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MERCEDES UNVEILS FIFTH GENERATION SL
How do you say "long-in-the-tooth" in German? Not a moment too soon, Mercedes is rolling out a replacement for its long-lived SL roadster, and the automaker seems intent on making the 5th-generation model a true flagship. While the automaker has taken pains to honor the SL tradition (the familiar four-eyed headlights are still there), it's also done a complete technological update with drive-by-wire technology such as an electro-hydraulic braking system that reacts to driver's intentions by increasing brake line pressure (reducing braking distance by about three percent). Other features include a vario roof that changes the car from roadster to coupe in 16 seconds. Safety is also a key part of the new SL, with a litany of innovations including head-thorax airbags in the doors to protect against side impact. Still, for many potential customers, the bottom line appeal will be performance, and the 306-horsepower (5.0-liter V-8) will send the high-tech SL soaring from 0-60 in 6.3 seconds. Look for more details at www.TheCarConnection.com
SIEMENS UNLOADING AUTO ELECTRONICS BUSINESS
German technology group Siemens AG is selling its Sachs auto electronics business to machine engineering group ZF Friedrichshafen for an undisclosed amount. Siemens acquired the unit last year when it bought the Mannesmann Atecs industrial business from UK mobile phone group Vodafone Plc.
NOT YOUR FATHER'S BUICK? OLDS AD GURU SLIDES OVER TO SISTER BRAND
General Motors has named Randall Tallerico director of advertising and sales promotion at Buick, moving him from a similar role at Oldsmobile. Tallerico had joined Oldsmobile division two months before GM's Dec. 12 decision to kill the brand. Life before GM included a stint at Ford advertising agency J. Walter Thompson, where he was a senior partner and international vice president, heading the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. account in Detroit. He had been with JWT 21 years.
GRAND CHEROKEES MAY HAVE A PROBLEM STAYING PUT
A probe by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration may be shifting into higher gear after reports of problems related to the Grand Cherokee SUV allegedly lurching into reverse without warning. A number of incidents have been reported, the Los Angeles Times reported on Friday. The paper said DaimlerChrysler AG has entered into confidential settlements in at least four lawsuits. Three had involved injuries and a fourth, a death, the paper's report said. The NHTSA investigation was prompted by consumer complaints, not an alert from DaimlerChrysler, although the carmaker says it is fully cooperating with the investigation, the newspaper reported. The paper's report also said NHTSA has received 144 consumer complaints of "inadvertent rollaway in reverse" involving 1995-1999 Grand Cherokees, including an estimated 100 accidents and some 40 injuries.
NUMMI IN SETTLEMENT PROCESS WITH UAW
The United Auto Workers said on Saturday it had reached a tentative agreement with New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. for its 4,000 workers at NUMMI's Fremont, Calif., facility. The workers were to vote on the proposed contract, details of which were withheld pending ratification, at a meeting Sunday at noon (Pacific time). The existing contract expired on August 4.
VEHICLE PRODUCTION UP THIS WEEK
Ward's Automotive Reports says vehicle production this week in the U.S., Canada and Mexico will hit an estimated 335,215 cars and trucks, up from the 306,559 vehicles built last week. Calendar year North American output stands at 9,457,006, down 12.7 percent from 2000 year-to-date figures. U.S. production is expected to be 240,182 this week, up 5.7 percent from last week. U.S. vehicle production year-to-date is estimated at 6,785,716, down 13.9 percent from last year. Of that number, General Motors claimed 33.0 percent; Ford 31.3 percent; Chrysler group 13.6 percent; Honda 5.8 percent; Nissan 1.4 percent, NUMMI 3.1 percent, Subaru-Isuzu 1.9 percent, AutoAlliance 0.7 percent, Mercedes-Benz U.S. 0.7 percent; BMW 0 percent and other manufacturers 1.5 percent.
MITSUBISHI TO CONTINUE AUSSIE PRODUCTION
Mitsubishi Motors Corp. has said it will continue production in Australia, apparently dispelling speculation that Japan's fourth-largest carmaker would shut the doors on its Adelaide plant. Mitsubishi said it plans to upgrade and redesign the Magna/Verada model lineup produced by its Australian unit, Mitsubishi Motors Australia Ltd. The company said the decision represents its analysis of the business opportunity in Australia and its confidence in the Australian subsidiary. The announcement came in the fact of speculation that Mitsubishi, owned 34 percent by DaimlerChrysler AG, would cut its losses at the plant. However on Wednesday, the Australian government had reportedly offered subsidies to keep the plant's 4,000-strong workforce on the job. Mitsubishi Australia manufactures sedans and wagons based on the Diamante model for export to the United States and other countries. Output last year totaled only 38,000 units, a little over half its annual production capacity of 70,000.
PRUDENTIAL DOWNGRADES GENTEX TO HOLD
The share price of Gentex, a maker of electro-optical products (including automatic rear view mirrors) as well as fire protection products, dropped $1.81 to $30.90, after Prudential Securities lowered its rating to hold from buy, citing in a note to clients that the benefit of new products like SmartBeam and the Signal mirror are already in the share price. The company was at the top of its historical range, the research note said.
NEW VEHICLE SHOPPERS TURN TO
INTERNET IN INCREASING NUMBERS
According to a forecast from J.D. Power and Associates, approximately 58 percent of consumers in 2001 will use the Internet when shopping for a new vehicle. This is up from 54 percent in 2000 and 40 percent in 1999, according to the firm's New Autoshopper.com study. The primary reason new-vehicle shoppers go online is to find price-related information to help them in their negotiations at the dealership.
Find out more about the J.D. Power New Autoshoppper.com at:
FROM THE SOURCE:
'FIT FOR A KID' SAFETY PROGRAM AT
JOURNALIST CONFERENCE IN SAN FRANCISCO
According to national studies, eight out of 10 kids are not riding safely in motor vehicles. Among minority children, improper use of child seat restraints is the leading contributor of death in motor vehicle incidences. To raise awareness of this issue, Chrysler Group will feature its national child seat safety program -- Fit for a Kid (FFAK) -- at the annual conference of the Asian American Journalist Association in San Francisco, this week. Fit for a Kid is the only network of permanent child-seat safety fitting stations in the U.S. The free program is offered in 50 states and is available to all consumers through select Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge dealers. "Many of these tragedies can be prevented," said Matthew Reynolds, Chrysler Group Director of Safety Compliance.
NHTSA ADMINISTRATOR ON BOARD AFTER CONFIRMATION
U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta (Friday) welcomed Dr. Jeffrey W. Runge to the U.S. Department of Transportation following his Senate confirmation as the 12th National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA) Administrator. "Jeff's extensive background of research, education, and hands-on experience will make him a triple asset to the department," said Secretary Mineta. "I look forward to working with him as we meet the challenge of reducing death and injury on the nation's highways." Dr. Runge is a nationally recognized physician expert in motor vehicle injury care and prevention. A researcher and educator in emergency medicine, he has focused on the area of injury prevention and control, with a particular interest in motor vehicle injuries. His passion for reducing injuries comes from being a clinician in North Carolina's busiest trauma center, treating over 30,000 injuries yearly, 10,000 of which are motor vehicle-related.
Autoliv (ALV), Closed 21.07, down 0.14
ArvinMeritor (ARM), Closed 20.88, down 0.36
American Axle (AXL), Closed 19.74, down 0.25
Dana (DCN), Closed 25.51, down 0.07
DaimlerChrysler (DCX), Closed 48.18, down 0.44
Donnelly (DON), Closed 15.70, down 0.05
Delphi Automotive (DPH), Closed 16.14, up 0.14
Eaton (ETN), Closed 74.99, up 1.00
Ford (F), Closed 24.95, down 0.17
General Motors (GM), Closed 63.28, down 0.18
Gentex (GNTX), Closed 30.90, down 1.81
Goodyear (GT), Closed 28.25, down 0.28
Johnson Controls (JCI), Closed 80.65, up 0.91
Lear (LEA), Closed 40.20, up 0.20
Magna International (MGA), Closed 61.50, up 0.36
SDRC (SDRC), Closed 24.81, up 0.06
Toyota (TOYOF), Closed 35.75, unchanged
TRW (TRW), Closed 43.95, down 0.05
Visteon (VC), Closed 20.60, down 0.13
Volkswagen (VLKAF), Closed 45.88, unchanged