GM drops Sintras
DETROIT - General Motors will halt production of the Opel and Vauxhall Sintra minivan in April because of disappointing sales in Europe. Last year, GM sold 17,260 Sintras, far short of its 35,000-unit sales target. Adam Opel AG will replace the Sintra with the European-built Zafira minivan, which goes on sale this year.
The Sintra is a sibling of the Chevrolet Venture, Oldsmobile Silhouette and Pontiac Montana and is built with those models at Doraville, Ga. With the Sintras gone, Doraville will boost production of the U.S. models.
NET UP AT HONDA ...
TOKYO - Honda Motor Co. Ltd. reported sharply higher preliminary earnings for its fiscal third quarter and nine months despite a slump in worldwide vehicle sales and revenue.
Honda said consolidated - or worldwide - net income for the fiscal quarter that ended Dec. 31 rose 15.9 percent from a year earlier to ¥75.5 billion, or about $653 million, on a 3.9 percent decline in revenue, to $12.9 billion.
Operating income rose 7.9 percent, to $1.2 billion, primarily because of beneficial currency exchange rates, the company said.
For the nine months, net income rose 22 percent from last year, to $2.02 billion, on a 6.4 percent gain in revenue, to $40 billion. Vehicle sales slipped 1.4 percent, to 1,715,000, Honda said.
The results are unaudited.
... AND AT SONIC
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Sonic Automotive Inc., one of the fastest-growing publicly owned dealership groups, reported net income of $6.3 million on revenues of $449.5 million for the fourth quarter of 1998. Those figures are up from net income of $1.3 million on revenues of $195.8 million for the fourth quarter of 1997. Net income for all of 1998 was $18.6 million on revenues of $1.6 billion. The group for 1997 reported total net income of $3.7 million and revenues of $536 million.
TURIN, Italy - Fiat S.p.A. said its Comau unit, a manufacturer of industrial robots and automation systems, would acquire 51 percent of Renault Automation SA, also a specialist in automated automobile production systems. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Fiat said it will acquire the remaining 49 percent stake by January 2004. The French company, which derives 85 percent of its business from Renault and Peugeot Group, has annual sales of some $115.9 million.