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Week of January 24, 2000


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BMW COMMITTED TO ROLLS
GM’S SALES VEEP RETIRES
CHRYSLER, MERCEDES TO SHARE ENGINES
HONDA TO SELL LARGE SUVS
GM EARNINGS FALL
STUDY REAFFIRMS TRUCK POPULARITY
HYBRIDS TO BE 20 PERCENT OF FUTURE SALES
DAEWOO’S FOREIGN, LOCAL CREDITORS COLLIDE
GAS PRICES AT 3 ½ YEAR HIGH
JEEPS, DURANGOS RECALLED
NOKIA CHIEF JOINS FORD BOARD
HYUNDAI MAY SEPARATE TRUCKS, ISSUES INCENTIVES
FORD TO CONSOLIDATE LUXURY DEALERS
ROVER NOT COMING OVER
BLUE OVAL WINS THIS ROUND
CAR BAN IN MILAN

 

BMW COMMITTED TO ROLLS Board member Dr. Wolfgang Ziebart said that it would continue to produce the VW-designed Rolls-Royces when it receives the Rolls-Royce name in 2003. In a speech to the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, Ziebart added that even though BMW has its own design team dedicated to manufacturing its own Rolls-Royce, there was a "good chance" that it will also sell VW-manufactured Rolls-Royces. Ziebart further proclaimed that the manufacturer was committed to remaining an independent automaker.

 

GM’S SALES VEEP RETIRES Roy Roberts, vice president of GM’s North American sales, announced he will retire from his position to realize his dream of starting his own business. He will be replaced by William Lovejoy, the vice president of GM Service Parts Operations, who has been with the company for 29 years. Roberts, 61, is a 22-year GM veteran and is its highest-ranking black executive. Beginning February 1, the pair will work in tandem, both with the VP of sales title, until Roberts retires on April 1.

For more on Roberts’ retirement, click here

 

CHRYSLER, MERCEDES TO SHARE ENGINES Chrysler and Mercedes divisions will share parts, including engines, but will not share vehicle platforms, according to DaimlerChrysler U.S. president James Holden. "At some point, you may see a diesel engine developed by Mercedes-Benz show up in a Chrysler group vehicle. Or, an electric powerplant developed by a Chrysler in a Mercedes vehicle," said Holden.

 

HONDA TO SELL LARGE SUVS Honda is planning to produce and sell large SUVs in the U.S. in 2002, according to the Nihon Keizai newspaper. The Japanese financial daily reported the vehicle as the MD-X, the SUV that was introduced by Acura, Honda's luxury brand, at the Detroit Auto Show. Production reportedly will begin in 2002, with about 120,000 vehicles being made annually. The paper names Honda’s new Alabama plant as the site for production.

 

GM EARNINGS FALL Fourth-quarter earnings for General Motors dropped 34 percent, but still exceeded the expectations of Wall Street analysts. Despite the end of the year drop, 1999 profits were up 82 percent to $5.6 billion. J. Michael Losh, GM’s CFO, told TheCarConnection.com that one of the reasons for the drop was a decrease in retail prices, falling about $60 per vehicle in the fourth quarter, and that he "expects to see more of the same" declines in 2000. Losh also said that it was too soon to consider spinning off GM’s OnStar communications unit.

 

STUDY REAFFIRMS TRUCK POPULARITY The family car is no longer a car, but a truck, according to a new study released by The Polk Company. Of vehicle owners with children, minivans were the preference, with 53.6 percent owning one. Sport-utes ran a close second, with 44.7 percent owning a SUV.

 

HYBRIDS TO BE 20 PERCENT OF FUTURE SALES Hybrid vehicles, running on electricity and other fuels, will make up 20 percent of vehicle sales by 2010, predicted Ford chairman, William Clay Ford, Jr. Although hybrids make up only a small percentage of the global market, Ford said, "In the near term, hybrids will make the first substantial inroads into the market." Ford said that its new Th!nk brand will be used to introduce alterative-fueled engines and vehicles.


 
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