DAILY EDITION: Sept. 4, 2002

September 4, 2002

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2005 Chevrolet Equinox

2005 Chevrolet Equinox

CHEVY SETS EQUINOX FOR 2004
Chevrolet says it will market its first crossover vehicle, the Equinox, in the 2005 model year. The new vehicle is based on the company’s Theta architecture — that’s the Saturn VUE to those of us outside the Renaissance Center. The Ingersoll, Ont., CAMI plant now building the Chevy Tracker and Suzuki Vitara will be converted to Equinox production in 2004 for a 2005 model-year launch, according to GM. GM will spend more than $322 million to update the plant for assembly of the new vehicle; Suzuki has not announced whether they will field a similar vehicle to be built alongside the Equinox.
GM Interiors: Changing from Inside by TCC Team (8/26/2002)

FORD COP CARS TO GET BEAT UP AGAIN TODAY
Plaintiff lawyers today are stepping up their indictment of Crown Victoria police intercept vehicles, charging that Ford could make the cars safer for cops with just a few market-ready add-ons including rubber fuel tank liners and fire extinction equipment common to race cars. Lawyers, supported by plaintiff attorney group safetyforum.com, will run a press conference today in Washington D.C., and have on hand widows of some of the eleven known officers to have died after Crown Victoria police car gas tanks caught fire in high-speed crashes, as well as a video demonstrating how rubber bladders make the cars safer. Find out more inside TheCarConnection.com today:
Ford Cop Cars Face Outcry (9/3/2002)

VOLVO LOOKING FOR SAFE HAVEN
Look at the 2003 Volvo XC90 up close and it is clear that this vehicle is overdue for the Swedish maker and has a definite edge over the Mercedes M-Class and BMW X5. Volvo's newly installed North American boss Victor Doolan will benefit from a sales turnaround helped by the XC90, but he is anything but a lucky guy arriving just when a hot new product arrives. Volvo has been a mess, and Doolan, 62, has been deployed to fix it before he collects his retirement package. How big a role does safety play in Volvo’s turnaround goals? Read more inside TCC:
Volvo Looking for Safe Haven by Jim Burt (9/3/2002)

CAW PICKING STRIKE TARGET THURSDAY
The Canadian Auto Workers are planning to pick a strike target this week — and the once-safe assumption that the target will be the Ford Motor Co. now appears to be uncertain. Ford's announcement in January that it planned to close its Ontario truck plant had seriously undercut the automaker's relationship with the Canadian union and the CAW had vowed to get even during the contract talks this fall. Last week, however, after the union had resumed talks in earnest with Ford, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler, Hargrove backtracked slightly and began hinting that Ford might not be the union's first target this year after all. Who will the target be — and how does the death of the Camaro and Firebird figure into it all? See for yourself inside TheCarConnection.com:
CAW Talks Reaching Critical Stage by Joseph Szczesny (9/3/2002)

LAST CAMARO — SORT OF — SOLD FOR $71,500
Chevrolet has auctioned off the last Camaro to be sold to the public. The red Z28, equipped with T-tops, was sold to Mark Gembinski of Mayville, Mich., for $71,500, at a charity auction held in Auburn, Ind. The 32-year-old Gembinski told the AP he was brought home from the hospital in a 1969 Camaro and “got a little crazy” while bidding for the vehicle at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival on Sunday. It wasn’t the actual final Camaro, though — it was next to last. The final Camaro went directly from the production line closed last Tuesday in St. Therese, Quebec, to the Chevrolet museum collection. The auction proceeds will go to the National Association of Students Against Violence Everywhere, the news service reports.
GM: Camaro Factory to Close by Joseph Szczesny (10/1/2001)

NHTSA POKES INTO BMW BAGS
After two recalls, the NHTSA isn’t quite satisfied that BMW’s 3-Series airbag problems are behind it. The safety agency is investigating more than 200,000 3-Series vehicles in the wake of reports of 41 injuries from side airbag deployments that occurred without accidents. Some 265 complaints of airbag deployment have been reported, usually after the vehicle has been driven over a pothole or curb. The NHTSA study will include BMW 3-Series cars made from April 1999 to April 2001; BMW has issued two recalls for 55,201 3-Series cars to remedy the problem.

VW AVOIDS MEXICO STRIKE
Volkswagen reached terms with Mexican labor unions late Sunday night to avoid a work stoppage at the plant that builds a good part of its North American lineup. VW placated its workers with a 5.5-percent raise and 1.5-percent increase in benefits, about a third lower than the union demanded initially. The union represents about 10,500 people who build the New Beetle, Jetta, Golf and Beetle at the VW factory in Puebla, east of Mexico City.

DAILY IN DEPTH

Ford Consolidating Performance Efforts

Ford today says it is consolidating its SVT performance group, Ford Racing and Ford Personalization with an eye toward developing more limited-edition vehicles for its Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands. The new group is called Ford Performance Group, and is meant to develop high-profit models for all three product lines following the success of vehicles like the "Bullitt" Mustang, King Ranch F-Series and Ford SVT Mustangs, Focuses and F-150s.

"We created this group to maximize the most passionate and exciting parts of our business," says Jim O'Connor, Ford Motor Company group vice president for North America Marketing, Sales and Service. "We know our customers are demanding unique, high-performance vehicles, parts and services, and we are ready to deliver them."

O'Connor said he can see a Lincoln LS performance model along the lines of SVT, and that other Lincolns will get greater personalization. Mercury is ripe for both SVT treatment and personalization.

Ford has sold 100,000 SVT vehicles over ten years, and does about 100,000 "personalized" cars a year, allowing customers to add features such as custom bedliners, chrome bumpers, running boards and gas pedals, as well as entertainment systems.

Ford's announcement follows similar plans talked up by GM and Chrysler this year. GM plans to add a performance car to each division, and Cadillac is launching the V-Series of tricked-out cars starting with a high-performance CTSv. Chrysler is working on a high-performance Neon, a sporting V-10 Ram and high-performance Chryslers and Jeeps. Mazda recently launched Mazdaspeed, a speed line starting with the 2003 Protégé. And Mercedes-Benz recently said it will soon have an AMG version of every model. —Jim Burt
2003 Ford SVT Mustang Cobra by Sue Mead (7/1/2002)

FROM THE SOURCE

PRNewswire

CAW president Buzz Hargrove will announce the target company for the current round of Big Three bargaining on Thursday, September 5 at 10:00 a.m. in Toronto. The announcement will be made at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, 100 Front Street West, in the Ontario Room on the conference floor. Key issues in the 2002 round of bargaining include wage gains, job and income security, time off the job, as well as benefit and working condition improvements.

THE TICKER

Name Symbol Last Chg
AUTOLIV ALV 21.80 -0.10
AUTONATION INC AN 12.99 -0.21
ARVINMERITOR ARM 22.90 -0.49
AMER AXLE & MANU AXL 28.05 -1.70
BALLARD PWR SYS BLDP 13.28 -0.73
BORG WARNER BWA 59.26 -0.98
COLLINS AIKMAN CKC 4.50 -0.10
CUMMINS INC CUM 28.17 -1.62
DANA CORP DCN 16.12 -0.82
DAIMLERCHRYSLER DCX 39.87 -2.99
DONNELLY CORP DON 27.30 +0.04
DELPHI CORP DPH 9.62 -0.13
EATON CORP ETN 68.50 -2.24
FORD MOTOR CO F 10.94 -0.83
GENERAL MOTORS GM 45.55 -2.31
GENTEX CORP GNTX 28.85 -0.91
GOODYEAR TIRE GT 12.61 -0.91
HONDA MOTOR CO HMC 20.60 -0.60
JOHNSON CONTROLS JCI 84.50 -1.79
LEAR CORP LEA 45.43 -1.17
MAGNA INTL MGA 61.31 -1.72
MOTOROLA INC MOT 11.64 -0.36
NISSAN MOTORS NSANY 14.00 -0.759
SONIC AUTOMOTIVE SAH 19.70 -0.70
TOWER AUTO TWR 7.49 -0.48
TOYOTA MOTOR TM 47.95 -2.09
TRW INC TRW 56.80 -0.60
UNIT AUTO GRP UAG 15.01 -0.90
VISTEON CORP VC 11.19 -0.20

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