DC-MITSU DEAL DONE, SAYS
RESIDUALS FROM ROVER BREAKUP
GM CONTINUES TO TANGO
FIAT TO PROPOSE TO VOLVO, SCANIA
RENAULT, SAMSUNG CONTINUE NEGOTIATIONS
M-B C-CLASS DEBUTS
SUBARU’S CONCEPT ST-X TO BECOME SUV FOR U.S.
NISSAN’S HIRSHBERG TO RETIRE
SUVS GET CAR-FRIENDLY
DAEWOO SALE EXPECTED BY SEPTEMBER
EV1S CAN BE FIXED, BUT NOT EASILY
FEDS SNIFF AROUND ONLINE SUPPLY SITE
FORMER GM EXEC SETS UP NEW WEB SITE
DC-MITSU DEAL DONE, SAYS KYODO Japan’s Kyodo news agency reports that a deal between DaimlerChrysler and Mitsubishi has been completed as of Saturday. The deal, in which DC would take a 33.4-percent stake in Mitsu, is in the form of a letter of agreement that will allow the automakers to continue discussions past this week. On March 29, Mitsubishi must make a decision regarding the future of NedCar, the Dutch joint-venture assembly plant it shares with Ford’s Volvo unit. Reports suggest that DC will purchase Ford’s share in the plant as well. DaimlerChrysler will gain veto power over Mitsubishi board decisions.
For more on the DC-Mitsu deal, click here
RESIDUALS FROM ROVER BREAKUP After agreeing to
buy Land Rover, Ford is in the logical position to acquire Rover’s R&D
division, according to British Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers.
Meanwhile, Rover’s new owner, Alchemy Partners, announced it will hire Chris
Woodwark, a former exec at Rolls-Royce and Rover, to head the new company. BMW
still has a lot to work out before the sale is complete, including cooperating
with the British government to try to minimize the job cuts when the sale goes
through. Despite all of the forward steps to sell Rover to Alchemy, the British
government still says it’s not too late for other bidders and U.K. millionaire
John Hemming said he’s gathered five investors in an effort to place a rival
GM CONTINUES TO TANGO General Motors forged an alliance
with Fiat partially to keep it away from competitors, according to the head of
GM’s Adam Opel AG unit. Although Fiat has a put option with GM, Fiat chairman
Paolo Fresco said that he didn’t think it would be selling the remaining stake
to its new American partner. Separately, a CNBC news report that News Corp. and
a subsidiary of AT&T were interested in buying GM to get at its Hughes’
satellite TV unit caused GM stock to jump. GM declined to comment on the report,
while a News Corp. spokesperson said it was false.
FIAT TO PROPOSE TO VOLVO, SCANIA After announcing an
alliance with General Motors last week, Fiat is contemplating a deal with
truckmakers AB Volvo and Scania AB. The European Union recently rejected a
proposed merger between the two truckmakers, which would have made it the
world’s second-largest truck and bus manufacturer. Milan’s daily newspaper said
that it was likely Fiat and Iveco, its truck unit, would only be interested in
bidding for Scania.
RENAULT, SAMSUNG CONTINUE NEGOTIATIONS Renault will
start negotiating with Samsung’s creditors again next week in an effort to buy
the Korean automaker. Samsung’s creditors said that it would issue a formal
counter-offer this week to Renault. Of the talks next week, one of the main
creditors said it "expects Renault to change its position" on the purchase price
or there will not be a deal.
M-B C-CLASS DEBUTS Mercedes-Benz has taken the covers off its redesigned C-Class, according to a report in Automotive News. Sources told Automotive News’ sister publication Autoweek that the ultra-power C32 AMG model will have a supercharged 3.2-liter V-6 that produces at least 320 horsepower. Other revisions include an upgrade from a double-wishbone suspension system to a three-link unit made primarily out of aluminum. The C-Class is slated to hit U.S. dealers this fall as a 2001 model.
SUBARU’S CONCEPT ST-X TO BECOME SUV FOR U.S. Subaru’s
parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries will develop a new SUV for the North
American market that is based on the part-car, part-truck ST-X concept vehicle
introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Japan’s Nihon Keizai reported
that the new SUV, which could arrive as early as 2002, will be supplied to
dealers who have relationships with GM, who owns a stake in Subaru. The vehicle
is to be assembled at the Subaru-Isuzu plant in Indiana.
NISSAN’S HIRSHBERG TO RETIRE Jerry Hirschberg, head of
Nissan’s southern California design studio, Nissan Design International, will
retire after a 20-year stint with the company, according to an Automotive
News report. His last day with the company, June 30, is his 60th
birthday and will be the day the new Z car design will be finished. Hirshberg,
who plans to continue working with Nissan as a consultant, said that it is
possible he will continue to appear in Nissan TV commercials, since his designs
will debut until 2003.
SUVS GET CAR-FRIENDLY Many auto manufacturers have said
they will be making modifications to future SUVs to help reduce the risk of
injury to others during accidents, according to a New York Times article.
The changes will be designed to reduce the possibility of the SUVs riding over
the bumpers and doorsills of a small vehicle. General Motors, Ford and
DaimlerChrysler as well as Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Mitsubishi have all said
they will make changes.
DAEWOO SALE EXPECTED BY SEPTEMBER The impending sale
of Korean carmaker Daewoo Motor should be completed by September, said the head
of the committee overseeing the restructuring. Oh Ho-keun said that the field of
candidates to purchase the company would be narrowed to one or two by the end of
May. General Motors, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, Fiat SpA and Hyundai are all
interested in purchasing the ailing automaker.
EV1S CAN BE FIXED, BUT NOT EASILY After recalling all of
its 1996 EV1 electric cars earlier this month, stating they could not be
repaired, General Motors engineers have developed a new charge port system. The
company, however, estimates that the repaired EV1s will not be available for
about a year, because it needs to find a supplier, prepare for production,
produce the replacement systems and then perform the repairs. Because of the
delay, GM will be refunding the current payments and then terminating the lease
on each 1996 vehicle.
FEDS SNIFF AROUND ONLINE SUPPLY SITE The Federal Trade
Commission is launching a preliminary inquiry into plans by the Big Three
automakers to build an online supply network, according to the Wall Street
Journal. Officials will look at the network’s structure and assess the
possibility of the illegal practice of price signaling. The inquiry comes before
General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler have filed with the commission for
FORMER GM EXEC SETS UP NEW WEB SITE
Roy Roberts, the former head of General Motors North America, is building a
business-to-business online exchange targeting minorities. The network,
m-xchange.com, will cater to minority-owned businesses, making it easier for
buyers who need to meet minority-procurement goals and for sellers to reach more
customers. Roberts, who retired from General Motors earlier this year, said the
site will be operational in July.