Automotive News Table of Contents

April 13, 2015



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Blue sky surges for German luxury brands

The values for German luxury brand dealerships in the United States are in the stratosphere, while some other brands are such poor prospects that the buy-sell market cannot even assign them a multiple. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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Ford's stair-step workout for dealers

As its U.S. market share slides, Ford Motor Co. has dug up one of the old-school, sales-boosting tricks it had seemingly buried: stair-step incentives. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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Kia's new bosses have a tough act to follow

The departure of Kia's top U.S. executive, Byung Mo Ahn, marks a pivotal moment for a brand that has enjoyed unprecedented growth and stability. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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SHANGHAI AUTO SHOW PREVIEW

Automakers roll out SUVs in battle for fast-growing segment

The Shanghai auto show -- which opens April 20 -- will be the perfect place to gauge the intensity of the SUV war between the global giants and Chinese automakers. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 12, 2015

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Automotive News adds 3 editorial staffers

Automotive News has expanded its editorial staff with the addition of two reporters and a senior data researcher. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

Nuclear deal may unleash big, pent-up Iran market

The prospective nuclear agreement among Iran, the U.S. and four other nations could have major ramifications for the auto industry by opening up a new and significant emerging market. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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Shanghai will serve up fresh selection of SUVs, crossovers

Automakers will feed China's seemingly insatiable appetite for SUVs and crossovers with a fresh batch of concepts and production models for the Shanghai auto show. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 12, 2015

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THE SSR MVP

How an oddball Chevy transformed a Houston dealership

More than a decade after General Motors launched the Chevrolet SSR, most people still aren't sure what to make of the retro-styled, high-performance roadster pickup. Paul Peebles has managed to make a thriving business out of it. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 18, 2015

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FROM TVs TO EVs

Japan electronic giants embrace autos after consumer-goods struggles

Japan's storied electronics companies are struggling in the cutthroat consumer goods market amid cheaper, and often more innovative, rivals from South Korea and China. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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Nissan is looking for more fleet business

Honda's complaint that bigger fleet sales are driving Nissan's sales growth is erroneous, says Nissan Chairman Munoz. But while Nissan has cut back on rental-fleet sales, Munoz wants to sell more Nissans into lucrative commercial fleets. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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Toyota's Costa Rica retailer expands in U.S.

Costa Rica's distributor of Toyota Group vehicles wants to own five to seven Toyota dealerships and "a couple" of Lexus stores in the U.S. within three years, its CEO said. Purdy Motor Group is not quite halfway to that goal. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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Daimler, Nissan will develop M-B pickup

Daimler AG and Nissan Motor Corp. will jointly develop a midsize pickup for Mercedes-Benz, the companies said last week. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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Honda plans to ax Crosstour, focus on new HR-V crossover

Honda will stop producing the Crosstour, a slow-selling derivative of the Accord, after the 2015 model year as part of a broader move aimed at boosting truck-production capacity. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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Honda sees return to roots in S660

The Honda S660 mini sports roadster that went on sale in Japan this month may never be sold in the U.S., but could presage Honda's sports cars of the future. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

M-B may take on TT, Panamera, report says

Mercedes-Benz may launch rivals to the Audi TT sports car and Porsche Panamera, a German auto magazine said. The two cars would be developed by the brand's AMG performance division, Auto Motor und Sport reported. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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VW Beetle, CC to live on after redesigns

Despite low sales volumes, the Volkswagen Beetle and CC will see new life - and sheet metal - when they're redesigned within the next three years. But the niche Volkswagen Eos will be cancelled to streamline VW's lineup. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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Online startups offer dealers faster, cheaper ways to wholesale vehicles

Years ago, dealers who wanted to get rid of aged used cars and unwanted trade-ins had to take them to a local auction. But now auctions are being challenged by start-ups that offer alternative ways to wholesale used vehicles. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015 | UPDATED: 4/13/15 12:59 pm ET - corrected

Ram owner's suit spins on missing $50 option

A South Carolina Ram owner's lawsuit filed against Fiat Chrysler last week can be summed up in an everyday question: What's the diff? 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

EDITORIAL

All in all, rescue of automakers was a success

Certainly, the governmental bodies and their respective taxpayers lost some money on the rescue of General Motors and Chrysler. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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KEITH CRAIN

Cadillac, Lincoln place their bets

Both Ford Motor Co. and General Motors are rolling the dice with their new luxury sedans, and the winners are bound to include customers and dealers across the globe. Those cars aren't just for the U.S. They will be exported to China as well. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

How about a Jeep midsize pickup?

It is a pity that Ram brand boss Bob Hegbloom cannot envision the market for a midsize pickup, in essence giving the segment to General Motors and Toyota. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

How BMW decided to build an SUV

As president of BMW of North America at the time of the X5 decision, I was actively engaged in board meetings in Munich presenting and pushing the North American interest in having a sports activity vehicle -- or SUV -- to compete with Lexus and... 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

EDITORIAL

Time to prune, time to sow

Automakers constantly search for new product niches, but it's a daunting process. Many product ideas never see the light of day. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

Fleet sales drove market in March

Retail sales typically are four times greater than fleet, so sales to commercial, government and daily rental buyers rarely reverse the overall market's momentum. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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LEGAL FILE

GM loses bid to dismiss racial bias suit

GM lost its bid to dismiss a suit accusing it of racial discrimination for refusing to let qualified white applicants acquire an available Chevrolet franchise in Georgia that instead went to a black dealer. U.S. District Judge William Moore Jr. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 18, 2015

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Smart CEO to speak at Europe Congress

Smart CEO Annette Winkler, the first woman to lead an automotive brand in Europe, will speak at the Automotive News Europe Congress on June 10 in Birmingham, England. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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Nissan may add Rogue hybrid in U.S.

Nissan unveiled the X-Trail Hybrid for the Japan market. It is considering a hybrid version of the crossover's sister vehicle, the Rogue, for the U.S. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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Some dealers prep for flat fees

Dealer Mike Thompson believes he might soon lose the ability to make a healthy profit from finance reserves. His concern is well-founded. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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Penske targets 'I' in F&I to boost per-vehicle revenue

Penske Automotive Group Inc. is refining its training process on insurance product sales to boost overall finance and insurance revenues. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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Nissan expects Leaf sales to hit 50,000

Nissan CEO Ghosn thinks selling 50,000 Leafs should not be a problem -- even with first-quarter sales down 21 percent. The key to EV growth will be more public charging, he says. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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Dealers

Dealers featured this week include the Elhart family of Elhart GMC in Holland, Mich.; Gene Giacchino, co-owner of Honda Cars of Boston in Everett, Mass.; Mark Snethkamp, owner of Snethkamp Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram in Redford, Mich. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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BEST PRACTICES

Cramped quarters teach valuable lessons

When Hodges Subaru moves to a much larger building on Detroit's famed Woodward Avenue, it will take with it many lessons learned during the years confined in a small space. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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DAVID BARKHOLZ

Dealerships ignore online reviews at their peril

Many dealerships find it a pain to respond to customer reviews online. But new data from Cars.com show it's worth the effort to write a reply below the review. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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SOCIAL STUDIES

Honda searches YouTube to find Latino influencers for CR-V

American Honda treated YouTube like a massive buffet to find influencers for its latest Latino outreach campaign for the CR-V crossover. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

Videos, mobile-friendly ads get Latino car shoppers' attention

Dealers are reaching Hispanics at preferred destinations: videos and mobile devices. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

Tailor shopping to your customers, studies suggest

If auto dealers and manufacturers would give customers a better shopping experience, those customers would visit dealerships more often and even buy more vehicles, two new studies conclude. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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A more powerful Pilot

American Honda Motor Co. is starting to deliver on its promise of a bigger, lighter and stronger Pilot crossover. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

Inventories stay level in March

Automakers have carefully controlled U.S. inventories since the scary days of the recession, but they started April with textbooklike perfection. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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Maxima strategy: 5 trims, no options

When the redesigned 2016 Nissan Maxima sport sedan goes on sale this summer, it will come in five trim packages — “and zero options,” says Fred Diaz, vice president for U.S. sales and marketing and operations. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 12, 2015

Obituaries

Cathy Ellis, owner of Atlanta Classic Cars, died March 16. She was 71. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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Bold Korean startup makes a statement with Seoul stand

South Korea's youngest would-be automaker Cony Motor Co. -- at less than a year old -- just splurged on a front-and-center stand at the country's premier auto show, right next to Bentley no less. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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CEO Willisch says don't bet on a Bimmer pickup

Don't expect BMW to follow Mercedes-Benz into the pickup segment. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015 | UPDATED: 4/14/15 11:56 am ET - adds photo gallery

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Did Plymouth spawn the spindle?

Lexus has carved out an identity for itself with the "spindle grille," but it appears the defunct Plymouth division of Chrysler had the idea in 1961. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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COMMENTARY: RICHARD TRUETT

Left for dead, British industry booms again

Ten years ago this month, MG Rover went bankrupt -- and appeared to symbolize the end of the once proud British auto industry. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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Still dancing the Continental

Soon both Lincoln and Bentley will have Continentals for sale, a fact that may lead to some legalistic conversations in the near future involving the two brands. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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Toyota on a roll ... back to No. 1?

With one quarter in the record books, Toyota Division has slipped past Chevrolet into second place in the battle of brands in the U.S. market. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 13, 2015

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Subaru aims to expand STI performance line

Subaru aims to further boost profits on booming U.S. sales by expanding its STI performance line. 12:01 am U.S. ET | April 18, 2015


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