Daily Edition: Sep. 14, 2004

September 13, 2004

Ford Tries Reining In Land Rover

With the launch of the new LR3, theBritishSUVmakerLand Rover enters a critical stage that will likely determine its long-term viability. That, in turn, will have a strong impact on the turnaround plans of Ford Motor Co., which purchased the British marque from BMW AG in March 2000 for $2.9 billion. Cutbacks in Land Rover's long-term sales goals could pose a challenge for Ford, which has been counting on its upscale European brands - collectively known as the Premier Automotive Group, or PAG - to provide a third of its global profits. Workers at a key Land Rover plant could help meet that goal as they ready a plan to scale back production costs, with a proposal due in management's hands in a matter of days.

Ford Tries Reining In Land Rover (9/12/2004)
Going for growth - on a managed scale.

Lear Daily Edition

TCC Drives: 2005 Land Rover LR3

Ominous storm clouds hang in the sky above. But turn to the west, and a rainbow has risen off the edge of the horizon. If you don't like the weather in northern Scotland, just wait fifteen minutes. It's bound to change. And it seems like the same thing applies to the terrain. One minute, you're surrounded by boggy marsh, another you're at the top of a barren, windswept hilltop. This is a harsh and rugged place, and certainly not your typical tourist destination. On the other hand, it's a perfect setting for the debut of Land Rover's new LR3, the long-awaited replacement for the British marque's equally harsh-yet-rugged Discovery sport-utility vehicle. At first glance, you might mistake the new ute for the top-of-the-line Range Rover, particularly the front end, with its crossbar grille and jewel-like headlamps. Such similarities are purely intentional. The design of the new LR3 is more elegant, refined and upmarket than the ungainly Disco, which was a clear case of function over form. There the Range Rover was the work of BMW, which briefly owned the British manufacturer, the LR3 is the product of Ford Motor Co. Ford purchased Land Rover for $2.9 billion in March of 2000, and has invested plenty more since then in its effort to transform the long-struggling subsidiary into a profitable operation.

2005 Land Rover LR3 (9/12/2004)
Disco is dead in America - but not its spirit.

Ernst & Young Daily Edition STD

NHTSA Demands New Window Switches

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is requiring that a certain type of power-window switches be required in vehicles with power windows by 2008. The switches are lever-type switches that require a pull up to raise the window; rocker-type switches and toggle switches, which rely on back-and-forth motion, will be disallowed by the new rules, which the NHTSA says are crafted in response to the deaths of some children who have been killed when they accidentally trapped themselves in power windows. The number of children killed in this way is thought to be less than 37, a number cited by consumer safety groups, according to the AP. The new switches are required by Oct. 1, 2008. Automakers not currently using the switches in their vehicles - some domestic vehicles like the Ford Freestar minivan use rocker switches - say they are migrating to the new switches as interior changes are made to the vehicles.

Electronic Data Recorders: Liars Beware? by Mike Davis (8/16/2004)
When the Feds can track your car's movements, it's time to be concerned. And it's already happening.

HUMMER Finally Made a Girlie Truck by CXT

International CXT

International CXT

It's taken a Schwarzenegger in the state house and HUMMERs in Brentwood, but finally, the toughest off-road brand has been cowed by something bigger, badder, and more likely to appear in a Mad Max sequel. International proudly proclaims that its CXT is now the world's biggest production pickup truck; seeing as it's built on the same chassis as the company's snow plows and dump trucks, it's either agree or be pushed out of the way. The CXT has three times the payload of regular trucks, uses air brakes, and offers its driver the ability to carry their life goodies literally by the ton. The CXT could also qualify for kiddie carpool duty, as it seats five and offers up captain's chairs, a DVD entertainment system and XM satellite radio. Power comes from a 220-hp diesel with 540 pound-feet of torque and an Allison automatic gearbox. The company hopes to build about 50 of them for about $100,000, marketing it at entrepreneurs in heavy-duty industries like contracting, landscaping, and hardscaping.

Power: SUV Sales Softening by Joseph Szczesny (8/16/2004)
A debate is ignited in the face of waning sales.

Oprah Gives Away 276 PontiacG6s

Oprah and the G6

Oprah and the G6

There were 276 members of Oprah Winfrey's TV audience Monday as she began a new season. To get tickets, they all had written letters about why they needed a new car, but couldn't afford one. While each thought they had just a chance at a new car, Oprah and GM made sure all 276 audience members got a new Pontiac G6.

It's the latest example of how GM is trying to get on consumers' radar screens in ways besides advertising on TV. Last January, the company gave away 1000 cars to people who visited GM dealerships and talked to an OnStar representative from a showroom car with the hope of winning a new set of wheels. Some GM executives and dealers said the program drew mixed results as many people just walked in to see if they won and walked out.

For Winfrey the giveaway kicked off a "Wildest Dreams Come True" theme for her 19th season. For GM, the deal helps kick off a new advertising slogan for Pontiac, "Action," in addition to the new G6 model name that replaces the Grand Am. "Fuel For the Soul," introduced two years ago, joins the long list of short-lived GM ad slogans.

"A little idea grew into a big idea," said Pontiac spokeswoman Mary Henige of the decision to give everyone in the audience a new car. She added that Pontiac will pay for the taxes and the customizing of the cars.

Pontiac is trying to better position the brand as a value/performance brand, though the tie in with Oprah's day-time soccer-Mom audience seems a bit adrift of that positioning. The real job of the promotion was to generate awareness through media exposure on TV news, the Internet, and in newspapers of the highly forgettable G6 name GM bestowed on its latest Pontiac. -Jim Burt

2004 Detroit Show, Part VI by TCC Team (1/12/2004)
Chrysler prices 300C and Magnum. Range Stormer charges Detroit, Pontiac shows off G6.

Porsches Pulverized by Train

A clutch of classic Porsches got pulverized on Sunday, the Associated Press reports, when the car carrier transporting them got whacked by a train. The accident happened when the carrier got high-centered on railroad tracks, the driver trying to extract it before the train rolled by. A freight train struck the carrier at 3:45 p.m. near the Ventura County Fairgrounds. Lt. David Wilson from the Ventura police department told the AP the driver escaped without injury, but that the vintage Porsches "are close to totaled, if not totaled," Wilson said. "The train center-punched the trailer carrying the cars and split the trailer in half, and the cars went flying," he told the news service.

FROM THE SOURCE headlines from the latest press releases

PRNewswire

In what is expected to become the nation's largest one-time fundraiser for local charities, hundreds of Volvo car retailers on Columbus Day weekend (Oct. 9-11) will conduct a fund drive for a select local charity. The retailers are participating in

Volvo Drive
for life Days, a weekend-long effort by close to 300 Volvo retailers in cities nationwide to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for their local charities. The retailers are calling on people to visit their facilities that weekend to test drive any 2005-model Volvo car. For every test drive taken, the Volvo retailers will donate $10 to a local hero or charity. According to Vic Doolan, Volvo Cars of North America's chief executive officer, the company created the initiative as a way to localize the benefits of its Volvo for life Awards program, an annual national search for and celebration of local heroes, which provides more than $1 million in contributions to honor everyday heroes.

Arvin Meritor

Name Symbol Last Change
Autobytel, Inc. ABTL 8.00 +0.88 (+12.36%)
Autoliv Inc. ALV 42.47 +0.59 (+1.41%)
AutoNation Inc. AN 16.23 +0.11 (+0.68%)
ArvinMeritor Inc. ARM 18.64 -0.18 (-0.96%)
American Axle & Mfr. Holdings Inc. AXL 32.25 -0.03 (-0.09%)
Ballard Power Systems Inc. BLDP 6.52 +0.14 (+2.19%)
BorgWarner Inc. BWA 44.25 +0.01 (+0.02%)
Collins & Aikman Corporation CKC 4.80 -0.04 (-0.83%)
Cummins Inc. CMI 70.37 -0.92 (-1.29%)
Dana Corporation DCN 18.47 +0.01 (+0.05%)
DaimlerChrysler AG (ADR) DCX 43.51 +0.46 (+1.07%)
Delphi Corporation DPH 9.19 +0.17 (+1.88%)
Dura Automotive Systems DRRA 7.58 -0.14 (-1.81%)
Eaton Corporation ETN 62.60 -1.01 (-1.59%)
Ford Motor Company F 14.10 +0.14 (+1.00%)
General Motors Corporation GM 43.00 +0.32 (+0.75%)
Gentex Corporation GNTX 35.02 +0.96 (+2.82%)
Goodyear Tire & Rubber GT 11.35 -0.19 (-1.65%)
Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR) HMC 25.05 +0.21 (+0.85%)
Johnson Controls Inc. JCI 56.36 -0.13 (-0.23%)
Lear Corporation LEA 55.88 +1.58 (+2.91%)
Magna International Inc. MGA 72.12 +1.45 (+2.05%)
Motorola Inc. MOT 16.64 -0.01 (-0.06%)
Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR) NSANY 21.76 +0.16 (+0.74%)
Sonic Automotive Inc. SAH 21.31 -0.14 (-0.65%)
Sirius Satellite Radio SIRI 2.82 +0.10 (+3.68%)
Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) TM 77.65 +0.46 (+0.60%)
TRW Automotive Holdings TRW 19.00 +0.38 (+2.04%)
Tower Automotive Inc. TWR 2.95 +0.04 (+1.37%)
United Auto Group Inc. UAG 25.08 +0.05 (+0.20%)
Visteon Corporation VC 8.28 +0.28 (+3.50%)
XM Satellite Radio Hold. XMSR 29.43 +0.36 (+1.24%)

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