DAEWOO 'ON TARGET'
Daewoo Motor America says it has sold about 2,400 vehicles to American consumers, about half of which were discounted sales to its 'Daewoo Campus Advisers' and 'Daewoo Korean Advisers.' They are Daewoo employees who do grass-roots sales work in the community or on the college campus near stores.
The disclosure by Daewoo Motor America President M.H. Kim is the company's first report of official sales figures since it started selling cars here in mid-September.
The sales figures are 'on target' for the company, Kim said. In 1999, Daewoo plans to grow from its current 15 factory stores to 50 factory stores. The company also wants 50 independent franchised stores with exclusive showrooms in six states that do not allow factory stores.
Daewoo hopes to sell about 30,000 vehicles in the United States in 1999, with U.S. sales in the 100,000 to 150,000 range within three to five years, said Bill Tucker, Daewoo vice president of marketing and customer service.
Although the Honda Accord was expected to finish behind the Toyota Camry in the race for 1998 top-selling car in the United States, Honda Division is studying ways to regain the crown in 1999.
Honda expected to sell about 401,000 Accords in 1998, but hopes that number will rise to 430,000 in 1999. Most of those gains will come from making its North American plants more efficient.
Although political caution would keep Honda from importing a deluge of Japan-built Accords, of more concern is whether those cars could be sold without incentives.
'There's excess capacity. If demand is so great that we could bring them in and sell them without incentives, then OK. We're talking with Japan about it,' said Dick Szamborski, Honda Division assistant vice president of market operations.
DaimlerChrysler Corp. rented a Paramount Pictures sound stage mocked up as a rain forest to unveil its Jeep Commander concept vehicle, a clear reflection of the maker's environmentally friendly intentions.
One problem: The fuel cells that were to power the Commander along with batteries were not ready. So DaimlerChrysler engineers instead used only the electric side of the powertrain.
Bernard Robertson, DaimlerChrysler senior vice president of engineering technology, said a real-world fuel cell that runs on methanol should be ready in 2004. A gasoline version should be ready by 2010.
Said Robertson: 'This is intended as a status report.'