Headlines for Wednesday, May 2, 2012

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Chrysler cuts summer break time as sales rise, inventories fall

2:31 pm U.S. ET | May 2, 2012
Chrysler Group, attempting to keep up with high demand and dwindling inventories, today said four of its plants will forego the traditional two-week summer shutdown and continue producing cars and trucks through July.

Ford works with Faurecia, Rush Group to create minority supplier

3:53 pm U.S. ET | May 2, 2012
Ford is orchestrating a deal to create one of the auto industry's largest minority-owned suppliers, Crain's Detroit Business, an affiliate of Automotive News, reported today on its Web site.

VIDEO: First Shift: Smart sets April pace

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 2, 2012
Smart soars, Mitsubishi sinks in a month of many story lines; more Ecoboosts for Ford, diesels for VW; BMW tests Olympic torch

GM needs Europe fix with Opel losses undercutting U.S. recovery

1:39 pm U.S. ET | May 2, 2012
GM will probably report that losses in Europe for the first quarter led to a decline in profit, raising pressure to find a solution for the unit that is undercutting the company's recovery in the United States.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: Behind GM, Ford share decline

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 2, 2012
GM, Ford slide in their home market as one rival comes back and Chrysler carries on; Toyota's strategy for May; Honda stuck in neutral

Visteon posts Q1 loss, cuts annual revenue outlook

9:24 am U.S. ET | May 2, 2012
Supplier Visteon posted a first-quarter loss because of restructuring costs and lowered its full-year sales forecast to reflect discontinued operations.

Winfield M. Hinkley dead at 82

4:13 pm U.S. ET | May 2, 2012
Winfield M. Hinkley, a longtime Ford dealer in Grand Gorge, N.Y., died April 23. He was 82.

JAMIE LaREAU

Get ready to pitch more cash-strapped buyers

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 2, 2012
If I were a finance and insurance manager, I'd mentally prepare to pitch products to more customers with a low credit rating and low income.

DealerTrack's Papageorge to lead F&I Week session on lending

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 2, 2012
DealerTrack’s Strati Papageorge will kick off the second webinar during Automotive News F&I Week next month. Papageorge will lead a session called “Show Me the Money! Best Bets for Structuring a Deal That Will WOW the Lenders.”

Ally: Chrysler pact's end won't affect dealers

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 2, 2012
Chrysler Group dealerships likely won't feel any immediate impact from Chrysler's decision not to renew its subvented lending contract with Ally Financial next year, and they might not notice much change even then, says Ally President William Muir.

Public retailers' F&I revenues rise; service contracts still the workhorse

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 2, 2012
The six large public new-car retailers saw higher F&I revenues in the first quarter than they did a year earlier. And for all the dealership groups, F&I revenues were a major contributor to gross profits overall.

COMMENT: DAVE GUILFORD

Why does it take so long to close a deal?

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 2, 2012
In the space of about six weeks this winter, my wife and I bought two new cars. The reason for this splurge was exactly what industry watchers have predicted: Old, wheezing cars eventually need to be replaced. The shopping process was pretty painless.

JIM HENRY

Beware the tax refund come-on

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 2, 2012
A flip through online advertising confirms that some dealerships still can't resist energetic come-ons inviting consumers to put their tax refund down on a car. That could be OK for consumers who can truly afford it.

Q&A

Why Sonic puts a priority on service contracts

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 2, 2012
When it comes to F&I products, it's tough to beat service contracts for value -- both for dealerships and their customers, says Richard O'Connor, vice president in charge of finance and insurance at Sonic Automotive Inc.

BMW denies it plans an EV assembly factory in Slovakia

May 2, 2012 12:16 CET
BMW said it has no plans to build an assembly plant in Slovakia, denying local media reports about a possible investment in the country by the German automaker.

Daimler, Audi, Porsche targeted in wage walkouts

May 2, 2012 11:34 CET
Daimler was again targeted by walkouts on Wednesday as Germany's IG Metall labor union expanded strikes which are also due to hit Audi and Porsche, as worker representatives seek improved pay and terms in the manufacturing industry.

Germany's Hella to begin production in Brazil

May 2, 2012 12:07 CET
German lighting and electronics maker Hella has formed a partnership with Sao Paulo-based Emicol to begin manufacturing electronic products in Brazil for a major global automotive manufacturer.

French election obstructs PSA restructuring plans

May 2, 2012 08:49 CET
French government interference helped PSA and Renault get through the financial crisis in 2009, but now threatens to push the two companies further behind rivals as job-security pledges prevent them from restructuring.

Mercedes leads BMW in U.S. luxury sales after 24% April gain

May 2, 2012 06:01 CET
Mercedes regained the U.S. luxury-vehicle sales lead for the year over the BMW brand with April deliveries rising 24 percent, the biggest gain of any premium brand. Sales of Mercedes vehicles rose to 22,336 last month while BMW deliveries increased 12 percent to 21,062, ahead of No.

Automotive News
Special Video Report
Toyota's Lentz in Texas: A Lexus regret, fixing 'starved' Scion, the next Prius

Toyota's Lentz in Texas: A Lexus regret, fixing 'starved' Scion, the next Prius

Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz is a pioneer. He and a handful of other employees moved to north Texas last September to help build the automaker's new U.S. headquarters.
» Watch the Video
     
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