BMW to Brits: Cut costs
LONDON - BMW has warned that the United Kingdom's automotive supplier base faces disaster unless immediate action is taken to cut costs and reduce the strength of the pound.
Wilhelm Becker, senior vice president for purchasing at BMW Group, said: 'We are looking for alternatives. If there is no change in the situation over the next couple of months, I see a big risk for the British supply industry as business goes outside the U.K. - not only with BMW, but with a lot of other buyers. Eventually, only final assembly work will be done in the U.K., with a lot of production work shifting to low-cost countries such as Hungary or Poland.'
The threat comes as BMW implements a new plan to cut costs at its Rover subsidiary. The new initiative will focus on productivity increases, further Rover work force cuts, outsourcing of key operations, increased pressure on distribution to improve sales, and 'intensified talks with suppliers.'
Automotive News Europe
Mazda pays $1,000-$5,000
LOS ANGELES - Mazda has a new rebate program that pays customers $1,000 to $5,000 on 2000 and 1999 models. Some of the givebacks are regional, and all are scheduled to expire Feb. 29.
On 2000 models, the Protege has a rebate of $1,000, and the 626, Millenia, Miata and B-series four-wheel-drive pickup have $1,500 rebates.
The 1999 Protege matches the $1,000 rebate of the 2000, but other 1999s exceed the 2000 figures. Payments on 1999 vehicles are: 626 series, $2,250; Millenia, $3,500 to $5,000; and Miata, $1,750.
Hyundai sets January rebates
LOS ANGELES - Hyundai Motor America's January rebates to customers are $750 on Elantra models and $500 on the Accent and Tiburon.
On 1999 cars, the payments are $1,250 on the Accent A and Elantra A and $2,000 on the Tiburon A. On the 'B' models of those lines, the rebates are $750 on the Accent and $1,000 on the Elantra and Tiburon.
The 'A' and 'B' refer to standard equipment levels. The 'B' models have more standard equipment.
Hughes to shed satellite business
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - Hughes Electronics Corp., a subsidiary of General Motors, is selling its satellite manufacturing business to Boeing Co. for $3.75 billion in cash. Hughes plans to reinvest the money in its growing communications businesses, including DirecTV satellite TV and related Internet activities. GM relies on Hughes' expertise to develop its OnStar in-vehicle communications system, and is using the subsidiary to bring more features into its vehicles, including voice-activated Internet access, by the end of 2000. Recent reports have speculated that GM will divest all of Hughes. Chairman Jack Smith last week declined to comment on that possibility.
Ford: Visteon to be independent
DETROIT - Ford Motor Co.'s financial goals for 2000 include separating its Visteon Automotive Systems parts group.
Ford executives outlined their financial plans in a meeting with about 150 analysts but did not provide more details about their plans for Visteon, North America's second-largest parts company.