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Headlight News Weekly for Dec. 4, 2000 Page 3


 

VISTEON INTERESTED IN MAGNETI MARELLI Automotive News Europe has reported that Visteon Corporation is seeking to buy Italian supplier Magneti Marelli from Fiat. Fiat is reportedly considering several other offers for the supplier. Magneti Marelli makes fuel-system and electronic components and is suspected to be worth nearly $2.5 billion. Japan's Denso has been negotiating separately for the company's air conditioning business. In May of this year, Fiat made a move to acquire the remaining 30 percent of Magneti Marelli that it did not already own.
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STATE FARM TO CHANGE RATE SYSTEM Insurance giant State Farm says that it will introduce a new system that will more accurately represent its injury data, giving bigger rate breaks to drivers of larger luxury cars, vans, and sport-utility vehicles, based on the idea that those vehicles are safer. The rate breaks will be no more than $50 per year. Consumer-safety groups said that the new rate system is unfair to drivers of smaller cars, and it will encourage people to drive cumbersome tanks that cause more injuries to people in other cars.
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SATURN NAMES SUV VUE Saturn has announced that it will call its new sport-utility vehicle Vue, pronounced like "view." Saturn officials said that they purposely picked an ambiguous, nonspecific (and perhaps uninspiring?) name so that the SUV’s versatility and flexibility wouldn’t be undercut, and the name ‘Vue’ fared well in focus groups. The compact, plastic-paneled Vue will offer two engine choices: a 138-hp four cylinder or a 181-hp V-6 engine. Side curtain airbags will be standard. The SUV, first introduced to the public in October at the South Florida International Auto Show in Miami, is still more than a year away from reaching dealerships.
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U.S. SALES DIVE IN NOVEMBER November U.S. auto sales are expected to be at the lowest level in 19 months, according to preliminary estimates. The November figures are expected to show a four to seven percent drop in the seasonally adjusted annual rate, to less than 16.5 million. Analysts blame market saturation and cutbacks in production, especially for profitable sport-utility vehicles.
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FIRESTONE TIRES SET ASIDE AS EVIDENCE Attorneys representing people filing lawsuits against Bridgestone Firestone have reportedly struck a deal with the tiremaker to set aside more than 20,000 recalled and returned tires as evidence in their cases. About 160 separate cases against Bridgestone Firestone have been consolidated to an Indianapolis federal court, and several of the lawsuits allege that the recall should have included more tires than the 6.5 million recalled in August.
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DC RECALLS MINIVANS DaimlerChrysler has recalled 769,000 1993 and 1994 model year Dodge Caravan, Plymouth Voyager, and Chrysler Town and Country minivans for a potential problem with loose steering wheels. A metal piece that attaches the steering wheel to the steering column can weaken and break, although the company has no reports yet of any injuries due to the problem.
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