Detroit Hurt in "Total Quality" Study Page 2

June 19, 2006

UAW Taps New Bargainers (6/18/2006)
GM appointment could be most critical.

Tennessee Gov. Says ToyotaInterested

With Nissan and Saturn under its belt, the state of Tennessee is pursuing Toyota for another assembly plant to add to its ranks. The state's governor, Phil Bredeson, says Tennessee is on a "relatively short list" of states competing for the next Toyota assembly plant, which Toyota has alluded to in previous announcements. The Wall Street Journal reported that the sites include one near Chattanooga in the southeast corner of the state, and another 80 miles northeast of Memphis. Toyota will open its San Antonio truck plant later this year and a Canadian plant next year. An engine plant is also in the plan; Michigan and Indiana are said to be lobbying Toyota for that project. Advertisement - Click Here!

Gas Buyers Have It Good, Oilco Exec Says

American gas prices, while at near-record highs of $3 a gallon, are lower than much of the rest of the world, one oil company executive says. Out defending the record profits of oil companies on NBC's Meet the Press, ConocoPhillips chairman James Mulva said that European customers pay $5 to $7 a gallon and that the U.S. needed to "reduce demand." The U.S. uses a quarter of the world's oil and produces 2 percent of it, Mulva added. Mulva warned that hurricane season worried the oil companies, particularly because so many workers on the GulfCoast are still living in temporary housing along the coast.

Ford Rolling Out Fumes-to-Fuel System

A new paint system that uses toxic fumes as fuel for electrical power will be rolled out to more Ford Motor Company plants, the company confirmed last week to the Detroit Free Press. The system tries to mitigate the millions of pounds of waste created by factory paint booths each year. Ford's system, engineered with DTE Energy Co., captures the paint fumes and converts them into fuel that can generate electricity. The pilot program for the system has been in use at Ford's Michigan truck plant for two years. The Ford plant in Oakville, Ont., will add the system next year.


Former GM Exec Heads to SAIC

Automotive News reports that Philip Murtaugh, former chairman and CEO of GM China, will stay in the country as the new VP of international operations at SAIC. SAIC has a joint-venture agreement with GM in the country and it owns a slice of GM Daewoo, the automaker's Korean arm. Murtaugh had resigned from GM in May of last year. SAIC is in an expansion cycle that the company hopes will push it to 200,000-unit capacity for Chinese consumption and an additional 50,000 for export.

Chung Offers Apology to

Korean Court

Amid rising expectations that he might be freed on bail soon, Hyundai Motor Chairman Chung Mong-Koo apologized in a two-page letter to a Seoul court judge for setting up slush funds and then bribing government officials.

"I wholeheartedly apologize for raising and using slush funds," said Chung in the letter, admitting his full responsibility over the slush funds.

The 68-year-old Chung said he learned "a lesson" that will never be forgotten for the rest of his life.

On May 16, Chung was indicted for embezzling $129 million from Hyundai Motor affiliates and misusing company funds. Chung faces a third trial on June 26. Under South Korean criminal laws, Chung, chairman of both Hyundai and Kia Motors, could face a life sentence.

Chung's only son Chung Eui-son, who is 37 and the president of Kia Motors, wasn't indicted over the case.-Peter Chang

Ford Fusion Draws Brazilian Fans

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