Daily Edition: Mar. 15, 2006

March 13, 2006

Scion Coupe Coming toNew York

Toyota, famous for its press-release brevity, says a new Scion sport-coupe concept is coming. The new concept will make its premiere at the New York Auto Show in April. Toyota plans the Scion press conference for Wednesday, April 12 - stay tuned for more from TheCarConnection on this and more New York launches, including the Audi TT and Benz E-Class, as the show nears.

Spy Shots: 2008 Scion xB by TCC Team (2/20/2006)
Bigger and boxier?


AFA Relaunches Ford Boycott

The American Family Association, unpleased by Ford's continued outreach to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual (GLBT) groups, says it will urge its members to boycott Ford Motor Company and its brands. The AFA, based in Tupelo, Miss., had trumpeted victory earlier this year when the Rev. Donald Wildmon, AFA leader and Methodist minister, said Ford had agreed to pull advertising from GLBT publications, ads mostly geared toward its Jaguar and Land Rover and Volvo brands. The AFA says Ford has gone back on a promise to stop advertising in GLBT venues and says that "Ford has every right to give hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups promoting homosexual marriage. But those who oppose homosexual marriage have every right not to buy automobiles made by Ford Motor Company." The group is urging members to send emails through its BoycottFord.com Web site as well. Previous efforts by the AFA to set corporate policy-such as a boycott of Disney over its support of events like the Gay Days gatherings held at its theme parks-have failed to make significant dents in companies' bottom lines.

Daily Edition: Dec. 15, 2005 by TCC Team (12/14/2005)
Nissan Urge concept, Ford reverses on gay ads, C-Class spied.

Ditlow's CAS Wants Cheaper Replacement Keys

The high cost of replacing vehicle keys has drawn the attention of the Center for Auto Safety, a consumer-defense group headed by Clarence Ditlow. The CAS charges that modern keys, often embedded with chips, transistors and multiple functions, have become too costly to replace, with new keys costing hundreds of dollars-or thousands, if electronics in the car must be replaced as well. In a petition to the Federal Trade Commission, Reuters reports, the CAS charged that the auto industry's resistance to releasing computer codes stored in keys to locksmiths is an unfair trade practice. Reuters adds that law enforcement officials say current key technology has been one of the biggest theft deterrents ever made for automobiles, and that manufacturers are looking for ways to reduce key costs while keeping security levels high.


Polk: China Registrations Up 19 Percent

About 3.8 million vehicles were registered in China in 2005, a 19-percent increase from the year prior, a new report from R.L. Polk and Co. says. The largest brand in the Middle Kingdom was General Motors, which overtook VW for 14.2 percent of the market, with the German automaker checking in at 13.3 percent share. Nissan was China's third-largest brand after being ranked 13th the year before; a 58-percent boost in sales helped it climb to 4.1 percent market share for third place. Hatchbacks were big gainers in the Chinese market, up 36 percent in 2005, with Chery's QQ the leader in the segment.


WJR Auto Report: Audi's Diesel Racecar

Nothing tests man and machine like an endurance race, one reason for the continuing popularity of the classic, 24-hour race at Le Mans, every summer. The 12-hour run in Sebring, this weekend, will be prelude to Le Mans. And it's likely to grab a lot of headlines of its own, if for no other reason than the debut of the Audi R10. The German automaker dominated the Le Mans series a few years back. But it's anybody's guess whether that will happen again. That's because the new Audi R10 isn't your normal race car. It's powered by an ultra-high-performance diesel engine. Those are not words you'd normally link together. But the latest diesel technology is transforming the image of the once-maligned oil-burner. In Europe, fuel-efficient diesel's now account for more than half of all car sales. And unlike hybrids, they're far more likely to deliver the mileage they claim. Yet U.S. motorists have been reluctant to embrace diesels, but perhaps, if things go well in Sebring, Americans might take another look.



Mexican Investments Worry Brazil

The Brazilian automakers' association, Anfavea, is watching and worrying over announcements of new investments in Mexico. DaimlerChrysler is putting $1 billion more in the Toluca, Mexico, plant and will aggregate suppliers on the same site. DC says that the decision to invest would not have been possible without the commitment of the Mexican government to the automotive sector. Anfavea forecasts the Brazilian market will continue to recover this year, but the valuation of the real vs. the dollar will curtail the exuberant growth of exports in the last two years. Brazil exported almost 900,000 vehicles in 2005, for a total of $11 billion in goods. The auto industry accounted for 20 percent of all the country's record trade surplus last year.-Fernando Calmon

Brazil Will Import More Chinese Parts

GM of Brazil's president, Ray Young, said that the company intends to import parts to make good use of the Brazilian currency exchange rates. Components may come from China, South Korea, Mexico and Europe and will trim production costs within Brazil, he says. The four big automakers in Brazil currently work with nearly 90 percent local content, which assures them competitiveness against the newcomers and profitability on exports. Thanks to the currency exchange rates, producers such as Honda and Toyota have been able to source more from Brazil: Honda, for instance, will increase Fit exports to Mexico by 40 percent this year.-Fernando Calmon


FROM THE SOURCE headlines from the latest press releases


Just in time for spring break, Budget is joining forces with National Geographic Kids to offer parents a fun way to educate kids and keep them entertained on road trips.  Budget Rent A Car System, Inc. today announced that from now through May 19, 2006, customers who rent any vehicle for at least five consecutive days can receive a National Geographic Kids Family Road Trip Adventure Pack.  The pack includes a backpack filled with magazines (two issues of National Geographic Kids and one issue of National Geographic Traveler), maps, games, stickers, postcards and geography flashcards.  To receive the family pack, customers must register for the promotion online at //affiliate.budget.com/BudgetPromoApps/FamilyFunPackIndex.jsp, print out the coupon and present it at the counter when picking up the vehicle.


Name Symbol Last Change
Autobytel, Inc. ABTL 4.07 +0.03 (+0.74%)
Autoliv Inc. ALV 53.79 +0.05 (+0.09%)
AutoNation Inc. AN 21.79 +0.05 (+0.23%)
ArvinMeritor Inc. ARM 15.15 +0.62 (+4.27%)
American Axle & Mfr. Holdings Inc. AXL 15.58 +0.25 (+1.63%)
Ballard Power Systems Inc. BLDP 6.05 -0.06 (-0.98%)
BorgWarner Inc. BWA 56.32 +0.47 (+0.84%)
Cummins Inc. CMI 106.00 +1.40 (+1.34%)
Dana Corporation DCN 0.66 0.00 (0.00%)
DaimlerChrysler AG (ADR) DCX 57.45 +1.07 (+1.90%)
Dura Automotive Systems DRRA 2.03 +0.08 (+4.10%)
Eaton Corporation ETN 70.67 +1.92 (+2.79%)
Ford Motor Company F 7.73 -0.13 (-1.65%)
General Motors Corporation GM 21.14 -0.23 (-1.08%)
Gentex Corporation GNTX 16.96 +0.06 (+0.36%)
Goodyear Tire & Rubber GT 13.00 +0.01 (+0.08%)
Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR) HMC 30.47 +0.29 (+0.96%)
Johnson Controls Inc. JCI 74.05 +0.50 (+0.68%)
Lear Corporation LEA 16.12 +0.11 (+0.69%)
Magna International Inc. MGA 73.76 +0.15 (+0.20%)
Motorola Inc. MOT 21.33 +0.42 (+2.01%)
Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR) NSANY 23.35 +0.21 (+0.91%)
Sonic Automotive Inc. SAH 27.36 -0.02 (-0.07%)
Siemens AG SI 92.08 +0.89 (+0.98%)
Sirius Satellite Radio SIRI 4.45 -0.15 (-3.26%)
Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) TM 108.04 +1.14 (+1.07%)
TRW Automotive Holdings TRW 24.76 -0.16 (-0.64%)
Tower Automotive Inc. TWRAQ.PK 0.055 +0.003 (+5.77%)
United Auto Group Inc. UAG 43.97 +0.54 (+1.24%)
Visteon Corporation VC 4.49 -0.01 (-0.22%)
XM Satellite Radio Hold. XMSR 20.50 -0.51 (-2.43%)
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