DAILY EDITION: Jan. 14, 2003

January 13, 2004

TCC'S DAILY EDITION: Jan. 14, 2004

New STS Coming in 2005

2005 Cadillac STS

2005 Cadillac STS

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Cadillac has just released the first photos of its 2005 STS, the replacement for today's Seville sedan. The new vehicle is, Cadillac promises, new from the ground up, though it shares some Sigma architecture with the SRX crossover vehicle and the CTS luxury sedan. The CTS-like exterior has a more XLR-like interior, with eucalyptus wood and aluminum accents. The new STS gets its power from either a 3.6-liter V-6 engine or the 4.6-liter Northstar V-8. Rear-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive will be an option. The new STS will be shown at April's New York auto show and will go on sale in the third quarter of this year.

Zetsche: It’s DaimlerChrysler For Good

The DaimlerChrysler high command has no intention of dumping the Chrysler Group, which has become an integral part of the company's overall operations. Dieter Zetsche, the Chrysler Group chief executive, noted during an interview during the North American International Auto Show the two companies now depend on each other for help in technology, purchasing, and other areas. In addition, Chrysler is preparing to embark on a project to build pickup trucks for Mitsubishi. Meanwhile, Chrysler and Mitsubishi are working on joint development of a new architecture that will be used for small and mid-size cars, Zetsche said.

Zetsche: It’s DaimlerChrysler For Good (1/13/2004)
No chance on giving up on Chrysler, says group CEO.

Mitsu Considering Eight-Seater for U.S.

Mitsubishi Motors North America is considering bringing an eight-seat vehicle to the U.S. market in coming years, according to company CEO Finbarr O'Neill. The product fits snugly into its effort to boost the average age of its buyers, put the company on track to rebound from current troubles and become a more mainstream brand, according to CEO Finbarr O'Neill. The New York lawyer cum Hyundai-turnaround artist joined Mitsubishi as its U.S. chief last year and addressed Automotive News' annual World Congress in Dearborn, Mich., Tuesday. From the podium, he declared "moving into 2004 we have a winning strategy." If the eight-seater is indeed part of that "winning strategy," it would join Mitsu's forthcoming pickup truck slated for 2005. The pickup is based on Dodge's next-generation mid-size Dakota and will become an important staple in Mitsubishi's smorgasbord of nameplates, which include Diamante, Galant, Endeavor, and Montero.

Mitsu Considering Eight-Seater for U.S. (1/13/2004)
New chief hails new direction, calls current strategy “a dangerous place to be.”

Ford, GM Still Count on Financing

Underneath the optimistic predictions from top executives, both General Motors and Ford Motor Co. are leaning on their financial operations to help keep them profitable in 2004. Ford Motor Co., for example, estimates that pre-tax automotive profits will total a modest $900 million to $1.1 billion. In addition, Ford executives told analysts the company's operations in both South America and Europe are expected to lose money in 2004. Both are on the road to profitability and blamed the continuing losses on difficult economic conditions. The automaker, however, is counting on earnings of between $2.6 and $2.7 billion from its financial services subsidiary, Ford Motor Credit. General Motors executives stressed the company is preparing for product offensive in markets around the world. "The winners in tomorrow's global auto industry will be those companies that best combine the efficiencies of global scale with a superb focus on local markets," Richard Wagoner, GM's chairman told analysts. "I like GM's position." GM, however, also is counting on earnings from GMAC and from its Asia-Pacific operations to bolster its bottom line during 2004.

Ford, GM Still Count on Financing (1/13/2004)
In 2004 GM and Ford will need their recent moneymakers more than ever.

SPECIAL REPORT: Automotive News World Congress

Gettlefinger, Gilmour Call for National Healthcare Measures

On a Tuesday evening seemingly sponsored by the national healthcare lobby at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, both Ford Motor Co. vice chairman Allan Gilmour and United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger called on government to consider a more comprehensive national health care program for American workers. "Our healthcare costs create a national problem that requires a national solution," Gettelfinger said. He said the UAW will continue to push for a coverage plan that covers "every man, woman and child" regardless of employment status. Gilmour followed Gettelfinger with concerns of his own claiming, "Health care is rising more than 10 percent every year...Ford spends more on health care than it does on steel." He claims that healthcare costs add approximately $700 to the cost of every car sold by Ford in the United States. "This has created a competitive gap." Gilmour did not directly call for full government funding, but insisted a solution should be supported by government more than it is currently. —John D. Stoll

GM's Adams and Fraleigh Switch Jobs, Clark and Myers Retire

General Motors on Tuesday shook up its marketing ranks and announced the retirement of two long-time executives. GM named Buick-Pontiac-GMC general manager Roger Adams executive director for corporate advertising and customer relationship management, replacing C.J. Fraleigh, who assumed Adams' job. The automaker also announced the retirement of Darwin Clark, 64, vice president for dealer affairs, and Lynn Myers, 61, marketing general manager of Pontiac-GMC.

The job swap between Fraleigh and Adams took many by surprise. Adams joined GM in the mid-1990s from the packaged good sector where he ran marketing for Buick, and then had his job expanded last year to include Pontiac and GMC. Advertising for Buick has been inconsistent and at times awful, and the current Harley Earl campaign in which an actor portrays the ghost of the late GM design chief, has had GM's top management scratching their heads.

Fraleigh joined GM from Pepsi, and has been in charge of GM's overall advertising, including media buying and other deals. During Fraleigh's tenure, advertising for Cadillac and Chevy have improved, and HUMMER advertising has been lauded. And GM last summer launched a controversial corporate campaign in which the automaker admitted to past quality lapses, which got loads of free media attention from journalists.

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