Headlight News Weekly for November 13, 2000

November 13, 2000

 

DAEWOO BANKRUPT; GM STILL INTERESTED
DAEWOO PLANT SHUT DOWN
GM GIVES CONCEPT PREVIEW
BUICK WILL BUILD LACROSSE
CHRYSLER CONSOLIDATES ADVERTISING
AIRBAG MODULE PROBLEM HALTS ASSEMBLY
VW PLAN ELIMINATES PLATFORMS
RUNAWAY MUSTANGS?
GOODYEAR ADMITS REPLACEMENTS, DENIES PROBLEM
NISSAN CONFIRMS MISSISSIPPI PLANT
DEALER INVENTORIES HIGH FOR GM, FORD
HONDA REPORTS LOSS
ARVIN MERITOR CUTS
GM SUVS GET DVD
DC MAY COMBINE EURO DEALERSHIPS

 

DAEWOO BANKRUPT; GM STILL INTERESTED Korea's Daewoo Motor Co. has been declared bankrupt by its creditors after the labor union that represents most of Daewoo's assembly workers rejected a plan for more layoffs. The company will be placed under court receivership and debts will be frozen, leaving the state of the company's operations and its workers highly uncertain. General Motors is reportedly still interested in purchasing the company, and analysts suspect that GM was waiting for bankruptcy so that it could get a better price for the ailing Korean company and make restructuring the company an easier task. Creditors of Daewoo, now nearly $40 million in debt, have refused to lend the company any more money.
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DAEWOO PLANT SHUT DOWN Daewoo Motor Co. has halted production at its main plant in Bupyong, South Korea, due to a lack of parts. Many parts suppliers are withholding shipments to Daewoo because the automaker has been declared bankrupt. Daewoo's other plants in Korea will have to halt production within the next few days, and suppliers will likely be hurt financially from the closure.
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Pontiac Rev

Pontiac Rev

Chevrolet Borrego

Chevrolet Borrego

 

GM GIVES CONCEPT PREVIEW General Motors has given first glimpses of nine different concept vehicles that will be introduced officially at several auto shows in early 2001. No surprise, most of the concepts took off on the crossover trend, with most of them incorporating sport-utility-vehicle attributes. The Buick Bengal two-seat roadster, Chevrolet Borrego convertible pickup car, the Cadillac Vizon and GMC TerraCross SUVs, the Pontiac Rev all-wheel-drive muscle car, and the Oldsmobile O4 convertible sedan were among the concept cars that GM confirmed. Later in the year, probably at the New York Auto Show, GM will introduce a production-bound version of its Hummer H2 sport-utility vehicle. Stay tuned to TCC for more details on these exciting concepts.
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Buick Lacrosse

Buick Lacrosse


2000 Buick LaCrosse concept car

BUICK WILL BUILD LACROSSE GM officials have revealed that the Buick division plans to put its LaCrosse sporty luxury sedan to production, and the division will also unveil a concept roadster sometime next year, according to Reuters. The LaCrosse will replace the top-end Park Avenue model in 2004. A production version will probably not have all of the features of the LaCrosse show car, which had a V-8 engine, a sliding roof, and a unique convertible cargo area in the rear, but it will have the show car's lifestyle emphasis. Although Buick sales are steady in recent years, its product line has dwindled and it's now known as a brand that appeals mainly to retirees. Both the LaCrosse and the new roadster, suspected to be a two-seat convertible, are aimed at attracting younger buyers to Buick dealerships.
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CHRYSLER CONSOLIDATES ADVERTISING DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler Group has announced that it will consolidate all of its advertising to the Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide agency. BBDO Worldwide will be renamed PentaMark Worldwide. The announcement comes after a two-month review in which DC asked for proposals from its leading ad agencies. PentaMark will cover worldwide advertising for Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge.
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AIRBAG MODULE PROBLEM HALTS ASSEMBLY Ford has temporarily shut down its St. Thomas and Oakville plants in Ontario, due to a problem with airbag modules. About 30,000 vehicles are on factory grounds that need to be fixed, and another 10,000 need to be brought back from dealer lots, so Ford has suspended production until the problem with the modules is remedied. Less than 2000 of the vehicles reached customers. The models affected are the Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis, and Ford Windstar.
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VW PLAN ELIMINATES PLATFORMS Volkswagen AG chairman Ferdinand Piech has revealed a cost-cutting plan that will save the company up to $460 per car. The plan is based on the idea of building cars on interchangeable modules, rather than building them on several separate platforms. The number of shared parts will be greatly increased. VW's new system will be used by 2005.
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RUNAWAY MUSTANGS? Ford is recalling about 430,000 Mustangs with manual transmissions due to a problem with the parking brake. Failure of the parking brake could cause the car to move while parked. The recall covers 1994 through 2001 model year cars with manual transmissions.
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GOODYEAR ADMITS REPLACEMENTS, DENIES PROBLEM Goodyear Tire and Rubber has admitted that it is offering free replacement tires to consumers who are unsatisfied with a particular commercial light-truck tire, although the company says that it hasn't issued a recall because there have been no defects found in the tires. Goodyear recently admitted that the Load Range E tires had been linked to 15 deaths, adding that most of the cases of tire failure involved the use of the tire in the wrong conditions.
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NISSAN CONFIRMS MISSISSIPPI PLANT Nissan Motor Company has confirmed that it plans to build a new $900 million assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi. Information regarding the plant, which is expected to employ about 3000 people and assemble light-truck models, will soon be detailed by Nissan officials. The plant will probably assemble about 120,000 vehicles per year. Nissan currently builds its Altima, Frontier, and Xterra models in the U.S. in a plant in Smyrna, Tennessee. The state of Mississippi is offering a $295 million incentive package to Nissan.
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DEALER INVENTORIES HIGH FOR GM, FORD CNNfn reports that inventories of light trucks are getting high enough to start slowing production, and that will likely lead to a drop in overall production figures for the fourth quarter. General Motors' dealer inventories are among the highest now, at about 90 days, while Toyota's are at about 60 days, considered to be ideal in the industry. Ford is also facing unexpectedly high dealer inventories, due to weak sales of Ranger and Explorer models that were affected by the Firestone tire recall.
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HONDA REPORTS LOSS Honda Motor Company in Japan has reported a 12-percent loss in profits for the past six months, despite strong growth in U.S. vehicle sales. Net profit fell by about nearly 11 percent. The poor performance is attributed to currency fluctuations, and, particularly, the problems with the British pound's strength against the euro. Honda has recently announced that cars from its assembly plant in England will be shipped to the U.S. rather than mainland Europe.
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ARVIN MERITOR CUTS Troy, Michigan-based Arvin Meritor plans to cut about 1500 jobs due to a 65-percent drop in the company's profits in the fiscal fourth quarter. The supplier makes suspension and exhaust components for a wide variety of vehicles. Arvin Meritor is also suffering from a lack of demand for replacement parts, due to the record numbers of newer cars on the road in the U.S. and recent emissions incentive programs aimed at taking older, polluting cars off the road. The company plans to complete a restructuring program within two years.
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GM SUVS GET DVD Automotive News reports that Visteon Corporation will source a DVD entertainment system for General Motors' upcoming redesigned 2002 sport-utility vehicles. The SUVs include the Chevrolet Trailblazer, GMC Envoy, and Oldsmobile Bravada. The system on the SUVs will be the first available in any new vehicles.
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DC MAY COMBINE EURO DEALERSHIPS In an effort to sell more Chrysler brand cars in Europe, DaimlerChrysler might combine the dealer networks for Chrysler-Jeep and Mercedes-Benz. The two groups of cars would be sold on different showrooms on the same dealer lots. The move is also expected to cut overhead costs and particularly the costs of distribution.
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