TODAY’S TOP STORIES
SALES HIT 18 MILLION RATE?
The zero-percent financing deals offered by the Big Three seem to be working. Reuters reports that, thanks to cheap financing, the sales rate for new vehicles in October could check in at an annualized pace of 18 million units, far higher than last year’s overall record of 17.1 million vehicles sold. The news service quotes George Pipas, Ford’s sales analyst, as saying that sales of cars and light trucks are at their strongest clip so far this year, and the 18-million rate could stand for the month if the U.S. sees no more economic shocks.
Sept. Sales Slump, Recover by Joseph Szczesny (10/8/2001)
PRODUCTION CUTS HURTING SUPPLIERS
While vehicle sales are strong, the Big Three have still committed to production cuts that will hurt the supplier network for months. Many of the biggest Tier One suppliers, including Visteon, Lear, and Dana are issuing profit warnings because of production cutbacks since Sept. 11, in addition to those already announced before the terrorist attacks. "I think people have kind of written off the third quarter -- it's going to be a messy quarter, and we all know that," Matthew Stover, an auto industry analyst at Salomon Smith Barney, told Reuters.
Federal-Mogul in Chapter 11 by Michael Strong (10/8/2001)
BOSCH OUT OF SAE CONGRESS
The biggest remaining Tier One supplier at Detroit’s annual Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Congress has pulled out of the 2002 show. Robert Bosch Corp. says its bleak profit picture demanded the move, and at least one other major supplier is said to be reconsidering its plans for the March 2002 event. The SAE Congress was decimated last year when a host of Tier One suppliers including Visteon, Delphi and Lear pulled out of the show.
The ’00 SAE Congress by Joseph Szczesny (3/6/2000)
INSIGHT TOPS FUEL CHARTS AGAIN
America’s most fuel-efficient new vehicle is once again the Honda Insight. For the third year in a row, the 64-mpg Insight retained the top honors on the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency’s co-issued report on fuel economy. The manual-transmission Insight kept a wide lead over the other hybrid-powertrain entry, the Toyota Prius, which clinched third place with its 48-mpg rating. EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman told reporters that manufacturers are "beginning to recognize the trend and they are looking for more efficient vehicles” — obviously speaking before she consulted with the ultra-luxury makes. Among those high-end vehicles, the new Lamborghini Murcielago charted at the top of the “worst” ratings at 10 mpg, followed by the Ferrari 360 Modena and Bentley Azure at 13 mpg. Overall fuel mileage last year averaged 20.4 mpg, a hair below the 2000 model year and the lowest since 1980.
Experts Say Raise CAFE by TCC Team (8/6/2001)
FUEL ECONOMY BEST AND WORST ( 2002 MODEL YEAR):
|Honda Insight||64||Lamborghini Murcielago||10|
|Toyota Prius*||48||Ferrari 360||13|
|Volkswagen Jetta Wagon||45||Bentley Azure*||13|
|Volkswagen Jetta||45||Bentley Continental SC*||13|
|Volkswagen Golf||45||Bentley Continental T*||13|
|Volkswagen New Beetle||45||Rolls Royce Corniche*||13|
|Honda Civic HX||39||Bentley Continental R*||13|
|Toyota Echo||37||Bentley Arnage*||13|
|Toyota Corolla||36||Bentley Arnage LWB*||13|
|Honda Civic||36||Ford F150*||13|
|Chevrolet Prizm||35||Dodge Dakota*||13|
|Mitsubishi Mirage||35||Dodge Ram 1500*||13|
DON’T TELL MAMA: FORD TO CUT DIVIDEND?
Ford’s recent sales and recall woes are affecting the company in a way it hasn’t seen in a decade. This week the company will meet to raise the thorny issue of cutting its dividend, a move it hasn’t been forced to make since the recession of 1991. Most affected by any dividend slash will be the Ford family itself, which owns a big chunk of Ford’s Class B stock and gets dividend payments of about $85 million annually at current rates. Any dividend cut, Reuters reports, could slash those payments in half.
Ford Rating Cut Again? by Joseph Szczesny (10/1/2001)
SUV ROLLOVERS: AZTEK BEST, EXPLORER COMPETITIVE
The latest SUV rollover ratings count the Pontiac Aztek and Ford Explorer/Mercury Mountaineer among their winners. The much-lambasted Aztek received four stars for rollover safety, the highest rating of any SUV thus far in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) new test. The Explorer/Mountaineer, vindicated last week in a way by NHTSA’s decision in the Firestone recall — the agency asserted in a preliminary ruling that Firestone tires, not the sport-utes, were responsible for rollover accidents that claimed 271 lives — were judged to be on par with other SUVs in rollover safety, earning three stars for rollover resistance. However, the two-door Explorer Sport received two stars; it’s based on a shorter, older platform unlike that of the 2002 Explorer four-door.
Recall, Rollover and Safety Info by TCC Team (10/8/2001)
MORE GM EURO PRODUCTION CUTS
GM’s heavy cuts in European production are becoming clearer. The company will slash output at two plants — in Belgium and Germany — to go along with the cuts announced earlier this year, including the closing of an assembly plant in Luton, England. The plants operate two production lines apiece, and employ a total of about 20,000 workers. GM plans to cut production in Europe by as much as 350,000 units to respond to slumping market share.
GM Drops the Other Shoe in England by Ian Norris (12/13/2000)
DANA IN BMW AXLE DEAL
Tier One supplier Dana Corp. said on Tuesday that it would supply axle components for a future BMW platform. The company’s traction-technology group will take the lead in penning a front- and rear-axle setup for a new platform, but specific vehicles were not described in the company’s news release. Most of Dana’s current business goes to companies like Volkswagen and Toyota. Dana stock closed at 13.01 on Tuesday, down 0.07.
TODAY’S AUTO FACT
September incentives rose sharply — by 33.6 percent to $2,062 per unit, the biggest year-over-year increase, even though most of the month was over before the widely publicized zero-percent incentive programs went into effect, says the Automotive Research unit of Merrill Lynch. Month-over-month, incentives inched down 0.6 percent vs. August's record level, reflecting the launch of 2002 models, some of which have no incentives or lower incentives than 2001 models.
More specifics: Passenger car incentives jumped 36.6 percent (Y-o-Y) to $1,971 up $1,943, as almost every OEM upped discounts. The most notable increases were at Ford (+59.3 percent to $2,673) and GM (+48.1 percent to $2,747), up from already high levels. Light truck incentives climbed 30.7 percent to $2,152, and remain higher than car incentives. Similar to cars, the increase in truck incentives was driven by big jumps at Ford (+53.4 percent to $2,674) and GM (+50.5 percent to $2,163), which together account for 59.4 percent of the market.
FROM THE SOURCE
With almost three months remaining in the year, Ford Escape has set an all-time calendar-year sales record for small SUVs, with 2001 sales totaling 121,184 to date…GM has been named one of Working Mother magazine’s “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" for the tenth year in a row…Approximately 200 historic Ford race cars -- from Henry Ford's famous 1901 "Sweepstakes" winner to Dale Jarrett's NASCAR championship-winning 1999 Ford Taurus -- will be on display Oct. 13-14 at the Ford Racing Centennial Festival at Dearborn's Greenfield Village…Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) has completely renovated its corporate Web site,www.MBUSA.com, by streamlining functions and adding state-of-the-art tools to simplify the shopping process…Johnson Controls will provide the Chrysler Group with its PSI - Pressure Sensing Information tire pressure monitoring system. The system will be available in the 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans, and the Chrysler 300M.
|Collins & Aikman||CKC||07.70||+1.22|