TCC Daily Edition: 8/16/01

August 16, 2001

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LOOKING GOOD: CHRYSLER SHOWING OFF NEW VERSIONS OF PT CRUISER

As if the PT Cruiser wasn t good enough looking all by itself, DaimlerChrysler has given journalists a sneak preview of three new versions of one of the hottest vehicles the automaker has ever produced. Look to TheCarConnection.com for photos and all the gorgeous details later today.

GM PAVES THE ROAD FOR PROFITABILITY IN EUROPE WITH CUTS

The details are in. General Motors German subsidiary Adam Opel says it will boost revenues and cut costs (about $1.8 billion in costs) to return to profitability in 2003. The broad framework was outlined in the carmaker s Olympia program, geared toward putting GM Europe and Opel in the black. Consistent and sustainable were two words used by Pat Campbell, vice president of finance at GM Europe to describe desired profitability levels at the company. In order to reach those levels, the company will need to achieve revenue and cost improvements in excess of two billion euros over the next two years, he said. Part of the mechanics involves cutting capacity by 15 percent. Closing a plant is not being ruled out, but Campbell and CEO Carl-Peter Forster said they might decide instead to downsize several smaller facilities. Job cuts would likely be, Forster told a press conference, in the small single-digit thousands.

DAEWOO PROSPECTS GET BOOST WITH FOURTH STRAIGHT MONTH OF PROFITS

The prospects of GM taking over Daewoo brightened with the posting of the beleaguered company s fourth straight month of earnings before interest and taxes in July. Daewoo earned $10 million on sales of $357 million. Notably, the company said the questionable (at least in GM s view) Pupyong plant near Seoul contributed some 40 percent of those earnings in July. We have proven the Pupyong plant can be profitable," a spokesperson said. "We believe GM will be interested in the plant." Analysts believe GM is shunning the operation because it is one of Daewoo s oldest and least cost efficient plants.

BMW DESIGNER SIGNS WITH FORD S PAG

Former BMW designer Henrik Fisker, whose signature designs have included the exterior of the Z07 concept car and the exterior of the production version of the Z8 roadster, will be creative director of Ford Motor Co. s Premier Auto Group and design director at Aston Martin. Fisker, 38, replaces Ian Callum, who moves from Aston Martin to head design at Jaguar Cars Ltd., another Ford unit. Fisker was CEO of BMW s Designworks USA. The Newbury Park, Calif., company designs concept cars and other products, including bicycle seats and office organizers. Fisker began as a designer at BMW in 1989. At Ford s PAG, he will lead a team of 30 London designers working on product design and marketing strategy. The moves take effect on September 1.

TIREMAKER CONTINUES ASSAULT ON FORD AND EXPLORER

In a second day of testimony in the first U.S. lawsuit to make it to trial, tiremaker Bridgestone continued to point its corporate fingers at Ford Motor Co., maker of the Explorer involved in most of the crashes involving the tires in question. While Ford is not directly involved in the suit, having settled privately with the family, it is being accused by the tiremaker s attorneys, who say the vehicle s design is to blame. A Bridgestone attorney also asserted that the driver was negligent and had no experience driving the Explorer.

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