Toyota Places Among Most-Admired Companies
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:
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.
Report: Feb. 13, 2006 by TCC Team (2/13/2006)
Current GTO Done After '06The Pontiac GTO, so shortly revived from its decades-long coma, will be going back under at the end of the model year. Automotive News reports that the two-door coupe would cost General Motors too much to certify for tougher safety regulations being phased in for the 2007 model year.
Pontiac GTO by Marty Padgett (11/10/2003)
How does an old-school coupe make it in the day of the hot hatch? Big power, that's how.
Young Buyers Overrated, Says Study
A new study from AutoPacific stands on its head the notion that automakers have to chase young buyers. The study says automakers ought to worry less about the youth market and instead pay more attention to the Baby Boomers, who range in age from 41 to 60. Baby Boomers have the cash needed to spend on cars, the study says, while younger buyers may like them but can't afford them.
The study appears as a spate of new books, such as Generation Debt: Why Now Is a Terrible Time to Be Young, by Anya Kamenetz, are arguing that young Americans face a tough row economically because of dramatic shifts in the economy.
If the books are accurate, it appears the auto industry, like the Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon, are chasing a fountain of youth that may not exist. Baby Boomers, on the other hand, are the most affluent Americans, with three-quarters of the nation's financial assets and $2 trillion in disposable income annually. Boomers control more than 50 percent of all discretionary income and will become more affluent as they inherit a great amount from their parents, the report noted.
The average American household purchases 13 cars over a lifetime. Seven vehicles are purchased after the head of the household turns 50, according to AutoPacific, which also notes that 50 percent of Boomer households already own 3 or more vehicles.
AutoPacific also estimates from its research that 54 percent of Boomers
expecting to keep their vehicle 4 years or less, while 26 percent will turn them
over in 3 years or less, making them very active consumers
of automotive hardware.-Joe Szczesny
Hale Leaves Lotus
Lotus is losing its North American chief for another undisclosed job in the auto industry. Automotive News reports that Duke Hale, CEO of Lotus Holdings Inc., has resigned from the Atlanta-based, American arm of the British sportscar maker. Hale also ran the company's engineering group in Ann Arbor, Mich. Lotus brought the Elise roadster to the U.S. under Hale's watch and will soon launch the Exige coupe in the States. Hale had worked at Isuzu and Mazda before joining Lotus in 2004.
Saab Filling In Product Gaps
General Motors' long-struggling Swedish subsidiary hopes to slash costs, increase its product range, and significantly boost sales over the next few years, Saab officials told TheCarConnection.com. The Scandinavian brand expects to see "significant investment" as the result of a five-year business plan approved by the General Motors Board of Directors late last year, according to Saab Managing Director Jan-Ake Jonsson.
Much of that money will go to a new range of products, including a new, "global" crossover vehicle. The crossover is an alternative to that which Saab had been developing in partnership with the Japanese automaker, Subaru. That project was scrapped last year, Jonsson noted, when GM sold off its stake in Subaru. Along with the new crossover, Saab is working on a product to fit in below the automaker's current small car, the 9-3. It will go up against premium hatchbacks, such as the Audi A3, according to Jonsson, and the new Volvo C30. Saab's new product offensive will take time to roll out, however: company sources revealed that a replacement for the brand's flagship 9-5 model won't reach market until calendar year 2009, more than a decade after it was first launched.
Such long lifecycles are a real challenge for the company, acknowledged Jay
Spenchian, general manager of
Saab is planning to unveil a high-style concept vehicle at the Geneva Motor show later this month that will serve "as a statement of our future," Jonsson told TheCarConnection. Neither official would discuss specific details, but Jonsson suggested the show car is part of Saab's plan to craft a "more consistent" brand image. "You can't wobble," as the automaker has in the past, he emphasized. Over the years, he added, Saab has vacillated from extreme stuff, like the original 900 Turbo, to the conservative 9-5. Going forward, the Swedish maker intends to emphasize design, safety, the driving experience, and the functionality of its interiors. The message, concluded Jonsson, "is not (about) quirkiness, but uniqueness." -TCC Team
Dewar Take Over GMNA Sales from Gerosa
General Motors' latest marketing-executive shuffle will leave Brent Dewar in charge of sales, service and parts. Dewar is set to replace Pete Gerosa, who takes on an interim post helping GM implement some of its sales turnaround program before his upcoming retirement. Dewar's replacement as VP of marketing is Western regional manager Mike Jackson. In the rest of the domino effect, Susan Docherty of HUMMER takes Jackson's place, while Martin Walsh takes her place at HUMMER, while Larry Hice takes Walsh's job as executive director of sales and marketing support.
Pontiac Losing Minivan, Getting Base Coupe
Ford Says It's Number One for 2005
Ford is going after Chevrolet's claim that it was the best-selling brand in