wall, China's largest SUV maker, expects to begin selling SUVs in the United States around 2015, possibly making it the first Chinese automaker to enter the American market in volume, the president of the company says.

Western China generates growing auto sales in a high-growth market

2:28 pm U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
Each time An Fu Ford, a dealership in the western Chinese city of Chongqing, sells a car, workers fire a confetti cannon, showering the parking lot with colorful scraps of paper. There’s a lot of paper to sweep up these days.

Daimler human rights case to be heard by U.S. Supreme Court

11:37 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
The United States Supreme Court agreed to hear Daimler AG's appeal of a lawsuit claiming the company violated human rights against workers at an Argentina plant in the 1970s.

Nissan refocuses on Canton

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
Nissan North America is eager to put a season of manufacturing glitches behind it as it prepares to turn its Canton, Miss., factory into a global export base for the next-generation Nissan Murano.

Why dealers should embrace 'the age of transparency'

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
More than half of Americans have smartphones in their pockets or purses, and mobile devices have taken on a major role in the car-buying process, especially in the critical later stages. The ubiquity of mobile devices means shoppers can find out easily if a store across town offers a better deal.

Volvo CEO says making S-class rival would contradict brand's image

April 22, 2013 10:29 CET
Volvo won't develop a sedan to challenge the BMW 7 series, Mercedes S class and Audi A8 as it doesn't fit the carmaker's green image or the demands of its customers, CEO Hakan Samuelsson said.

Cadillac eyes smaller Chinese cities for luxury market share

9:40 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
GM plans to more than triple sales of its luxury Cadillac brand in China by 2015 by targeting affluent buyers in smaller cities as competition intensifies in the world’s largest auto market.

Transplants keep rolling in N. America

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
The rise of foreign automakers in North America gained huge momentum during the dark days of the recession, accelerating the decline of Detroit 3 dominance.


Mercedes hits reset on China after sales drive falters

April 22, 2013 08:34 CET
Mercedes is accelerating its dealer expansion in China, streamlining sales and bringing out a number of new or revamped models in a bid to to fix past mistakes in the market that have contributed to a growing gap with premium rivals BMW and Audi.


Porsche vies with new Maserati as China grabs luxury limelight

April 22, 2013 06:01 CET
Porsche has debuted a revamped version of its Panamera coupe at the Shanghai auto show where it sought to outshine Maserati's all-new Ghibli as both carmakers seek to attract customers in a luxury China market that is predicted to keep growing strongly.


Is Acura's ILX a loser? Or doing its Civic duty?

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
American Honda's plant in Greensburg, Ind., built just 91 units of the Acura ILX entry-luxury sedan that debuted last summer. So does Honda have an out-and-out flop on its hands?

Mercedes GLA concept previews compact crossover

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
Mercedes-Benz will enter the growing compact crossover segment next year with the GLA, a five-door that was scheduled to debut as a concept model at the Shanghai auto show this past weekend.

GM wants more parts at stores

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
General Motors is overhauling its parts program, incentivizing dealerships to beef up their inventory for more same-day repairs and to buy more of those parts directly from the factory.

Toyoda's team fast-tracked Lexus move

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
A year ago Toyota Motor Corp. executives in Japan questioned whether their U.S. factories could meet the exacting standards required to build Lexus vehicles. Now 50,000 units of the Lexus ES will be built in Kentucky starting in 2015.

Asians roar back, resume conquest of retail market

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
Japanese and Korean automakers accounted for nearly half of all retail sales in 2012, bouncing back after inventory shortages caused by Japan's 2011 earthquake were resolved.

After late start, Ford goes full tilt on China growth

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
Dave Schoch, Ford Motor Co.'s recently appointed Asia Pacific chief, shrugs off critics who say the automaker is a latecomer to China. The market's sheer size and rosy growth prospects should ensure soaring sales for Ford even as it plays catch-up, he says.

Test-drive death shakes dealerships

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
Many dealerships do not have formal guidelines advising salespeople or service technicians who test drive vehicles on public roads how to handle hostile situations, insurance safety executives say. And while it's unusual for an employee to be assaulted on the job, it does happen.

Dealers are unnerved by Boston bombings

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
The bombings in Boston left many area dealers rattled, especially those with stores near the site and those who often attend the race.

Dodge CEO must fill the hole left from loss of Ram

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
New Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis, who was given high marks for turning around Fiat's launch in North America, takes over a brand with a shrinking lineup that is growing more dependent on cars, not light trucks.

Subaru near U.S. plant decision

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
Subaru is close to a decision about increasing capacity at its assembly plant in Lafayette, Ind., and adding production of a fourth vehicle.

Goal for new VW COO: Boost Passat sales

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
There is at least one clear assignment for new Volkswagen of America hire Mark McNabb: increase sales of the U.S.-made Passat sedan.


Things don't always go as planned

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
There always seem to be plenty of ideas that never get into automobiles -- great ideas that don't make it, for whatever reason Keith Crain is editor-in-chief of Automotive News.


It's in everyone's interest to keep supplies moving

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
The strong recovery of new-vehicle sales in the United States has been a boost for a generally flaccid economy. But there are potential bottlenecks in the supply chain that, if not corrected, could stymie model launches, impede sales growth and retard the economy


Innovators set the PACE

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
Despite any issues about bottlenecks in the supply chain, there can be no doubt that the supplier community provides much of the torque that drives technological development in the auto industry.


Car customers value efficiency

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
Automakers undergo intense manufacturing cost scrutiny to produce their products more efficiently. Why, then, do those same automakers impose unnecessarily expensive dealer facility requirements, which counteract their production savings?


Car dealerships are not Apple stores

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
Regarding "Musk opens fire on Texas dealers" (April 8) about Elon Musk and Tesla: I find his strategy bizarre. I won't bother addressing the anticompetitive aspects of it.


Toyota store must defend airbag suit

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
A Toyota dealership that routinely serviced a 1995 Corolla for the original owner must defend a failure-to-warn airbag deployment suit brought by an injured plaintiff who bought the car used, a split Louisiana Court of Appeal panel has ruled.

AutoNation gobbles stores

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
AutoNation Inc. is on its biggest buying binge since its initial rollup in the late 1990s, and executives say they're not done yet.

Auto industry fuels record N.A. robot sales

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
Automakers and automotive suppliers in North America bought robots in record numbers last year, lifting the region's robotics industry to its strongest year ever.

PACE Awards highlight game-changing suppliers

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
The crucial role of electronics, which have gained an ever-larger foothold in autos in recent years, was recognized by the 2013 Automotive News PACE Awards judges last week.

Dealers pitch in to help after Texas blast

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
The deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant in the small town of West, Texas, last week damaged a nearby General Motors store and spurred local dealers to organize efforts to help heal their ravaged community.


12:01 am U.S. ET | April 22, 2013
Information about Steve Dyer, CEO of Dick Dyer & Associates Mercedes-Volvo in Columbia, S.C.

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