VW Eos, Twin-Turbo FSI Coming toFrankfurt

VW Eos, Twin-Turbo FSI Coming toFrankfurt

2007 Volkswagen Concept CVolkswagen's set to show off for its home crowds at next month's Frankfurt auto show with its new Eos hardtop convertible and a twin-turbo FSI engine that will find its way into a special edition of the Golf. The Eos, which is the production version of the Concept C roadster, is named for the goddess of the dawn, VW says. Developed separately from any of VW's other models, the Eos will be offered with a range of engines with power output of 113 hp to 247 hp.

The new twin-turbo FSI engine will be displayed under its simpler "Twincharger" name. The Twincharger engine uses a small 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine combined with its direct-injection system and twin turbochargers to develop the power of a larger-displacement engine - 168 hp, it's estimated. The strong torque at low speeds, VW says, is complemented by fuel economy of about 39 mpg. VW plans to team up the engine with its DSG gearbox to propel the new Golf GT model to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds and to a top speed of 136 mph.

Spy Shots: '07 VW Concept C by Hans Lehmann/Hidden Image (7/18/2005)
Golf Cabrio or no, the roof still rotates.

Automakers Granting Relief from Hurricane Katrina

Automakers are forgiving payments, donating cash, and giving away vehicles in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which struck Louisiana and Mississippi on Monday morning as a Category Four storm with winds peaking at 140 mph. The Detroit News reports that GM will give $400,000 to the American Red Cross as well as 25 vehicles; Ford is allowing those who live in disaster areas to defer two vehicle payments and will match employee donations to the American Red Cross; and Nissan, which operates an assembly plant in mid-Mississippi, will donated 30-day leases for 50 Titan trucks to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. Nissan's plant had closed prior to the landfall of the hurricane and has not yet reopened. Estimates for damages from the storm are ranging from $9 billion to $26 billion, with untold loss of life in the New Orleans metro area and coastal Mississippi.

Donate to the American Red Cross' storm relief

Wagoner Bullish on '06

Though engaged in an ongoing employee-discount promotion to clear 2005 models and 2006 trucks from its lineup, GM should see a stronger sales year in 2006, thanks to a range of new products. GM CEO Rick Wagoner told analysts yesterday that believes that while the U.S. market will continue to be a big challenge, the "volume and [sales] mix should start to move in a positive direction." GM's non-North American units should meet their 2005 targets but officials have declined to give any leaning for the North American market for the rest of the year. Wagoner expects lower material costs, help on healthcare costs from the UAW, and strong sales of its upcoming full-size trucks and SUVs to help shore up the company's financial picture. Fuel prices and a potential bailout of Delphi Corp. could cloud that prediction, other analysts suggest.

Delphi Loses $338 Million; Bankruptcy Looms by Joseph Szczesny (8/8/2005)
New losses trigger talk of Chapter 11 at biggest supplier.

Ford Chopping 400 Exec Jobs

Ford is using performance reviews to determine which 400 executives it will let go in the next wave of job reductions, the Dow Jones news service reported on Tuesday. The white-collar cuts are part of Ford's mission to cut 2750 executive positions by the end of the year, in advance of a new turnaround plan due to come from CEO Bill Ford in the next few months. Most of the job cuts will come from early retirements and attrition, the news agency says, and most of the cuts are coming from the sales, marketing, and PR sides of the company.

Ford, GM Face Plant Closings Again by Joseph Szczesny (8/29/2005)
At least five plants will need to go, a new report says.

GM Recalling Full-Size Trucks, SUVs

General Motors is recalling 804,000 full-size trucks and SUVs because of an issue with the vehicle's braking system. The Chevy Silverado/Avalanche/Suburban/Tahoe and GMC Sierra/Yukon/Yukon XL from the 1999-2002 model years are involved in the recall, which involves the anti-lock brakes on the trucks. In some instances, the ABS system can activate when it should not, which could lead to an accident.

New Porsche Prototype Debut Delayed

Porsche announced on Tuesday that the debut of its new LMP2 prototype for the American Le Mans Series, the RS Spyder, will be delayed.

The car was originally scheduled to make its first competitive appearance in the upcoming 10-hour/1000-mile Petit Le Mans endurance race at Road Atlanta over the weekend of Sept. 29– Oct. 2. The car has been extensively tested to date, but Porsche officials said that the car isn't quite ready for a 10-hour enduro. As a result, the car's debut wil be tentatively pushed back to the ALMS season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca over the weekend of Oct. 14-17.

"Any completely new racecar requires a considerable amount of testing to acquire performance and durability," commented Hartmut Kristen, director of motorsport for Porsche AG. "By now, our RS Spyder has the speed, but not the stamina to finish a 1000-mile race like Petit Le Mans. We hope, with the additional planned testing by Penske Motorsports, it will be ready to make its test race debut at the four-hour Laguna Seca contest."

Over the next six weeks, the car will undergo extensive additional testing in North America in the hands of its new team, Penske Motorsports, before the final decision to race the car is made.

"We at Porsche Cars North America certainly support the decision of Porsche AG to maximize the car's testing program," said Peter Schwarzenbauer, PCNA president and CEO. "At the same time, we are excited to deliver the first Porsche RS Spyder to Penske Motorsports, our development partner."

Commissioned by PCNA and Porsche Motorsport North America for racing customers who compete in the LMP2 (Le Mans Prototype 2) class of the ALMS, the Porsche RS Spyder features a completely new 3.4-liter Porsche V-8 engine plus an all-new transmission and chassis, all incorporating the latest in Porsche technology and created to conform to new 2006 rules and regulations of the Automobil Club de l'Ouest (ACO), which sanctions the 24 Hours of Le Mans and licenses the Le Mans name to the ALMS. Penske Motorsports, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Penske Racing, Inc., will field the new Porsche prototype in the entire 2006 ALMS season. -John F. Gardner

Thirty Percent of Suppliers Face Failure

The Big Three's beleaguered suppliers were handed their second hurricane warning in as many days Tuesday at the annual strategic planning summit conducted by the Society of Automotive Analysts (SAA), meeting in the Detroit suburb of Troy, Mich. Keynote speaker Craig Fitzgerald, partner in the Plante & Moran accounting firm, asserted that "30 percent of supplier companies are six months or less from going out of business or going into Chapter 11 bankruptcies."

The cost-price squeeze flowing from Big Three automakers was cited by Fitzgerald, whose firm has more than 400 supplier clients, as an increasingly difficult challenge for these companies. Fitzgerald said he expected General Motors, the United Auto Workers, and top-volume supplier Delphi Corp to reach an eventual cost-relief agreement, averting a Delphi bankruptcy petition, "but among smaller suppliers, there'll be a lot of bankruptcies in the next three to five years."

Steadily increasing healthcare and materials costs, the Big Three's overcapacity, a surfeit of brands, and lack of "gotta-have" models are problems for automakers and suppliers alike, according to Fitzgerald. The veteran auto industry accountant did hold out hope for the domestic industry's salvation, however, voicing praise for the turnarounds led at Chrysler Group by Dieter Zetsche and at Nissan by Carlos Ghosn.

"What Carlos and Dieter did can be done at GM and Ford, which have the ability to do the same," Fitzgerald said. "But I seriously doubt they have the will to do so - and that's why the industry is in such serious trouble."

At a similar gathering on Monday, production consultant Laurie Harbour-Felax, of Troy, Mich., handed suppliers their first hurricane alert of the week. Suppliers that fail to adopt lean and flexible manufacturing techniques are asking for failures in the changing automaking world, she told the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) meeting in Detroit . The keynoter for that conference, incoming CEO of Chrysler Group Thomas LaSorda, drew praise from SAA panelists Tuesday for supplier-upgrading initiatives, which include the unique joint venture with two key Jeep suppliers inside an assembly plant in Toledo, Ohio. -Mac Gordon

Mitsu Workers Accept UAW Pact

Members of UAW Local 2488 have ratified a 31-month labor pact with Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America that includes a temporary wage freeze for the 2800 workers employed at the Japanese automaker's plant in Normal, Ill. The new pact, which both sides chose to extend rather than negotiate a new contract, was approved Sunday by a 77-percent to 23-percent margin.

The contract extension includes no immediate wage increase. Instead, it includes a two-percent general wage increase in March 2006 and a 3-percent increase in March 2007. The Mitsubishi workers will receive additional wage increases and/or lump-sum payments based on the next round of bargaining between the UAW and DaimlerChrysler in 2007, union officials said. The cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) in the contract extension is based on the COLA negotiated by the UAW and DaimlerChrysler in 2003, which is based on the Consumer Price Index for all items less medical care. The extension, however, will not require Mitsubishi workers to increase their healthcare contributions. The extension will not increase prescription co-pays or other out-of-pocket expenses.

Mitsubishi is struggling to get back on its feet after a two-year sales plunge that began in the summer of 2003 and led to a complete turnover in the company's management in North America. -Joe Szczesny

FROM THE SOURCE headlines from PRNewswire

Industry veteran Wayne Killen today rejoins Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA) as vice president of marketing. Killen returns to MMNA after a ten-year career with Mercedes-Benz USA where he most recently served as the Maybach Brand Manager. As part of a 22-year automotive career, Killen was a product planner for Mitsubishi Motors from 1987-89. In his new position, Killen will report directly to David Schembri, Executive Vice President, Sales & Marketing, and will be responsible for Advertising, Brand Experience Marketing, Product & Marketing PR and Product Strategy.

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BorgWarner Inc. BWA 58.63 -0.46 (-0.78%)
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Delphi Corporation DPH 5.66 -0.15 (-2.58%)
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Ford Motor Company F 9.75 -0.02 (-0.20%)
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