Headlines for Wednesday, May 22, 2013

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Ford, Chrysler to reduce summer shutdowns at most N.A. plants

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 22, 2013
Ford Motor and Chrysler Group said today they are scaling back annual summer production shutdowns this year in hopes of boosting output of key models in North America. General Motors declined to disclose specific summer plans.

AutoNation unit launches Shop-By-Payment service

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 22, 2013
AutoNation's lead-referral subsidiary has 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.

Ford to shutter Australia car, engine plants in 2016

8:04 pm U.S. ET | May 22, 2013
Ford, citing high operating costs, falling sales and financial losses, will close its Australian car and engine assembly plants in 2016, ending almost nine decades of manufacturing in the country.

Tesla pays back balance of DOE loan

10:48 am U.S. ET | May 22, 2013
Tesla Motors said it paid off the entire balance of its federal government loan given as part of a Department of Energy program to spur development of alternative energy vehicles.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: Seeking store-closure data

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 22, 2013
Lawmakers dig into fairness of '09 dealer shutdowns; GM treasury group to leave NY for Motown; Harbaugh moves from field to track

VIDEO: First Shift: Heating up Ford production

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 22, 2013
Another Detroit automaker scales back summer shutdowns; VW tackles diesel goofs; Hyundai markets to 'second screen.'

Michael Stanton, longtime D.C. advocate for automakers, to retire in 2014

11:50 am U.S. ET | May 22, 2013
Michael Stanton, a longtime lobbyist and a driving force for automakers in public policy, plans to retire as president and CEO of the Association of Global Automakers in early 2014.

Gentex CFO leaves but will work with supplier as consultant

4:02 pm U.S. ET | May 22, 2013
Gentex, a maker of rearview mirrors and electronics parts, said its CFO and vice president of finance has left the company but will remain a consultant with the supplier.


Why Infiniti, Lincoln face the same challenge

2:51 pm U.S. ET | May 22, 2013
The luxury marque hasn't lived up to its dreams. In fact, there was talk that its parent company might kill it. Now with a dynamic new leader, it's trying to build buzz with a more exciting lineup.

F&I Week

U.S. regulators and F&I: Your questions answered

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 22, 2013
Dealers have been hungry for guidance following signals from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on such matters as the finance reserve and sale of products, including extended-service contracts.

Easier credit, lower auction values are mixed bag for dealers

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 22, 2013
For lenders, the average loss for bad auto loans rose in the first quarter, reflecting factors that directly affect dealerships: easier credit and softer used-vehicle prices.

M-B Financial customers pay loans from their cars

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 22, 2013
Mercedes-Benz Financial Services customers can now make payments, manage their accounts or contact a dealer directly from their cars using the Mercedes-Benz mbrace2 in-car infotainment system, the company said this week.


Are worries over slower, smaller tax refunds overblown?

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 22, 2013
Some lenders complained in first-quarter earnings reports about smaller and later tax refunds. IRS refund statistics weren’t down by much, but any change is important because tax refunds contribute to the annual peak in subprime financing, according to dealers and subprime lenders.


For happier customers, sales and F&I need to talk

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 22, 2013
Good communication between sales and finance staff cannot be overstated. That’s my takeaway from reading a recent chat on a Facebook page shared by finance managers.

Kia says free maintenance won't hurt F&I sales

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 22, 2013
Kia's first-ever offer of free scheduled maintenance, on the new 2014 Cadenza, shouldn't affect dealership sales of extended-service contracts, the carmaker says.

GM moving treasury office to Detroit headquarters from New York

9:35 am U.S. ET | May 22, 2013
GM said it will move its treasury office to its Detroit headquarters from New York in mid-2014, affecting about 70 employees.

Daimler may sell company-owned German dealerships to cut costs

May 22, 2013 13:19 CET
Daimler may sell four company-owned Mercedes-Benz dealerships in Germany to cut costs and help close a profitability gap with rivals BMW and Audi.

PSA will close r&d site to reduce spending

May 22, 2013 09:49 CET
PSA will shut a French r&d facility as part of a program to reduce spending.

Two Denso execs to plead guilty to price fixing, U.S. says

May 22, 2013 06:01 CET
Two executives at Toyota-affiliated supplier Denso have agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to fix prices and have agreed to cooperate with an ongoing criminal investigation, the U.S. Justice Department said.

Lutz's VL Automotive, Chinese supplier bid for Fisker, report says

May 22, 2013 06:01 CET
A boutique carmaker led by a former GM executive Bob Lutz and China's largest auto parts supplier submitted an offer to buy cash-strapped automaker Fisker Automotive, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

VW to modify late-model diesels in N. America to prevent improper fueling

May 22, 2013 06:01 CET
Volkswagen plans to refit more than a quarter million 2009-12 diesel cars to prevent North American customers from mistakenly pumping gasoline into the fuel tanks.

Opel keeps Bochum logistics center open to fulfill contract

May 22, 2013 06:01 CET
Opel will keep a spare-parts distribution center open until 2016 at its plant in Bochum, Germany, as long as two years after car production ends at the site.


Automotive News Europe salutes Darren Cox

May 22, 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 Darren Cox, Nissan's global motorsports director.

Experian names John Gray head of auto unit

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 22, 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.

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