TCC's Daily Edition: 9/10/01

September 10, 2001

 

OPEL REMAKING ITSELF IN A NEW MOLD
General Motors’ struggling European subsidiary, Adam Opel AG, plans to completely remake itself, senior officials revealed in conversations prior to the opening of the Frankfurt Motor Show. It will take at least until 2003 for the five-year project to start showing serious results, cautioned brand marketing chief Alain Uyttenhoven. In its effort to project a "more modern" image, Opel intends to cut by half its dependence on conventional sedans, coupes and wagons, which currently account for 80% of its volume. Crossovers, tall wagons and other vehicles will grow from 13% of the Opel mix to 40%, Uyttenhoven revealed to TheCarConnection.com, while niche products, such as the Opel Speedster, will eventually make up 20% of the carmaker’s volume. They today account for a meager 7%. Separately, Opel’s new CEO, Carl-Peter Forster, told the German economic daily Handelsblatt that the company’s cost cutting program may not be completed by the original target date of September 30, as had been hoped. Announced in August, the plan will cut several thousand jobs, and up to 15% of Opel’s European capacity.

 

TOYOTA POISED OUTSELL CHRYSLER IN THE U.S.
The August 2001 sales results are posted, and the Chrysler Group is feeling the hot breath of Toyota on its heels. Less than a single percentage point separated market shares of the Number Three U.S. automaker (11.3%) and Toyota (10.9%) in August. Industry analysts are predicting that the Japanese automaker will surpass Chrysler sales in the U.S. by the end of next year. GM, Ford and Chrysler each lost ground to the imports in August, despite aggressive incentives and pricing programs put in place by the Big 3.
August Nightmare for Big 3 by Joseph Szczesny (9/10/2001)

 

GM MAKES IT OFFICIAL: NO OLDSMOBILE AFTER 2004
Everybody knew that General Motors Corporation was pulling the plug on Oldsmobile, but until last Friday, nobody knew when. Now GM has made the official declaration that Olds ends with the 2004 model year. In a terse written announcement, the company said that "Oldsmobile production has remained unprofitable." This could inspire one to ask how a company that sold 289,172 vehicles in 2000 could fail, but there it is. The last Olds Intrigue and Aurora V-6 models will roll off the line next June as 2002s. A year later, the V-8 Aurora will take its final bow as a 2003 model. Only the Alero, Silhouette and Bravada will stick around for the 2004 model year. The end of Oldsmobile means that Mercedes-Benz will be the only surviving automaker in the world to have built cars in three separate centuries.
Oldsmobile Video Library (7/20/2001)

 

CADILLAC, SAAB CONSIDER JOINT PARTS VENTURE
Two upscale members of General Motors Corporation’s stable are looking into the possibility of sharing assets and resources in a cooperative, money-saving effort. Cadillac and Saab, GM’s American and Swedish luxury arms, share similar segment needs and target audiences, so some sort of cooperation would be natural, according to Saab’s chief executive Peter Augustsson. The depth of the association could range from a simple dialog on technical issues to a full-on joint parts venture. Augustsson doesn’t see such cooperative agreements and ventures as clouding the separate brand identities of Saab and Cadillac.
Flint: A Letter to Cadillac by Jerry Flint
Spy Shots: ’03 Saab 9-3 by Brenda Priddy

 

FORD AIMS AT MAKING SAFETY BELTS EVEN SAFER
The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Ford Motor Company is working on a system that could innovate seat-belt safety. The idea is a seat-belt shoulder strap that can inflate like an airbag in a crash. According to Steve Rouhana, an engineer at Ford’s Safety Research Center in Dearborn, Michigan, the belt would inflate and expand to spread the impact harshness of a collision over a wider area of the torso. "Today’s belts are two inches wide," Rouhana told the Tribune, "An inflatable belt would expand to six inches wide. That would distribute your body weight over more of the belt so that the belt would absorb more of the force of the impact."
Recall, Rollover and Safety Info by TCC Team (9/10/2001)
TCC Tip: Seatbelt Safety by TCC Team

DELPHI INDUCTS 108 INTO ITS "INNOVATION HALL OF FAME"
Delphi Automotive Systems has announced that it has inducted 108 of its own inventors into the company’s "Innovation Hall of Fame." Delphi established its hall of fame in 1995, and while the idea certainly stems from internal morale-boosting initiative and employee-appreciation initiatives, it is also a reflection of the company’s distinction as a major player in the automotive industry. The 597 patents received and 2,481 invention disclosures published by Delphi in 2000 evidence that reputation. Additionally, the company says that it plans to launch around 350 new products in the next three years. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with showing a little appreciation to the people doing the real work in the trenches.

 

 

FACTOIDS:
Study Shows U.S. Auto Workers Working Smart, Adding Value
On a basis of value-added per employee, the U.S. auto industry is highly productive, ranking third among all manufacturers. A study by the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan shows that in 1996 (the latest governmental data) the U.S. auto industry value-added (the sum of profit, rent, interest, and labor compensation) was $137,000 per worker – 47 percent higher than the overall value-added ratio for U.S. manufacturing ($93,000). Only tobacco products, petroleum and coal products, and chemicals and allied-product industries beat the auto industry.

FROM THE SOURCE:

From PR Newswire Lear Corporation has announced significant shuffling and appointments in upper management, including two new Executive VP positions . . . Mechanical Dynamics, Inc. is reporting a $470,000 deal with an unnamed Japanese automaker for the company’s virtual prototyping software . . . Microsoft has announced a partnership with MobileBriefs to provide in-car "Personal Audio Broadcasting," including audio books and customized news

THE TICKER:

Autoliv (ALV), Closed 19.78, down 0.05

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ArvinMeritor (ARM), Closed 16.17, down 1.72

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American Axle (AXL), Closed 17.89, down 0.99

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Ballard Power Systems (BLDP), Closed 16.66, up 0.27

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Dana (DCN), Closed 18.95, down 0.84

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DaimlerChrysler (DCX), Closed 40.78, down 2.12

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Donnelly (DON), Closed 15.25, down 0.51

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Delphi Automotive (DPH), Closed 14.04, down 0.83

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Eaton (ETN), Closed 69.60, down 2.74

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Ford (F), Closed 18.76, down 0.64

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General Motors (GM), Closed 51.40, down 1.87

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Gentex (GNTX), Closed 29.31, down 0.94

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Goodyear (GT), Closed 23.50, down 0.86

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Johnson Controls (JCI), Closed 70.10, down 3.16

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Lear (LEA), Closed 34.95, down 1.30

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Magna International (MGA), Closed 54.90, down 2.88

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Nissan (NSANY), Closed 11.00, up 0.24

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Toyota (TM), Closed 61.00, down 0.35

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TRW (TRW), Closed 33.24, down 1.60

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Visteon (VC), Closed 16.62, down 0.51

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