Late News

Ford puts brakes on 2002 T-bird

DETROIT - Ford Motor Co. has halted production and shipments of the 2002 Ford Thunderbird because of engine overheating.

'There have been a few isolated instances in which an engine has overheated,' said Ed Lewis, a Ford spokesman. 'We are investigating a potential issue with a supplier part.' Ford would not disclose the supplier.

Ford halted Thunderbird production at its Wixom, Mich., assembly plant Wednesday, Aug. 15. It expects to resume production sometime next week, Lewis said, declining to provide specifics. Ford is trying to determine whether any of the affected units reached customers, he said.

Ford could not provide a total build to date. The company has said it will produce 25,000 units of the retro Thunderbird. The car is powered by a 3.9-liter V-8 engine, which also is the Lincoln LS's powerplant. The base sticker price is $35,495, including freight.

- Mary Connelly

Ford pressure hurts supplier stocks

NEW YORK - Wall Street punished parts makers Friday after Ford Motor Co. said it would turn to suppliers to help cut costs even as it initiated up to 5,000 white-collar job cuts. Ford also said fourth-quarter output would drop 8 percent from last year.

The notice sent stock prices tumbling by more than 12 percent for two key Ford suppliers. Shares in Visteon Corp., which relies on former parent Ford for more than 80 percent of sales, fell $2.57 to $17.94. Lear Corp. dropped $5.09 to $37.05. They led a selloff that hurt nearly every parts maker.

ABN Amro analyst Gregory Kagey said: 'The real concern is that Ford is going to take over the moniker of being the evil empire that DaimlerChrysler was in terms of pricing.'

Saturn has an aerial Vue

Saturn has a new view, all right. The division on Friday, Aug. 17, was scheduled to debut its blimp by broadcasting a baseball game in Detroit.

Saturn is leasing the illuminating blimp for at least a year to build awareness for its Vue sport-utility, due in November. The Lightship Group of the American Blimp Corp. owns and operates the blimp and is charging Saturn about $3.1 million a year, said Toby Page, director of marketing for Lightship in Orlando, Fla.

'We wanted to complement traditional media with something different, innovative,' said Jill Lajdziak, Saturn's vice president of sales, service and marketing.

- Julie Cantwell

You can reach Charles Child at (Unknown address)

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