Daily News: January 22, 2001

VISTEON FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE DOWN In its first year of independence from Ford, supplier Visteon Corporation has reported a year-end net income of $270 million, affected by a fourth-quarter net loss of $87 million. The performance reflects a 63-percent drop from that in 1999. Visteon is still seeking a buyer for its glass operations, which cost the company $138 million. Visteon was spun off from Ford Motor Company last June.

GERMAN APPOINTED TO MITSUBISHI BOARD Mitsubishi Motors shareholders have approved the appointment of the company's chief operating officer, Rolf Eckrodt, as a member of Mitsubishi's governing board. Eckrodt, a former DaimlerChrysler executive, was appointed to the Mitsubishi position shortly after DaimlerChrysler increased its stake in Mitsubishi to 34 percent. The two automakers are in the process of merging some operations, and as a result there will likely be more platform and engine sharing, between Mitsubishi and the Chrysler division.

CA POWER CRISIS MAY SOON BE A FUEL CRISIS The power crisis that has caused intermittent blackouts for many areas in California is now also threatening to affect California's gasoline and fuel supplies. The blackouts have caused the state's main gasoline pipeline to be shut down for more than ten hours for three straight days, according to reports. The state's Public Utilities Commission has denied an appeal to except the pipeline operations from electric service operations. The interruptions will probably boost pump prices, and the possibility of a fuel shortage will emerge if the blackouts continue into this week.

U.K. HOPES TO KEEP MICRA Top Nissan executives will soon decide the fate of the company's Sunderland, England, plant when they decide a production site for the redesigned Micra model. The new Micra will either be produced at the existing Sunderland Nissan plant or at a Renault-owned plant near Paris. The financial losses due to the still poor performance of the Euro against the British pound are a factor in the decision, although the British government has been lobbying to keep production at Sunderland, offering Nissan a 40-million-pound incentive package. The new Micra will be the first car to share a common platform between Nissan and Renault.

GM-SUZUKI DEAL COMPLETED General Motors has officially completed a ten-percent purchase of Suzuki, effectively doubling its share in the Japanese automaker to 20.1 percent. As part of the agreement, General Motors has been granted a seat on Suzuki's governing board, and Suzuki will initiate efforts to jointly develop vehicles with GM.

TIRE RECALL COSTS FORD $500 MILLION Henry Wallace, Ford Motor Company's chief financial officer, has confirmed the company's costs associated with the Firestone tire recall to be about $500 million last year, according to a Reuters report. The company's performance was also affected by $250 million in lost production associated with the recall, although it was made up due to the fourth quarter slowdown.

RYDER GETS SATURN CONTRACT Ryder System has been awarded an inbound materials logistics contract with GM's Saturn division. The company will oversee supply chain management and inventory logistics for Saturn's Spring Hill, Tennessee, operations, and it will also continue to oversee inbound logistics for Saturn's Wilmington, Delaware, assembly plant.


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