Headlines for Wednesday, September 4, 2013

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Hot August caps a 'solid summer'

4:40 pm U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
By almost any measure, August spelled recovery for U.S. auto sales. Not only have automakers sold more light vehicles in the first eight months this year (10.6 million) than in all of 2009 (10.4 million), but last month's 1.5 million sales topped the unit volume of every August since 2003.

Ford gets boost from West Coast retail buyers

2:00 pm U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
Spurred by strong retail gains on the West Coast and continuing strength in the truck market, Ford Motor sales rose 12 percent in August compared with August of 2012.

VW: No decisions on worker representation at U.S. plant

12:36 pm U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
Volkswagen's top executive in the United States said Wednesday the company has made no decisions on how workers could be organized at its Tennessee assembly plant, despite reports of high-level meetings between UAW organizers and top VW executives.

Spanish price-fixing probe looks at VW, Renault, others

Sept. 4, 2013 13:17 CET
Spain's antitrust regulator is investigating possible price fixing in the country by automakers such as VW, Renault, Peugeot, Toyota, GM and Ford.

Toyota hikes 2013 U.S. volume target after August sales surge

4:48 pm U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
Toyota raised its 2013 U.S. sales target for the Toyota brand and Scion by about 50,000 units as combined deliveries of Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles topped 230,000 in August. It was the company's best monthly sales total in more than five years.


Ford joins race upscale in Europe with Vignale line

Sept. 4, 2013 06:01 CET
Ford of Europe will launch a badge called Vignale for upscale cars at the Frankfurt auto show with a concept based on the new Mondeo. With Vignale, Ford joins mass-market rivals such as PSA and Renault in creating specially badged vehicles aimed at luring buyers away from BMW, Audi and Mercedes.


Honda, Toyota, Nissan set pace as August volume surges 17%

8:00 am U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
Japanese automakers helped lift U.S. light-vehicle sales 17 percent last month, topping forecasts and propelling the annualized selling rate to 16.1 million, the industry's best showing since late 2007.

Volkswagen aims electric Up at BMW i3

Sept. 4, 2013 16:46 CET
VW will target potential buyers of BMW's battery-powered i3 city car with an electric version of its Up minicar.


Lexus will unveil compact SUV to rival BMW X1, Audi Q3

Sept. 4, 2013 18:18 CET
Lexus is set to launch a rival the BMW X1 and Audi Q3 compact SUVs. The model will be previewed by the LF-NX concept at the Frankfurt auto show.


Dacia Duster gets more rugged look

Sept. 4, 2013 06:01 CET
Dacia's best-selling model, the Duster SUV, gets a more rugged look to increase its appeal.


Audi's 700-hp Sport Quattro concept revives classic nameplate

Sept. 4, 2013 14:30 CET
Audi's 700-hp Sport Quattro plug-in hybrid concept previews a possible technological flagship for the brand.

VIDEO: First Shift: Pointing way to self-driving

12:01 am U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
VW, Mercedes and others adding autonomous features; Toyota recalling 369,000 vehicles globally; made-in-Mexico Infiniti?

Toyota recalls 369,000 vehicles in Europe, U.S., Japan

Sept. 4, 2013 15:48 CET
Toyota said it is recalling about 200,000 hybrid SUVs globally including the Lexus RX400h, due to a glitch in the hybrid system's inverter.

VW: No decisions on worker representation at U.S. plant

Sept. 4, 2013 18:36 CET
Volkswagen's top U.S. executive said the automaker has made no decisions on how workers could be organized at its Tennessee assembly plant, despite reports of high-level meetings between union organizers and top VW executives.

Fiat may face 2015 trial over value of UAW's Chrysler stock

7:34 pm U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
Fiat may have to wait until 2015 for a trial over the value of some Chrysler Group shares owned by a union health-care fund, further delaying a plan to combine the two companies.


Automaker discipline is holding … so far

5:59 pm U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
Four years into the sales recovery, we’re all holding our breath. We all hope everybody remembers the hard lessons of the Great Recession. And fear somebody will crack open a fresh can of marketing excess -- especially we graybeards who remember previous boom-and-bust cycles.

Nissan, up 22%, sets August sales record

4:06 pm U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
Nissan North America reported record August sales, and its Nissan brand reported the highest retail sales for any month in its history.


Why GM increasing its Peugeot shareholding is nonsense

12:01 am U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
The idea that GM would be interested in buying more Peugeot shares, as rumored earlier this summer, defies common sense. Even more ridiculous is the rumor that the Peugeot family will sell off to the Chinese.

Core models spur Honda to 27% gain

4:18 pm U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
American Honda posted the largest increase among volume automakers in August, with sales rising 27 percent to 166,432 vehicles on strong demand for its core products.

GM sales rise 15% in best month since 2008

3:32 pm U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
General Motors' sales in the United States rose 15 percent last month from a year ago, even as it reduced fleet deliveries by 8 percent. August was the best sales month in the United States for GM since September 2008

Chrysler Group sales rise 12% on pickups, SUVs

3:10 pm U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
Strong demand for its most profitable vehicles helped drive Chrysler Group sales up 12 percent last month to the company's best August since 2007.

2 dealers settle FTC charges over advertising

4:24 pm U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
The Federal Trade Commission said it has reached settlements with two car dealers from Maryland and Ohio on charges that the dealers falsely advertised the costs or available discounts for vehicles.

Lexus U.S. sales jump 23% for first monthly luxury lead in 2013

4:08 pm U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
Toyota's Lexus, the top- selling luxury-auto brand in the United States for 11 years through 2010, posted a 23 percent increase in August for its first monthly win in a year. Deliveries rose to 29,792, Toyota said today in a statement.

Chrysler Canada reports best year-to-date sales in 25 years

3:55 pm U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
Chrysler's Canadian arm reported its best sales for the month of August in 13 years and its best sales year-to-date in 25 years, bolstered in part by robust passenger car sales, the auto maker said today. Ford Motor, the top seller in Canada, said its sales rose 7.1 percent to 27,268 vehicles.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: A late-summer sales boom

12:01 am U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
SAAR passes 16M for first time since 2007, Japanese lead gainers; Frankfurt peeks from Audi, Jeep, Infiniti; hot auto videos.

Demand for diesels, Audis bright spot for VW

2:07 pm U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
Volkswagen Group of America gained from strong demand for diesel cars in August, but the VW brand's sales again fell shy of last year's pace as Audi continued its surge in the luxury segment with a 22 percent sales gain.


Ally's ready if credit refreezes, exec says

12:01 am U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
Ally Financial Inc. fixed a failure in its traditional business model when it became a bank in late 2008, says Tim Russi, president of auto finance.

Halla Visteon starts HVAC unit production in Russia

2:22 pm U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
Halla Visteon Climate Control said it has begun manufacturing operations for heating, ventilation and air conditioning units in Togliatti, Russia.

Captives advance on leasing, new-car loans

12:01 am U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
Captive finance companies picked up share in the second quarter, buoyed by a rise in leasing -- a lending area they dominate -- and gains in new-vehicle loans. Captives had the biggest share of new-vehicle loans in the quarter, and banks were No. 2. A year earlier, the opposite was true.

Volvo targets BMW, Audi buyers with Chinese premium growth

Sept. 4, 2013 18:00 CET
Volvo is working to upgrade its model lineup with the aim of winning Chinese customers away from premium rivals BMW and Audi.

Lexus lifts wraps on compact crossover concept

12:18 pm U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
Lexus will show a long-anticipated compact crossover concept next week at the Frankfurt auto show, an angular, muscular hybrid that previews a vehicle expected to arrive next year.

Ford's OK with below-average leasing

11:53 am U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
Ford Motor Co.'s lease penetration is below average, but Ford is OK with that, U.S. sales chief Ken Czubay says. "Leasing has done very well for us," he said in a conference call today for reporters and analysts. "We're prudent in managing that business, but it's a great tool for our dealers."


Ohio dealership group faces class-action

12:01 am U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
The Ohio Court of Appeals has upheld class certification in a suit alleging that the arbitration clause in a Cleveland-area dealership group's sales agreement was unconscionable and unenforceable.


Why a North Korean car plant faces grim realities

12:08 pm U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
There is no shortage of strange news from North Korea, the world’s only hereditary communist regime. Only a shortage of electricity, food, skilled labor, education and basic human rights. And that makes FAW Group's reported North Korean auto plant all the more remarkable.

Fiat will build Maserati SUV in Italy starting next year

Sept. 4, 2013 13:51 CET
Fiat told union leaders that it would begin making a Maserati SUV at its Mirafiori factory in Turin, Italy, after investing 1 billion euros at the plant by the end of next year.

Easier credit, growth in leasing to continue, Experian says

12:01 am U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
The good news continues in auto finance with easier credit terms, growth in leasing and increased average loan amounts, according to second-quarter statistics released today by Experian Automotive.

Toyota places cheap-lease gamble on new Corolla

12:01 am U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
Eager to regain market share in the price-sensitive compact segment, Toyota is cutting customer lease payments on the redesigned 2014 Corolla by setting residual values much higher than in the past, according to dealers and lease trackers. It's a risky move.

Volvo sales up 5% in August on China, Europe gains

Sept. 4, 2013 16:31 CET
Volvo said on Wednesday it sold 26,998 cars in August, a 5 percent increase over the same period a year ago, citing growth in China and Europe.

Turkey's August sales rise 12%

Sept. 4, 2013 17:16 CET
Turkish automotive sales rose 12 percent to 65,043 units in August, in another sign of recovery after a difficult year in 2012, the Automotive Distributors' Association (ODD) said.


Changing language to avoid CFPB trouble

12:01 am U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
Dealers’ Financial Services, whose MILES program provides auto loans and F&I products to military members, has changed the disclosure language on its Web site. The site’s new language emphasizes that extended-service contracts and GAP are optional and cancellable.

Toyota recalls 369,000 vehicles in Japan, U.S., Europe

9:48 am U.S. ET | Sept. 4, 2013
Toyota said it is recalling around 200,000 hybrid SUVs globally including the Lexus RX400h, due to a glitch in the hybrid system's inverter.

Daimler considers joint small-car production with Renault-Nissan

Sept. 4, 2013 11:49 CET
Daimler and the Renault-Nissan alliance are considering expanding their cooperation to joint manufacturing of compact cars such as the Infiniti Q30 and Mercedes-Benz GLA.

BMW said to let PSA cooperation on engines expire after 2016

Sept. 4, 2013 11:34 CET
BMW and PSA will end cooperation on small gasoline engines when the project agreement lapses in 2016, a person familiar with the matter said.

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