TCC's Daily Edition: 9/26/01

September 26, 2001

TCC’s BEEN OUT DRIVING: CADILLAC ESCALADE EXT & ACURA RSX TYPE-S
It’s been a good week for sumptuousness and shifting at TheCarConnection.com, and we’ve got two automotive reviews to prove it: There’s rich, and then there’s Texas rich—the Cadillac Escalade EXT is both. Join TCC’s Sue Mead in Monterey, California as she experiences a V-8 Cadillac that’s part truck, part SUV and almost all by itself in the niche where it dwells. There’s fun, and then there’s sports coupe fun—the Acura RSX Type-S is both. Eric Peters takes the Integra Type R replacement’s 200 horsepower and six-speed manual in hand for a little sport coupe excitement.
2002 Cadillac Escalade EXT by Sue Mead (9/24/2001)
2002 Acura RSX Type-S by Eric Peters (9/24/2001)

 

GM MAKES IT OFFICIAL: CAMARO/FIREBIRD GONE AFTER 2002
The word’s been on the street for quite some time now, but General Motors Corporation finally made it official: 2002 will be the last model year for the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird models. It fell to GM Vice President John G. Middlebrook to make the announcement that the company’s venerable, enduring ponycars had fallen victim to the demise of a sports-car segment they had helped create in the 1960s. The passing of the Camaro and Firebird into history will be commemorated by special editions of each for their farewell season—a 35th Anniversary Edition Camaro and a Collector Edition Firebird Trans Am.

 

CAMARO/FIREBIRD FACTORY GONE AFTER 2002 TOO
After playing host to such General Motors models as the Chevrolet Monza, the Chevy Celebrity and the Pontiac Grand Prix—not to mention the sole source of Camaros and Firebirds since 1993—GM’s Ste. Therese plant in Quebec will close in the fall of 2002. The Canadian facility began producing cars in 1965 and its lines have served the General well, but in recent times the factory’s schedule had been cut down to one shift building Camaros and Firebirds. According to a GM Canada spokesperson, "Almost all of the 1,065 employees currently on-roll at Ste. Therese are now eligible for retirement or will become eligible within the next few years."

 

MERCURY ADDS 3 NEW CHOICES TO 2002 LINEUP
Ford Motor Company’s Mercury division is adding three new variants to its car and SUV lineup for 2002. First up next month is the limited-production Cougar XR featuring a 170-horsepower V-6 engine and an $18,945 price tag ($19,940 with an automatic transmission). Then in January comes the upscale Mercury Sable Platinum Edition ($23,275 for the sedan, $24,440 for the station wagon). Sometime next spring, Mercury will introduce the Mountaineer Premier Edition. No equipment details or prices have yet been released on this SUV, so you can use your imagination. We’re visualizing the nicest Ford Explorer we’ve ever seen.

 

CHRYSLER JUMPS ON THE 0% FINANCING BANDWAGON
Following hard-times announcements from General Motors and Ford, the Chrysler Group has announced that it will join its Big 3 colleagues in offering zero-interest financing on select 2002 Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep models. The zero-percent deal is available on 36-month loans. Longer-term loans (up to 60 months) are available at 2.9 percent for cars and 4.9 percent for trucks and minivans. Sadly for the deal hunters, Chrysler’s PT Cruiser and Prowler, Dodge’s Viper and Ram trucks, Jeep’s Liberty, and all of the new e-minivans (eC, eL and eX) are all excluded from the zero-percent incentive, as are other incentive initiatives. The program will be in effect until October 31st.
Flint: Bad Days Coming by Jerry Flint (9/24/2001)

 

ISUZU CUTS RODEO OUTPUT IN U.S.
Japan’s biggest maker of light trucks, Isuzu, has announced a 20-percent cutback in production of its Rodeo sport-utility vehicle. The company, which is 48 percent the property of General Motors, is nervous after the September 11th terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., and doesn’t want to get caught overproducing should consumer demand not pick up. The Rodeo is built in Indiana.

 

XM SATELLITE RADIO LAUNCHES
XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. has launched its inaugural radio service in San Diego, California and Dallas, Texas. Satellite radio is a subscription-based option that allows customers to "personalize" their listening by offering digital-quality radio playing dozens of channels covering nearly every imaginable style of music and format, available anywhere they might be driving. For $9.95 a month, XM subscribers can tune in 100 channels of music and such news and information outlets as CNBC, CNN Headline News, USA Today and the BBC World Service. A nationwide launch is slated for mid-November.
Auto Tech Talk: Satellite Radio by TCC Team (4/23/2001)

 

 

FACTOIDS:
Attention Suppliers: You Gotta Get Organized

Gentex Corporation (as of August 30, 2001) had a market capitalization of $2.1 billion, only $100 million shy of Visteon Corporation. What is unique about Gentex is that their market capitalization is based on a $300 million revenue company versus $18.6 billion for Visteon. How do they do it? A case study by the Center for Automotive Research (www.erim.org/car) finds that Gentex has a keen sense of discipline and focus on providing customer service and innovative products within the business context of high-volume production and stringent target price requirements. Organization and management is key to Gentex success, not hard information technology deployment.

FROM THE SOURCE:

From PR Newswire Robert Bosch Corporation and Pacifica Group Limited's automotive subsidiary, PBR International, today announced an exclusive supply agreement where PBR will supply brake products, including aluminum calipers and park brake technology to Bosch's Chassis Division in North America . . . Nissan's global brand campaign begins moving forward in the U.S. early next year with the introduction of the "Nissan Retail Environmental Design Program," which comprises fresh signage and a new interior/exterior look for all of Nissan's U.S. dealerships . . . Freudenberg-NOK Chairman and CEO Joseph C. Day today announced the launch of a new company, The Lean Center LLC, which offers low-cost teaching of the lean practices popularized by Toyota Motor Corporation. Day says that the new company can help the North American automotive industry purge billions of dollars of waste from the supply chain . . . Market consultants Advanced Automotive Batteries will release a study next month which concludes that the market for advanced Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) batteries will grow from approximately $70 million this year to over $250 million by 2005, topping $500 million by 2009

THE TICKER:

Autoliv (ALV), Closed 15.50, up 0.57

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ArvinMeritor (ARM), Closed 13.72, down 0.03

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American Axle (AXL), Closed 12.86, up 1.07

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Ballard Power Systems (BLDP), Closed 19.09, down 2.67

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Dana (DCN), Closed 15.50, up 0.26

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DaimlerChrysler (DCX), Closed 28.53, down 0.87

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Donnelly (DON), Closed 13.70, unchanged

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Delphi Automotive (DPH), Closed 11.22, up 0.22

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Eaton (ETN), Closed 60.41, up 0.28

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Ford (F), Closed 16.12, down 0.31

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General Motors (GM), Closed 41.36, down 1.87

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Gentex (GNTX), Closed 22.59, down 1.00

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Goodyear (GT), Closed 18.40, up 0.10

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Johnson Controls (JCI), Closed 60.98, up 0.50

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Lear (LEA), Closed 26.10, up 0.11

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Magna International (MGA), Closed 50.88, up 1.07

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Nissan (NSANY), Closed 7.79, down 0.11

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Toyota (TM), Closed 50.49, up 0.43

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TRW (TRW), Closed 30.76, up 0.74

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Visteon (VC), Closed 12.51, down 0.06

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