CarsDirect.com cuts 90 jobs
CULVER CITY, Calif. - Third-party car-buying service CarsDirect.com laid off 90 staffers on Thursday, Nov. 16 - a 12 percent reduction of its work force.
The company said automated technologies had made the layoffs necessary. The company employs about 700 people.
The layoffs come in the midst of a brutal shakeout in the business-to-consumer Internet economy. The automotive segment has been hit hard of late, with both Priceline.com and Autoweb.com losing key executives in the wake of announced quarterly losses.
Mazda posts $43 million loss
TOKYO - Mazda Motor Corp. posted an operating loss of about $43.5 million in the six months to Sept. 30, swinging from a profit of $77.8 million a year earlier.
Revenues fell 7.5 percent to $9.3 billion. The net loss of $88 million compared with a net profit of $122.2 million a year earlier. (See story on Page 4 for other Japan results.)
Mazda was hurt by the strength of the yen, which meant fewer yen profits for every dollar or euro taken in on sales abroad.
Mazda will close a plant in Japan by the end of September and begin building cars at an as-yet-unnamed Ford Motor Co. plant in Europe in the fiscal year starting April 2002, as part of a sweeping restructuring program.
Mazda also will reduce its nonmanufacturing work force in Japan by 1,800.
James B. Treece
Makers approve computer plan
DETROIT - DaimlerChry-sler, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors have agreed to common standards for dealer computer networks. The standards are expected to lower dealers' e-commerce costs.
Manufacturers have had different computer equipment standards for dealers, forcing dealers with more than one franchise to invest in multiple systems.
Magna to offer chassis module
TORONTO - Magna International Inc. is reorganizing its European vehicle assembly and powertrain operations in order to offer automakers a complete chassis module.
Magna is merging its Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG vehicle assembly company in Graz, Austria, with its Steyr powertrain operations to create Magna Steyr. The new unit will work with Magna's Cosma metal stamping division to develop chassis and space-frame modules.
The move puts Magna of Aurora, Ontario, in direct competition with Dana Corp. of Toledo, Ohio, which builds a complete chassis for the Dodge Dakota in Brazil under the trademarked name Rolling Chassis. Magna ranks No. 6 on the Automotive News list of top 150 original-equipment suppliers to North America; Dana ranks No. 3.
OSHA foes count on courts
WASHINGTON - Lawyers for business groups said late last week that federal courts offer the best hope for overturning the Clinton administration's new ergonomics rules.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says the rules will prevent 460,000 injuries a year caused by repetitive motions, heavy lifting and awkward work positions.
Business groups say the rules will be costly and ineffective.
They say the rules are subject to legal challenge because they are too vague and are not supported by science. Also, they say, OSHA took illegal shortcuts in the approval process.
A veto threat by President Clinton keeps Republicans in Congress from blocking the rules with legislation. And a new Bush administration, if there is one, would have to start the lengthy rulemaking process from the beginning to revise or repeal the regulations, said Steve Bokat, senior vice president and general counsel for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The National Automobile Dealers Association is a party to one of the court challenges filed after the rules were issued Monday, Nov. 13. The rules take effect Jan. 16.