Daily Edition: Feb. 23, 2006

February 22, 2006

Honda Prepping Hybrid Fit?

2007 Honda Fit

2007 Honda Fit

The next Honda hybrid to join the company's lineup may be a gas-electric version of the new Fit subcompact. A report inJapan's daily newspaper, the Nihon Keizai, suggests that Honda will adapt the Fit to hybrid power, while keeping the price under $12,000 in its home market. At that price the Fit hybrid would cost only about $1700 more than the gas-engined version. (Though U.S. prices are yet to be released, we expect the base U.S. Fit to come in at $13,500.) The powertrain would be similar to that in the Insight hybrid, with a 1.0-liter gas engine being teamed with a small motor and battery system. The paper says the hybrid version would be marketed around the world starting in April of 2007. Honda now offers the Insight hybrid, as well as the Civic and Accord Hybrids.

2006 Detroit Auto Show Index by TCC Team (1/30/2006)


GM Files to Join Delphi Committee

General Motors has filed a motion to secure a seat on Delphi Corp.'s creditors committee, claiming it is the partsmaker's largest unsecured creditor with a claim of more than $1.3 billion. Currently the UAW has a seat on the committee as well as the Pension Benefits Guaranty Corp. GM contended it needed to have a say in how the supplier was reorganized to ensure its own ability to remain viable. A hearing on the motion is scheduled for March 9 before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert D. Drain for the Southern District of New York. Objections to the appointment must be filed by March 6. -Michael Strong

Delphi Sets Final UAW Deadline by Joseph Szczesny (2/20/2006)
Will there be a strike on March 30?


SAE Hoping Congress Will Get More Attention

The Society of Automotive Engineers is planning a comeback for annual Congress & Exposition, which will be held in early April in Detroit, even as it's being courted by other communities.

The annual SAE meeting has lost its luster in recent years, but for 2006 five different manufacturers - General Motors, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, Toyota, and BMW - are supporting the Congress. Several key suppliers such as Behr and Continental Teves have agreed to participate too, according to SAE's Bob Chalker. "It's been tough the last five or six years since 9/11," he said. 

For 2006, the technical sessions and educational seminars have been reorganized so that participants get a better chance to look at the displays on the Exposition floor inside Cobo Hall. In addition, the SAE has set up a series of private salons so suppliers can show off their ideas and components to customers without having competitors peering over their shoulders - one of the key reasons many suppliers had withdrawn from the SAE event in recent years.

Chalker said this year SAE is expecting more visitors from abroad due to the changing nature of the business, which is more global and international than it was only ten years ago.

Don Whitsitt, vice president with Aisin, a Japanese supplier that has a large presence in North America, said the SAE Congress & Exposition remains an excellent place to pick up on future trends. Visitors might not find it at any one display, he said, but if they look at several displays they get a sense of what's developing.

"The SAE meeting is one of the few venues in the world where we get a look under the skin of an automobile," said Robert Last of FEV, a German auto supplier.

Chalker also told the Automotive Press Association meeting in Detroit that several cities have approached the organization about hosting its annual gathering, which still draws between 35,000 and 40,000 visitors. The sentiment inside SAE, however, is that the World Congress & Exposition belongs in Detroit near the heart of the auto industry. "We're very dedicated to keeping it in Detroit," he said. -Joe Szczesny


Toyota Places Among Most-Admired Companies

Toyota ranked ninth on Fortune magazine's annual Most Admired Companies list. It marks the first time a non-U.S. company cracked the top 10.

The magazine ranked 303 companies. DaimlerChrysler, which made the list, is sort of an American company. General Motors and Ford did not rank in the top half of the motor vehicle segment and weren't ranked in the overall list. The top five in motor vehicles were: Toyota, BMW, Honda, Nissan, and DaimlerChrysler. Ford ranked number six, while GM finished number nine, between heavy-truck manufacturers Paccar Inc. and Navistar International.

Using a scale of one (best) to 10 (worst), the companies were judged in eight categories: innovation, employee talent, use of corporate assets, social responsibility, quality of management, financial soundness, long-term investment, and quality of products/services.

GM scored 10s in financial soundness and long-term investment. The company's highest score was a six for social responsibility. Ford's best score was also in social responsibility, where it notched a three. Toyota's worst score was a two. -Michael Strong

Industry Report: Feb. 13, 2006 by TCC Team (2/13/2006)
Chicago highlights include Tundra, York gets board seat.


Lear CFO Jumps to Raytheon

The chief financial officer of struggling interiors supplier Lear Corp. is leaving to take on a like post at military supplier Raytheon Corp. David Wajsgras, 48, will depart Lear on March 10, according to a report in Automotive News. Wajsgras has been CFO for four years; he'll be succeeded by vice chairman James Vandenberghe on an interim basis until a successor is named. Lear's losses in 2005 totaled more than $1.3 billion.


Ford Piquette Plant Makes Landmark List

The birthplace of the Ford Model T has been named to the roster of National Historic Landmarks. Ford Motor Company's old

Piquette Avenue
plant, which was the company's home from 1904 to 1910, was among a dozen places in the country to be named to the list by Interior Secretary Gale Norton. The plant, where Model Ts rolled out in 1908, has been a focal point for Detroit-area groups that want to preserve the city's automotive heritage even as parts of the city crumble from neglect. Production of the T moved from the plant in 1910 to a facility in Highland Park as demand soared.

Piquette: Ford's Best-Kept Secret? by Mike Davis (6/16/2003)
The watershed of Detroit's car industry sits - and waits.


FROM THE SOURCE headlines from the latest press releases


NextEnergy, Michigan's non-profit alternative energy technology incubator, has formally launched a Hydraulic Hybrid Working Group.  The mission of the Working Group is to create greater awareness of hydraulic hybrid technology, advance its commercialization for use in automotive and commercial vehicle applications, and to develop technology-neutral standards and policies for hybrid vehicles.


Name Symbol Last Change
Autobytel, Inc. ABTL 4.65 -0.01 (-0.21%)
Autoliv Inc. ALV 53.70 +0.90 (+1.70%)
AutoNation Inc. AN 21.51 +0.28 (+1.32%)
ArvinMeritor Inc. ARM 16.51 +0.41 (+2.55%)
American Axle & Mfr. Holdings Inc. AXL 17.03 +0.24 (+1.43%)
Ballard Power Systems Inc. BLDP 5.91 -0.19 (-3.11%)
BorgWarner Inc. BWA 56.98 +0.44 (+0.78%)
Cummins Inc. CMI 107.53 +2.46 (+2.34%)
Dana Corporation DCN 3.89 -0.14 (-3.47%)
DaimlerChrysler AG (ADR) DCX 56.46 +0.44 (+0.79%)
Dura Automotive Systems DRRA 2.45 +0.03 (+1.24%)
Eaton Corporation ETN 69.86 +1.56 (+2.28%)
Ford Motor Company F 8.30 -0.09 (-1.07%)
General Motors Corporation GM 21.19 -0.22 (-1.03%)
Gentex Corporation GNTX 16.79 +0.14 (+0.84%)
Goodyear Tire & Rubber GT 14.72 +0.11 (+0.75%)
Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR) HMC 29.44 +0.17 (+0.58%)
Johnson Controls Inc. JCI 70.20 +1.40 (+2.03%)
Lear Corporation LEA 22.15 -0.10 (-0.45%)
Magna International Inc. MGA 73.69 +1.35 (+1.87%)
Motorola Inc. MOT 21.77 +0.20 (+0.93%)
Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR) NSANY 23.69 +0.02 (+0.08%)
Sonic Automotive Inc. SAH 26.35 +0.78 (+3.05%)
Siemens AG SI 92.82 +2.60 (+2.88%)
Sirius Satellite Radio SIRI 5.29 +0.11 (+2.12%)
Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) TM 106.73 -1.25 (-1.16%)
TRW Automotive Holdings TRW 27.23 +0.23 (+0.85%)
Tower Automotive Inc. TWRAQ.PK 0.071 +0.004 (+5.97%)
United Auto Group Inc. UAG 43.47 +0.39 (+0.91%)
Visteon Corporation VC 5.00 +0.12 (+2.46%)
XM Satellite Radio Hold. XMSR 21.95 -0.01 (-0.05%)
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