Headlines for Friday, January 24, 2014

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Self-driving shuttle shows way to autonomous cars

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
A French auto robotics company is taking development of autonomous vehicles in a new direction that could lead to public acceptance of the fledgling technology.

For automakers, a pre-Super Bowl flag on creativity's limits

11:42 am U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
Ten days before the broadcast of professional football's Super Bowl provides automakers their biggest U.S. advertising day of the year, regulators warned that creativity must have its limits.

Blitz of Super Bowl auto ads pits Muppets vs. British villains

12:34 am U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
From the Muppets to James Franco and British villains, Hollywood will be working hard for the auto industry during the Super Bowl. Automakers are spending as much as $6 million per 30-second spot to grab consumers and promote a bumper crop of new vehicles during the telecast.

Renault-Nissan said to plan joint managers for manufacturing, engineering

Jan. 24, 2014 14:23 CET
Renault-Nissan is said to plan the appointment of two new joint managers to oversee engineering and manufacturing. The move is part of a wider plan to boost alliance savings to 4 billion euros ($5.5 billion) annually in 2016.

GM eyes Korean job cuts ahead of Chevy withdrawal from Europe, report says

Jan. 24, 2014 14:25 CET
GM may cut up to 1,100 jobs in South Korea as it pulls its Chevrolet brand from Europe and realigns global manufacturing.

Quick question

5:02 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
Do you expect the dealer reserve to fade away in favor of flat rates?

NADA endorses percentage ceiling on dealer reserve

1:00 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
The National Automobile Dealers Association today endorsed a plan under which each auto dealership would establish a percentage ceiling for its dealer reserve -- the money paid to the dealership for its role in arranging car loans for retail customers -- and then, if it dips below that fee level on...


For BMW, a Tesla makes a 'nice snowplow'

1:09 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
Ludwig Willisch, CEO of BMW of North America, pooh-poohs the notion that the company's new i series is particularly aimed at Tesla.


Despite rosy sales forecast, sharp dealers plan ahead

7:36 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
My colleagues who were here five years ago tell me it was grim. Nothing like the prospect of GM and Chrysler dying to suck the air out of a learn-fest like the NADA convention.

Ford signs up SMART dealers

3:47 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
Ford has been signing up dealers at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention for its SMART program, a way for customers to schedule service appointments remotely.

Audi sees iPad app as major sales tool

7:01 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
Audi wants young car buyers to feel more comfortable at its dealerships. Executives think there's an app for that.

Boler-Davis: GM won't rest on laurels as it launches 28 products

6:46 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
Alicia Boler-Davis, GM's senior vice president of global customer experience and quality, knows this is no time for General Motors to rest on its laurels.

Off to school for grade-A workers

6:32 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
One of the biggest challenges facing Victory Automotive Group is the same one facing all auto dealers: attracting and retaining quality employees.

TrueCar to unveil Sales Analyzer at convention debut

6:10 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
Online car-shopping service TrueCar, continuing its effort to be dealer friendly, will have a booth on the convention floor for the first time.

Why conquest sales will be tough this year

5:57 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
Conquesting customers will be a little tougher this year even though industry sales will rise, a senior industry analyst for JD Power and Associates predicted.

BMW boss wants more U.S. inventory

5:37 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
Ludwig Willisch, CEO of BMW of North America, would like to add a big crossover to his lineup one day, but his main concern is getting enough of what BMW already builds.

Mopar tests Express Lane stand-alone oil change shops

5:02 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
Mopar says an ongoing Express Lane experiment -- a quick-stop service operation separate from the dealership -- can show Chrysler Group dealers how to improve service profits and spot promising technicians for jobs at their dealerships.

Accessories sales boost profits

5:01 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
Sidney Haider, CEO of AddOnAuto, a company that helps dealerships tap into the $32 billion accessories market, will present the 2014 Auto Accessories Sales Trend Report during workshops on accessories sales and marketing at the convention.

Could your store rank among best?

4:02 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
Automotive News is searching for the best dealerships to work for in the United States and Canada. For the third year, Automotive News is partnering with Best Companies Group to identify dealerships that have excelled in creating quality workplaces.

What's happening Saturday

4:02 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
A list of events taking place Saturday, Jan. 25.


Fiat: More products are coming after 500X

4:02 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
Jason Stoicevich, 34, the new head of the Fiat brand in North America, spent the last few months of 2013 touring the nation and meeting with Fiat dealers. He detailed future product plans and introduced initiatives to make Fiat dealers more profitable.

Bid on a Harley, help disabled children and wounded veterans

4:28 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
For the third straight year, ADESA will auction off a Harley-Davidson motorcycle during the convention, with the proceeds benefiting the Frank E. McCarthy Memorial Fund of the National Automobile Dealers Charitable Foundation.

Northwood honors dealers who support education

4:02 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
Northwood University in Midland, Mich., will present 10 Dealer Education Awards at a breakfast Sunday at the Westin New Orleans Canal Place.

Dealers grapple with growth

4:02 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
What are the top issues facing dealers as the convention begins? In recent weeks, Automotive News spoke with 24 dealer leaders representing 29 brands. The series of interviews begins on Page 6 and continues in the Sunday and Monday issues of the NADA Daily.

BMW: Electric i3 prices to be similar to 3 series

2:19 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
BMW expects the new i3 electric vehicle to be priced in the U.S. similarly to a 3-series compact car, the automaker's top executive for the market said.

SAAR to rise to 15.9 million in January, analysts predict

1:31 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
U.S. auto sales are projected to rise slightly this month, and one forecaster says retail deliveries will reach the highest January level in a decade. LMC Automotive today estimated sales would be up 1 percent from January 2013, while Kelley Blue Book predicted a 2 percent gain.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: NADA backs reserve caps

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
Each retailer would set a percentage ceiling, document deviations; Dodge luring younger buyers; big game, big ad spenders.

2015 Cadillac Escalade drops bare-bones model, starts $8,000 higher at $72,690

2:51 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
The redesigned 2015 Cadillac Escalade will start at $72,690, including shipping, a jump of nearly $8,000 from a base 2014 model.

56 dealers nominated for Time magazine award

2:00 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
Fifty-six auto dealers have been nominated by automotive trade associations for the Time Dealer of the Year award. The nominees were announced by Time magazine and Ally Financial, this year's sponsor.

Art Wright

Acura dealers would like more clout in sedan segments

1:30 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
This looks like an important year for Acura. The brand's venerable TL mid-sized sedan will be replaced with a new model, the TLX, this summer.

U.S. labor board recommends dismissal of allegations against VW, UAW in Tenn.

10:00 am U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
The general counsel office of the National Labor Relations Board has recommended that two allegations brought by some workers at Volkswagen's plant in Tennessee against VW and the UAW be dismissed. The workers have vowed to appeal the recommendation.

GM picks Jim DeLuca to replace Tim Lee as manufacturing chief

10:48 am U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
General Motors has named Jim DeLuca to lead its global manufacturing operations, the latest in a string of executive changes at the automaker and the first major personnel move since Mary Barra took over as CEO. DeLuca, 52, succeeds Tim Lee, 62, who is retiring.


Just whose NADA is this?

9:40 am U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
If you see Michael Bartsch at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in New Orleans this weekend, you will probably find him empty-handed.

GM says a third of U.S. dealerships enrolled in online buying program

9:44 am U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
More than one-third of General Motors' dealerships have enrolled in GM's Shop-Click-Drive online car-buying program, the company said today.

Audi plans to narrow sales gap with BMW in 2014, Stadler says

6:49 am U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
Audi plans this year to further narrow the gap with market leader BMW and keep Mercedes at bay, CEO Rupert Stadler said at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Audi plans to narrow sales gap with BMW in 2014, Stadler says

Jan. 24, 2014 12:49 CET
Audi plans this year to further narrow the gap with market leader BMW and keep Mercedes at bay, CEO Rupert Stadler said at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Renault, Nissan to combine manufacturing, r&d for $4 billion annual savings, report says

8:23 am U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
Renault and Nissan will combine their manufacturing and r&d functions in a move that will save the alliance more than 400 billion yen ($3.86 billion) a year, a report said.

VIDEO: First Shift: Nissan settles over ad stunt

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
FTC calls Frontier commercial misleading; Nissan R&D chief retiring; Tesla's China assault; Honda dealership goes 'grid-neutral.'

GM eyes 1,100 S. Korean job cuts ahead of Chevy's withdrawl in Europe, report says

8:25 am U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
GM is seeking to cut shifts by half at one of its South Korean factories as it realigns global manufacturing in a move that could affect about 1,100 jobs, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Friday.

Kia profit hit as stronger won hurts car exports

Jan. 24, 2014 06:01 CET
Kia posted fourth-quarter profit that missed estimates as a stronger won cut exports.

Hyundai Q4 profits gain 15%, but results fall short

Jan. 24, 2014 06:01 CET
Hyundai said fourth-quarter net income climbed 15 percent over the previous year, but forecast sales growth would hit an eight-year low in 2014 as competition intensifies and the stronger won hampers exports.


Toyota aims to defy skeptics with its fuel cell technology

Jan. 24, 2014 06:01 CET
Toyota is leaving nothing to chance as it plunges into sales of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles next year and aims to defy those who are skeptical of the technology.


What happens in 2016 if interest rates rise?

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
2014 will be a good year for the industry. But what about 2016? Some scenarios to consider as interest rates rise.

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