DAILY EDITION: Sept. 29, 2003

September 29, 2003

TCC'S DAILY EDITION: Sept. 29, 2003

Oct. Sales Slip — But How Much?

Sales of new cars appear to have slipped from their lofty peaks reached in July and August. Reports from manufacturers and analysts alike indicated that annual sales rate for September will be down to around 16.5 million, which is somewhat better than September of 2002 but softer than sales this past August when the sales pace hit a sales rate of 19 million units. Wall Street analysts also are predicting that the September numbers will reveal some grim news for both Ford and the Chrysler Group, both of which are expected to see their sales decline again. In addition, both companies could wind up losing additional market share to competitors.

Oct. Sales Will Slip — But How Far? (9/29/2003)
Ford and Chrysler are facing some hard numbers.

Welburn Takes Over GM Design

A veteran of more than 30 years with General Motors will take over as the head of the company's design staff this week. Ed Welburn, 52, will become GM's vice president of design Wednesday, filling the post held by the retiring Wayne Cherry, 66, who has headed up GM's design staff since 1992. Officially, Cherry's retirement will become official on Jan. 1, 2004. The appointment of Welburn, the first African-American to hold the job of top designer at an automaker, has been widely discussed for the past several weeks but GM had waited until Friday to confirm the appointment. In his new role, Welburn will be responsible for appearance of all of GM's vehicles around the world. His day-to-day management of GM Design includes membership on the GM North America Strategy Board and oversight of GM's Global Design Council.

Welburn to Head GM Design (9/29/2003)
Thirty-year vet takes over the helm from Cherry.

Detroit Debates UAW Contract

Later this week, the United Auto Workers is expected to wrap up ratification of a new labor contract that will ease thousands of union members into retirement and clear the way for more restructuring. The contracts, however, were only getting a passing grade from analysts on Wall Street who follow the industry's fortunes. The new contracts clear the five companies involved in the negotiations — Ford Motor Co., General Motors, DaimlerChrysler, Visteon and Delphi — to eliminate up to 50,000 jobs over the next four years and close as many as ten plants in the next four years, analysts said. The new contracts also offer the automakers a leverage to limit any increase in salaried compensation over the next four years. But analyst said the wage freeze and plant closings won't be enough to help the domestic industry hold off overseas competition, which now hold a record 40 percent of the U.S. market even though the Big Three have been offering huge rebates.

Detroit Reacts to UAW Contract (9/29/2003)
The UAW and Detroit are done, but analysts aren't impressed.

Schrempp Leaving NYSE Board

The chairman of DaimlerChrysler will leave the board of the New York Stock Exchange, just days after the head of the NYSE board was deposed in a pay scandal. Juergen Schrempp told a Germany newspaper that he would leave the board — as has another board member — in the wake of the resignation of Richard Grasso. Grasso, as came to light in the past few months, had garnered an exceptionally generous pay package of $187.5 million. Schrempp had been an early critic of Grasso’s pay package.

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