GM HOLDS LINE ON EARNINGS AND PRODUCTION ESTIMATES
Less than a week after Ford announced a significant drop in both its vehicle-production and earnings-per-share estimates for the third quarter of this year, General Motors says that it’s sticking with its predictions. Eighty-three cents per share and a three-month build of 1.22 million vehicles are roughly in line with previous GM estimates for the quarter, which ends on September 30. At the same time, GM President Rick Wagoner said that the outlook for the last three months of the year were "more difficult to predict."
Earnings Watch on at GM, Ford by Joseph Szczesny (8/20/2001)
CANADIAN UNION FEARS/FIGHTS LOSS OF BIG 3 FACTORIES
Despite the strength of the U.S. dollar in Canada, the Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) feels certain that it is looking at the closure of three plants, one from each of the Big 3 automakers. At issue are General Motors’ Ste. Therese, Quebec facility, DaimlerChrysler’s Windsor, Ontario unit, and Ford’s Oakville factory, also in Ontario. The GM plant builds Chevrolet Camaros and Pontiac Firebirds (both discontinued after next year). The Chrysler line in Windsor, which produces full-size vans, is slated to close in July, 2003. And while Ford’s F-series is the top-selling vehicle in North America, the company’s Oakville, Ontario facility is not on the list of factories building the next-generation full-size pickup. In response to their fears, CAW officials are conducting meetings with Big 3 executives, reporting that the three factories alone account for seven percent of the assembly jobs in Canada.
MATERIALS INNOVATION: FIVE-MPH-IMPACT GRILLE
Lacks Enterprises of Southfield, Michigan have given car stylists a little more freedom to do front-end design. This freedom comes thanks to the company's HIPP-140 (High Impact Plated Plastic), a material that can sustain a five-mph impact without suffering any deformation or damage. That means designers can legally integrate the grille placement within the frontal-collision impact zone (and be free of the "big-lip" bumper look, if they so choose). The most visible beneficiary to date of this technology is the 2002 Ford Thunderbird, which uses HIPP-140 for its distinctive grille.
2002 Ford Thunderbird by TCC Team (5/28/2001)
TOYOTA INTRODUCES AVALON SPORT LUXURY PACKAGE
In an effort to quicken the pulse of buyers for its Avalon sedan, Toyota Motor Sales has announced a "Sport Luxury Package" for 2002. The package is available on the XL model, and includes 16-inch alloy wheels and a rear-deck spoiler. Inside, the Sport Luxury Avalons get power seats trimmed in leather, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a JBL audio system and remote keyless entry. Toyota says that the package, available beginning in November, offers "significant savings" over buying the features individually, but the company has yet to announce its price.
Toyota Video Library (7/20/2001)
VOLVO OPENS WEST COAST PARTS CENTER
Even likable, safety-minded Swedish niche cars need to grow up sometime, and Volvo Cars North America—part of Ford’s Premier Automotive Group—is doing just that. The company’s increasing popularity stateside has inspired it to open a new 200,000-square-foot parts distribution center in Ontario, California. "Volvo has experienced significant sales growth in the United States," said Thomas Forsman, General Manager, VCNA Operations, "and consistent with our commitment to service, we must assure that when customers buy our product we are able to support them."
Volvo Video Library (7/20/2001)