Headlines for Wednesday, April 24, 2013

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AutoNews Now: Lincoln 'great story' ahead?

Farley: MKZ well-received; Toyota, GM or VW?; Mitsubishi identifies glitch in plug-in hybrid batteries; Chevy's 82-mile EV. Read More »

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First Shift: Ford nets $1.6B

Rising U.S. sales boost N.A., hybrid owners sue; Daimler, VW profits fall; Fisker in hot seat; Snyder: Sales party poopers. Read More »

VW keeps targets after first-quarter profit falls 26%

Volkswagen is sticking to its goal to match last year's record operating profit and vehicle sales after first-quarter profit dropped 26 percent on falling demand in Germany and heavy spending on new vehicles. Read More »

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Carfax hit with $50 million antitrust lawsuit by 120 dealerships

The owners of 120 auto dealerships have filed a federal lawsuit against Carfax, alleging that the vehicle history reporting company engages in anti-competitive practices and violates antitrust laws. Read More »

Ford predicts higher second-quarter output in N.A., Europe

Ford's European production will rise 6 percent in the second quarter from year-earlier levels, to 390,000 units, after falling 8 percent in the first quarter to 386,000, the company said Wednesday. Read More »

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Ford profit rises 15% on N.A. record

Ford's first-quarter net income increased 15 percent from a year earlier to $1.61 billion, as rising U.S. auto sales pushed North American profits to a record, offsetting deeper losses in Europe. The results marked a solid start to 2013 as Ford seeks its fifth straight year of profit. Read More »

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Daimler plans 300 million euro expansion in Romania

Daimler will invest more than 300 million euros to build a factory in Romania to assemble transmissions for its Mercedes-Benz brand after reaching full capacity at its main powertrain plant near Stuttgart. Read More »

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Mitsubishi pinpoints lithium ion battery glitch

Mitsubishi has pinpointed the cause of the lithium ion battery glitch that forced it to halt production of the Outlander plug-in hybrid crossover and most i electric cars. Mitsubishi said a small number of the affected i EVs were on the road in Europe and the United States. Read More »

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Fiat weighs New York listing following merger with Chrysler, report says

Fiat may select New York as the primary exchange for its stock after a planned merger with Chrysler Group, sources said. The move would be highly political and symbolic for debt-ridden Italy as it struggles to emerge from a cycle of recessions. Read More »

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Renault Q1 revenue falls 12% on weak Europe

Renault said first-quarter revenue fell 11.8 percent on a 4.7 percent decline in global deliveries but the company reiterated its goal of achieving a positive automotive operating margin for the full year. Read More »

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Chevy Spark EV rated at 119 mpg with 82-mile range

General Motors says its Chevrolet Spark EV will get the equivalent of 119 mpg in combined city and highway driving, the best efficiency of any car sold to retail buyers in the United States. Read More »

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Fisker, Energy Department blasted over loan to struggling firm

Struggling Fisker Automotive took a bludgeoning today on Capitol Hill from top congressional Republicans who compared Fisker to failed automotive startups of the past and lambasted the Department of Energy for allowing the electric car producer to draw down nearly $200 million in taxpayer-funded... Read More »

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Toyota outsells GM worldwide for 5th straight quarter

Toyota Motor Corp. outsold all automakers for a fifth straight quarter as the yen's depreciation sharpens the Japanese company's edge over General Motors and Volkswagen AG. Read More »

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Federal-Mogul shares rise 16% as restructuring takes hold

Shares in Federal-Mogul, the diversified auto-parts supplier controlled by billionaire Carl Icahn, rose the most in more than four years after the company reported operational profits that show a restructuring effort is working, analyst Brian Sponheimer said. Read More »

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Capital One pays $3.5 million to settle SEC charges over auto-loan losses

Capital One Financial today agreed to pay a $3.5 million fine to settle charges that it hid millions of dollars in auto-loan losses as the economy was headed toward a recession, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said. Read More »

Lithia looks to market share growth to pump future earnings

Lithia Motors is prepared to sacrifice new and used per vehicle profit margin if it means more market share, its CEO said today. Read More »

Asbury profit surges 85% in Q1 after 'best month' in March

A boom in business in March helped Asbury Automotive Group deliver record operating profits during the first quarter of 2013. Net income in the first quarter was $32.5 million, an 85 percent increase from $17.6 million during the year-earlier period. Read More »

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Analysts: Fusion, higher prices, mix, consistency drive latest Ford results

Ford Motor Co. posted a higher-than-expected first-quarter profit of $1.6 billion as its North American unit posted its best quarter in more than a decade on the strength of new models. Read More »

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Customer Incentives

This is data compiled by the Automotive News Data Center and requires a Data Center subscription to access. Read More »

GM workers at Brazil plant vote to strike over pay, work week

Workers at General Motors' Gravataí Industrial Complex in southern Brazil voted to strike on Wednesday over demands for higher pay and a shorter work week. Read More »

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Mitsubishi pinpoints lithium ion battery glitch

Mitsubishi has pinpointed the cause of the lithium ion battery glitch that forced it to halt production of the Outlander plug-in hybrid crossover and most i electric cars. Read More »

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JIM HENRY:

Why car loans, mortgages are apples and oranges

Using questionable logic, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau tends to equate mortgage brokers and auto dealers. Read More »

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Nissan to pitch cost savings of Leaf EV in new ad push

Nissan is readying a new U.S. ad campaign for its battery-powered Leaf hatchbacks that puts more emphasis on saving money than on saving the planet. Read More »

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AutoNation: Penetration rate, scale drive record F&I results

AutoNation shows no sign of letting up in growing its average F&I revenue per vehicle. Read More »

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F&I Week:

How to master an F&I sales presentation

As a dealership F&I director, Carl Bennett sold extended-service contracts to 70 percent of his customers. Now he's teaching the skills he practiced, as director of North American consulting for Reynolds and Reynolds. Read More »

Lender cuts dealer fees yet grows profit

Subprime auto lender Consumer Portfolio Services says it's growing profits despite cutting dealer fees. The lender, based in Irvine, Calif., reported net income of about $3.8 million in the first quarter, up from $512,000 a year ago. Read More »

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JAMIE LaREAU:

Another case for bundling

F&I managers like to bundle products, with good reason. The practice typically spurs sales of other products. Read More »

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Q&A:

Signing a customer's name is forgery. Period

Most F&I managers probably don't think of it as forgery when they occasionally sign a customer's signature for them -- but that's just what it is, says F&I trainer Gil Van Over. Read More »

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GM will invest 230 million euros to expand Opel test facilities

General Motors will invest 230 million euros ($299 million) on test facilities for Opel as part of its effort to break even in Europe by 2015. Read More »

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PSA says Q1 revenue fell 6.5% on European slump

PSA/Peugeot-Citroen said first-quarter revenue fell 6.5 percent as its vehicle sales abroad failed to offset a recession in Europe. PSA said it will implement additional measures to attain its goal of breaking even next year if the European market continues to falter. Read More »

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Ford profit rises despite $462 million Europe loss

Ford today said its first-quarter net income rose 15 percent from a year earlier despite a $462 million operating lose in Europe. Ford reaffirmed its forecast for a 2013 loss in Europe of about $2 billion. In 2012, the loss was $1.75 billion. Read More »

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Daimler lowers 2013 profit goal after first-quarter earnings drop 56%

Daimler cut its 2013 profit forecast after its quarterly earnings fell 56 percent, burdened by Europe's slump and weaker Mercedes-Benz sales in China. Read More »

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Henrik Fisker: 'Confluence of events' led to company's downfall

Henrik Fisker's testimony before the U.S. Congress today will paint the automaker he founded as a victim of "a confluence of events" and as an enterprise that is capable of being saved. Read More »

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Gentex earnings drop 2% in first quarter

Gentex, a U.S. supplier of automotive rearview mirrors and related parts, reported a 2 percent decline in net profits for the first quarter, citing a decrease in vehicle production in Japan, Korea and Europe. Read More »

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LUCA CIFERRI:

Why even a weak China is good news for European automakers

The Shanghai auto show proved once again that China is the promised land for automakers, particularly Europeans bracing for a sixth straight year of declining car sales in their home region. Read More »

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