Next Kerkorian-DCX Slugfest Due by TCC Team (2/2/2004)
DCX awaits its next court round with battlin’ Kirk Kerkorian.
January Deals Climb, But Fail To Ignite Sales
The average auto incentive per unit increased 35.9 percent year-over-year in January to $2,751 per vehicle, said Autodata. That number looked big considering that auto sales clocked in at a seasonally adjusted selling rate of 16.1 million, down from 16.2 million a year earlier. The incentive levels, noted Merrill Lynch John Casesa, shows price cutting is not only intense, but getting worse, despite Detroit's now often-repeated expectation that incentive spending will moderate in 2004. With end of January inventories heavy, more incentives are coming online for February, such as a generous lease deal initiated over the weekend by GM. GM has been trying to limit its leasing on non-luxury vehicles, but is having to pull out the stops to save the first quarter sales after a sluggish January start to the New Year. Casesa noted, too, that 72-month loans are now between 10 and 20 percent of current loan business and climbing. —Jim Burt
Jan. Sales Disappoint GM, Ford by Joseph Szczesny (2/9/2004)
Asian makes continue to erode U.S. market share.
Werner, Former MBAG Head, Dead at 67
The man who brought new life to the Mercedes-Benz brand has died in Germany. Helmut Werner, 67, led Mercedes-Benz AG from 1993 to 1997, expanding the brand’s lineup with new vehicles like the M-Class and SLK. Werner left MBAG in 1997 when Juergen Schrempp took over as chairman of the company, and then merged it with DaimlerChrysler. Werner also served as chairman of Continental AG prior to his tenure at Benz, and head of the supervisory board of Expo 2000 in Hannover, Germany, after his departure from Mercedes-Benz.
Yost Stepping Down from ArvinMeritor
Larry Yost will step down as CEO of ArvinMeritor, the supplier that aimed last year to take over the much larger Dana Corp. Yost, 65, has been CEO of the company since Arvin Inc. and Meritor Automotive Inc. merged in July 2000, and prior to that, CEO of Meritor. The company has not settled on a successor yet, and Yost has not set an official last day.
GM Recalling Mid-Size SUVs
2002 GMC EnvoyEnlarge Photo
Flint: Detroit’s Losing Markets by Jerry Flint (1/26/2004)
Minivans and small pickups aren’t going the way of the dinosaur — unless you work for the Big 2.5.
Siemens Buying Chrysler Plants
A pair of DaimlerChrysler parts plants in Alabama will be bought by Siemens VDO Automotive, the companies announced on Monday. The plants, which produce electronic parts, will be sold for an undisclosed amount. The companies employ about 2400 workers who make parts worth about $1 billion in sales each year, according to Automotive News.
XM, Sirius Stocks Skittish
Sirius Satellite Radio Monday announced that 2004 and 2005 Mazda vehicles will offer factory installed Sirius on a rolling basis throughout the year with the Tribute SUV, MPV and Miata getting it in the spring and the Mazda3, RX-8 and Mazda6 getting it in the fall.
It wasn't a surprise since Mazda's master, Ford, has chosen to line up with Sirius instead of XM Satellite Radio.
Even as Sirius and XM line up as many exclusive relationships, each is also launching products that will convert the factory-installed version of each other's hardware to play the programming of the other.
Wall Street, meanwhile, is treating both stocks like Internet stocks circa 1999, citing the services' high costs and debt-load and uncertain future popularity.