Zetsche: Not in the Big 3 'bucket'
MOOOOOVE THOSE CARS -- Canadian cattle ranchers have been hit hard by the U.S. government's ban on Canadian beef since a Canadian cow was found to have mad cow disease in 2003. Now a Canadian car dealer is doing something to help area ranchers. Walter Piccott Chevrolet Cadillac in Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island will accept cattle as partial payments for new cars and trucks. General Sales Manager Stephen Piccott says his store is offering farmers five cents a pound more than local buyers. "Your average cow is about 1,000 pounds, and the price right now is 80 cents, let's say," he told a Canadian newspaper. "Well, I'd give that farmer 85 cents a pound, so that's $850 toward a vehicle. We'll take up to a dozen cows per vehicle." So what will he do with the herd? "We'll have cattle grazing on the lawns here, and we'll just build a pen in the parking lot."
WHO'S GOT THIS ROUND? If you've tried to get a hotel room or a dinner reservation in Detroit while the Society of Automotive Engineers is in town for its annual convention, you know what a big deal the event is. With as many as 40,000 engineers and others expected to attend, SAE Vice President Rich Schaum said the convention boosts the local economy. "By my calculations," he told reporters last week, "the bar tab alone is going to be $2½ million."
A PLEA FOR PEACE -- As U.S. automakers battle suppliers over price, a voice is calling for peace in our time. Former Chrysler Corp. President Tom Stallkamp, the man behind Chrysler's happy relations with suppliers in the 1990s, has written a book calling for the end of "adversarial commerce" that is sure to be a topic of conversation in the industry. SCORE! A Better Way to Do Business touts the old Chrysler system. Stallkamp criticizes automakers' "sole focus" on piece price and explains the game in which a supplier wins the job on a below-cost bid: "They recovered their profits over time because the development process each of the U.S. companies used was so lengthy and convoluted that each part was changed several times, each time providing a chance for the supplier to increase its price for the design change."