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Week of August 7, 2000


GM TO MAKE HYBRID PICKUPS
FORD CONSIDERS DROPPING FIRESTONE
FOCUS RATES POOR IN CRASH TEST
FORD OPENS ALUMINUM CASTING PLANT
FORD JOINS TELEMATICS RACE
SUPER DUTIES RECALLED
DC UPS INCENTIVES AGAIN
GM ANNOUNCES NEW ENGINE PLANT
EXXON MOBIL EXPANDS JOB CUTS
PRICELINE TO OFFER AUTO INSURANCE
NISSAN PUTS OFF DECISION ON UK PLANT
GM REVAMPS PLANT FOR ALUMINUM
DC SAVES ON DEVELOPMENT
TOYOTA CLOSE TO AGREEMENT FOR ONSTAR

 

GM TO MAKE HYBRID PICKUPS General Motors revealed that it will offer hybrid gasoline-electric, full-size pickups in 2004. The hybrid pickups, which will use a gasoline-powered V-8 engine and an electric motor, will improve fuel economy by about 15 percent. The automaker has not announced how many of the hybrid vehicles will be made or what their price will be.

FORD CONSIDERS DROPPING FIRESTONE Ford Motor Company is reportedly considering dropping Firestone as a supplier. The automaker is investigating tread-separation problems with several Firestone models that were installed on Ford's light trucks through the 1990s, including the popular Ford Explorer sport-utility vehicle. The affected tires, Firestone ATX, ATX II, and Wilderness tires, were installed as standard equipment on 1991- through 2000-model-year Ford Explorers, and also some Ford Ranger and Ford F-150 models. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that 21 deaths and 193 crashes have resulted from failure of the tires. Ford has already been asked by several safety advocate groups to recall the affected vehicles.

For more information on the Firestone tire-safety investigation, click here

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FOCUS RATES POOR IN CRASH TEST Chrysler's PT Cruiser isn't the only new model to perform poorer than expected in the latest batch of crash-test ratings released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Ford's new Focus two-door hatchback scored only one star for the rear passenger in the side-impact test, on a scale of one to five stars, with five being best. The model performed well in other released categories, with ratings of four and five stars. Ford has not yet commented on the model's poor showing in the test.

 

FORD OPENS ALUMINUM CASTING PLANT Ford opened its first new North American facility in five years, a new engine-block plant in Cleveland. The Cleveland Aluminum Casting Plant will build aluminum engine blocks for the Ford Ranger's new 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine. The $125-million facility employs 95 people.

 

FORD JOINS TELEMATICS RACE Ford Motor Company and Qualcomm have announced a partnership that will yield in-car Internet access, navigation and safety devices, and entertainment systems, with products of the partnership first put in cars late next year. Ford expects the partnership spinoff, called Wingcast, to be in almost all new cars and trucks by late 2004. In its early stages, the system would be much like rival General Motor's OnStar system, with monthly subscription fees depending on the level of service. General Motors plans to have OnStar in most of its new vehicles starting this fall.

For more on Wingcast, click here.

 

 

SUPER DUTIES RECALLED Ford has announced a recall of 2000-model-year Super Duty trucks for a potentially dangerous brake problem. Some of the trucks, the NHTSA says, may be missing an important retaining clip, which may result in loss of control of the brakes. About 8100 vehicles are affected. Ford also issued recalls of about 27,000 cars and trucks for various other reasons.


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