Ford and Oracle are forming a joint venture to help Ford streamline the way that it buys materials and parts from worldwide suppliers. Oracle is selling Ford software to create a centralized marketplace for its parts suppliers. That system, to be called AutoXchange, will enable Ford to better monitor prices and the availability of parts that it buys. A few hours later, General Motors said it, too, would seek to put much of its purchasing on the Internet.
Barnes & Noble said it bought a 49 percent stake in closely held vanity printer iUniverse.com, the No. 1 U.S. bookseller's first venture into publishing. IUniverse.com publishes new and out-of-print books in paperback versions, which are sold through retail or online booksellers. The transaction means its books will be available and prominently displayed through Barnesandnoble.com and in Barnes & Noble stores. Authors can get their out-of-print books published for free or manuscripts for at least $99 through Campbell, Calif.-based iUniverse.
Revlon, facing an unexpected loss this year from rising competition in cosmetics, said George Fellows has resigned as president and chief executive and was replaced by Jeffrey Nugent of rival Johnson & Johnson. Nugent, as president of Neutrogena, Johnson & Johnson's skin-care and hair-care products unit, led an introduction of cosmetics this year that have taken sales from Revlon, the cosmetics maker controlled by financier Ronald Perelman.
NextWave Telecom told a federal appeals court that a bankruptcy judge had been right to reduce the price the company must pay for wireless telephone licenses because their market value declined in the months after a 1996 government auction. The Federal Communications Commission had appealed Bankruptcy Judge Adlai Hardin's decision to cut NextWave's obligation for the radio spectrum needed for wireless transmissions to just over $1 billion. NextWave bid $4.8 billion for the bandwidth in 1996 and had paid about $500 million before it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December.
The Saturn division of General Motors issued three separate safety recalls of its new 2000 S-series small car. Saturn said most of the vehicles never left the factory or dealerships. GM also recalled: 6,584 1999 Chevrolet Cavaliers and Pontiac Sunfires because the instrument panel light may malfunction; 3,947 2000 Chevrolet Blazer and GMC Jimmy sport-utility vehicles; and 2000 Chevrolet S-10 and GMC Sonoma pickups. On two-wheel-drive versions of the trucks, brake fluid could leak, increasing stopping distance.
Ford's Volvo division recalled 122,660 of its 1998 models after a few customers complained that the passenger-side air bag suddenly deployed when they were washing their cars. Owners of 1998 Volvo S70s, V70s and C70s can take their cars to dealers, who will install without charge an additional ground wire in the passenger side. Volvo issued a second recall covering 114,850 1998 Volvo 70-series cars and its predecessor, the 1997 Volvo 850, for repair of a faulty headlight switch.
DaimlerChrysler recalled 227,283 1991-94 Dodge Shadow and Plymouth Sundance coupes because the driver's seat could break and suddenly recline, possibly causing a crash, said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
BMW recalled 11,099 of the 1999 Land Rover Discovery sport-utility vehicles because the antilock brake alarm could malfunction and the vehicle could experience inadvertent braking for less than a second, NHTSA said.
EchoStar Communications, the second-largest U.S. satellite television company, said its third-quarter loss widened to $124.4 million, from $51.9 million a year earlier, as it spent more to win new customers. EchoStar, which operates the Dish Network satellite TV service, said marketing expenses more than tripled, to $200.6 million, as it added 375,000 subscribers during the quarter.
Rite Aid, saying its loss in the fiscal second quarter wasn't as wide as it forecast, restated results for two quarters. Its loss was $15.4 million in the period ended Aug. 28, including $29.3 million in pretax charges for impaired assets and closing 57 stores. Rite Aid restated results for the year-earlier quarter and the first quarter of this year to adjust for closed stores and impaired assets as part of a plan to restate three years of results.
Lucent Technologies is closing its Silver Spring call center, giving the center's 40 employees a choice of taking a severance package or applying for other positions with the company. Lucent gave the employees notice of the move Monday when it announced a company-wide 1,200-person layoff as part of a consolidation of its business communications unit. The call center handles billing and ordering for business customers of the Murray Hill, N.J.-based company. Lucent has 1,600 employees in various divisions in the Washington area.
Harris Teeter will open the first of its six planned Washington area stores today in the Ballston area of Arlington. The two-story supermarket has a large wine department, a GNC nutrition store and prepared-meal food service. The Matthews, N.C.-based company also will open a coffee bar upstairs. The chain plans to open stores in Gaithersburg, Fairfax and Annandale next year, and in Potomac and Pentagon City in 2001.