Headlines for Wednesday, August 27, 2014

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Lotus hires former Kia Europe exec Lievens

Lotus has hired Jean-Charles Lievens, Kia's former European markets expert, to develop the automaker's sales network in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Read More »

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GM ignition switch fund receives claims for more than 100 deaths

A program to compensate victims of crashes linked to a faulty ignition switch in General Motors vehicles has received claims for 107 deaths as of Tuesday, according to a spokeswoman for the lawyer overseeing the program. Read More »

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Lear agrees to buy leather supplier Eagle Ottawa in $850 million deal

Lear agreed to buy automotive leather supplier Eagle Ottawa in a deal valued at $850 million that aims to strengthen the company's global seating business. Read More »

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AutoNews Now: New home for Caddy SRX

GM moving SUV from Mexico to Tenn., adding small-engine output; warm August for sales; spiders spark Suzuki recall. Read More »

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LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE:

Fiat's cute cartoon characters suggest buying a 500 -- or else

Since Fiat was reintroduced to the United States in 2011, the Italian brand has stretched the advertising envelope. But a new animated spot set to debut on Gas Station TV touting the fuel and ecological advantages of a Fiat 500 minicar may be the brand's most wry offering yet. Read More »

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AUGUST U.S. AUTO SALES:

Sales rate to top 16 million for 6th month in a row, analysts predict

Auto sales volume in the United States is expected to keep rolling along in August, with two independent forecasters predicting a sixth straight month of 16 million-plus selling rates. TrueCar predicts a seasonally adjusted annual selling rate of 16.6 million for August and LMC Automotive/J.D. Read More »

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JIM HENRY:

Is CFPB guilty of spin?

Remarks delivered by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray and language used in a bureau statement last week were a lot harsher than the dry legalese of the consent order signed this month by the CFPB and First Investors Financial Services Group. Read More »

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First Shift: Branching out at Kia, GM

S. Korean automaker to build in Mexico, sources say; more GM models in Tenn.? anti-UAW union at VW; praise for Ram. Read More »

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Renault could turn Russia crisis to its advantage

Renault could turn a market crisis to its advantage as Moscow considers a subsidy scheme to steady demand and a weaker ruble undermines rivals that make fewer parts locally. Read More »

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Kia says it will build 'range' of small cars at new plant in Mexico

Kia plans to produce “a range” of small cars for markets including the United States at its $1 billion plant in Monterrey, Mexico, after production begins in the first half of 2016, the company said in a statement. Read More »

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Customer Incentives

This is data compiled by the Automotive News Data Center and requires a Data Center subscription to access. Read More »

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Keith Crain will be honored at Boca Raton Concours d'Elegance

Keith Crain, editor in chief of Automotive News and chairman of Crain Communications, will be honored with a 2015 Automotive Lifetime Achievement award at the ninth annual Boca Raton Concours d'Elegance in February. Read More »

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Mercedes to ditch M-class in favor of GLE as part of renaming strategy

Mercedes-Benz is ditching the M-class nameplate as part of a comprehensive renaming strategy. When the vehicle receives a face-lift in early 2015 for the 2016 model year, it will be called the GLE class. Read More »

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BMW joins Cadillac wooing Silicon Valley to combat Tesla

BMW scored a coup this month when former Apple executive Tony Fadell became one of the first owners of the new $136,000 i8 plug-in sports car in the United States. Car companies covet Californians, who are seen as trendsetters for the rest of the country. Read More »

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Subaru casts wider net with safer, greener WRX

Subaru hopes the redesigned WRX line will capture a wider customer base with better fuel economy and safety features after spinning off the nameplate from its Impreza stablemate. Read More »

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Is rise in Q2 loan delinquencies a turning point?

Industry-watchers insist that today's auto loan delinquency rates are low by historical standards. But a slight uptick in 30- and 60-day delinquencies in the second quarter could be a sign that the long decline in delinquencies could be reversing. Read More »

F&I TIP:

Hiring enough F&I staffers saves money long term

A dealership should hire more help if F&I managers have to handle more than 75 booked deals a month each, says John Malishenko, COO of Germain Motor Co. in Columbus, Ohio. Read More »

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GM details plans for SRX, engine production in Tenn.

General Motors said today it will invest $185 million to make small engines at its Tennessee assembly plant, while relocating production of the next-generation Cadillac SRX to that factory from a facility in Mexico. Read More »

F&I departments need a farm team

The term “succession planning” is usually applied to dealer principals, but it can apply to F&I managers, too. Executives at two dealerships say store managers should nurture their own talent pool, so they have a ready replacement if a top F&I producer quits. Read More »

'No evidence' of subprime auto loan bubble, Equifax economist says

Equifax has joined other financial data crunching firms that dispute there's an alarming subprime auto loan bubble that's about to burst. Read More »

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Spiders hooked on gasoline fumes cause another recall, this time for Suzuki

Spiders drawn to gasoline vapors and weaving webs that block a hose to vent those vapors have caused Suzuki Motor of America to recall about 19,000 Kizashi midsize sedans from the 2010-13 model years. Read More »

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HANS GREIMEL:

See the wild Lexus NX spot too retro for outside Japan

Drifting cars, techno music, string bikinis and foam parties. At first glance, Lexus' new “Shampoo” TV spot seems tailor-made for the trendy young crowd the luxury brand craves. But the brilliant, visually enticing commercial for the new NX compact crossover won't air stateside. Read More »

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AvtoVAZ aims to win back market share to return to profit, CEO Andersson says

AvtoVAZ plans to return to profit by cutting costs and rolling out new models to claw back market share that has been slipping away from the producer of Lada vehicles since the end of the Soviet Union. Read More »

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Schaeffler first-half earnings rise 9% on China demand

Schaeffler expects sales growth in excess of 7 percent this year after first-half earnings rose 9 percent and profit margins improved because of demand in China. Read More »

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Daimler settles dispute with UAW over retiree medical benefits for $480 million

Daimler will pay $480 million to settle a dispute with the UAW over medical benefits for retired employees of its North American trucks business, U.S. court records show. Read More »

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China said to mull $16 billion funding for EV chargers

China may provide as much as $16 billion for electric-vehicle charging facilities. Increased state funding would be a tailwind for carmakers coping with consumer concerns over the price, reliability and convenience of electric vehicles. Read More »

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