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Daily Edition: Mar. 23, 2006

Nissan Plans New York Debut for New Altima

2007 Nissan Altima

2007 Nissan Altima

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The New York auto show will be the first public display of the new 2007 Nissan Altima, the company confirmed on Wednesday. A new body style arrives in 2007 on a new "D" platform, promising better body rigidity and a newly penned suspension. Nissan's Xtronic CVT will be standard on all models, while the 3.5-liter V-6 and 2.5-liter four-cylinder engines will remain on the roster. On sale in the fall of 2006, the Altima, Nissan says, will be one of the best-performing front-drive sedans on the market.


Scion's tC Release Series 2.0 Coming to N.Y., Too

Scion's latest Release Series 2.0 will show off its goods at the New York show, too - but this time the special edition is based on the brand's two-door tC coupe. On sale in mid-April, the tC 2.0 gets Blue Blitz paint, 17-inch wheels, side and curtain airbags, and a new stainless-steel grille. A Pioneer sound system is outfitted, too, and comes with three months of standard XM service, along with an iPod jack. Scion says only 2600 copies will be built, to be sold for $18,260 each.


Sweeping Buyout Planned at GM

The United Auto Workers has reached agreements with Delphi Corp. and General Motors Corp. on a restructuring plan that will speed up the retirement or transfer of more than 100,000 blue-collar workers from both companies.

GM officials also said the agreement will include a combination of early-retirement incentives and other considerations to help reduce employment levels at both GM and Delphi in a manner that benefits both eligible employees and both companies.

"When we announced the capacity rationalization and employment reduction plan late last year, we said we'd be working with UAW leadership to develop an accelerated attrition program that would help us achieve needed cost reductions as rapidly as possible, while at the same time responding to the needs of our employees," said GM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner.

"We are pleased that this agreement will help fulfill that important objective. In addition, the agreement will enhance the prospects for GM, the UAW, and Delphi to reach a broad-based consensual resolution of the Delphi restructuring."

The program will be offered to all GM hourly employees, but overall acceptance rates will depend on individual employee decisions. The program also permits the flow of UAW-represented Delphi employees back to GM until September 2007. In addition, eligible UAW-represented Delphi employees may elect to retire from Delphi or flow back to GM and retire.

"We remain focused on the transformation of Delphi in order to emerge successfully from the Chapter 11 reorganization process and provide a strong foundation for our future," said Delphi President and Chief Operating Officer Rodney O'Neal. "An accelerated attrition plan will help enable the transformation of our U.S. manufacturing and support operations into a much more competitive cost base."

The agreement is subject to approval by the Bankruptcy Judge overseeing Delphi's bankruptcy proceedings. Approximately 13,000 hourly union-represented employees may be eligible to participate in the plan, Delphi officials said.

In a key portion of the agreement, GM said it will provide substantial financial support under the proposed plan, which is subject to bankruptcy court approval. GM also agreed to take back 5000 workers as part of the agreement, which capped off more than a week of intensive negotiations between GM, Delphi, and the United Auto Workers.

GM has pledged to assume the financial obligations related to the lump-sum payments to be made to eligible Delphi U.S. hourly employees accepting normal or voluntary retirement incentives and certain post-retirement employee benefit obligations related to Delphi employees who flow back to GM under the plan. GM expects to record the cost associated with the attrition program in 2006. The cost will be incurred as employees agree to participate, according to GM, which last week raised its estimates of the cost of the buyouts and restructuring in a filing with the SEC.

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