New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) is a 50/50 joint venture between General Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp., but Toyota runs the outfit. Based at a previous GM plant in Fremont, CA, NUMMI builds Toyota's Corolla and Tacoma and GM's Geo Prizm knockoff of Corolla. NUMMI employees have enjoyed Toyota's special discounts for years. Now GM belatedly is wooing NUMMI folks with the same employee discounts available throughout the rest of GM's empire, WAW learns, which doubtlessly doesn't bring joy at Toyota. But NUMMI types aren't thrilled that Saturn is excluded from the package. GM credit card holders also complain that Saturn's excluded when it comes to cash credits they can build toward buying a GM car.

Who's Best for

Auto Industry ?

GM Chairman Jack Smith was asked following his SAE Greenbrier keynote address what impact each presidential candidate would have on the U.S. auto industry. He didn't answer directly, but had this to say: "The real key is what happens in Congress. If the Democrats win both Congress and the White House it would be very difficult for the industry because he (Clinton) would be a lame duck and Gore has plans to run in 2000. That could mean a very difficult environmental challenge - that's what we're concerned about."

Quote of the Month

"There's more for less, less for less and the same for less." - Ford Vice President-Purchasing Carlos Mazzorin's tongue-in-cheek explanation of ways to achieve "value added" in supplier contracts.

Chrysler Eventually to

Replace Toledo Plant

Chrysler Chairman Robert J. Eaton nearly triggered another 50-state bidding war when he recently acknowledged that the company eventually will replace its Dickensian 86-year-old Toledo assembly plant where it builds Jeep Cherokees and Jeep Wranglers.

Sorry, but this one's not headed for Tennessee or South Carolina.

"While we have not yet made firm plans to do so, both state and local government officials have been in contact with us," Mr. Eaton says. "(Ohio) Gov. George Voinovich has personally offered the state's support to keep these jobs in Ohio, and Toledo Mayor Carleton Finkbeiner has created a state and local task force to work with us. Our major consideration will be to have the plant in a location that will allow us to retain our current outstanding Toledo work force."