Daily Edition: Mar. 17, 2006

March 16, 2006

GM Revises 2005 Losses Up to $10B

General Motors says that it's revising its 2005 accounting to reflect even deeper losses in its automotive businesses. The changes will mean that GM lost $2 billion more in 2005 than previously reported, for a total of $10.6 billion. GM says restructuring costs from upcoming plant closings and the reorganization of Delphi Corp., one of its chief suppliers, are at the root of the restatement, which will cause GM to delay some financial reports. GM had previously stated losses of $8.6 billion for last year.

Suzuki Plots Future Without GM by Joseph Szczesny (3/13/2006)
Tiny automaker plans on big expansion abroad.


Gas Prices Go Up 

Gas prices are on the rise again, with current pump prices at the highest levels since last November 9, according to several reports. The current nationwide average price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline now stands at $2.393 per gallon, more than six cents higher than last month and more than 33 cents higher than a year ago.

"Gasoline prices have begun their seasonal move higher," says Kris Lathan, AAA Chicago's director of public affairs. "Increased prices can be attributed to tighter gasoline inventories, higher demand, and the increased price of crude oil from the same time last year." Also hanging over the head of gasoline retailers and motorists is the uncertainty created by instability in the Persian Gulf andNigeria, which has prompted a buildup of inventories. The increase in inventories     could hold the seeds of good news for motorists later this summer if the tension in the Mideast abates and prices for crude fall. For now, however, pump prices are expected to move higher over the next several weeks. -Joe Szczesny

Delphi Deal Dimming

A deal that could end strike talk at the bankrupt Delphi Corp. is growing less and less likely, according to officials from the United Auto Workers. UAW officials described the three-way negotiations between the union, Delphi and GM as progressing, but said there was still a lot of work to do before the involved parties can bring the negotiations to some kind of conclusion. There are still significant issues to be resolved, according to UAW president Ron Gettelfinger, who waived aside the importance of the March 30 deadline imposed by Delphi chairman Robert 'Steve' Miller. Miller has said if there is no agreement by March 30, Delphi will have no choice but to ask the judge overseeing the bankruptcy case to set aside the company's existing contracts with six different labor unions, including the UAW. The unions have warned they would strike if the court voids their contracts. But a Delphi spokeswoman said that even if Delphi did file a petition asking the court to void the labor contracts, there was still ample time to reach some kind of negotiated settlement with the unions. However, once the dispute reaches court, the timetable for reaching some kind of negotiated settlement would move from early spring to mid-summer and expose Delphi to wider financial losses. -Joe Szczesny

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


SUVs Do Well in NHTSA Crash Tests

The latest round of crash tests at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) put seven SUVs at the top of government ratings for safety. The NHTSA reported on Thursday that the seven utes - the 2006 Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Tucson, Mercedes Benz ML-Class, Nissan Murano, and Subaru B9 Tribeca - all received five-star rankings for front and side-impact crash tests. Also scoring five stars on both front and side-impact tests were the 2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac four-door pickup and the four-door Toyota Tacoma pickup. The NHTSA tested 44 vehicles in its latest round of tests, the results of which can be searched at the agency's Web site, www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

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