Nissan forbids 'freebies'
TOKYO - In a trailblazing move that has set corporate Japan on its ear, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. late last week issued a strict new ethics policy that clamps down on gift giving and receiving, and on lavish entertainment.
Gifts and after-hours wining and dining of customers and regulators are considered essential to conducting business in Japan, a nation where it is considered rude to refuse a colleague's or contact's invitation to go drinking. Until now, few, if any, major companies have formally challenged the practice.
But a series of scandals involving government officials who accepted such favors has rocked the government and is turning public opinion against the practice.
James B. Treece
ADESA, ADT tied for No. 2
ADESA Corp. purchased three auto auctions last week, tying it with ADT Automotive Inc. as the No. 2 North American auction company in terms of the number of sites.
The new auctions are: Ark-La-Tex Auto Auction in Shreveport, La.; I-55 Auto Auction in St. Louis; and Greater Lansing Auto Auction in Lansing, Mich.
ADESA, based in Indianapolis, now owns 28 auctions, as does ADT Automotive of Nashville, Tenn. Atlanta-based Manheim Auctions is No. 1, with 63 auctions in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.
The purchases will expand ADESA's reach into three new states.
Rolls decision due this week
The stockholders of Vickers PLC will meet Wednesday, April 29, to decide the fate of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd.
Vickers has been negotiating for a month with BMW, after accepting BMW's bid of about $568 million for the luxury carmaker.
Volkswagen's board was to meet last Saturday to consider a late offer for Rolls. Sources said VW would offer about $1 billion, which would include Cosworth Engineering, another Vickers subsidiary.
VW's late offer included a British management team, a production increase from 2,000 a year to 10,000 a year and the hint that VW would build engines in the United Kingdom to offer an all-British product.
BMW also has promised a British-style management board and an increase in production.
Visteon results due in May
HAMILTON, Ontario - Visteon Automotive Systems will release its financial results for the first time in mid- to late May.
Ford Motor Co.'s parts-making operation had said the announcement would happen sometime this year. As for a potential spin-off, 'As we go through time we'll address that and decide what we're going to do,' Visteon President Charles Szuluk said at a conference here. 'We're not going to make that call today.' (See roundup of supplier earning on Page 4.)
Ford pays fine for defect
WASHINGTON - Ford Motor Co. has paid a $50,000 fine for failing to report promptly a safety defect in some of its vehicles, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration disclosed Friday, April 24.
According to the agency, Ford officials knew in early or mid-1994 that some 1991-94 Ford Explorers and Rangers had master cylinder mounting studs that were prone to cracking. The company notified NHTSA of the problem on Feb. 1, 1996, and then conducted a safety recall.
Ford has contended it did not determine until 1996 the cause of the cracking. NHTSA said the law requires prompt notification of a defect even if the cause is not known.
Opel's Gaeb has surgery
Hans Wilhelm Gaeb, chairman of Adam Opel AG's supervisory board and General Motors Europe vice president, underwent successful bypass surgery last week in Germany. Gaeb is reported in good condition and is expected to remain at the Frankfurt University Hospital for several days.
Richard Donnelly, president of GM Europe, said Gaeb, 62, is expected to return to his post.
Diana T. Kurylko
More Class 8s for Freightliner
Freightliner Corp. will increase production of Class 8 heavy-duty trucks in Mexico to feed a hungry U.S. market.
Freightliner, a unit of Daimler-Benz AG, said it will invest $9 million in Daimler-Benz's car and truck plant in Santiago Tianguistenco.
The production increase will begin by June 1. It will add 4,000 units of Freightliner Class 8 production to the 8,000 units of Freightliner and Mercedes-Benz medium- and heavy-duty trucks now built annually at the plant.
Navistar International Corp. has also expanded in Mexico. (See Page 28.)
Federal-Mogul stock soars
DETROIT - Federal-Mogul Corp.'s stock rose more than 10 percent in extremely heavy trading after the supplier said it would cut 4,200 jobs.
The engine and sealant supplier will close four plants as it consolidates 41,000 employees and 250 locations in 24 countries. A spokeswoman said recent acquisitions had left it with redundant operations.
The company's stock closed at $64.87 on Friday, April 24, up from $58.87 on Wednesday, April 22.
Bloomberg News Service reported that investors were optimistic that Federal-Mogul would wring out costs quickly and that the restructuring plan, announced Thursday, April 23, was more aggressive than expected.