TCC'S DAILY EDITION: Jan. 17, 2003

January 16, 2003

TCC'S DAILY EDITION: Jan. 17, 2003

General Motors Corp. boosted its earnings nearly four-fold during the last three months of 2002 as strong sales and a continuing emphasis on cost cutting produced strong results. The giant automaker reported it earned $1 billion, or $1.71 a share, during the fourth quarter, compared with $255 million, or 60 cents a share, in the same period a year ago as revenue climbed to a record $48.7 billion. For 2002, GM earned $3.9 billion or $6.98 per share, excluding the impact of Hughes Electronics, on the automaker’s bottom line. With Hughes in the mix, GM earnings totaled $1.7 billion or $3.35 per share. Read more about the results inside TCC today:
GM Earns $1.7 Billion in 2002

2003 ferrari Stradale

2003 ferrari Stradale

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Ferrari has started the run-up to March’s Geneva Auto Show by releasing a picture of its new Challenge Stradale model, which will be unveiled at the show. Based on the 360 Modena and 360 Spider eight-cylinder cars, the Challenge Stradale (Road Challenge) brings some of the qualities of the cars used in Ferrari’s one-make racing series to road drivers. Over the past few years, the Ferrari Challenge race series have become established in the U.S. and Europe as popular and competitive events for amateurs driving cars prepared by Ferrari dealers.

The 360 is also used by competitors in the international FIA GT series, and Ferrari says that the Challenge Stradale is further evidence of the company’s policy of building road cars that are directly derived from race cars. The road car is significantly lighter than the standard 360 models and has uprated brakes as well as aerodynamic aids based on those of the race cars. The gearbox is based on F1 technology.

The engine is the same 3586cc V-8, with five valves per cylinder and titanium con rods, which secured a worldwide success to the 360 Modena and the 360 Spider. The all-aluminum body and chassis are from the 360 Modena.

The Geneva show car will be finished in a new Ferrari color, Rosso Scuderia, which is the same as that used on the Grand Prix cars. A touch of tradition comes in the nose to tail racing stripes, first used on customer Ferrari race cars in the early 1950s. –Ian Norris
Spy Shots: ‘04 Quattroporte

Dealers Positioned For Strong ’03 Market

Dealers and consumers are responding to the wave of all-new or highly restyled 2003 and 2004 models with enthusiasm that refutes forecasts of a severe sales slump this year, according to a high-powered panel of dealer leaders and factory executives at the Automotive News World Congress earlier this week.

“Consumers are in the best position ever to afford a new car or truck,” declared Michael J. Jackson, the new chairman and CEO of the largest megadealer AutoNation, Inc., a 280-dealership network based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “Dealers all across the U.S. have proved how resilient they are. This past year they weathered all the bad news and prospered as never before,” he added. AutoNation grossed more than $20 billion last year as the number-one auto-retailing network.

Jackson’s optimism was shared by UnitedAuto Group’s president and COO, Samuel X. DiFeo, who said internet-using customers are helping enhance dealers’ customer-satisfaction ratings even as products improve in styling and durability. Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based UAG has grown to a $7 billion annual business with 148 dealerships, including a new 40-acre mall in Scottsdale, Ariz., offering ten luxury brands. DiFeo said the mall reflects a nationwide trend among dealers to reinvest in new facilities, another sign of the auto markets’ strength. Jackson and DiFeo applauded automakers for their aggressive incentive programs on new vehicles, improving product quality and durability and launching certified pre-owned programs that have helped market off-lease and trade-in units.

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