Headlines for Monday, June 24, 2013

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MDX ads aim to elevate Acura

The first creative work from Acura's new ad agency -- for the launch of the redesigned 2014 MDX crossover -- is an attempt to propel the brand's status from premium to true luxury. American Honda Motor Co.' Read More »

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Hyundai store creates a culture from scratch

When Andrew DiFeo opened a Hyundai store in St. Augustine, Fla., in 2008, he saw a chance to create a culture. Earlier experiences at Toyota Motor Sales and his New Jersey-rooted family dealership group helped forge three founding principles. Read More »

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DIANA T. KURYLKO:

BMW 4 series coupe sets benchmark for segment price

When BMW decided to rethink and reposition the venerable 3 series coupe, it set several ambitious goals: Rename it the 4 series, style it and equip it with an even more premium feel than the 3-series sedan, and charge more for it. Read More »

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GM plays musical chairs, roils Chattanooga market

The turmoil is finally subsiding in the Chattanooga market four years after the national economic crisis and the bankruptcy of General Motors. But getting the car business back in order in this mountainous market of 350,000 people has been a game of musical chairs. Read More »

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Fiat's Turkish unit raises market forecast

Tofas, a venture between Fiat and a Turkish partner, raised its forecast for growth in the country's car and van market this year as lower interest rates fuel purchases. Read More »

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First Shift: Global boss for Chevy?

Sales chief Alan Batey tapped to lead brand in 140 markets, report says; Jeep Cherokee delay; linking car tech with heart tech. Read More »

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AutoNews Now: GM arms for Texas shootout

Silverado storming pickup capital to grab share from Ford; Honda Civic gets engine of its 'Dreams'; Buick LaCrosse age appeal. Read More »

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Foreign automaker lobby group hires additional counsel

Mark Dowd, a lawyer who worked for the Obama administration team that oversaw the 2009 restructurings of General Motors and Chrysler Group, has been hired as assistant general counsel at the Association of Global Automakers. Read More »

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Chrysler Capital gets off to a strong start

Chrysler Capital, the lender created this year by Santander Consumer USA and Chrysler Group, is already the top loan writer at Chrysler dealerships. Chrysler Capital, now Chrysler's preferred finance provider, gives Chrysler dealerships a stronger lineup of loan choices for car shoppers. Read More »

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GM's Batey to be named Chevrolet's global boss, report says

General Motors is expected to name Englishman Alan Batey, a former Vauxhall apprentice who is now the automaker's U.S. sales chief, as Chevrolet's global head, a report said. Read More »

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Opel convertible, minicar make Akerson's wish list for Buick

Opel's Adam minicar and Cascada convertible would look good in the U.S. showrooms of Opel's sister brand, Buick, General Motors Co. CEO Dan Akerson thinks. Read More »

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U.S. light-vehicle count, dented by recession and consumer shifts, peaked in 2008, study says

The number of light vehicles on U.S. roads peaked at 236.4 million in 2008, then dropped through 2011, reflecting the auto industry's sharp sales slump and echoing findings from other recent reports that Americans are driving less, a University of Michigan researcher says. Read More »

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Chevy Spark conceived in South Korea surprise hit in U.S.

General Motors in modern times has never successfully sold a tiny car like the Chevy Spark in the United States. The Spark's success today, 26,869 sales in its first 12 months, exceeds GM's initial expectations by as much as 35 percent, said one person familiar with the company's internal planning. Read More »

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Germany offers new proposal to weaken EU car emissions law

Germany has put forward a new proposal to weaken European draft rules on vehicle CO2 emissions as it struggles to persuade other nations to help it protect its powerful car industry, EU sources said. Read More »

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Toyota president delivers highest returns for lowest pay

Toyota made its name on the value and efficiency of its cars. Its chief executive, Akio Toyoda, now is earning a similar reputation for his compensation. Read More »

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Nissan tightens safety watch after U.S. factory fatalities

Nissan is stepping up safety procedures at U.S. manufacturing facilities after three accidental deaths in 18 months at its Tennessee vehicle-assembly complex. Read More »

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Fiat is getting its own factory reps for dealers

Fiat is hiring its own field staff to work with its 205 U.S. dealerships as the brand starts selling its first four-door hatchback, the 500L. Fiat dealerships had been handled by factory reps that also visited Chrysler stores. Most Fiat dealerships are owned by Chrysler dealers. Read More »

Lentz: Yen's slide won't help Toyota

The weakening yen was supposed to be a boon for imported Japanese vehicles in the United States. But Jim Lentz, Toyota Motor Corp.'s CEO for North America, doesn't see it that way. Read More »

Suppliers absorb more of costs from warranty claims

Automakers are increasingly requiring contributions from suppliers for potential product liability, warranty and recall claims, and the emphasis on shared responsibility has worked its way from the automakers down to all three tiers of the supply chain. Read More »

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Ford, UAW launch two-year pilot to cut blue-collar medical costs

Ford is launching a two-year pilot program with the UAW and a UAW-affiliated retiree healthcare trust aimed at lowering medical costs for the automaker's active and retired hourly workers. Read More »

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GM's Batey to be named global boss for Chevy

GM is expected to name U.S. sales chief Alan Batey as the global head of Chevrolet, a person familiar with the plans said. Batey is expected to be assigned this week to the newly created post to accelerate Chevy's growth in the 140 markets where it is sold. Read More »

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Subaru scouts Philly area for next HQ

Subaru of America has outgrown its Cherry Hill, N.J., headquarters, but it's not going to move to the West Coast, where most other Asian auto brands are based. Instead, Subaru is looking for a site in the area where it is now based. Cherry Hill is a suburb of Philadelphia, which is 9 miles away. Read More »

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Tesla loan payoff removes acquisition barrier

Tesla Motors, a long-speculated takeover target, just removed a barrier to a deal by paying off a federal government loan. The problem: For would-be suitors, it has also become the world’s most expensive carmaker. Read More »

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Plant tweaks delay Cherokee launch

Chrysler has delayed the launch of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee by a couple of months as it fine-tunes the production process at its revamped Toledo Assembly Complex. Read More »

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New York lawmakers set aside dealer bill fought by Tesla

New York's Assembly set aside a bill that Tesla Motors had said would shut down its operations in the state. The lower chamber adjourned its legislative session late Friday without acting on the measure. Lawmakers in the Assembly aren't scheduled to reconvene until January. Read More »

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Volkswagen ponders extra Golf production for holidays

Volkswagen is looking for volunteers among its work force in Wolfsburg to build its Golf hatchback during next month's three-week plant holiday to keep up with customer orders Read More »

LETTER TO THE EDITOR:

EVs should pay their fair share

A June 17 editorial asks: "Should EVs help pay for highway maintenance?" Yes, they should, at least in time. Perhaps we can regard their free ride on fuel taxes as a subsidy justified by the societal benefits of electric vehicles in the initial stages of the market. Read More »

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A Fiat 500 with 7 seats

Fiat will launch an extra-long version of the 500L four-door hatchback in Europe next month. The vehicle, called the 500L Living, is not planned for the United States. At 171.3 inches, the Living is 7.9 inches longer than the 2014 Fiat 500L now on sale in Europe. Read More »

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Opel convertible, minicar make Akerson's wish list for Buick

Opel's Adam minicar and Cascada convertible would look awfully nice in Buick's U.S. showrooms. At least that's what the head of General Motors thinks. Read More »

VW plant leads May output

The VW Puebla, Mexico, plant topped our list of top 10 plants in North America in production volume in May. Read More »

Obituaries

Richard Lannen, former executive director of General Motors' Service Technology Group and North American Service Operations, died June 16. He was 76. Read More »

Ford drops Harley F-150

The Ford brand has discontinued the high-end Harley-Davidson edition of its F-series pickup. Read More »

Jeep plan: Peace, but no cure-all

Chrysler Group's plan to put trailer hitches on 1.56 million Jeeps has brought peace with federal regulators at a bargain-basement price. But it's not likely to give occupants of those vehicles much more protection in rear-end crashes above 50 mph. Read More »

Launches hurt IQS results

The increasing frequency of vehicle launches, coupled with the complex infotainment systems going into new models these days, make launching a vehicle a big risk for a brand's quality perception. Read More »

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DRIVING THE PLOT:

Why more TV shows are sounding like car commercials

Auto advertising execs say they are increasingly seeking -- and getting -- more from their placement deals in TV shows: not just a few seconds of screen time for a brand or nameplate but a more prominent role in the script that identifies the vehicle by model and showcases distinctive features. Read More »

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TARGET: TEXAS:

As the pickup war heats up, GM barnstorms top truck market with redone models in push to regain lost share

A statewide blitz across Texas -- General Motors calls the five-month swing of more than 60 stops unprecedented -- is just the start of a national Silverado campaign. Read More »

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An ultimatum for VW Chattanooga?

When workers try to unionize, they often hear that their factory will lose business if they do. At Volkswagen AG's only U.S. assembly plant in Tennesse, they are hearing exactly the opposite. Read More »

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KEITH CRAIN:

Chrysler made the right call

Three weeks ago it looked like Chrysler was about to go to war with the U.S. government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But as quickly as it escalated, it disappeared with Chrysler agreeing to recall many of the vehicles in question. It was the right call. Read More »

EDITORIAL:

GM's decision on production data doesn't compute

General Motors needs to rethink its myopic plan to stop publicly disclosing monthly vehicle production numbers that are used by economists, analysts, investors, suppliers and dealers to forecast business and make decisions that affect the entire U.S. economy. Read More »

LETTER TO THE EDITOR:

How about a big Lincoln, Buick?

This is in response to the June 17 stories discussing future product strategies at Lincoln and Buick ("Lincoln targets fastest-growing segments" and "Opel-Buick link to grow stronger"). Read More »

Toyota to enter turbo-four wars with Lexus by '15

Toyota Motor Corp. will offer its first turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine in Lexus vehicles beginning in late 2014 or early 2015. Several other automakers already offer 2. Read More »

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BMW prices 4 series above its coupe rivals

When it goes on sale in late summer, BMW's 4 series, the renamed and redesigned successor to the 3-series coupe, will have a base price of $41,425, with shipping -- nearly $3,000 more than two key competitors. Read More »

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Honda confirms Civic engine upgrade

Honda Motor Co.'s top executive for North America says Americans still favor small cars and good fuel economy, despite a recent boom in pickups that has fueled Detroit 3 market share gains. Read More »



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