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VTC Expands Distribution

Vega Tool Corp. has announced the addition of a new distribution channel with Precision Tools Service Inc. PTS is among a group of technology driven distributors to represent the Hitachi engineered tooling line. PTS is a source of tooling for automotive manufacturers, including AISIN. The addition of Hitachi products is meant to further establish PTS’ supplier position for tooling.

InMotion and Lucent Technologies Join Forces

In Motion Technology Inc., a leading innovator of passenger-area networking solutions and Lucent Technologies have entered an agreement to provide wireless service providers with a solution designed to integrate third-generation (3G) mobile networks and Wi-Fi networks.

This solution is engineered to enable wireless service providers to take advantage of wide-area 3G CDMA2000 and UMTS/W-CDMA mobile networks to transport data traffic generated by Wi-Fi hot spots, providing business users and consumers with access to the internet and corporate applications.

Under the agreement, the two companies will collaborate to ensure compatibility of InMotion’s onBoard Mobile Gateway, which links the Wi-Fi and 3G networks, with Lucent’s 3G CDMA2000 and UMTS/W-CDMA mobile networking equipment.

Continental Teves to Expand ESC Applications

Continental Teves, a unit of Continental AG, is launching production for six new electronic stability control (ESC) programs in North America on model year 2004 vehicles. More than 30 model year 2004 vehicles in North America will now be available with Continental’s technology, which Continental markets as the Electronic Stability Program (ESP).

Continental projects that it will supply more than 3.6 million ESP units to automakers in North America, Europe and Asia this model year, an increase of more than seven percent over the 2003 model year.

Intermet to Open Second PCPC Manufacturing Plant

Intermet Corp. states it will open a second casting plant dedicated to the company’s new PCPC (Pressure-Counter-Pressure- Casting) process. The plant is located in Jackson, Tenn., adjacent to one of Intermet’s existing aluminum casting facilities and initially will support a new steering knuckle program for the Dodge Durango beginning in June of next year.

The company’s first PCPC plant in Stevensville, Mich., which began aluminum steering knuckle production in 2001 for a large General Motors light-vehicle platform, is continuing at full capacity.

When completed, the plant will feature PCPC cells designed to accommodate larger aluminum structural components such as suspension control arms and light-truck steering knuckles. It is being designed with the latest developments in lean manufacturing and one-piece workflow. The plant will have the capacity for up to 20 casting cells and heat-treatment systems. Fully equipped metallurgical laboratories and real-time X-ray systems with automatic inspection also will be in place to help support the manufacturing programs. Initial castings from the first machines installed in the 75,000 sq.ft. plant were recently made.

Ford Celebrates 300 Millionth Vehicle

Ford Motor Co. marks another milestone in its Centennial year with production of its 300 millionth vehicle – a crimson red Ford Mustang – at the Ford Rouge Center in Dearborn, Mich.

Other vehicle production milestones in Ford Motor Co. history were the 20 millionth in 1931, the 50 millionth in 1959, the 100 millionth in 1977 and the 250 millionth in 1996.

ArvinMeritor Retracts Offer to Dana

ArvinMeritor Inc. has retracted its $18.00 per share all cash tender offer to acquire all of the outstanding common shares of Dana Corp. following Dana’s announcement that its board of directors recommends that its shareowners reject ArvinMeritor’s increased offer.

No Dana shares were purchased by ArvinMeritor pursuant to the offer and all tendered shares will be returned promptly. According to the company, this was its final offer.

Nissan Shifts Production of Fairlady Z to Tochigi Plant

Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. will transfer production of the Fairlady Z (350Z) and the Fairlady Z Roadster (350Z Roadster) from its Oppama plant to its Tochigi, Japan, plant. The Tochigi plant is scheduled to begin production of the models in January 2004. The current Fairlady Z has been on sale since the summer of 2002 and sales of the new Fairlady Z Roadster launched on October 1, 2003.

The transfer of Fairlady Z production to the Tochigi plant is intended to spread production more evenly among Nissan’s plants, allowing the company to increase its overall production efficiency. The Oppama Plant will be focused on producing high-volume compact models such as the March and the Cube. The Tochigi plant production will center on large, rear-wheel-drive models such as luxury cars and high-performance cars.

ZF Forms Joint Venture with FAWER in China

ZF has signed an agreement for the foundation of a strategic joint venture with the automotive supplier FAWER in Changchun, China. The new joint venture will produce chassis components and systems for passenger cars and commercial vehicles made in China.

The company will be called ZF FAWER Chassis Technology Co. Ltd. and will be located in Changchun. Planned products include chassis components from the ZF Car Chassis Technology and Off-Road Driveline Technology and Axle Systems Divisions. In the medium term, ZF may supply complete axle systems for passenger cars. For the ZF Group, ZF Lemforder Metallwaren AG holds 51 percent of the shares with FAWER 49 percent.

FAWER is an affiliated corporation of FAW, one of China’s largest vehicle manufacturers. FAW produces its own vehicles and cooperates with the VW Group as well as Japanese automakers.

Tenneco Automotive and Eberspacher Enter Luxury Market in China

Tenneco Automotive and Eberspacher International GmbH have signed an agreement to establish Walker-Eberspacher

Automotive Exhaust System Co. Ltd. a joint venture in China. The joint venture will manufacture and distribute emission control products and systems for BMW and Audi vehicles produced in China. The company expects to begin production in 2004.

The joint venture will operate just-in-time final assembly manufacturing operations in Dalian and Changchun, China, at Tenneco Automotive’s existing joint venture facilities in those cities. Initially, the Dalian facility will supply BMW 3 Series vehicles produced by Brillance in Shenyang. The Changchun facility will supply Audi A4 vehicles produced in the same city by FAW-VW.

The joint venture will be owned 30 percent by Tenneco Automotive directly, 25 percent by one of Tenneco Automotive’s existing majority-owned joint ventures in China and 45 percent by Eberspacher.

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