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January 11, 2005 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-01-11

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NEWS

The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 3

. ON CAMPUS
Student-athletes
to host variety
show for Mott
In an effort to raise funds for C.S.
Mott Children's Hospital, Michigan
athletes will host a talent/variety show
tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Michigan
Theater.
The event, titled Mock Rock, will
be hosted by Steve Clarke from 10:50
AM radio. Several U.S. Olympi-
ans will serve as judges. Performers-
include members from the football,
softball, wrestling and hockey teams.
Tickets are available at the Athletic
Ticket office for $6 in advance and $8
at the door.
Women's Studies
presents study on
'successful' aging
In a talk sponsored by the Universi-
ty's Institute for Research and Gender,
women's studies and linguistics Prof.
Deborah Keller-Cohen will speak on
the relationship between aging and
language, focusing on people older
than 85.
Titled "Successful Aging: A
Study of Language, Cognition and
Social Contract in People Over 85,"
the lecture will start at noon and be in
room 2239 of Lane Hall.
A Capella group to
hold auditions
fThe Sopranos, the University's all-
female a capella group, will hold try-
outs tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. in the
Bell Tower. E-mail sopranos @umich.
Iedu to schedule an audition or walk in
unannounced.
CRIME
NOTES
Accident leads to
fir alarm ringing
in residence hall
A fire alarm was set off early
Sunday morning in Mary Markley
Residence Hall because someone
intentionally discharged a fire extin-
guisher in the building, according to
the Department of Public Safety.
No suspects yet
in case of cell
phone theft
A caller reported to DPS on Sunday
that his cell phone was stolen from the
Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library last
month. There are currently no suspects
in the case.
Two people
apprehended after

soliciting business
Two people were found attempting to
solicit business on Sunday at 700 North
University Ave., which is University prop-
erty. DPS discovered them while they
were setting up a table. They had a permit,
but not the correct one, DPS said.
The people were released without any
citations or arrests.
THIS DAY
In Daily History
Ann Arbor voted
second-best city
for women
Jan. 11, 2000 - This month's
Ladies Home Journal announced its
third annual listing of the best cit-
ies for women, and Ann Arbor rated
second out of 200 cities nationwide
behind Irvine, Calif.
Reader polls fueled the decision-
making process for the ranking.
A low crime rate has consistently
been a primary concern for women
and carried the most weight in this
year's rankings. Ann Arbor scored in
the 90th percentile for low crime.
Ann Arbor was ranked in the 44th

GM to reduce
payroll for fifth
straight year

DETROIT (AP) - General Motors
Corp., the world's biggest automaker,
plans to trim its U.S. work force again in
2005, part of an ongoing effort to reduce
costs, chairman'and chief executive Rick
Wagoner said yesterday.
GM has trimmed its U.S. payroll every
year since 2000, company figures show.
Wagoner, speaking to reporters at the
North American International Auto Show,
declined to place a number on targeted
reductions, but he said the pattern likely
would follow that of recent years.
Through the third quarter of 2004, GM
reduced its U.S. hourly work force by
about 6 percent versus the same period
in 2003 - from 119,000 to 112,000, GM
figures show.
For the same period, its smaller, sala-
ried work force declined by 5 percent
- from 40,000 to 38,000.
The bulk of the reductions were through
attrition and retirements, GM said.
Wagoner said the attrition rate among
salaried workers in the past few years
has been about 2 percent, while the
same rate for hourly workers has been
roughly 5 percent.
"We've hired people every year," Wag-
-.:.oner said. "We'll continue to do that. But
we don't hire on a one-for-one replace-
ment. We may do one for two, one for
three, depending on the plant and the loca-
tion. The result is we've been able to signif-
icantly improve productivity without any
massive dislocations of our work force."
But there will be layoffs inh2005. GM
said late last year it will close an aging
factory in Baltimore this year and idle
50GENE ROB TQ 6[)a ly another plant in Linden, N.J. Those moves
On" at the 18th Annual Reverend D~r. Martin Luther King, Jr, will affect about 2,000 workers.
Mnde soh het. GM, whose U.S. sales fell 1.4 percent
in 2004, has been shrinking its work force
roll into Detroit autoshow

in recent years in the face of declining
market share, weak automotive profits and
mounting health care and pension costs.
Globally, GM's employment fell from
388,000 in 2000 to 323,000 at the end of
September. The company announced last
month it plans to offer another round of
early retirement offers and buyout packag-
es to an undetermined number of its 38,000
U.S. salaried workers early this year.
Once again, rising health care expenses
will be a drain on profits. Those costs are
a big reason some analysts predict GM's
profits will fall this year versus 2004.
"GM will be hard-pressed to prevent
some erosion of earnings in 2005, given
persisting sales weakness and cost pres-
sures in North America plus the likely
subsidence of results at (GM's finance
arm) from recent record levels," Standard
& Poor's said in a recent report.
Also, S&P said, GM is likely to incur
costly cash charges from an ongoing
restructuring of its European operations.
However, Wagoner said the forecast
for reasonable growth in the U.S. econo-
my this year bodes well for the industry,
but the prospects of higher interest rates
could be a negative.
At GM in particular, Wagoner said
he's optimistic about increased car sales
because of several new entries from Cadil-
lac, Chevrolet, Buick and other brands. He
acknowledged that GM's aging truck line
is likely to be another story.
"Everybody else has their new prod-
ucts," Wagoner said. "We'rexintheelatter
part of our cycle. So we're going to have
to fight there."
On the New York Stock Exchange, GM
shares closed down 51 cents at $38.49. Its
52-week low was $36.90 a share reached
in October.
Hybrids by
the numbers
Hybrids carmakers expect to
sell in 2005
130E 7
Miles per hour a Toyota Prius
achieved last August
The year Toyota's U.S.
manager Bill Reinert estimates
that hybrids will represent half
the automobile market
15
Highest percent of the market
hybrids will ever command,
GM's Tom Stephens estimates
f
Additional dollars hybrids
currently cost above
comparative gas-powered
vehicles

Hybrids
DETROIT (AP) - For hybrid
vehicles at this year's North Ameri-
can International Auto Show, the
"wow" factor is over.
It's been nine years since Toyota
Motor Co. first exhibited its Prius
hybrid, the first gas-electric hybrid
on the road. This year, automakers
expect to sell 200,000 hybrid vehi-
cles in the United States, according
to Anthony Pratt, an analyst with
J.D. Power and Associates.
Automakers now have to do the
tough work of increasing those sales
by continually improving hybrid
engines even as they keep hybrid
prices down. Hybrids currently cost
around $3,000 to $4,000 more than
regular gas versions.
Automakers also have to educate
consumers who are still skeptical about
the benefits and mechanics of hybrids.
Throughout this year's auto show, prom-
inent signs tell consumers that hybrids
don't need to be plugged in, which auto-
makers say is one of the biggest miscon-
ceptions about the technology. Hybrids
draw power from two energy
sources, typically a gas or diesel
engine combined with an electric
motor, and surplus engine power is

used to continually recharge the vehi-
cle's battery.
Automakers also are trying to
convince consumers that hybrids
can be just as powerful as traditional
vehicles. It's no accident that at the
Detroit show, Toyota is prominent-
ly displaying a Prius that achieved
130.7 miles per hour at the Bonnev-
ille National Speed Week in Utah
last August.
"It was amazing to see the hot-rod-
ders come to accept it as just another
variance," said Bill Reinert, the U.S.
manager for Toyota's advanced tech-
nology group.
At the same time, automakers
are wary of spending too much on
a technology that may never cap-
ture much of the market. Pratt says
he thinks demand for hybrids will
peak around 2011, at 3 percent of
the market, because there's a limit
to the number of customers willing
to pay more for a vehicle that will
save them a few hundred dollars a
year on gas.
"The average consumers aren't
willing to pay that premium for a car
they won't drive more than six years,"
Pratt said.

Toyota is far more optimistic about
consumer demand for hybrids. Rein-
ert believes hybrids will be about
half the market by 2025, based on
the adoption of other technologies
like laptops.
As a result, Toyota has an aggres-
sive plan to introduce hybrid versions
in all vehicle segments in the near
future. A hybrid Lexus RX400 sport
utility vehicle goes on sale in April
and already has 11,000 orders.
Ford Motor Co., which uses
Toyota's hybrid technology, is also
introducing hybrids at a rapid rate.
The company announced Sunday
that it is adding four hybrid sedans
and SUVs to its lineup over the next
three years.
On the other end of the spectrum
are more skeptical automakers. Nis-
san Motor Co. CEO Carlos Ghosn
said this week that Nissan is still
planning to sell a hybrid version of
the Altima sedan in 2006, but will be
watching the market before promis-
ing more hybrids. Nissan also uses
hybrid technology from Toyota.
"We want to make sure we are not
concentrating on one technology,"
Ghosn said. "But we are ready. We

will not be surprised by any accel-
eration or deceleration in the hybrid
market."
Porsche AG CEO Wendelin Wie-
dekingis said yesterday that Porsche is
considering a hybrid Cayenne SUV but
won't make a decision until later this
year. Volkswagen AG said last week it
will push clean-burning diesel fuel over
gas-electric hybrids.
Among the companies in the mid-
dle is General Motors Corp., which
already sells hybrid pickups but with
a less advanced system that saves kss
fuel.
GM introduced two hybrid con-
cept vehicles this week and is
developing a hybrid system similar
to Toyota's. Eventually, GM envi-
sions allowing customers to choose
a hybrid system based on how much
they want to pay and how much gas
they want to save.
Tom Stephens, GM's vice presi-
dent for powertrains, said he expects
hybrids will never command more
than 15 percent of the market.
"None of what you see here indi-
vidually is a silver bullet," Stephens
said. "We have to improve on all
fronts."

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