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Week of October 4, 1999


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FORD, UAW REACH AGREEMENT
DC HQ RUMORS FLY
DC TO BUILD BRUTE-UTE
AUDI TT GETS HANDLING FIX
FORD, PEUGEOT INK DIESEL DEAL
STATE FARM NAILED FOR USING ‘FAKE’ PARTS
EPA ORDERS BIG TRUCKS CLEAN
MERCURY TO LIVE?
L-M HEATS UP WEB WARS
AUTOBYTEL STARTS AUCTIONS

 

FORD, UAW REACH AGREEMENT After weeks of negotiating, Ford and the UAW have reached a tentative agreement on a four-year labor pact. As a part of the agreement, Ford will be allowed to spin off its Visteon parts unit, while Visteon’s 24,000 workers remain Ford employees. Ford, which hasn’t had a UAW labor strike since 1976, agreed to maintain those employees in addition to expected 3-percent raises in each year of the contract and a signing bonus. Details of the agreement will be released Wednesday at a press conference.

For more on the Ford-UAW pact, click here.

 

 

DC HQ RUMORS FLY After last week’s rumors, we half-expected DaimlerChrysler’s headquarters to move into its parent’s basement. Independently, various world news sources reported that the company was consolidating its headquarters in three locations: Stuttgart, Auburn Hills, and even New York City. DC officials negated all three rumors, but did confirm, according to Frankfurt’s Allgemeine Zei

tung daily, that more board meetings would be held in New York City to gain more favor with financial analysts. DaimlerChrysler is seeking ways to increase its share price, which has fallen by about a third since April.

 

 

 

DC TO BUILD BRUTE UTE At long last, DaimlerChrysler will join Ford and Chevrolet in the brute-ute wars. As a part of a $48 billion capital program on new products, DC announced last week that it would expand its Windsor, Ontario

, truck plant to the tune of $400 million. The investment in the plant, which builds commercial full-size vans, will allow the company to build a massive sport-utility vehicle to compete with the new Ford Excursion and the Chevrolet Suburban. The Toronto Globe & Mail reports that some 50,000 copies of the new vehicle, code-named SJ, will be produced each year beginning in 2004. The vehicle is said to be an addition to the Jeep lineup, which may prove troublesome for the brand’s hallmark of off-road capability.

 

 

AUDI TT GETS HANDLING FIX Owners of Audi TT coupes are reporting problems with the car’s handling — and Audi is sending in a fix for all new TTs entering production. Germany’s Stern magazine reports that the TT’s rear end "swings" out during braking in hard corners, and that Audi has revised the car to fix the tendency. "We're reacting to the criticism of our customers,'' Rudolph Schiller, a spokesman for the Volkswagen AG unit, told Reuters. Beginning in December, the magazine reports, a new stabilization method will be offered — likely an electronic stability program — but vehicles already built will be modified in another unspecified way. The magazine states the handling problem has resulted in several accidents.

 

 

FORD, PEUGEOT INK DIESEL DEAL France's PSA Peugeot Citroen and Ford will continue an existing diesel-engine production deal, both companies announced last week. As one of Europe’s largest diesel makers, Peugeot is maintaining its independence through several similar agreements with Ford, Fiat, and other car companies. Recently, DaimlerChrysler confirmed it was talking to the French company about supplying a suitable platform for a new four-seat Smart microcar.


 
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