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DAILY EDITION: June 26, 2003

Daily Edition TCC WJR

Daily Edition TCC WJR

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TCC'S DAILY EDITION: June 26, 2003

Chevy Confirms “Cobalt”

2005 Chevrolet Cobalt

2005 Chevrolet Cobalt

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Chevrolet will indeed be calling its new entry-level car the Cobalt. Mary Larson, marketing director for Cavalier and Cobalt, said in a release that the Cobalt will compete against the likes of the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, leaving the new Korean-made Aveo subcompacts to duke it out with the cheapest Hyundais and Kias. The 2005 Cobalt will be built at GM's Lordstown, Ohio, complex.

Mazda Builds Mazda3

2004 Mazda3

2004 Mazda3

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More name games — this time from Mazda, which confirmed on Wednesday that its new compact car will be called the Mazda3. The new vehicle went into production in Japan, where the car will be called Axela instead. The production version of the vehicle will be shown at the Frankfurt show in September, but a thinly disguised version was shown at the New York auto show in April as well. The photo released by Mazda, shown here, is of the production vehicle. The Mazda3 goes on sale in Europe in the fall and is expected to show up in North America early in 2004.

Nissan Pathfinder Moving to Tennessee

As Nissan moves to the final phase of its North American product renaissance, the Pathfinder SUV is moving to the company’s Smyrna, Tenn., assembly plant, where it seems likely it will share a common architecture with the next Xterra and Frontier trucks. Nissan says the new Pathfinder — not to be confused with the Titan-based, full-size Pathfinder Armada SUV built in Mississippi — will enter production in Smyrna in the fall of 2004. The company will add 800 new jobs at the sprawling factory and its Decherd, Tenn., engine plant to accommodate the new vehicle.

Nissan Lays Foundation in Miss. by TCC Team (6/2/2003)
Nissan’s betting on Mississippi for big things ahead.

Polk: U.S. Brands Get More Loyal Customers

The midyear report from R.L. Polk & Co. finds that American brands are more likely to have loyal returning buyer than import brands. General Motors has some of the most loyal customers; 68.7 percent of GM owners who shopped for new vehicles from October 2002 to March 2003 returned to the GM dealer. Ford’s main blue-oval division saw a return rate of 57.6 percent, while the American brands as a group took ten of twelve model categories ranked by Polk. Get the full results

GM Writing Off Fuel Cell Reformers

Perhaps the biggest obstacle to widespread use of the fuel cell is finding a suitable means of storing hydrogen onboard a vehicle, says Alan Taub, executive director of General Motors’ Science Labs. But the automaker is “shifting away from” the once-promising strategy of producing hydrogen, as needed, with a device dubbed the onboard reformer, Taub tells Onboard reformers are essentially mobile refineries, able to generate hydrogen from more conventional liquid fuels – GM has focused on gasoline, while other makers, including DaimlerChrysler, prefer methanol. But the bulky devices pose a variety of problems, such as “compromising the packaging of a vehicle,” notes Taub, who asks, “Why put that investment cost on every vehicle?” GM will now emphasize a hydrogen production system that produces the lightweight gas either at central refineries or right at the service station. The automaker continues to believe commercially viable fuel cell technology could begin to reach market by the beginning of the next decade, though many observers are warning it could be closer to 2020. —TCC Team

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