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TCC's Daily Edition: 10/09/01


SATURN DUBS NEXT COMPACT “ION”
As TheCarConnection.com reported last week, the next compact sedan and coupe from the Saturn division will be called ION. The ION compacts are to arrive in the fourth quarter of 2002 as 2003 models. The sedan will make its debut before the coupe, and both will be larger out and inside, with new powertrains, GM officials said on Monday. Why the new nomenclature? Jill Lajdziak, vice president of Saturn sales, service and marketing, says that "consumers associate the name with concepts such as energy, movement and smart engineering,” and that the name will signify the cars will be more than makeovers of the current eleven-year-old cars. The ION will be the first vehicle to be spawned by GM’s global Delta platform, a small-car chassis that will also spin off a new Saab 9-3, several Pontiacs and Chevrolets, even some Alfa Romeos.
Spy Shots: '03 Saturn S-Series by Brenda Priddy (10/1/2001)

TCC’S MCCLUGGAGE IN HALL OF FAME
Tonight’s inductions in the Automotive Hall of Fame will usher in another small group of giants into the ranks of the storied, but this year there is a twist to the proceedings: among the inductees, who traditionally have been inventors, engineers, industry giants, executives, and innovators, there will be for the first time a journalist. And that journalist will be a woman to boot, TCC’s own Denise McCluggage. The ceremony takes place in Dearborn, Mich., this evening.
McCluggage in Hall of Fame by Jim McCraw (10/8/2001)


WILL GAS PRICES STAY STABLE?

Analysts are predicting steady oil prices even in the wake of the U.S. counterattacks in the Middle East, according to the Reuters news service. While past crises and strikes in the region have caused spikes, the price of oil has plunged in recent weeks and is not expected to rise significantly. The same analysts cite Afghanistan’s relative distance from the strategic Gulf region, as well as the promise of countries such as Saudi Arabia and other Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members to keep production running normally, which should mean oil will stay around last Friday’s $22 a barrel.
TCC Tip: Sipping Fuel by Marty Padgett (10/1/2001)
GM TO TAKE IT SLOW WITH DAEWOO
General Motors is anxious to see results from its proposed investment in South Korea’s Daewoo Motors — but it won’t move forward to sign a final deal until it completes due diligence and other investigations into the ailing automaker, the company said on Monday. Last month, GM signed a memorandum of understanding with Daewoo to create a joint venture that would absorb some of Daewoo’s carmaking assets, including four assembly plants with a total capacity of 500,000 units per year. GM Asia Pacific President Rudolph Schlais, Jr. told Reuters on Monday that "their interest level, from a creditor's standpoint especially, is to go fast, and from a company standpoint and a brand standpoint is to go fast." Prior to GM’s interest in the company, Ford offered to acquire the company for $6 billion but backed out of the deal after digging through Daewoo’s books. Along with Daewoo, GM also holds stakes in Japanese automakers Isuzu, Suzuki and Subaru (Fuji Heavy Industries), as well as a stake in Italy’s Fiat Auto.
GM-Daewoo Make a Deal
by Joseph Szczesny (9/24/2001)
FORD BRIT BRANDS WORKING ON MERGER DETAILS
Ford owns a big chunk of Britain’s motoring brands — and now it’s busy finding ways to make them work together. Bob Dover, chairman of the newly minted Aston Martin Jaguar Land Rover North America group, says the brands are now looking into sharing engineering and testing resources as a way to produce vehicles more efficiently. The three brands, combined into one business unit and officially relocated to California in August, are said to be reviewing their purchasing, manufacturing and marketing efforts, and looking for ways to reduce development and marketing costs for each of the three nameplates. One of the first joint efforts could be a new Aston Martin now being penned in Land Rover’s technical center in Solihull, England.
Ford Pools Brit Brands by TCC Team (8/13/2001)
FORD SLOWS DOWN OHIO MORE
Sluggish sales of the Mercury Villager/Nissan Quest minivans and Econoline full-sizers have forced Ford to schedule more down time for its Avon Lake, Ohio, assembly workers. Last week Ford announced that it would shut the Villager line down for two weeks due to slumping demand; on Monday, Ford said it would also temporarily halt work on one of two shifts that build the big Econoline vans. Econoline sales are off 20 percent from last year’s numbers, while the Villager is slated to expire next year when Ford’s production contract with Nissan to build the Quest ends.


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