Everyone wants an Excursion
Critics said Ford Motor Co. tested the upper limits of sport-utility size by building the Excursion, which is almost 19 feet long and weighs up to 7,700 pounds. Now it looks like consumers will test Ford's ability to build them fast enough. Ford Division President Jim O'Connor, speaking last week at a 2000 Taurus event, couldn't help but brag about the Excursion. He said Ford will build 25,000 in 1999, but already has orders for 40,000. 'What it shows me is that there is functional use for that type of carrying capacity,' O'Connor said.
SAAB DOUBLES GOAL - With Saab Automobile AB poised to meet its 150,000-unit sales goal for 2000, CEO Robert Hendry is beginning to eye 300,000. But to get there, Saab must go beyond its current two-car lineup, he said at the recent Frankfurt auto show. He said Saab has decided to base new models on the existing platforms for the Saab 9-3 and 9-5. Hendry, who is also chairman of General Motors' Adam Opel AG, added that since Saab is back in the black, it won't need GM's money to develop new products.
UNLISTED NUMBER - Smart Choice Automotive Group lost its listing on the Nasdaq automated exchange, which makes it less convenient to trade the stock. The de-listing was not related to the fact that Dallas-based Crown Group Inc. announced a plan to acquire Smart Choice, said Skip Falgout, Crown general counsel. Smart Choice, of Titusville, Fla., has 15 used-car dealerships in Florida. Among other criteria, Nasdaq requires stocks listed on its national automated quotation system to have a share price of at least $1. Smart Choice often has been below that level since June.
DEION, DEALER'S PAL - Dallas Cowboy Deion Sanders stars in a new TV commercial for Middlekauff Ford in Plano, Texas. The football star bought three 1999 trucks from the dealership - an F-150, an Explorer and an Expedition. He's about to buy an Excursion, said Cheryl Jackson, customer relations director at the dealership. She sold Sanders a cell phone at her prior job and deals with him directly on sales now. 'Neon Deion' isn't just bringing business to dealer Ric Middlekauff. He gave Middlekauff an autographed Cowboys' helmet, which the dealer keeps on his desk.