Friday, August 10, 2007

Chrysler chemist touts alternative energy, criticizes opponents

Robert Sherefkin
Automotive News
August 10, 2007 - 12:45 pm EST

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- A Chrysler LLC chemist today came out swinging against Japanese automakers, "Big Oil," OPEC, and environmental groups that want to block the widespread creation of alternative fuels.

These groups were among those that Loren Beard cited as the "five groups who want to stop alternative fuels and why we can't let them" in his comments here to the Management Briefing Seminars.

Big Oil, he says, has an obvious conflict with a new market in alternative fuel. "It will cut into their market share," he says.

Less obvious are the Japanese automakers. While not identifying them by name as a group standing in the way of alternative fuels development, he was critical of the "silver bullet car companies" who have focused their technology exclusively on hybrid vehicles. Toyota and Honda are focused on hybrids.

"Alternative fuels are necessary to improving fuel economy," says Loren, senior manager of fuels programs for Chrysler. "Automotive technology alone will not get us there."

He was particularly critical of some environmental groups. While not identifying them by name, he says they employ scare tactics against alternative fuels as a means of raising donations to keep themselves in business.

One such group, he contends, claimed that 800 million people would starve as a result of food products converted to fuel.

"We don't want to starve 800 million people, that is not Chrysler's goal" in pursuing alternative fuels.

Loren also disputed a claim that ethanol would cause more ozone related illnesses in Los Angeles than gasoline today. Another claim, he said, was that it requires hundreds of gallons of water to create a single gallon of ethanol.

These environmental groups, he says, "have no respect for real world economics."

Among the pluses of increased renewable energy sources, Loren says, are job creation for America's farms and the construction of fuel processing plants.

The alternative to these fuels, he says, is that continued dependence on foreign oil will assure that more than $20 billion annually "leaves the U.S. economy."

Chrysler and Union Face Crucial Talks in Canada

Chrysler and Union Face Crucial Talks in Canada
Published: May 27, 2005

WINDSOR, Ontario, May 25 - Overtime is a familiar word to Chrysler workers in Canada, who build the Chrysler 300 sedan, the flagship of Chrysler's recent revival, at a plant near Toronto. And in this city, across a bridge from Detroit, they build a briskly selling crop of minivans known for their two rows of seats that fold flat
The New York Times

So, the stakes are high for Chrysler in summer contract talks with the Canadian Auto Workers union. Executives of Chrysler, a division of the German automaker DaimlerChrysler, contend that their Canadian workers are fast becoming uncompetitive in the global economy. While Canada's nationalized health care helps Chrysler undercut labor costs at its plants in the United States, Canadian workers have in the last three years become more expensive than workers at nonunionized plants in the United States run by Toyota Motor, Honda Motor and other Asian automakers. Chrysler's Canadian workers are aware of both the competitive burdens that the company faces as well as its recent spurt of success. By contrast, both General Motors and the Ford Motor Company are struggling to keep customers and hold onto profits.

"Everyone basically wants to keep their jobs, that's the biggest thing," said Dean Getty, a 37-year-old who works in the paint shop of Chrysler's Windsor plant. "We make good money and we have good benefits. You can't ask for much more."

But Denis Caza, a 58-year-old millwright, wants more. Chrysler's sales in the United States, where the vast majority of Canadian-built vehicles are sold, are up 6.6 percent this year.

"To me, they should be able to get more than they got last time because they have three hot sellers now up in Bramalea," he said, referring to the Toronto-area plant that produces the Chrysler 300 sedan, the Dodge Magnum and the Dodge Charger.

"If you don't get any marbles now, you won't be able to give any back later, you know what I'm saying," he added, before heading to his car, blue Thermos in hand, to beat the traffic streaming from the plant.

Chrysler executives say a series of generous contracts granted to Canadian workers have offset the roughly $4-an-hour advantage over the United States resulting from Canada's health care system. One factor is that Canadian Chrysler workers get roughly 11 weeks of paid time off, compared with more than 8 weeks off for an American Chrysler worker and more than 7 weeks for workers at the nonunionized American plants of foreign automakers.

Chrysler contends that Canada should be compared with the plants of the Asian automakers because they are the fastest-growing competitors. The company would like overall labor costs to grow by no more than 2.5 percent annually in the new contract, compared with 5.8 percent in the last contract.

"We need to craft an agreement that slows down the growth of these costs and contributes to the long-term viability of the auto economy in Canada," Dave Elshoff, a Chrysler spokesman, said.

Buzz Hargrove, president of the Canadian Auto Workers union, is unmoved and says the financial woes of G.M. and Ford have less to do with labor costs and more to do with a trade policy too favorable to Asian automakers. He said he would like his workers to get even more time off and richer pension benefits.

"My advice is not to get their expectations too high," he said in an interview this week. "The Big Three have some serious problems but they aren't problems we can resolve in bargaining. We can work for nothing, and they'd still have the problems."

Jim Stanford, the economist for the Canadian union, said much of the shift since the last contract was simply due to the strengthening of the Canadian dollar, which has moved from about 63 cents on the American dollar in 2002 to 80 cents now. "In a way," he said, "they should be telling this to the Bank of Canada."

Last year, Ontario passed Michigan for the first time to become the largest auto producing state or province in North America, though much of the increase has come from nonunionized plants producing brands like Honda. Still, the Canadian union covers 39,000 active workers, a fraction of the roughly 280,000 workers covered by the United Auto Workers union, which negotiated a separate four-year contract in 2003. Both unions pick out one of the three companies, negotiate a contract with it and use that as the pattern for the others. The talks open in mid-July.

Posturing ahead of labor talks is standard procedure, of course, and Canadian auto workers seceded from the United Workers union in 1985 because they wanted to take a harder line.

But the Canadian talks follow the recent downgrade of both G.M. and Ford by Standard & Poor's, which put their debt rating below investment grade for the first time.

In the 2003 talks with the U.A.W., that union's president, Ron Gettelfinger, struck an unusually conciliatory tone with the Big Three, indicating that the union and the American automakers were increasingly seeing companies like Toyota and other Asian automakers as their main adversaries. Now, G.M. is pressing the U.A.W. to take the unusual step of reopening contract talks on health benefits.

Gary Chaison, professor of industrial relations at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., said the C.A.W. "can't ignore the reality of the industry."

"The C.A.W. was formed as an anticoncession breakaway," he said. But "they can't argue with the overall trends. It's very easy to make a case that it's time to break from the past."

Chrysler meets with Hyundai and Mitsubishi

August 10, 2007 |BY TIM HIGGINS

TRAVERSE CITY -- Chrysler LLC, newly independent from DaimlerChrysler AG, is in talks with Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Hyundai Motor Co. about possible new partnerships as the Auburn Hills car company looks to better compete outside of North America, a senior Chrysler executive said Thursday.

Frank Klegon, Chrysler executive vice president of product development, said possible partnerships could include Hyundai-made engines going into Chrysler vehicles in China and Chrysler-made engines going into Hyundai vehicles in the United States.

"Those are the kind of things we are talking about at this point," he said, stressing that no agreement has been reached.

The talks come as Chrysler is scrambling to make itself a larger player on the global field. A controlling stake in the Auburn Hills automaker was acquired by private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management last week after nine years under the Germany-based DaimlerChrysler.

"There is no commitment at this point. I think they are both interesting companies, certainly Hyundai, and we'll see if we can generate some future opportunities," Klegon said during a forum at the Center for Automotive Research's annual Management Briefing Seminars.

Bob Nardelli, Chrysler's new CEO, said earlier this week that he intends to make Chrysler a globally competitive automaker and supports Chrysler President Tom LaSorda's plan to return the company to profitability by next year, which includes developing new global partnerships. Chrysler wants to double its sales outside North America in the next five years.

Last month, Chrysler received permission from the Chinese government to partner with Chinese automaker Chery Automobile Co. Chery-made small cars will be sold in North America under a Chrysler nameplate. This allows Chrysler to get into the small-car market without the expense of developing such a vehicle.

"We're going to help them do some product development," Klegon said. "We'll do some engineering. Our challenge with that will be to do some engineering but not losing our intellectual properties as we go through that process."

Chrysler has had relationships with both Mitsubishi, in which the old Chrysler Corp. had an equity stake, and Hyundai, in which DaimlerChrysler once held a stake.

Chrysler already is partnered with Hyundai and Mitsubishi in a five-factory venture called the Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance, which includes a state-of-the-art plant in Dundee.

"We're looking at what are the next steps," Klegon said. "You look at opportunities when you're going to produce vehicles in different places in the world: Does it make sense to produce parts for each other?"

He suggested that the relationship with Hyundai did not work out in the past because of the Daimler side of the business. "I think that was part of some of our internal conflicts as DaimlerChrysler organization and maybe as the Chrysler Group we can rekindle some of those things," Klegon said.

As Chrysler puts more focus on its global business, Klegon said Chrysler is busy opening new product development offices in China and eastern Europe that will help guide the automaker in its efforts to grow its international sales. He also has plans to expand the product development office in Mexico.

"We look to have three development centers that will look from a global perspective for those opportunities for lower cost sourcing," Klegon said.
In India, he noted, he already has 150 engineers working primarily on product development. He is close to having an eastern Europe office, likely in Warsaw, Poland, to handle procurement and engineering "so we can take advantage, again, of low-cost sourcing opportunities."

Klegon said the next step is to work with partners to develop vehicles that could be produced in those areas of the world and shipped elsewhere.

Chrysler's concepts have history of leading to something special

Tony Whitney, For CanWest News Service

Published: Friday, August 10, 2007

VANCOUVER -- Just about all automakers build concepts to test public reaction, try out new styling and engineering ideas, evaluate new types of powertrain or just plain have fun with a show car that will never see an assembly line.

On the auto show circuit each year, Chrysler, Ford and GM vie for attention with their concepts and, predictably, the European and Asian nameplates are well in step with their own offerings.

The people at Chrysler Group have chosen to mark 20 years of concept-building during 2007, though of course, the notion of concept cars goes back many decades before the late 1980s.

Chrysler has developed an amazing reputation for actually going ahead with concepts and at every auto show, one never quite knows whether or not a styling exercise that looks too radical to build will end up on the showroom floor.

The company regards its concepts as one of its key strengths, and there aren't too many people around the industry who would argue.

Chrysler points out that even if a specific concept vehicle doesn't go into production, its design and engineering features may be incorporated into future models.

According to Chrysler, the modern era began when it revealed its Portofino cab forward concept sedan (complete with Lamborghini engine!) at the Frankfurt auto show in 1987.

Few of us who were there at the time realized we were looking at what would become the company's future large sedan range, sold with great success under various nameplates including Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth and Eagle.

Since 1988, Chrysler has created more than 100 concept vehicles in every imaginable shape, size, configuration and material. Highlights that did make it to the dealer lots have included the Dodge Viper RT/10 (1989), the Dodge Neon (1991), the Plymouth Prowler (1993), the Dodge Viper GTS Coupe (1994), the Jeep Commander (1999), the PT Cruiser (2000), the Chrysler Crossfire (2001), the Chrysler pacifica (2002), the Jeep Compass (2005), the Dodge Avenger (2006) and many others.

I'd love to have seen Chrysler build the wonderful Bugatti-inspired Atlantic of 1995 and the amazing and opulent Chrysler Phaeton of 1996, but I guess we can't have everything, and the automaker has, after all, delivered so much else from its stable of concepts.

In 1989, the company showed no less than eight concepts at auto shows around the world, and in 2000, an impressive 10 were revealed. This past show season, Chrysler showed fewer concepts than usual, but perhaps the corporation is busy with some blockbusters for 2008.

Says Chrysler design guru Trevor Creed (who once told me that his dream vehicle was the Dodge Power Wagon of 1999): "We've always said at Chrysler that we don't just produce concepts for fun. We have proved year after year that our concepts are innovative and relevant."

It's interesting to ponder what happens to these wonderful flights of fancy after they've had their weeks of glory on the auto show circuit.

Some end up in the company museum, if one exists, but all too many are stored away somewhere in a corner of the design department to gather dust until somebody realizes their historic significance and brings them back to life

I once visited a major North American design operation where there were dozens of long-forgotten concept vehicles stored in a warehouse -- some of them going back to the 1950s. It costs millions to build some of these concept vehicles -- especially if they have innovative drivetrains that actually work.

The lessons learned during the concept design and building process often prepare the ground for all kinds of ideas that help make today's vehicles what they are. It's rarely money wasted even if the original concept does have a limited life and, ultimately, all vehicle buyers benefit.

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American Muscle Battle Royale! 95 Ford Mustang STD vs 06 Dodge Ram Hemi 5.7 TURBO!!! @ 10 psis Fright Runner by Doctor Turbo work in progress, Street Race, San Luis Potosi, Mexico

Pair of classics share Mopar spotlight

HEBRON — Two types of Mopar cars will garner much of the focus at this weekend’s 27th annual Mopar Nationals at National Trail Raceway.

But they will do so in entirely different ways

The tribute car of the Mopar show is the Plymouth Belvedere/Satellite/GTX, and it takes the spotlight as a car known mostly for its diversity and unique combinations.

The other, however, is arguably the biggest eye-catcher of the weekend. The 2008 Dodge Challenger made a huge splash at last year’s show, and the response could be at an even higher level this year.

“It’s closer to production this year,” NTR sales and marketing manager Mike Fornataro said. “Many people saw it last year; now they can taste it. It’s starting to get to a fevered pitch.”

The Challenger, with a striking black stripe on a rich orange body, was met with long lines and thousands of photographs a year ago.

The Dodge employees were expecting a big crowd, but were blown away by the crowds that surrounded the car all weekend. Again, it showed the enthusiasm Mopar fans have for their respective brands, but the Challenger promises to be a hit.

Due for release into the consumer world within the next year, the Challenger R/T boasts a 6.1-liter Hemi engine with 425 horsepower and 420 pounds of torque.

Its body design is striking, as is the power. The car weighs 4,100 pounds, can go 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds and blasts through the quarter-mile in 13 seconds.

“Things are cooking now,” Fornataro said. “People are really starting to anticipate it. I think it will be every bit as big of a crowd. They’ve made tweaks to it, and people want to see it.”

The Challenger also has a top speed of 174 mph, but fans also enjoy the futuristic look that also manages to tie in qualities of its past.

The past is precisely why the Plymouth Belvedere/Satellite/GTX is being honored in the show’s 27th year.

It doesn’t boast the illustrious history of past tribute cars like the Roadrunner, Challenger or Barracuda, but, at 27 years old, the Mopar show also is running out of tribute cars.

“It’s a matter spreading the love,” Fornataro said.

But the Plymouth vehicle also has a unique history, much like several of the Mopar vehicles produced in the 1950s.

The Belvedere was introduced in 1951, and the GTX version of the car was the high-end model that had some impressive features.

The GTX was a high-performance car, but the base model was very much a basic car, catering to the more casual Mopar aficionado. But the car could be customized in just about any way imaginable, leaving a lot to the imagination.

“You could get everything from convertibles to station wagons to hot rod station wagons,” Fornataro said. “You could have different trims levels or whatever. There was a lot of diversity with the car.

“If you wanted something, they would build it for you. They basically built anything you wanted to buy. It wasn’t uncommon to do a one-of-a-kind car with the Belvedere.”

One other big Mopar draw is the Dodge Viper. During this weekend’s show, a new Viper-specific racing class will take place, along with a Viper Show n’ Shine.

“There’s always a big turnout of Vipers,” Fornataro said.

Chrysler shuffles lineup, ex-VP Kolka named CFO

Associated Press

AUBURN HILLS -- Chrysler said Thursday it's named Ronald E. Kolka, formerly its vice president of corporate finance, to the new chief financial officer post.

The move, along with several other management changes, come on the heels of the company's Monday announcement that it hired Bob Nardelli, the former head of Home Depot Inc., as its chairman and chief executive.

Chrysler also named Kim Harris Jones as vice president and chief controller. Jones previously served as vice president for product, procurement and cost management finance.

Laurie A. Macaddino was appointed vice president of corporate audit and compliance. She had been director of corporate audit Americas.

Karla E. Middlebrooks was named vice president for product, procurement and cost management finance. Middlebrooks had served as vice president of controlling and finance for DaimlerChrysler Financial Services Americas.

Chrysler's global footprint to grow

Bryce G. Hoffman / The Detroit News

TRAVERSE CITY -- Chrysler LLC plans to open engineering centers in China, Poland and India and is exploring expanding relationships with two Asian automakers as it moves to grow globally in the wake of its failed marriage to Germany's Daimler AG.

The automaker also is hiring engineers at its Auburn Hills headquarters and its proving grounds in Chelsea to help develop new models and technologies, Chrysler product chief Frank Klegon said Thursday at the auto industry's annual Management Briefing Seminars.

"We realize that we can't just be the same company that we were before the 1998 merger with Daimler-Benz," Klegon said. "The competition is tougher, and it's global."

And analysts say Chrysler must become a global player to thrive as a stand-alone company.

"For Chrysler to increase its viability, it definitely does have to have some relationships with offshore partners," said George Peterson, president of California-based consultant AutoPacific Inc. "It's tough for them to get the same economies of scale just having a North American presence."

Klegon said the automaker will add an engineering facility in China as part of its collaboration with Chery Automobile Co. and expand its engineering presence in China. He also announced plans to open an engineering facility in Warsaw, Poland, to serve the burgeoning Eastern European market, and plans to expand its engineering presence in India to support local suppliers in that area.

"I need people on the ground," he said, adding that these efforts are about "more than just components."

"Production in these lower cost regions could potentially be exported to other regions," Klegon said. The company already produces a version of its Chrysler 300 sedan in China for sale there. It is looking at using some of the components produced for that model in the version it assembles in Canada for the U.S. market.

"The next step would be working with our partners to potentially combine development of a vehicle that could be produced over there and shipped elsewhere," he said.

Chrysler's relationship with Chery calls for the Chinese automaker to build vehicles for Chrysler in China that would be exported around the world.

Chrysler is also re-evaluating its relationships with South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co. and Japan's Mitsubishi Motors Corp. Chrysler already has a successful engine alliance with those manufacturers and is interested in building on that.

"There's no commitment at this point," Klegon said. "They're both interesting companies -- particularly Hyundai -- and we'll see if we can generate some future opportunities with them."

Chrysler has had a long relationship with Mitsubishi, but it has not always been smooth.

DaimlerChrysler AG had an equity stake in Hyundai that ultimately fell apart, but Klegon said the newly independent Chrysler may be able to pick up the pieces.

"That was part of some of our internal conflicts as the DaimlerChrysler organization. Maybe as the Chrysler Group, we can rekindle some of those things with Hyundai," he said. "We talk to them quite a bit on the component side, particularly on powertrains that may be a foundation."

For example, he said Hyundai could produce engines for Chrysler's vehicles in China, while Chrysler could produce engines for Hyundai vehicles in this country.

Analyst Peterson said both Hyundai and Mitsubishi would be "strong partners going forward."

Neither Hyundai nor Mitsubishi responded to requests for comment Thursday, but a Hyundai source has told The Detroit News the South Korean automaker is open to proposals. The two companies meet regularly because of the engine alliance.

Chrysler also is counting on its relationship with Daimler, which is keeping a 19.9 percent stake in the company. Klegon said Chrysler will still have access to technology developed in Germany, after it is rolled out to Daimler's Mercedes-Benz brand.

However, Klegon said Chrysler's divorce from Daimler also opens the door to new possibilities. He called Daimler a "bureaucratic" organization that kept Chrysler from moving as quickly as it would have liked. As a private company, we're able to make decisions more quickly and thus move faster to respond to the market," he said. He said Cerberus had approved nine major projects in 36 hours -- something that would have taken weeks to accomplish before.

Johnson Controls batteries on a roll

Chrysler to use them in plug-in vans being road-tested this fall


Traverse City, Mich. - Batteries being developed by Johnson Controls Inc. will be equipment in plug-in hybrid Dodge Sprinter vans that will be on the road this fall, the company confirmed Thursday.

The company confirmed a report in Automotive News that Chrysler will test as many as 22 Sprinters in southern California and New York equipped with lithium-ion batteries made by Johnson Controls-Saft Advanced Power Solutions. The plug-ins are expected to have a range of 20 miles before the vehicles must resort to their petroleum-fueled engines for power. Chrysler will experiment with both gasoline and diesel engines in the test vehicles, according to Automotive News.

The announcement was the latest in a flurry of developments regarding hybrid-electric vehicles unveiled at an auto industry conference. Hybrids account for 2% of all new-vehicle sales, but sales are on the rise, and Detroit-based automakers are intent on showing that they are catching up to hybrid leader Toyota Motor Corp.

Earlier Thursday, General Motors Corp. awarded a development agreement to a Massachusetts battery company to help develop the batteries in the all-electric Chevrolet Volt passenger car GM hopes to introduce by late 2010. Johnson Controls and its joint venture partner, France-based Saft Groupe SA, were among the bidders for that award.

"Electrically driven vehicles represent the next great paradigm shift in the automotive industry," GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said Thursday.

Lutz said GM chose A123Systems Inc. because its battery technology, developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, appears to be more stable and safer than others in development.

The Johnson Controls-Saft hybrid battery group was among the bidders for the development agreement awarded Thursday, said Denise Gray, GM director of energy storage systems. But Johnson Controls is a GM partner on a different project, a lithium-ion battery for a sport utility vehicle that would be charged when plugged into an electrical outlet.

Johnson Controls-Saft and another supplier - a partnership of A123Systems and Cobasys LLC - will work to supply a system to GM over the next year that the automaker can begin testing in an SUV, she said. No date has been announced for when GM will introduce the plug-in version that could use a Johnson Controls system, but the first two batteries are expected to be delivered to GM next week to begin testing in vehicles, said Mike Andrew, Johnson Controls hybrid director of government affairs and external communications.

Automakers across the industry are interested in the plug-in hybrid concept, he said.

While only two Johnson Controls-Saft initiatives with automakers have been announced so far, Andrew said, "we are working behind the scenes with several other automakers as well."

Profit potential

Johnson Controls has made development of hybrid batteries a key focus of its growth plans. The unit now has more than 100 employees and is nearly finished with construction of a battery-testing facility behind its Glendale headquarters, Andrew said.

With Thursday's Volt announcement, GM said it's moving ahead of hybrid pioneer Toyota on the next generation of hybrids.

The Japanese automaker, now the world's biggest, expects to sell the vast majority of the hybrids bought by North American consumers this year, said Jim Lentz of Toyota. But Toyota has delayed introduction of a hybrid-electric vehicle using a lithium-ion battery by at least a year, and it won't be on the market before early 2011, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

Lutz, GM's outspoken product-development guru, said he's as excited about the Volt all-electric vehicle "as anything I've worked on in my career."

He said he's still committed to having Volts on sale in late 2010 - "though the internal team is a little skeptical" about whether the car will be ready by then.

The announcement means A123Systems and Korean company LG Chem, whose participation was announced earlier, will both work to develop the batteries for the Volt.

Johnson Controls was bidding for the work but doesn't view the selection of A123Systems as a setback, said Andrew, of Johnson Controls. The company is excited that it's a partner with GM on the plug-in SUV at a time when Lutz and GM are signaling lithium-ion batteries as a key solution to help reduce U.S. reliance on imported oil or comply with measures to combat global warming.

GM is planning to roll out 16 hybrid models over the next four years, Lutz said.

Within weeks, dealerships will sell the hybrid version of the full-size sport utility vehicles Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon, he said. The hybrid versions of the SUVs will get 40% better gas mileage in the city, and 25% better mileage overall, than the gasoline versions of the big SUVs.

The Last Dancer Standing Wins a 2008 Dodge Durango

Former Dallas Cowboy and reality TV dancing champion Emmitt Smith is teaming up with the Dodge brand to kick off the "Dodge Durango Tango" dancing endurance contest at this year's State Fair of Texas. Consumers who think they can out-dance the competition are invited to sign up online for a chance to dance the night away. The last dancer standing at the end of the competition will "tango" away with the grand prize, an all-new 2008 Dodge Durango.

While the "Durango Tango" challenge will spring into action on Sept. 27, this one-of-a-kind endurance challenge is expected to last through the night and into the morning hours of Sept. 28, opening day of the fair. To make sure the challenge starts off on the right foot, Smith will lead the "Durango Tango" contestants in a special rendition of the "Texas Tango" and will show off the moves that made him a star on the football field and the dance floor.

"Grab Your Partner"
The Durango is no ordinary SUV and this is no ordinary dance competition. In most cases, it takes two people to tango. But for this contest, each contestant will be provided with a life-sized doll to use as their dancing partner for a portion of the competition. Each contestant will be given props, costumes and accessories on-site that they can use to "dress" their dancing partner when they arrive at the "Durango Tango" challenge.

The last person dancing at the end of the "Durango Tango" challenge will be crowned the champion and awarded an all-new 2008 Dodge Durango. The first four runners-up will each receive a cash prize, and all participants will receive a special prize package filled with Dodge gear.

"To continue our tradition of kicking off the State Fair of Texas with a fun consumer event, we're inviting consumers to show off their bold moves and separate themselves from the competition during the Dodge Durango Tango challenge," said Mike Accavitti, Director - Dodge Brand Marketing. "Leave it to Dodge, with its 'Grab Life' mentality, to create a competition as unique and bold as the full-size Dodge Durango."

Don't Dance Around It ... Sign Up Now
Individuals interested in dancing 'til they drop can register for a chance to participate in the "Dodge Durango Tango" challenge online at, beginning Aug. 9 at 12:01 a.m. (EDT) until Sept. 12 at 5 p.m. (EDT). All participants must be 18 years or older with a valid driver's license.

During registration, participants will be asked to submit a 250-word essay answering the question, "Why are your tango, twists and turns worthy of winning a new Dodge Durango?" From all the entries received, approximately 30 contestants will be selected to participate in the "Dodge Durango Tango" challenge at the State Fair of Texas, beginning on Sept. 27.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas to Benefit
For each hour the contest continues, the Chrysler Foundation has pledged to donate $500 per hour (up to a maximum donation of $18,000) to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas. The money will be used to continue the organization's mission to inspire and empower all youth, with special concern for those from disadvantaged circumstances, to achieve their full potential in a positive, safe and fun environment.

The State Fair of Texas officially opens to the public at 10 a.m. (CT) on Friday, Sept. 28 and closes on Sunday, Oct. 21. The fair grounds will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (CT) daily.

Automobile Quarterly
Automobile Quarterly
This Day in Auto History:

Automobile parts manufacturer William Joseph Joyce Jr. is born in Columbus, OH
President Woodrow Wilson, a strong supporter of improved roads, purchases Membership Certificate No. 1 in the Lincoln Highway Association
Bruce Ford, holder of more than 50 patents relating to automotive batteries, dies in Philadelphia, PA at age 58
The last Alexandria Bay (NY) Round the Houses race is won by Alfa Romeo
Thomas P. Archer of General Motors dies in Detroit, MI at age 64

Source: Automobile History Day By Day, by Douglas A. Wick

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Thursday, August 9, 2007

Chrysler plans fleet test of lithium-ion batteries

Richard Truett
Automotive News
August 9, 2007 - 2:02 pm EST

UPDATED: 8/9/07 3:07 P.M.DETROIT -- Lithium-ion batteries are getting closer to production.

Chrysler LLC plans to install the powerful, lightweight batteries this fall in a test fleet of plug-in hybrid Sprinter vans. The technology could lead to production versions of the vans and then consumer applications, said Chrysler spokesman Nick Cappa.

The Sprinter batteries are an early test of a new generation of lithium-ion batteries made by Johnson Controls-Saft, a joint venture between Johnson Controls and French battery maker Saft. It's the first real-world test of the company's lithium-ion technology -- the batteries, the pack and the control system -- which could see high-volume production in the future, said Cappa.

A number of companies are gearing up to produce lithium ion batteries for hybrids. Lithium-ion batteries reduce the weight and space of a battery pack by about 50 percent yet produce almost 40 percent more power than the nickel metal hydride batteries used today in such vehicles as the Ford Escape Hybrid and Toyota Prius.

The downside is that lithium-ion batteries can overheat.

Companies such as JCS, A123 Systems, Compact Power and others have been racing to perfect not only the batteries but also the control system that keeps the batteries cool. Says JCS CEO Mary Ann Wright: "This is a fast-moving technology."

Chrysler's Cappa said as many as 22 plug-in Sprinters will be built and tested in all weather extremes. California and New York are two states where the vans will be tested. He said the fleet of test vans will use gasoline and diesel engines. Cappa said the Chrysler engineers will not only be monitoring battery performance, but safety, too.

Lithium batteries were in the news earlier this year when Sony was forced to recall thousands of laptop computers because of overheating lithium-ion batteries.

Wright, the engineer who led the team that put the Ford Escape Hybrid on the road, said she's confident that JCS' battery technology is ready for real world driving conditions for safety and reliability.

"We recognize the concerns associated with Li-Ion batteries in cell phones and in computers," said Wright. "But the performance standards required in an automotive environment are very different and we understand the technology requirements necessary to deliver a safe battery.

"We are approaching safety in the same manner in which we approach all other battery system requirements -- with a layered system approach. We will ensure safety performance is achieved at the cell, pack and system level."

Cerberus OKs nine Chrysler projects

David Barkholz
Automotive News

August 9, 2007 - 11:11 am ESTTRAVERSE CITY, Mich. --Expect the new owners of Chrysler LLC to move fast in all aspects of the business, says Frank Klegon, executive vice president of product development.

Speaking at the conference here today, Klegon said Cerberus Capital Management LP gave the go-ahead to nine major projects developing at Chrysler within 36 hours of agreeing to buy the automaker.

Cerberus also wasted no time bringing aboard new CEO Bob Nardelli, who doubled the size of Home Depot Inc. as its CEO and was a star at GE Power Systems.

“As a private company, we’re able to make decisions more quickly and thus move faster to respond to the market,” Klegon said.

About $3 billion was approved for new engine and drivetrain plants to offer products that will improve performance and fuel economy, Klegon said.

Chrysler has broken ground on three engine plants for a new family of V6 engines that will provide a 6-8 percent gain in fuel efficiency, he said. The engine is designed with Chrysler’s patented multi-displacement system, which operates the engine on three cylinders when less power is needed and all six when more power is required, he said.

A new dual clutch transmission developed with Getrag will hit the road in 2010 model-year vehicles that will offer fuel-economy improvements of up to 6 percent. Chrysler has broken ground on that new transmission plant in Kokomo, Ind., and an axle plant in Marysville, Mich., that uses Mercedes axle technology for a 5 percent efficiency gain, he said.

Cummins' record growth a bright spot in troubled industry

Thursday, August 9, 2007 12:45 PM CDT


COLUMBUS, Ind. - Six years ago, diesel engine maker Cummins Inc. had to cut hundreds of jobs and reported an $18 million quarterly loss.

Investor Mark Foster bought thousands of the company's shares a couple years after that because the price lingered around $30 and he smelled a bargain.

Keen instincts on his part. That price has since soared more than 300 percent, topping $120 a share before a recent dip.

Cummins is a bright spot in an industry hit by slumping demand for pickup trucks, tougher emissions standards and a heavy-duty diesel engine market that's down 40 percent this year in North America. Analysts say the once mediocre performer became a Wall Street darling thanks to an improved product portfolio, strong international sales and a technology break.

"This feels like it wants to be a $150 stock," said analyst Peter Nesvold, an analyst who covers the company for Bear, Stearns and Co.

When Foster bought his shares, "people had just kind of given up on the business," he said. "They hadn't made significant money for years."

But now, many parts of the business are humming like its midrange engine plant in Columbus, which runs three shifts at least five days a week.

Cummins makes 350-horsepower engines for heavy-duty Dodge Ram pickup trucks at the plant, where the 1,100-pound engines hang from conveyor belt chains and fork lifts buzz back and forth as a portable radio plays country music.

The company has sold a growing number of these engines nearly every year since 1988. For 2007, Cummins is on track to make about 170,000 engines _ an increase of nearly 50,000 since 2003 _ even though overall U.S. pickup sales have dropped mainly due to a housing industry slump and high gas prices.

"At the high end, people really want the diesel, and they've held on pretty well," company spokesman Mark Land said.

But analysts say that engine alone hasn't pushed Cummins from 296th to 221st on the Fortune 500 list. The rest of its portfolio, which includes heavy-duty diesels, power generators and components like filters, fuel systems and turbochargers, has grown impressively.

The company's Emissions Solutions business, which started in 2005, raised $150 million in sales last year and should finish with more than $450 million this year, Land said.

Foster sees this portfolio as a three-legged stool supporting the company instead of the one-legged stool it was when Cummins leaned more on heavy-duty truck engines.

"Every couple years, somebody would come along and kick that leg out because of the cyclicality of the business," he said.

Cummins recorded $11.3 billion in sales and $715 million in earnings in 2006, the company's third-straight record year for both categories. It could push that streak to four if it hits its full-year guidance for 2007, Land said.

"This company has had a superb stock run because of tremendous financial improvement," said Eli Lustgarten, a Longbow Securities analyst.

Cummins, which employs 34,600 people worldwide, announced last fall plans to add as many as 800 jobs in central Indiana to build a new diesel engine for pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles.

International sales are up about 33 percent this year and will outpace U.S. business. In China and India alone, the company expects annual sales from its joint ventures to climb from $2 billion to $5 billion by 2010.

A strong presence overseas is a key part of Cummins strategy, according to Land.

"You might be down in one part of the world, and another part is booming," he said. "If you're playing in all these markets, you've hedged your bets."

Cummins gained another boost in January when the federal government tightened emissions restrictions for on-highway diesel engines. The company started churning out engines that meet those standards at the start of the year, much sooner than competitors like Caterpillar Inc.

"We were there when people wanted to buy engines early on, and not everyone was," Land said.

That puts Cummins in great shape to respond when tighter standards reach other markets, Nesvold said.

"You've already hit the toughest standard in the world, and now the rest of the world is going to catch up to you," he said.

Two years ago, Nesvold wasn't recommending the Cummins stock. He thought business might slow after the new emission standards hit. Now, he believes the company is "uniquely positioned" to grab a lot of market share.

"Certainly this has been one of the most impressive runs in the machinery sector," Nesvold said.

Unfortunately for Foster, he won't reap the benefit. The chief investment officer for Kirr Marbach and Co. sold his Cummins shares when the price reached $45.

They've since climbed as high as $147 before an April stock split chopped the price in half. Cummins shares traded for $112.32 at midday Thursday.

"We made pretty good money, but I certainly didn't envision this last go around," he said.

F/S or Trade 06 300C SRT-8

I am going to sell or trade SRT-8 this week so you need to act fast. This is an 06, Silver Steel, sun roof, kicker, remote start, 8000 miles. Looks new, smells new, no rock chips, no bug stains , no stories $33000. Trade for new 07 Suburban Z71, black on black, 4x4. Dealers welcome. Geneseo IL. 309-945-4604(home) 309-945-6570(cell)

Cerberus' advantages felt already, Chrysler exec says

August 9, 2007

TRAVERSE CITY -- Chrysler executives are already seeing dramatic changes under the leadership of its new owner Cerberus Capital Management, said Frank Klegon, Chrysler executive vice president of product development, on Thursday.

Under private equity firm Cerberus' ownership, Chrysler is the first major North American automaker to be privately owned in the past 50 years, something Chrysler and Cerberus officials routinely have said would give the company advantagesThis is a status that will result in real advantages as we go forward -- the most significant being an ability to bring more of our resources to bear on the business of the business," Klegon said at the Center for Automotive Research's Management Briefing Seminars.

Cerberus acquired 80.1% of Chrysler from DaimlerChrysler AG in a deal that was concluded last week.

"As a private company we're able to make decisions more quickly and thus move faster to respond to the market," Klegon added.

He noted that after the deal was announced in May, Chrysler needed to get approval from Cerberus on nine projects, such as a new engine plant and the deal with Chery Automotive Co. to build small cars that will be sold under a Chrysler brand nameplate.

"Within 36 hours, all nine projects were approved," Klegon said.

Klegon said this is a period of reinvention for Chrysler. "Along the way we've had more comebacks than Sylvester Stallone playing Rocky," Klegon said. "Come to think of it, we've also had our nose bloodied a few times as well."

Chrysler Invests Millions In Kenosha Engine Plant

By: Anthony Fontanelle The American car manufacturer Chrysler Group recently announced that they have earmarked a sum of $450 million for the improvement of their engine assembly plant in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The company announced that the sum will be used to retool the engine plant for the production of fuel-efficient V6 engines.

The improvements to be made at the said engine assembly facility are part of the company’s $3 billion investment on powertrain development. The retooling of the facility is a step to prepare the facility in the production of the company’s new engine known as Phoenix engines. The $3 billion investment also includes the development of the duel-clutch transmission which is a joint venture between Chrysler and German auto parts manufacturer Getrag.

The powertrain offensive initiated by Chrysler will also involve the production of common axle family. These initiatives are part of Chrysler’s commitment to produce fuel-efficient vehicles in the near future.

The Kenosha engine assembly plant is expected to be fully operational by January of 2011. Chrysler projects a production output of 400,000 engines annually for the facility. The powertrain offensive is also a part of Chrysler’s Recovery and Transformation Plan which aims to turn the ailing car manufacturer to profitability by 2008.

“This retooling investment will allow us to build an entirely new, globally competitive family of V-6 engines,” says Richard Chow-Wah, the Chrysler Group Vice President for Powertrain Manufacturing. “The Chrysler Group Recovery and Transformation Plan is focused on new products, and today's news supports a long-term commitment to new vehicle components that support consumer demand for refined, economical-to-operate vehicles for many years to come.”

During the announcement of the retooling of the Kenosha plant, the plant’s manager, Kevin Sell, has this to say: “Chrysler Group has had a 20-year-long presence in Kenosha - and even longer factoring in American Motors' storied past. With this new tooling and this new engine line, we're demonstrating the commitment of Chrysler Group to support economic development and invest in the communities where it does business.”

Also present at the announcement is Wisconsin Governor James Doyle who has this to say about the improvements to be made at the Kenosha plant: “Wisconsin is one of America's leading manufacturing economies. This $450 million commitment by Chrysler to our state demonstrates that we continue to attract important investments that provide high paying jobs for our workforce. This shows what can happen when state and local governments work together to create a business-friendly environment.”

The retooling of the assembly plant will commence in June of 2010. The Kenosha plant produces engine assemblies while other auto parts like brake parts similar to EBC rotors are manufactured by independent auto parts manufacturer.

As for the reaction of the United Auto Workers, UAW Vice President General Holiefield has this to say: “This is an important day for the future of the UAW and Chrysler Group, and in particular for the continued competitiveness of our team here in the State of Wisconsin. We have a vision to see this company and our union grow this business and transform Chrysler Group into a stronger company that will be competitive for the long run. The investment we announce today proves that we are investing in this vision.” According to Chrysler Group, the Kenosha plant will hire 700 full-time employees when it becomes fully operational.

Win One of 15 Chrysler Products (8/15/2007)

Your chance to take home a new Chrysler by visiting a participating dealership on Wednesday, August 15. The only bit I can find on Chrysler's new corporate site,, is that the event runs from 6PM to 9PM. Now I presume that the 3 hour time frame is for each time zone.

Here are some of the high points of the rules:
  1. This Sweepstakes begins at 6:00 p.m. and ends at 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 15, 2007.

  2. To enter, visit any participating Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep Dealer and complete an Official Entry Form by printing your complete name, address including ZIP code, home telephone number and e-mail address (if available) and the name of the dealership and deposit the completed entry into the special display at participating Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep Dealers by 9:00 p.m. on August 15, 2007.

  3. There will be a total of eight (8) Regional Random Drawings and one (1) National Random Drawing. All eligible entries will be sorted into eight (8) geographic regions based on the city of the participating dealership and one (1) Grand Prize Winner will be selected in each of the eight (8) Regional Random Drawings for a total of eight (8) Regional Grand Prize Winners. Once all eight (8) Regional Random Drawings have been conducted, all non-winning eligible entries from each of the eight (8) regions will be combined and one (1) National Random Drawing will take place to select seven (7) National Grand Prize Winners. A total of fifteen (15) Grand Prize Winners will be selected among the eight (8) Regional Random Drawings and one (1) National Random Drawing.

  4. Each Grand Prize consists of one (1) Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep vehicle designated as follows: Model Year 2007 Jeep Liberty 4x4, 29F, approximate retail value $27,405; Model Year 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4x4, 28X, approximate retail value $36,100; Model Year 2007 Chrysler Crossfire Coupe Limited, 21P, approximate retail value $30,435; Model Year 2008 Chrysler Aspen 4x4, Limited, 26E, approximate retail value $35,625; Model Year 2008 Chrysler 300C Limited, 29R, approximate retail value $36,070; Model Year 2008 Chrysler Pacifica Touring, 29S, approximate retail value $36,070; Model Year 2008 Jeep Compass 4x4, Sport, 26E, approximate retail value $22,010; Model Year 2008 Jeep Commander 4x4, Sport, 28U, approximate retail value $37,645; Model Year 2008 Dodge Ram Mega Cab 1500, approximate retail value $37,600; Model Year 2008 Dodge Nitro 4x4, SLT, 24F, approximate retail value $26,525; Model Year 2008 Dodge Durango 4x4, SLT, 26E, approximate retail value $33,810; Model Year 2008 Dodge Dakota Crew Cab 4x4, SXT, 22C approximate retail value $28,370; Model Year 2008 Dodge Magnum, SXT, 26H, approximate retail value $30,275; Model Year 2008 Dodge Charger, SXT, 26H, approximate retail value $28,735; or a Model Year 2008 Dodge Caliber SXT, Sport, 24E, approximate retail value $18,770. Total Approximate Value of all Grand Prizes: $465,445.
Full rules are posted here. Best of luck!

Chrysler to launch diesel pickup trucks after 2009

DETROIT, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Chrysler LLC will introduce diesel-powered versions of its light-duty pickup trucks after 2009, improving fuel efficiency of the vehicles by up to 30 percent, Frank Klegon, Chrysler's executive vice president of product development, said on Thursday.

"We anticipate that diesels will comprise up to 15 percent the next decade," Klegon said.

(Reporting by Poornima Gupta)

Advanced Powertrains to Play Essential Role in The New Chrysler's Plans to Meet Customer Expectations for Quality, Performance and Fuel Economy

   -- Frank Klegon, Executive Vice President-Product Development, updates
industry on direction for The New Chrysler
-- Blend of 'traditional values' and 'fresh perspective' will enable The
New Chrysler to reinvent business, Klegon says
-- Recovery and Transformation Plan has attracted over 22,000 ideas
-- $3 billion powertrain offensive moving ahead as planned; steel going up
at Trenton site
-- Improvements to conventional gasoline engines, including new V-6
-- New mild hybrid, clean diesel applications coming in future products

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich., Aug. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Moving into a new era, The
New Chrysler is banking on advanced powertrains including hybrids and clean
diesels to meet demanding customer expectations for quality, performance
and fuel economy, according to Frank Klegon, Executive Vice President -
Product Development. Klegon outlined a $3 billion powertrain offensive and
other aspects of The New Chrysler's direction in a speech at the 2007
Management Briefing Seminars.
"At The New Chrysler, our focus is on a strategy that will enable us to
be competitive long into the future," Klegon said. Private ownership will
create advantages for The New Chrysler, "the most significant being an
ability to bring more of our resources to bear on the 'business of the
business'," he said.
Klegon's presentation came just three days after employees of The New
Chrysler celebrated "First Day," marking the transfer of majority ownership
to New York-based Cerberus Capital Management, while former owner
DaimlerChrysler AG maintains a significant minority stake.
Blending traditional values, fresh perspective
As part of the transition, Bob Nardelli was appointed Chairman and CEO,
with Tom LaSorda staying on as Vice-Chairman and President of The New
Chrysler. "This is an ideal arrangement that brings fresh eyes to The New
Chrysler, while providing the continuing leadership of an experienced team
that thoroughly understands our company and our industry," according to
Klegon drew a parallel between the leadership team and The New
Chrysler's approach to its business, blending "traditional values" and "a
fresh perspective" in order to reinvent the business.
"As we go forward, we remain connected to the same principles that have
sustained Chrysler right from the beginning - namely, a commitment to
innovation, the ability to act with speed and flexibility, and a passion to
be the best," Klegon said. "But we realize that we can't just be the same
company that we were before the 1998 merger with Daimler-Benz. The
competition is tougher, and it's global. We've got to be even better."
The company's new blueprint for success - its Recovery and
Transformation Plan (RTP) - was unveiled in February and implementation is
well under way. "Under the RTP, we've identified more than 22,000 ideas
towards achieving our objective," Klegon said. He cited other measures of
progress including manufacturing efficiency, voluntary headcount
reductions, quality, an improved market mix with less dependency on fleet,
and expanded penetration in international markets.
Hybrids, diesels in future plans
A $3 billion commitment to new powertrains -- including more fuel-
efficient engines, transmissions and axles -- supports The New Chrysler's
emphasis on new products. Two weeks ago, the company became the first OEM
to announce a limited Lifetime Powertrain Warranty on most new Chrysler,
Jeep and Dodge vehicles. "This new warranty demonstrates our commitment to
customers and the confidence we have in our ability to produce quality,
reliable and durable vehicles -- starting with the powertrain," Klegon
Within the next decade, hybrids and diesels will each account for up to
15 percent of the North American market, Klegon predicted. In the hybrid
area, he identified these initiatives:
-- As part of a joint venture with General Motors, Daimler and BMW, a two-
mode hybrid system for the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen is planned
for next year, mated to a 5.7-liter HEMI with Multiple Displacement
System (MDS). The two-mode system leapfrogs current technology and is
expected to produce a 25 percent improvement in fuel efficiency overall
and nearly 40 percent improvement in the city.
-- A mild hybrid system, with less of the cost/weight penalty incurred by
a full hybrid drivetrain, will be offered on an upcoming vehicle within
the next few years.
The New Chrysler intends to remain a leader in the application of clean
diesel engines and in the promotion of renewable biodiesel fuel, Klegon
said. The current U.S. diesel lineup includes Dodge Sprinter, Jeep Grand
Cherokee and the Dodge Ram Heavy Duty. The BLUETEC Ram Heavy Duty, with a
6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel engine, meets 2010 emissions standards for
heavy-duty pickups for all 50 states, three years early. In addition, Dodge
will introduce an all-new, 50-state Cummins turbodiesel engine in
light-duty pickups after 2009. In the 2009 model year, the BLUETEC
diesel-equipped Jeep Grand Cherokee also will meet emissions standards in
all 50 states.
Klegon noted that the company has designed its European offerings to
meet customer preferences there for diesel engines. "It's safe to say that
we'll see a continued migration of some of those products brought here to
the U.S. market, where we are also exploring additional penetration of our
3.0-liter V- 6 diesel engine, and the possibility of a four-cylinder
diesel," he said.
Conventional Engines
While demand for hybrids and clean diesels will grow in the coming
decade, conventional gasoline engines will still make up an estimated 70
percent of the market. Klegon reviewed The New Chrysler's initiatives in
that area:
-- The New Chrysler has significant volume and capacity to keep up with
increasing demand for the four-cylinder World Engine. Klegon noted that
engine is direct-injection capable.
-- A new, more fuel-efficient version of the E85 flex-fuel 4.7-liter V-8
engine is being introduced, featuring a 30 percent increase in
horsepower and a 10 percent increase in torque.
-- A significantly upgraded version of the renowned 5.7-liter HEMI V-8,
with gains in fuel efficiency, refinement, horsepower and torque, will
debut in the 2009 model year.
-- An all-new family of fuel-efficient "Phoenix" V-6 engines will join The
New Chrysler lineup in 2010. The company has broken ground on several
of its new plants including steel going up at its Trenton site. Among
the engine's features: MDS, an aluminum die cast block, dual variable
valve timing and a two-stage oil pump which provides fuel efficiency
The New Chrysler's investment in fuel-efficiency gains also includes a
new dual-clutch transmission that will be produced with Getrag and will
appear in significant volumes on 2010 vehicles, and a common axle program
with Mercedes- Benz. In addition, fuel efficiency will be improved by at
least 5 percent more through initiatives such as weight reduction; aero
drag improvements; reduced rolling resistance and brake drag to lower
road-loads; optimized accessory loads by electric load management; and
minimized drive train losses.
"We're moving with real urgency to improve fuel efficiency across our
lineup, with powertrain upgrades and innovations playing a big part,"
Klegon said. "We're driving into an exciting new era at The New Chrysler,
with the support of a great new partner and with a solid plan. And we're
making the investments necessary to pave the way for future success."


Oil Drops Near $72 a Barrel

Oil prices fell Wednesday as traders awaited the release of a U.S. government fuel stocks report expected to show gasoline inventories rose last week.

The data was expected to show another drop in crude oil inventories, but increases in both refinery activity and gasoline supplies, according to a Dow Jones Newswires survey of analysts.

September Brent crude fell 26 cents to $71.54 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

Oil futures were supported by news that ConocoPhillips shut down gasoline-producing equipment at two refineries, one in New Jersey and the other in Pennsylvania. One of the refineries, at Linden, New Jersey, was expected to be online Friday, so support could be short lived.

After last week's report from the U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration showed a surprisingly large drop in oil inventories, oil rallied to a new all-time high of $78.77 a barrel. But crude gave up those gains in the same session as investors came to view the increase in gasoline production as more important.

Several weeks of growing gasoline supplies and refinery activity have alleviated some supply concerns, sending gas futures and retail prices sharply lower. That trend is expected to continue. Analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires, on average, expect refinery utilization to have grown by 0.1 percentage point to 93.7 percent of capacity in the week ended Aug. 3.

That increased activity drew down crude inventories by 2 million barrels last week, and increased gasoline supplies by 1 million barrels, analysts say. Distillates, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, were expected to have gained 1.8 million barrels.

Heating oil futures lost 0.45 cent to $1.9596 a gallon (3.8 liters) while gasoline prices lost 0.73 cent to $1.9369 a gallon. Natural gas futures fell 1.5 cents to $6.186 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Some analysts see the recent price declines as a correction in a bullish market, driven largely by speculators selling off positions to lock in profits

Get To See the Jeep Concept Vehicles

August 9th, 2007

If you happen to be in Detroit tonight, you can attend Jeep Night at the Chrysler complex’s museum. Here’s the press release:

Who: A gathering for collectors and those who simply admire automobiles

When: Thursday, Aug. 9, 6 - 9 p.m.

Where: Walter P. Chrysler Museum, One Chrysler Dr., Auburn Hills 48326 (on The New Chrysler headquarters complex, off I-75 at exit 78)

Details: Jeep(R) Night, Aug. 9, will feature a lineup of rugged concept vehicles:

  • Jeep Gladiator
  • Jeep Hurricane
  • Jeep Jeepster
  • Jeep Rescue
  • Jeep Trailhawk

Guests will receive a complimentary Jeep poster and an Aug. 6issue of AutoWeek magazine, while supplies last.

Guests can join in The New Chrysler’s introduction by cruising by the company’s headquarters building (visible from I-75) to view the giant Get Ready for the Next 100 Years banner and the illuminated Pentastar symbol

Plaques awarded to outstanding vehicles in three categories:

  • Best Jeep
  • Best Wheels for Wooing
  • Museum Choice

All makes and models welcome — rain or shine — for an evening of music, food concessions, free Museum tours and Museum Store discounts.

Cruise Nights at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum wraps up Aug. 23 with Hot Truck Night featuring such concepts as the:

  • Jeep Gladiator
  • Dodge M80
  • Dodge Power Wagon
  • Dodge Rampage

Get To See the Jeep Concept Vehicles

August 9th, 2007

If you happen to be in Detroit tonight, you can attend Jeep Night at the Chrysler complex’s museum. Here’s the press release:

Who: A gathering for collectors and those who simply admire automobiles

When: Thursday, Aug. 9, 6 - 9 p.m.

Where: Walter P. Chrysler Museum, One Chrysler Dr., Auburn Hills 48326 (on The New Chrysler headquarters complex, off I-75 at exit 78)

Details: Jeep(R) Night, Aug. 9, will feature a lineup of rugged concept vehicles:

  • Jeep Gladiator
  • Jeep Hurricane
  • Jeep Jeepster
  • Jeep Rescue
  • Jeep Trailhawk

Guests will receive a complimentary Jeep poster and an Aug. 6issue of AutoWeek magazine, while supplies last.

Guests can join in The New Chrysler’s introduction by cruising by the company’s headquarters building (visible from I-75) to view the giant Get Ready for the Next 100 Years banner and the illuminated Pentastar symbol

Plaques awarded to outstanding vehicles in three categories:

  • Best Jeep
  • Best Wheels for Wooing
  • Museum Choice

All makes and models welcome — rain or shine — for an evening of music, food concessions, free Museum tours and Museum Store discounts.

Cruise Nights at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum wraps up Aug. 23 with Hot Truck Night featuring such concepts as the:

  • Jeep Gladiator
  • Dodge M80
  • Dodge Power Wagon
  • Dodge Rampage

Mark Image

Goods and Services IC 025. US 022 039. G & S: T-shirts. FIRST USE: 20051100. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20051100
Mark Drawing Code (2) DESIGN ONLY
Design Search Code 26.05.02 - Plain single line triangles; Triangles, plain single line
26.05.03 - Incomplete triangles (must have two angles); Triangle, incomplete (two angles)
26.05.21 - Triangles that are completely or partially shaded
26.11.21 - Rectangles that are completely or partially shaded
Serial Number 78574048
Filing Date February 24, 2005
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1B
Published for Opposition November 15, 2005
Registration Number 3276658
Registration Date August 7, 2007
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

Chyrsler Patent Update

1 7,252,338 Full-Text Seat assembly having an adjustable height and angle armrest
2 7,247,112 Full-Text Method and apparatus for cooling and lubricating a hybrid transmission
3 7,244,905 Full-Text Method for estimating nugget diameter and weld parameters
4 7,243,981 Full-Text Vehicle body deformation control assembly
5 7,243,978 Full-Text Door assembly for a vehicle
6 7,242,321 Full-Text Key fob with directional vehicle locator
7 7,241,240 Full-Text Flexible chain guide
8 7,241,092 Full-Text Cargo retention device
9 7,240,954 Full-Text Sport bar close out seal
10 7,240,949 Full-Text Adjustable seat assembly
11 7,240,906 Full-Text Hydro-pneumatic suspension system
12 7,240,544 Full-Text Aerodynamic noise source measurement system for a motor vehicle
13 7,239,055 Full-Text Motor cooling system
14 7,237,447 Full-Text Engine start/stop system
15 7,237,434 Full-Text Slotted damping section for aerodynamic wind tunnel
16 7,232,156 Full-Text Vehicle frame with integrated high pressure fuel tank
17 7,231,994 Full-Text Hybrid vehicle with integral generator for auxiliary loads
18 7,228,833 Full-Text Rocker system for an internal combustion engine
19 D543,899 Full-Text Automobile body
20 7,226,384 Full-Text Torsional damper for electrically-variable transmission with lock-out clutch assembly
21 7,219,009 Full-Text Short runner valve diagnostic
22 7,216,636 Full-Text Evaporative system integrity monitor