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Week of July 31, 2000


 

PT CRUISER MIXED BAG IN CRASH TESTS
FORD TO CLEAN UP SUVS
FOCUSING ON THE WORLD
LEASE LENDERS LOSING
BECKER TO HEAD BMW SMALL CARS
GM AND FORD INTERESTED IN PROTON
AUTOMAKERS PROPOSE DISTRACTION GUIDELINES
HYUNDAI CONFIRMS PLANS FOR N. AMERICA AND EUROPE
MERCEDES-BENZ TO EXPORT CARS FROM S. AFRICA
INTEREST IN ROVER
BP TO PHASE OUT AMOCO
CHRYSLER PROFITS DOWN
FIRESTONE HOT SUIT
AUTONATION EARNINGS LOWER THAN EXPECTED

 

PT CRUISER MIXED BAG IN CRASH TESTS The DaimlerChrysler PT Cruiser received mixed ratings for crash protection in a recent National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA) test, said the agency. The PT Cruiser scored (on a five-star scale, with five being highest) two stars and four stars, respectively, for driver and passenger protection in frontal collisions. In the side-impact test, the PT Cruiser received four stars for front occupants and five stars for rear occupants. The frontal tests are conducted at 35 miles per hour into a fixed barrier, while the side tests involve a 3015-pound barrier moving at 37.5 miles per hour crashing into a stationary test vehicle.

For more information on the PT Cruiser’s crash-test rating, click here

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FORD TO CLEAN UP SUVS Ford Motor Company announced a commitment to increase the fuel economy of its sport-utility vehicle models by 25 percent over the next four years. The 2005 calendar-year goal covers the Land Rover, Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln brands. Chairman Jac Nasser said that the program, termed "Cleaner, Safer, Sooner," is a positive strategy in a market that is reflecting more consumer-driven environmental responsibility. The automaker plans to achieve the fuel economy increases through powertrain revisions, lighter-weight materials, and improved aerodynamics.

For more information on Ford’s green plans, click here.


 

FOCUSING ON THE WORLD By Ford's calculations, the Ford Focus has now become the world's best-selling car. However, industry analysts say that Americans will not be hearing Ford touting its achievement in ads because it conflicts with the selling points of the Focus, such as individuality and attitude. Ford sold about 228,000 Focuses during the period from December through April, a figure that beats the previously top-selling car in the world, the Volkswagen Golf, by about 24,000 units.

 

LEASE LENDERS LOSING Banks and leasing companies are reportedly reporting massive losses due to the slowing economy and overly optimistic estimates on residual values of leased sport-utility vehicles, although automakers themselves are not reporting such losses. The reason is attributed to the fact that while automakers make money on the vehicle, lending institutions must make money on the lease. Recently, the used-car market has become flooded with off-lease SUVs.

 

BECKER TO HEAD BMW SMALL CARS Germany's BMW AG has appointed its purchasing chief, Wilhelm Becker, to be the new strategic manager for the 3-Series line and the upcoming smaller car likely to be called the 2-Series. The new model, to go on sale in 2004, will likely be assembled at a new plant in Eastern Europe.

 

GM AND FORD INTERESTED IN PROTON According to Bloomberg News and the newspaper Utusan Malaysia, both Ford Motor Company and General Motors have expressed interest in Malaysia's Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional, known as Proton. Mitsubishi currently owns 16 percent of the Malaysian automaker.


 
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