NEWS News Brief: March 14, 2012

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Gas Prices and a new Chevy top our news this morning:

  • Gas prices continue to rise. The national average price is now $3.81 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline, according to AAA. On the positive side, the price of diesel fuel isn’t rising as quickly and is now less of a penalty in terms of filling up a diesel vehicle than in the past. In some areas like Chicago, diesel’s price per gallon is 5 cents less than regular unleaded. We’ll see if this shift — along with consumers focus on efficiency — impacts diesel car sales for March.
  • Chevrolet says it will add a new nameplate to its lineup with a launch at the Daytona 500 … in 2013. Speculation abounds that this will be a full-size sedan to either replace the Impala or aim for sportier ambitions with the Caprice name. We’ll have more on this later.
  • Volkswagen will invest $40 million in Tennessee for a new 400,000-square-foot distribution warehouse, the automaker announced. While that may seem like a drop in the bucket compared to assembly plants, the facility will add 45 jobs and infrastructure the company might need for future expansion.
  • In a study released by J.D. Power and Associates today, 79 percent of owners of 1- to 3—year-old vehicles get their car serviced at a dealership instead of an independent shop. That’s up from 74 percent in 2011. It’s possible that the influx of free maintenance incentives from automakers like Toyota and Volkswagen could be influencing the rise.
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Former managing editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David Thomas

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