15% sales rise seen for March
U.S. light-vehicle sales should rack up their second double-digit increase in a row in March, about 15 percent above the year-ago month, according to an estimate by Burnham Securities Inc.
Burnham analyst David Healy last week raised his full-year sales forecast to around 15.8 million light vehicles. The industry light-vehicle sales record is 16 million, in 1986.
February light-vehicle sales were up 12.6 percent.
Healy said Wall Street is skeptical the present boom can be sustained, since it is propped up heavily by low interest rates, easy financing, high used-car prices, cheap gasoline and high consumer confidence. The recent increase in gasoline prices could slow sales growth, he said.
Because of the Passover and Easter holidays, March sales reports will dribble in from April 1 through April 7.
Ford recalls 945,000 vehicles
DETROIT - Ford Motor Co. is voluntarily recalling 945,000 vehicles on which the cruise control might stick. Ford blames the problem on a faulty cable. No accidents have been blamed on the problem, Ford said.
The recall affects 567,000 1998 and 1999 Ford Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers; 166,000 1998 and 1999 Ford Rangers; 99,000 1998 and 1999 Mustangs; 88,000 1999 Super Duty F-series pickups; and 25,000 1999 Super Duty F-series stripped chassis.
D/C publicist moves to GM
DETROIT - Tom Kowaleski, DaimlerChrysler's head of communications strategy in Stuttgart, Germany, resigned Friday, March 26, to become executive director of product communications for General Motors in Detroit.
Kowaleski will begin his new job today, March 29. He will be responsible for all North American product communications and will help coordinate GM product communications around the world, said Steve Harris, GM vice president of communications. At DaimlerChrysler, Kowaleski had recently agreed to head the newly established department of communications strategy in Stuttgart.
GM also hired Tony Cervone from DaimlerChrysler's communications department. Cervone also starts today as general director of corporate communications.