Analyst: Sales at record pace
Auto sales continued to surge in April, and 1999 light-vehicle sales could set a record, said David Healy, auto industry analyst for Burnham Securities Inc. in New York.
Healy last week hiked his 1999 sales forecast to 16.5 million vehicles, including medium and heavy trucks. That implies record light-vehicle sales of around 16.2 million in 1999. The current record, 16 million light-vehicle sales, was reached in 1986.
Healy predicted that April sales, including medium and heavy trucks, will be about 4 percent ahead of the year-ago month. But year-over-year comparisons may begin to suffer in May and June, since sales were especially strong for those months last year, Healy said in a written report.
Honda manager gets prison term
A U.S. District judge in Baltimore last week sentenced Greg Savoy, a former American Honda Motor Co. district sales manager, to five months of prison and five months of home detention for perjury in a dealer lawsuit against the company.
Savoy, 31, was unknowingly tape-recorded in 1997 warning a Honda dealer that the car company would discriminate against him because his dealership was among the 80 or so waging lawsuits against it. Savoy later denied making the comments and claimed in an affidavit that he knew of no such policy of discrimination.
Earlier this year, a jury found Savoy guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice.
Volvo media buying moves
DETROIT - Ford Motor Co. moved the $85 million media-buying account of Volvo Cars of North America to Ford Motor Media, a Detroit subsidiary of J. Walter Thompson USA. Volvo's ad agency, Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro in New York, previously had the account. Ford consolidated the combined $1.1 billion media buying for all its brands at Ford Motor Media in April 1997.
Mitsubishi plans spinoff
TOKYO - Mitsubishi Motors Corp. will spin off its business-information systems department into a new company June 1 as part of its restructuring efforts.
The new concern, MMC IT Solution Co., handles the automaker's and its affiliates' management, sales and distribution, communications and office-automation information systems. Mitsubishi Motors will retain the information-systems planning function, as well as the information functions at its engineering and manufacturing operations.
James B. Treece
Volvo boosts stake in Scania
Heavy truck maker AB Volvo upped its hostile stake in Swedish rival Scania AB last week, from 13 percent to 20 percent.
Volvo is flush with cash after selling off Volvo Car Corp. to Ford Motor Co. for $6.45 billion. Volvo surprised Scania by buying a 13 percent stake in Scania on Jan. 15 for about $627 million, two weeks before announcing the Ford deal.
Last week's stock purchases cost Volvo a total of about $360 million, at current exchange rates.