Daily News: April 13, 2001

GM AND FORD EARNINGS DROP According to analysts' predictions, both General Motors and Ford Motor Company will report significant drops in first-quarter earnings due to lagging sales, says Reuters. GM earnings are expected to fall by 90 percent, to $125 million, while Ford earnings will likely fall by about 50 percent, to about $1 billion.

SCHREMPP HOLDS HIS OWN Chairman Jeurgen Schrempp fended off criticism from disgruntled shareholders at DaimlerChrysler's annual shareholder meeting, although the jesters failed to achieve any changes in the company. The shareholders, led by Deutsche Bank and Kuwait, two leading investors that remain supportive of Schrempp, approved ten resolutions supporting the current management board and supervisory board. Schrempp also revealed that DaimlerChrysler will post a loss of up to $888 million for the first quarter, according to the Detroit News.

INTERNET ACCESS NOT DESIRED BY MANY A new Greenfield online survey of Internet users shows that very few computer-savvy people look for in-car Internet capabilities. Among many high-tech devices, those polled ranked anti-theft systems, road-hazard sensors, remote startup functions, and navigation systems as things they would want, while Internet connectivity and music downloading capabilities ranked last.

FORD DEALERS WILL OFFER CHILD ID KIT Ford dealers nationwide are offering a free child identification kit, with fingerprints, photo, and description. The program, called Commitment to Kids, is in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Strangely, not all Ford dealers will have the kits—only those who are certified by the controversial Blue Oval Certification program.

GM IDLES PLANTS General Motors will idle its St. Therese, Quebec, plant for two weeks starting next Tuesday, April 17. The plant produces Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird models. The idle time corrects for GM's second-quarter production cuts. GM already plans to idle two other plants, in Oshawa, Ontario, and Baltimore, in the next few weeks.

OPEL TO SHARE WITH FIAT Opel's new chairman, Carl-Peter Forster, announced that the GM division will be sharing more components with Fiat in order to save money. Common platforms are a possibility as well. Opel urgently needs to be returned to profitability: The division posted a net loss of about $380 million last year.

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