Daily Edition: Jul. 7, 2004

July 6, 2004

GM and Ford to Up Spiffs Today

Smarting from slow June sales and sweating out a potentially lean summer, General Motors upped its lease deals following the holiday weekend and is expected to jack up rebate cash on slow selling models today as well. Ford is expected to increase its offers as well.

GM has cut lease offers by around $30 per month, sending dealers to their call lists Tuesday trying to lure people who sniffed a new vehicle in June but didn't bite. GM is also revving up another lease pull-ahead program in which it lets customers out of leases early if they re-up with another GM car. Extra cash is coming today, say GM officials.

Already, says Edmunds.com, GM, Ford, and Chrysler hit all-time highs last month for incentive spending. GM was at $4312 per vehicle, while Chrysler was at $3569 and Ford stood at $3328 per vehicle. Imports increased spending too, but they're still well below domestic levels. Chrysler officials said they did not expect to increase deals, as June sales were up five percent and inventories are lower than their cross-town rivals.

Cadillac, says Edmunds, spent the most on spiffs, $6325 per vehicle, followed byLincoln at $5610.

The incentives didn't do much for the domestics in June, with industry sales off six percent, while GM sales off twelve percent and Ford off twelve percent when its Premium Auto Group is counted. And those losses were against a period a year ago in which the U.S. was in the early days of the Iraq occupation.

Among foreign brands posting higher year-over-year results were Toyota Motor Sales USA, American Honda Co., Nissan North America, Hyundai Motor America, Kia Motors America, and BMW.

Inventories of unsold vehicles are at the highest levels in more than a decade, making some Detroit execs a little nervous about clearing lots of 2004 models in time for the '05s.

June Sales Shocker at Ford, GM by TCC Team (7/5/2004)
The wheels come off the incentive-and-rebate game.

Lear Daily Edition

Incentives Reach Record Level

Edmunds.com is calling June's industry-wide incentive spending level of $2747 per vehicle a record high. Spending was up nearly ten percent vs. May 2004 levels, with U.S. luxury brands Cadillac and Lincoln leading the way. Caddy alone dished out $6325 in incentive bucks per vehicle. Neither GM's nor Ford's incentive-spending pace could keep them out of the negative column in June's sales results however.

A look at the Big Six's June spending show a major disparity between domestic and import automaker's incentive spending habits. GM, Ford, and Chrysler all spent better than $3000 per vehicle in June, with GM shelling out $4312 followed by Ford's $3328 and Chrysler's $3569. Nissan led the Japanese in spending, shelling out $1550, followed by Toyota's $749 and Honda's relatively minuscule $597.

Among the lowest industry spenders on a brand basis are MINI , spending $41 per vehicle, but seeing sales dip slightly vs. year-ago levels; Scion, spending $101 per vehicle as it rolled out its national sales network; and Porsche, spending $266 while seeing its car sales improve and truck sales flatten out.

GM dealers now tell media that GM will sink even more money into incentives, slashing lease rates by as much as $1500 over the life of the deal.

Edmunds research indicates SUVs were among the biggest incentive hogs in June, needing more than a $2900 incentive to move even as SUVs lose nearly two points of U.S. market share. Minivans, however, are gaining momentum in the sales category, up nearly a point of market share to 7.7 percent. Incentive spending has dropped 4.7 percent as a result to $2678 per vehicle. -Jack Gilbert

Ernst & Young Daily Edition STD

Spy Shots: '06 Mitsu Eclipse

Even as Mitsubishi is undergoing a major rescue plan at home, engineers in the States have been busy testing the next Eclipse. Code name PS24S, the 2006 Eclipse is shown here looking considerably larger than the current model, and with styling cues taken from the Eclipse-E Concept which was first shown at the NAIAS this past January. Based on the Galant platform, the next Eclipse will arrive in time for the 2006 model year. The Galant, the Eclipse, and the Endeavor crossover ute are based on Mitsu's "Project America" platform; the Galant and Endeavor are built at the Mitsubishi facility in Normal, Illinois, where the Eclipse will be assembled as well.

Spy Shots: '06 Mitsubishi Eclipse by Brenda Priddy (7/5/2004)
As headquarters struggles, a new two-door takes flight.

Spy Shots: '05 Audi A4

2005 Audi A4

2005 Audi A4

This autumn Audi will release the new Audi A4, which has been given a major facelift. These photos are showing for the first time prototypes of the new sedan and station wagon with Audi's new front grille during road tests in the south of Europe.

The new Audi face was first unveiled with the A8 W12 followed by the A6 and the A3 Sportback. Now the new A4 will wear it, too. In addition there will be changes at the rear end as well as of the interior and mechanical equipment. Various revised engines will be available for the new A4, including new four-cylinder diesels of 115, 140 and 175 hp. Gas engines are coming from the A6 with various new V6s. Both the sedan and Avant wagon are scheduled for launch simultaneously.

Spy Shots: 2005 Audi A4 by Hans Lehmann/Hidden Image (7/5/2004)
New faces, new ranges.

MINI Peddles Krispy Kremes

Krispy Kreme fan, are ya? BMW's MINI brand has a big deal for you then...especially if you're prone to being pulled over. This month, the automaker is attaching a pair of free doughnut coupons to its full-page adverts in mainstream publications, such as Car and Driver. The two coupons reward buyers with a dozen free glazed doughnuts when a dozen are purchased. In typical MINI advertising fashion, the ad copy encourages drivers to "take out more than just our license and registration. Let's keep tasty, round, glazed, jelly-filled, chocolate covered friend makers on hand. Let's keep them on the front seat. Let's make sure they're hot. Let's have at least a dozen ways to get out of trouble." -Jack Gilbert

Edwards Equals Environment?

The Sierra Club has found something to be happy about. On Tuesday, the environmentalist group well known for nagging the auto industry praised Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry's selection of Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina. The Sierra Club says Edwards could help the U.S. in "achieving energy independence." The group points to his record on environmental issues, including his votes to funnel funds to bankroll environmental programs and enforcement as proof that Edwards is good for the environment. The Sierra Club has already endorsed Kerry for president in 2004's election. -Jack Gilbert

FROM THE SOURCE headlines from the latest press releases

PRNewswire

Lear Corporation today announced that it has completed the acquisition of GHW Grote & Hartmann GmbH, a manufacturer of electrical components based in Wuppertal, Germany. The acquisition supports Lear's strategy to grow its electronics and electrical distribution systems business and further diversify its sales. Grote & Hartmann manufactures terminals and connectors, junction boxes, and machinery to produce wire harnesses, primarily for the automotive industry. The company had 2003 sales of euro 225 million ($275 million), with 75 percent in Europe, 15 percent in North America and 10 percent in the rest of the world.

Name Symbol Last Change
Autobytel, Inc. ABTL 8.36 -0.29 (-3.35%)
Autoliv Inc. ALV 40.80 -0.43 (-1.04%)
AutoNation Inc. AN 16.57 -0.27 (-1.60%)
ArvinMeritor Inc. ARM 18.82 -0.12 (-0.63%)
American Axle & Mfr. Holdings Inc. AXL 34.46 -0.30 (-0.86%)
Ballard Power Systems Inc. BLDP 8.99 -0.34 (-3.64%)
BorgWarner Inc. BWA 41.48 -0.26 (-0.62%)
Collins & Aikman Corporation CKC 5.20 -0.26 (-4.76%)
Cummins Inc. CMI 59.60 -0.95 (-1.57%)
Dana Corporation DCN 18.64 -0.40 (-2.10%)
DaimlerChrysler AG (ADR) DCX 45.22 -0.81 (-1.76%)
Delphi Corporation DPH 10.04 -0.07 (-0.69%)
Dura Automotive Systems DRRA 8.66 -0.09 (-1.03%)
Eaton Corporation ETN 61.54 -0.72 (-1.16%)
Ford Motor Company F 14.96 +0.01 (+0.07%)
General Motors Corporation GM 44.55 -0.69 (-1.53%)
Gentex Corporation GNTX 37.71 -0.40 (-1.05%)
Goodyear Tire & Rubber GT 9.52 +0.19 (+2.04%)
Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR) HMC 23.29 -0.29 (-1.23%)
Johnson Controls Inc. JCI 51.52 -0.04 (-0.08%)
Lear Corporation LEA 56.93 -0.62 (-1.08%)
Magna International Inc. MGA 83.63 -0.27 (-0.32%)
Motorola Inc. MOT 16.85 -0.92 (-5.18%)
Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR) NSANY 21.60 -0.43 (-1.95%)
Sonic Automotive Inc. SAH 20.57 -0.58 (-2.74%)
Sirius Satellite Radio SIRI 2.89 -0.11 (-3.67%)
Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) TM 79.47 -2.08 (-2.55%)
TRW Automotive Holdings TRW 19.31 +0.40 (+2.12%)
Tower Automotive Inc. TWR 3.72 +0.02 (+0.54%)
United Auto Group Inc. UAG 29.31 -0.39 (-1.31%)
Visteon Corporation VC 11.13 +0.01 (+0.09%)
XM Satellite Radio Hold. XMSR 27.27 -0.56 (-2.01%)

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