FIRESTONE FACES FEDS ON WEDS
FIRESTONE MAKES PACT WITH WORKERS
FORD CRITICIZES FIRESTONE IN TESTIMONY
FORD LOOKS TO GOODYEAR
DC MAY RENEGOTIATE DC DEAL
JAGUAR CONSIDERS ALUMINUM
VOLVO, AUTOLIV BECOME EMS
TOYOTA GOES ONSTAR FOR LS
GM CUTS ELDORADO PRODUCTION
PORSCHE PLANS LATIN INVASION
SUBARU WILL BUILD NEW BRAT
TENNECO JOINS NETWORK
FEDS ON WEDS Bridgestone Firestone last Wednesday defended its actions to a
pair of House subcommittees regarding their involvement in the recall of 6.5
million Firestone tires. Though Ford CEO Jac Nasser initially said he would not
attend the hearings, Nasser says he changed his mind after the line of
questioning changed from a technical orientation to one about the company's
reputation. "Now that there are allegations about whether we were open enough or
acted quickly enough, I feel I need to go," Nasser said at a recent press
conference. "The questioning has changed being more technical in
PACT WITH WORKERS In one small glimmer of good news, Bridgestone Firestone
Inc. and its workers’ union officials reached tentative agreement on a new work
contract last Monday, averting a strike that might have shut down the tire maker
as it tries to meet recall demands. The company’s 8000 union members, spread
over nine manufacturing plants, will vote on the undisclosed tentative
agreements over the next two weeks.
CRITICIZES FIRESTONE IN TESTIMONY During congressional testimony, Ford Motor
Company CEO Jac Nasser criticized Bridgestone Firestone's handling of the
recall, and announced plans for the automaker to share tire-company data so as
to provide an "early warning system." Although Ford will still not warranty
tires (as GM does), the automaker will keep its own statistical data on defects
and overseas recalls.
LOOKS TO GOODYEAR Ford Motor Company is considering Goodyear Tire
and Rubber to supply tires for its best-selling, redesigned 2002 Ford Explorer
sport-utility vehicle. Such an arrangement with Goodyear would likely affect
Ford's long-standing relationship with Bridgestone Firestone, tainted by the
recent 6.5-million tire recall.
DC MAY RENEGOTIATE MITSUBISHI DEAL In the wake of Mitsubishi's Japanese recall scandal, DaimlerChrysler AG is reportedly seeking renegotiation of the partnership between the two automakers. DC may now take a stake as high as 40 percent in the struggling Japanese automaker. An entire renegotiation of the arrangement would be required, as the original agreement secured Mitsubishi's independence for ten years. Mitsubishi recently admitted to covering up consumer complaint data for more than twenty years, and Japan's Ministry of Transport is asking Tokyo Police to criminally charge Mitsubishi for falsifying reports.
For more information on the Mitsubishi scandal and how it affects the deal
with DC, click here.
MITSUBISHI BLUNDERS Mitsubishi Motors Corporation
in Japan has announced another embarrassing recall, this time for defective fuel
caps. The automaker recalled about 45,000 Minicab trucks about two weeks ago to
get replacement fuel caps, but found that the replacement caps did not fit.
Mitsubishi has admitted to covering up Japanese consumer complaint data dating
back more than twenty years.
CONSIDERS ALUMINUM Britain’s Birmingham Post says almost-hometown
carmaker Jaguar may build an aluminum-bodied successor to the XJ sedans. A new
plant for aluminum structures would be built near existing Jaguar factories,
possibly for the 2003 model year. If correct, the vehicle would become a
technological kin of the Audi A8, with an aluminum space frame and perhaps a
similarly lean curb weight. Jaguar officials could not be reached for comment on
BECOME EMS Volvo and safety-system supplier Autoliv say they’ve introduced a
new system that automatically calls emergency services after a crash. Called
"Volvo On Call," the new system gives local emergency medical services the exact
location of an accident, using GPS and a cell-phone link, after an airbag
deployment. Operators then try to contact passengers while services speed to the
scene. The system also has an SOS button for emergencies where the driver is
able to call. The system will be offered on the S60, S80, V70 and Cross Country
ONSTAR FOR LS GM’s now ubiquitous OnStar communication system will appear in
the 2001 Lexus LS430, Toyota has confirmed. OnStar uses GPS and cell phones to
track a vehicle in real time, and interfaces with a human-manned call center
that offers concierge and emergency response services. The LS430, the top-line
Lexus sedan, goes on sale Oct. 12. Honda also plans to add OnStar to some Acura
vehicles in the coming model year.
ELDORADO PRODUCTION General Motors has announced that it will lay off 200
Lansing, Michigan, workers and cut production of the Cadillac Eldorado by half,
due to slow sales. The Eldorado has been built at the Lansing Craft Center since
earlier this year, when production of the car was relocated from Detroit. GM
plans to drop the Eldorado after the 2001 model year.
LATIN INVASION Porsche AG plans to more than double its sales in Latin
America over the next three years, reports Reuters. Growth in the region could
be especially fueled by the introduction of the Porsche Cayenne sport-utility
vehicle. Porsche will sell about 250 vehicles in the region this year, although
the automaker expects sales to pass 800 per year by 2003.
BUILD NEW BRAT Subaru has announced that it plans to build a "pickup car"
truck/car hybrid, similar to the ST-X concept car that was unveiled in January
at the Los Angeles auto show, starting in late 2002. The vehicle, which shares
some similarities with Subaru's former Brat pickup car, will be built at
Subaru's Indiana assembly plant. The model will have annual target sales of
24,000 vehicles. Fuji Heavy Industries, Subaru's parent company, also announced
the construction of a new four-cylinder engine plant adjacent to the existing
Indiana facilities. The engine plant is expected to add 255 jobs.
NETWORK Tenneco Automotive will join a new, yet-unnamed Internet-based
parts-distribution network. Other companies involved in the venture are Dana,
Delphi, TRW, Timken, Valeo SA, and Bosch GmbH. Tenneco products include Walker
mufflers and Monroe shocks. The supplier-based online exchange will operate in a
similar manner to Covisint, the automaker-based online exchange that should be
in operation later this fall.