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Week of February 21, 2000


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NISSAN’S NEXT "Z" TO BE NEW DESIGN
MORE RUMORS ON DC, PEUGEOT MATCH UP
A SUV FOR SAAB
NISSAN TO BUILD TEN NEW MODELS FOR NORTH AMERICA
TRUCKS GROW IN POPULARITY
YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED
DAIMLERCHRYSLER EXECS NAMED
LONGBRIDGE ROVER PLANT STAYS, SAYS BMW
SATURN L-SERIES PRODUCTION CUT
NERVOUS TT OWNERS GET DRIVING LESSONS
NISSAN FILLS COMMUNICATIONS VP SPOT
NEW BILL COULD FINE CELL PHONE USERS
GASOLINE-POWERED FUEL CELL CAR PROSPECTS NEARER
GROUP LISTS BEST, WORST "GREEN" VEHICLES

 

NISSAN’S NEXT "Z" TO BE NEW DESIGN Nissan’s next Z car will not be a retro-styled coupe, but a new design that is different from the Z concept shown last year at the Detroit Auto Show, Nissan designers told TCC. Both Nissan’s San Diego and Japanese studios are in an internal competition to determine which concept will move forward. Nissan plans to introduce the Z in the summer of 2001 as a 2002 model, according to Nissan Design International president Jerry Hirshberg.

 

MORE RUMORS ON DC, PEUGEOT MATCH UP New rumors surfaced in the London stock market about a partnership between DaimlerChrysler and PSA Peugeot Citroen. Officials from both companies indicated that the talk was pure speculation. DaimlerChrysler had said last fall that it was in talks with the French automaker about the possibility of using a Peugeot platform to build a slightly larger version of its Smart brand car. At the beginning of the year, it said that discussions with Peugeot were on hold while it made decisions about its strategy in the small car market.

 

A SUV FOR SAAB A SUV is in the future for General Motors’ Saab unit, according to Automotive News. An article in the weekly magazine said that Saab’s first entry into the ever-popular SUV market will be with a crossover vehicle built in Mexico, alongside the Pontiac Aztek and the Buick Rendezvous, which the Saab SUV will be based on. Although GM and Saab officials refused to comment, spokesman Kevin Smith told Reuters, "We do have an intention to reach out into new segments for Saab."

 

NISSAN TO BUILD TEN NEW MODELS FOR NORTH AMERICA A Japanese financial newspaper reported Nissan plans to bring 10 new models to the North American market as part of its goal to sell one million vehicles annually. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper, which cited sources at the automaker, said that the plans included redesigned versions of the Sentra, Altima, and Pathfinder. New versions of the Q45 and Z car sold in Japan as well as a sports sedan code-named XVL were also expected to be part of the North American plan. While a Nissan spokesperson acknowledged it wanted to boost its North American sales, there was no official comment about the 10 new models or the one million vehicle sales target.

 

TRUCKS GROW IN POPULARITY A recently study by The Polk Company found that trucks make up 39.4 percent of registered vehicles, an increase of four percent since 1994. Although the amount of trucks on the road continues to grow, the study found that the rate of growth is actually slowing. "This is an indication that U.S. households are adding vehicles at a much slower rate than in prior decades," said Ken Cherven, who attributed the slower rate to the fact that there is an average of one vehicle per adult currently.

 

YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED Daewoo Motor sent invitations to about 10 potential buyers, including General Motors, Ford, DaimlerChrysler and Hyundai, this week, inviting them to bid on the company, according to a company spokesperson. Ford acknowledged over the weekend that it intends to bid, while General Motors first expressed interest in buying the company when it offered about $6 billion in December. Hyundai, who has previously indicated it was interested in jointly bidding with a foreign partner, could play an important role due to its South Korean base. DaimlerChrysler has not yet said whether it would or would not partake in the bidding process.


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