Headlines for Monday, March 17, 2014

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2013 Top 125 Dealership Groups

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
Automotive News ranks the largest auto retail groups based in the United States, ranked by unit sales of new vehicles in 2013

Off F&I menus, LoJack sales perk up

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
A couple of years ago, LoJack Corp. was starting to look like an afterthought. Then company CEO Randy Ortiz had an insight: Get LoJack out of the F&I department -- where it often got lost on menus listing a dozen or so products -- and into the showroom.

Help wanted: Industry restocks for recovery

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
Showing increasing confidence in the pace and durability of the recovery, automakers are spending to restock depleted departments in core areas, such as sales, marketing, distribution, product planning and administration.

VIDEO: Dealer Ron Rossi's electrifying crusade

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
Honda retailer Ron Rossi has never forgotten what he learned in his family's grocery business in the 1970s: Save money by saving energy. With that in mind, in 2012 he spent more than a million dollars installing solar-paneled canopies on his sales lot in rural Vineland, N.J.

Hyundai cuts new Sonata's fuel-economy rating, apologizes for error

6:26 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
Hyundai said today the fuel economy of its revamped Sonata sedan was less than it had previously stated, an error that could further undermine its reliability after a slew of mileage-related lawsuits.

Dana: Tech, lightweight parts to drive growth

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
Rising demand for crossovers and SUVs will fuel double-digit sales growth of light-vehicle drivetrain components at U.S. auto supplier Dana Holding Corp., a top company executive said.

EDITORIAL

Self-driving cars await smarter, safer roads

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
A lack of infrastructure may slow the rise of autonomous cars as it has the growth of electric vehicles.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: Barra: 'We will be better'

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
After internal review, GM calls back more than 1.5 million vehicles, vows changes in recall handling; Group 1 rises on buys.

VIDEO: First Shift: Hyundai admits MPG goof

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
Automaker apologizes, restates Sonata rating; Honda Odyssey recall; GM sued; Toyota lockout in India; CR's used-car picks.

SEAN GAGNIER

And then there were four (maybe) on Jimmy Fallon's truck-shopping list

4:09 pm U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
Jimmy Fallon, new host of “The Tonight Show” on NBC, has let the world know that he wants to buy a new truck and on Friday he narrowed his choices to four vehicles -- maybe.

NEWS ANALYSIS

GM recall is bad, but not yet Toyota-bad

3:30 pm U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
As bad as the General Motors ignition switch recall is, the storm still doesn't match the hysteria whipped up four years ago by Toyota's unintended-acceleration crisis. The Toyota recall was, and still is, the benchmark mammoth recall of our time.

RICHARD TRUETT

How I accidentally bought a Jeep, and liked it

2:24 pm U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
I accidentally bought a mint condition 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo a few weeks ago on the Internet. The Grand Cherokee didn't sell on eBay. But I made a low-ball offer for it offline, not expecting it to be accepted. But it was. And that's how I “accidentally” ended up with the Jeep.

GM to recall 1.5M U.S. vehicles after Barra orders stepped up review

11:31 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
General Motors, under intense public pressure over its slow response to an ignition switch defect in its small cars, said today that it will recall more than 1.

More suppliers join turbo fray in race for mpg

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
The push to improve fuel economy has shaken up the auto industry's once-cozy world of turbocharger suppliers.

Toyota dominates CR list of best used cars with 11 models

1:03 pm U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
Consumer Reports has named its best used vehicles for the 2004-13 model years, and the Toyota family is a favorite, with 11 vehicles named to the list.

Porsche wins dismissal of hedge funds' suit over failed VW bid

March 17, 2014 14:34 CET
Porsche Automobil Holding won the dismissal of a lawsuit seeking $1.95 billion over the German carmaker's aborted takeover of Volkswagen.

Renault-Nissan names new alliance team to step up integration

March 17, 2014 12:19 CET
Renault and alliance partner Nissan detailed plans to integrate key operations and pursue greater economies of scale.

Skoda sees sales growth returning after 2013 profit drop

March 17, 2014 14:23 CET
Skoda expects to return to sales growth this year thanks to a build-up of orders and signs of recovery in many of its markets, the carmaker said after posting a 25.5 percent drop in 2013 profit.

GM recall doubled as Georgia lawyer pushed U.S. regulators

10:49 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
Six days after General Motors recalled almost 800,000 Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G5s for a defect that could cause surprise engine shutdowns, lawyer Lance Cooper, a solo practitioner in Georgia, sent government regulators a letter: There are more faulty GM models out there.

Audi launches A3 campaign starring Ricky Gervais, more 'uncompromised' celebs

8:40 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
Audi of America launches a campaign today starring funnyman Ricky Gervais to tout its new car in the fast-growing entry-level luxury segment: the 2015 Audi A3 sedan, which goes on sale nationwide April 3 at a starting price of $29,900.

Chrysler recalls 18,092 Fiat 500L cars to fix potential shifter hazard

9:10 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
Chrysler Group is recalling 18,092 Fiat 500L cars in the United States because drivers may not be able to shift out of park, according to documents filed with U.S. safety regulators.

VW will expand Tiguan production to Hanover factory, report says

March 17, 2014 13:48 CET
Volkswagen will expand its production of the Tiguan compact SUV to its Hanover factory in northern Germany to boost capacity utilization at the site, sources said.

BMW plans China recall on engine-part complaints

March 17, 2014 12:58 CET
BMW will recall an unspecified number of vehicles proactively in China following consumer complaints over a potentially defective engine part.

AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE E-MAGAZINE

Nissan moves Qashqai upmarket

March 17, 2014 06:01 CET
Nissan is so confident about the new Qashqai that its production capacity is three times that of the first-generation crossover.

Mazda3 a casualty of Civic-Corolla war

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
The Mazda3 has racked up accolades as the driving enthusiast's choice in the compact segment since the redesigned 2014 model went on sale last fall. But its sales numbers tell a different story.

DAVE GUILFORD

Lexus boss: Time for a clean-sheet approach to cars

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
You might assume that Tokuo Fukuichi, who takes over as head of Lexus on April 1, will walk in the door with firm ideas about the brand's look.

JESSE SNYDER

Why Sally can't buy a new car

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
America's outstanding student-loan debt is now greater than all auto loans, more than credit card debt.

For GM dealers: Simple fix, complex sales job

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
Amid a barrage of investigations and bad press, General Motors' battle to reassure customers over its handling of the ignition-switch recall soon will expand to a new front: its dealerships.

Apple invades cars' center stack

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
Apple's new CarPlay system lets drivers use their vehicle touch screens to access the company's apps for music, phone numbers, route guidance, e-mails -- you name it.

Recall storm engulfs GM

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
A company that started the year on a wave of positive press surrounding its new CEO and its emergence from government ownership is suddenly facing an investigation by federal safety regulators, upcoming congressional hearings and a potential criminal probe by the U.S. Justice Department.

Deadline for best-dealerships contest entry is days away

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
Automotive News is searching for the best dealerships to work for in the United States and Canada.

OBITUARY

Former NADA instructor John Clancey dead at 82

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
John Clancey, a former instructor at the National Automobile Dealers Association's Dealer Candidate Academy, died Feb. 22.

Tesla: N.J. can't pull plug on us

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk says the electric-vehicle maker will explore "judicial remedies" to restore its ability to sell directly from two factory-owned stores in New Jersey.

AutoNation CEO honored for success

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson's success story is being used as an example to inspire young people.

Barra is first GMI graduate to be auto CEO

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
Here's another bit of Mary Barra trivia: She's the first graduate of General Motors Institute (now Kettering University) to become CEO of GM or any automaker.

Marketing boss spits in Cadillac's alphabet soup

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
Cadillac's alphabetic naming structure -- CTS, SRX, ELR and so on -- has its share of critics. Count new marketing boss Uwe Ellinghaus among them.

Truck veteran Diaz tinkered with Titan styling

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
Fred Diaz, Nissan's top sales exec in North America, figured he knew a thing or two about full-sized pickups when he joined the company last April.

Top groups add stores and sales

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
The nation's largest dealership groups, both public and private, are bulking up -- adding stores and grabbing a larger share of U.S. new-car and light-truck sales.

1926-2014

William Clay Ford: A low profile but some big moments

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
William Clay Ford Sr., who died last week at 88, kept a low profile at Ford Motor Co. during most of his life. But the grandson of founder Henry Ford was a central figure in three milestone moments in Ford's post-World War II history.

What if overseas sales were excluded?

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
Group 1 Automotive Inc., No. 3 on the Automotive News list of the top 125 dealership groups based in the United States, would drop to No. 5 if the rankings reflected only U.S. sales. Group 1 is one of five dealership groups on the list that reported sales outside the United States.

Wish you had joined our list

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
Several large, privately held groups that probably would make the Automotive News list of the top 125 dealership groups based in the United States did not respond to our latest survey. That means we can't accurately list them.

Mini Paceman, Coupe and Roadster may not be replaced

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
Mini may not replace its Coupe, Roadster and Paceman models.

Bigger crossover for BMW?

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2014
BMW Group plans "a significant economic and product announcement" at its Spartanburg, S.C., plant on March 28, raising speculation that it will build a long-rumored seven-seat crossover.

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