User-agent: Mediapartners-Google* Disallow: Trucks World News: October 2005
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2005-10-31

Production - USA - GM's small-block motor celebrates 50th anniversary, ninety million built

Detroit,Mich,USA -680news.com (VANCOUVER,Can), by: STEVE MERTL -Oct 30, 2005: -- Awash in red ink and losing market share, General Motors Corp. still has had something to celebrate this year - the 50th anniversary of perhaps the most popular engine in history... The small-block V-8 motor debuted in the 1955 Chevrolet sedan and will always be identified with Chevy... But the compact, lightweight but powerful "mouse motor" would eventually proliferate throughout GM's divisions for economic reasons... More than 90 million small-blocks have been produced... GM is also looking at other approaches for the small-block, such as gas-electric hybrid V-8s for its trucks, and gasoline direct-injection, which allows very precise fuel metering...

R&D - Thailand - Honda Strengthens R&D Capability in Asia Oceania Region

By Establishing Automobile R&D Center in Thailand
Tokyo, Japan -JCN Newswire via COMTEX -Oct 31, 2005: -- Honda R&D Co., Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Honda responsible for research & development activities, today announced that it had obtained permission to establish an automobile R&D company in the Kingdom of Thailand to strengthen Honda's ability to quickly respond to the ever diversifying needs of customers in rapidly growing Asian automobile markets... A new Honda subsidiary, Honda R&D Asia Pacific Co., Ltd., will be established on December 1 and the new R&D center to become operational in 2007...

Hybrids - Japan - The envy of all the copycats

Toyota pioneered hybrids; now the other automakers are struggling to catch up

TOKYO,Japan - Lexington Herald Leader/kentucky.com/AP, by Yuri Kageyama -Oct. 31, 2005: -- When Toyota unveiled its first hybrid vehicle nearly a decade ago, many people were skeptical about its environmentally friendly gas-and-electric-powered engine that dramatically boosts mileage... Today, Japan's biggest automaker is scrambling to keep up with the growing demand for hybrids, especially in North America, where soaring oil prices -- now double from several years ago -- are suddenly making hybrids an attractive cost-saving alternative... All the world's major automakers, including Ford Motor Co. of the United States and Japanese rival Honda Motor Co., are either selling or developing their versions of hybrids these days... Okamoto, Toyota's research executive, acknowledged the jump in hybrid demand was a pleasant surprise for the sales division... "This year, we see the hybrid being treated as a very important option," said.

Markets - China - GM calls to develop service sector

Beijing,China -Business Report/Johannesburg,S.Africa/AFP -Oct 31, 2005: -- The top executive of automaker General Motors on Sunday called for China and its economic capital Shanghai to improve its relatively underdeveloped service sector... The sector represents slightly more than one third of China's gross domestic product... China's situation contrasts with that in other developing countries. In India the service sector accounts for 51 percent of GDP and in Mexico it is 71 percent compared with China's 32 percent... But in China the industrial sector contributes more than half of GDP, against 26 percent in Mexico and 21 percent in India...

Acquisition - Germany - MAN back in talks to buy Daimler MTU diesel unit

FRANKFURT,Germany -Reuters -Oct 31, 2005: -- German truckmaker and industrial group MAN has re-entered talks to acquire DaimlerChrysler's MTU Friedrichshafen heavy diesel engine unit, DaimlerChrysler said on Monday... Confirming an earlier report by Reuters, a spokeswoman for the world's fifth-biggest carmaker said MAN had replaced buyout firm CVC, which had dropped out of the list of bidders... "MAN is back in for competitive reasons so that we have three bidders," the spokeswoman said...

2005-10-30

Prices - USA - Diesel dilemma

Gasoline prices may be tumbling, but local companies and truckers who rely on diesel fuel are still stuck paying high prices

LANCASTER COUNTY, PA,USA -Lancaster New Era, by Cindy Stauffer -Oct 27, 2005: -- We hate to burst your bubble, all you folks out there who have been celebrating the 40-cent drop in gas prices in the past month... But there’s something else going on at the pumps... And it’s no cause for celebration. While gas prices have dropped in the past month, diesel prices have remained persistently high... In fact, the price has risen slightly since September... And even if you don’t drive an 18-wheeler, you’re paying for that, trucking companies say... “With the higher cost of diesel fuel, we are making attempts to not pass the cost along to our customers,” he said....

TechNews - USA - GM, Shanghai Automotive pledge to develop energy-efficient vehicles in China

Agreement calls for expansion of joint hybrid bus program
DETROIT,Mich,USA -The Detroit News/APress -Oct 30, 2005: -- General Motors Corp. and its partner in Shanghai agreed Saturday to work together to produce energy-efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles in China, according to a joint statement released by the companies... The agreement, signed in Shanghai by GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. Chairman Hu Maoyuan, calls for both companies to look into expanding their joint hybrid bus program to a larger fleet to serve the city of Shanghai... The partners also will pursue hybrid options for cars and hydrogen fuel cell technologies for use in China...

Recalls - USA - GM recalling SUVs because of corrosion on latch

WASHINGTON DC,USA -Associated Press -Oct 29, 2005: -- General Motors Corp. said Friday it was recalling about 100,000 sport utility vehicles in 20 northern states because corrosion can affect latches on the two backseat doors, potentially allowing the doors to open while the vehicle is being driven... In some cases, slush, water and salt has passed through a seal at the base of the door and come in contact with the door's latch. Over time, it can cause corrosion and make the door not latch properly, GM spokesman Alan Adler said... Adler said there has been one unconfirmed report of injuries related to the problem. GM did not have any details on what happened...

By By - USA - Ford's head of hybrid programs to leave

Detroit,Mich,USA -The Detroit News, by Dow Jones/AP -Oct 29, 2005: -- Ford Motor Co.'s high-profile head of hybrid programs is leaving the automaker at a time when Ford is relying heavily on its gas-electric hybrid-vehicle program to help turnaround its struggling automotive operations... Mary Ann Wright, Ford's director of hybrid programs and chief engineer on the Ford Escape Hybrid, submitted her resignation Friday morning. She is one of many senior managers to recently exit Ford, which in the midst of a corporate restructuring that is to be detailed early next year... Ford spokesman Oscar Suris said Wright's departure "doesn't change Ford's plans" to increase hybrid production... this departure comes two weeks after Phil Martens, Ford's vice president of product creation in North America, also left the company. Following Martens out the door was Matt DeMars, vice president for North American vehicle operations...

2005-10-27

A good cause - Canada - 18 Wheels of Christmas campaign rolls on

CALGARY, Alta,Canada -Truck News, by James Menzies -27 Oct 2005: -- The Alberta trucking industry is once again gathering food for the less fortunate this Christmas season, through the 18 Wheels of Christmas campaign... Rosenau Transport is once again offering a 48-foot trailer which organizers hope to fill with food donated by the trucking industry. Last year's effort netted 24 skids of food which were delivered to the Medicine Hat Food Bank and the Lloydminster Salvation Army... Some of the biggest contributors last year included Big Horn Transport which donated a skid of peanut butter and Rosenau which chipped in two skids of baby food... "A little competition wouldn't hurt and it all goes to a good cause," points out Nickel... To participate, call Dale or Colleen at 403-279-4204 or e-mail 18wheels_xmas@rosenau.org...

Survey - USA - Hino Trucks Leads ATD Results

DETROIT,MI,USA -PRNewswire -Oct. 27, 2005: -- In its annual survey of United States truck dealers, the American Truck Dealers Association heard a lot of positive references to Hino Trucks this year. In fact, Hino led other OEMs in gains in multiple medium duty truck categories... The ATD survey is an annual review of dealer attitudes about the OEMs they represent. The 2005 report contains 704 surveys representing 1,560 evaluations. Its summary is a comprehensive review of an OEM's effectiveness in the areas of generating franchise value, marketing programs, policy implementation, parts support, hiring good people and producing an overall positive attitude in its relationships with its dealers... Hino Motors Sales U.S.A. Inc., is the Detroit, MI, headquartered distribution arm of Hino Motors Ltd. based in Tokyo, Japan. HMS sells and services a full product line of Class 4-7 Medium Duty Trucks through a nationwide dealer network. The Company assembles its products in Long Beach, CA and operates a National Parts Distribution Center in Southaven, MS.- Toyota owns controlling interest of Hino Motors Ltd...

Illegal Surcharges - UN - Volcker Says Volvo, Siemens Paid Kickbacks to Iraq

NY,USA -Bloomberg -Oct. 27, 2005: -- Volvo AB, Siemens AG and DaimlerChrysler AG were among 2,392 companies that paid kickbacks to Iraq in an aid program designed to allow Saddam Hussein to sell oil to buy food, medicine and other goods, former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker said in a report today... The European companies sold vehicles and electric-utility equipment to Iraq, according to the report issued in New York today on the United Nations program... UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan knew about Hussein's corruption of the program and did little to stop the illegal activity, the Sept. 7 report from Volcker's investigation said... Annan was informed of kickbacks, oil surcharges and smuggling that allowed Hussein to skim about $13 billion from the Iraqi aid program. He didn't share that knowledge, confront Iraqi officials or take steps within the UN to address the problems, the report said... Benon Sevan, the former UN official who ran the program, is in his native Cyprus and can't be extradited should he be indicted. Volcker in an Aug. 8 report accused Sevan of taking kickbacks from a company for helping it secure contracts to buy Iraqi oil...

Economy - USA - Hybrid Heavy

USA -Ward's Auto World -Oct 1, 2005: -- Ford Motor Co. will step up its planned rollout of hybrid-electric vehicles, launch a new flexible-fuel vehicle campaign and focus on making its cars and trucks safer as part of a rejuvenation effort spearheaded by Chairman and CEO Bill Ford... Ford says it has placed more than 1 million ethanol-capable vehicles on roads worldwide during the last 25 years, but the auto maker will step up that effort next year and seek to improve consumer awareness and availability of the fuel... The new plan calls for production of 280,000 ethanol-powered Ford F-150 pickups, and Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car passenger cars in 2006...

R & D - Germany - Incremental Growth

Fuel-saving water and oil pumps, low-friction bearings and lighter pistons will not change the world — but it is a start...
Germany -Ward's Auto World (USA), by Drew Winter -Oct 1, 2005: -- While elaborate and expensive hybrid technologies capture much of the attention at the recent Frankfurt auto show, Kolbenschmidt Pierburg AG, the automotive unit of German automotive and defense supplier Rheinmetall AG, touts products that offer small but significant improvements in fuel economy and emissions... At a press conference at the Frankfurt show, company officials revealed several new piston designs that are lighter weight and achieve faster cooling and oil throughput, but Kleinert says he also sees promise in new products such as an electrically driven coolant pump, first introduced two years ago... High-performance engine bearings are expected to be a key growth area for the company as well. Its Plain Bearings Div. offers a host of new high-performance and low-friction composite bearings that are designed to withstand the rigors of increasingly power-dense engines and new families of highly corrosive engine oils...

Oil's Earning - USA - ConocoPhillips profit up 89%

USA - Journal Gazette/FortWayne.com -27 Oct 2005: -- ConocoPhillips, the nation’s third-largest integrated oil and gas company, said third-quarter profit surged 89 percent, reflecting high prices for crude oil and natural gas after one of the worst hurricane seasons in memory slammed the heart of the nation’s oil industry... The Houston-based company emerged from the one-two punch of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita unscathed profit-wise, with earnings for the quarter ended Sept. 30 of $3.8 billion... Results were nearly double those of a year ago, which reached $2 billion, or $1.43 per share...

Fuel Alternatives - Thailand - Ford launches ethanol-compatible car

Hua Hin, Thailand -Mail Guardian (South Africa) -27 Oct 2005: -- Ford Motor Company on Thursday launched its first ethanol-compatible sedan -- the Ford Focus -- on the Thai market... The Ford Focus will be imported from Ford's factory in the Philippines, entering Thailand with low import tariffs granted under the Association of South East Asian Nations Free Trade Area (Afta) agreement...

Controls - USA - Ford cracks down on rest room breaks

Some workers spend more than 48 minutes away from the line at Wayne truck plant, slowing production of SUVs

Detroit,Mich, USA -The Detroit News, by Louis Aguilar -Oct 27, 2005: -- You know things are tense at work when management starts timing rest room breaks. But beleaguered Ford Motor Co. is doing just that... In a memo that was distributed Tuesday to workers at Ford's Michigan Truck plant in Wayne, plant managers said too many of the factory's 3,500 hourly workers are spending more than the 48 minutes allotted per shift to use the bathroom. The extra-long breaks are slowing production of the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator sport utility vehicles that are built there, the company said... Workers point out they have had 12 weeks of downtime due to slow sales this year, and more may be on the horizon... The memo ends on an upbeat note: "We look forward to putting this concern behind us as we obtain your personal commitment in supporting our joint focus on embracing change."...

Sales - China - General Motors reports: In first three quarters rise 28 percent

SHANGHAI, China -The Detroit News/Associated Press -Oct 27, 2005: -- General Motors Corp. said Thursday that its China sales in the first three quarters of 2005 rose 27.8 percent from a year earlier, helped by a rebound in sales following a slow start.
According to analysts, a large share of the growth in GM's sales in China, which totaled 472,468 vehicles between January and September, were from a mini-vehicle joint venture with partners Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corp. (SAIC) and Wuling Automotive... Much of the sales growth has come from economy models, rather than the large sedans that fattened automakers' profits in previous years... China's passenger-car makers reported a 52.9 percent year-on-year drop in profits in the first three quarters of this year, according to a report earlier this week by the
National Bureau of Statistics...

Production - China - Toyota Motor's plans to build third Tianjin plant

TOKYO,Japan -The Detroit News (Detroit,Mich,USA)/Associated Press -Oct 26, 2005: -- Toyota Motor Corp. said that its joint venture with China's biggest automaker plans to build a third plant in China with an annual production capacity of 200,000 passenger cars... Tianjin FAW Toyota Motor Co., set up by Toyota and China FAW Group Corp., is currently applying for Chinese government approval of the joint project in China's northeastern city of Tianjin... Last year, Toyota models accounted for 2.1 percent, or 98,000 units, of the estimated 4.6 million vehicles sold in China... The world's major automakers are bolstering their presence in China to make inroads into the country's growing auto market...

Earnings - USA - Fiat posts third-quarter profit on cost cutting, strong sales

ROME,Italy -The Detroit News/AP -26 Oct 2005: -- Fiat SpA reported a third-quarter profit Wednesday, more than reversing a loss a year ago, due to cost cutting and robust August sales at its struggling auto unit... Group net profit came to 818 million euros ($989.6 million), compared to a loss of 404 million euros in the third quarter of last year... Fiat said the group can be "cautiously optimistic about its future and confirms its 2005 targets."...

Business - Germany - Audi Could Absorb SEAT

A decision is expected by November...
USA - The Car Connection -27 Oct 2005: -- Audi is studying whether to absorb its troubled Spanish unit, SEAT. The upscale VW brand-which leads a group of brands including SEAT and Lamborghini-is uninterested in selling or shutting down its Barcelona-based brand... However, Audi is expected to fold SEAT's business into its own as a cost-saving measure, which would give Audi's executive board more control over SEAT's expenditures, vehicle development and production...

Report - USA - Big Three, Japanese Brands "Equal" on Initial Quality

USA -The Car Connection, by Mac Gordon /Consusmer Report -27 Oct 2005: -- The U.S. Big Three closed the gap with the Japanese vehicles on initial vehicle quality, but the Japanese brands still led significantly in durability from 2-8 years, says the chief of the Consumer Reports vehicle test team, David Champion... who called for such safety enhancers as SUV rear-view cameras and anti-roll stability systems to become standard equipment on all new vehicles... Consumer Reports, issuing its annual new-model preview issue this week, rates the hybrid Toyota Prius as the most reliable of the 2006 models, and the Infiniti QX56 SUV the least reliable. The magazine relies for its rankings on reports from readers, as well as its own testers, with a record one million questionnaires... Nameplates falling short are Kia Amanti, Lincoln Town Car and Mercury Montego, says Champion - and, because of safety concerns, Chrysler 300. Consumer Reports coordinates its findings with the crash-safety tests of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety...

Investigation - USA - SEC Subpoenas General Motors

More job cuts and plant closings coming to GM
NY,USA -Reuters -27 Oct 2005: -- The Securities and Exchange Commission has subpoenaed General Motors as it investigates accounting practices at the largest U.S. automaker, Reuters reported on Wednesday evening. The Feds are investigating how GM accounted for a series of transactions between itself and supplier Delphi Corp., which has since sought Chapter 11 relief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York, as well as GM's accounting for pension benefits to its own employees... GMAC, the automaker's finance arm, has also been drawn in the SEC investigation at a critical juncture; the automaker is trying to sell a majority stake in GMAC to refill its coffers and to restore the finance company's good credit ratings, which were downgraded along with GM's into junk territory earlier this year. GM says it is cooperating with authorities in their investigation...

No Tech - Korea - Hyundai Blocks Tech Transfer to China

Seoul,Korea -The Car Connection(USA), by Peter Chang - 26 Oct. 2005: -- South Korea's top automaker Hyundai Motor said it has blocked a possible leak of its car-making technologies from one of its subcontractors in South Korea to Chinese carmakers... Hyundai Motor, which produces its cars in its plant in China along with its affiliate Kia Motors, said the technologies were for engines and durability... The action was taken after Hyundai Motor had found that one of its subcontractors had contacted Chinese automakers. After discovering the leak, all data related to the technologies was scrapped... South Korean carmakers including Hyundai Motor's affiliate Kia Motors are trying to prevent their auto-making technologies from being leaked to the fast-growing Chinese companies. Earlier this year, South Korea's third-largest car company, GM Daewoo, which produces its cars on a CKD basis in China, filed a lawsuit against Chinese car manufacturer Chery for alleged piracy of its popular Matiz minicar...

Lewd and lascivious - USA - Wisconsin Fights Car Flasher

West Bend, Wisc.,USA -AP - 26 Oct 2005: -- Police in West Bend, Wisc., have charged a 40-year-old man with lewd and lascivious behavior as well as disorderly conduct after the man put pictures of his genitals on cars parked by women at stores in the area... The man charged with the indirect flashing, one Jeffrey J. Hein, was charged with leaving the pictures behind at the Wal-Mart, Kmart, and a beauty-supply store in the town... Hein says he was merely trying to play a joke on the women and thought they might find it funny, the Associated Press reports. He also admits that some of the women laughed at the pictures when they recovered the shots from their car windshields...

Prostitution? - USA - Car-Washing Cheerleaders or Hookers?

You Make The Call
Reno,Nevada,USA -KRNV-Reno/The Car Connection -26 Oct 2005: -- The In Nevada, it's apparently a narrow legal line between high-school cheerleaders and other women who wear the same costumes for pay... What does this have to do with cars, you ask? Nothing until recently, when the Nevada State Supreme Court sat down to consider whether a new law could result in innocent civilians being prosecuted for violating anti-prostitution statutes... According to the law, police can arrest someone who "repeatedly beckons to, stops, attempts to stop or engage persons passing by in conversation, or repeatedly stops or attempts to stop motor vehicle operators by hailing, waiving of arms or other bodily gestures," KRNV-Reno reports-for example, when cheerleaders solicit customers for a car wash... The justices are weighing whether an overzealous police officer could interpret that to include the more wholesome crowd and charge the girls with loitering for the purpose of prostitution...

Closing Loophole - USA - Senate Passes Bill To Require Truck-Insurance Notification

Washington,DC,USA -Hartford Courant, (Conn.), by CHRISTOPHER KEATING -Oct 27, 2005: -- The state Senate on Wednesday took the first steps toward closing a loophole in state law, passing a bill that requires the state to be notified when a commercial truck owner drops its insurance... The loophole came to light after the July 29 crash of a dump truck on Route 44 at the bottom of Avon Mountain. Four people died, including a father of five... The problem gained widespread attention in 1993 when the legislature passed a law requiring insurance companies to notify the DMV when a motorist drops insurance... But legislators left a gap in the law, including using the words "no such notification shall be made for any cancellation of any policy of commercial" vehicles' insurance... That gap will now be closed if the measure, as expected, is passed by the House and signed by Rell... The bill would become effective Jan. 1...

Advice - USA - Future bankruptcers? Here a way...

Before the Last Resort: What to Do If You’re Considering Bankruptcy

USA -Bankruptcy Plus Resources, Copyright 2005, by Michael Knowles -26 Oct 2005: -- Filing for bankruptcy is an extreme move, not a quick fix. It’s a long, painful process with a huge stigma, and you’re unlikely to be able to get any kind of credit for ten years afterwards. Yet bankruptcies are on the rise. Out of ignorance or stupidity, more and more people seem to be using bankruptcy as a first option, instead of a last resort. Before you do it, make sure you’ve considered every alternative... Have You Reorganized Your Debt?... Sell Everything You Can... Work More... Use the Power of Threats... Know Your Local Laws... Try to get a lawyer – you might think that you can’t afford one, but many will work ‘pro bono’ (for free) for people who really need a lawyer but can’t pay...

2005-10-26

Contrast - USA - Rise in profit sets Chrysler apart

Third quarter brings glimmer of hope to Detroit; automaker earns $374 million after car sales jump.

Detroit,Mich,USA -The Detroit News, by Christine Tierney -26 Oct 2005: -- In stark contrast with its ailing Detroit rivals, DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group boosted its third-quarter profit 43 percent to $374 million after increasing auto sales sharply... Chrysler's robust showing, after a deep, three-year restructuring, provides a glimmer of optimism for the domestic auto industry following huge losses announced last week by General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co...

Ailing - USA - Delphi offer: $9 an hour

Ailing supplier lowers bid to UAW; workers asked to pay up to $5,000 yearly for health care.

Detroit,Mich.,USA -The Detroit News, by Bill Vlasic -Oct 26, 2005: -- Delphi Corp.'s first offer to unionized autoworkers since filing for bankruptcy protection calls for an unprecedented elimination of benefits and even steeper wage cuts than an earlier proposal made by Chairman Robert S. "Steve" Miller... Instead of the $10 to $12 an hour that Miller said Delphi should pay its production workers, the company started talks with the United Auto Workers last Friday by seeking wages as low as $9 an hour, according to a copy of the proposal posted on union Web sites...

Opinion/Engines - USA - Forget hybrids, America; diesels will provide economy, performance

Technology allows diesels to meet toughest upcoming emissions rules; automakers' hybrid alliances show lack of belief in gas-electric future
GRANADA, Spain -Autos Insider/USA, by Neil Winton -26 Oct 2005: -- Peugeot of France doesn't sell its cars in the U.S., but its new 407 Coupe (pictured) is powered by an engine that will induce a warm glow in Americans... The engine is a diesel, and it means that Americans forced by high gas prices to seek alternatives to fuel-guzzling motors can do so without making sacrifices... a 2.7 litre V-6 diesel engine that is quieter than a gasoline engine, has incredible torque and averages 27.6 miles per gallon. Ford builds the engine, in partnership with Peugeot... AID's Schmidt has no doubts... "Diesels are all round superior to hybrids in terms of running costs, manufacturing costs, flexibility in town and highway, they are winning hands down. Hybrids' only plus? A marginal advantage in very heavy traffic congestion," said Schmidt... So will Ford send that creamy V-6 diesel engine to America? I'm sorry to report the answer is no... "Ford has no plans at the moment to use this engine in the U.S.," said a spokesman...

Utility - USA - Car customizer creates vehicle with style, utility

Radical design of Scion xB makes it perfect for drivers and passengers using wheelchairs

Detroit,MIch.,USA -The Detroit News, by Larry Edsall -26 Oct 2005: -- With its very boxy design, room outside for colorful graphics and room inside for plenty of electronic component customization, the Scion xB is nothing if not cool. Now drivers in wheelchairs can share in that cool... Independent Mobility Systems of Farmington, N.M., worked with Toyota Motor Corp.'s Scion division in developing the Scion xB xRamp system. Conversion work is done by IMS . Its equipment can be installed in any xB, including one already on the road. A new vehicle with full mobility package equipment costs about $30,000...

2005-10-25

Prices - USA - While Gas Is on the Rise - You Don't Have to Feel the Drain

NEW YORK, NY,USA -MULTIVU REPORT/PRNewswire/AutoTrader -Oct. 24, 2005: -- AS GAS PRICES CONTINUE TO RISE, CONSUMERS ARE LOOKING FOR ALTERNATIVES TO GAS GUZZLERS... SOME HELPFUL TIPS FOR MONEY CONSCIOUS AUTOMOBILE OWNERS... SOME EASY WAYS TO CONSERVE GAS: REDUCE TRIPS -- TRY TO DO CHORES ON YOUR WAY HOME FROM WORK RATHER THAN MAKE SEPARATE TRIPS. TAKE IT EASY -- AVOID AGGRESSIVE DRIVING AND USE CRUISE CONTROL TO MAINTAIN A SENSIBLE PACE. AND CARPOOL IF POSSIBLE. WHETHER YOU'RE TRAVELING TO WORK OR SHOPPING, SPLITTING THE DRIVING CAN CUT COSTS... "Simple things like maintaining your car to make sure it's running at peak performance and using a more efficient car rather than an SUV can help you save money on gas. At AutoTrader.com we have nearly 3 million cars and 10 million monthly shoppers so no matter what your shopping needs are we have the right car for you."

TechnoNews - USA - The key to fresh water: Imitation spleen proteins

BURLINGAME, Cal,USA -CNET News/ZDNet NewsBy Michael Kanellos -Oct 24, 2005: -- The human spleen doesn't get a lot of good press, but the Electronic Power Research Institute has come up with a spleen-inspired molecule that could expand the world's water supply... EPRI's MagMolecules are designer molecules that can extract specific contaminants from water. .. The firm is testing one molecule that can remove radioactive materials, such as cesium, from the water that circulates inside nuclear power plants, said Clark Gellings, vice president of innovation at EPRI... The MagMolecule technology also could greatly reduce the amount of radioactive waste from nuclear plants, according to EPRO. At present, evaporation is used to extract solid waste from water used at the plant. Though the solids can have radioactive material inside, the amount that can be extracted through evaporation is often miniscule...

GreenNews - USA - Volvo Expresses Confidence in 2007 Engines

USA - Fleet Owner - Oct 24, 2005: -- Peter Karlsten, president and CEO of Volvo Trucks North America, expressed confidence in Volvo's 2007 engine emissions solution during an interview at the recent ATA Conference & Exhibition in Boston... "Our customers know we are doing everything we can to make 2007 a non-event," he noted. "Volvo has the resources and the know-how to meet these new emission standards, so we see this as an opportunity to bring a new generation of engines to market. We are confident and we want our customers to share our confidence."

Operations - USA - Slumping Ford picks employee brains

Ideas for turning around North American operations flood in to management, which will weigh them all

Detroit,Mich.,USA -The Detroit News, by Bryce G. Hoffman -Oct 25, 2005: -- Ford Motor Co. is turning to employees for ideas and insights to help guide a major turnaround of the company's North American operations... Salaried employees in Ford's Americas division received an e-mail Friday from division president Mark Fields and his management team, encouraging them to share suggestions with senior management... Ford Chairman and CEO Bill Ford Jr. plans to unveil a major restructuring in January to reverse mounting losses...

TechNews - USA - GM plans Russian tech hub

Automaker will employ scientists who once made nuclear bombs to create new car technology, trim costs

USA -Bloomberg News, by Jeff Green and Alan Katz -Oct 25 2005: -- General Motors Corp., the world's largest automaker, is turning to scientists who once designed nuclear bombs and biological weapons in the Soviet Union to invent new car technology as it tries to end losses... GM will announce today a new science center in Russia that is part of an effort to cut the cost of engineering new cars and trucks... The automaker intends to take advantage of U.S. and European programs that pay former Soviet scientists to abandon weapons development for peaceful projects, said Alan Taub, GM's director of research and development...

Business - Japan - Isuzu Motors in talks to take over GM's truck business in Australia


TOKYO,Japan -The Detroit Free Press/Associated Press/USA -Oct 24, 2005: -- Japanese truck maker Isuzu Motors is wrapping up talks with General Motors Corp. to take over the struggling U.S. automaker's commercial truck business in Australia, an Isuzu spokesman said Monday... But GM spokeswoman Masako Hamada said nothing had been decided, although GM remains interested in strengthening its relations with Isuzu...

Beer's Fuel Too? - USA - Coors ramping up production of ethanol from beer waste

GOLDEN, Colo.,USA -The Denver Post, by By Robert Sanchez -Oct 24, 2005: -- One answer to lessening the country's dependence on foreign fuel imports might be hiding in the six-pack you carry home from the liquor store... At the Coors brewery here, the brewer and Merrick & Co. of Aurora, Colo., are using beer waste to process 1.5 million gallons a year of the gas substitute ethanol... The 9-year-old plant that distills the residuals from beer making has been such a success, officials from the brewer and the engineering company said, that a second, $2.3 million plant will open later this month on the same site... But ethanol is hardly free from criticism... Opponents say ethanol can be costly, also argue that the fuel substitute reduces gas mileage and wouldn't be economically feasible without federal tax credits for producers... David Pimentel, an ecology and agriculture sciences professor at Cornell University in New York, released a report on ethanol production this year that calculated everything from the amount of fertilizer needed to grow corn to the fuel needed to haul ethanol to refineries... The report showed that ethanol production expended more energy than it created...

Safety - USA - Automakers use tough road tests to drive out defects in new models


DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK, Calif.,USA -Los Angeles Times, by John O'Dell -22 Oct 2005: -- Each year automakers introduce about a dozen all-new passenger vehicles, while a hundred or so other models are delivered with major changes to transmissions, air conditioning, lights, suspensions, even door seals. The typical car or truck has about 3,000 parts, and automakers test new pieces individually, often with computer simulations or in laboratories. But ultimately these pieces must be bolted onto a car and put on the road to find out how they all work -- or don't -- by exposing them to extreme bumps, bangs, heat, cold, dirt and damp... Toyota has more than 1,000 engineers and technicians focusing on extreme testing, and Ford Motor Co. has about 1,500 test engineers. Other automakers have similar staffs. Their extreme road tests have pinpointed air filters that let dust into passenger cabins, brake parts that overheat and crumble, and wiring harnesses that fray and crack in extreme cold... To run these tests, carmakers set up hot-weather test tracks in Arizona and cold-weather facilities in Northern Canada... Extreme road tests are tough on vehicles, but cold-weather testing also can strain engineers working in these remote winter locations...

Dark/GreenNews - USA - Bluewater Takes On Toyota's "Green" Rep

USA -Detroit Free Press/The Car Connection -24 Oct 2005: -- An environmental organization that has attacked Ford for not reaching environmental goals is turning its gunsights on Toyota... A report says that Bluewater Network, a San Francisco-based nonprofit, is running ads in publications from Mother Jones to the New York Times, claiming that Toyota's newer hybrids don't improve on the mileage of their gas-engined counterparts and that Toyota is fighting tougher emissions regulations... Toyota, Bluewater says, had the best fuel economy in the industry 20 years ago and has worsened dramatically since then. The Highlander and RX400h hybrids don't produce better real-world fuel economy than the standard version... The Japanese automaker's big expansion into trucks has evaporated its fuel-economy leadership and has led Toyota to join other automakers in fighting tougher fuel-economy standards, Bluewater adds...

Changes - USA - UAW Agrees to Healthcare Cuts

USA -The Car Connection -23 Oct 2005: -- The United Auto Workers has agreed to contract changes to help bail out General Motors Corp.'s ailing North American operations. The proposed concessions require GM's active workers to defer $1 per hour of wage increases planned through 2006 to help finance the cost of healthcare benefits... In addition, retirees with GM pensions also will pay more for healthcare through a combination of new monthly premium payments and increases in co-payments and deductibles... Many, but not all, of GM's blue-collar retirees now pay nothing for healthcare except for some co-payments on prescription drugs and additional deductible for retirees who have stuck with traditional plans. In addition, both active and retired workers will have to make a larger co-payment for so-called lifestyle drugs such as Viagra... Richard Wagoner, GM chief executive officer, said that the new healthcare plan will save the company $3 billion annually on a pre-tax basis and reduce the automaker's outstanding liability for post-retirement healthcare for employees by 25 percent or $15 billion over the next seven years...

2005-10-21

GreenNews - USA - California air agency adopts idling truck rule

SAN FRANCISCO,CAL,USA -Reuters-21 Oct 2005: -- California air quality regulators have issued an order that will prohibit big-rig trucks with sleeping berths from idling their diesel engines while parked... The order, adopted late Thursday by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), is believed to be the first in the nation to require big sleeper trucks to shut off their engines during layovers, according to the agency... The decision will affect an estimated 180,000 big-rig trucks operating on California roads every day, most of them equipped with sleeper cabs, CARB spokesman Jerry Martin said. About 40,000 sleeper trucks are from outside California.... while big rigs in California are idling, they emit 53 tons a day of nitrogen oxide, which contributes to the formation of smog, Martin said...

Issue Shares - China - Dongfeng Gets OK for Hong Kong Listing

Hong Kong,China -AP, by ELAINE KURTENBACH -Oct 21, 2005: -- Dongfeng Motor Corp., one of China's biggest automakers, has gained approval to issue shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in a $600 million initial public offering planned for December, state media reported Friday... The car maker, based in the central province of Hubei, had held back due to a downturn in the market earlier in the year but with a rebound in sales has revived its listing plans, the state-run newspaper China Securities Journal reported...

Report - USA - Chinese auto supplier plans site

Detroit,Mich,USA -Detroit Free Press -Oct 21, 2005: -- Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano announced Thursday that Century Automotive, a Chinese auto supplier, will open a 200-person research and development facility in Canton Township by about 2007... Ficano made the announcement during a weeklong trade mission in China. Century, a division of China-based Tempo Group, plans a 425,000-square-foot facility...

Business Plan - USA - Toyota controls quality, cost by making many parts in house

Bucking the trend

USA - AutoWeek, by LINDSAY CHAPPELL -21 Oct 2005: -- Making cars and car parts in the same factory is supposed to be an outdated business plan... So why is Toyota Motor Corp. - an industry leader in efficiency and innovation for many years - hanging on to in-house parts making at its North American assembly plants?... General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and the Chrysler group have been struggling for years to make assembly plants more efficient by unloading parts manufacturing to outside suppliers... Toyota's North American factories, which range in age from 10 to 20 years, also perform the sort of large-scale in-house parts making that more modern auto factories no longer do... But Toyota's factories are the most efficient in North America - parts and all - and Toyota isn't so sure it wants to change... Toyota is simply following a different model, says Dave Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor. "There isn't one magical business formula in the auto industry. Vertical integration works for Toyota. It doesn't work so well for the others" Cole says...

Solutions - USA - GM Has "Short List" of GMAC Investors

NY,USA -Bloomberg -Oct. 21, 2005: -- General Motors Corp., trying to regain an investment-grade rating for its auto-loan debt, has a "short list" of possible buyers for a controlling stake in its auto finance unit, Chief Executive Rick Wagoner said... GM is in discussions with several companies that make the most sense for a "strategic partnership" by buying a stake in the General Motors Acceptance Corp. finance unit, Wagoner said in an interview today at the automaker's Detroit headquarters. He wouldn't identify potential buyers. Analysts say the sale may raise as much as $15 billion for GM, the world's largest automaker... Bank of America Corp., HSBC Holdings PLC and General Electric Co. could be on GM's short list, said Pete Hastings, vice president of fixed corporate income at Morgan Keegan Inc. in Memphis, Tennessee...

HOS - UK - BBC Drivers' Hours Investigation

UK -Transport News Network -18 Oct 2005: -- The BBC is to allege tonight that some lorry drivers operating in the UK are blatantly ignoring drivers' hours regulations, or even falsifying tachographs... The Radio 4 investigative programme 'File on 4' which is to air tonight at 8pm has already revealed some of its findings... The programme follows an operation by Police in North Wales, stopping lorries on the Holyhead road. Speaking to the BBC, Chief Superintendent Geraint Anwyl, head of the National Roads Policing Intelligence Forum said, "Half of the vehicles we're stopping on the Late Arrival operation are driving in excess of their hours or they've got tachograph offences or even using forged tachographs."...

Warns -UK - On Aging Transport and Logistics Worker Profile

UK - Transport News Network -21 Oct 2005: -- The UK's transport and logistics sector could face a worse crisis than spiraling diesel prices if it does not engage young people more effectively, the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) has warned... The CILT has expressed its concern over the rapidly-maturing workforce within the transport and logistics sector and says the sector needs to engage with young people to help a steady stream of fresh talent to enter the sector... While the recent fuel protests, panic buying and subsequent shortages of petrol and diesel may have left some shops briefly short of stock, the Institute believes that failing to bring through more young people could have far more damaging long-term effects. It is convinced that raising the profile of the profession as a whole, particularly among the young, will help prevent future shortages of skills as well as products and services...

Safety - UK - More Mirrors Proposed for Trucks

UK -Transport News Network -21 Oct 2005: -- DfT proposals could mean that up to four additional mirrors will be required on some classes of goods vehicles, although many are currently supplied with more mirrors than the law demands... Responding to the Department for Transport (DfT) consultation on the issue, the RHA's head of technical services, Steve Biddle, said: "Having considered the DfT's proposals, as the fitment of these devices is for safety related reasons then we would support the use of these mirrors to reduce the risk of fatal or serious injury." ... "The RHA would not support any retro fitment requirements as this would place a considerable financial burden on the industry", Biddle adds...

Car Trouble - USA - Should We Recall the U.S. Auto Industry?

Analysis II: The Knowledge/Wharton College/ Pennsylvania University
Penn.,USA -21 Oct 2005: -- When Wharton management professor John Paul MacDuffie is asked to explain why General Motors and Ford continue to take a drubbing from their competitors, he thinks for a moment and replies: "You can dig into the particulars around products and manufacturing processes for an explanation, but I guess the broad impression is the U.S. companies don't tend to be good learning organizations, which is something Toyota and Honda are superb at."... Whatever the U.S. car companies have learned in the past year, they have learned it the hard way. Consider the opening sentence of GM's 2003 annual report, published 12 months ag "Here's what's new about GM's strategy this year: Nothing."... the 2004 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study says global competition is so fierce that Detroit may have to become accustomed to being a smaller player. "There is a structural situation that is going to make it very difficult for GM and Ford to keep from losing market share, and they have to be looking at trimming down their operations. They have got excess capacity and excess overhead, and some of it they can't get rid of overnight, like the pension liability and the health care costs. Those decisions were made 10, 20 years ago. Perhaps there's more opportunity for them overseas than their home market." (originally published May 4, 2005)

Trouble - USA - A Bumpy Road for Delphi, GM and U.S. Auto Workers

Analysis: The Knowledge/The Wharton School Team/ Penn. University
Pennsylvania,USA --21 Oct. 2005: -- ... One thing became clear: the road ahead is going to be bumpy not only for Delphi, but also for General Motors, the United Auto Workers and the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., the government-run entity that stands behind defined-benefit plans when they are terminated... Experts at Wharton and elsewhere who follow the auto industry say Delphi's decision to file for bankruptcy was hardly surprising but nonetheless significant. Also important was GM's subsequent announcement, that it had reached a tentative agreement with the UAW to cut the healthcare benefits of unionized retirees... The Delphi filing and the tentative GM-UAW accord set in motion a chain of events that may forever alter the relationship between America's Big Three carmakers and the UAW, and they underscore the degree to which globalization is exerting downward pressure on the wages and benefits paid to U.S. workers... Wharton management professor John Paul MacDuffie says Delphi's problems -- and GM's for that matter -- do not stem directly or entirely from the legacy costs or high wages paid to current workers. A major part of Delphi's difficulty is that it remains too dependent on a weakened GM as a customer for its parts... But there were tough problems, too -- inefficient businesses and pressure to sell some parts to GM at less than cost... GM's future is intertwined with Delphi's because GM became responsible for Delphi's legacy costs once Delphi filed for bankruptcy... Since the spin-off from GM, Delphi has made many positive changes of the kind that auto parts manufacturers need to make to stay competitive in global markets, according to MacDuffie, who is also co-director of the International Motor Vehicle Program (IMVP), which has a network of researchers at universities worldwide and is funded by major automakers and suppliers... Helper, the economics professor at Case Western Reserve, hopes that the Delphi bankruptcy also starts a national debate over the immense changes that globalization has brought to blue-collar union families that worked for decades to earn middle-class wages and rock-solid benefits...

Health & Costs - USA - UAW, Big Auto seek feds' help with health care costs

Detroit,Mich,USA -The Detroit News, by Daniel Howes -Oct 21, 2005: -- General Motors Corp.'s billion-dollar health care deal with the United Auto Workers is just the beginning... In a separate pact reached during the months-long talks, the two sides said "the federal government has a primary role to play in improving health care quality and in making the health care system more affordable and accountable."... That's bargaining-speak that means GM and the UAW plan to step up pressure on Washington for help controlling runaway health care costs, which are strangling manufacturers and Detroit's automakers... They want the feds to help reduce the cost of prescription drugs by opposing drug patent extensions, which delay cheaper generic drugs; open information on doctors, hospitals and insurers by releasing the Medicare claims database to public scrutiny; pass laws to speed the adoption of 21st-century information technology in medical record-keeping... Until the health care mess gets worse, any solution for Detroit needs to be made right here...

Show - Japan - Exudes optimism as Detroit hunkers down


Tokyo Motor Show
Tokyo,Japan -The Detroit News,(Detroit,Mich,USA), by Christine Tierney -October 21, 2005: -- In sharp contrast with the gloom settling over Detroit, Japan's car makers exuded quiet confidence this week at the motor show here that their focus on fuel-efficient, innovative and high-quality vehicles was paying off... Entering the biannual show on a wave of sales and profits, Japan's largest automakers unveiled a raft of new models that signal their designs on the future. Reflecting the upbeat sentiment, Honda Motor Co. displayed a trio of concept cars under the slogan "Fine Times."... Without specifically mentioning Detroit's automakers, Japanese executives attributed the success of Japan's industry to the automakers' focus on the market, tight cost controls and close ties with suppliers... Fukui said many in the industry believed that automakers can bring down their costs by increasing production volumes, but he said Honda's approach was to tailor production capacity to market demand... Japanese executives said U.S. automakers had improved the quality and styling of their vehicles, but they're still suffering because consumer attitudes change slowly... Nissan's Ghosn, whose career includes several turnarounds, said he believed some of the pessimism about the outlook for Detroit's automakers was excessive... "I wouldn't discount the Big Three too fast," he said. "They will come back. They will react. This is a turnaround story now." ...

2005-10-20

Lobbying - USA - ATA hammers out energy policy

ALEXANDRIA, Va., USA -Today's Trucking News -20 Oct 2005: -- The American Trucking Associations' Board of Directors today unanimously endorsed an energy resolution that includes limiting the use of biodiesel... The resolution -- sanctioned by the board members at ATA's annual Management Conference and Exhibition in Boston -- outlined the organization's efforts to combat escalating fuel prices and help shape a comprehensive national energy plan... The ATA lobbying for a national energy planIt calls for increasing the diesel fuel supply; improving the balance between environmental concerns and fuel efficiency; eliminating boutique diesel fuels, and limiting the use of biodiesel... Recently, Minnesota became the first US jurisdiction to mandate a B2 (2 percent biodiesel) blend for truckers filling up in the state...

Oil - Russia - Gazprom net profit in Q105 grows 34%

MOSCOW, Russia -RIA Novosti -Oct 20, 2005: -- The unaudited net profit of Russian state-owned gas giant Gazprom grew 34% for the first quarter of 2005, the company's press service said Thursday... The service said the Q105 profit hit 92,397 million rubles ($3.23 billion), against 68,395 million rubles ($2.39 billion) in Q104... The sales earnings, minus excise, VAT and customs payments, increased by 33% against the same period last year to reach 339,181 million rubles ($11.85 billion)...

Cuts - USA - Ford plans more plant closings

Cincinnati,USA -Cincinnati Business Courier -20 Oct 2005: -- For the second time in the past four years, Ford Motor Co. chairman and CEO Bill Ford Jr. is preparing for a major round of automobile plant closings... Reuters reported that Ford said in a conference call Thursday that the nation's No. 2 automaker will announce "significant plant closings."...
See too: Ford readies downsizing - Downsizing: Job cuts, plant closures coming - The Detroit News, by Bryce G. Hoffman -October 21, 2005

Increaseds - USA - 65-mph truck speed fuels pike accidents

Study blames 40% increase on new limit

Toledo, OH,USA -Toledo Blade, by DAVID PATCH -Oct 20, 2005: -- Crashes involving commercial vehicles on the Ohio Turnpike increased by 40 percent during the year after the speed limit for trucks and private buses was raised from 55 to 65 miles an hour, even though commercial-vehicle volume grew by just 17 percent during that time, the Ohio Highway Patrol reported yesterday... The study's time frame includes a 25 percent reduction for truck tolls the Ohio Turnpike Commission began in January. Both actions were intended to woo truckers to the turnpike and away from parallel secondary roads... The report contains no data for accidents occurring on those secondary roads since the turnpike changes were made. The highway patrol said that information will be included in a second report to be issued next month... "The data suggest that as truck speeds generally increase, so do passenger-car speeds," Lieutenant Zwayer said. "For whatever reason, most passenger vehicles tend to pass commercial vehicles, and do not want to stay close to commercial vehicles."...

Safety - USA - Truck threat growing


Madison, WI,USA -The Capital Times -(AP Photo) -Oct 20, 2005: -- The tragic accident involving a Chippewa Falls High School bus and a semi on Interstate 94 near Osseo last weekend raises the question once again about truck safety on our highways... The trucking lobby will insist that more accidents involving trucks are caused by the careless drivers of automobiles, but that doesn't escape the fact that trucks and other vehicles have become a lethal mix as congestion grows on our freeways and interstates... Yes, trucks move commerce, and the U.S. economy is mightily dependent on the industry to deliver goods on time and at a reasonable cost... But as the industry grows by leaps and bounds, questions are being raised about everything from driver training to the amount of rest those drivers get during the countless hours they are on the road. Plus, the tractors that pull the trailers have become more powerful and faster. It is not unusual these days to follow a truck roaring 75 miles an hour down a freeway, keeping up with the cars doing the same. If someone makes a mistake, the results are usually tragic... If the current dangerous conditions aren't addressed soon, there will be more and more sad stories to report of horrendous collisions on congested roads. We shouldn't let that happen...

Markets - China - Vehicle sales up 33 percent on-year in September

SHANGHAI,China -The Florida Times Union, Jacksonville, by ELAINE KURTENBACH/AP -Oct 20, 2005: -- China's passenger vehicle sales jumped 33 percent in September over a year earlier, as price cuts helped spur demand, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported... But the 354,000 units of passenger vehicles sold lagged behind production, which totaled 358,200 units, according to data... After lagging earlier in the year, sales have rebounded in most vehicle categories, with purchases of passenger cars up 36 percent against September 2004 at 254,500 units, it said. Sales of multipurpose vehicles, such as minivans, jumped 89 percent to 13,800 units and sales of sport utility vehicles rose 56 percent to 20,700, it said... Detailed sales figures for other types were not given...

Protection - USA - GM not considering bankruptcy filing

DETROIT.Mich,USA - The Detroit News, by Dee-Ann Durbin/AP -Oct 19, 2005: -- General Motors Corp. isn't considering bankruptcy protection as a way to solve its financial troubles, the automaker's chairman and CEO said Wednesday... "As we look at the responsibilities we have to a broad range of constituents, as we look at what we need to do to make the business successful, as we look at our businesses around the world, we think there are significant costs to bankruptcy," Rick Wagoner said. "We don't think it's a good option."... Wagoner also said he and other top executives will see their compensation cut by 40 percent or more this year, deflecting criticism from UAW President Ron Gettelfinger and others that executives aren't making enough sacrifices...

Markets - China - Toyota picks up speed in China, aims for 10% share

Plans to accelerate
SHANGHAI,China -The Detroit News, by Christine Tierney -Oct 19, 2005: -- Methodical progression characterizes Toyota's efforts in the Chinese auto market, which it entered in 2002, long after most of its rivals... But now Toyota is picking up speed in the Chinese market, the world's third-largest with estimated sales of 5.8 million vehicles in 2005. In the next year or so, China is expected to overtake Japan to become the second-biggest market after the United States. By 2010, Toyota aims to more than double its share of the Chinese market to 10 percent... It is the first automaker to announce plans to assemble a gas-electric hybrid car in China... With car prices falling in China as new players enter, including ultra-low-cost local manufacturers, the winners in the long run are likely to be carmakers with the most efficient and low-cost operations, as well as the most appealing products...

Losses - USA - Ford 3Q loss hits $284 million

Automaker's weak third-quarter results could force it to ratchet up aggressive restructuring

Detroit,Mich,USA -The Detroit News, by Bryce G. Hoffman -Oct 20, 2005: -- Ford Motor Co., hurt by weaker SUV demand, lower prices and higher warranty expenses, swung to a third-quarter net loss of $284 million and said it will unveil additional restructuring moves in January. A year ago, the company earned $266 million... Ford's struggling North American operations reported a wider pre-tax loss of $1.2 billion, compared to a loss of $481 million a year ago. And worldwide, Ford's automotive business posted a pre-tax loss of $1.3 billion, compared to a loss of $609 million a year ago... The company blamed lower inventories, unfavorable product mix, falling net prices and higher material costs for the wider loss... Ford said worldwide revenues rose 4.4 percent to $40.9 billion from $39.1 billion...

Production - Italy - Fiat Auto & Suzuki studying production of diesel engines

ROME,Italy -The Detroit News/AP -Oct 20, 2005: -- Fiat Auto SpA said Thursday it was studying the production of diesel engines in Asia for Suzuki Motor Corp. as the Italian automaker continues to seek alliances in efforts to cut costs and revive its fortunes... The Turin-based automaker said it had signed a "letter of intent" with Suzuki providing for the production of 100,000 engines a year starting in 2010...

Contamination - Ecuador - Amazon Indians say Texaco left damage

ESTACION GUANTA, Ecuador -Tri City Herald/AP, by GONZALO SOLANO -Oct 20, 2005: -- About 50 Cofan Indians, some holding handkerchiefs over their faces to fend off an acrid chemical stench, gathered around two contaminated open pits they say were left behind and never adequately cleaned up by the former Texaco Corp. .. A 35-year-old Cofan woman stood near one of the black pools. Nearby was a marsh, covered by a dense layer of crude and toxic waste that the Cofan Indians say seeped into streams and rivers used for drinking water by almost half of their 900 people, driving them from the area... The plaintiffs had sought for years to have the case tried in the United States, fearing they would not receive a fair hearing in Ecuador's notoriously corrupt judicial system. But the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled in 2002 that the case should be heard in the country where the damage allegedly occurred... The plaintiffs allege that Texaco, which merged with Chevron Corp. in 2001 to become ChevronTexaco Corp., chose to cut costs between 1972 and 1990 by dumping 18.5 billion gallons of oily wastewater brought up by drilling into more than 600 open pits and streams in the Amazon jungle...

2005-10-19

Pollution - USA - Trucking Company Is Sued

Ohioans Target Former Local Firm

USA - Hartford Courant, by THOMAS D. WILLIAMS -Oct 19, 2005: -- Fourteen Ohio residents, saying a local landfill and more than a half-dozen trash and trucking companies have endangered their health through hazardous trash fumes, are suing them and a Portland trucking company for allegedly polluting the neighborhood... The Ohioans brought suit in the Court of Common Pleas in Trumbull County, Ohio, on behalf of themselves and as a class action for all those similarly impacted by the dump. They are asking for more than $15,000 in damages for sicknesses they say were caused by the pollution, cleanup of their properties and an injunction to prevent further hazardous dumping... Since February 2002, says the suit, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has received over 800 complaints from residents concerning the contaminants emitted from the dump. Two years ago, according to EPA records, Warren Hills and Warren Recycling agreed to pay a $30,000 civil penalty for violations in emitting methane gas and hydrogen sulfide gas and fumes from fires as well as leaching of pollutants...

Warning - Australia - Trucking firm to downsize

Australia -ABC Online -19 Oct 2005: -- Northern Australia's largest livestock trucking firm is warning industry that it will no longer provide a taxi rank for trade... Road Trains of Australia says it is downsizing because giant livestock export ships have reduced the flow of business... Director of operations Jamie Cooper says it is the first time the company has had to consider deregistering up to half the fleet of 45 road trains across the wet season...

Views - USA - The proof is on the road

Builders, trucking execs share different views on 2007 engines

BOSTON,USA -The Trucker -18 Oct 2005: -- They might be in the same industry, but they were not exactly on the same page when it came to a discussion of 2007 compliant engines... When it came time for a panel discussion at the Oct. 18 afternoon session of the annual American Trucking Associations Management Conference and Exhibition here, the manufacturers were on one side of the podium, the trucking companies on the other... In general, the manufacturers expressed optimism that the work they have done to get the 2007 engines ready for market was paying off... The trucking company officials, meanwhile, all expressed concerns about how the new engines, mandated by environmental regulations, would impact their businesses...

Strike - Spain - Fuel protest strike takes out 60% of Spanish trucks

Madrid,Spain -Euronews.net (France) -18 Oct 2005: -- More than half of Spain's lorry drivers have gone on an indefinite strike. They are protesting over high fuel costs and taxes they say make it difficult for them to earn a living... The strike came amid the failure of talks between representatives of the Spanish Goods Transport Confederation and various ministries to try to resolve the situation... The Confederation includes 34,000 companies with 150,000 vehicles, but the second largest hauliers association did not join the strike. The truck drivers' anger centres on petrol prices which are up by 27% this year and the cost of diesel fuel which has increased by 22%... The companies want cuts in social security contributions, a freeze on national fuel taxes and an end to another regional tax they have to pay which is used to finance healthcare...

Tickets - USA - Heavy trucks weigh on N.C. taxpayers


CHARLOTTE, N.C.,USA -News 14 Carolina, by Brittany Morehouse -17 Oct 2005: – Pat Grimes always wanted to drive big semis and now she’s finally doing it... “Seven months I’ve been driving,” she said... Grimes said the hardest part is keeping different state laws straight. And it’s also no fun getting cited when her truck is overweight... Her first citation lists her load as 34,460 pounds, 460 pounds over that particular limit... She said she takes her tickets seriously... “You’ve got to think about safety first, that’s the key right there,” said... Last week the state transportation secretary agreed to work with lawmakers on some of the truck problems, including some of the exemptions granted to overweight trucks...


Production - Russia - Trucks to be assembled in Latvia

Moscow,Russia -RIA Novosti -Oct 17. 2005: -- The Moscow city government and a Latvian company, Ferrus, will set up a joint venture in the Latvian city of Jelgava this year to promote sales of Russian truck giant ZIL in eastern Europe, the Moscow administration said Monday... The company, AMO PLANT, will first establish an assembly line for ZIL trucks...

Charges - Australia - Truckies hot under the axle over price hikes

Melbourne,Victoria,Australia -The Age (subscription), by Philip Hopkins -Oct 18, 2005: -- If coping with rising fuel prices is not bad enough, truckies will now have to cope with higher registration and fuel charges, with big, heavy vehicles facing rises of up to 40 per cent... The Australian Trucking Association has strongly condemned the proposed increases. "Costs will go up even more than they are now. This a double whammy," association chief Chris Althaus said yesterday. "These increases will be passed on."... The proposed charges are the third heavy vehicle price determination since 1992. They are designed to ensure heavy vehicles "pay their way" for road wear and tear... The fee rises and fuel increases would flow directly into higher transport costs... Mr Althaus said long-distance haulers not only faced registration hikes of up to 40 per cent, but were also the biggest users of fuel...

Study - USA - Finds semis pay as little as 40% of the cost to fix damage, ease congestion they cause

Road to Ruin

LANSING,Detroit,MI,USA -The Detroit News by Gary Heinlein -Oct 16, 2005: -- A study by the federal government suggests Michiganians are paying a heavy price for letting trucks that weigh as much as 82 tons drive on state highways... The report, by the Federal Highway Administration, says the heaviest trucks on the nation's roads pay as little as 40 percent of the cost to repair the damage and ease the congestion they cause... As many as 15,000 trucks could be added to the 300,000 on Michigan roads if the state lowers its load limits to 40 tons...

HOS - USA - Wyoming Most Lethal State for Truck Drivers

USA - Consumer Affairs -Oct 19, 2005: -- The most lethal state in the country, measured by truck crash fatalities per 100,000 population, is Wyoming, followed by Arkansas, Alabama, West Virginia, Mississippi, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Georgia, according to data released by a coalition of safety groups... Truck crash victims and safety advocates highlighted the dangers posed by tired truckers -- a major source of truck crashes -- and called on Congress to resist pressure from the trucking industry to codify a dangerous rule that permits big rig drivers to stay on the road for too many hours before pulling over to sleep... The safety groups issued a Travelers Alert warning the motoring public about the potential for sharing the road with lethally tired drivers behind the wheel of big rigs... In September, Public Citizen, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, CRASH, P.A.T.T., the Trauma Foundation and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters filed a petition for reconsideration. The 2003 rule has been in effect since January 2004 because the truckers persuaded Congress to extend its life until Oct. 1, 2005... “Large trucks are rolling time bombs on our highways, with tired truckers allowed to work 14 and 16 hours a day under the new DOT rules, making truck driving the most dangerous occupation in America,” Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook said...

TechnoNews - Japan - Honda Unveils New Hydrogen FCX Concept Vehicle


Japan -PowerPulse (Corona, CA,USA)/ -Oct 19, 2005: -- Honda Motor Corp., unveiled a new hydrogen-powered, fuel cell concept car that runs on a refueling unit, which also supplies electricity and hot water for the home. The FCX Concept uses the Home Energy Station, which generates hydrogen from natural gas supplied to households. The system refines natural gas to provide the vehicle with hydrogen, which is combined with oxygen to power the car. It can also supply electricity to the home and recover heat during power generation for domestic water heating... The system is expected to halve the total cost of household electricity, gas, and vehicle fuel as well as reducing carbon-dioxide emissions by about 40 percent. The FCX also boasts the lowest floor platform in its class by accommodating its motor, hydrogen tank, and other components vertically...