Geely Plans First Chinese-Car Debut in
Chinese automaker Geely will unveil the first Chinese car to reach the annual North American International Auto Show next month. The mid-size sedan might have the less-than-inspiring name of 7151 CK, but it's likely to generate some appeal with its price tag of around $10,000, barely half what comparable Japanese, American, and Big Three models go for, and well under even the South Korean competition. Geely intends to start selling both the sedan and a two-seat sports car in
2006 Detroit Auto Show Preview (12/4/2005)
More sheetmetal than your average showroom.
HUMMER Considering More Models
Look for still more products to expand the lineup at HUMMER, General Motors' off-road brand, said division general manager Susan Docherty. The addition of the smaller H3 model has resulted in a 93-percent increase in sales this year, she noted, despite the run-up in fuel prices and the overall decline in the SUV market. "There is room for this brand to expand beyond the segments we're competing in now," Docherty said. "But we have to be very sure that as we grow into other segments, it needs to be segments in which the proposition of iconic design and unparalleled off-road capabilities resonate." That would rule out sports cars and minivans, HUMMER's general manager emphasized. But, "I could definitely see people who are pickup drivers needing off-road capabilities. But we want to be very careful and plan what that growth will be."
HUMMER has been especially successful tapping into the booming aftermarket, Docherty said following a taping of the Autoline:
Q&A: HUMMER's Susan Docherty (12/18/2005)
Defying critics and oil prices, HUMMER sales soar.
Talking and Driving On the Rise
More of you are talking your way across
General Motors, Ford and even the Chrysler Group need to look beyond cuts in healthcare benefits as they restructure if they plan to regain strength in the automotive industry, says one of the industry's top observers.
Laurie Harbour-Felax, a consultant and analyst who studies the domestic industry extensively, said that domestic carmakers still have a long way to go to catch their top Japanese competitors.
During the first part of the 2005, Nissan made $1,826 per vehicle sold while GM lost $1,227, a gap of $3,300. Even the profitable Chrysler Group made only a fraction of Nissan's per-vehicle profit, at $186 per vehicle, said Harbour-Felax, who was a principal in Harbour & Associates for many year before setting up her own firm this year.
To keep pace with Asian competitors, domestic carmakers must figure out ways to use more common parts and vehicle architectures and limit warranty expenses and recall costs, which are still too high now despite the substantial improvements in quality.
American companies score much better in initial quality surveys but the longer-term quality that shapes public perception of a vehicle and a company still seems to lag behind. Domestic carmakers spend between $200 to $300 more per vehicle on recalls and that has to be eliminated, she said. Harbour-Felax suggested domestic automakers have to learn to work more closely with their suppliers and treat them as part of the solution, not the problem.
Detroit Needs More Than Healthcare Cuts? (12/18/2005)
Analysts question if healthcare givebacks will be enough for a turnaround.
Delphi Corp. is asking a federal bankruptcy judge for more time to file a reorganization that will minimize the disruption to the company's business.
The new 21-page motion asking for the extension appears to bow to the fact that it will take longer than expected to prepare an acceptable reorganization plan and to negotiate a new labor contract with
Robert "Steve" Miller, Delphi's chief executive officer, had indicated prior to last week's discussions that
However, Miller's iron-fisted effort at reforming has stirred up an enormous backlash and it now has lost a lot of the momentum it had when
Delphi Wants More Time to Plan (12/18/2005)
Company files for extension of bankruptcy proceedings.
Ford, UAW Agree on Healthcare Cuts
United Auto Workers leaders are campaigning among Ford Motor Company workers for the ratification of changes to healthcare plans that will help save the company $850 million yearly.
Ron Gettelfinger, UAW president, acknowledged that this week's ratification vote could be tight. The vote offers the potential for disgruntled Ford workers to protest at a time when the company is preparing for another round of cutbacks that could lead to the closure of as many as 10 plants and the elimination of 30,000 jobs. So far, Ford has offered few details about the impending cutbacks.
However, Ford's management, mindful of the possibility of a backlash in the union's ranks, also announced changes in the health benefits of salaried workers. Active and retired salaried employees will now wind up paying for about one-third of their health benefits through higher premiums, co-pays and deductibles, Ford officials said. They had been paying about 26 percent of the costs. The cuts will take effect in June 2006. Ford also said the company will award merit raises next year.
Gettelfinger also said Ford has agreed to union demands to spend more on innovation and high-technology products. As part of the healthcare agreement, Ford will spend more than $1 billion on high-tech products over the next five years, said Gettelfinger, who has been critical of domestic industry executives for not paying enough attention to innovation.
Ford, UAW Agree on Healthcare Cuts (12/18/2005)
Americans will travel in potentially record-high numbers this Christmas-New Year's holiday, despite travel costs that are up nearly across the board. AAA estimates that 63.50 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this holiday, a 1.7 percent increase from last year's 62.42 million travelers.
|American Axle & Mfr. Holdings Inc.||AXL||18.54|
|Ballard Power Systems Inc.||BLDP||4.55|
|DaimlerChrysler AG (ADR)||DCX||50.94|
|Dura Automotive Systems||DRRA||2.29|
|Ford Motor Company||F||8.30|
|General Motors Corporation||GM||21.89|
|Goodyear Tire & Rubber||GT||17.50|
|Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR)||HMC||28.51|
|Johnson Controls Inc.||JCI||73.94|
|Magna International Inc.||MGA||69.25|
|Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR)||NSANY||20.40|
|Sonic Automotive Inc.||SAH||22.46|
|Sirius Satellite Radio||SIRI||6.95|
|Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR)||TM||98.28|
|TRW Automotive Holdings||TRW||26.13|
|Tower Automotive Inc.||TWRAQ.PK||0.07|
|United Auto Group Inc.||UAG||38.75|
|XM Satellite Radio Hold.||XMSR||29.64|