INDUSTRY REPORT: Feb. 16, 2004

February 15, 2004

NUMMI Marks 20 Years

General Motors and Toyota celebrated 20 years of their New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. (NUMMI) joint-venture near San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday. Both Toyota Motor Corporation President Fujio Cho and General Motors Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner, on hand for the occasion, said the plant had benefited both companies: "Without [GM's] partnership twenty years ago, Toyota would not be where it is today," Cho said, while Wagoner noted that NUMMI had shown that "global auto manufacturers can work together and learn from each other." The NUMMI plant, in Fremont, California, builds the Toyota Corolla, Pontiac Vibe, and Toyota Tacoma pickup.

Pontiac Moves Back into Power by TCC Team (7/28/2003)
Big changes coming; could a redesigned GTO be one of them?

Ford: Oakville Decision Coming

Automotive News reports that Ford is close to deciding whether to transform its Oakville, Ontario, plant into a "flexible" plant that can produce a variety of models on the same production line. The weekly quotes Alain Batty, CEO of Ford Canada as saying that the company is "not far away" from talking about its future plans for the plant. Ford operates its Norfolk, Virginia, F-150 plant as a flexible plant, able to switch body styles according to demand.

DAILY EDITION: Sept. 29, 2003 by TCC Team (9/29/2003)
Ford building sport wagons in Ga.

One Small Stack for Man

But with the flick of a switch, General Motors and Dow insist they took a giant leap for mankind on Tuesday. With a procession of dignitaries — including Department of Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham on hand, the two partners activated the first of what may eventually be 400 stationary fuel cell stacks providing power to Dow's sprawling chemical production complex near Houston. The pilot fuel cell produces a modest 75 kilowatts of electricity — enough to power a dozen homes. If the partners eventually reach the planned 400 stacks, that would grow to 35 megawatts of power, enough for a modest-sized city. "Today, we're one step closer to the hydrogen economy," declared GM's technology director, Larry Burns. In August 2002, when the plan to produce stationary fuel cell generators was first announced, Burns suggested GM might create a new business unit, using the money to help fund automotive fuel cell research. Burns now tells TheCarConnection that such plans have been scrubbed, though GM will search for other partners, like Dow, to field prototype fuel cell generators. Such devices use the same basic hardware as that found in GM's prototype fuel cell vehicles, and should provide a proving ground for the technology. By 2010, the automaker says it hopes to begin commercial production of FCVs, and Burns repeated GM's goal of being the first car manufacturer to profitably field one million fuel cell vehicles. — TCC Team

Kerry: U.S. Needs More Efficient Vehicles by Joseph Szczesny (2/2/2004)
Democratic candidate will need Detroit against Bush.

Valade Takes Stand in DCX Trial

Former Chrysler CFO Gary Valade says shareholders received the top price Chrysler executives calculated the company would bring at sale when Daimler-Benz merged with the automaker in 1998.

Testifying in the Delaware trial that has pitted former Chrysler shareholder Kirk Kerkorian against DaimlerChrysler chairman Juergen Schrempp, Valade said Tuesday that Chrysler negotiators calculated that a price of $57.50 a share was the best they would be able to get from Daimler-Benz shareholders. Chrysler got its target price in deal negotiations with Schrempp, said Valade who called the $57.50 price "a home run."

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