TCC's Daily Edition: 10/01/01

October 1, 2001

FORD RATING CUT; IS GM NEXT?
The Ford Motor Co. suffered another embarrassment last week as Fitch, one of services that rates the creditworthiness of corporations and public institutions, announced it had cut its rating of the automaker and its various subsidiaries. Fitch dropped Ford and its Ford Motor Credit Co., the automaker's finance subsidiary, two notches to "A-minus," its seventh-highest investment grade, from "A-plus." It also cut commercial paper ratings to "F2" from "F1," and said the company's outlook was negative. Ford executives have argued the downgrade was unwarranted but their arguments failed to persuade Fitch's analysts.
Ford Rating Cut Again? by Joseph Szczesny (10/1/2001)

CHRYSLER RIDES OUT STORM
Facing a recession on two continents and a shrinking market share in the United States, DaimlerChrysler AG says it’s ready to stick with the basic strategy that it’s followed since 1995. The supervisory board announced it had extended the employment contracts of chairman Juergen Schrempp through the spring of 2005. It also extended the contract of Juergen Hubbert, the revered 62-year-old boss of the company's Mercedes-Benz Group until into 2005 and promoted Ruediger Grube, a Schrempp protégé, to the company's board of management. Grube will continue to head up DaimlerChrysler's corporate development and strategy unit.
Chrysler Rides Out Storm by Joseph Szczesny (10/1/2001

AZTEK IS MOST POPULAR SMALL SUV
Would you believe…the Aztek? J.D. Power’s survey of small SUVs finds Pontiac’s ugly duckling is the sport-ute that most pleases its owners, beating out luminaries like Toyota’s RAV4 and the new Hyundai Santa Fe. Despite critics’ loathing of its radical styling, the Aztek placed first or second in every category with owners. "We've been saying now since we launched Aztek, the owners love this vehicle," said Aztek brand manager Jim Vurpillat. "The whole vehicle was a risk for GM. We know we were trying to do something different, something unique." The Aztek, pegged originally at 55,000 sales a year, is now stable at about 28,000 annually, and GM hopes to boost that to 30,000 to 40,000 a year in the coming year with a revised Aztek with lighter cladding and larger wheels.
TCC’s Draw Aztek Winners! by TCC Team (4/23/2001)

NISSAN OPENS SMALL STUDIO IN SFO
To take advantage of the city’s Academy of Art College, Nissan has opened a small design studio in San Francisco. Headed by Al Flowers, a senior designer with Nissan North America, the center is expected to have five stylists and will work mainly with digital imaging and modeling, and will report to other design centers in La Jolla, Calif., and Japan.
MAYFLOWER SAYS NEW ENGINE IS CLEAN, LEAN
British engineering group Mayflower Corporation Plc — at one time, the makers of the body panels for the current MG roadster — unveiled a new engine on Monday that changes its capacity depending on the workload. Effectively, it would increase its displacement for more power, and decrease it when less power is needed, which the company says can boost fuel efficiency by 40 percent and decrease emissions by 50 percent. The company owns 33 percent of the rights to the e3 Variable Motion Engine, which was developed by Joe Ehrlich, a scientist and motorhead since the 1940s.

SEPT. SALES IN JAPAN SLOW SOMEWHAT
If the Sept. 11 attacks on America are slowing down the world’s economy, Honda’s sales in Japan are a good sign for stability. The company measured a 14-percent increase in its home market, which overall saw a four-percent drop, to 529,435 units in September. Around the rest of Japan’s brands Toyota dropped by nine percent; Nissan fell five percent; Mitsubishi sales were flat; Mazda reported a 16-percent drop; and Subaru’s parent Fuji Heavy slid by about a percent.

FROM THE SOURCE:
KARMANN will build the production version of the Chrysler Crossfire, the company says, beginning in 2003…ACURA says October is national vehicle maintenance month and during the week of October 1st through the 6th, Acura will be celebrating by giving its owners’ cars some free TLC, including inspections and diagnostic checks…TOYOTA will match employee contributions to the Red Cross in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. The company has already contributed $1 million to relief efforts…DUCATI says its MH900e motorcycle does not infringe on trademark and publicity rights relating to Mike Hailwood's name. The bike is inspired by the one driven by Hailwood at the 1978 Isle of Man race…MERCEDES-BENZ has named Carol Goll as manager of internal and brand communications. FACTOID:

Gentex Corporation, the global leader in electrochromic, automatic-dimming mirrors, has consistently outperformed its supplier peer group on Wall Street. Over the past five years, Gentex valuation on a price-to-earnings ratio has varied from only a 20-percent discount to the S&P 500 to an over 50-percent premium. How do they do it? A case study by the Center for Automotive Research (www.erim.org/car) finds that Gentex has built an incredibly efficient personal communication system that leverages intangible assets by creating “information transparency” throughout the organization.


THE TICKER:

Autoliv (ALV), Closed 15.74, up 0.08

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ArvinMeritor (ARM), Closed 14.25, up 0.65

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American Axle (AXL), Closed 12.75, up 0.35

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Ballard Power Systems (BLDP), Closed 19.56, down 0.01

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Dana (DCN), Closed 15.60, up 0.53

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DaimlerChrysler (DCX), Closed 29.98, up 1.18

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Donnelly (DON), Closed 14.10, up 0.25

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Delphi Automotive (DPH), Closed 11.75, up 0.65

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Eaton (ETN), Closed 59.21, down 0.11

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Ford (F), Closed 17.35, up 0.79

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General Motors (GM), Closed 42.90, up 1.74

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Gentex (GNTX), Closed 23.89, up 1.72

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Goodyear (GT), Closed 18.43, up 0.44

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Johnson Controls (JCI), Closed 65.24, up 3.24

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Lear (LEA), Closed 27.02, up 1.13

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Magna International (MGA), Closed 57.25, up 2.25

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Nissan (NSANY), Closed 8.58, up 0.23

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Toyota (TM), Closed 51.85, up 1.30

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TRW (TRW), Closed 29.82, down 0.47

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Visteon (VC), Closed 12.75, up 0.63

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