DaimlerChrysler AG marks its first Frankfurt show appearance post merger with a quick update on its financial status. Among the key numbers for 1999 through August: Total vehicle sales have hit 3.15 million units, including 2.1 million Chrysler vehicles (up 4%), 689,100 Mercedes/Smart vehicles (up 20%) and 363,000 commercial vehicles (up 17%). Revenues from vehicle sales total $68.9 billion — up 12% from like-1998. Total revenues of $101.2 billion are up 13% from year-ago, and DC now is forecasting the year to wind up at $155 billion, instead of the previously forecast $148 billion. However, DC says its $1.4 billion in synergy savings this year will be eroded by cost pressures at Chrysler and losses at Smart, news that sent the company's stock falling more than two points. Smart's poor performance is forcing the resignation of Lars Brorsen, who will give up his position as head of operations effective Oct. 1.

Volkswagen AG not only will attack rival Mercedes-Benz with a new high-line sedan — shown here in concept form as the D1, it is planning to invade the Smart market, as well. Chairman Ferdinand Piech says VW plans to launch a new model smaller than its Lupo entry-level car. Timing is unclear, but the car will have its own platform, seat four and be targeted at emerging markets as well as Europe. Eastern Europe and China are said to be possible sites for plants to build the $5,500-$7,000 car.

Volkswagen AG apparently is offering to continue building the Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph for BMW AG, after BMW takes over rights to the brand in 2003. If BMW decides not to take the car, VW says it will produce a Bugatti sedan at the Crewe, U.K., plant.

Adam Opel AG says its G90 concept car will form the basis for a future production car within the next five years. The lightweight G90 (1,653 lbs.) is built around an aluminum space frame, seats four and achieves 60 mpg fuel economy via a 3-cyl. engine that drives the car's front wheels. It is designed to meet European emissions standards set for 2008.

Fiat Auto SpA says it has 100,000 orders for its new Punto. It originally was expecting to sell 60,000. About 40% of the orders are from Italy.

DaimlerChrysler AG says it still would be interested in acquiring commercial vehicle builder Nissan Diesel Motor Co. Ltd., if Renault SA would clear the way for a deal. DC says the alliance between Renault and Nissan Diesel parent Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. likely precludes a DC-Nissan Diesel tie-up from happening.

Cadillac says a specially equipped version of its '00 Seville will serve as the official pace car of the 68th Le Mans race. Dubbed the STSi, the pace car gets a 320-hp version of the Northstar V-8 (up 20 hp), an enhanced StabiliTrack chassis control system, high intensity discharge headlamps (to be used on '01 STS models) and Cadillac's night-vision system.

Toyota Motor Corp. says it will launch 14 new models in Europe by the spring of 2001. The automaker is targeting sales of 800,000 units annually and a 5% share of the European market by 2005. It currently sells 600,000 vehicles.

Volkswagen AG says it will make its ESP — electronic stability program — suspension controls standard across the line. The technology is becoming like antilock brakes, says VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech. “This will be something you don't talk about, you just have it,” he says.