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GKN profits tumble
GKN, the engineering company demerging its industrial services business, on Thursday revealed that a sharp decline in US car production led to a tall in underlying profits of more than 20% in the first four months of the year. Analysts said the news was likely to lower the value of its automotive division, which will account for more than 60% of group sales once the demerger is completed in the summer. "They warned in March that US car production was down 20% and now group profits are down by the same number. That means the automotive division must have taken a bigger hit than expected." was the verdict of one observer.
Ford ups TWB stakes
Ford's next generation of pick-up trucks is likely to set an industry record in the use of tailor-welded blanks (TWBs) when it appears in 2004. Production of the F-150 vehicle should exceed 750,000 a year. Ford is using TWBs to help meet its weight target for the vehicle, as well as to reduce scrap. TWBs will be used as the basis of door inners and door rings. These parts will be supplied to Ford by Ispat Inland Inc. of Chicago, Illinois. using TWBs produced by Noble Metal Processing Inc. of Detroit, Michigan. Industry insiders believe that this one application will significantly lift Fold up the TWBs usage table. Until now, Ford has lagged behind both DC and GM in the use of TSBs for body-in-white applications, even though the company is highly rated for its use of medium, high and ultra-high-strength steel as a means of reducing weight.
Nissan eyes Indonesia
Nissan Motor has announced an agreement to increase its investment stake in PT Ismac Nissan Manufacturing (INM) from 35% to 75% The new company name will be called Nissan Motor Indonesia (NMI). Nissan also announced a deal for INM to buy trade rights on Nissan vehicles from PT Wahana Wirawan. in 1997, prior to the Asian economic crisis, INM produced some 6,000 Nissan vehicles. Last year the total was close to 1,000 units. By integrating manufacturing and sales operations, Nissan hopes to grow its operations in Indonesia. The company is engaged in a series of global investments at present under the three-year Nissan Revival Plan, launched in October of last year.
DC dismiss Tracinda lawsuit
A spokesperson for DaimlerChrysler has called a suit brought by Tracinda Corporation, Chrysler's former number one shareholder, oportunistic and said it was being used by investors and lawyers in an attempt to "rewrite history". The suit makes allegations of fraud and aims to reverse the 1998 merger of Daimler-Benz and Chrysler. Tracinda took action in the wake of an interview given by DC chairman Jurgen Schrempp in October. Schrempp went on the record as saying he had always meant Chrysler to become a division within the enlarged carmaker. DC has now filed to have the lawsuit thrown out but lawyers acting for Tracinda are expected to press ahead with the damage claim.
VIC lands in the UK
Visual Instrumentation Corporation (VIC) of Lancaster, California, a specialist in high-speed film and video camera systems and motion analysis, has set up a subsidiary in the UK. The new company, Visual Instrumentation Limited (VIL), will be overseen by directors Peter Taylor and John Garbett It will focus primarily on the UK sales and marketing of the Weinberger Visario digital high speed video system and on VIC's existing range of high speed film cameras and accessories, with applications in the automotive industry among others. VIL will be based at Burley, near Ringwood in Hampshire
NA truck market still soft
Truck pricing …