The Corpus Christi Caller-Times from Corpus Christi, Texas on August 13, 1971 · Page 49
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The Corpus Christi Caller-Times from Corpus Christi, Texas · Page 49

Corpus Christi, Texas
Issue Date:
Friday, August 13, 1971
Page 49
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8-E CORPUS CHRIST] TIMES, FrI., Aug. 13, 1971 Price Hike on Auto Steel Deferred By ROBERT AV'ALKER (c'i New York Times News Service NEW YORK -- Major steel producers, other than the Bethlehem Steel Corp., have proposed to ship metal to automobile manufacturers after Dec. 1, without charging the auto companies the publicly a n n o u n c e d higher prices scheduled to take effect on that date, it was learned yesterday. B e t h 1 e h e m 's action on \V e d n e s d a y, when it announced that it would defer the 8 per cent increase on cold-rolled sheets until Feb. 1, 1972, was triggered by its refusal to go along with this policy of quietly discounting from the published price. A c c o r d i n g t o industry sources, the approach to the auto manufacturers was made by several steel concerns shortly after the Aug. 1 settlement with the United Steelworkers of America on a new, three-year labor agreement. The nation's steel mills were starved for new orders because steel users, particularly Ihe auto concerns, had stockpiled heavily against the possibility of a strike at the beginning of August. According to reliable accounts, the steel industry's proposal -roughly was the following: -- If the auto concerns would book orders for cold- rolled sheets, used on the exteriors of consumer durables like cars and appliances, the mills would roll the steel and warehouse it, agreeing to ship when the metal was needed. -- If the shipping dates fell after Dec. 1, the auto companies would not be charged the additional $15.50 a ton scheduled to be imposed at that time. Cold-rolled sheets, accounting for about 18 per cent of total American steel shipment, represent the steel industry's single most important product category. The auto manufacturers reportedly agreed to this proposal and, in the words of one industry authority, "Bethlehem was given the opportunity to participate in the same deal, but it refused." The source added, "Their marketing people said they were going to bring it out in the open by publicly announcing a two-month delay in the price change." ·Stewart S. Cort, chairman and chief executive officer of Bethlehem, could not immediately be reached for comment on this report. In Bethlehem, Pa., a senior officer of the company said he could neither confirm nor deny it. . In Detroit, a spokesman for one auto company confirmed that the account of what took place was "jast about the way it happened." The automotive executive added, however, that Bethlehem's motives might not have been entirely public-spirited. "They don't have as much warehouse capacity as some of the other major steel com- ZION EV. LUTHERAN CHURCH thurth of tht luthsroa (Mfeukm The loul of education is lh» education of 1hs soul. "For the Lord giveth vwildom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and under-standing." Proverbs 2:6 Worsfclp wHh Zhm 1220 South Sunday School 9:30 iVmeSei«k» 10:30 Danitl fleisthtr, Pallor 855-6J57 panics and possibly couldn't have taken on this make-and- hold proposition," he said. Bethlehem's announcement on Wednesday affected only cold-rolled sheets. The other increases, which had been initiated almost across the board by the United States Steel Corp., Mhe nation's leading steel producer, were expected to take effect as scheduled be- tween Aug. 5 and Dec. 1. At the close of business yesterday, no other steel concern had matched Bethlehem's de-, lay of the increase on cold- rolled sheets. But Bethlehem, the nation's second largest producer, is more than big enough to. impose its {Hieing policy on the industry. Competing steel companies were expected to follow eventually. 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