Daily Edition: Mar. 14, 2006

March 12, 2006

Toyota Taking Half of Lafayette

Toyota moved ahead Monday with the latest step in its bold expansion plans by announcing plans to build the Toyota Camry at the underutilized plant in Lafayette, Ind., that belongs to Toyota's new partner Fuji Heavy Industries.

Word that Toyota was thinking about building Camrys in the Subaru plant began circulating soon after the Japanese auto giant snapped up an 8.7-percent stake in Fuji Heavy Industries after General Motors Corp. sold off its 20-percent share in Fuji.

Indiana governor Mitch Daniels said the project would create about 1000 jobs at the Lafayette plant by the time production begins in the spring of 2007. Toyota plans to spend about $230 million at the plant to install Camry tooling capable of building about 100,000 vehicles annually under an agreement signed by Fuji and Toyota.

"We are pleased to further boost localization by moving Camry production in Japan to the United States. It's a win-win situation for Toyota and SIA, and for our suppliers whose businesses will grow," said Gary Convis, president of TMMK. "This will be the same high quality and reliability that have made Camry the best-selling U.S. car. We have the highest confidence in SIA to help us continue to meet our customers' expectations," he added.

Finished in 1990, the Subaru plant has not been fully utilized since Subaru's first partner in the venture, Isuzu, backed out of the venture. The plant currently builds the Subaru B9 Tribeca, Outback, Legacy, and Baja. SIA produced about 120,000 Subarus in 2005. The Subaru B9 Tribeca will move to the production line where the Outback, Legacy, and Baja are currently built to make room for the Camry, SIA officials said.

The new Camry production in Indiana will replace imported Camrys from Japan; Toyota will be able to build more Priuses in Japan as a result. With this additional capacity and other expansions underway, Toyota will have an annual production capacity in North America of about two million cars and trucks by 2008.

A new report from CSM Forecasting of Novi, Mich., said Asian carmakers are continuing to expand in the U.S. while GM and Ford are cutting back. The shift in the production base will continue as the big American brands continue to cut production. "This trend will continue over the next few years as we see a realignment of capacity between the traditional Big Three, GM and Ford in particular, and foreign automakers looking to localize output based on strong sales and as a currency hedge," the report said. Toyota produces ten vehicles in North America. -Joe Szczesny

Daily Edition: Mar. 13, 2006 by TCC Team (3/13/2006)
Kia picks Georgia for plant, Toyota building with Subaru.


DC Adds Second Shift in Illinois

DaimlerChrysler announced on Monday that it was launching a second production shift at its assembly plant in Belvidere, Ill., starting this week. Production of the 2007 Dodge Caliber began in January 2006, while production of the new 2007 Jeep Compass at the plant will begin in May. The Belvidere plant is the first in the Chrysler Group's system to launch a new flexible manufacturing process that can build derivative models on a single production line in groups as small as one. The second shift will double the plant's current production capacity. -Joe Szczesny

Zetsche Focuses on Bribery Scandal by Joseph Szczesny (3/13/2006)
New CEO sets the Schrempp era aside.


Great Drives: Skip Barber Racing School

Skip Barber Racing School

Skip Barber Racing School

So you know how do drive, huh? I mean really drive? You've done a few track days and you feel pretty good out there. Perhaps you've even taken a few driving courses and maybe you're wondering how much else there is to learn.

If that's the case you sound a lot like me, chock full of misplaced bravado (not to mention a little quiet skepticism) prior to taking Skip Barber's new High Performance Driving School at Laguna Seca Raceway in California. I had heard a lot about Skip Barber's driving schools and most of the people who had taken the course raved about it. Still, I couldn't help but wonder: How good can it really be?

Well, I stand before you (actually I'm sitting but that doesn't sound as theatrical) a new man, not because I'm now some driving god but because my eyes have been opened to just how much there is left to learn. I now have a greater appreciation of how a car behaves at the limit, which not only imbues me with new confidence on the track but, more significantly, I look at street driving in a different light as well.

And do you want know what the weird bit is? All this happened in the Laguna Seca parking lot long before we ever hit the track. Sure, driving the Corkscrew for the first time was fun, but that was really just the icing on a very rich, multi-layered cake.

Great Drives: Skip Barber Racing School (3/12/2006)
Turn by turn, an education worth squealing over.


Great Drives: Terrific Tunisia

1999 Chevrolet Monte Carlo f

1999 Chevrolet Monte Carlo f

On my first trip to Tunisia, an explorative ten-day affair, I was as wide-eyed as a child, with an almost unending sense of exotic fascination. Even before my initial arrival, during the final descent of my Tunisair flight first over the azure of the Mediterranean and then over the low-slung whitewashed buildings of Carthage, I recall being struck by the vivid cornflower blues - of both the water and of the structures' doors and window shutters.

Following my second trip, where I crisscrossed virtually the entire country in a whirlwind that I shan't forget, rows of squat century-old olive trees, fine sugar-cane beaches, and the still vastness of the Sahara stuck out in my mind - to say nothing of the smiles on the face of many of the locals I met throughout my fortnight-long journey.

My third sojourn was a lesson in Roman and Punic history juxtaposed with the bustle of Tunis' busy European-inspired core. But prior to that particular arrival, as my Air France A321 made its final approach this time over land as opposed to the usual sea approach, I remember keenly gazing out of the window and at the automotive traffic, which in a word, was chaotic. Mind you, it wasn't Cairo, but nonetheless, it was orderless.

Great Drives: Terrific Tunisia (3/12/2006)
Outside the tourist beaches, a Roman ruin awaits.


From TCConfidential

Shaq's Birthday Party: Sponsored by Caddy, Inspired by MJ?

Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O'Neal

If you're Shaquille O'Neal, your 34th birthday party doesn't have to end up at Dave and Buster's with a run-out game card and only enough tickets to get a couple of erasers and a WWJD bracelet. No, when you're Shaq, you can ask GM to underwrite the whole affair - and don't forget the six-month-old baby tiger, thanks very much. The party - last Friday, if you didn't get your invite until today - also featured the new 2007 Escalade, lest you think it was being held strictly because GM CEO Rick Wagoner admires Shaq's free-throw skills or that Shaq regularly hangs with regional marketing managers.


Ala. Lawman Takes Tires Into His Own Hands

Alabama's government has its share of characters. When they're not putting ten tons of Ten Commandments in courthouses, they're stealing each other's parking spaces. The AP reports that State Rep. Albert Hall is sick and tired of someone taking his reserved spot at the state Capitol, and he's fighting back the only way he knows how - not through the courts, but by deflating the culprit's tires. Complaining that his car gets blocked nearly every day the legislature is in session, Hall also called tow trucks to remove cars from his spot. Hall himself was deflated a bit when he found out the car tire he bled down belonged to the wife of fellow Rep. Allen Layson. The whole troublesome situation has been turned over to an internal-affairs committee for further study.

Read the AP wire story


FROM THE SOURCE headlines from the latest press releases


Motor vehicle occupants have a 17-percent greater chance of being killed if they are in a crash in a state with a secondary enforcement seatbelt law than in a state with a stronger primary enforcement law according to a new study of crash fatality data from 2000-04 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The study found that the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in states not having primary enforcement laws was 1.21, compared to 1.03 in states with primary enforcement, or 17 percent higher. The fatality rate per 100,000 population was 23 percent higher in states not having primary enforcement laws. Fatality rates were higher for all age groups in the states not having primary enforcement seatbelt laws.


Name Symbol Last Change
Autobytel, Inc. ABTL 4.04 -0.06 (-1.46%)
Autoliv Inc. ALV 53.74 -0.23 (-0.43%)
AutoNation Inc. AN 21.74 -0.08 (-0.37%)
ArvinMeritor Inc. ARM 14.53 -0.03 (-0.21%)
American Axle & Mfr. Holdings Inc. AXL 15.33 -1.01 (-6.18%)
Ballard Power Systems Inc. BLDP 6.11 +0.15 (+2.52%)
BorgWarner Inc. BWA 55.85 -0.39 (-0.69%)
Cummins Inc. CMI 104.60 -0.06 (-0.06%)
Dana Corporation DCN 0.66 0.00 (0.00%)
DaimlerChrysler AG (ADR) DCX 56.38 +0.13 (+0.23%)
Dura Automotive Systems DRRA 1.95 -0.09 (-4.41%)
Eaton Corporation ETN 68.75 -0.55 (-0.79%)
Ford Motor Company F 7.86 +0.02 (+0.26%)
General Motors Corporation GM 21.37 -0.27 (-1.25%)
Gentex Corporation GNTX 16.90 +0.04 (+0.24%)
Goodyear Tire & Rubber GT 12.99 -0.19 (-1.44%)
Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR) HMC 30.18 +0.27 (+0.90%)
Johnson Controls Inc. JCI 73.55 -0.07 (-0.10%)
Lear Corporation LEA 16.01 -1.85 (-10.36%)
Magna International Inc. MGA 73.61 +0.11 (+0.15%)
Motorola Inc. MOT 20.90 +0.06 (+0.29%)
Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR) NSANY 23.14 +0.16 (+0.70%)
Sonic Automotive Inc. SAH 27.38 +0.50 (+1.86%)
Siemens AG SI 91.19 +0.13 (+0.14%)
Sirius Satellite Radio SIRI 4.60 -0.18 (-3.77%)
Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) TM 106.90 +0.22 (+0.21%)
TRW Automotive Holdings TRW 24.92 +0.27 (+1.10%)
Tower Automotive Inc. TWRAQ.PK 0.052 +0.003 (+6.12%)
United Auto Group Inc. UAG 43.43 +0.43 (+1.00%)
Visteon Corporation VC 4.50 +0.10 (+2.27%)
XM Satellite Radio Hold. XMSR 21.01 +0.16 (+0.77%)
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