TODAY’S TOP STORIES
Q4 DOESN’T LOOK GOOD AT FORD, EITHER
A day after the company reported its second losing quarter in a row, Ford executives are now saying the fourth quarter doesn’t look particularly rosy, either. Martin Inglis, Ford’s CFO, says that even current estimates on Q4 earnings are high: “It will be difficult to earn a profit in the fourth quarter,'' he admitted. Analysts are predicting an average of 6 cents a share earnings at the world’s number-two automaker. While sales have been strong in October since the company matched GM’s zero-percent financing on most of its vehicles, those cheap financing deals are eroding further the chances that Ford will show black ink in the fourth quarter. Ford announced yesterday that it lost $692 million during the third quarter, down from $88 million the year before, and the first time Ford had posted a back-to-back quarterly loss since 1992.
No Bonus for Top Ford Execs by Joseph Szczesny (9/3/2001)
GM Q3 LOSES $368 MILLION; COMPANY STICKS BY ZERO PERCENT
Meanwhile, at GM, the news was a little better -- but not by much. The company lost $368 million, after taking some $750 million in one-time charges for plant closings, etc. Also yesterday, the automaker said it has extended the zero-percent financing on most of its cars and trucks that it launched in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. The company will extend its “Keep America Rolling” financing deals until Nov. 18; the deals were set to expire on Oct. 31. As of 9 p.m. Wednesday, neither Ford nor Chrysler had matched the extension. In September, GM experienced a sales drop of just three percent, while Ford dropped nearly 10 percent and Chrysler plummeted by 28 percent; the combined financing moves by the Big Three have helped boost October’s sales rate to the best so far this year.
Sept. Sales Slump, Recover by Joseph Szczesny (10/8/2001)
POLL PUTS DC Q3 AT $306 MILLION
Meanwhile, the third of the Big Three may turn a decent profit in the most recent financial term. A Reuters poll of twelve analysts estimates that DaimlerChrysler will earn about $306 million in the third quarter, down 37 percent from last year’s figures. In the second quarter, the company’s profits plunged 72 percent to $634 million, which was better than the estimates of most analysts. DaimlerChrysler reports its Q3 results on Oct. 23.
Big Three Outearn Estimates by Joseph Szczesny (7/23/2001)
HOLDEN RESURFACES AT SIRIUS
Former Chrysler president Jim Holden has reappeared, this time on the board of directors of Sirius Satellite Radio. Holden, 50, was a 19-year veteran of Chrysler when he was fired in late 2000 and replaced by Mercedes-Benz’ Dieter Zetsche. Under Holden’s tenure, Chrysler’s cash reserves had dwindled to near zero. Sirius, like its competitor XM Radio, plans to offer satellite radio services across the country.
Implosion at Chrysler by TCC Team (11/15/2000)
MAGNA STEYR IN LINE TO BUILD BMW X3
Austria’s Magna Steyr said on Wednesday that it’s near a deal to build the upcoming BMW X3 sport-utility vehicle. The company, which plans to build the compact BMW off-roader in a plant near Graz, Austria, says a final announcement is close: "The talks are going very well,” President and Chief Executive Siegfried Wolf told Reuters. Currently, Steyr builds the European versions of Chrysler’s Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Mercedes-Benz M-Class and G-Class. According to our sources, the X3 will offer a choice of four and six‑cylinder gasoline and diesel engines (for some markets). All-wheel drive, featuring the sophisticated electronic systems ASC+T and DSC-3 to optimize its off‑road ability, will be standard, together with independent suspension for refined driving dynamics.
Spy Shots: 2004 BMW X3 by Brenda Priddy (5/20/2001)
DANA CUTS DIVIDEND FIRST TIME IN 65 YEARS
Like many other auto suppliers, Dana is hurting along with the Big Three. The company said on Wednesday that it would cut some 11,000 jobs and close assembly plants to better its tough financial situation, which has forced the company to cut its dividend for the first time in 65 years. For the third quarter, Dana shareholders will receive a distribution of one cent per share, down from 31 cents in the second quarter, for a savings of $178 million. “We have devoted significant effort to scaling our operations for lower production forecasts,'' said Dana chairman Joe Magliochetti. “Unfortunately, recent events require that we quicken the pace and make even further reductions.'' Dana shares finished the day at 11.30, down 3.26. In recent weeks, TRW has announced job cuts, and Federal-Mogul announced it would file Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Federal-Mogul in Chapter 11 by Michael Strong (10/8/2001)
GM, SUZUKI TO DEVELOP FUEL CELLS
The alliance between GM and Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp. now extends to fuel cells, the companies announced in Tokyo on Wednesday. In their new collaboration, the companies will work on ways to incorporate fuel cells in small cars. "The cost of research and developing fuel cells has become so prohibitive that no one car company can go it alone, certainly not a company of our size," Suzuki executive director Hiroshi Tsuda said in a statement. On Tuesday, GM announced it would increase its share in Hydrogenics, a fuel-cell developer, to 24 percent. GM owns a 20-percent stake in Suzuki.
GM Driving Fuel Cells Home by TCC Team (8/7/2001)
GM SHOWS FUEL-CELL HYDROGEN3
A Chevy S-10 truck without a buffer battery is the company’s next step into the fuel-cell-powered future, the company said yesterday in Tokyo. The HydroGen3 prototype extracts hydrogen fuel directly from gasoline. The company is still researching other methods of delivering hydrogen, but this method means that this type of fuel-cell vehicle does not require a new hydrogen-fuel delivery infrastructure. GM has announced previously that it plans to market fuel-cell-powered vehicles and standalone fuel-cell power generators by the middle of the decade.
ALFA RETURN DELAYED
Alfisti will be disappointed to learn that General Motors and Fiat have decided to postpone the Italian marque's return to the U.S. Fiat will not retrofit current model Alfas to meet U.S. federal requirements for 2003; now, all-new models will enter the U.S. as 2005 model year cars. A new Alfa Spider is due in 2005 and a replacement for the 156 small sports sedan should come the following year. A high-end 166 model is tentatively due in 2007. Originally GM said Alfas would share showrooms with Cadillac but they are now leaning toward selling the Italian brand through Saab dealerships, both in here and in other markets where they are not currently sold. — Bob Storck
CHEAPER CUSTOM COLORS COMING
Getting a custom color for a new car or truck is going to get easier and cheaper. PPG Industries and Behr Systems Inc. are testing their Dynamic FlexColors system to meet the five-day car standard and use in conventional paint shops on a just-in-time basis. The paint guns normally must be cleaned for a new color, but the new system allows pigments to be added to get new colors similar to a color printing cartridge for a computer printer. They're aiming for 2003 as a start-up date.— Mike Strong
TODAY’S AUTO FACT
Keeping it simple: It appears simpler, less expensive vehicles have a growing appeal, according to Experian Automotive’s National Vehicle Database. More than three times as many consumers were more likely to choose mid level vehicles than go for the top of the line in 2000. In looking at long term trends, consumers more than doubled their preference for budget vehicles in 2000, compared to just four years earlier.
FROM THE SOURCE
FromPR Newswire: OnStar becomes the first this year to offer location-based real-time traffic in 70 U.S. metropolitan areas through the hands-free, voice-activated OnStar Virtual Advisor service. OnStar subscribers in these cities can now get the traffic reports for their vehicle location by simply accessing the Virtual Advisor at the touch of a button…American Honda officially opened its unique "green" facility, a 212,888 sq. ft. warehouse, training center and zone office, designed and constructed with recycled, recyclable and sustainable building materials. American Honda's Northwest Regional Facility, which will supply Honda parts to nine Western states, utilizes environmentally friendly products in virtually every aspect of the building's design, construction and operation -- from its lighting, heating, flooring, bathroom tiles and wall finishes to exterior landscaping…The MSN CarPoint online automotive service has announced the launch of its My Car service, which makes it even easier for consumers to buy, own and maintain their vehicles. Through the My Car service, users can receive real-time traffic updates, search for the lowest gas prices in their area, obtain driving directions, and locate local department of motor vehicles sites for registration and licensing information…SAM'S CLUB is revving up its online membership warehouse club, located athttp://www.samsclub.com/shopping/index.jsp, with a new feature enabling members to order tires direct from the manufacturer for delivery to the nearest SAM'S CLUB for quick installation. This new development demonstrates SAM'S CLUB'S focus on continued innovation and added convenience to its online Club.
Autoliv (ALV), Closed 16.73, up 0.29
ArvinMeritor (ARM), Closed 14.93, down 1.01
American Axel (AXL), Closed 14.85, down 0.27
Ballard Power Systems (BLDP), Closed 24.35, down 0.53
Borg-Warner (BWA), Closed 43.14, down 1.76
Collins & Aikman (CKC), 6.72, down 1.02
Cummins (CUM), Closed 32.75, down 1.25
Dana (DCN) Closed 11.30, down 3.26
DaimlerChrysler (DCX) Closed 35.25, up 0.42
Donnelly (DON) Closed 12.90, down 0.05
Delphi Automotive (DPH), Closed 12.00, down 0.90
Eaton (ETN), Closed 66.01, down 2.85
Ford Motor Co. (F), Closed 17.13, down 0.55
General Motors (GM), Closed 42.77, down 1.20
Gentex (GNTX), Closed 24.74, down 1.16
Goodyear (GT), Closed 18.93, down 0.34
Johnson Controls (JCI), Closed 71.78, down 0.98
Lear (LEA), Closed 29.74, down 1.53
Magna International (MGA), Closed 51.91, down 2.41
Motorola (MOT), Closed 17.71, up 0.21
Nissan (NSANY), Closed 9.64, down 0.17
Tower Automotive (TWR), Closed 6.30, down 0.20
Toyota (TM), Closed 50.75, down 1.15
TRW (TRW), Closed 32.73, down 0.62
Visteon (VC), Closed 13.80, down 0.53