Headlines for Monday, March 10, 2014

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The early warnings that GM missed

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
For years, as drivers complained that their Cobalts and Ions were stalling repeatedly, GM treated it as a matter of customer satisfaction, not safety. Documents show that the company either didn't grasp the significance of the problem or didn't consider it worthy of resources.

American Honda splits marketing and sales operation by brand

2:00 pm U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
American Honda has reassigned marketing boss Mike Accavitti to lead the Acura brand amid a restructuring of the automaker's North American operation that will group marketing and sales functions under separate divisions for the Honda and Acura brands.

Suppliers to the 2014 Toyota Tundra

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
Suppliers to the 2014 Toyota Tundra include Guelph Tool, Magna, Takata, Gentex, Bowles Fluidics, Huf Huelsbeck & Fuerst, UGN, Corvac Composites, SRG Global, DYNA-MIG, CTS Automotive, Automatic Spring Products, New Mather Metals, MacLean-Fogg and Haartz and Brose.

BMW, M-B reduce number of architectures

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
BMW and Mercedes-Benz are reducing their number of vehicle architectures to speed development and cut costs.

Many dealers warn: Accept a gift and get fired

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
Dealerships' prohibitions against incentives, and the enforcement of those prohibitions, are likely to be ratcheted higher due to concerns that federal regulators are looking more closely at F&I products and how they are priced.

BMW i8 demand outstrips initial production run

March 10, 2014 22:37 CET
BMW said there is strong demand for its i8 plug-in hybrid supercar which will begin rolling out to customers in June.

Opel maps comeback as Chevrolet's shadow lifts

March 10, 2014 06:01 CET
Opel is embarking on its largest ever marketing campaign in Germany as the General Motors unit seeks to revitalize itself following GM's decision to pull sister brand Chevrolet from Europe.

What's an F&I pro worth?

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
On average, F&I managers earn fatter paychecks than people in any other key dealership position except the general manager, according to the 2013 NADA Dealership Workforce Study Industry Report. Some dealers are beginning to rethink that.

U.S. House committee to probe GM recall

11:54 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
The congressional House Energy and Commerce Committee said late Monday it launched an investigation into GM's recall of ignition switches linked to at least 13 deaths. The committee said it plans hearings that are expected to include officials from GM and NHTSA.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: GM's missed warnings

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
Documents show GM didn't grasp scope of ignition glitch, blamed drivers; saluting William Clay Ford Sr.; Honda, Acura exec shift.

VIDEO: First Shift: Nissan Rogue sales 'on fire'

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
With sales up 73% in February, a push to keep crossover's momentum; Cars.com for sale?; remembering William Clay Ford Sr.

Ford to end Champions League sponsorship

March 10, 2014 22:51 CET
Ford Motor is ending its sponsorship of the Champions League soccer tournament after more than two decades.

William Clay Ford Sr. remembered for 57-year legacy at Ford Motor

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
William Clay Ford Sr., who took driving lessons at age 10 from his grandfather Henry Ford and once flew with legendary aviator Charles Lindbergh, is being remembered for helping steer Ford Motor Co. for more than 57 years. He died Sunday at age 88.


Extended service contract? Skip it, Consumer Reports tells readers

6:03 pm U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
Consumer Reports slams extended service contracts in its latest annual auto issue, one of the magazine's most widely read editions.

Audi, starting with A3, aims to update in-car software faster

5:32 pm U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
In an era when smartphones are replaced every year or two, and seem downright prehistoric within five or six, Audi AG has decided that the auto industry’s standard product cycle is too long to bear for in-car software.

Chevy distances itself from viral dying-dog spot

3:52 pm U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
Chevrolet is being lauded -- and ripped -- for an emotional new TV spot for the Equinox showing a woman saying goodbye to her pooch "Maddie" before the dying dog is euthanized. But the spot wasn't created by an ad agency.

Reactions to the death of William Clay Ford Sr.

10:55 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
Here is a compilation of reactions to the death of William Clay Ford Sr.:

Automotive News' Keith Crain gets Hall of Fame honors

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
Keith Crain, who in 43 years at the helm of Automotive News has grilled hundreds of top executives, broken some of the industry's biggest stories and served as one of its toughest critics and strongest supporters, has been elected to the Automotive Hall of Fame.

Japanese automakers march into Mexico, set up export base

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
When three-tiered car haulers packed with Mazda3s pulled out of the dusty rail yard in Mexico last month, they represented the latest volley in a south-of-the-border blitz by Japanese automakers.


Attention all hipsters: Audi wants to sell you a car

8:09 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
I get the feeling that Audi really, really wants me at their party.

Like EVs, self-guided cars need infrastructure

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
Autonomous driving features have become an industry obsession, judging by the buzz about them at Geneva's auto show.

VW says power loss cut German plant output more than expected

March 10, 2014 15:34 CET
VW is still seeking the cause of a power outage at its Wolfsburg plant in Germany on Saturday that cut output by several hundred vehicles, more than initially estimated.


Inside Mazda's Salamanca factory

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
Staff Reporter Hans Greimel was on the ground at the opening of Mazda's Salamanca plant and captured images of the technology and workers at the plant.

Tesla, Apple supplier Amtek bets auto industry will fuel its growth

9:30 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
Amtek Engineering, the Singapore maker of auto parts for Tesla Motors and chargers for Apple iPhones, plans to double sales to $2 billion in five to seven years through acquisitions.

Chrysler recalls 25,250 SUVs for braking issue

9:22 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
Chrysler said the recall is being done to improve pedal feel during certain aggressive braking maneuvers.

Rise of the Mexican auto industry

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
An animated map showing the rise of the Mexican auto industry.

CEO: Chase's top job is 'serve the dealers'

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
Thasunda Duckett can light up a room, even one filled with buttoned-down bankers and auto lenders.


Audi TT scores double Web win at Geneva show

4:34 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
The new Audi TT scored a double victory at the Geneva auto show, finishing No. 1 in both online news coverage and social media buzz.


Toyota Chairman says hybrids will soon have 20% global share

March 10, 2014 06:15 CET
Toyota Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada sees deliveries of hybrid vehicles reaching 20 percent of global sales in the near future, up from about 13 percent to 14 percent now.

Ford of Europe works its way back

March 10, 2014 06:01 CET
After Ford of Europe completes its current round of plant closings, it will bring manufacturing to 80 percent of capacity.


Loyalty builder: Dealer calls buyers after a sale

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
Jewel Lee Kenley, who runs Ed Kenley Ford near Salt Lake City, calls at least 50 to 60 customers most months; in a good year, she has called as many as 1,000.

Daimler to sell 50% stake in engines JV to partner Rolls-Royce holdings

March 10, 2014 13:07 CET
Daimler will sell its 50 percent stake in an engines joint venture to partner Rolls-Royce Holdings to invest in its automotive and truck businesses.

Cars.com's owners considering sale of Web site business, report says

7:09 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
Classified Ventures LLC, the media company backed by five newspaper publishers including Gannett and McClatchy, is working with Moelis to seek a sale of its Cars.com Web site, a person with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg.


Toyota chairman says hybrids will soon have 20% global share

12:15 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
Toyota Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada has high expectations for hybrid vehicles and sees deliveries reaching 20 percent of global sales in the near future, from about 13 percent to 14 percent at present.

Car refrigerant rejected by Daimler is safe, EU scientists say

March 10, 2014 12:20 CET
EU scientists say a new car refrigerant at the center of a dispute between European regulators and Daimler does not pose any serious safety risks.

Lexus, Subaru rank high for responding to internet leads

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
An annual study found that 21 of 33 auto brands improved their responsiveness to internet leads last year. But only two brands, Lexus and Subaru, have remained in the top one-third of the Pied Piper study rankings for every survey year from 2011 to 2014.

Sell out of the service drive

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
Mike Shaw Toyota-Scion in Corpus Christi, Texas, employs a full-time salesperson who sits in the service department and offers a free, no-strings market appraisal when customers pull in for an oil change or repair.

Feds' focus: Safety notice or sales pitch?

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
Federal regulators, law-enforcement agencies and consumer advocates are cracking down on some dealership service mailings, which they say are deceptive and often illegal.

Mazda's challenges in crucial Mexico plant ramp-up

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
Some of the biggest challenges for Mazda Motor Corp.'s first factory in Mexico came from the smallest details. Consider the tiny metal brackets used to secure wire harnesses.

Audi A3 gatherings target young, hip bacon lovers

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
Audi is planning blowout parties April 3 in New York and Los Angeles to mark the launch of the Audi A3, and it wants all of its dealers to throw their own get-togethers that night.


F&I drives store visits -- but for how long?

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
A recent study by McKinsey & Co. found that one of the main reasons consumers go to a dealership rather than buy their car online is to get questions answered about finance and insurance.

Forecasts add a dab of caution

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
Here's a sure sign that executives feel a lot less giddy about prospects for new-vehicle sales than they did a year ago.

The many schools of thought on F&I school

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 10, 2014
Completing the College of Automotive Management's online F&I program in 2011 changed Derek Spady's life.