2 D/C suppliers reject UAW
Workers at two Alabama suppliers to DaimlerChrysler AG operations voted to reject UAW representation late last week.
The union has sought to enlist more suppliers and the growing German transplant auto industry.
Employees at ZF Industries Inc. in Tuscaloosa voted against the union 102-56. The plant supplies axle modules to Mercedes-Benz U.S. International Inc. in Vance.
At Pressac Inc. in Cullman, the UAW fell in a 66-59 vote. Pressac is a chip supplier to DaimlerChrysler's electronics operations in Huntsville.
Jim Orchard, CEO of ZF Group North American Operations, said the rejection of the union will help the supplier work with the Mercedes plant, which also is nonunion.
Cho: Toyota's next president?
TOKYO - Fujio Cho is emerging as the likely next president of Toyota Motor Corp., after Hiroshi Okuda relinquishes the post in May or June.
Cho, 61, the former head of Toyota's Kentucky manufacturing operations, is expected to take charge of day-to-day operations, while Okuda will concentrate on strategic planning. Cho is now an executive vice president.
Okuda's new title is unclear. He could become chairman or an American-style CEO. Or he could take a new title if, as expected, Toyota adopts a holding company format encompassing Daihatsu Motor Co. Ltd. and other affiliates.
At the same time, Okuda, 66, will become chairman of the Japan Federation of Employers Associations (Nikkeiren), a body that coordinates labor policies among Japanese concerns.
James B. Treece
Rebates rise on small Fords
DETROIT - Ford Motor Co. has raised customer rebates on its small cars in a new incentive program that continues until April 15.
The 1999 Ford Escort and ZX2 now bring $1,500 to buyers, up from $1,000. Buyers may choose a $750 rebate and a finance rate starting at 0.9 percent. Ford's 1999 Contour brings $1,000 or $500, plus a cut-rate loan. Before Jan. 14, it was a flat $500.
The rebate on the 1999 Mercury Tracer is $750 plus a cut-rate loan; it had been $500. The 1999 Mercury Mystique stays at $500, but the lower-rate loan is added.
The rebate on the 1999 Ford Ranger is $1,000, double the former payment. The Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable stay at $500.
Ford Motor's finance rates now start at 0.9 percent on the 1999 Ford Escort, ZX2, Contour, Taurus, Windstar and Ranger and Mercury Sable and Villager. Formerly, the rates started at 1.9 percent on 1999 models.
Clinton favors hybrid credits
WASHINGTON - The Clinton administration soon will propose tax credits for buyers of fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles, an environmental group said.
The credits would start at $1,000 for a hybrid that is one-third more efficient than a comparable car or truck. Credits would go up to $4,000 for a hybrid that is three times as efficient, according to a summary from the Sierra Club. The credits would be available in 2003-2006.
Dan Becker, global warming director for the Sierra Club, said his organization favors credits.
General Motors spokesman Patrick Morrissey said Friday the administration still needs to clarify 'hybrid' and 'comparable vehicle' and should set a flat $4,000 credit.
The Clinton plan, to be unveiled with his fiscal 2000 budget Feb. 1, also would extend 10 percent credits for electric vehicles, now scheduled to phase out by 2005.