AUTO SALES COULD REMAIN STRONG
The new car market may not take nearly as sharp a plunge as expected once zero-interest loan programs wrap up, Ford COO Nick Scheele tells TheCarConnection. That runs counter to what most analysts have been forecasting, with some expecting sales to slump to as low as 14 million, in part because this year’s incentives could be “borrowing” sales from 2002. “It really is entirely possible,” Scheele concedes. “There’s got to be some payback,” unless zero-rate incentives prove so effective, “they stimulate the whole economy.” That might more than offset pull-ahead sales lost during an otherwise weak year, according to Scheele. Supporting that theory, he points to the recent upturn in overall retail economic activity, which was largely the result of surging car sales. So far, Ford analysts estimate that the zero-interest loans have pulled ahead about 750,000 units of car and truck sales from 2002.
Zero Percent Stays at GM, Ford by Joseph Szczesny (11/19/2001)
FORD UNVEILS ’03 LINCOLN TOWN CAR
2003 Lincoln Town Car
TCC 2002 Buyer’s Guide: Lincoln by Bob Plunkett (10/1/2001)
NISSAN ON NEW QUEST IN DETROIT
Nissan Quest Concept
Driving Forces: Product is King by TCC Team (11/19/2001)
WTC VEHICLE LOSSES STAGGER NY
The world is still reeling from the unthinkable terrorist attacks September 11 on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and the thousands of innocent people thus murdered in cold blood. Yet there is an amazing story, untold until now, of vehicles lost. TheCarConnection, after all, is a car magazine whose readers look for the automotive stories they can't find elsewhere, where the concentration naturally has been on the human aspects of the attacks.
Sept. 11: The Auto Aftermath by Mike Davis (11/26/2001)
CHRYSLER’S PT MIATA?
The PT Miata? Sure, says TCC’s Lesley Hazleton. “Now that Chrysler knows it has a hit with its PT Cruiser, it's turning to the Miata guidebook to figure out how to keep the car hot once the order book is filled.”
Cargirl: The PT Miata? by Lesley Hazleton (11/26/2001)
COVISINT GETS NEW CFO
Paul Kothari is Covisint’s new chief financial officer, the company announced on Monday. Kothari last headed (and co-founded) Comstellar Technologies, a New Jersey-based software company; prior to that he held the CFO slot at TheStreet.com. Covisint, set up as an Internet-based supplier clearinghouse for the Big Three, now counts, GM, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, Nissan, Renault and Peugeot among its automotive members.
ISUZU IN THE RED IN ’01; JOB CUTS TO TOTAL 13,000
Isuzu continues to bleed red ink. On Monday, the company said it would show a net loss for 2001 and would add 3300 more pink slips to the 9700 job cuts it had announced earlier in the year. The Japanese truck and sport-ute maker, of which GM owns 49 percent, posted a Japanese fiscal first-half loss of $189.4 million, slightly higher than last year’s first-half results. At the beginning of the year, the company had predicted a profit for the full financial year; a 2001 loss would make Isuzu’s third losing year in a row.
PARIS 2002 LINES UP
With Detroit’s annual extravaganza yet a month away, European auto publications are already speculating on next year’s Paris show debuts. According to the French enthusiast magazine Auto Plus, the following cars will be presented at the Mondial de l'Automobile in Paris next September:
New BMW Z3
Citroën C3 Pluriel and Evasion II monospaces
Ferrari F60 prototype
Fiat Stilo Weekend (station wagon)
Ford Streetka and Fusion
New Nissan Micra
Opel Vectra and Corsa minivans
Peugeot 307 sedan, station wagon and coupe-cabriolet, and 807 monospace
Renault Espace 5 monospace and new Mégane
Porsche Cayenne sport utility
Volkswagen D1 luxury car, Colorado sport utility and Golf monospace
-- William Diem
FOCUS ON THE RECALL WAGON AGAIN
Ford’s Focus is the company’s latest model to be recalled. Some 279,646 Foci — 2000 and 2001 model-year vehicles, all — are being recalled over a rear-wheel seal that can corrode and cause the rear wheel assembly to vibrate and wobble. The vehicles are being recalled in 21 nasty-weather states and six Canadian provinces. The latest recall is the 2000 Focus’ seventh since it went on sale in 1999.
EU CARMAKERS AGREE ON PEDESTRIAN SAFETY
European automakers have convinced the member nations’ governments that they can design vehicles to cause fewer injuries to pedestrians in accidents. Beginning next year, European carmakers will undertake such measures as removing bull bars as optional equipment and making anti-lock braking standard on all vehicles, the Reuters news service reports. "The EU states have decided to favor a voluntary system under the agreement that all the necessary requirements are met by the industry," Per Haugaard, a spokesman for the European Commission, told Reuters.
CEPPOS IS NEW AUTOWEEK PUBLISHER
Rich Ceppos, veteran of several major car monthlies, has been named to succeed Leon Mandel as publisher of AutoWeek magazine. Ceppos last held a vice-presidency at Campbell & Co., a Dearborn-based public relations and marketing communications firm. Prior to his post at Campbell, Ceppos was executive editor of Automobile magazine and, before that, executive editor at Car and Driver. Mandel becomes AutoWeek’s publisher emeritus.
TODAY’S AUTO FACT
Sixty-two percent of all new-vehicle buyers are turning to the Internet for automotive information while shopping for their vehicle — and the average consumer tries out 6.8 auto Web sites before they buy, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2001 New Autoshopper.com Study released on Monday. The number of auto Internet shoppers rose eight percent, from 54 percent in 2000. Of the sites visited, independent sites were most often selected for pricing information.
Source: J.D. Power and Associates
FROM THE SOURCE
FromPR Newswire:TheChildren's Center and WJR-AM 760 are teaming up to host a 20-day on-air auction, beginning today through Dec. 21. Each weekday during that period, listeners can bid on a wide range of items, including a 2002 Ford Thunderbird and 2002 Chrysler Prowler. Funds raised from the auction will support The Children's Center…Lear Corporation today announced it has been awarded a U.S. patent for an improved acoustical system which is 40 to 60 percent lighter in weight with equal or better noise reduction capability than conventional automotive products. The patent represents a major step forward in protecting Lear's proprietary position in its acoustical technology sold under its brand name SonoTec(TM) covering four unique products using patented materials and technologies integrated into vehicle floor systems, dash insulators, wheelhouse covers, and headliners. The total market for acoustical products is estimated at $1.5 billion annually.
From BusinessWire:Carfax, the leading provider of vehicle history reports, unveiled today a new feature on Carfax.com--the "Problem Car Alert." This new tool allows website visitors to instantly obtain a top ten list of vehicles in their area with bad histories. Consumers can access the "Problem Car Alert" service atwww.carfax.com by clicking on the "Free Services/Problem Car Alert" link in the footer. Based on the entered zip code, Carfax instantly pulls a list of cars in that area with questionable title histories.
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American Axle (AXL), Closed 18.40, down 0.30
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Dana (DCN) Closed 13.35, up 0.02
DaimlerChrysler (DCX) Closed 44.27, up 1.08
Donnelly (DON) Closed 13.21, down 0.06
Delphi Automotive (DPH), Closed 13.56, up 0.17
Eaton (ETN), Closed 70.84, up 0.93
Ford Motor Co. (F), Closed 18.58, up 0.70
General Motors (GM), Closed 48.61, up 0.92
Gentex (GNTX), Closed 25.75, down 0.66
Goodyear (GT), Closed 22.43, up 0.03
Honda Motor (HMC), Closed 79.21, up 2.71
Johnson Controls (JCI), Closed 80.51, up 0.46
Lear (LEA), Closed 35.13, unchanged
Magna International (MGA), Closed 61.55, up 0.26
Motorola (MOT), Closed 17.96, up 0.29
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Tower Automotive (TWR), Closed 7.78, down 0.36
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