Daily Edition: May. 17, 2004

May 17, 2004

Toyota earns $10 billion

That's $10 billion with a "b." Toyota Motor on Tuesday became the first Japanese company to report a net profit of over a trillion yen, or about $10 billion U.S. greenbacks. Toyota's global sales are slightly ahead of Ford Motor Co., but considering Ford earned just $675 million last year, Toyota's number-two spot behind General Motors is solid and gaining. Toyota executives have said they plan to match GM's 15-percent market share held today by 2015. Toyota's share now stands at about 11.2 percent. Amazingly, Toyota's market capitalization stands at more than that of GM, Ford, and DaimlerChrysler combined.

Toyota Earns $10 Billion (5/17/2004)
That's right -- with a "b."

Toyota opens Mich. design center

Toyota Motor Co., in an effort to insure the full-size pickup truck it plans to introduce in 2006 has an all-American appeal, has decided it will be designed at the company's new design studio outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Kevin Hunter, vice president of Calty Design Research Inc., Toyota's in-house design firm in North America, said Calty's new Ann Arbor studio will have the primary design responsibility for full-size pickups that will be built in the new assembly plant Toyota is building in San Antonio, Texas. Hideichi Misono, senior general manager to Toyota Design Center, said the truck project will be a watershed for Toyota. "This will be the first time that mass production design has been handled outside of Toyota's headquarters in Japan," noted Misono, who has said he wants to elevate the status of the Japanese company's designs and designers.

Toyota Opens Mich. Design Center (5/17/2004)
Ann Arbor now home to another stylish outpost.

Ernst & Young Daily Edition STD

Gasoline prices up for summer drives

The price of gasoline continues to move higher and chances for any relief before the Fourth of July appear to be remote. Higher prices also are beginning to take a toll on the economy and could begin to slow the pace of economic growth if they continue through the summer. Wal-Mart, the superstore chain that supplies necessities, clothing, and modest luxuries to millions of American households, estimates that higher gasoline taxes are now costing the average American an additional $7 per week, which means they have less money for something else. Rising prices for fuel also are contributing to fears of resurgent inflation, because it has helped boost the price of transportation. In addition, petroleum is also a basic feedstock for all kinds of plastics and synthetic fibers used in thousands of different products.

Gasoline Prices Up for Summer Drives (5/17/2004)
Fueling a return to inflation is a distinct possibility, economists warn.

TCC Drives: '05 Ford Escape Hybrid

2005 Ford Escape Hybrid

2005 Ford Escape Hybrid

How do we escape from our dependence on high-cost foreign oil? With petroleum prices surging to record levels and turmoil wracking the Mideast, that's a question that has moved from the fringe and into the mainstream of debate. A growing number of motorists are taking the issue into their own hands. Demand for Toyota 's Prius hybrid-electric sedan has surged so dramatically that in some parts of the country, dealers are reporting an eight-month backlog of orders. That could be good news for Ford Motor Co., which in August will belatedly launch sales of its the world's first gasoline-electric sport-utility vehicle. Ford has dubbed the new Escape Hybrid a "no-compromise hybrid," promising that the SUV won't sacrifice comfort, convenience, or utility in the bid for higher mileage.

2005 Ford Escape Hybrid (5/17/2004)
Can you have it all with this "no compromises" SUV?

Business as usual for DC-Hyundai in Mexico

DaimlerChrysler's woes in Asia with Mitsubishi and Hyundai are causing ripples in most of the markets worldwide where DaimlerChrysler does business. México is a peculiar case, because DaimlerChrysler sells both Mitsubishi and Hyundai products in this country. It would seem that the recent bust-up would be harmful to Mitsubishi and Hyundai sales in México, but so far, this has not been the case. At least not yet, anyway.

Four years ago, Hyundai arrived in México, when its tiny Atos started selling under the Dodge brand for approximately $6000. Even though this 1.0-liter four-cylinder minicompact sells under the "Atos by Dodge" nameplate, no serious attempt has been made to disguise its Hyundai emblems.

Strong sales of this tiny Hyundai have prompted GM de México to start selling the Daewoo Matiz under the Pontiac brand. How a 1.0-liter minicompact fits under the "Fuel for the soul" marketing theme for Pontiac is a mystery.

Hyundai also sells in México its H100 light duty work truck under the Dodge brand and recently the Hyundai Accent started selling in México, though it is named "Verna by Dodge" in that country. Dodge needed a vehicle to slot under the Neon and so far, the Verna has proved to be a perfect fit.

DaimlerChrysler de México will continue to sell these Hyundai products as part of an agreement with the Korean manufacturer.

As for Mitsubishi, a year ago DaimlerChrysler de México launched this brand in this country and established a separate sales channel for these products. The models sold in Mexico are the Lancer and Galant sedans, as well as the Montero Sport and Limited SUV´s .The Outlander and Endeavor crossovers, and the Eclipse coupe also sell there. The Mitsubishi brand has benefited from the "halo effect" surrounding the Japanese brands, specifically Toyota and Honda.

Even in spite of rumors pointing to the departure of Mitsubishi from the Mexican market, DaimlerChrysler de México claims this will not happen, for acceptance of that brand have been better than expected. Stay tuned. Francisco Perez

Sprinter plant in Georgia reported on the way

The 250 Dodge dealers chosen for Sprinter van franchises in the U.S. did so in the belief that DaimlerChrysler would build an assembly plant for the high-roofed van near Savannah, Ga. The Mercedes Sprinter has been a "kit assembly" vehicle for the U.S. market, but a dedicated plant would convert the elongated boxy van into a 100-percent made-in-America vehicle and speed up deliveries throughout the U.S., dealers were told. Then, when a cost crunch brought about cancellation of the $750 million Pooler, Georgia, plant project last summer, dealers wondered whether their investments in Sprinter-size entry doors and hoists would be justified. The Georgia plant was targeted for 100,000 units a year in the hope that the van would find a growing market as a hotel, airport, and school carrier.

Now, says a report in the German trade paper Automobilwoche (Automotive News, May 10), the Georgia plant is back on track. About 11,000 Sprinters were sold in the U.S. last year, assembled from parts kits at a Freightliner plant in Gaffney, South Carolina. That compares to a mere 3800 sold in 2002. Mercedes Vans chief Rolf Bartke forecasts 17,000 sales this year, although a DaimlerChrysler company spokesman says "there is no movement" on a plant green-light signal. Meanwhile, the new production date for Georgia-build Sprinters is said to be 2007. Mac Gordon

FROM THE SOURCE headlines from the latest press releases

U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta joined NASCAR President Mike Helton today in launching a new traffic safety alliance with the racing league aimed at saving the lives of everyday drivers on America's roads. Secretary Mineta made the announcement while in Richmond appearing as the Grand Marshal of NASCAR's running of the Chevy American Revolution 400.

Lear Daily Edition

Name Symbol Last Change
Autobytel, Inc. ABTL 8.97 -0.20 (-2.18%)
Autoliv Inc. ALV 40.11 -0.24 (-0.59%)
AutoNation Inc. AN 15.61 -0.03 (-0.19%)
ArvinMeritor Inc. ARM 18.41 -0.17 (-0.91%)
American Axle & Mfr. Holdings Inc. AXL 35.81 +0.22 (+0.62%)
Ballard Power Systems Inc. BLDP 9.09 -0.12 (-1.30%)
BorgWarner Inc. BWA 79.10 -0.15 (-0.19%)
Collins & Aikman Corporation CKC 5.04 -0.10 (-1.95%)
Cummins Inc. CMI 57.68 +2.04 (+3.67%)
Dana Corporation DCN 19.07 +0.17 (+0.90%)
DaimlerChrysler AG (ADR) DCX 42.27 -0.26 (-0.61%)
Delphi Corporation DPH 10.01 +0.01 (+0.10%)
Dura Automotive Systems DRRA 10.05 -0.34 (-3.27%)
Eaton Corporation ETN 57.78 +0.18 (+0.31%)
Ford Motor Company F 14.70 +0.29 (+2.01%)
General Motors Corporation GM 44.35 +0.20 (+0.45%)
Gentex Corporation GNTX 35.97 -0.10 (-0.28%)
Goodyear Tire & Rubber GT 8.02 -0.18 (-2.20%)
Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR) HMC 20.45 +0.21 (+1.04%)
Johnson Controls Inc. JCI 52.73 +0.23 (+0.44%)
Lear Corporation LEA 56.15 -0.03 (-0.05%)
Magna International Inc. MGA 76.06 +1.27 (+1.70%)
Motorola Inc. MOT 18.89 -0.49 (-2.53%)
Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR) NSANY 19.69 -0.59 (-2.91%)
Sonic Automotive Inc. SAH 21.99 +0.20 (+0.92%)
Sirius Satellite Radio SIRI 3.16 +0.04 (+1.28%)
Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) TM 68.08 -0.95 (-1.38%)
TRW Automotive Holdings TRW 18.26 -0.34 (-1.83%)
Tower Automotive Inc. TWR 4.00 -0.06 (-1.48%)
United Auto Group Inc. UAG 28.01 +0.10 (+0.36%)
Visteon Corporation VC 10.07 +0.03 (+0.30%)
XM Satellite Radio Hold. XMSR 22.89 -0.45 (-1.93%)

The Car Connection
See the winners »
The Car Connection
Commenting is closed for this article
Ratings and Reviews
Rate and review your car for The Car Connection
Review your car
The Car Connection Daily Headlines
I agree to receive emails from The Car Connection. I understand that I can unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy.
Thank you! Please check your email for confirmation.