This week, TheCarConnection.com is launching TCC’s Daily Edition, our e-mail news delivered right to your inbox. We hope you’ll enjoy the new service - and we hope that during this week of beta testing you’ll send us your suggestions and ideas. Write to us at [email protected] and let us know what you’d like to see added to this feature as we refine it and add more content - The Eds.
GENERAL MOTORS HAS ITS CAR GUY
Former Chrysler President Bob Lutz has agreed in principle to assume a senior staff position at General Motors Corp. Inside sources confirm that Lutz, barring an unforeseen snag, will be confirmed by GM’s board at its regular meeting next Tuesday. The announcement would cap a string of upbeat reports for the long-ailing automaker, but more importantly, it would fill a long-standing gap-the absence of a "car guy" in top management. Lutz, 69, was given the lion’s share of the credit for the early 90’s revival at Chrysler Corporation, though a fallout with former Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca meant he never got the top job at the number three automaker. In his new post, Lutz is expected to serve as the product czar and have significant resources at his disposal as GM struggles with the most difficult piece of its turnaround effort.
LUTZ HEADED TO GM by TCC Team (8/2/01)
GM SALES SLOW IN 'INTENSELY COMPETITIVE' MARKET
No surprises. That's what GM is saying in announcing a nine percent decline in sales of cars and trucks in July. Its dealers sold 360,881 vehicles in the period. Still, Bill Lovejoy, GM's group vice president, North American vehicle sales, was optimistic. "GM's industry leading lineup of truck brands continued to build momentum in an intensely competitive market where product quality, improved productivity and outstanding efforts by our dealers to satisfy customers are key to our success." Lovejoy also cited lower dealer stocks of cars as reason for the lower sales figures.
S60, CROSS COUNTRY SPARK VOLVO SALES
Volvo of North America says it had its second best July ever with sales of 12,154 units, a 32.3 percent increase over last year at this time. It cites strong sales for the S60 and Cross Country models. Canadian sales were up 47.2 percent over July 2000. CEO Vic Doolan said he expects a strong second half of the year. Not all was as rosy in the rest of the Ford Motor stable, however, with total sales for Ford, Mercury, Lincoln, Jaguar, Land Rover (along with Volvo) of 303,043, down a combined 12.8 percent from July 2000.
See Eric Peters' review on the 2001 Volvo S60 T5
FORD COLLABORATING WITH MAZDA, VOLVO BRANDS
Wonder what Ford was going to do with all those brands it's been acquiring over the last few years? In a word: collaboration. Ford is reportedly working on plans to pool staff and development costs, to produce a common platform for new model subcompacts in 2003. Shared components are likely to include engines, while design and specifications of each firm's subcompact will differ.
FRENCH AUTO SALES UP BY 11.6 PERCENT
A combination of tax cuts and strong consumer spending seem to have staved off concern that a U.S. economic slowdown might cross the Atlantic as French car sales rose 11.6 percent in July from a year earlier. Peugeot's sales were up 26.1 percent; Renault dipped 7.6 percent. The Peugeot 307, which came onto the market in April to compete with Volkswagen's Golf, was credited with the sales boost. Overall, French automakers sold 208,463 units in July, up from 186,842 in July 2000.
KOREA'S DOMESTIC SALES DIP, INCREASE IN U.S.
Korea's three major carmakers saw their sales fall in July, while at the same time increasing in the American market. The sales figures in their home market seem to foreshadow an expected downturn as the economy slows in step with the U.S. Hyundai cited plant expansion work as one reason for its sales decline. Ironically Kia, Korea's second-largest carmaker, sold 17.6 percent fewer vehicles in July while at the same time its U.S. marketing division had a sales increase of 58 percent over a year earlier. Kia Motors America said its Kia Sephia midsize sedan continued to lead the way, while the Sportage SUV and Rio subcompact also did well.
Read Sue Mead's take on the 2002 Kia Sedona
CHRYSLER RECALLS TRUCKS FOR AIRBAG PROBLEM
Chrysler is recalling 216,100 of its Dodge trucks, including Dakota pickups and Durango SUVs made between 1997-2000, and 1997-2001 Dodge Ram pickups, for problems that could disable the driver's side airbag system. The recall began in June but was not announced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration until this week.
You can search the government's databases for Recall, Rollover and Safety Info
MITSUBISHI SALES DOWN, STILL SECOND BEST JULY EVER
When is a nearly 24 percent slip in sales good news? When it's still the second best July ever, according to Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America, in announcing monthly sales figures of 22,822, off last year's 30,005 record. "The opportunity for growth in the second half of the year is tremendous because we have exciting new products to offer," said Pierre Gagnon, Mitsubishi's president and chief operating officer. The company's Lancer model begins shipping to dealers this month, followed by restyled versions of the Galant and Diamante.
Catch Marty Padgett's review of the 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer
PORSCHE SALES UP
Not big numbers, but the trend is positive. Porsche Cars North America, which imports the brand in Canada and the U.S., reported U.S. sales of 2126, a four percent increase over last year and its best July since 1986. Sales from January to July have increased by six percent over the same period last year.
OTHERS REPORTING SALES INCREASES INCLUDE . . .
Mercedes-Benz USA, citing its best July ever with sales of 16,155 vehicles . . . American Suzuki Motor Corporation, posting a six percent increase in cumulative sales, with 38,894 units year-to-date . . . Acura, boasting a 16.4 percent increase (and a ninth consecutive month of record-setting sales), with its 13,428 vehicles sold in July . . . . Volkswagen, with a 6.2 percent increase in July but down for the year (205,037 from 209.790) compared with 2000 . . . and Subaru, up seven percent year-to-date from 2000 figures.
What to do when sales go down? Spend more on trade shows
It may not be common wisdom, but that's the advice given by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Gary Mikola, director of expositions, says he's seen companies turn an economic downturn to their advantage. "While their competition is cutting marketing expenses, many of our customers are utilizing their sales teams and trade show dollars to gain market share. The top reason . . . is that it is the most efficient way to make multiple customer contacts in a short period of time." The Center for Exhibition Industry Research says 31 percent of show visitors purchased products or services while at the show, spending an average of $78,888 on the purchases.
Congress should 'take back' keys from OPEC: Alliance to Save Energy
Urging an increase in fuel efficiency standards by Congress, Alliance to Save Energy President David M. Nemtzow said: "OPEC has been in the driver's seat and it's time for Congress to take back the keys. Reducing our demand for gasoline gives us greater control of our oil consumption. Let's use the same pragmatic technology that has brought us airbags to build better, more efficient vehicles. After all, this isn't rocket science, but auto mechanics."
FROM THE SOURCE
CarParts.com/JC Whitney link up
CarParts.com, a division of CarParts Technologies, and JC Whitney Company, the largest direct marketer of name-brand automotive parts and accessories, jointly announced today that JC Whitney will become the exclusive licensee of CarParts.com consumer business. JC Whitney, based in Chicago, Ill., will license the CarParts.com URL and provide all sales and service fulfillment for the more than one million unique visitors that shop on the site each month. In addition, the two companies are discussing other ways to leverage CarParts Technologies' supply chain solutions for the automotive aftermarket.
Advanced engine management control system covers all vehicles
Improved fuel economy, lower vehicle emissions and reduced manufacturing costs are just some of the benefits expected following the development of an advanced engine management control system by the Ricardo-led AENEAS consortium. The AENEAS acronym refers to the Application and Evaluation of a Novel Engine management system based on intelligent control Algorithms and using innovative Sensor technology. Using cylinder pressure sensors for the first time, this new automotive technology covers both gasoline and diesel engines and can be applied to all types of vehicles -- from the smallest cars to the largest trucks. The first volume production vehicles to benefit from this engine management control system are expected to reach the market within five years.
JCI takes over European refrigeration/AC systems leader
Johnson Controls, Inc.has completed its acquisition of MC International, a leader in refrigeration and air conditioning systems and services for European retail, industrial and commercial customers. Specific terms of the agreement were not announced. MC International, headquartered in France, has annual sales of over $200 million.
Autoliv (ALV), Closed 20.70, off 0.09
ArvinMeritor (ARM), Closed 21.75, up 0.25
American Axle (AXL), Closed 20.90, off 0.12
Dana (DCN), Closed 25.86, up 0.11
DaimlerChrysler (DCX), Closed 49.40, up 0.10
Donnelly (DON), Closed 15.70, up 0.20
Delphi Automotive (DPH), Closed 16.26, off 0.10
Eaton (ETN), Closed 73.03, off 0.41
Ford (F), Closed 25.03, off 0.14
General Motors (GM), Closed 62.67, off 0.93
Gentex (GNTX), Closed 32.35, off 0.44
Goodyear (GT), Closed 28.40, off 0.18
Johnson Controls (JCI), Closed 79.981, off 0.69
Lear (LEA), Closed 39.24, off 0.36
Magna International (MGA), Closed 62.80, off 0.05
SDRC (SDRC), Closed 24.77, up 0.01
Toyota (TOYOF), Closed 35.75, unchanged
TRW (TRW), Closed 44.35, up 0.10
Visteon (VC), Closed 21.32, up 0.25
Volkswagen (VLKAF), Closed 45.88, unchanged