MILLION-DOLLAR MISSIONS: INDUSTRY AID CONTINUES IN TIME OF TRAGEDY
In contrast to the auto industry’s downturn in the North American market, but completely in accord with the spirit of giving that followed last week’s terrorist attacks on the United States, gifts of aid continue to pour forth from industry coffers. From Detroit, Michigan comes word that the UAW and DaimlerChrysler are jointly donating $1 million to the American Red Cross supporting victims and assist relief efforts in the wake of the attacks on New York and Washington D.C. In Spartanburg, South Carolina, the BMW Group has committed $1 million and ten new BMW X5 SUVs to the Red Cross. BMW is also donating 100 police motorcycles to the city of New York to replace those lost in the NYPD motor pool located near the World Trade Center. Top-tier automotive supplier Johnson Controls has also announced a $1 million donation to the Red Cross.
Carmakers Stunned by Attack by Joseph Szczesny (9/17/2001)
AUTO PLANTS FEEL REPERCUSSIONS FROM ATTACKS
U.S. factories are feeling the supply squeeze resulting from air-freight traffic and international border delays following increased security clampdowns amid terrorist fears. Carmakers have been especially hard hit. The downside of "just-in-time" delivery—minimal back stock of parts—caused auto plants on both sides of the U.S./Canada border to close up shop on Thursday. Air deliveries of parts—halted since Tuesday—started up again on Thursday, and things began, slowly, to return to normal at most plants on Friday. The slow border traffic also began to improve on Friday, but heavy truck traffic continued throughout the weekend.
FORD LOWERS THIRD-QUARTER ESTIMATES
In the dim light of slower sales and the consequences of production slowed by terrorism (see the above story), Ford Motor Company has trimmed back its earnings and production predictions for the third quarter of this year. When the quarter closes at the end of this month, Ford estimates that it will fall short of the current earnings expectations of ten cents a share. And the company says its factories, which anticipated a build of around 930,000 vehicles in the third quarter, are now expected to produce only between 810,000 and 820,000. A year ago, that build number was up over the one million mark.
|August Nightmare for Big 3 by Joseph Szczesny||(9/10/2001)|
PIRELLI BUILDING REVOLUTIONARY TIRE FACTORY IN GEORGIA
Pirelli Tire North America has begun construction on a $140 million tire plant in Rome, Georgia. The 400,000-square-foot facility will showcase Pirelli’s innovative MIRS (Modular Integrated Robotized System) tire-production system, featuring between four and 15 completely automated, self-contained production stations. Each station is capable of building a tire every 72 minutes. The site, which will also house Pirelli’s North American headquarters, is set to be up and running by sometime next summer.
GRAND CHEROKEES NOT AT FAULT ACCORDING TO DAIMLERCHRYSLER
In answering inquiries posed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), DaimlerChrysler AG says it can find no mechanical defects associated with the automated transmissions in 1995-1998 Jeep Grand Cherokees. At issue is a series of 48 complaints to NHTSA alleging that the Jeeps shifted out of Park and into Reverse without any bidding from their drivers. NHTSA, which began its investigation in July, has reported that the mysterious phenomenon of "inadvertent rollaway in reverse" has led to 32 crashes and 14 injuries. Chrysler is now concentrating its efforts on human factors, studying the driver’s interaction with the vehicle and its gearbox, which may offer some answers.