DAILY EDITION: Sept. 26, 2002

September 26, 2002

DAILY EDITION: Sept. 26, 2002

2004 Pontiac Grand Prix

2004 Pontiac Grand Prix

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2004 GRAND PRIX READY FOR SPRING
Pontiac will show off the 2004 Grand Prix this week at the Texas State Fair — but you don’t have to get horse hockey on your shoes here to see it. The ’04 Grand Prix gets smoothed out and styled up, though it doesn’t grow any larger. There are three models in the lineup: GT, GTP and GTP with the Competition Group. The GT gets twin exhausts and 16-inch wheels, standard traction control and ABS, an interior blessed with higher quality trim, as well as a 200-hp version of the venerable 3.8-liter V-6.

2004 Pontiac Grand Prix

2004 Pontiac Grand Prix

Enlarge Photo
The GTP adds supercharging for 250 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Both engine variations have electronic throttle control. The GTP with the Competition Group, which Pontiac expects to account for 10 percent of Grand Prix sales, adds 17-inch wheels with 142-mph-rated tires and TAPshift (Touch Activated Power) control to the automatic tranny. For accessibility, the rear doors swing open 82 degrees, the trunk opening is 10 inches wider, and the lift-over height is almost six inches lower. Couple that with flat-folding rear and front-passenger seats and the Grand Prix can swallow a kayak, GM says. The new Grand Prix begins assembly at GM’s Oshawa plant in the first quarter of 2003.
GM Sketches Out '03 Concepts(8/19/2002)

FORD TO BOOST Q4 PRODUCTION
Ford Chairman and CEO Bill Ford says his company will boost production in the fourth quarter. Strong sales in the U.S. means fewer cars on the lot for 2003, and though Ford characterized the increases to Reuters as “not a lot,” the announcement had a positive effect on Ford’s stock, boosting it to nearly $10 a share. In recent days, Ford’s stock has sunk to new lows, because of problems with its Ford Credit subsidiary. Ford’s production increase means it will build more than the 960,000 vehicles originally planned in the fourth quarter.
Industry Outlook Clouding Over by Joseph Szczesny (9/23/2002)

CHRYSLER WILL PROFIT IN Q3, Q4
Chrysler says it will turn a profit in the third and fourth quarters of 2002. Reuters reports that Chrysler Group president Dieter Zetsche confirms the prediction, adding that two more quarters of profit would put the company ahead of its break-even goal for the year. Zetsche, in Paris for this week’s auto show press days, didn’t specify how much profit the company would post for the two quarters, however. Chrysler posted a $408 billion profit in the second quarter.
DC, Ford Could Face CAW Strike by Joseph Szczesny (9/23/2002)

CHRYSLER TRIES AGAIN TO CRACK EUROPEAN MARKET
The U.S. arm of DaimlerChrysler AG has spent years trying to find a way to build demand for its brand in Europe, but so far with little success. While its Jeeps and minivans can be seen on the streets of Paris and other cities across the continent, Chrysler can claim barely a 0.7-percent share of the competitive European market. That doesn’t mean it’s giving up, according to Dieter Zetsche, CEO of the U.S. carmaker. “We believe we can create steady growth and double our volume in the (upcoming) three to five year timeframe,” he declared during a press preview of the Paris Motor Show. Zetsche stressed that Chrysler will not try to come up with products specifically geared for Europe. Quite the contrary. To succeed, it needs “very unique, pushing-the-envelope type products,” such as the California Cruiser, a two-toned version of the PT Cruiser, which is getting its first showing in Europe. Chrysler would have to make some concessions, Zetsche acknowledged, in the form of right-hand-drive and diesel engines. Diesels now account for nearly half the overall market in Europe. —TCC Team

IRS CUTS MILEAGE DEDUCTION
The Internal Revenue Service will be stingier with its mileage deduction next year. Runzheimer International recommended, and the IRS accepted, a half-cent cut in the standard per-mile business deduction to 36 cents, effective January 1. The Rochester, Wisc.-based management consulting firm has made its recommendation to the IRS since 1980, and explains the cut as the result of falling gas prices.

SPECIAL REPORT: PARIS AUTO SHOW

The Paris Auto Show press days have begun, and already a handful of concepts have made their debut. TCC will report from Paris through the week, with special reports on the introductions of the Porsche Cayenne, VW Touareg and Ferrari Enzo — you can stay tuned by clicking into our 2002 Paris Show index of coverage.

2002 Dodge Razor concept

2002 Dodge Razor concept

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SURVIVING BY A RAZOR’S EDGE?
Chrysler’s popular Razor concept vehicle may be in for a reprieve. Dodge unveiled the retro-styled roadster at the Detroit auto show last January, but despite strong public response, it had looked like Chrysler wouldn’t put the orange-colored coupe into production. Well, speaking at a preview of the Paris Motor Show, the automaker’s CEO, Dieter Zetsche, suggested Chrysler is having second thoughts. “Razor is not in front position to go into production,” Zetsche said, quickly adding that, “this is not a ‘no.’” —TCC Team

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