GM AND TOYOTA USE TELEMATICS TO FIND EACH OTHER
GM and Toyota are expanding their ties, agreeing to work together on in-vehicle communications and entertainment systems in the Japanese market. In the past, GM and Toyota have agreed to share information on developing fuel cells, environmental protection and on manufacturing processes. The eight-month agreement has the two co-developing telematics services on Toyota's vehicle information network service, G-book. The companies will work toward standardizing telecommunication technology and services. Also, GM will offer its services on Toyota's kiosks in Japanese convenience stores, while Toyota will supply GM with Toyota-developed digital maps. In the United States, Toyota already licenses GM’s OnStar emergency communications service. But since GM doesn’t have a large presence in Japan GM has announced it was willing to work with Toyota when developing a telematics system rather than trying to develop its own.
Ford Takes a Virtual Drive by TCC Team (8/27/2001)
FORD TO IDLE OHIO PLANT
Starting today, Ford will idle its Ohio Assembly Plant for two weeks to adjust inventory levels. The plant builds the Mercury Villager and Nissan Quest minivans. It is located in Avon Lake, Ohio, and it employs 2,693 workers. Ford reported September sales of the Villager were down 26 percent from the same month a year earlier and were off 41 percent for the first nine months of the year compared with the same period of 2000.
RUST NEVER SLEEPS – EVEN FOR AUDI
Audi is recalling nearly 42,000 vehicles worldwide because of rust problems in the rear suspension of some four-wheel-drive models. Even though the problem has not caused any known injuries, the corrosion has caused the suspensions in some vehicles to fail while they were at rest or moving slowly. An inadequately sealed joint caused the corrosion. The recall applies to TT quattro and S3 quattro models made between September 1998 and March 2000 and A3 quattro models made between February 1999 and March 2000. Only about 3,700 TTs with the problem were sold in the United States before the defect was discovered. The S3 and A3 models were not sold in the United States.
GM DROPS PRICES ON 2002 AZTEK
GM is reducing the starting prices of the revamped 2002 Pontiac Aztek sport-utility by as much as 6.8 percent. The Aztek, which has been reviled for its ugly exterior, has sold poorly since it was released in July 2000. General Motors thought it could sell 75,000 units annually. But for the 2001 calendar year, sales have reached just 22,018. The revamped 2002 model is scheduled to hit showrooms in December. The lowest-priced Aztek will start at $19,995, down $1,450 from the current model. The all-wheel-drive version will be reduced 4 percent, to $22,995. The 2002 Aztek's exterior has been given a facelift that removed ridges from the side body panels and de-emphasizes the thick black plastic cladding. To the Aztek’s credit, once buyers get past the exterior, they generally love their vehicles; the Aztek was named the year’s top entry-level sport-utility in a J.D. Power & Associates survey.
UAW TURNS ITS ATTENTION TO HONDA
The UAW may have had a major setback in the vote at the Nissan plant in Smyrna, Tenn., last week, but that hasn’t keep the union from attempting to organize other transplant automakers. The UAW has opened an office in Marysville and has turned its attention to organizing workers at Honda's four Ohio plants. If successful, the UAW would add about 9,000 workers to their membership. Honda has plants in Marysville and East Liberty, a motorcycle factory in Marysville and an engine plant in Anna. The union tried to organize the Honda plants once before – in the 1980s. "We continue organizing," said Bob King, the UAW's international vice president for organizing. "We continue to put emphasis on transplants."
APPLES TO APPLES – A GOOD THING
Friday’s item about the EPA’s release of fuel economy data was misleading, the agency admits, because of a change in methodology. Our report said that the average fuel economy for 2000 vehicles was 24.0 mpg and for 2001 vehicles was 20.4 mpg. Since that report, the EPA has clarified that almost all of this difference is due to a methodological change from using "laboratory" fuel economy data in the 2000 report to using "real world" fuel economy projections in the 2001 report. The EPA said that the average real world fuel economy for 2001 vehicles of 20.4 mpg was 0.1 mpg lower than the average real world fuel economy value for 2000. The EPA said that average CAFE values as reported by DOT for both years will be considerably higher, as they do not include the adjustments for real world fuel economy projections. Got that?
FAST AUTO FACT
The restructuring of the automotive industry – as to who works with whom – will continue at a rapid pace. A recent survey, “E-readiness of the Automotive Supply Chain,” by the Center for Automotive Research (www.erim.org/car) shows that 77 percent of the first tier suppliers over the next 12 months will reduce the number of companies in their supply base by an average of 21 percent. The fallout will be a combination of capacity elimination (companies exiting the business) and rationalization (companies merging).
FROM THE SOURCE:
Mike Krebs has been promoted to vice president, Product Strategy of Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America. Krebs will lead the combined product and corporate strategy group and will also take on the additional responsibilities of corporate planning and vehicle pricing. … PPG Industries and Behr Systems Inc. say they together now have the ability to make personalized vehicle colors through the development of their Dynamic FlexColors system. The system enables coatings components and application technologies to work in conjunction to meet the level of flexibility required for the industry's five-day car and mass customization concepts.
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Lear (LEA), Closed 28.58, up 0.38
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