Daily Edition: Mar. 10, 2006

March 9, 2006

No GM-Delphi Settlement Yet, UAW Says

The United Auto Workers nixed reports indicating that it has reached an agreement with Delphi and General Motors Corp. that would allow both companies to move forward with a sweeping restructuring that would eliminate thousands of union jobs. The UAW, which has had stormy relations with the media for years, also took the unusual step of expressly repudiating stories suggesting the parties were closing in on some kind of deal.

"There are several newspapers and at least one radio station reporting today that the three parties - Delphi, GM, and the UAW - are close to consummating an agreement to the issues in theDelphi bankruptcy. Nothing could be further from the truth and the media is doing a tremendous disservice to our membership and the negotiations process by suggesting the parties are close," the UAW statement said. "The parties are not close to working out such an agreement. There are many, many significant issues to be resolved. Overall the situation has changed very little since our last meeting," the union statement said. "In view of the media reports and the false hopes they tend to create, we thought we should correct the record," the statement said.

The erroneous reports apparently arose with the confirmation that officers from UAW locals representing Delphi workers had asked to attend a meeting in Detroit next week.

Paul Krell, a union spokesman, said the meeting had been planned for a while and the agenda was designed to bring union officials up to date on discussions. "The suggestion that we have an outline of an agreement to review with you is unfortunately, just not true," he added.

Last month, Delphi set a deadline of March 30 for reaching some kind of an accommodation with the UAW and the other unions representing the bankrupt company's hourly employees.  Without an agreement in place, Robert "Steve" Miller, Delphi's chief executive, has said the company will have no choice but to ask the bankruptcy judge to nullify Delphi labor contracts. -Joe Szczesny

Dana Plunges Into Bankruptcy by Joseph Szczesny (3/6/2006)
Quick filing for major supplier adds to Detroit's worries.

Zetsche Focuses on Bribery Scandal

DaimlerChrysler's Dieter Zetsche has always been an excellent student of culture, popular and otherwise. Zetsche had no problem zeroing in on the notion that hip-hop could boost sales, for example. Zetsche may also sense that a current scandal could give him leverage in changing DaimlerChrysler, as reports from Germany this week suggest he's moving to put an end to a culture of corruption that seemed to have developed inside the company during Juergen Schrempp's tenure as chief executive.

While the discussions of the scandal's scope began last autumn, Zetsche has until now sidestepped questions and said he had plenty of confidence in the company's auditing practices.

However, with the release of DaimlerChrysler's annual report for 2005, Zetsche has taken the offensive. In the report, the company disclosed that in recent years a small number of the company's employees had paid or received bribes while conducting company business in various part of the world.

The U.S. Securities Exchange Commission had been investigating the bribery charges, the annual report noted. The SEC investigation was triggered by a lawsuit by a DaimlerChrysler employee based in Auburn Hills, who said he was fired after questioning the existence of accounts in various countries that were used to funnel payments to local officials. The lawsuit was settled but not before allegations that bribery was considered an accepted business practice in some countries in which Mercedes-Benz operated had found their way into print.

The charges also are being investigated by authorities in Germany. The case already has been a factor in the suicide of one of DaimlerChrysler's minor executives who had apparently worked for Mercedes-Benz in Africa. The suicide and allegations of misconduct followed on the heels of a separate investigation that had uncovered misconduct on the part of employees in the Mercedes-Benz sales organization in Germany.

DaimlerChrysler also was tagged by a third investigation - this one the highly publicized probe of the UN's oil-for-food program, a probe headed by Paul Volcker under the auspices of the United Nations.  DaimlerChrysler was one of companies cited by Volcker for paying bribes to middlemen in return for contracts in Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Schrempp had publicly assured shareholders in 2004 that the business in Iraq was all legal.

DaimlerChrysler's annual report did not give an exact number of employees involved in the illicit conduct, but noted that 13 employees had been cited by the SEC for improper conduct related to the Iraq program.

"We are voluntarily sharing with the DOJ and the SEC information from our own internal investigation of certain accounts, transactions and payments, primarily relating to transactions involving government entities, and are providing the agencies with information pursuant to outstanding subpoenas," the report said. "In connection with our internal investigation, we have identified and self-reported potential tax liabilities to tax authorities in several jurisdictions. These tax liabilities of DaimlerChrysler AG and certain foreign affiliates
result from misclassifications of, or the failure to record, commissions and other payments and expenses."

The changes were substantive enough that they actually required adjustments to the DaimlerChrysler balance sheet.  "We are taking action to address and resolve the issues identified in the course of our investigation to safeguard against the recurrence of improper conduct," the report added.-Joe Szczesny

DC Profits $3.4 Billion in 2005 by Joseph Szczesny (2/20/2006)
Chrysler Group gets nearly $2 billion in credit for the gains.

Former Ford Exec Petrauskas Dies

Helen Petrauskas, former Ford executive and one of the people responsible for making airbags standard equipment in the company's cars, died on Wednesday after a long battle with cancer. Petrauskas had joined Ford in 1971 as an attorney, then moved to environmental and safety engineering. As one of Ford's first female vice presidents, Petrauskas was a leading champion of installing airbags into vehicles. She retired in 2001.

Cars off the Trailer

Disney and Pixar want you to know their newest effort, Cars, is coming soon. But they don't want you to see too much in advance of the picture's June 9 debut. The new trailer featured on the movie's Web site, www.carsthemovie, is the briefest of snippets that introduces the main character in the flick-Lightning McQueen, a racecar that detours down Route 66 "when a small community that time forgot shows McQueen what he's been missing in his high-octane life." Like other Pixar efforts before it, this one's jammed with celebrity voices throughout: Paul Newman, Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy all lend their pipes to the effort, as does racing and dental legend Richard Petty.

Nissan Picks HQ Design Team

Yesterday TCC told you about the exec changes at Nissan in advance of the company's move to Tennessee. Now, Nissan has chosen the architects that will build its new headquarters in suburban Nashville. Gresham, Smith and Partners (GS&P) will be the firm to pen the company's new offices, which will take about two years to complete and are expected to be occupied in 2008. Until then, the company will use an office building in downtown Nashville for its workers, of which Nissan expects more than 50 percent to make the pilgrimage from Los Angeles to Tennessee.




 

FROM THE SOURCE headlines from the latest press releases

PRNewswire

Foreign built cars will be the stars of the 10th annual Ypsilanti Orphan Car Show Sunday, June 4, 2006 in the city's downtown Riverside Park.  Sponsored by the Walter P. Chrysler Museum, the show runs 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. The Orphan Car Show is open to all factory stock, un-modified makes and models of cars, trucks and motorcycles that have been out of production for at least seven years.  Un-restored vehicles are welcome, though kit cars and most replicars are not accepted.  Cost to exhibit a vehicle is $18.




 

Name Symbol Last Change
Autobytel, Inc. ABTL 4.10 +0.06 (+1.49%)
Autoliv Inc. ALV 53.12 +0.36 (+0.68%)
AutoNation Inc. AN 21.86 -0.05 (-0.23%)
ArvinMeritor Inc. ARM 14.49 -0.05 (-0.34%)
American Axle & Mfr. Holdings Inc. AXL 16.11 +0.58 (+3.73%)
Ballard Power Systems Inc. BLDP 6.01 +0.11 (+1.86%)
BorgWarner Inc. BWA 55.75 +0.80 (+1.46%)
Cummins Inc. CMI 103.42 -1.22 (-1.17%)
Dana Corporation DCN 0.66 0.00 (0.00%)
DaimlerChrysler AG (ADR) DCX 55.12 +0.80 (+1.47%)
Dura Automotive Systems DRRA 2.04 +0.01 (+0.49%)
Eaton Corporation ETN 68.25 -0.80 (-1.16%)
Ford Motor Company F 7.75 +0.20 (+2.65%)
General Motors Corporation GM 21.34 +0.92 (+4.51%)
Gentex Corporation GNTX 16.56 +0.20 (+1.22%)
Goodyear Tire & Rubber GT 13.14 +0.07 (+0.54%)
Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR) HMC 29.44 +0.12 (+0.41%)
Johnson Controls Inc. JCI 72.18 +0.18 (+0.25%)
Lear Corporation LEA 18.29 +0.41 (+2.29%)
Magna International Inc. MGA 72.88 +0.37 (+0.51%)
Motorola Inc. MOT 21.28 0.00 (0.00%)
Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR) NSANY 22.85 0.00 (0.00%)
Sonic Automotive Inc. SAH 26.87 +0.21 (+0.79%)
Siemens AG SI 89.97 +0.77 (+0.86%)
Sirius Satellite Radio SIRI 4.89 +0.12 (+2.52%)
Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) TM 106.00 +0.05 (+0.05%)
TRW Automotive Holdings TRW 24.35 +0.32 (+1.33%)
Tower Automotive Inc. TWRAQ.PK 0.044 0.00 (0.00%)
United Auto Group Inc. UAG 42.82 -0.45 (-1.04%)
Visteon Corporation VC 4.47 +0.06 (+1.36%)
XM Satellite Radio Hold. XMSR 21.05 +0.44 (+2.13%)
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