Ford leads NCAP tests
WASHINGTON - The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last week awarded Ford Motor Co. six five-star, or first-place, ratings for both driver and passenger safety in the latest frontal and side-impact crash tests.
The tests, conducted under the New Car Assessment Program, rate vehicles from one to five stars. Five stars indicate the best crash protection for vehicles within the same weight class.
Ford's six five-star vehicles are the Ford Windstar, Mustang convertible, Crown Victoria and Thunderbird, and the Mercury Grand Marquis and Cougar.
In other results, the Toyota Tacoma extended-cab pickup received one star for its driver in the frontal test; the four-door Hyundai Sonata, one star for the driver in the side-impact test; and the four-door Kia Sephia, one star for the rear passenger, also in the side test.
GM prices rise 1.3% for 1998
DETROIT - General Motors said last week that prices of its 1998 cars and light trucks will rise an average of 1.3 percent, or $293, over the final prices of 1997 models. The figures are for comparably equipped vehicles.
GM said this is its smallest introductory increase in 11 years. A year ago, 1997 models rose 1.7 percent, or $394. The intro hike is for openers. Automotive News estimates that GM's full increase on 1997 models is 2.4 percent, or $560.
The newly announced hike on GM's 1998 models consists of 1.5 percent, or $316, on cars and 1.1 percent, or $271, on light trucks.
The price table on Page 37 shows that the boosts on many models are well above those averages. That is because of year-to-year changes in standard equipment. GM did not detail those shifts last week.
Gillum replaces Brooks at GM
William Brooks, vice president of corporate affairs for General Motors, will retire Aug. 1. He will be succeeded by Roderick Gillum, who works on the company's legal staff in personnel and labor relations.
Brooks, 63, is chairman of the GM Foundation and chairman and president of Motor Enterprises Inc., a GM subsidiary that specializes in minority small business investments. He is responsible for the company's community affairs and diversity programs.
'I think I have established the groundwork and momentum for diversity and minority economic devlopment,' Brooks told Automotive News. 'Now I want to be an entrepreneur.'
Gillum, 46, will be elected a GM vice president by the board of directors at its next meeting. He will assume all of Brooks' responsibilities and will report to Vice Chairman Harry Pearce.
GM continues labor talks
General Motors and the union representing workers at a full-sized pickup assembly plant in Pontiac, Mich., continued negotiations late last week, but a settlement of the nine-week strike did not appear imminent.
Also, workers at a GM metal fabricating plant in Grand Rapids, Mich., approved a three-year contract on Thursday, June 26. UAW spokesman Reg McGhee said terms of the new pact call for the company to hire 30 more apprentices and 30 temporary workers for vacation replacements, and to make improvements on ergonomics and other health and safety issues.
Meantime, the Toledo Blade reported that talks were recessed for a month between Chrysler Corp. and the union representing workers at the Jeep plant in Toledo. The union was seeking an early agreement in hopes that a favorable pact would help it win the bid for a new Jeep plant, the newspaper reported.
Auto summit delayed again
WASHINGTON - A scheduled meeting of President Clinton, the CEOs of the Big 3 and UAW President Stephen Yokich was postponed yet again. No reason was given by the White House.
Scheduled initially for early April and most recently for last Friday, the get-together is now expected to be held in late July, but no firm date has been set.
A UAW spokesman said the meeting may have been postponed because Yokich was hos-pitalized briefly and could not attend. He did not elaborate.
The agenda was said to include trade, fuel economy and environmental issues.
Ford limits dealer totals
Ford Motor Co. has set limits on the number of dealerships a company can own, according to a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission by a chain of dealerships that intends to go public.
Ford lets companies choose the greater of two limits:
1. A total of 15 Ford and 15 Lincoln-Mercury dealerships
2. National market share no higher than 5 percent and a total number of dealerships no higher than 331/3 percent in any Ford district.
Ford officials could not be reached for comment on the limits, which were published as part of preliminary prospectus filed last week by Houston-based Group 1 Automotive Inc. (See Page 35.)
Other automakers have set similar caps on growth.
Donna Lawrence Harris
DETROIT - Ford Motor Co. is adding five new entries to its lineup of alternative fuel vehicles for the 1998 model year, including the Ranger electric vehicle.
The other new vehicles are:
Bi-fuel F-series trucks and Econoline vans that run on either natural gas or gasoline.
Bi-fuel F-series trucks and Econoline vans that run on either propane or gasoline.
The additions give Ford 11 alternative fuel vehicles.