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Infotainment Influx Taking Toll On Customers and Dealers Alike

You remember Rikk Wilde. The Chevrolet regional manager became an immediate sensation last fall when he stammered through his World Series presentation and invoked the now-famous "technology and stuff" catchphrase to describe the automaker's latest offerings. As it turns out, he's not the only car guy struggling to offer more specifics on the newest automotive technology.

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Billionaire investor George Soros and his company Soros Fund Management are seriously investigating following Warren Buffett's lead and buying an auto dealer body. A Soros representative was reportedly trying to sell dealers on the idea during a private dinner, indicating that current management would stay in place, if the company invested.

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Cadillac chief Johan de Nysschen outlines a new plan for the automaker's 700 mixed-brand dealers to create new "boutique" showrooms with better trained staff and holograms.

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Four Chrysler dealers shuttered during the automaker's bankruptcy have one less obstacle in their way to reopening following a US appeals court ruling. However, they still have to work things out with FCA.

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Hyundai and Kia dealers in Grand Junction, CO, are buying $180,000 in gift cards for local businesses and giving them away to previous customers as part of a new marketing strategy. Not only does the plan get more buyers into the the showrooms than traditional advertising, but it reinvests money back into the community.

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A report in Automotive News says dealer service departments are increasingly using text messages to communicate with customers and the technology is paying off for everyone, especially dealers.

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Two years in development, Hyundai UK partnered with Simon Dixon to open its Hyundai Rockar retail dealership store in Kent, England's Bluewater shopping mall. Akin to Audi and BMW retail stores where people can buy cars in an atmosphere more relaxing than a dealership, Hyundai expects it to be among its top 10 UK dealers by the end of 2015.

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A Dodge customer ordered a Charger SXT, paid for a Charger SXT, but received a lower-spec Charger SE instead. Two months later, he and the Dodge dealership are trying to sort out the mess.

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Park Avenue Saab in Maywood, NJ, still treats its customers like the Swedish automaker is currently in business, trading 30-50 used Saabs every month and servicing those still on the road.

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Given the volume of vehicles we're talking about, this is a significant development for GM's bottom line.

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The US auto dealer industry recently saw a huge shakeup when Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway investment company bought Van Tuyl Group, the country's largest privately owned network of showrooms, for an undisclosed sum. Assuming the deal's regulatory success, it immediately made Buffet one of the nation's largest car retailers. But could the acquisition have come as part of a larger plan to launch a Chinese automaker in the US?

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With the new Quattroporte and Ghibli sedans out on the market, and the new Levante crossover and Alfieri coupe on their way, Maserati is making serious headway towards revitalizing its lineup. Now all it needs in order to reach its ambitious sales targets is to expand the network of dealers where they're to be sold. And according to Maserati chief Harald Wester in speaking to Automotive News at the Paris Motor Show, that's exactly what it has in store.

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How to get the best bang for your buck at the dealership

Apprehensive about shopping for a new car? Afraid you'll say the wrong thing to a car dealer that will give him the upper hand in the price battle? Shopping for a new car, or even a used one, doesn't have to be that kind of nerve-jangling roll of the dice that it was many years ago. For starters, the advent of the Internet allows car shoppers to go into battle armed with more information today tha

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Lincoln has a scent. But unlike those from Mustang, Lamborghini or even Shark by Tara, you can't buy it and you have to visit a Lincoln dealership to inhale its notes of jasmine hedione, mate tea leaves and tonka beans. Essence of Lincoln - that's what it's called - is being piped through the ventilation systems at some showrooms to help "create an emotional connection between the luxury brand and its customers," and olfactorily promote the idea of "luxury and warmth." Where it's not run through

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Every so often, we come across the story of someone trying to "stick it to the man" by paying a parking fine or speeding ticket in pennies or dimes. Never, though, have we heard of a business stooping to such clichéd lengths. Enter Florida.

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Insult added to injury for broke college student

A woman in Florida is livid after a car dealership sold her a lemon and attempted to make restitution by paying her with two bags full of pennies.

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In the Keystone State, the compromise number between zero and unlimited is five, apparently. Pennsylvania's Senate applied that math in an attempt to resolve the issue of allowing Tesla Motors to operate company-owned stores in the state. The senate this week unanimously voted for a bill that will allow Tesla's operations, but placed a limit on the number of stores at five. The bill will now go to the state's House for approval, according to Automotive News.

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Okay America, this has gotten silly. A new study by Edmunds has revealed what we've always kind of known – people don't like going car shopping. What we didn't realize, though, is why, and what they'd rather do (or not do) to avoid a trip to the dealer.

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Trainer Jerry Thibeau's ninjas teach salespeople how to "work the phones"

When you start calling dealerships about your next new car, consider this: The salesperson at the other end of the line could be a veritable ninja in the use of the phone as a sales tool.

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Offer good for owners of a non-GM vehicle from 2004 or newer

Cadillac is hoping to jumpstart sluggish sales with a generous offer to customers to get them into dealerships and perhaps behind the wheel of their very own Caddy.

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Part of the deal for the federal bailouts of Chrysler and General Motors was that both organizations were required to trim their vast array of dealerships. This move did not sit well with the people that would be losing out on franchises, though, and in Chrysler's case, 148 of the shuttered dealers have fought for money they feel they are entitled to.

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