Headlines for Monday, April 23, 2012

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Innovators win 2012 Automotive News PACE Awards

9:45 pm U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
Engineers say the internal combustion engine still has many improvements in store -- and Automotive News PACE Awards judges agree. Four of the nine 2012 product awards, announced tonight at a black-tie event here, are for new ways to squeeze performance out of the industry's mainstay powerplant.

Panel topic: Getting green and profitable

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
The Automotive News Green Car Conference has been cancelled for 2012.

Sonic hits used-vehicle sales records in March

11:36 am U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
Sonic Automotive Inc. aims to have its stores average at least 100 used-vehicle sales a month by year end. Meanwhile, Sonic reported a 24 percent gain in earnings for the first quarter, but the company's shares plunged 5 percent during a down day on Wall Street.


MG Icon concept previews a potential SUV for British brand

April 23, 2012 18:19 CET
MG Motor UK's Icon concept unveiled at the Beijing auto show combines the British marque's sports car heritage with a more modern design direction pursued by the brand's Chinese owners, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation.

VIDEO: AutoNews Now: Beijing sights and sounds

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
General Motors adding 600 dealerships in China, Lamborghini's 600-horsepower SUV, BMW's electric 'i,' Nissan's Sentra tease, Germain growing.

'14 Mazda6 will drop V-6 engine

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
The Mazda6 sedan will shed its V-6 engine in the redesign scheduled for the 2014 model year. The third-generation Mazda6 will be sold with four-cylinder engines only.

Chrysler, USA Basketball to launch marketing partnership

5:19 pm U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
Chrysler Group said Monday it had agreed to a marketing tie-up with USA Basketball that makes the Jeep Wrangler the official vehicle of the men’s and women’s U.S. basketball programs, including the 2012 U.S. Olympic teams.

VIDEO: First Shift: 300C with Chinese flair

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
Chrysler 300C concept, Cadillac XTS, Ford SUVs take stage at Beijing show; summit to examine battery safety; honoring Honda's greenest dealers.

Ghosn calls Nissan's earnings 'indispensible' to struggling Renault

April 23, 2012 18:00 CET
Renault rode to the rescue of Nissan when the Japanese company was on the brink of collapse in 1999. Now Carlos Ghosn – who heads of both automakers as CEO of their 13-year alliance – says it is Nissan's turn to return the favor.


12:01 am U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
Information about Richard Bowlin, the longtime owner of Allen County Motors in Fort Wayne, Ind.


In China, Mercedes styling aims to go deep and intellectual with technology

9:51 pm U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
Olivier Boulay has been Mercedes' design guru in Asia for 15 years. First it was in Japan and now he is among the first wave of western designers carving out a modern look for Chinese vehicles.


Fiat counts on Viaggio for a boost in China

April 23, 2012 06:01 CET
Fiat expects the new Viaggio to be a strong competitor in the world's largest market, where the Italian automaker has failed twice to gain a foothold.


For Volvo, Knicks star is priceless Lin-vestment across China

8:33 pm U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
If you think 6-foot-3 New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin is popular in the United States, you can't believe his star appeal in China. For Volvo, he's simply a ringing Lin-dorsement here.

Automakers, suppliers propose strategy to replace key resin

10:18 pm U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
The auto industry may soon have a strategy to avoid vehicle production interruptions that could be caused by the critical shortage of a key resin used in a variety of components.

Senators question U.S. loan to Fisker Automotive

9:36 pm U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
Two Republican senators have asked the Obama administration to explain why it approved a $529 million loan to startup Fisker Automotive, which has suspended production of a heavily touted plug-in electric car as it revamps its business plan.

VIDEO: 2012 PACE Award Winners

9:45 pm U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
The 18th annual Automotive News PACE Award winners, announced April 23, 2012.

Fifth supplier agrees to plead guilty in U.S. price-fixing probe

4:10 pm U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
Japanese wire harness supplier Fujikura has agreed to enter a guilty plea in federal court in Detroit to a single count of price fixing.


GM to bulk up engineering resources in Pan-Asia region, Akerson says

9:03 am U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
GM will add resources in its Pan-Asia Technical Automotive Center over the next four years as it develops more vehicles globally, GM CEO Dan Akerson said today.


Nissan unveils sedan previewing the 2013 Sentra compact

1:17 pm U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
Nissan unveiled a sedan at the Beijing auto show today that will be the basis for the 2013 Sentra compact that's coming to the United States.

Ohio's Germain Motor acquires Michigan's Howard Cooper

3:09 pm U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
Ohio-based dealership group Germain Motor has acquired Howard Cooper Import Center in Michigan. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.


The big and little dilemmas facing Mercedes

7:15 am U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
Mercedes-Benz sells extended-length versions of its S-class and E-class sedans in China to give back seat passengers space to stretch out and maybe do some work while riding in one of Beijing's miserable traffic jams.


Geely, BAIC, Tata sign $500M in contracts with Harman

1:01 pm U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
Harman International said it signed more than $500 million worth agreements to provide in-car entertainment systems to three carmakers in China and India.


Audi reinvents itself in China's luxury market

12:01 pm U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
GM may be China's biggest foreign automaker, but Volkswagen AG dominates the Beijing auto show. At the convention center, the German automaker filled an entire building with various models of its own brands.


Dealer finally finds room; used cars soar

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
Florida Hyundai dealer Scott Fink, hemmed in on a 4-acre lot, barely bothered with used cars during his first nine years in business. He wanted to maximize new-vehicle sales on his limited space.

MG reveals the Icon SUV

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
MG, the famed British brand now owned by Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp., revealed sketches of the Icon concept vehicle. The compact SUV, scheduled to be unveiled at this week's Beijing auto show, is said to preview a production model to be introduced in China in 2014.


M-B to preview new small sedan in Beijing

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
A coupe-style, four-door concept Mercedes-Benz will unveil this week at the Beijing auto show previews the entry-level sedan the company plans to sell here starting late next year.

Akerson says GM to add 600 China dealers in 2012

11:04 am U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
GM CEO Dan Akerson said today that the company would expand its dealership network in China this year by about 600.


How I beat Sergio Marchionne to the Beijing auto show

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
I thought that I had a rough trip from my hotel to the opening of the Beijing auto show. Then I learned I got to the show with fewer delays than Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne's police-escorted motorcade.


Hyundai hits pause as China market cools

7:42 am U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
Notwithstanding those big announcements by Volkswagen and Ford about building new plants, the sense of urgency in China may have subsided just a tad since the Shanghai auto show a year ago.


Honda wants Chinese tastes to flavor global designs

7:28 am U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
Honda wants Chinese tastes in cars to add more flavor to its global lineup. At the Beijing auto show, CEO Takanobu Ito unveiled two new concept cars, one of which will be manufactured and sold first in China before being introduced worldwide.


Fiat, Marchionne aim for fresh start in China with Viaggio

9:48 am U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
Fiat is late to China, but it is ready for a new start with a new partner, Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said on the sidelines of the Beijing auto show on Monday.

Renault, Dongfeng sign outline deal on China JV, exec says

April 23, 2012 14:53 CET
Renault and China's Dongfeng Motor have signed a framework agreement on a joint venture, a senior Renault executive confirmed on Monday. In March, the two signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly produce vehicles in China.


Chrysler brand will relaunch in China with 300C sedan

April 23, 2012 13:21 CET
Chrysler plans to relaunch brand sales in China this June with the 300C large sedan, Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said on the sidelines of the Beijing auto show on Monday. The automaker, which sells the Jeep brand in China, last sold Chrysler-badged cars in China three years ago.

Ford makes big changes to its popular Escape

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
For more than a decade, the Ford Escape has chugged along with a conservative, boxy design firmly rooted in SUV tradition. For 2013, the Escape has undergone a radical transformation, trading its squarish look for a sleek, curvy, carlike design.

Lamborghini ultra-SUV concept stomps into fray

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
Lamborghini is considering building the exotic Urus SUV concept it is unveiling this week at the Beijing auto show.

Resin plant blast put global auto output at risk; industry dodges a bullet -- this time

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
Although fears of a nylon resin shortage appeared to ease last week, the flurry over nylon 12 exposed a lingering auto industry problem: In the lower tiers of the supply chain, a fire, flood or natural disaster that chokes off supply of an obscure but vital component can instantly create the threat...


Speedy computers and graphics are rushing new technology into cars. But can humans manage the deluge?

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
Massive computing power and advanced graphics have revolutionized video games. Now they're doing the same to the auto industry. Engineers and designers are using computers to create and test new parts and vehicle technology at astonishing speeds.


Ford's old West Coast Model A plant is now a great place to plug the new stuff

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
When introducing new vehicles to the media, carmakers fall all over themselves trying to choose a location that will wow journalists. But Ford outdid itself last week in launching the 2013 Escape.

Used prices 'pretty close' to record

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
Prices of late-model used vehicles will peak for the year in the next few weeks, then gradually fall, ending the year close to January levels, analysts say.

Wanted: Dealership stars

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
Automotive News is looking for 40 achievers who are rising stars at auto dealerships. Are you part of that mix? Or do you know someone who is? Automotive News will spotlight those stars in "40 Under 40," a special section July 16.

Sales up for EVs, hybrids

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
The market for hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles is perking up, just when many were ready to write it off. In the first three months of 2012, U.S. sales of hybrids, plug-in hybrids and EVs shot up 44 percent from the year-ago quarter, to 113,457.


Dean Evans' dot.com mind-set at Subaru

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
Dean Evans admits to taking a few potshots over the years at automakers' chief marketing officers. Now Evans is a chief marketer himself; he took over at Subaru of America in September. But he still thinks most of his peers are out of touch when it comes to Internet sales and marketing

Dodge aims Dart at Gen Y

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 23, 2012
Chrysler Group wants the 2013 Dodge Dart, its first compact sedan since the Neon was dropped in 2005, to attract hard-to-reach Generation Y, consumers between 19 and 31.

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