Headlines for Wednesday, May 1, 2013

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Crossovers lead Honda April gains

5:00 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
Stoked by record April results for the Honda CR-V and Acura RDX compact crossovers, American Honda sales increased 7 percent to 130,999 units last month.

GM pulls Chevrolet ad that includes song labeled as racist

2:29 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
GM apologized for a Chevrolet ad that included a song referring to "the land of Fu Manchu" where all of the girls sing "ching, ching, chop-suey," which one Chinese newspaper called racist. The ad ran in Canada and never appeared in China.

Mid-sized sedans, hot in 2012, cool off

5:11 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
For the third straight month, a different car has topped the giant mid-sized sedan market, a segment that has significantly slowed this year as competition intensifies. Sales declined in April for seven of the 10 top mid-sized cars.

Detroit 3 climb with pickups; industry recovery slips

5:33 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
Booming pickup sales drove Detroit automakers to double-digit gains and the U.S. auto market 9 percent higher in April. While that percentage gain was the second-highest of the year, the results marked a setback for the industry's recovery. The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate came in at 14.

NICK BUNKLEY

Lincoln shoots for a happier ending after troubled MKZ launch

4:30 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
How far off track did the launch of the redesigned Lincoln MKZ get? The car, whose chassis bears the burden of a once-thriving luxury brand now trying to prove it's still relevant -- originally was supposed to start arriving at dealerships last fall, around the same time Steven Spielberg's movie...

APRIL U.S. AUTO SALES

Ford, Nissan lead gains as trucks, new models propel sales up 9%

8:00 am U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
Rising demand for Detroit 3 pickups helped lift U.S. auto sales 9 percent last month, while surprising declines at Toyota and Volkswagen took some steam out of the market's steady recovery. The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate came in at 14.

JESSE SNYDER

April goes Detroit's way

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
Pickups are back. Sales of those honking-big behemoths so unique to North American roads jumped 27 percent in April. And they're up 30 percent in the first four months of the year.

U.S. judge sentences couple to jail for stealing GM trade secrets

5:55 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
A Michigan couple found guilty of stealing General Motors trade secrets related to hybrid-car technology was sentenced to jail in federal court in Detroit.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: Nissan plays 'price is right'

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
Automaker bets leaner sticker prices will click online; April U.S. sales bloom; Akerson's wish for Volt; Bill Ford lauds Tesla.

Nissan cuts prices on 7 key models to score in Web searches

10:48 am U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
Jockeying for better position in Internet shopping sites, Nissan will cut the manufacturer's suggested retail prices on seven key models, effective Friday. The price adjustments affect vehicles that represent two-thirds of the brand's sales volume in the United States.

VIDEO: First Shift: Bankruptcy for EV maker

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
Coda to focus on storage; dealership buying, selling rises; Lincoln MKZ gains footing; Chrysler reaps rewards from 'Farmer' ad.

Mercedes extends U.S. luxury lead over BMW in April

2:03 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
Mercedes-Benz extended its lead over BMW in the U.S. luxury sales race, with a 5.8 percent gain in April. Sales for the Mercedes brand rose to 23,635 in April, led by gains for the C-class sedan and M-class SUV.

Mazda volume skids 4th straight month

4:23 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
Mazda once again watched the auto industry's recovery from the sidelines as it posted its fourth straight monthly U.S. sales decline in April.

Lincoln to hike MKZ Hybrid mix; Ford volume up 18%

2:42 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
Ford Motor Co. will increase the production mix of Lincoln MKZ Hybrids to 30 percent for the 2014 model year, from 20 percent now, to meet increased demand, a Ford executive said today.

Pickups help Detroit 3 gain ground in Canada

2:00 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
Canadian sales rose for the three Detroit automakers, led by strong sales for pickup trucks. Ford was the top-seller in Canada in April as sales rose 16 percent to 27,907 vehicles. Chrysler was second, at 25,745 vehicles, up 5 percent, barely edging out GM's 25,071 vehicles, up 19 percent.

VW plans fuel-saving 10-speed transmission

May 1, 2013 06:01 CET
Volkswagen is developing a 10-speed dual-clutch transmission to help reduce fuel consumption, CEO Martin Winterkorn said. The transmission is one of a number of drivetrain technologies that the automaker is focusing on for the mid- and long term, he said.

U.S. judge sentences couple to jail for stealing GM trade secrets

May 1, 2013 23:55 CET
A Michigan couple found guilty of stealing General Motors trade secrets related to hybrid-car technology was sentenced to jail in federal court in Detroit.

Mercedes extends U.S. luxury lead over BMW in April

May 1, 2013 20:03 CET
Mercedes-Benz extended its lead over BMW in the U.S. luxury sales race, with a 5.8 percent gain in April. Sales for the Mercedes brand rose to 23,635 in April, led by gains for the C-class sedan and M-class SUV.

Subaru jumps 25% on new Forester

2:39 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
Fueled by demand for the redesigned Forester crossover, Subaru of America's April sales advanced 25 percent.
The company said it was the best April in its history, with sales of 32,943 vehicles.

VW sales fall as rivals dent Passat, Jetta demand

12:51 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
Volkswagen of America officials blamed challenging conditions and competition in the mid-sized and compact sedan segments for a 10 percent drop in April sales for the VW brand, ending a streak of monthly sales gains that began in September 2010.

Chrysler up 11% on pickup, SUV sales

11:57 am U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
Chrysler Group rode strong sales of pickups and SUVs to an 11 percent sales increase in April, its 37th consecutive month of higher year-over-year sales.

Toyota car sales slide in April

5:05 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
LOS ANGELES -- Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. sales fell by 1 percent in April, with 176,160 units sold.
Sales at the Toyota Division declined by 2 percent to 158,069 units while volumes at Lexus increased 3 percent to 18,091 vehicles sold.

GM redemption seen culminating in return to S&P 500 Index

11:45 am U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
As the Treasury sells off its shares of General Motors, the automaker is likely to return to the Standard & Poor's 500 Index in the next year, passing another milestone in its redemption. Getting back into the S&P 500 would help U.S.

Delphi Q1 profit drops as sales fall in Europe, N.A.

10:10 am U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
Delphi Automotive reported a 20 percent drop in first-quarter profit as lower sales in Europe and North America more than offset gains in Asia and South America.

Magna parts factory explosion puts 5 in hospital

3:38 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
Magna International said an explosion at a Newmarket, Ontario, factory sent five employees to the hospital. The injuries are not life-threatening, Magna spokeswoman Tracy Fuerst said today.

Nissan brand sales rise 25% amid shift to retail

3:38 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
Redesigned core models gave Nissan a boost in U.S. sales in April, pushing the brand 25 percent ahead of April 2012. Nissan Division posted sales of 80,003 for the month, pumped by its restyled Altima, Sentra and Pathfinder.

Big trucks, small cars lift GM's sales 11%

2:34 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
General Motors' U.S. sales grew 11 percent in April on a surge in demand for vehicles at both ends of GM's lineup: big trucks and small cars.

Lexus prices base 2014 IS at $36,845, up $885

12:10 pm U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
Lexus has set the base price of the 2014 IS compact sport sedan at $36,845, including shipping, an increase of $885 from its predecessor, Lexus said.

F&I WEEK

Reaching millennials where they socialize

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
Young consumers armed with mobile technology are bringing new expectations to car buying. The finance and insurance office is no exception. Two experts will help you understand the attitudes and approaches of the so-called millennial generation during

Some lenders rein in approvals as their rivals run 'toward the cliff'

10:45 am U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
In announcing first-quarter results last week, some auto lenders struck a conservative tone, saying they would leave it to competitors to grow quickly by loosening approval standards.

5 tips to smoothing the subprime F&I process

10:45 am U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
For dealerships, interviewing subprime customers early in the car-buying process is a must, says Aaron Dalton, senior vice president for Prestige Financial Services. Prestige offers mostly subprime loans mostly to new-car dealerships.

Q&A

How Santander will work with Chrysler Capital

10:45 am U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
Chrysler Capital -- the jointly managed venture between Santander Consumer USA and Chrysler Group -- begins operating today in the United States as the quasi-captive finance arm of Chrysler. Tom Dundon, 41, CEO of Santander Consumer USA, spoke on April 25 with Staff Reporter Larry P. Vellequette.

Ally profits rise, helped by auto finance

10:41 am U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
Ally Financial Inc. said its first-quarter net income more than doubled from a year ago to $1.1 billion, driven largely by a one-time gain from the sale of Ally's Canadian operations and higher profits in its auto finance business.

GM Financial shifts emphasis to newer cars

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
GM Financial wants to change its image among franchised dealers shopping for used vehicles at auctions. So this month the captive finance company will host a sale of about 200 2010-13 GM vehicles.

Chrysler Capital's first job: Leasing

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
Chrysler Group expects more consumer auto leases this month when the newly formed Chrysler Capital begins operations as the automaker's preferred lender in the United States.

LEGAL FILE

Dealership group and its owner, sued by state, ordered to pay off trade-ins on time

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
A Pacific Northwest auto dealership group and its principal have been ordered to pay off vehicles traded in at four of its stores in a timely manner after being sued by the state of Washington.

JIM HENRY

GM, Chrysler take opposite tacks on captives

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
Does a car company need to own a captive finance company? While GM and Chrysler Group came off similar experiences of being partners with Ally Financial after their old captives went away during restructuring, they have reached different conclusions.

Ally Q1 profits boosted by auto finance business, one-time gains

9:52 am U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
Ally Financial said its first-quarter net income more than doubled from a year ago to $1.1 billion, driven largely by a one-time gain from the sale of Ally’s Canadian operations and higher profits in its auto finance business.

BMW studies China for hints on global trends

May 1, 2013 06:01 CET
BMW is studying ways to meet the fast-changing demands of China's car buyers to determine whether trends such as tele-dining and a heavy reliance on voice messaging will expand globally.

CAR CUTAWAY

ZF gives new Opel/Vauxhall Zafira fuel-saving steering

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 1, 2013
ZF Lenksysteme supplies the new Opel/Vauxhall Zafira Tourer's fast-responding, fuel-saving electric power steering system. ZF's so-called Servolectric system is based on the power-on-demand principle.

U.S. EV maker Coda files for bankruptcy

May 1, 2013 12:18 CET
U.S. green car startup Coda Holdings Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today after selling just 100 of its all-electric sedans. Coda launched its $37,250 electric car in California a year ago.

Faurecia, China's Changan form JV to make interior parts

May 1, 2013 13:28 CET
Faurecia has formed a joint venture with China's Changan Automobile Group that will build two factories to produce instrument panels, door panels, consoles and other interior components.

Valeo expects to double China sales by 2015

May 1, 2013 10:41 CET
French supplier Valeo expects annual sales in China to reach 20 billion yuan ($3.2 billion) by 2015, doubling its 2012 revenues.

Automotive News
Special Video Report
Toyota's Lentz in Texas: A Lexus regret, fixing 'starved' Scion, the next Prius

Toyota's Lentz in Texas: A Lexus regret, fixing 'starved' Scion, the next Prius

Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz is a pioneer. He and a handful of other employees moved to north Texas last September to help build the automaker's new U.S. headquarters.
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