Daily Edition: Jan. 26, 2006

January 26, 2006

Ford Shows E85 Escape Hybrid

As Ford promised earlier in the week in its Way Forward restructuring, it's looking to ethanol power to "green" up its vehicle fleet. On Wednesday, at theWashington, D.C., auto show, Ford showed an Escape Hybrid that uses ethanol-blend fuel to further wean itself from gasoline. Ford says it's the first company to develop a hybrid prototype that can run on an ethanol-gasoline blend. In earlier announcements, Ford has promised to build 250,000 hybrid vehicles a year by the end of the decade, and 250,000 ethanol-capable vehicles in 2006. No plans for production exist, but the conversion to E85 fuel would not be difficult if gas prices were to skyrocket.

2006 Hybrid Buyers' Guide by TCC Team (10/17/2005)
What to look for in the new wave of fuel-sippers.


Kerkorian Dips Back into GM Well

Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda Corp. is at it again. The company is buying up twelve million shares in General Motors, an amount equal to the shares Tracinda sold in December, according to the Associated Press. With the latest moves, Kerkorian's share in the world's largest automaker will rise again to 9.9 percent. Tracinda is said to have sold the stock to take advantage of tax laws and year-end write-offs. GM, which will announce its 2005 and fourth-quarter financial results this morning, will cut 30,000 jobs by 2008 and will shutter twelve assembly and parts facilities.

York: GM Should Drop Saab, HUMMER by Joseph Szczesny (1/10/2006)
Company has 1000 days of cash left, Kerkorian's wingman says.


Toyota Reveals its NASCAR Lineup

At a press conference at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Tuesday night, Toyota introduced three teams that will campaign a total of six cars in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series beginning in 2007.

Bill Davis Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing had been expected to be named as participants in the Toyota program, but the surprise was the introduction of Red Bull Racing as the third Toyota team. All three teams will field two cars each, and the only drivers that have been confirmed are Waltrip in the No. 55 NAPA Camry and Dave Blaney in the No. 22 Bill Davis Racing Caterpillar Camry.

The Red Bull Racing team has reportedly purchased the former Penske Racing South facility in Mooresville, N.C., and will begin operations as a fully supported factory team, unlike the Davis and Waltrip operations. The team will be led by series veteran Marty Gaunt, who was most recently general manager for the Craftsman Truck Series team Red Horse Racing.

Davis has been instrumental in bringing Toyota into NASCAR, and was one of the marque's flagship teams when the Tundra made its first appearance in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2004. Toyota's east coast research and development operation is housed in a BDR facility in High Point, N.C.

"This is obviously huge for Bill Davis Racing and our sponsors," said Bill Davis, BDR team owner and president. "It is a great honor and opportunity to be able to continue to build on what we have already accomplished with Toyota as a partner in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and carry that alignment over to our NASCAR Nextel Cup Series program."

Michael Waltrip has owned a NASCAR Busch Series operation since 1996, and is expanding into Nextel Cup Series ownership this year, in a joint-ownership deal with former Jasper Motorsports owner Doug Bawel that includes a contractual arrangement for Bill Davis Racing to provide cars, engines, and personnel. The popular two-time Daytona 500 winner will be instrumental in Toyota's marketing efforts, as has been his older brother, former champion Darrell Waltrip.

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