Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 27, 1975 · Page 50
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 50

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 27, 1975
Page 50
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13D -J*dy 27,1975 Sunday G*sette-Mail GM Minicar, 2 Luxury Compacts Highlight By Owen UUnuum DETROIT (AP)-- A minicar from Gen- eliminating their biggest and least fuel- eral Motors and two luxury compacts conscious models. from Chrysler Corp. highlight an other- The gradual phaseout of many big cars wise ho-hum lineup of 1976 models the na- will begin in the 1976 model year. Chrysler tion's auto companies will unveil this fall, is dropping its top-of-the-line Imperial, Compared with the flock of small cars GM is dropping its Chevrolet Bel Air line Detroit introduced in 1975 and a new gen- and all the companies are expected to re- eration of shrunken family cars planned as duce the number of family cars available 1977 models, 1976 will be a bland year for new products. for sale this fall. . Here is a company-by-company preview The list of new offerings includes Chev- O f new products planned by the industry rolet's Chevette minicar; the Sunbird, for the 1976 mode'l year: Pontiac's version of the Chevy Monza General Motors Towne Coupe; the compact Plymouth As- GM will go one up on its U.S. competi- pen and Dodge Volare, and the Plymouth tors and give importers something new to r~ ' " ' -- --~ v··""--- Arrow, a Japanese import. That's half the W0 rry about this fall when it unveils the number of cars Detroit debuted in 1975. Chevette, the first American-built minicar in modern times. CURRENT. CAR MODELS, meanwhile. Based on a car GM sells in Europe and will be substantially unchanged. South America, the Chevette will be the The auto companies used to spend heavi- smallest car built in this country - 17 ly on redesigning their cars each year for inches shorter and 400 pounds lighter, but the sake of appearance and annual mar- roomier than the subcompact Vega, keting strategies. GM hopes the Chevette, with a four- But increasing federal regulation forced clyinder, 85-cubic-inch engine, will get the firms to put their money into develop- about 40 miles to the gallon in highway ment of either all new cars or govern- driving, comparable to the economy of the ment-required emissions and safety equip- smallest imports. GM declines to say ment. These days, existing models only whether it will cost less than the Vega, get a facelift every four or five years. currently selling for $2,800 to start. For consumers worried about rising gasoline prices, 1976 models will bring sever- GM ' S Pontiac Division is expected to in, _ _ _ = · 1. troduce a version of the new small Chevrolet Monza Towne Coupe, which was introduced this spring. Pontiac reportedly will name the car Sunbird. Other moves at GM include design changes for several intermediate cars and plans to offer its subcompacts without catalytic converters at the buyer's request. Something GM won't have this fall is a convertible from Chevrolet, Buick, Oldsmobile and Pontiac. Cadillac alone will offer a soft tip in 1976. Other auto companies dropped convertibles several years ago. Chrysler The nation's No. 3 automaker will bolster its compact lineup with two luxury models, the Volare and its twin, the Aspen. Available in two-door, four-door and wagon models, the cars will be a bit smaller than the current Valiant and Dart compacts, but more expensive. Company engineers say the Volare and Aspen have a new suspension and other engineering features lacking in current compacts. Chrysler, traditionally a leader in engineering, hopes to sell up to 200,000 full-size cars with lean-burn engines in the new model year. The engine systems are partly controlled by computer to produce a leaner fuel-air mixture, which in turn improves fuel economy. In January, the company will introduce concentrating on marketing strategies and its fuel economy program. Ford is putting catalysts on some cars lacking them this year and has changed axle ratios to make its models more fuel- efficient. The firm also will introduce a stripped- down, cheaper version of its subcompact Pinto this fall to compete with Chevette until Ford brings out its own minicar. Industry observers say Ford may develop a minicar for 1978 based on a model to be built in Spain next year. Ford also plans to step up its drive for the youth market this fall by sprucing up its small cars with a sporty, extra-cost optional "Stallion" package. American Motors AMC, which introduced its small but wide Pacer this spring, has no plans to bring out any new cars until 1977, when a station wagon version of the Pacer is due. The firm also is planning to redesign its four-door intermediate Matador for 1977, and is working on a small two-seat car which observers say is three years down the road. --AP Wirephoto GM's Chevette Is First Modern U.S.-Built Minicar Vehicle Highlight of Auto Firms' 1976 Models Lineup al engineering changes. The auto companies, which debut new models in September and October, have crash programs under way for improving fuel economy to compete with imports and to meet pledges to the federal government. * * * CrfRYSLER WILL introduce a lean- burn engine--the industry's first computerized power plant--which improves fuel economy and meets federal antipollution standards without a catalytic converter. Ford Motor Co. will have no new cars, but is making engineering changes to improve fuel economy by an average three miles per gallon. American Motors Corp. also has no new cars for 1976. AMC recently acquired a production line from Volkswagen to build a four-cylinder engine. The only U.S. car company without a four-cylinder engine, AMC plani to put the new power plant in its Gremlin and Pacer to improve fuel economy--but probably not until 1977. The results of the industry's multibillion-dollar program to scale down the size of big cars will begin showing in 1977 and last through 1980. The program likely will mean the demise of the current full-size car, although the familiar names probably will be retained. The family car of the 1980s is expected to be one to two feet shorter and 600 to 1,000 pounds lighter than today's full-size models. The companies are committed to reduce the amount of gasoline burned by their 1980 fleet of cars by 40 per cent from 1975. They expect to reach that goal mainly by the Plymouth Arrow, built in Japan by Mitsubishi, the firm which now, supplies Chrysler with its import Dodge Colt. The firm is dropping its luxury Imperial model this year because of poor sales. Ford Except for modest design changes in the compact Maverick and Comet, Ford is Auto Industry Expected To Turn Modest Profit DETROIT (AP) - The auto industry, recovering from its first quarterly loss since the Great Depression, turned a modest profit in the spring, financial analysts say. Such a profit would signal improvement of the economy over-all, even though the industry's earnings in the spring period were expected to be the lowest for the April-through-June period since the 1958 recession. The auto and housing industries traditionally lead the economy into recession and then pace the turnaround. Housing starts remain uncertain, but car sales have begun to pick up. The Big Three makers -- General Motors, Ford and Chrysler - release second- quarter results this week. American Motors reports next week. "The auto industry is still in a financial earthquake, but the tremors are not as great," said Arvid Jouppi, an analyst in Detroit. INVESTMENT SOURCES say GM ; made more than $300 million in the quart- er; Ford made between $70 million and $90 million, American Motors broke even and · Chrysler lost $30 million to $60 million. definite layoff during the spring and 30,000 white collar workers were handed pink slips, forced into early retirement or put on temporary layoff. Nearly half the production employes placed on indefinite layoff have been recalled to their jobs because of the recent sales upturn. But 114,000 are still on layoff and office and engineering staffs remain permanently reduced. The industry, traditionally one of the biggest profit makers in American business, is mired in a two-year-long slump -its worst since World War II - with sales off more than 35 per cent from their record 1973 levels. The industry logged record profits of about $3.5 billion in 1973, despite a slow last quarter. Profits fell about 50 per cent in 1974. Analysts predict aggregate auto earnings in the second quarter will be in the range of $310 million to $390 million, a 25 to 40 per cent drop from the same 1974 quarter and the industry's worst showing since the spring quarter of 1958, when only GM turned a profit. GM AGAIN IS EXPECTED to show best results with second-quarter earnings nrvsiei- wsi «ou mimuu w ,,«« .«,»..«,.. estimated at $300 million to §330 million. Analysts for some of the nation's largest that would equal second-quarter 1974 prof- banks and investment houses attribute the its of $305 million, poorestjpr the quarter industry's gradual improvement since winter to extensive cost-cutting measures and a hefty increase in production. ; They see gradual strengthening later this year, with the industry returning moderate-to-strong profits in the final quarter. - ' 'There are a lot of positive factors help' ing the industry now," said an analysMor a major San Francisco bank. "There's been a sharp increase in production, material costs have stopped escalating and cost-cutting programs are taking their effect." In the first three months of this year, only GM turned a profit - it's smallest in 29 years -- and over-all industry losses were nearly $100 million. Analysts say '. pretax losses of more than $200 million probably gave the industry its largest over-all loss in history. " Richard Haydon of Goldman. Sachs Co. in New York, said: "Volume is still - down and the industry is going to need higher prices, but the improvement has occurred." Second-quarter production totaled 2.4 million vehicles, a 36 per cent increase over the anemic output during the first . quarter. « * * · IN ADDITION, the industry has cut costs by laying off tens of thousands of workers - in offices, engineering centers and design studios as well as in the plants. More than a quarter of the industry's V*lue collar work ffrre of 700,000 was on in- in years. GM made $59 million in the first quarter this year. Ford is expected to earn $70 million to $90 million, down about 50 per cent from $168 million during the period a year ago and the company's worst performance since 1958 when it lost $14 million. Ford Ixst $158 million before taxes in the first quarter, but used tax credits and new accounting methods to reduce its red ink to $10.6 million. It was the firm's first quarterly loss in eight years. Some analysts say Ford likely will lose money again in the third quarter, but return to solid profitability by the fall. Chrysler, which has lost a record $176 million since the third quarter of 1974, is expected to show more red ink in the latest quarter. Loss estimates range from $30 million to $60 million. The firm earned $28 million in the second quarter of 1974, the last period it turned a profit. Of the four auto companies, Chrylser has been hit the hardest by the sales slump and has taken the most drastic actions. The firm jetisoned more than a third of its white-collar force, which once numbered 39.000. and embarked on a program to slim down so it can make money even in a sorely depressed new car market. " Analysts say the strategy appears to be working and they predict the firm, while expected to end up in the red in the third quarter, has cut its losses and will turn a profiin the fourth quarter. Grand Register To Win From OVER $1000.1 Worth of Prizes Hours: Weekdays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Phone 925-6679 Valuable Prizes PIONEER Stereo Headphones SE-305 Headphones with 20--, 20,000 Hz frequency response; 8 Ohms IMP; 16 ft. stretch cable; Reg. $35.00 slow 28 wity Free Case BELT DRIVE IPROtSRAIVUVIED TURNTABLES 960TT Precision belt drive with low wow, low distortion; Shure M91ED magnetic cart.; wood base, dust cover. 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