Here's what we have our eye on today:
- The National Automotive Dealers Association released a report yesterday that used-car prices could see slight variances due to $4-a-gallon gas, Automotive News reports. A NADA analyst blamed threats of U.S. military conflict with Iran rather than lower oil production for higher gas prices, which are at a national average of $3.76 for a gallon of regular today, up 28 cents per gallon over the past month. At $4 per gallon, NADA says prices for fuel-efficient used compacts would rise about $179; used large SUVs would drop around $387. Gas at $5 a gallon, meanwhile, would add $1,102 to the compacts and slash $5,298 off the SUVs.
- Beset by overcapacity and diving European consumer confidence, GM's money-losing Opel division will announce a restructuring plan in two to three months, GM Europe chief Karl-Friedrich Stracke told Bloomberg News. GM recently bought a stake in PSA Peugeot Citroen, but that won't help the capacity problem, Stracke said.
- Toyota's current North American President and COO Jim Lentz will also become CEO on April 1, according to Automotive News. Lentz is the first American to hold the CEO position in North America. Last year, an independent advisory panel recommended greater autonomy for Toyota’s North American operations in light of the unintended acceleration and recall debacle that helped hamstring the carmaker. Lentz's promotion could be a nod toward greater autonomy.
- Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally received $58.3 million in company stock this week, according to The Detroit News. The stock option was part of an incentive pay package devised in 2009, which became vested on Monday. Mulally became president and COO of Ford Motor Co. in 2006, and is largely credited for successfully steering the company through a tumultuous time for the brand and auto industry.