Bush backs Calif. air rules
Texas environmental officials decided late last week to consider adopting California clean-air rules for cars and trucks sold in the Lone Star State.
The move by the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission followed a request from Gov. George W. Bush that the panel add the tougher California-style emissions rules to its clean-air options.
Gloria Bergquist, vice president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, called the Bush statement 'kind of a shocker' - and unnecessary.
The Clinton administration is ready to unveil, probably this week, the final version of new national rules for model year 2004 and beyond. The rules, called Tier 2, would cut today's reduced emissions by as much as 95 percent more. Automakers favor national standards for the 49 states outside California.
Others question the sincerity of the Texas moves.
'Presidential politics is what this is,' said Frank O'Donnell, executive director of the environmental group Clean Air Trust.
Bush, seeking the Republican nomination for president, has been hammered in New Hampshire by Sierra Club-funded ads for letting Texas air quality deteriorate. New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary is Feb. 1.
The Texas commission set hearings for January and will pick from among clean-air options in the spring.
Al Weverstad, a General Motors emissions specialist who represented the Alliance before the Texas commission, warned that California rules would threaten the availability of a full range of vehicles to Texans, including some pickups.
Korean group opposes GM bid
SEOUL - The Federation of Korean Industries late last week came out strongly against the sale of Daewoo Motor Co. to a foreign buyer. Yu Han-Soo, secretary-general of the employers' group, warned that foreign control of Daewoo would inflict serious damage to Korea's domestic automakers and component manufacturers.
'General Motors is certain to adopt an aggressive low pricing strategy to drive Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors out of business, even at the risk of astronomical losses for several years,' Yu contended in an interview. '(This has) huge implications for other industrial fields' because as many as 20 workers at the supplier and distribution levels depend on every auto worker job, he said.
At week's end, GM appeared to be close to winning exclusive negotiating rights for Daewoo. Following reports that Daewoo might be put up for auction in the face of interest by Ford and DaimlerChrysler, the chairman of the government commission that oversees corporate reforms said Daewoo creditors were 'positively considering' GM's position. 'We want to complete the sale as quickly as possible,' he said.
Visteon seeks supplier rebates
DETROIT - Visteon Automotive Systems is asking tooling, equipment and parts suppliers for 3 percent price rebates on orders placed or shipped in 1999, according to Plastics News.
The rebates, requested in letters sent Nov. 30 and Dec. 2, took effect Dec. 15, according to the Dec. 2 letter from Alex Preston, Visteon vice president for supply and process leadership.
Visteon has pursued retroactive cost cutting over the past several years from parts suppliers, according to several sources.
But the company has not before asked for similar price rebates from tool makers and equipment suppliers, according to officials with several companies receiving the letters.
Until this year, rebate requests had been unprecedented in the auto industry, several sources said. Visteon sent letters to about 6 percent of its parts suppliers representing about $540 million in purchases.
Visteon's rebates could total $15 million to $20 million, according to sources.