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Incentives major appeal for buyers

WESTLAKE VILLAGE - As consumers become accustomed to manufacturer-sponsored incentives such as employee-pricing programs, new vehicle buyers increasingly reject newly launched models that don't offer discounts.

That's the finding of a newly released J.D. Power and Associates study, which analyzed why consumers consider a model, but ultimately purchase a different make or model.

The study showed that shoppers increasingly cite a lack of incentives/rebates as the reason a vehicle is rejected, particularly with all-new launch models, which are often not discounted due to high demand.

Twenty-one percent of shoppers rejected a launch vehicle due to a lack of incentives - up from 18 percent in 2004. A lack of incentives is the third-most-cited reason shoppers reject a model, following price and monthly payments.

Time Warner may lure Icahn money

NEW YORK - Billionaire financier Carl Icahn may join an investor group that could buy as much as 10 percent of Time Warner Inc.'s shares, according to a newspaper report Tuesday.

Citing a person familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site that Icahn is willing to put up as much as $1.5 billion of the $6 billion that may be needed to acquire the shares.

Icahn was not available for comment on Tuesday. He and three other investors recently took a $2.2 billion stake in the media company.

Earlier this month Icahn said he had met with Time Warner CEO Dick Parsons, and the two held a ``productive'' discussion about Icahn's ideas for improving the value of Time Warner share prices.

Ford will fire 400 salaried workers

DETROIT - Ford Motor Co. plans to fire 400 U.S. salaried employees by the end of this year as part of a restructuring plan, a spokesman for the second biggest U.S. automaker said Tuesday.

It is the first time in 30 years that Ford has forced out so many white-collar workers, spokesman Oscar Suris said.

Ford has said it wants to reduce its North American salaried work force by 2,750 jobs by the end of this year, but Tuesday was the first time the company has confirmed that 400 of those employees will be fired. Some of those dismissals already have occurred, Suris said.

Microsoft to buy into VoIP industry

Microsoft is expected to announce today that it is acquiring a San Francisco-based Internet phone company, Teleo, to add features to its MSN Internet portal service.

The announcement follows moves last week by Google and Skype, a Luxembourg-based Internet voice company, to take business away from traditional telephone companies. Competition for digital calling - from technology companies like these as well as from big cable television and satellite firms - could make prices more attractive to consumers who have shied away from so-called voice-over-Internet protocol, or VoIP, service.

The Teleo acquisition would give Microsoft a lift in what is at least a three-way race with Google and Skype, but also includes other competition.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 31, 2005
Words:497
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