Headlines for Monday, May 20, 2013

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AutoNation unit launches Shop-By-Payment service

3:09 pm U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
AutoNation's lead-referral subsidiary today unveiled an online service that lets consumers search dealership Web sites for new and used vehicles based on monthly payments. When a consumer chooses the desired payment a sales lead is sent to the dealership.


Online video has changed how auto marketers connect with customers

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
Online video has redrawn the boundaries of auto marketing, giving companies a chance to sketch a broader story line around their products, break the conventions of TV and connect with customers in new ways

VIDEO: Toyota's Lentz: Camry in a 'three-horse race'

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
Toyota's Jim Lentz says the Camry will fend off main rival Honda Accord and upstarts such as the Ford Fusion to extend its reign as the best-selling car in the United States. Big pickups are another story, as the Detroit 3 will remain dominant, he says.

GM's Cruze diesel ghostbuster

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
No one on Mike Siegrist's engineering team talks about the failed Oldsmobile diesel V-8 from the 1980s. But it's there, a 745-pound cast-iron ghost. Siegrist leads the 50-member engineering team that is equipping the first GM car in North America with a diesel since 1986.


Goofy ads, variants help Mini rule its own little world

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
BMW, Mini's parent company, had forecast U.S. sales of 20,000 units of the original two-door in 2003, but 36,000 were sold. That was the beginning of Mini's surprising journey.


BMW counts on new models to keep luxury sales crown

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
Mercedes-Benz led the U.S. luxury-brand sales race through April of 2013, but BMW of North America CEO Ludwig Willisch expects BMW to repeat as No. 1 for the year.

Again, Tokyo show a no-go for Detroit 3

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
The Detroit 3 will sit out the Tokyo Motor Show, no-shows for the third straight time.


Toyota streamlines decision-making for North America

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
Toyota President Akio Toyoda restructured the company's management this year to give more authority and autonomy to local regions.

Chrysler quality chief: Little difference now with Toyota

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
The quality gap between Chrysler Group's vehicles and those of Japanese automakers has become so small that it no longer should matter to consumers, Chrysler's quality chief says.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: Chrysler's Toyota chase

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
U.S. automaker says it's catching up in quality; Ford 4-banger forecast; Chevy plays along with 'Mad Men' plot.

Infiniti: Raise quality, sales will follow

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
Infiniti President Johan de Nysschen, poached last summer from Audi, aims to push into new segments, restore profitability to Nissan's luxury marque and fix lackluster quality rankings.


Hinrichs: Quality is 'of the highest priority' at Ford

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
After three frenetic years overseeing Ford's ambitious Asia Pacific expansion plans, including the construction of nine plants, Joe Hinrichs returned to the Dearborn, Mich., world headquarters in December to take over as president of the company's most profitable region: the Americas.

BMW counts on new models to keep U.S. luxury lead

May 20, 2013 06:01 CET
Mercedes-Benz led the U.S. premium-brand sales race through April of 2013, but BMW of North America CEO Ludwig Willisch expects BMW to repeat as No. 1 for the year.

Toyota overtakes BMW as most valuable global car brand

May 21, 2013 01:15 CET
Toyota has overtaken BMW as the world's most valuable automotive brand, an annual ranking of the world's top brands shows. Toyota's 2013 brand value rose 12 percent to $24.5 billion largely because of its significant inroads in the hybrid market, according to the study.


GM designer knows crucial launches produce a love-hate response

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
Chevrolet designer Tom Peters describes the blocky, chiseled front end of the 2014 Silverado pickup as a "fist in the wind."

VIDEO: First Shift: Cruze diesel a Jetta fighter

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
GM: Chevy better in horsepower, torque, MPG; GM wants back in 'club'; Hellcat for Chrysler; Nissan-Mitsubishi minicar.

Tesla Motors may repay U.S. loan by Wednesday, Musk says

10:41 pm U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
Tesla Motors may repay its federal Department of Energy loan as early as Wednesday, CEO Elon Musk said in a message on Twitter on Monday.

Porsche to keep U.S. ad account with Cramer-Krasselt

7:16 pm U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
Porsche, after a six-month review of advertising agencies, has opted to keep its creative advertising account for the United States parked at Cramer-Krasselt, the incumbent agency that has held the account since 2007.

Ex-battery maker B456 wins court approval for bankruptcy plan

3:19 pm U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
B456 Systems, the bankrupt electric-car battery maker formerly called A123 Systems, won court approval of a plan to exit bankruptcy that pays creditors from the proceeds of selling virtually all its assets.


The road to a greener America is littered with roadkill

11:43 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
Apart from the recent success of Tesla Motors, the electric vehicle sector has been one of the biggest duds in clean tech. It's all part of green energy's mid-life crisis.

Chevy joins 'Mad Men' buzz on Twitter

4:11 pm U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
Chevrolet brought some more attention to its role in "Mad Men" on Twitter after last night’s episode. AMC’s television drama "Mad Men" follows a fictional New York advertising agency in the late 1960s, which currently is working on a campaign for the Chevrolet Vega.


Audi gripes, but Tesla could be en route to niche-brand success

3:59 pm U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
Audi wants to be clear: Just because the Tesla Model S is outselling Audi's flagship A8 in the U.S. luxury sedan market, it does not mean Tesla Motors is beating Audi.

Experian names John Gray head of auto unit

2:57 pm U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
Experian has named John Gray president of its automotive business unit, effective immediately, with responsibility for the strategic direction, leadership and overall growth of the business.

Dealer swaps shoe leather for Facebook

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
When Chris Morrison started out as a car salesman 30 years ago in the placid southern Mississippi city of McComb, he spent every Tuesday at local employers handing out business cards and shaking hands.


GM seeks clean launch, regular updates for pickups

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
Mark Reuss, president of General Motors North America, says GM is staying vigilant on the June launch of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-sized pickups, its most important rollout since the company's 2009 bankruptcy.

Mini's culture is as quirky as its cars

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
Mini is owned by BMW, but there's a broad gulf between the prestigious luxury marque and the funky small-car brand.


Automotive News Europe salutes Filiz Albrecht

May 20, 2013 06:01 CET
Automotive News Europe salutes the winners of the 2013 Rising Stars awards. Every day until June 12 one of the 18 winners will be featured. Today's Rising Star is Filiz Albrecht, group vice president of human resources at supplier Mann + Hummel.

Italy's Sogefi said to sell $115 million bonds in U.S. private placement

May 20, 2013 08:49 CET
Italian supplier Sogefi sold $115 million in bonds to U.S. investors in a private placement and is planning to sell another 25 million-euro ($32 million) note, a person familiar with the transaction said.


Celebrating Europe's Rising Stars

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
The future of the European automotive industry looks bright because of the strength of the young executives who are making huge strides forward. Automotive News Europe will honor 18 of these talented executives in Paris on June 12.

Continental names veteran exec Cramer as China head

May 20, 2013 11:38 CET
German supplier Continental has named veteran executive Ralf Cramer to head its operations in China, which it sees as the main driver of its growing business in Asia. The company says it gets around 18 percent of its sales from Asia and wants to increase this proportion to more than 30 percent.

Magna opens body, chassis plant in China's Chongqing

May 20, 2013 09:36 CET
Magna's Cosma unit has opened a plant in southwest China to supply body and chassis parts to automakers in the area including Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen.

Next up: New York

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
Automotive News will host its second annual New York marketing seminar Sept. 18 at the New York Marriott Marquis.

CFO says GM streamlining is 'on its way'

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
As a banking adviser to General Motors when he was at Morgan Stanley, Dan Ammann got an upfront view of GM's spiral into bankruptcy in 2009 and subsequent restructuring. Now, more than two years into his job as CFO, Ammann acknowledges that he had only a faint idea at the time of how complex GM is.


12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
Information about James Lawrence, former publisher at NADA Used Car Guide, and A.B. Shuman, a product spokesman for Mercedes-Benz of North America Inc.


Auto marketers want TV viewers to reach for another device

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
TV promotions still reach the biggest audiences, but auto marketers say the greatest untapped potential lies with consumers poised to use other devices to respond quickly to what they see on screen.

A tech triumph for the S class?

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
With a technology-rich S-class redesign arriving this fall and several derivatives to be added by 2015, Mercedes-Benz aims to boost stalled sales of its flagship.

M-B redesigned S class with China in mind

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
The redesigned Mercedes-Benz S class made its world debut last week in Hamburg, Germany, but Shanghai might have been more appropriate. Why? China accounted for 49 percent of all 2010-12 S-class sales.

Infiniti to add new halo car, more crossovers

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
Nissan Motor Co.'s Infiniti marque plans to add a halo nameplate above its Q70 flagship sedan and expand its crossover offerings, President Johan de Nysschen said.

Expert advice to improve your operation

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
Dealership finance and insurance experts will offer tips and counsel during Automotive News F&I Week, a free online conference of six Webinars on June 11-13.


U.S. tweaks boost Leaf's mpg score

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
U.S. production of Nissan's Leaf electric vehicle has resulted in improved EPA fuel economy numbers for the car. The production move from Japan to Nissan's plant in Smyrna, Tenn., this year gave the automaker a chance to make a small number of midcycle engineering changes.


Sporty Bentley models in the works

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
Bentley plans to launch a 650-hp Continental Supersports as early as 2014, featuring carbon-fiber panels and a stiffer chassis, sources told Autoweek.


Honda to return to F1 racing

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
Honda will return to Formula One as an engine supplier after exiting the racing series in 2008. The Japanese automaker will provide engines to its former F1 racing partner McLaren starting in 2015.


NSX's electric motors will help handling

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 20, 2013
Technical details on the Acura NSX coming in 2015 are scarce, but large-project leader Ted Klaus offered a few nuggets last week as Honda officials announced that the sports car will be built in Ohio.

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