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Week of September 18, 2000


 

GM UPS STAKE IN SUZUKI
COVISINT GETS APPROVAL
NHTSA TO GET EXPANDED POWER
FORD IDLE TIME HURTING PROFITS, SUPPLIERS
COMMITTEE THREATENS SUBPOENA FOR TIRE DATA
CONSUMER CONFIDENCE IN FORD AND FIRESTONE LOW
NYT: FORD KNEW ABOUT IGNITION FAULT
MITSUBISHI MANAGEMENT SHAKEUP
GM AIRBAG RECALL
BMW ANNOUNCES SMALL SUV
FORD RECALLS ESCAPE AGAIN
TROOPER FARES POORLY IN BUMPER TEST
GM CANCELS NEW PROVING-GROUNDS PLAN

 

 

GM UPS STAKE IN SUZUKI General Motors will double its stake in Japan's Suzuki Motor Corporation for $653 million. The increased stake will give GM a seat on Suzuki's board of directors. GM likely is interested in a larger stake in Suzuki because of the Japanese automaker's strong entrance into Asian-Pacific markets.

For more on the GM-Suzuki deal, click here.

 

COVISINT GETS APPROVAL The online, manufacturer-based purchasing and procurement exchange known as Covisint was approved by regulators on Monday. The proposed exchange, formed by General Motors, Ford, and DaimlerChrysler, has been under review by the Federal Trade Commission since this spring. One of the main issues that the FTC wanted to be assured of prior to approval was that information about prices or costs of deals with rival car companies would not be shared. After formation of the exchange earlier this year, manufacturers Renault SA, Nissan, and Toyota, and suppliers Delphi, Lear, and Dana, among others, announced intentions to join Covisint.

For more information on Covisint and why its approval was delayed, click here.

 

NHTSA TO GET EXPANDED POWER Congress will likely soon pass a proposed bill that will extend the powers of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and require automakers and tire companies to share defect data. A new bill introduced to the House by Fred Upton of Michigan will get fast-track treatment, while a similar Senate bill may be approved as soon as the middle of next week. The House bill would effectively raise the maximum fine that the NHTSA could levy, extend the number of years back that recalls can affect, and require that the NHTSA reconsider and rewrite the basic tire safety standards on the books. Another proposal includes giving the Transportation Department full access to the same defect data.

 

FORD IDLE TIME HURTING PROFITS, SUPPLIERS Since August 28, the 6000 combined workers of three plants in New Jersey, Minnesota, and Missouri have been idle, in an effort to free up replacement tires for the 6.5-million-tire Firestone recall. The idle time has so far freed up about 100,000 tires for replacement. Ford and suppliers have lost millions due to the decision, and Ford says that it likely will not make up production output for its best-selling Explorer SUV. Ford Ranger and Mazda B-Series compact pickups are also assembled at the plants. Major suppliers to Ford will also see lower-than-expected earnings due to the Ford shutdown. Analysts figure the production losses from the shutdown to be about 2.3 percent of Ford's total third-quarter output and predict that the losses will reduce Ford earnings by about three cents per share.

 

COMMITTEE THREATENS SUBPOENA FOR TIRE DATA According to the Detroit News, the Congressional committee investigating last month's Firestone tire recall is considering using subpoena power if Ford Motor Company and Bridgestone Firestone do not soon provide requested documents regarding the tested safety of the recalled Firestone tires at Ford's originally suggested pressure of 26 psi. Internal Ford documents suggest that the automaker was concerned that the lower pressure suggested may have been contributing to higher instances of tread separation.


 
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