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Penske Automotive Group

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Penske Automotive Expands Hertz Franchising Network

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Penske Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE:PAG), an international automotive retailer, today announced that it has acquired the assets and franchise rights to become the operator of Hertz rental car locations in certain markets throughout Indiana. The Company will now operate more than twenty on and off-airport locations, including the Ft. Wayne, South Bend, and Indianapolis on-airport locations. Hertz will provide the Company with a full array of services to help expand the market presence of the Hertz brand in Indiana while ensuring all products and services provided meet Hertz’s high-standards of customer service.

“We are thrilled with the opportunity to expand our relationship with Hertz to the Indianamarket,” said Bud Denker, President of the Penske Car Rental operations. “With our purchase of the Hertz-Memphis, Tennessee market in October, 2012, this acquisition is a logical progression in our relationship. With the lasting heritage of the Penske name in motorsports, particularly in Indianapolis, combined with the strong legacy of the Hertz brand, I am confident in our ability to bring a high level of customer service and satisfaction to these locations throughout Indiana. Our expansion will allow us to begin scaling our operations, and will help Hertz accelerate its growth in a key market.”

Hertz’s partnership with Penske Automotive in the Memphis market has proven successful and extending our relationship to Indiana was the logical next step,” commented Mark P. Frissora, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for The Hertz Corporation. “The Penske team is creating the most valued car rental experience in the Memphis market and we’re confident they will bring the same commitment to the Indiana car rental business. With this expanded partnership, we’re confident we’ll be able to accelerate our growth throughout the region and continue our expansion into the neighborhood market.”

[Source: PenskeAutomotive.com]

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Gas Mileage Tips From Penske Automotive Group

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Currently, gas prices at the pumps are increasing daily. Motorists can expect gasoline prices to drift even higher as we move into summer.

At Penske Automotive Group we would like to give you some fuel-efficient tips. Penske’s gas mileage tips can help you reduce the amount of gas you use. If you are already following these tips, you are probably getting the best gas mileage your car can deliver.

1. Drive More Efficiently

-Drive Sensibly. Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others, so you may save more than gas money.
-Observe the Speed Limit. While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Observing the speed limit is also safer.
-Remove Excess Weight. Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by up to 2 percent. The reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle’s weight and affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.
-Avoid Excessive Idling. Idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and air conditioner (AC) use. Turn off your engine when your vehicle is parked. It only takes a few seconds worth of fuel to restart your vehicle. Turning your engine on and off excessively, however, may increase starter wear.
-Use Cruise Control. Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas.
-Use Overdrive Gears. When you use overdrive gearing, your car’s engine speed goes down. This saves gas and reduces engine wear.

2. Keep Tour Car In Shape

-Keep Your Engine Properly Tuned. Fixing a car that is noticeably out of tune or has failed an emissions test can improve its gas mileage by an average of 4 percent, though results vary based on the kind of repair and how well it is done. If you need help with this stop by your neighborhood Penske dealership’s Parts and Service Center.
-Keep Tires Properly Inflated. You can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. The proper tire pressure for your vehicle is usually found on a sticker in the driver’s side door jamb or the glove box and in your owner’s manual.
-Use the Recommended Grade of Motor Oil. You can improve your gas mileage by 1–2 percent by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil.

3. Planning and Combining Trips

-Combining errands into one trip saves you time and money. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a longer multipurpose trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm.
-Commuting. There are lots of options available. Stagger your work hours to avoid peak rush hours. Consider telecommuting (working from home) if your employer permits it. Take advantage of carpools and ride-share programs. Consider using public transit if it is available and convenient for you.
-Traveling. When you hit the road for this spring and summer’s road trip, use a roof rack or carrier which provides additional cargo space and may allow you to meet your needs with a smaller car. However, be careful. A loaded roof rack can decrease your fuel economy by 5 percent.  Try to avoid carrying unneeded items, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 lbs in the trunk reduces a typical car’s fuel economy by 1-2 percent.

Try out this neat tool as well. It will tell you where the cheapest gas is in your area. http://gasprices.mapquest.com/ Happy Driving from Penske Automotive Group!

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Penske Automotive Group Launches Financing Program to Help with Maintenance and Repair Services

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Penske Automotive Group will now provide a new payment option for maintenance and repairs to customers of its U.S. dealerships, thanks to the CarCareONE credit card program established in conjunction with GE Capital Retail Bank.

“We are pleased to offer the CarCareONE credit card program, providing a convenient payment option to our customers for planned and unexpected automotive maintenance and repair services,” said Rob Kurnick, president of Penske Automotive Group, in the companies’ official press release. “GE Capital brings a strong understanding of our industry and deep expertise to our U.S. dealers to assist us in growing customer loyalty in this important, recurring part of our business.”

The Penske CarCareONE credit card can be used for full-service vehicle maintenance, repair services and replacement costs at Penske Automotive Group dealership locations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The program provides a range of benefits, including exclusive savings, electronic billing, and online account management options.

Qualifying cardholders can take advantage of promotional financing offers such as six-month deferred interest financing on purchases of $299 or more and 12-month deferred interest financing on purchases of $750 or more.

Applications for the CarCareONE credit card can be completed in-store or online.

GE Capital Retail Bank provides financial solutions to retailers to help grow their customer sales and will service the account and manage the credit card program.

To read more about the program and GE Capital Retail Bank, please find the official press release here.

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Happy Birthday Roger Penske!

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From the start of his career as an Ohio teen-ager selling old used cars he’d fixed, Roger Penske has built a successful empire in racing and auto dealing unique in American history. Once the SCCA’s Driver of the Year in 1961, Penske’s racing team has won 23 national championships, 12 Indy Car titles, 15 wins at the Indianapolis 500 and last year, its first championship in NASCAR Sprint Cup racing. On the track, the team calls him “The Captain”; in the 340 Penske Automotive dealerships and offices known for Disney-like order and cleanliness, there’s usually his motto: “Effort Equals Results.” Here’s a rare video of Penske behind the wheel, racing in the 1962 Grand Prix Riverside. Look for him in the #6 car, finishing where you’d expect him to:

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GM Foundation gives new Michigan Science Center $1 million; reopening date still uncertain

Detroit Service Center

The GM Foundation has committed a $1 million grant to the Michigan Science Center, formerly known as the Detroit Science Center.

But the center’s board of directors isn’t making any promises on whether the center will open by year’s end.

“A date has not been determined,” Shelly Otenbaker, a senior vice president at Eisbrenner Public Relations and the trustee spokeswoman for the science center board, wrote in an email. “There are a number of factors that need to be reviewed and considered as we look at opening timing.”

The science center’s board plans to meet Monday to discuss both the timing of a reopening and how it would staff a reopened museum, among other things, Otenbaker said.

As reported by Crain’s in February, Ford Motor Co. and Penske Automotive Group Inc. also have reportedly either stepped up with cash or been receptive to assisting the science center.

The plan that Chairman Tom Stephens, who retired from General Motors Co. after 43 years, and others were taking to foundations early this year called for about $4 million to reopen the science center and get it through this year. It’s unclear whether that amount included debt service.

Future operations would be bolstered by about $2.5 million in annual giving that typically comes to the museum each year, sources said at the time.

“The funds/commitments we are gathering are both for operations and repaying Ron Weiser,” Otenbaker said.

Weiser, founder of McKinley Associates Inc. in Ann Arbor and former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party and national finance chairman for the Republican National Committee, in June entered into an agreement to acquire the Detroit Science Center’s $6.2 million in debt on its building and a line of credit. He plans to make the science center’s land, building and contents available to the Michigan Science Center, which was incorporated as a new nonprofit in April.

Otenbaker declined to comment on how much the science center has raised so far, but The Detroit News quoted unidentified sources as saying the amount was more than $2.5 million.

[Source: CrainsDetroit.com]

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New Lexus dealership opens in Ponce

Lexus Dealership

Luxury automaker Lexus recently inaugurated its newest dealership on Route 2 in Ponce, Puerto Rico. The $1.5 million, 4,000 square-foot facility features a four-vehicle showroom, a 60-vehicle parking facility, a certified, pre-owned sales department, as well as parts and service areas.

United Auto Caribbean, a subsidiary of the Roger Penske Automotive Group, recently inaugurated the Lexus Ponce dealership late last week, announcing the creation of 15 direct and 40 indirect jobs, and sales projections of 25 units per month.

“This is the ideal time to open Ponce Lexus because the local market has a growing population of consumers who value good taste, luxury and perfection, are connoisseurs who demand more because they reflect the spirit of the southern region’s economic, cultural and social development,” said Charlie Vaillant, president of Lexus Ponce.

“This dealership offers the widest range of vehicles with the highest levels of luxury, innovation, performance, quality, reliability and durability,” he said.

The newest addition to the Lexus dealership chain will have sedans, SUV, convertibles, performance and hybrid vehicles in its sales lineup.

[Source: NewsIsMyBusiness.com]

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MINI USA CELEBRATES 10 YEARS OF SUCCESS

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In 2002, the first U.S. Mini dealership opened in San Francisco. With only one model and a gallon of gas selling for an average of $1.25, there were plenty of critics who said the Mini brand didn’t stand a chance in the States.

“Mini launched in the U.S. during the time when gas was cheap and large trucks and SUVs ruled the road,” said Jim McDowell, Vice President of Mini USA in a statement. “Many thought the brand would be a one-hit wonder, and we are extremely proud that we were able to surprise some the toughest critics, and at times, even ourselves.”

Now, ten years later, Mini has six models, gas prices have more than tripled and “small car” doesn’t necessarily mean “cheap car.” It’s safe to say those naysayers in 2002 made a big mistake about the premium small car from BMW.

So, happy birthday, Mini USA, and congrats on convincing an SUV-loving American public that bigger is not always better.

MINI USA CELEBRATES 10 YEARS OF SUCCESS

March 22, 2012 Marks the Brand’s 10th Anniversary Milestone in the U.S. Market

San Francisco – March 21, 2012… Since its 2002 introduction, MINI USA has proven that there is a place for premium small cars in the American car market; and on the 10th anniversary of the brand’s launch, its leaders can confidently say that MINI has successfully established itself as the leader in this growing segment. Over the last decade, MINI has grown its vehicle portfolio from the single Hardtop body style that it launched with in 2002, to include six unique models today; it has expanded its dealer network by two-thirds; and has cultivated a loyal owner community, the likes of which few brands have the honor to call upon as their own.

“MINI launched in the U.S. during the time when gas was cheap and large trucks and SUVs ruled the road,” said Jim McDowell, Vice President MINI USA. “Many thought the brand would be a one-hit wonder, and we are extremely proud that we were able to surprise some the toughest critics, and at times, even ourselves.”

MINI challenged the notion of small meaning “cheap” by delivering a premium vehicle experience in a small package with inspired design. The brand also demonstrated to many motorists that MINI can meet their everyday driving needs. The sales success first peaked when fuel prices spiked in 2008; but another best-year sales record was set in 2011 when fuel prices were more stable, indicating that the brand had successfully come into its own and that motorists’ positive perception and acceptance of premium small cars was growing. Today, one in every five BMW Group vehicles sold in the U.S. has a MINI badge on it, making it a significant contributor to the company’s overall success.

The brand has grown to include six models, Hardtop, Convertible, Clubman, Countryman, Coupe and Roadster, each of which complements the others as part of the lineup. Each vehicle in the portfolio has been developed to have a distinct personality while still delivering on the brand’s longstanding promises regarding sporty performance, striking design, overall efficiency and value.

MINI USA’s dealer network has grown from 66 dealers in 2002 to 112 dealers today, and up to 125 outlets are expected to be open within two years. While all MINI dealers have dedicated showroom space, approximately 60 percent of the existing MINI showrooms are stand-alone facilities. All new facilities moving forward will also be free- standing, and as a direct result of the brand’s success, many dealers are investing to upgrade or move those that are not. By the end of 2014, MINI USA expects that 90 percent of its facilities in the U.S. will be exclusive operations.

MINI USA launched the first vehicle for the U.S. market in the San Francisco Bay Area 10 years ago, and today the brand commemorates its 10-year milestone at MINI of Marin, the newest dealership facility to open, which is operated by Penske Automotive Group – a longstanding partner in MINI USA’s success.

To commemorate its 10th anniversary, MINI USA has developed a media kit that is available on www.miniusanews.com, which highlights some of the feisty, engaging and memorable moments from the last 10 years. Assets include a MINI history timeline, a photo gallery and video.

MINI in the US

MINI is an independent brand of the BMW Group. In the United States, MINI USA operates as a business unit of BMW of North America, LLC, located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey and includes the marketing and sales organizations for the MINI brand. The MINI USA sales organization is represented in the U.S. through a network of 112 MINI passenger car dealers in 38 states. MINI USA began selling vehicles in the U.S. in 2002 with the introduction of the MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S Hardtops. Since then, the MINI Brand in the U.S. has grown to encompass a model range of six unique vehicles.

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Mercedes-Benz of Fairfield Named Best of the Best Third Consecutive Year

gI_83794_Mercedes-Benz-of-Fairfield

Mercedes-Benz of Fairfield has been awarded for the third consecutive year with the prestigious “Best of the Best” Dealer Recognition Award from Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA). Mercedes-Benz of Fairfield earned the award based on its outstanding performance in 2011 and as a tribute to its success as a dealership that routinely exceeds the expectations of Mercedes-Benz owners.

Mercedes-Benz of Fairfield is the only dealer in the Southern Connecticut Coastal region to achieve the MBUSA honor. This award marks sixth time under Penske Automotive Group ownership that Mercedes-Benz of Fairfield has been named among the “Best of the Best.” The dealership also won the honor in 2001, 2002, 2006, 2009 and 2010.

The MBUSA program recognizes the top 15% of its retail network with the “Best of the Best” recognition. The award, which is present annually, goes to top performing Mercedes-Benz dealerships for demonstrating superior performance in various areas of their business, including customer satisfaction, new vehicle sales, certified pre-owned sales, leadership and management, parts operations and market penetration.

“These dealers represent the essence of the Mercedes-Benz brand: an enduring commitment to excellence combined with an entrepreneurial spirit and the absolute dedication to customer satisfaction,” said Steve Cannon, president and CEO of MBUSA. “These are dealers who believe, as we do, that the ultimate measure of success is not only business acumen but also meeting the expectations of each and every customer every time – no exceptions.”

Mercedes-Benz of Fairfield features state-of-the-art sales and service facilities, with a team of experienced trained professionals who achieved a record-year in customer satisfaction scores for 2011.

General Manager of Mercedes-Benz of Fairfield, Eric Ferits, attributes the consistency of the dealership to his experienced and dedicated staff, combined with a superior product and a loyal client base.

“We are extremely proud to be honored by MBUSA with the ‘Best of the Best’ again and want to thank our team as well as loyal customers who make it all possible,” Ferits says.

Mercedes-Benz of Fairfield is owned and operated by Penske Automotive Group, Inc. The dealership is conveniently located at 165 Commerce Drive at exit 25 off of I-95. MBUSA has designated Mercedes-Benz of Fairfield as the only authorized AMG Performance Center in CT, and the only designated Sprinter and smart car dealer in Fairfield County. The dealership features a 30-bay service center, new 35-car sales showroom with ample parking, and an extraordinary inventory of new and Certified Pre-Owned Mercedes-Benz. For more information, visit MercedesBenzofFairfield.com.

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