TCC's Daily Edition: 8/31/01

August 31, 2001

A quick note to our non-North American readers: TheCarConnection.com is based in the U.S. where we take off the first Monday of September as a holiday. This day off has the ironic title of Labor Day. That means TCC’s Daily Edition isn’t coming to work next Monday, September 3. We wish you a happy Labor Day and look forward to seeing you again on Tuesday. –– TCC’s Daily Edition Team

 

CHRYSLER CUTS 2002 PRICES ACROSS THE BOARD
The Chrysler Group is slashing prices an average of just under one percent in an effort to regain lost market. George Murphy, the Chrysler Group's vice president of marketing, said the price cuts would not substitute for rebates and other incentives. The incentives won't go away but the lower prices will help Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep attract web browsers, who are hunting for lowest sticker price. The same strategy has already helped the Chrysler Group boost minivan sales, Murphy said. The new pricing strategy also encompasses even deeper cuts on some vehicles such as the Chrysler 300M and the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Prices on the 300M are coming down $1,200 on average and prices on the Grand Cherokee will drop $2,000 to make it more competitive with the Ford Explorer.
2002 Jeep Liberty Limited by Marc Stengel (7/30/2001)

 

NISSAN ANNOUNCES ALTIMA PRICES
Hoping to make a dent in the midsize market and draw buyers "before they become Camry and Accord loyalists," Nissan will launch the new, larger and significantly upgraded Altima sedan at a base price of $16,349. That’s $334 over the outgoing model, revealed Jed Connelly, Nissan senior vice president of sales and marketing, during an appearance in Detroit. The automaker hopes to sell as many as 190,000 of the new sedans a year, the capacity of its plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, though Connelly admitted the sluggish economy could be an obstacle. In a conversation with TheCarConnection.com, Nissan VP Jack Collins added that Nissan "has plans" for the Altima’s new platform, which is "capable" of serving a variety of non-traditional products. In other words, industry sources suggest, that could include some new crossover models due to market closer to mid-decade.
Preview: 2002 Nissan Altima by Bob Storck (8/6/2001)

 

INFINITI MOVING CLOSER TO NIRVANA
Nissan’s luxury division, Infiniti, intends to climb out of the second tier of high-end imports, Nissan vice presidents Jack Collins and Jed Connelly said. Hoping to build on the momentum of the new Q45, Infiniti will add three new products next year, including the entry-lux G35, a redesigned full-sized SUV, and a crossover aimed at competing with the popular Lexus RX 300. Going forward, Infiniti will add at least one new model annually, and with the exception of that big SUV, they will be based off unique platforms; current models share Nissan chassis. "For capital resources issues," Connelly acknowledged, Infiniti has always been "a Nissan-plus division." Now the automaker hopes the luxury marque will stand on its own. The target is a 50% sales hike over the next few years, which would still leave it will short of Lexus.
2002 Infiniti Q45 by Eric Peters (6/11/2001)

 

GOODYEAR THINKS IT HAS SOMETHING BETTER THAN RUBBER
Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company has entered into a joint development agreement with Amerityre to create solid car and truck tires made from polyurethane. Amerityre is the Boulder City, Nevada company that invented the raw material that Goodyear will use to produce the new tires. Its owner, Richard Steinke, says that polyurethane tires are better than conventional rubber tires at nearly every turn: cheaper to make, easier to make, more durable, and recyclable. Steinke also said the new tires would be less prone to the kinds of tread separation and blowout issues that have recently been putting Ford and Firestone in the headlines. Look for the first polyurethane tires to appear in about three years.

 

FORD LOOKING AT MORE JOB CUTS
Fresh off of taking the hit for 5,000 job cuts announced earlier this month, Ford Motor Company CEO Jacques Nasser now says that more cuts may be necessary. Blaming the economy and the stiff competition from Europe and Asia, Nasser said that he was also considering plant closures and other retrenchment and restructuring options. And the $3 billion that Ford has spent helping to cover the cost of recalling 13 million Firestone tires hasn’t done anything to help the company’s bottom line either. One painful cost-saving move already announced on Wednesday is that the top 6,000 Ford executives and managers would be foregoing their bonuses for this year.
Ford Cuts Jobs, Delays T-Bird by TCC Team (8/20/2001)

 

SEATBELT USAGE AND AIRBAG SAFETY ARE UP THE U.S.
According to the results of a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a significant majority of front-seat occupants—73%—use their seatbelts. This percentage is an all-time high for seatbelt wearing in the United States, and suggests that Americans are paying more active attention to their safety than ever. "In many situations, the most crashworthy vehicle in the world is not going to help you unless you take the personal responsibility to help the vehicle help you," advises NHTSA chief Jeffrey Runge.

And in a related story, the National Safety Council has released a report that says the number of deaths caused by airbags has been cut in half since 1996, even while the number of vehicles on the road equipped with airbags has tripled. Back in 1996, according to the NSC report, airbags were to blame in 35 deaths. Last year, however, that number dropped to 18. More significantly, the drop in children’s deaths related to airbag deployment was even steeper: 25 in 1996 versus just six in 2000. The executive director of the NSC’s Air Bag and Seat Belt Safety Campaign praised parents for increasing their awareness on child safety in automobiles. "Clearly the message has gotten through to the public that children 12 and under should be restrained in the back seat," he said.

 

FACTOIDS:

Rein"car"nated vehicles require caution
Life can be hard for cars and trucks, but sometimes there isn't much rest for weary vehicles in the automotive afterlife, either. According to Experian® Automotive's National Vehicle Database, at least one in every 900 vehicles on the road today has been reconditioned. Approximately one vehicle in 450 has been reconstructed and one vehicle in 400 is classified as rebuilt/rebuildable. Many of these "second chance" vehicles are sold with no hint of their past lives, making a used car purchase without first doing some objective research a risky business.

 

FROM THE SOURCE:

From PR Newswire Visteon Corporation has set up a new subsidiary to develop voice-recognition software . . . Sears is offering free tire-pressure and safety checks this weekend at all Sears Automotive Centers . . . The Chrysler Group is sponsoring the "Spirit in the Words" poetry contest at the National Association of Black Journalists convention in Orlando, Florida . . . Ford has reached an agreement with Covisint to develop and host the next generation of the Ford Supplier Network . . . ATX Technologies joined Ford and Motorola in announcing Lincoln Vehicle Communications System (VCS), the third-generation telematics program for Lincoln car

 

THE TICKER:

Autoliv (ALV), Closed 19.80, unchanged

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ArvinMeritor (ARM), Closed 17.50, down 0.50

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American Axle (AXL), Closed 18.00, down 0.45

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Ballard Power Systems (BLDP), Closed 17.86, down 2.44

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Dana (DCN), Closed 19.25, down 0.88

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DaimlerChrysler (DCX), Closed 43.82, down 1.20

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Donnelly (DON), Closed 15.35, up 0.05

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Delphi Automotive (DPH), Closed 14.70, down 0.12

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Eaton (ETN), Closed 72.00, up 0.27

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Ford (F), Closed 19.76, down 0.43

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General Motors (GM), Closed 54.21, down 1.64

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Gentex (GNTX), Closed 29.51, down 0.93

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Goodyear (GT), Closed 23.87, down 0.84

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Johnson Controls (JCI), Closed 71.55, down 0.65

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Lear (LEA), Closed 34.75, down 0.46

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Magna International (MGA), Closed 61.11, down 1.12

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Nissan (NSANY), Closed 11.60, down 0.25

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SDRC (SDRC), Closed 24.98, up 0.02

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Toyota (TM), Closed 60.45, down 0.90

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TRW (TRW), Closed 35.55, down 0.63

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Visteon (VC), Closed 16.78, down 0.24

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