No national ads for '98 Eagle
DETROIT - Chrysler Corp. will end national ad support for its struggling Eagle brand in the 1998 model year, according to Advertising Age.
Marketing executives unveiled the switch to a regional strategy during a meeting at Chrysler's Auburn Hills, Mich., headquarters last week with about 400 media sales representatives.
Eagle sales were down 40 percent for the first five months of this year. Only 7,910 Eagles were sold, and 4,703 of them were Talon coupes that Chrysler buys from Mitsubishi Motors Corp.
'Eagle will hang in for a couple of years and then sputter out,' said Richard Bournival, a Jeep-Eagle dealer in Portsmouth, N.H., and NADA franchise committee representative.
Bournival said he still is expecting to see the redesigned Eagle Vision for the 1998 model year.
'There's no reason to doubt we are going to get it,' he said. 'Chrysler hasn't backed off it.'
Crain News Service
Volvo has new structure
Volvo Car Corp. last week shook up its upper management and adopted a more centralized organization, effective July 1.
The new lineup has only two platform teams - large-car and small-car - instead of 'business areas' based on the present three basic platforms. A product planning chief will be named later.
President Tuve Johannesson dissolved the 'business strategy council.' The group, which met monthly, consisted of the heads of major markets, such as Helge Alten, president and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America Inc.
NADA changes eligibility
Dealers bought out by public companies can now have a seat on the National Automobile Dealers Association board of directors because of new eligibility standards.
NADA used to require candidates to own at least 15 percent of a dealership to enter state elections for directors. But the board changed the rules at its meeting last week in Chicago so standard only applies to private dealerships.
If a public company owns dealerships, the executive manager designated by the manufacturer can run for NADA director. For example, Mike Shad, who sold his Jacksonville, Fla., Ford dealership to Republic Industries Inc., remains NADA's Florida director.
Donna Lawrence Harris
GM faces deadlines
Strike deadlines loomed at three General Motors plants last weekend: a catalytic converter plant in Milwaukee; a Saginaw, Mich., foundry; and a Grand Rapids, Mich., metal fabricating plant. About 4,000 workers are affected.
The Milwaukee plant provides catalytic converters for most GM vehicles produced in North America and for other automakers and suppliers.
A strike at Saginaw Foundry would affect GM plants and a Chrysler Corp. engine plant in Kenosha, Wis., that produces engines for the new Chrysler Concorde and Dodge Intrepid models coming out in fall. The Saginaw plant provides forgings and connecting rods for the Chrysler engine plant.
The Grand Rapids fabricating plant provides stampings for several GM plants.
The Thursday, June 12, strike deadline at the Milwaukee plant was extended indefinitely, according to a GM telephone hotline. The other two plants faced a midnight deadline on Friday, June 13.
Issues at the plants include outsourcing and staffing.
Thomas joins Clinton's panel
WASHINGTON - Robert Thomas, president and CEO of Nissan Motor Corp. U.S.A., was named last week to President Clinton's new advisory board on race relations.
The seven-person panel, chaired by black historian John Hope Franklin, will advise Clinton on policy options.
Nissan spokesman Kurt von Zumwalt said Nissan, under Thomas, has moved to increase minority representation among dealers and suppliers.
Asbury buys Ga. Dodge deal
Asbury Automotive Group, based in Conshohocken, Pa., has acquired Lenox Dodge in Duluth, Ga.
The acquisition was made by Asbury's joint venture with Nalley Cos. of Atlanta. Lenox Dodge has been renamed Nalley Dodge Country. It sold 2,990 new and used cars last year and had revenue of $65 million.
The previous owners, brothers Herbert and William Newton, will not be involved with the store.
Asbury Chairman Tom Gibson formed the company in January 1995 to buy dealerships. Asbury's goal is to establish dealership groups in as many as seven markets in the United States.
The Lenox Dodge acquisition brings Asbury's franchise total in the Atlanta area to 12.
Republic pays cash in Fla.
Republic Industries Inc. announced last week it would use cash for its latest acquisitions: Hollywood Honda and Hollywood Kia in Hollywood, Fla.
Republic spokesman Jim Donahue said the company used cash because the dealer principal, John Rossati, will not stay with the dealerships once the sale is completed. Republic will pay $33 million in cash for the two stores.
The latest deal includes Republic's second announced acquisition of a Honda dealership. American Honda Motor Co. Inc. is suing Republic in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, trying to stop Republic from buying additional Honda and Acura dealerships.