Week of February 28, 2000

February 28, 2000

FERRARI SPIDER TO DEBUT IN GENEVA
FORD PREPS CALIFORNIA HQ FOR 2001
DC GETS 72 MPG WITH ESX3
TOYOTA SETS UP ONLINE PARTS NETWORK
GM, FORD ANSWER DAEWOO’S CALL
SAFETY BOARD TRIES TO DELAY CRASH TESTS
GM PRODUCTS ON TOYOTA WEBSITE
NO HOOK, NO BAIT FOR FORD, BMW
WTO RULES, U.S. LOOKS TO SETTLE DISPUTE
STUDY SAYS NON-OEM PARTS JUST AS SAFE
LAND ROVER MOVES U.S. HEADQUARTERS
GM TO CREATE ONLINE CAR-SHOPPING ALLIANCE WITH EDMUNDS
RENAULT WANTS SAMSUNG TO BEEF UP

 

000228_FerrariF360Spider

FERRARI SPIDER TO DEBUT IN GENEVA After almost five years of R&D, the Ferrari 360 Spider will debut at the Geneva Motor Show next week. One of the fastest Ferrari Spiders ever produced, the Italian beauty has a 400-hp, 3.6-liter V-8 aluminum engine. The sister to the 360 Berlinetta, which was introduced at Geneva in 1999, the roadster will be available in the U.S. and Canada in January 2001.

For our Geneva show coverage, click here.

 

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000228_FordPAG

FORD PREPS CALIFORNIA HQ FOR 2001 As TheCarConnection.com reported in December, Ford announced that it would relocate its Jaguar, Volvo and Aston Martin units to Irvine, California. The units will be housed in a 300,000 square-foot facility that will be the North American headquarters for its Premier Automotive Group. The building (shown here in an artist’s rendering) will be completed in 2001 and will include a product development wing, a vehicle display area, a fitness center and a cafeteria for its 800 occupants.

For more on the Jag/Volvo move, click here.


 

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DC GETS 72 MPG WITH ESX3 In Washington, DaimlerChrysler showed off its best attempt yet at a vehicle that meets the government’s aim for future fuel-efficient cars. DC’s new alternative-fuel prototype sedan, the diesel-electric hybrid Dodge ESX3, gets the equivalent of 72 miles per gallon and posts a top speed of about 80 mph. The ESX3 has a plastic body shell, is designed with a $27,000 price tag in mind, and is powered by a hybrid powertrain using a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine in tandem with electric batteries. The vehicle is the third in a high-fueler trio, including the Ford Prodigy and the GM Precept, designed to meet the targets set by the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicle, a project initiated to generate 80-mpg vehicles that could be sold to the public by 2004.

Click back next week for more on the ESX3.

 

TOYOTA SETS UP ONLINE PARTS NETWORK Toyota announced that it would launch its own auto replacement parts supply network online. The network will target automotive aftermarket suppliers and is seen as a different area from the business-to-business networks GM and Ford are building, Toyota officials said. iStarXchange, expected to launch in the second quarter, will be owned by Toyota’s U.S. division and software developer i2 Technologies. Officials from both companies said they expect to sell shares to the public at a later date.

For more on the Big Three’s big plans for online suppliers, click here.


 

GM, FORD ANSWER DAEWOO’S CALL Both GM and Ford have submitted replies to Korea’s Daewoo Group, signaling their intention to bid on the debt-strapped automaker’s assets. While Daewoo declined to say which of the world's automakers responded to invitations to bid on the company, Korea's Yonhap News Agency said the group includes Fiat SpA, DaimlerChrysler AG and Hyundai Motor Co. Volkswagen has been invited also, but apparently has not yet sent in an RSVP.

 

SAFETY BOARD TRIES TO DELAY CRASH TESTS A letter written by the National Transportation Safety Board’s chairman urges NHTSA to postpone its airbag ruling until the next generation of airbags can be installed in vehicles. Chairman Jim Hall’s letter, sent late last week to Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater, stated that the controversial 30 mph airbag test could result in more powerful airbags that could lead to more injuries and deaths. Hall suggested that NHSTA postpone its ruling, due March 1, until it can test the next generation of airbags, slated to be installed in autos in the next two years.

 

GM PRODUCTS ON TOYOTA WEBSITE In its continued efforts to woo Toyota into a venture with its online parts supply Web site, General Motors said it was also interested in marketing its vehicles on Toyota’s Japanese site, Gazoo. "We want to display GM products and services on Gazoo," said Mark Hogan, head of e-GM. GM also stated that it was willing to let Toyota sell vehicles through its U.S. Web site and that it would make a formal proposal to Toyota soon.

 

NO HOOK, NO BAIT FOR FORD, BMW With rumors swirling about them, both Ford and BMW offered denials that Ford has made a tender offer to purchase the German automaker. Ford’s European Chairman Nick Scheele told reports that "The Quandt family [48-percent owners of BMW] has said that they want to remain independent and we respect that position,'' while BMW’s North American chief Tom Purves, told reporters in Detroit that BMW intends to remain independent. "There is absolutely no truth in any rumor that we are for sale,'' Purves said. BMW’s continued troubles with its Rover subsidiary have fueled the latest round of merger-mania rumors, which recently placed not only Ford but also General Motors and Volkswagen in a bidding war for BMW.

 

WTO RULES, U.S. LOOKS TO SETTLE DISPUTE After the World Trade Organization ruled that a U.S. tax program violated international rules, the U.S. government said it would aim to settle its dispute with the European Union which resulted in the ruling. The ruling could force Congress to change the current Foreign Sales Corporation (FSC) tax scheme, used by many international companies. Changing the FSC scheme is likely to greatly affect businesses, including automakers, who export goods or transportation companies that handle exports.

 

STUDY SAYS NON-OEM PARTS JUST AS SAFE A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) concluded that a car assembled with parts produced by independent aftermarket suppliers was just as safe as a car assembled using original equipment parts. After building two 1997 Toyota Camrys both ways and then crash testing both, the IIHS concluded that safety was not compromised. The issue has been brought to the courts recently when some automakers and consumer groups have stated that some non-OEM replacement parts are substandard.

 

LAND ROVER MOVES U.S. HEADQUARTERS After slowly transferring employees to the Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey headquarters of its parent company, BMW, for the last two years, Land Rover announced that it is officially moving its offices to New Jersey. About 60 full-time employees remain in the Lanham, Maryland offices and all have been offered jobs in New Jersey.

 

 

GM TO CREATE ONLINE CAR-SHOPPING ALLIANCE WITH EDMUNDS A few weeks after it announced an alliance with Kelly Blue Book, General Motors said it will provide vehicle information and sales incentives to Edmunds.com (www.edmunds.com). The three-year agreement includes a combined Web site, featuring both brands. Users will be able to get financing through GM, select the features of their vehicles and check availability at nearby dealers.

 

 

RENAULT WANTS SAMSUNG TO BEEF UP In the process of negotiating exclusively to take over Korea’s Samsung Motors, Renault has asked the company to hire back and un-transfer executives they say they will need to run the company, once their purchase is complete. A Samsung spokesperson said the request was made because the French automaker felt they would need the executives to run the plant at its full capacity. Renault is set to tender an offer for Samsung this month, its main creditor said.

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