* Consulting firm CSM Worldwide predicts Toyota to be No. 3 in U.S. sales by 2009.
* XM Satellite Radio will broadcast every major league baseball game in 2005.
* Combined U.S. sales of Toyota's divisions - Toyota, Lexus, and Scion - are likely to grow 24 percent to 2.5 million units by 2009.
* Nissan and a local partner will spend $362 million on an engine plant in southern China to help it sidestep hefty import tariffs on auto parts.
* Mitsubishi Motors Corp. recently denied Japanese press reports that it would withdraw from the American market and sell its Normal, Illinois, factory.
* Ford's Explorer Sport Trac will get a V-8 in 2006.
* As part of a deal to develop gasoline-electric powertrains with General Motors, Dodge will add a hybrid version of the Durango SUV in 2007. This is the second time Chrysler has promised a Durango hybrid.
* Automotive researchers are developing a car that doesn't stink. Soon, automakers will be able to build cars that protect occupants' noses from virtually any unpleasant smells.
Satellite Radio Booming
The Christmas holiday rush helped both XM and Sirius exceed their year-end subscriber goals. Sirius said that it passed its goal of signing up 1 million subscribers by the end of the year. XM also said the holiday season helped it top its goal of 3.1 million subscribers before the end of 2004. Sirius declined to say how many subscribers it has; that announcement is expected sometime in the first quarter of 2005. As of November 22, the service had 800,000 subscribers. Competition between XM and Sirius has been fierce in 2004. Sirius has been gaining more factory installations among domestic and foreign automakers, and it also has beefed up its programs to attract more subscribers. It also has signed popular radio personality Howard Stern, who will start broadcasting on Sirius in 2006. Both Sirius and XM charge monthly fees for service. XM charges $9.99 per month and Sirius charges $12.95 per month.
More Ford Recalls
Ford Motor Co. has expanded its recall of Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute sport-utility vehicles because of problems with the rear liftgate, which if left unlocked, could open during a crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This comes only weeks after the same vehicles were recalled due to a problem with their accelerator cable. The problem affects nearly a half-million vehicles.
New Toyota Production Record Set
Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America surpassed its production record of 650,062 cars built in one year; the 2004 number hit 652,732 on December 3.
Mitsubishi Raider Debut In Detroit
The Mitsubishi pickup is based on the Dodge Dakota, and it will be built on the same line as the Dodge in Warren, Michigan. Most of the Raider's sheetmetal is unique to the Mitsubishi model. While the Raider will share the Chrysler group's 3.7L V-6 and 4.7L V-8, the Dakota's high-output 4.7L V-8 will be unavailable to Mitsubishi. Even with Mitsubishi's horrid financial performances over the last few years, the Raider is looked at as a savior of sorts for the ailing manufacturer.
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