AUTO SALES SCORCHING IN MAY
TOP 20 SELLERS
DC TO OFFER CHILD-SEAT CHECKS
NEW JAG ROADSTER COMING?
BMW TO LEAVE ROLLS AT CREWE
LINCOLN STAYS AT HOME
HONDA TO MAKE FUEL CELLS
VOLVO MULLING U.S. PLANTS
NISSAN/FORD FLING TO END SOON?
GM DESIGNER MIGRATES TO FORD
SAAB RECALLS 9000
SANTA FE BECOMES SANTA FE
NEW DIGS FOR GM ENGINEERS
AUTO SALES SCORCHING IN
MAY Auto sales continued a blistering pace last month, with most
major manufacturers posting sales gains save GM. At an adjusted rate, May sales
would mean an annualized rate of 17 million car sales per year, higher than many
analysts' and automakers' expectation. Individually, GM said its light vehicle
sales fell 5 percent, with car sales slumping 7.5 percent to 236,929 and pickup
trucks, minivans and sport-utility vehicles slipping 2.1 percent to 221,818, for
a total of 458,747. Ford said its light vehicle sales rose 11 percent to
393,833, including Jaguar and Volvo, far above analyst estimates of a slight
increase. Excluding the foreign brands, Ford's sales
jumped 7.7 percent. DaimlerChrysler posted a monthly record, rising 6 percent to 264,732 with increases for both cars and trucks. Toyota, Japan's biggest automaker, had its best month ever with sales of 142,625, an increase of 4.7 percent, largely due to a 15.8-percent rise in sport-utility vehicles and minivans, which offset a 1.1 percent drop in car sales. Honda sales reached 98,158, a new May record; and Volkswagen saw a 56 percent sales jump to 29,704, its best May since 1979.
|1.||Ford F-Series pickup||368,676||321,673||1|
|2.||Chevrolet Silverado pickup||255,237||244,837||2|
|4.||Ford Ranger pickup||177,627||130,204||10|
|5.||Dodge Ram pickup||171,335||160,577||4|
|13.||Jeep Grand Cherokee||112,931||100,315||15|
|15.||Pontiac Grand Am||99,489||68,303||NA|
|17.||Chevrolet S-Series pickup||97,177||111,192||13|
DC TO OFFER CHILD-SEAT
CHECKS DaimlerChrysler says it will offer a new service at one-fourth
of its dealerships: a child-seat clinic which will advise parents on how to
install car seats correctly to protect children. DaimlerChrysler is the first
automaker to accept a federal agency's challenge in creating the permanent, free
service using trained personnel to help customers with the fitting of child
seats. The company will spend more than $10 million annually and the service
will be available at about 1,000 dealerships, company officials said Wednesday.
By next year, DaimlerChrysler says it will have the capacity to conduct 800,000
inspections annually to make sure children are buckled properly in child seats
and that child seats are properly installed in both new and older
NEW JAG ROADSTER COMING? A slew of automotive magazines and newspapers are reporting that Ford plans to expand the Jaguar lineup to include a sub-$50,000 roadster based on the new S-Type's platform. The roadster would go on sale in 2001, and would compete with other convertibles such as Porsche's Boxster. The S-Type platform, also shared with the Lincoln LS, is already due to spawn one luxury roadster -- the new Thunderbird, due out in 2001.
BMW TO LEAVE ROLLS AT CREWE? BMW may leave production of its Rolls-Royce luxury vehicles at their Crewe production facility rather than move them after VW takes control of sister brand Bentley, the London Financial Times reports. Citing an interview with Rolls-Royce Chief Executive Anthony Gott, the paper says that BMW had originally planned to move production to a new plant after they purchased the rights to produce cars under the Rolls nameplate in June. However, BMW's increasing financial pressures, especially from heavy losses at Rover, may lead to a unique solution where VW and BMW both produce vehicles at a single facility.
LINCOLN STAYS AT
HOME Ford will halt its plant to sell Lincolns in Europe, according
to new luxury-product guru Wolfgang Reitzle. In an interview with Automotive
News, Reitzle said Ford has scrapped plans introduce Lincoln in Europe because
it would compete with Volvo's cars, which Ford now owns. Reitzle, Ford group
vice president who oversees its luxury brands, says he hopes to increase the
company's luxury sales to at least 1 million vehicles annually, competing with
DaimlerChrysler and BMW.
HONDA TO MAKE FUEL
CELLS Honda Motor Co. says it will spend up to $500 million to
introduce a fuel-cell vehicle by 2003, Reuters reports. The company plans to
build 300 fuel-cell powered vehicles a year starting in 2003 for sale in Japan
and the U.S., said Takeo Fukui, managing director in charge of research and
development, which would put it in league with Ford and DaimlerChrysler, both of
which have expressed plans to sell fuel-cell-powered cars. Fuel cells use the
electric charge generated by combining oxygen and hydrogen for power.
VOLVO MULLING U.S. PLANTS Recent Ford acquisition Volvo is considering making vehicles at U.S. plants operated by Ford, the London Financial Times reports. Last March, Ford acquired the carmaking unit of Volvo AB for $6.45 billion. Volvo has firmly decided not to build vehicles at Mitsubishi's Illinois plant: the companies jointly build vehicles in the Netherlands. By building in the U.S. the company hopes to raise volumes from 500,000 vehicles a year to more than 700,000, the paper reports.
GM DESIGNER MIGRATES TO FORD Ford said last week that it has hired away GM designer Larry Erickson, who helped to design hot rods like the Cadzzilla used in music videos by rock group ZZ Top. Erickson, 42, will be assigned to Ford's small and medium car vehicle center design studio in Dunton, England. Erickson previously designed in GM's Chevrolet studio, working on the Malibu and Cavalier programs. He has also been involved in hot rod design and worked on GM's Seville/STS/Eldorado Cadillac programs.
9000 Saab has announced a recall of 26,000 cars -- 9000 models built
from 1992 through 1994 -- to fix possible corrosion of circuit boards that may
make the airbag light turn on. Saab says moisture can seep into the
airbag's electronic control module and corrode printed circuit boards, switching
on the ``SRS'' light. The company also said that no accidents or injuries have
been reported because of the problem. To fix the problem dealers
will put a protective cover onto the module or the module will be replaced, if
needed, free of charge.
NEW DIGS FOR GM ENGINEERS GM said last week that it will build a $100 million, nine-story tower at its Warren, Mich. Technical Center, part of a wider $1.5 billion investment in the Detroit suburb to consolidate its engineering operations, the AP reports. The one-million-square-foot tower will rise out of a small lake on the Warren campus. Construction will begin in August, and employees should begin moving into the tower in late 2001, company officials said. GM is investing more than $1.5 billion to consolidate over 40 engineering facilities and sites in southeast Michigan at the Warren Technical Center.