Headlines for Wednesday, April 24, 2013

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VIDEO: AutoNews Now: Lincoln 'great story' ahead?

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 24, 2013
Farley: MKZ well-received; Toyota, GM or VW?; Mitsubishi identifies glitch in plug-in hybrid batteries; Chevy's 82-mile EV.

VIDEO: First Shift: Ford nets $1.6B

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 24, 2013
Rising U.S. sales boost N.A., hybrid owners sue; Daimler, VW profits fall; Fisker in hot seat; Snyder: Sales party poopers.

VW keeps targets after first-quarter profit falls 26%

April 24, 2013 12:04 CET
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.

Carfax hit with $50 million antitrust lawsuit by 120 dealerships

4:25 pm U.S. ET | April 24, 2013
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.

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

10:00 pm U.S. ET | April 24, 2013
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.

Ford profit rises 15% on N.A. record

7:02 am U.S. ET | April 24, 2013
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.

Daimler plans 300 million euro expansion in Romania

April 24, 2013 15:08 CET
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.

Mitsubishi pinpoints lithium ion battery glitch

April 24, 2013 20:43 CET
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.

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

April 24, 2013 18:19 CET
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.

Renault Q1 revenue falls 12% on weak Europe

April 24, 2013 18:19 CET
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.

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

12:06 pm U.S. ET | April 24, 2013
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.

Fisker, Energy Department blasted over loan to struggling firm

4:07 pm U.S. ET | April 24, 2013
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...

Toyota outsells GM worldwide for 5th straight quarter

12:19 pm U.S. ET | April 24, 2013
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.

Federal-Mogul shares rise 16% as restructuring takes hold

4:11 pm U.S. ET | April 24, 2013
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.

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

3:33 pm U.S. ET | April 24, 2013
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.

Lithia looks to market share growth to pump future earnings

11:17 am U.S. ET | April 24, 2013
Lithia Motors is prepared to sacrifice new and used per vehicle profit margin if it means more market share, its CEO said today.

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

10:30 am U.S. ET | April 24, 2013
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.

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

12:54 pm U.S. ET | April 24, 2013
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.

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

2:55 pm U.S. ET | April 24, 2013
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.

Mitsubishi pinpoints lithium ion battery glitch

2:43 pm U.S. ET | April 24, 2013
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.


Why car loans, mortgages are apples and oranges

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 24, 2013
Using questionable logic, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau tends to equate mortgage brokers and auto dealers.

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

11:34 am U.S. ET | April 24, 2013
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.

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

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 24, 2013
AutoNation shows no sign of letting up in growing its average F&I revenue per vehicle.

F&I Week

How to master an F&I sales presentation

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 24, 2013
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.

Lender cuts dealer fees yet grows profit

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 24, 2013
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.


Another case for bundling

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 24, 2013
F&I managers like to bundle products, with good reason. The practice typically spurs sales of other products.


Signing a customer's name is forgery. Period

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 24, 2013
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.

GM will invest 230 million euros to expand Opel test facilities

April 24, 2013 13:19 CET
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.

PSA says Q1 revenue fell 6.5% on European slump

April 24, 2013 08:34 CET
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.

Ford profit rises despite $462 million Europe loss

April 24, 2013 13:02 CET
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.

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

April 24, 2013 08:19 CET
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.

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

April 24, 2013 06:01 CET
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.

Gentex earnings drop 2% in first quarter

April 24, 2013 06:01 CET
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.


Why even a weak China is good news for European automakers

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 24, 2013
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.

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