Thursday, August 30, 2007

Revisiting the 20035.7-liter Hemi V8

The 2003 5.7-litre Hemi V8

The technology of the latest Hemi - and a quick look at the past

by Julian Edgar

Click on pics to view larger images

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When in 1997 DaimlerChrysler was evaluating future engine directions, the company realised that the then-current 5.9-litre V8 used in US market trucks was likely to be outgunned in performance and economy by coming competitors. Studies were made of possible replacement designs, including iterations with 2, 3 and 4 valves per cylinder, overhead valves and overhead camshafts, the latter including single camshaft and double camshaft designs.

However, in the end, the company chose a 2-valves-per-cylinder, overhead valve, hemispherical combustion chamber approach. The 5.7-litre Hemi was introduced for the 2003 model year Ram series of pick-up trucks.

So what makes this engine better than the engines of 20, 30, and 40 years ago that the specifications appear so similar to?

New Design Aims

DaimlerChrysler engineers had these aims for the new engine:

  • engine performance
  • noise/vibration/harshness (NVH)
  • reliability and serviceability
  • leak free
  • fuel economy
  • exhaust emissions
  • quality
  • mass reduction
  • "no touch"
  • reduced part count

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The 5.7-litre engine that resulted was an OHV 90-degree V8 using an iron block and aluminium cylinder heads. Each of the hemispherical combustion chambers featured two spark plugs and two valves. The intake manifold used a composite (plastic) construction. Maximum power of 257kW was developed at 5600 rpm and a peak torque of 508Nm was available at 4400 rpm. Despite that relatively high peak torque rpm, the big engine developed 412Nm at just 1200 rpm. Mass of the engine was 242kg.

But let's have a look at the design in more detail.


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The block was cast from simple grey cast iron. It used a dry valley and deep skirt design, with the cam mounted high (for an OHV engine!) in the block. Potential leak sources through welch plugs were eliminated - the water jacket of the block didn't have any. As a result of this approach, the open-deck block required large openings for easy sand removal after casting.

The main bearing caps were made from powder metal and used cross-bolting with a single M8 bolt each side. A 99.5mm bore and a 90.9mm stroke were used, with a bore spacing of 113.3mm.

Extensive use of Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) was made in the design of the block, primarily in order that it be made as light as possible while still being cast from iron. In addition, the "no touch" goal was addressed - this referred to a manufacturing process that prevented any finished surface from being touched once it had been machined or ground.


The heads were cast from A319F aluminium alloy and each had a mass of approximately 13.6kg, a substantial 9kg reduction over the previous 5.9-litre engine. The heads were bolted to the block using M12 bolts spaced around the bores and M8 bolts near the intake manifold. Intake valves were 50.8mm in diameter and exhaust valves, 39.4mm. The intakes were angled at 18 degrees relative to the head surface, while the exhaust valves were at 16.5 degrees. The valve seats and valve guides were made from powdered metal.

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Intake and exhaust flows were comprehensively tested and on the inlet reached 118 litres/second (at 6.2 kPa pressure differential) at 12mm of valve lift, and on the exhaust, 85 litres/second at the same lift and pressure differential.

The valve bridge was kept wide in order that adequate cooling flow could be maintained; this was seen as especially important in the truck applications of the engine where it could be expected to be working hard for long periods.

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To reduce the likelihood of leaks, the spark plugs were mounted in cast-in towers. A previous design approach used pressed-in spark plug tubes but the chance of leakage occurring past the seals was seen as too great.

CAE was used to optimise the coolant flow within the heads, which was primarily a 'U-flow' beginning at the rear of each head and exiting at the front into the cylinder block. Using Computational Fluid Dynamics, fillets and ribs were added to the internal head coolant passages in order that higher velocity flows occurred in critical cooling zones.

The cylinder head gaskets were three-layer stainless steel with a compressed thickness of 0.7mm.

Front Cover

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The front cover, which sealed the front of the block and sump, was die-cast from SAE A380 aluminium. The alternator, water pump, air-conditioning compressor, power steering pump and belt idler were all mounted on the cover. Careful design achieved lower levels of vibration for the mounting points of the air-conditioning compressor and alternator.

The water pump was also die-cast from SAE A380 alloy. It used an internal coolant bypass and an 89mm diameter, fully-shrouded nylon impeller.

Intake Manifold

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The intake manifold assembly comprised a pre-supplied module containing the injectors, an 80-mm diameter electronic throttle butterfly, intake manifold, sound-damping cover, the PCV system, MAP sensor and engine wring harness. With all these components integrated into the one unit, over the previous engine design the final assembly part count decreased from 26 to 2.

The intake system, made from seven sub-assemblies formed from Nylon 6, used an 11.3 litre plenum volume and intake runners that were each 273mm long. Each runner tapered from a diameter of 50mm at the plenum to 43mm at the heads. The intake plenum volume was kept low to "achieve excellent throttle response and minimise idle speed variation". When compared with intake port flow alone, the intake system caused a 10 per cent flow restriction at maximum power.

To reduce NVH, the intake assembly used a 3-chamber Helmholtz intake resonator (see Driving Emotion), extensive ribbing and a minimum 3mm wall thickness on all exposed surfaces. A soundproofing pad was also attached to the base of the assembly, across the engine's valley.

Exhaust Manifolds

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Despite looking quite basic, the engineers claimed that the exhaust manifolds were the result of extensive and detailed design. Each was designed to provide maximum flow capacity within the constraints of taking up minimal room, protecting under-bonnet components from heat, and having a low thermal inertia so that the cat converters could be quickly heated. The claimed life of the manifolds was 241,395km. (At 241,396km they crack?!) The manifolds were cast from high silicon-molybdenum ductile iron; when compared with 4-2-1 extractors, the manifolds reduced peak power by only 2.2 per cent.


A geroter style pump, driven from the timing chain crankshaft sprocket, provided oil flow to the lubrication system. The pump was made from die-cast aluminium (housing), powdered metal (geroters) and cast iron (cover plate). It displaced 1.1 cubic inches per revolution and was sized to allow for "future oil system controlled devices" (perhaps variable cam timing or variable cylinder cut-off), worked at a relief pressure of 55 psi and used 5W-30 oil. The oil capacity was 7 quarts; smaller volumes created aeration problems at high rpm.


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The crank was cast from nodular iron. It used main journals that were 65mm in diameter, with the small-end journals 54mm. The design included deep-rolled undercut fillets to improve fatigue strength. A vibration damper was a press-fit on the nose of the crank; no keyway was used as part of the 'leak-free' design goal.


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The con-rods were manufactured from powdered metal and featured cracked big-ends. Each rod had a mass of 597 grams (including the bolts) and was controlled such that no rod varied from this figure by more than plus/minus 5 grams.


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The pistons were cast from eutectic alloy and each had a mass of 413 grams. Each slightly domed piston was coated with a graphite-based product on the skirts to reduce scuffing. The top land was reduced to 3mm to minimise crevice volume and so hydrocarbon emissions. The gudgeon pin was a press-fit in the con-rod.


It is significant that despite starting with the proverbial 'clean sheet of paper', DaimlerChrysler engineers decided to go with a design that was very conventional in its engineering fundamentals. The engineers saw the advantages of the 5.7-litre Hemi design as:

  • Class-leading performance with 41 per cent more power, 46 per cent greater power density and a torque increase of 12 per cent over the previous design
  • Competitive fuel economy, high combustion stability and low specific exhaust emissions
  • Highly integrated intake manifold assembly

SAE paper 2002-01-2815: The New DaimlerChrysler Corporation 5.7 HEMI V8 Engine

Hemis of the Past

The 5.7-litre is the fifth OHV Hemi Chrysler V8. Here are the previous designs:


Model Year


Chrysler Fire Power V8


331 cid

DeSoto Fire Dome V8


276 cid

Dodge Red Ram V8


241 cid

Dodge/Plymouth V8


426 cid

The detail in the comparison between the '66 426 and the new 5.7-litre show some startling changes, even in the basic specifications.


New 5.7L

1966 426 HEMI

Displacement (cc)



Bore (mm)



Stroke (mm)



Bore/Stroke Ratio



Compression Ratio

9.6: 1


Bore Spacing (mm)



Bank Offset (mm)



Block Length (mm)



Block Deck Height (mm)



Connecting Rod Length (mm)



Piston Compression Height (mm)



Rod Length/Crank Radius



Intake Valve Diameter




Exhaust Valve Diameter (mm)



Included Valve Angle (deg.)



Combustion Chamber Volume (cc)



Intake Valve Lift (mm)



Exhaust Valve Lift (mm)



Mass (kg)




Courtesy of DaimlerChrysler, Some Hemi-Powered Cars...

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1955 CHRYSLER 300

With a HEMI® engine mated to the new Powerflite automatic transmission, styling by Virgil Exner, plus power steering and power brakes, Chrysler product planners realized they had the ingredients for a car that in Italy would be called a Gran Turismo - a sport tourer. Despite a two-ton body and a luxurious cabin, a stock 300 powered by its 300 hp dual four-barrel, 331 c.i.d. HEMI® could nudge 125 mph. The Chrysler 300 was a performance blueblood from the beginning and is highly sought by collectors today.

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When NASCAR introduced a new "Experimental" class for its Speedweeks at Daytona Beach in 1957, Wally Parks, co-founder of both Hot Rod Magazine and of the National Hot Rod Association, decided he'd play, too. Although the class was intended primarily for company-backed entries, Parks, then editor of Hot Road Magazine, and the magazine's technical writer Ray Brock "borrowed" a new Plymouth Savoy right off the line at Chrysler's Los Angeles plant. The name came from the Plymouth ad campaign at the time, "Suddenly It's 1960!"

A Chrysler HEMI® was modified to 389 c.i.d. and special exhaust headers added. Firestone racing tyres, roll bars and safety equipment were installed and the front end modified. Towed to the starting line at Daytona, it had never run under its own power. Nevertheless Parks hit 166.898 mph, and the two-way average over two miles was 159.893 mph! This was the fastest time run for the week, and was then the fastest closed-car run ever recorded at Daytona. In the process, Plymouth beat 13 other makes. Later that year, with a new HEMI® from Dean Moon, Ray Brock got the Plymouth to 183 mph at Bonneville.

After being reconverted to street use, the car was sold and disappeared. In 1995 Parks, then age 83, decided to recreate "Suddenly," but the body used was not a hardtop, which Parks felt was not authentic. Brock then gave him a hardtop as a birthday present and it became the source of the correct "postless" body. Parks has run "Suddenly II" a number of times in exhibition competition.


1/4 mile/7.640 sec. 178.57mph

Following in the slick marks left by Don Garlits' Swamp Rat, HEMI® engines were a common choice for the supercharged, lightweight dragsters that ran in the AA/fuel class, burning nitromethane/alcohol mixtures. The rugged design of the HEMI® could withstand even the 1,200 to 1,500 hp generated by the cars. This dragster built in 1967 used a 1957 392 c.i.d. HEMI® as the starting point. It is equipped with Hilborn fuel injection and a Roots-type 8-71 supercharger. A Hayes sliding clutch couples the drive shaft directly to the solid rear axle. There is no transmission. Wheels are 16-inch, polished American mags with M & H racing slicks. Dubbed "Probe," this car competed in the Midwest between 1967-1969 for the Phil Goulet (tuning) and Ray DeNoble (driver) team.

Logghe Stamping Company of Warren, Mich., fabricated Probe's frame of chrome-molybdenum tubing; the aluminium body was fabricated by Al Bergler.

Length: 220"
Wheelbase: 185"
Max. Width: 48"
Minimum Ground Clearance: 3"

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The Silver Bullet drag car is powered by a 426 HEMI® bored and stroked to 487 c.i.d. with other modifications that permit quarter-mile times in the mid-10-second range with top speed close to 140 mph.

The saga of the "Silver Bullet" began with Jimmy Addison, the manager of a Sunoco station on Woodward Avenue, and a man known for his skill in setting up a car for drag racing competition. He was also famed as a street racer, driving a 1962 Max Wedge Dodge. Addison was respected by Chrysler performance engineers, who helped him acquire a 1967 Plymouth Belvedere GTX used to set 440 four-bbl Wedge component combinations.

Connections at Chrysler also helped Addison build a bored and stroked HEMI® with aluminium heads, special cam, carburettors and pistons to replace the Wedge. The HEMI® was matched with a Torqueflight automatic transmission fitted with a 4,000 rpm stall converter, special rear end ratios and 12-inch slicks on the rear tyres. Addison installed fibreglass fenders, doors, hood and decklid to drop the overall weight by some 500 pounds. Flared rear fenders were necessary due to the wide slicks, and the car was painted silver. When journalist Ro McGonegal wrote about the car for the September 1971 issue of Car Craft magazine, he supplied the name - the "Silver Bullet."

Retired from racing, the "Silver Bullet" was found and restored by noted Mopar muscle car collector Harold Sullivan.

Mitsubishi Evo X brochure leaked


evo_x_power_figures01.jpgA brochure for the Japan-spec Mitsubishi Evolution X has leaked online revealing the final styling of the new car’s exterior and cabin as well as its power and torque figures. Though the text is in Japanese there are a few important clues that we can gather from the images. Expected to make its debut at October’s Tokyo Motor Show, the final production version of the Evo X will differ slightly from previous concepts as this brochure reveals.

The car sports similar side-mirrors to the basic Lancer and new side-vents behind the front wheel arches. The new Evo also drops the concept’s LED detailed headlights and front-bumper integrated foglights. Inside, we can see the new gear-lever and paddle-shifters for the dual-clutch gearbox.

The official power figure reads a metric 280ps at 6,500rpm, which is equivalent to 276hp (206kW). However, we suspect the final production version may actually develop more power than this official rating suggests. Max torque stands at 422Nm (311ft-lb), coming in at 3,500rpm.

Head over to the Lancer Register forums to see the rest of the scans or click here to see more official details and images of previous concepts.



2004 Chrysler ME Four-Twelve - revisited as the Corsair?

chrysler me four-twelve

The spectacular quad-turbo, V-12 powered, mid-engine Chrysler ME Four-Twelve super car has roared onto the scene to shine as the most advanced Chrysler ever built.

The ultimate engineering and design statement, and a brilliant example of the Chrysler Group’s capabilities, the ME Four-Twelve will establish a real-world performance record for a rear-wheel drive, mid-engine super car and may also set a record for lightening-quick vehicle development. Taking less than one year to complete from start to finish, the Chrysler Group partnered with some of the best in the business to assist in its development.

“The ME Four-Twelve has been one of the most closely guarded secrets, not only to the outside world but also within our organization,” said Trevor Creed, Senior Vice President, Chrysler Group Design. “The idea for this machine was conceived as a spectacular follow-up to the Dodge Tomahawk shown last year. The big difference is that Tomahawk was a design statement. ME Four-Twelve, however, is as much an engineering statement as it is a design statement.”

“ME Four-Twelve adds a new aura of performance to the Chrysler brand,” Creed said. “It is aerodynamically honed, and it balances elegance and power. It exudes strength, performance and prestige. The ME Four-Twelve is Chrysler’s own creative interpretation of the classic mid-engine super car architecture.”

AMG Powertrain and Ricardo Clutch Transmission for Unmatched 0-60 Performance
The heart of the ME Four-Twelve is its all-aluminum, quad-turbo, 6.0-liter V-12 engine. With electronic sequential multipoint fuel injection and a 9.0:1 compression ratio, the ME Four-Twelve’s AMG-developed engine delivers 850 bhp @ 5750 rpm, with 850 lb-ft. (1150 N-m) of torque between 2500 and 4500 rpm on premium unleaded fuel. The specific power output translates to 142 bhp/liter, and with a curb weight of just 2880 lbs. (1310 kg), the ME Four-Twelve has the weight-to-power ratio of 3.4 lbs/bhp – each of these sets new performance records and new benchmarks in the super car category.

And, befitting a machine that will play comfortably in the super car league, the performance of the ME Four-Twelve is stunning. In our projections and modeling, the ME Four-Twelve goes from 0-60 mph in 2.9 seconds, 0-100 mph in 6.2 seconds and it will blister through the quarter mile in 10.6 seconds at 142.0 mph. The estimated top speed of the ME Four-Twelve is 248 mph (400 km/h). The vehicle is designed and packaged to achieve outstanding thermal performance under extreme operating conditions. Its large capacity, high-efficiency engine-cooling system allows this engine to retain optimum thermal performance – a key advantage in the super car arena.

The 7-speed Ricardo Double Clutch Transmission was developed specifically for this vehicle and features the latest double wet-clutch technology and electronic control strategy. The exclusive ME Four-Twelve transmission delivers uninterrupted torque to the rear wheels with 200 millisecond shift times.

Advanced Composite Structure, Cat-Quick Agility

The ME Four-Twelve’s advanced, carbon fiber bodywork was designed to mate to a carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb monocoque tub. Aluminum crush structures and chrome-moly sub-frames complete the ME Four-Twelve’s rigid support structure. Taking advantage of its impressive racecar-like structural rigidity, the ME Four-Twelve’s suspension, steering and brakes are engineered for super car performance. Overall, the vehicle’s structure – consisting of multiple materials - achieves an ultra lightweight design with outstanding vehicle rigidity and complies with all US federal regulations related to impact testing.

The suspension is comprised of double wishbones, aluminum control arms, horizontally-opposed coil-over dampers with electronically controlled compression and rebound tuning, stainless-steel push rods and a blade configured anti-roll bar.

The power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering has an overall ratio of 16:1 with 2.4 turns lock-to-lock and a turning circle of 36.0 feet.

The ME Four-Twelve braking system features massive 15.0-inch (381 mm) ventilated carbon ceramic composite disc brake rotors with six-piston aluminum mono block calipers for superior braking performance during all driving conditions. The composite discs are sixty-five percent lower in weight than comparable cast iron rotors. This results in significantly reducing unsprung mass and improving shock damping response.

ME Four-Twelve wheels are cast aluminum: 19x10-inch front and 20x12.5-inch rear. Michelin high-performance radials are 265/35ZR19 in the front and 335/30ZR20 in the rear.

Ultimate Chrysler Engineering and Design Statement – to the Last Aerodynamic Detail
At just 44.9 inches tall, 78.7 inches wide and 178.8-inches long, the two-seat, mid-engine ME Four-Twelve has a striking presence – poised as if ready to pounce. The ME Four-Twelve carbon fiber body work has that “chiseled all from one piece” look, honed from hours of development in the Chrysler Group wind tunnel in Auburn Hills, Mich.

The computer controlled active rear spoiler articulates rearward 100 mm to increase down-force to a total of 925 lbs. (421 kg) at 186 mph (300 km/h), while achieving a competitive coefficient of drag (Cd) of 0.358. This results in unwavering stability at the ultra-high speeds of which ME Four-Twelve is capable. All body openings have been optimized to achieve maximum thermal performance. In addition, large vented front and rear wheel houses reduce lift as well as active and passive aerodynamic devices that have been implemented to provide stable vehicle performance at all speeds. Those devices include:

  • A front fascia splitter for increased frontal down-force
  • A fully developed underbody with integral rear diffuser to reduce lift and provide additional rear down-force
  • Formations in the belly pan forward of each wheel to aid in reducing lift
  • The decklid rear “ski-slope” formation improves rear down-force
  • Large rear grille integrated into the fascia helps ventilate air through the engine compartment
  • Cubic section at the leading edge of the front fascia helps air attach to the underbody and reduces lift

A Tasteful and Purposeful Interior Environment

Chrysler brand beauty and elegance has been blended with the function and form that are essential in the ultimate super car. For example, ME Four-Twelve’s interior shows the carbon fiber structure of the body tub throughout, used for its light-weight attributes but refined in texture to fulfill the Chrysler brand promise. In addition, leather-covered sport seats, a tilt steering wheel, automatic climate control and a premium audio system are housed in a vehicle that is just as at home on the highway as it is on the race track. Unique features and elements include:

  • Carbon fiber seat structure with a total seat weight of just 27 lbs. (12.3 kg)
  • Competitive-in-class interior roominess with 37.2 in (942 mm) of headroom, and 42.7 in (1085 mm) of legroom
  • A large glass roof panel extends from the windshield to the rear header
  • Passenger-side adjustable foot support helps keep the “co-pilot” in position during extreme cornering maneuvers

This vehicle breaks the mold of the super car genre because its packaging can easily accommodate drivers in a wide range of heights. Ease of access to driving controls was a primary focus. For example, there are steering wheel mounted controls, including a column mounted F-1 racing style paddle shifter with aluminum shift paddles and centrally mounted driver controls.

“In terms of advanced materials, aerodynamic efficiency and vehicle dynamic performance, the ME Four-Twelve represents the ultimate engineering and design statement from Chrysler,” said Wolfgang Bernhard, Chief Operating Officer, Chrysler Group. “It’s everything we’ve learned about creating exciting, desirable automobiles. And, as such, it’s not really a concept car but is, in fact, a prototype that will be road-ready by summer.”

Source: Internal

Dodge Grand Caravan Cargo Van

Dodge is once again offering a cargo van version of their new Grand Caravan. As with past versions, the vehicle comes without any second- or third-row passenger seating.

It's powered by Chrysler's 175-horsepower 3.3L flex-fuel V6, the Grand Caravan Cargo Van sports a 17/24 city/highway EPA rating. and has a heavy-duty suspension. Unlike previous cargo van versions, the rear and side panels come with glass windows, but are deeply tinted so that peering in would be very difficult.

Full story here.

Mark (words only): RAMCHARGER

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Date of Status: 2007-08-25

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Law Office Assigned: LAW OFFICE 112

Attorney Assigned:
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Current Location: 650 -Publication And Issue Section

Date In Location: 2007-08-25



1000 CHRYSLER DRIVE CIMS 483-02-19
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International Class: 012
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2007-08-29 - Assignment Of Ownership Not Updated Automatically

2007-08-25 - Law Office Registration Review Completed

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2007-06-25 - Statement of use processing complete

2007-03-16 - Amendment to Use filed

2007-06-14 - TEAS Change Of Correspondence Received

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Date of Status: 2007-07-10

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Current Location: 700 -Intent To Use Section

Date In Location: 2007-06-13



1000 CHRYSLER DRIVE CIMS 483-02-19
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2007-08-29 - Automatic Update Of Assignment Of Ownershipignment Of Ownership

DaimlerChrysler plans up to $10 billion share buyback

August 29, 2007 - 8:50 am EST

UPDATED: 8/29/07 1:00 P.M.

FRANKFURT (Reuters) -- Flush with cash after selling Chrysler, DaimlerChrysler will spend up to 7.5 billion euros ($10.20 billion) to buy back nearly 10 percent of its shares over the next year, the carmaker said today.

The move eclipsed second-quarter results that met market expectations and revealed how DaimlerChrysler will return excess funds to shareholders after selling a majority stake in its struggling U.S. arm to buyout group Cerberus Capital Management.

DaimlerChrysler CFO Bodo Uebber told an analyst conference call that more shareholder rewards could follow if the group's focus on higher-margin cars, trucks and financial services continues to bear fruit.

"Based on the further development of our earnings, cash flows and net liquidity, we may decide upon further buyback programs or dividends in the future," he said.

The shares it buys back now are to be canceled, which has the effect of boosting earnings per share.

"This is a logical step to take in view of the high net liquidity in the industrial business as well as the good prospects for earnings and cash flows in all divisions," the carmaker said in a statement.

Uebber said net liquidity of 13.9 billion euros ($18.99 billion) at its industrial business was far more than needed.


The sale of an 80.1 percent stake in Chrysler and its North American financial services business for 5.5 billion euros ($7.51 billion) pushed the company -- to be renamed Daimler AG in October if shareholders agree -- out of the world's 10 biggest carmakers.

But the move has also cut its exposure to gyrating earnings at Chrysler by breaking up a failed $36 billion transatlantic car merger struck in 1998.

CEO Dieter Zetsche said the company was "somewhat concerned" that credit market uproar could weigh on the underlying economy and slow economic growth, but said U.S. sales of the flagship Mercedes-Benz brand should not suffer.

"Perhaps some realtors and some mortgage fund managers will buy less Mercedes and BMWs and Porsches. Overall ... the assessment of our people at the front, in the marketplace in the U.S., is that they will meet and beat their plans," he said.

The only issue was whether Mercedes had enough cars -- especially its new C-class model -- to go around, he added.

Shorn of Chrysler, second-quarter earnings before interest and tax were 2.13 billion euros ($2.91 billion), down 10 percent from a year earlier when it booked a one-off gain worth over 800 million euros.

Revenue slipped 3 percent to 23.8 billion euros ($32.52 billion).

The company forecast that the group in its new structure would have 2007 earnings before interest and tax of around 8.5 billion euros ($11.61 billion).

DaimlerChrysler said it now anticipated a charge against earnings of 2.5 billion euros ($3.42 billion) in 2007 as a consequence of the Chrysler sale. This is less than the estimate of 3 billion to 4 billion euros ($4.10 billion to $5.46 billion) it had made in May.

"What the markets are worried about is not one-off charges but ongoing earnings capability and I don't think this has really changed much at all. In a certain sense I think this is a non-event," said Sanford Bernstein analyst Stephen Cheetham.

Minivan Donation Serves Multiple Purposes

Grand Caravan


Makes Me Want To Buy A Chrysler

On May 22, 2007, one family was forever changed when gunmen stormed an Illinois Federal Savings Bank in Chicago, killing Tramaine Gibson Sr., a husband and a father of seven. Gibson worked as a teller at the bank and attended college part-time, working toward a degree in criminal justice. He was an active member of his church, ministering to the youth and the community. His was a very promising life cut short.

Last week, as Chrysler released the 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans to Chicago dealers, the automaker donated that area’s first 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan to the family of Tramaine Gibson.

The cynical side of me knows why Chrysler did this (publicity galore, good corporate citizenship), and when I told my husband about it, he scoffed that their motivations weren’t “pure.” Personally, I say who cares about Chrysler’s motivations?

Call me a sucker, but I’m touched by this — it’s personal and it’s meaningful. It is a small gesture toward one family for whom it will make a difference. I like random acts of kindness, and as a result, I’m loving Chrysler for doing this. I know that’s what the company wants; in fact, I’m probably the target market Chrysler wants to reach with this donation. I’m a middle-class, married mother of one, thinking about having more children and knowing my Volkswagen Jetta won’t last as my family grows. Stories like this almost make me want to buy a Town & Country, even though long ago, when I was younger and much cooler, I swore I would never drive a minivan. Life never turns out how you imagined it would, does it?

I’d encourage every car manufacturer to give away cars to folks who really need them. Go ahead and publicize it — get into a big, philanthropic competition. It’s cheaper than primetime TV spots, and they would be acting as benefactors to people who could really use some help.

Automobile Quarterly
Automobile Quarterly
This Day in Auto History:

Louis Bancel Warren of the Chrysler Corporation is born in Monmouth Beach, NJ
Automotive products manufacturer Daniel Boyd Griffith is born in Albuquerque, NM
Racer Bruce Leslie McLaren is born in Auckland, New Zealand
Edmund B. Neil, a truck engineer with the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company and later an independent consulting engineer, dies at age 62

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

Nardelli tells team quality is priority

Josee Valcourt and Bill Vlasic / The Detroit News

Nardelli See full image

Chrysler LLC CEO Robert Nardelli stressed to senior managers Wednesday that the automaker must bolster the quality of its vehicles and outlined other areas where improvements are needed as the company executes a three-year recovery plan to restore profits.

Nardelli was ill Tuesday and unable to address the group of 300 top Chrysler executives during the first day of a two-day meeting. On Wednesday morning, he walked into the ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dearborn and delivered a rousing speech, according to sources familiar with the session.

The meeting was scheduled months before Nardelli joined the company, but it gave the new CEO an opportunity to share a fresh vision for Chrysler with top executives, the sources said. Chrysler President Tom LaSorda also addressed the group.

Nardelli and LaSorda gave extensive presentations, the sources said. They talked about the company's turnaround plan, dubbed Recovery and Transformation, and how to best implement it. They also discussed possibly speeding up the company's restructuring goals.

Executives also participated in team-building exercises. At one point, Nardelli, attempting to quell rumors that LaSorda may leave after contract negotiations with the United Auto Workers end, said, "Tom's here to stay."

Nardelli was named chairman and CEO of Chrysler earlier this month, days after DaimlerChrysler AG closed the sale of Chrysler to private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP. He replaced LaSorda, who moved to the No. 2 spot as vice chairman and president.

Nardelli took the reins at Chrysler as it is attempting to rebound from $680 million in losses last year and $2 billion in red ink during the first quarter of this year. DaimlerChrysler released second-quarter financial results Wednesday. It did not detail Chrysler's performance, but indicated the company's automotive and financial services operations broke even in the period.

In his remarks, Nardelli focused a great deal on vehicle quality, the sources said. Last month, Chrysler rolled out new lifetime warranty coverage on powertrains meant to show the automaker's confidence in the reliability of its engines and transmissions, and to ease consumers concerns about the durability of its vehicles.

But no Chrysler brand beat the industry average in J.D. Power and Associates' Initial Quality Survey this year, which measures consumer satisfaction during the first 90 days of ownership. In J.D. Power's Vehicle Dependability Study, which looks at vehicles that are 3 years old, Chrysler brands again finished below the industry average, although they showed some improvement.

Quality has been a sore spot for Chrysler, said Neal Oddes, director of product research and analysis at J.D. Power and Associates in Westlake, Calif.

"So it's very encouraging to hear that the CEO is focusing on improving quality," Oddes said. "The way that the industry is moving is that quality will become a key differentiator. I'm glad to hear that Nardelli is getting his team mobilized to improve quality."

Wednesday's meeting was the second time Nardelli addressed senior managers. The first was a hastily organized meeting Aug. 6, when Cerberus surprised the auto industry by announcing that the former Home Depot chief would take over Chrysler.

The sources described the daylong sessions at the Hyatt as more of a "company retreat" and interpreted speeches given by Nardelli and LaSorda as "ensuring that all senior managers were on the same page."

The executives talked about goals that had been in the works for months, such as improving quality. "All areas that we had issues with and that we needed to work on" were talked about, one source said. "But aside from that, nothing dramatic happened."

Nardelli's emphasis on quality offers a glimpse of what he's expected to discuss Sept. 7 when he makes a first-time appearance before the Automotive Press Association during a luncheon in Detroit. The APA typically headlines industry insiders as keynote speakers.

Zetsche: Keep Chrysler stake

Charles V. Tines The Detroit News

DaimlerChrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche says holding on to a 19.9% share of Chrysler is good business because it lowers the risk profile for the German company. See full image

DaimlerChrysler CEO sees value in joint projects plus lower risk

Christine Tierney / The Detroit News

Soon-to-be-Daimler AG has reduced its exposure to the turmoil in the U.S. auto industry by selling a majority stake in Chrysler, but it expects to hold on to its remaining 19.9 percent interest in the Auburn Hills carmaker.

"We have no intention whatsoever of divesting this stake," DaimlerChrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche said Wednesday on a teleconference to discuss the company's second-quarter results.

DaimlerChrysler has two principal reasons for retaining an interest in Chrysler -- to express "a vote of confidence" in its former partner, and to support continuing joint projects, he said.

But the link no longer poses a risk to the German automaker.

"You can see the value of that stake relative to our overall balance sheet, and this clearly indicates that a percentage point up or down in the return on that investment does not significantly impact our overall profitability," said Zetsche, who ran Chrysler for nearly five years.

Over the nine-year life of the merger, Chrysler's cumulative contribution to the company was positive, due to a steady stream of earnings from its financial services activities.

But the sharp swings in its automotive operations often marred DaimlerChrysler's results and alarmed investors in Germany's largest industrial company.

"The transfer of the majority in Chrysler has improved the group's risk profile significantly," Zetsche said. "We're opening up a new chapter in our history."

DaimlerChrysler marked the start of a new era by announcing a $10.2 billion share buyback -- a move expected to further bolster the value of the stock.

"The program announced today confirms our confidence in the future earnings power and cash flow generation of the new Daimler," Finance Director Bodo Uebber said on the call.

DaimlerChrysler shares finished up $3.27, or nearly 4 percent, at $87.61. They have appreciated dramatically from a low point of $48.46 in the past year.

DaimlerChrysler said it expected to book a $3.4 billion charge in its 2007 results for the Chrysler sale -- less than the $4 billion to $5 billion it estimated in May when it announced the $7.4 billion deal.

Confusing quarterly report

The transaction, which closed on Aug. 3, complicated the Stuttgart, Germany-based automaker's second-quarter reporting.

DaimlerChrysler disclosed some of its second-quarter results on July 25, including higher profits at the Mercedes Car Group and the heavy-truck division.

On Wednesday, it announced a drop in net profit to $2.5 billion in the second quarter from $2.9 billion a year earlier, due in part to weaker results at Chrysler.

But DaimlerChrysler did not break out Chrysler's earnings. They were included in the results from discontinued operations showing a $549 million profit.

"We do not comment on the Chrysler Group," Uebber said when asked about Chrysler's results. Still, he indicated Chrysler's operations, including financial services, were around break-even for the quarter.

Excluding a big gain due to a halt in May in Chrysler depreciation accounting, and the cost of the early redemption of some long-term bonds, "you get to zero, and that reflects the operating performance of Chrysler," Uebber said.

Analyst David Healy at Burnham Securities said the company's "puzzling financial statement" made it difficult for analysts to assess Chrysler's performance. "None of us have been able to figure it out," he said.

In the second quarter of 2006, Chrysler was profitable, reporting earnings of $66 million for its automotive operations and generating a substantial portion of the financial services division's $550 million profit. But the Chrysler Group -- the automotive operations -- sank into the red in the third quarter, hardening the opposition of investors and managers in Germany pushing for a break with Chrysler.

The smallest of Detroit's automakers, Chrysler was buffeted by the troubles in the U.S. industry. Compared with its rivals, it relies even more on truck and minivan sales that have suffered recently.

Chrysler had no comment on the second-quarter results.

Companies keep joint projects

Now privately owned, it is not required to issue quarterly earnings reports.

DaimlerChrysler, which is changing its name to Daimler AG, said the bulk of the charge for the Chrysler sale would be booked during the third quarter.

The companies still plan to cooperate on several projects, such as the platform, or underbody, for SUVs, and share some diesel and hybrid technology.

DaimlerChrysler's second-quarter results also were skewed by a onetime, prior-year gain due to the revaluation of derivatives on part of its stake in European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co.

That was a factor in the decline in DaimlerChrysler's earnings before interest and taxes to $2.9 billion from $3.2 billion in the second quarter of 2006.

On July 25, DaimlerChrysler reported a 74 percent surge in pre-tax earnings at the Mercedes Car Group to $1.6 billion and targeted a rich 10 percent return on sales for the luxury carmaker by 2010 at the latest. The heavy-truck division also posted a 3 percent rise in profit, despite weakness in the North American market.

Chrysler execs decline to explain second quarter numbers

Chrysler execs decline to explain second quarter numbers

After losing nearly $2 billion in the first three months of the year, Chrysler appeared to make about $549 million in the second quarter -- but only after excluding large noncash expenses, such as depreciation.

DaimlerChrysler AG said that Chrysler and its financial services arm, Chrysler Financial, had operating losses in the second quarter but that those losses were offset by $950 million of depreciation and amortization that was not included. Representatives for both DaimlerChrysler and Chrysler declined to clarify the Auburn Hills automaker's finances.

"We do not comment on the Chrysler Group. We've made our decisions and we have a stake of 19.9% and that's it. We look forward to common projects and other stuff," said Bodo Uebber, DaimlerChrysler's chief financial officer.

DaimlerChrysler, which is to be renamed Daimler AG, released its second-quarter financial results Wednesday.

Net income declined 14%, but the announcement of a $10-billion stock buyback plan boosted the price of the company's stock, which is widely held in Michigan. DaimlerChrysler shares rose $3.27, or 3.9%, Wednesday to close at $87.61.

Cerberus Capital Management completed its deal to acquire 80.1% of Chrysler earlier this month.

Cerberus and Chrysler President Tom LaSorda have stated several times that one of the benefits of being under private ownership is not having to publicize quarterly financial results.

Publicly traded companies, such as Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp., would have looked much stronger had they reported second-quarter numbers in a similar fashion to Chrysler.

Ford reported a second-quarter net income of $750 million, but that was after writing down $1.8 billion in depreciation and amortization.

GM reported a nearly $900-million profit for the same period, in which it recognized about $2.1 billion in depreciation and amortization.

Reported like Chrysler's results, Ford apparently would have earned more than $2.5 billion and GM close to $3 billion in the second quarter.

The fact that Chrysler operations continued to lose money during April, May and June may not bode well for Chrysler this year.

Spring is typically one of the best quarters for automakers, a time when plants are humming and incentives tend to be low.

George Magliano, Global Insight's director of automotive research for the Americas, cautioned not to judge Chrysler's turnaround plan by the second-quarter results: It's just too soon.

LaSorda unveiled the turnaround plan in February after the automaker lost $1.5 billion in 2006, a total restated to $680 million because of accounting changes.

"The Big Three are under tremendous pressure. The market is really struggling right now," Magliano said. "To judge anybody's turnaround plan by a quarter's results or any results right now is crazy."

On Wednesday an industry analyst asked Dieter Zetsche, DaimlerChrysler chief executive officer, if Daimler's ownership stake in Chrysler was a long-term investment.

"We have two main interests: One being a successful future for Chrysler and the other being the continuation of close cooperation wherever it makes sense. Both can be supported by this stake," Zetsche said.

"We have no intention whatsoever to divest this stake. At the same time you now can see the value of that stake relative to our overall balance sheet. This really indicates that a percentage point up or down in returns on that investment does not significantly impact our overall profitability."

Meanwhile, 300 of Chrysler's top executives went into the last day Wednesday of a two-day session in a Dearborn hotel, talking about the future as a stand-alone company.

New Chrysler CEO and Chairman Bob Nardelli, who was supposed to speak Tuesday but bowed out because he became ill, attended Wednesday, said Mike Aberlich, a Chrysler spokesman.

Instrumental Intensity Image

US: TRW supplies safety systems for 2008 Chrysler minivans

By Automotive World staff writer (SS)
30 August, 2007
Source: Automotive World

RW Automotive states that it is supplying its active and passive safety systems to the new 2008 US model year Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans. TRW is supplying the components to Chrysler's assembly plants in Windsor, Ont...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Was Nick Hogan Racing A Dodge Viper When He Crashed?


We've got new news out of Florida in the continuing saga of Nick Bollea, son of former WWE superstar Hulk Hogan, and his crash on Sunday of his Toyota Supra. We're being told he may have been racing a Dodge Viper stoplight to stoplight when he crashed. That's at least what one witness on the scene alleges occurred. We weren't there, so we don't know. Although we will say based upon the pictures below, he certainly was going awfully fast when it happened. (Hat tip to SwatLax!)[via WFTV]

Nick Hogan Supra Smash-Up

Production Update: 29 August


Model Est. Lead Time in Weeks Key Production Holds or Lead Times
300 Series 8 Light Sandstone Metallic Clear Coat (PKG) is on hold until 09/17/07.
Sirius(R) BackSeat TV (RSV) is on hold until 10/08/07.
AM/FM Radio with CD/MP3/DVD/HDD and GPS (RER) is on hold until 09/03/07.
Clearwater Blue Pearl Coat (PBG) is on hold until 10/08/07.
6.1-Liter SRT HEMI(R) SMPI V8 Engine (ESF) is on hold until 10/05/07.
AM/FM/CD/DVD/HDD/MP3 Radio (REN) is on hold until 09/03/07.
Sirius(R) BackSeat TV (RSV) is on hold until 10/08/07.
Aspen 6 - 8 4.7-Liter V8 Engine (EVE) with 5-Speed Automatic 545RFE Transmission (DGQ) and California/Northeast Emission (NAE) is on hold until 08/30/07.
Pacifica 10 Light Sandstone Metallic Clear Coat (PKG) is on hold until 09/05/07.
Deep Crimson Crystal Pearl Coat (PHF) is on hold until 10/22/07.
PT Cruiser 8 - 10 Deep Water Blue Pearl Coat (PBS) is on hold until 09/24/07.
Melbourne Green Pearl Coat (PPL) is on hold until 02/04/08.
Silver Steel Metallic Clear Coat (PA4) is on hold until 09/03/07.
Sebring 6 - 8 2.4-Liter 4-Cylinder PZEV 16-Valve Dual (EDG) is on hold until 09/04/07.
2.7-Liter V6 DOHC 24-Valve MPI Engine (EER) with 6-Speed Automatic 62TE Transmission (DG2) is on hold until 08/29/07.
Town & Country 10 AM/FM CD MP3 Nav Radio (RER) is on hold until further notice.
Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl Coat (PXR) is on hold until 12/03/07.
2nd Row Swiveling Bkts w/Boosters (CY4) is on hold until 10/15/07.
2008 DODGE
Model Est. Lead Time in Weeks Key Production Holds or Lead Times
Avenger 6 - 8 None.
Caliber 6 - 8 Seats w/Color-Keyed Insert (V8) with Blue Seat Insert (CXP) is on hold until 09/28/07.
Sport Appearance Interior Group (AJU) with Blue Seat Insert (CXP) is on hold until 09/28/07.
Supplemental Front Seat Side Air Bags (CJ1) is on hold until 10/01/07.
Charger 6 - 8 Light Sandstone Met. Clear Coat (PKG) is on hold until 09/17/07.
Sirius(R) BackSeat TV (RSV) is on hold until 10/08/07.
AM/FM/CD/DVD/HDD MP3 Nav Radio (RER) is on hold until 09/03/07.
Police Group (AHB) is on hold until 09/10/07.
High Intensity Discharge Headlamps (LMP) on the RT LXDP48 are on hold until 11/01/07.
High Intensity Discharge Headlamps (LMP) on the SRT-8 LXDX48 are on hold until 11/01/07.
6.1-Liter SRT HEMI(R) SMPI V8 Engine (ESF) is on hold until 10/05/07.
AM/FM/CD/DVD/HDD/MP3 Radio (REN) is on hold until 09/03/07.
Police Group (AHB) is on hold until 10/10/07.
Dakota 6 - 8 AM/FM CD/DVD Full Scrn Nav Radio w/20GB (RER) is on hold until 09/01/07.
4.7-Liter V8 Engine (EVE) with 5-Spd Automatic 545RFE Transmission (DGQ) and California/Northeast Emission Order Code (NAE) is on hold until 08/30/07.
Soundbox Group (ATR) is on hold until further notice.
Durango 6 - 8 4.7-Liter V8 Engine (EVE) with 5-Spd Automatic 545RFE Transmission (DGQ) and California/Northeast Emission Order Code (NAE) is on hold until 08/30/07.
Grand Caravan 10 Cargo Van Group (AVM) is on hold until 10/22/07.
Marathon Blue Pearl Coat (PBD) is on hold until 09/24/07.
AM/FM CD/DVD Full Scrn Nav Radio w/20GB (RER) is on hold until further notice.
Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl Coat (PXR) is on hold until 12/03/07.
Cargo Compartment Floor Mat (CKL) is on hold until 11/19/07.
Exterior Vinyl Window Shading (XGL) is on hold until 11/19/07.
Full Width Cargo Divider (CWC) is on hold until 11/19/07.
Half Width Cargo Divider (CWG) is on hold until 11/19/07.
Solid Window Inserts (XGC) is on hold until 11/19/07.
Wall Liner - Carpeted (CMP) is on hold until 11/19/07.
Wall Liner - Molded (CMF) is on hold until 11/19/07.
Wire Mesh Window Inserts (XGE) is on hold until 11/19/07.
17.0 x 6.5 Aluminum Wheels (WFX) is on hold until further notice.
Sunburst Orange Pearl Coat (PV6) is on hold until 11/19/07.
2nd-Row Swiveling Bucket Seats with Chil (CY4) is on hold until 10/15/07.
Magnum 8 Light Sandstone Met. Clear Coat (PKG) is on hold until 09/17/07.
Sirius(R) BackSeat TV (RSV) is on hold until 10/08/07.
AM/FM/CD/DVD/HDD MP3 Nav Radio (RER) is on hold until 09/03/07.
Police Group (AHB) is on hold until 09/10/07.
6.1-Liter SRT HEMI(R) SMPI V8 Engine (ESF) is on hold until 10/05/07.
AM/FM/CD/DVD/HDD/MP3 Radio (REN) is on hold until 09/03/07.
Sirius Satellite Streaming Video (RSV) is on hold until 10/08/07.
Police Group (AHB) is on hold until 10/10/07.
Ram 1500 8 - 10 3.42 Axle Ratio (DMR) is on hold until 08/31/07.
Dual Rear Wheels (WLA) with Light Khaki Metallic Clear Coat (PJC) on the 160.5 WB DR1H42 are on hold until 08/30/07.
Dual Rear Wheels (WLA) with Light Khaki Metallic Clear Coat (PJC) on the 160.5 WB DR6H42 are on hold until 08/30/07.
4.7-Liter V8 Engine (EVE) with 5-Spd Automatic 545RFE Transmission (DGQ) and California/Northeast Emission Order Code (NAE) is on hold until 08/30/07.
4.7-Liter V8 Engine (EVE) with 6-Speed Manual Getrag 238 Trans (DEJ) and 50 State Emissions (NAS) is on hold until 08/30/07.
Ram 2500 8 - 10 3.42 Axle Ratio (DMR) is on hold until 08/31/07.
Sprinter 2500 16 None.
Lead time is for passener vans..
Sprinter 3500 20 None.

Cerberus may sell Chrysler's Mopar

Mopar logoCerberus Capital Management may sell some of Chrysler's non-automotive units, according to Bloomberg. The units in question are Mopar, Chrysler's famous service and parts producer, and Chrysler Transport, which manages deliveries to the automaker's plants.

Cerberus assumed 80% ownership of Chrysler from DaimlerChrysler (NYSE: DAI) on August 3. Cerberus is now engaged in contract talks with the United Auto Workers as it looks for ways to cut costs. The union is reportedly opposed to the sales for fear of job losses; the units employ roughly 1,300 unionized workers. Chrysler's four-year contract with the UAW expires on September 14.

Analysts are saying that the sale of the units would allow Cerberus to focus on Chrysler's core business of making cars and trucks, and help raise much-needed cash. But Mopar is hardly a peripheral unit. Chrysler has been using the term to refer to its parts since the 1920s, and Mopar has long been virtually synonymous with the automaker. This is especially true when it comes to high performance cars, including the famous muscle cars of the 1960s and 1970s -- the Barracuda, the Super Bee, the Road Runner -- that Chrysler is trying to revive. So you have to wonder if this is a good move in the long run. Let's hope that Chrysler doesn't lose what makes it unique and desirable to car lovers as it works to return to profitability.

Oil jumps over $1 as supplies fall

Declining inventories overshadow fears of a slowing economy; OPEC not expected to boost output.

NEW YORK ( -- Oil prices extended early gains Wednesday after a government report showing drops in crude and gasoline supplies overshadowed fears of a slowing economy.

U.S. light crude for October delivery jumped $1.50 to $73.23 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil had traded up 72 cents just prior to the report's release.

In its weekly inventory report, the federal Energy Information Administration said crude stocks tumbled 3.5 million barrels last week. Analysts were looking for a drop of 800,000 barrels, according to Reuters.

Gasoline supplies slid 3.6 million barrels versus forecasts for a drop of 1.7 million barrels while stockpiles of distillates used to make heating oil and diesel fuel rose 900,000 barrels, just shy of the expected 1 million-barrel gain.

Oil prices hit a record trading high of $78.77 on Aug. 1, but have since retreated as traders fear fallout from the subprime mortgage sector will slow the global economy and sap demand for crude.

On Tuesday, turmoil in the stock and housing markets caused the biggest drop in consumer confidence in almost two years, adding to fears the global economy will falter. A separate report said home prices nationwide fell for the 12th straight month.

OPEC, under pressure to increase crude oil production as supplies fall in developed countries, said Tuesday the turbulence in the stock and housing markets is making the overall economic picture difficult to read.

OPEC officials have steadfastly insisted the world market is amply supplied with crude and that refinery bottlenecks are mostly to blame for tightness in gasoline supplies.

The group's secretary-general, Abdullah al-Badri, repeated that message on Tuesday, suggesting the 12-member exporter group would hold output steady when it meets on Sept. 11 in Vienna, Reuters reported.

But Badri said the U.S. subprime mortgage meltdown has made it tougher for OPEC to chart oil policy by clouding the picture on demand growth. "The situation in the past couple of weeks has become a lot more serious," he told Reuters.

Chrysler: Whole Lotta Shaking Up Going On

Cerberus Capital Management has owned Chrysler barely over three weeks with Chrysler_fireworks_240CEO Bob Nardelli at the helm during that time. Yet, there’s already a whole lotta shaking up oing on at the auto company.

Chrysler made a number of significant moves this week:

* proposed plans to shed a couple of non-core operations – Chrysler Transport and all or parts of Mopar;

* reshuffled the manufacturing management ranks, with some veterans taking retirement;

*appointed an up-and-comer to specifically be responsible for executing (and possibly accelerating and deepening?) the automaker’s recovery plan;

*held management meetings at which Nardelli shared his vision of Chrysler's future.

And the week's not half over.

These moves are but a precursor tremor to what is likely to take place in the future as Chrysler’s new owners attempt a quick turnaround of the automaker – and likely sell it within the next few years.

Shedding “Non-Core” Assets

Shedding “non-core” assets is predictable. The first move private equity firms make in a purchase is shed assets to not only slash costs but also to generate cash from a sale in order to recoup some of its investment. With auto companies, few standalone assets exist to sell off as they are deeply intertwined in the companies’ core business or the assets have little value.

In the case of Cerberus, which owns roughly 80 percent of Chrysler, the reported plan is to shed all or parts of Mopar, which makes high-performance and specialty auto parts sold by Chrysler as options in its vehicles or by its dealers as aftermarket features. The floated plan also includes the spin-off is Chrysler Transport, which managers delivery of supplies to Chrysler plants. The two operations combined employ about 1,300 workers.

UAW Opposition

Obviously, the UAW opposes such divestitures. Chrysler, as is the case with General Motors and Ford, is in the thick of negotiations with the union for a new national contract to replace the one that expires Sept. 14.

The UAW opposes Chrysler shedding operations, in part, because it eliminates jobs but also undermines the union’s power by further decreasing the union’s dues-paying membership. Diminishing the union’s power may be seen as a secondary benefit for Cerberus.

Director of Recovery Appointed

Another intriguing development Tuesday at Chrysler was the appointment of former Daimler exec Andreas Schell to the newly created post of Director of Recovery and Transformation Plan and Business Strategy. Daimler still owns nearly 20 percent of Chrysler.

Chrysler’s press release on his appointment said the position pulls together “the restructuring of several strategic functions under a single point of responsibility.” The consolidated positions include: Recovery and Transformation Plan – the plan announced on Feb. 14; business strategy; material cost management; and executive planner, Office of the Chairman.

Schell, at the tender age of 38, is obviously an up-and-comer. In his new job, hel reports to Nardelli and Tom LaSorda, vice chairman and president.

Schell joined Chrysler in 2002. He most recently was senior manager in the Office of the Chairman. Prior to joining Chrysler, Schell had been with Daimler since 1996. He holds a masters degree in mechanical engineering from Germany’s University Clausthal-Zellerfeld and an MBA from Michigan State University

What wasn’t revealed was whether or not Schell will stick to the current plan. Or, will he adjust it, accelerate it and significantly deepen it as Chrysler seeks profitability by 2009, according to the current plan.

A hint might be what Chrysler sources are saying. Insiders claim the new owners are scrutinizing every corner of Chrysler, including areas thought to be way down the list of priorities, and already reshuffling and accepting retirements of some veterans.

LaSorda’s future

The appointment of Schell to the new post one again raises questions about the future of LaSorda, who role was described as implementing the recovery plan developed during his tenure as Chrysler chairman and that he announced on Feb. 14, the day Chrysler was put up for sale by DaimlerChrysler.

Conventional wisdom says LaSorda, popular with the unions having grown up in a family of Chrysler union activists in Windsor, Ont., is largely focused on labor talks. Betting is he’ll be sent merrily on his way with a trunk load of cash after a contract is reached.

More Management Shuffle

Chrysler announced Tuesday a number of other management changes in the manufacturing ranks. They are:

· Cynthia C. (Cindy) Sidoti -- plant manager, Sterling Heights, Mich., Assembly Plant, which makes the Chrysler Sebring sedan and convertible and the Dodge Avenger. She replaces a Chrysler veteran who is retiring. She most recently was plant manager of the Toledo, Ohio, Supplier Park;

· Robert M. Seabolt -- plant manager, Toledo, Ohio, Supplier Park Complex, which produces the Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4-door. He was director – Recovery & Transformation Plan and Material Cost Management;

· Melissa M. Holobach - - plant manager – Pilot Operations, Sterling Heights, Mich., Vehicle Test Center and Conner Avenue (Detroit) Assembly Plant. She’s in charge of production of the Dodge Viper and future pilot vehicles. She was director of business strategy;

· Frank A. Faga – director, Rear Wheel Drive Product Team, Advance Manufacturing Engineering. He replaces a Chrysler veteran who is retiring. He previous was director of Compact Car Manufacturing.

A couple weeks ago, Chrysler reached outside its walls to hire Lexus marketing vice president Deborah Wahl Meyer as the new vice president and chief marketing officer of Chrysler, effective Tuesday.

Stay Tuned for More Change

This week, Chrysler’s top 300 managers are meeting off-site, meetings scheduled before Cerberus and Nardelli took over. At the meetings, Nardelli reportedly is sharing his vision for Chrysler’s future.

If this is the kind of action Nardelli takes in his first few weeks on the job, what will the next year or so hold? Likely Chrysler will see a lot more seismic changes.

As Gerald Meyers, a University of Michigan business professor and former chairman of American Motors Corp. (bought by Chrysler in the 1980s) told the Detroit Free Press: "This is just the beginning. He's not going to resist making changes."