Retail

GOLDEN AGE

Ultraluxury brands on course for near 40% rise by 2020

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 1, 2015
Strong demand for ultraluxury brands -- driven by new models, improved U.S. and European economic conditions and a rising number of superwealthy -- has led forecasters to predict that overall global sales in the segment will grow by nearly 40 percent in the next five years. The bullish prediction is good news for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Volkswagen Group and BMW Group....
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Ford Flex: High ratings but low sales

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 1, 2015
The Ford Flex has a distinctive look, good reliability ratings and loyal owners. It's one of only two 2015 Ford nameplates recommended by Consumer Reports, and half of Flex buyers are new to Ford. But it was also the brand's slowest-selling U.S. nameplate last year, averaging just eight sales per dealer. And after seven years on the market, there's also no sign of a second generation in the offing....
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In a frigid winter, a torrid start to 2015

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 28, 2015
U.S. auto sales have started 2015 on a stronger note than expected, increasing the industry's chances of cracking 17 million vehicles this year for the first time since 2001. It's still early in the year, but analysts say there are plenty of positive signs, including record-high lease penetration in early February....
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Dodge dealers called out for 'unscrupulous' Hellcat sales practices by FCA exec

9:32 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 27, 2015
Fiat Chrysler has taken the unusual step of warning some of its most enthusiastic customers -- about some of its dealers. At issue is outsized consumer demand for the 2015 Dodge Charger and Challenger SRT Hellcats and dealer practices that the company says are “unscrupulous” and perhaps illegal....
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Snowbound New England dealers miss strong Feb. sales

1:15 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 27, 2015
As Massachusetts recovers from 100 inches of snow in recent weeks, many dealers there are reporting weaker-than-expected February sales, operational losses and lack of space because of massive snow piles. And New England missed out on an otherwise robust month for US auto sales....
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Chevy Trax 'Hidden Gems' campaign leverages social media

3:21 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 27, 2015
Chevrolet is getting creative with its social media approach, using it to introduce a new vehicle. The 2015 Chevrolet Trax will be introduced in a social media campaign dubbed “Hidden Gems.”...
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VW Group reports record profit on Audi, Porsche gains

Feb. 27, 2015 15:56 CET
VW Group said its operating profit rose 8.8 percent to a record 12.7 billion euros ($14.25 billion) last year on double-digit gains in sales of luxury Audi and Porsche models. The company said its sales revenue rose 2.8 percent to a new high of 202.5 billion euros....
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HANS GREIMEL

Toyota, Mazda bet against each other in quest for 94 mpg

4:54 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 26, 2015
Japan’s largest auto manufacturer and one of its smallest are betting against each other on divergent paths to the same goal -- an incredible fuel economy rate pushing 94 mpg....
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Mini designers dream up a racy Clubman for 'Gran Turismo 6' video game

3:59 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 26, 2015
Mini has joined a growing list of automakers that have released high-performance concepts for “Gran Turismo 6” on the PlayStation 3 game system....
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Fiat Chrysler to review its digital agency business, report says

12:37 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 26, 2015
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has begun a digital agency review, people familiar with the matter told Advertising Age, an affiliate of Automotive News....
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Lada proves popular in Crimea's vacated car market

Feb. 26, 2015 13:40 CET
Lada, Russia's biggest car brand, has become a favorite in Crimea after its annexation by Vladimir Putin's government. The first official Lada dealership opened in October and local customers are now ordering up to 300 cars a month, compared with the 155 sold in 2013, when Crimea was part of Ukraine....
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GM cuts capacity, jobs in Indonesia, where Japanese dominate

7:32 am U.S. ET | Feb. 26, 2015
General Motors is to stop making cars in Indonesia, a battleground for global automakers in emerging Southeast Asia, closing an assembly plant, axing some 500 jobs and shifting its branding focus to SUVs....
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Daimler plans years of cost cuts to offset investments to reduce CO2 emissions

Feb. 26, 2015 10:26 CET
Daimler plans to offset higher costs for technology to cut CO2 emissions with material cost savings for at least the next few years, Chief Financial Officer Bodo Uebber said....
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U.S. auto sales roar toward strongest February since 2002

2:00 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2015
U.S. auto sales are on pace for the best February since 2002, forecasters say, even as relentless snow slowed demand in the Northeast. February is expected to mark the 12th consecutive month of year-over-year gains for the industry. Analysts said sales have been minimally affected by rising gasoline prices and a work stoppage at West Coast ports that could reduce March inventories of some vehicles imported from Asia....
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Lithia Q4 net income jumps 50% as it makes acquisitions top priority

9:38 am U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2015
Strong sales across all divisions and the integration of its purchase last year of DCH Auto Group pushed Lithia Motors' net income up 50 percent during the fourth quarter....
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Valeo sees further profit gain after beating 2014 goal

Feb. 25, 2015 10:33 CET
Valeo is targeting a further boost in profitability this year after exceeding its 2014 goals on strong demand for emissions-cutting technologies and intuitive driving systems. The company's operating profit margin rose to 7.2 percent last year beating a 7 percent goal....
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Buick cracks top 10 on Consumer Reports report card; Acura, Mercedes, Infiniti drop

12:45 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 24, 2015
Buick climbed into the Top 10 while Acura, Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz fell hard in the latest report card on reliability and performance from Consumer Reports. Lexus finished No. 1 for the third straight year, ahead of a rising Mazda. Fiat Chrysler's Fiat brand came in last, just below corporate sibling Jeep....
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RICHARD TRUETT

De Nysschen, 'Dare' I say, needs a better plan to rebuild Caddy's image

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 24, 2015
An open letter to Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen: Fixing Cadillac will be the biggest challenge of your career, a far larger task, even, than breathing new life into Audi. My brother is a perfect example why....
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Tata plans image lift for ultracheap Nano

6:43 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 24, 2015
Tata Motors, producer of the car conceived as the world's cheapest, is rethinking the “cheap” part of it. The Indian automaker believes its Nano, which went on sale in 2009 with a price tag of about $2,500, may have been too inexpensive for its own good....
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Group 1 director resigns citing Buffett-Van Tuyl deal

5:27 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 24, 2015
Group 1 Automotive board member Beryl Raff has resigned, citing a potential conflict of interest related to her employer, Berkshire Hathaway, and its pending purchase of the Van Tuyl dealership group. Raff gave up her seat on Feb. 20, Group 1 said in an SEC filing....
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Sonic reports progress toward 45-minute transaction goal

9:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 24, 2015
Sonic Automotive said today its new One Sonic-One Experience program to speed up transactions is making progress toward hitting its goal of cutting closing times to 45 minutes on average....
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Dealertrack reports revenue gains for Q4, all of 2014

12:02 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 24, 2015
Dealertrack Technologies, which supplies a wide variety of auto dealership retail software and services, said it posted revenue gains across the board during the fourth quarter of 2014 -- including organic growth of more than 20 percent....
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Upgrade envy has drivers trading in cars as often as iPhones

7:26 am U.S. ET | Feb. 24, 2015
Mike Fine was perfectly happy with his 2011 Nissan Xterra. Then he got a look at his son's ride. The 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee was packed with technology: a touchscreen loaded with apps, Bluetooth, all-wheel drive and push-button start. The Nissan had none of those. Fine did what any self-respecting father would do: He ditched the 4-year-old Nissan SUV for his own Grand Cherokee....
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Toyota's most high-tech car gets ultra low-tech birth

6:47 am U.S. ET | Feb. 24, 2015
Toyota celebrated the launch of its high-tech Mirai fuel cell vehicle today from its noticeably low-tech production line. And President Akio Toyoda chose today as the celebration date for a reason. It's the five-year anniversary of when Toyoda was hauled before a congressional panel to answer questions about his company's unintended acceleration recalls....
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GKN sees more growth this year after 2014 profits rise 4%

Feb. 24, 2015 11:12 CET
UK supplier GKN reported a 4 percent rise in annual profit last year and said it expected to grow again in 2015, helped by the continued strong demand for car parts....
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