Consumer Car News: 2/4/02

February 4, 2002

CHRYSLER UPS INCENTIVES
Admitting it has lost market momentum in recent weeks, Chrysler has announced a new sales incentive program, but the number-three automaker has consciously decided to keep its cash-back awards smaller than those from either General Motors or Ford Motor Co.  "We're not giving up any more market share around here," declared Jim Schroer, sales and marketing chief for DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler Group.  The new package offers consumers up to $2,500 on a variety of vehicles, including minivans and the Jeep Grand Cherokee.  That's on top of the new seven-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty Chrysler recently introduced.  But together, Schroer revealed to TheCarConnection that the American automaker is spending four points less on its new incentive package than it did a year ago, when the industry's rebate run-up first began.  Chrysler will kick off the new program with a weekend ad blitz.  It will run through February 28th, though Schroer admitted Chrysler would extend the incentives, if necessary, to respond to its competition.
Chrysler Locks in Product Program by Joseph Szczesny (1/21/2002)

 

FORD DEFENDING MUSTANG SAFETY

Ford is denying reports that the 1994-1998 Mustang convertible failed to meet internal safety targets, according to various wire reports. An Atlanta attorney, Joseph Fried, is said to be preparing a set of documents, including some from inside the company, that show that the ‘Stang convertibles from those years suffer from design problems with the fuel tank and rear body structure. Ford officials are disputing any problems with the vehicle: "The Ford Mustang convertible has always met or exceeded all federal safety regulations and continues to do so," said Sue Cischke, Ford's environmental and safety chief. "The Mustang meets Ford's internal fuel integrity standards, which are significantly more stringent than those required by the federal government," she said in a release.

 

HYUNDAI HCD-7 CONCEPT FOR CHICAGO

2002 Hyundai hCD-7 Concept

2002 Hyundai hCD-7 Concept

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A forward-thinking interpretation of the biggest Hyundai will be the brand’s concept at next week’s Chicago auto show. The HCD-7 concept, Hyundai says, will be a luxurious “advanced-performance sedan” with a sleek aero shape and roomy interior. The vertical headlamps and taillamps suggest the future styling theme for the brand, a release says. Look for the HCD-7 and other Chicago concepts next week as TCC comes to you live from McCormick Place, beginning Wednesday.
Hyundai Narrows Plant Search by Joseph Szczesny (1/28/2002)

 

HONDA MODEL X AT NEW YORK

Honda Model X concept Tokyo 2001

Honda Model X concept Tokyo 2001

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Honda officials say a closer-to-production version of the Model X sport-ute will be shown at March’s New York Auto Show. The Model X, which the company says will be built on the Civic line in East Liberty, Ohio, is a crossover vehicle intended for young, active buyers who do strenuous things like snowboarding and hiking. It will sport a different name when it enters production toward the end of 2002, but the concept Model X’s center-opening doors and flexible interior are to be carried over into production, a spokesman says.

 

MALIBU GOES MULTIPURPOSE?
General Motors Corp. is planning to build not one but two versions of its mid-size Chevrolet Malibu. Gene Stefanyshyn, GM's mid-size passenger car vehicle line executive, said Thursday that GM planned to unveil the next version of the Malibu next year, and will build it in Fairfax, Kan. The new Malibu will be aimed at the traditional buyers of Chevrolet sedans who are looking for a "three-box sedan," but the Fairfax plant also will be equipped to build an "extended version" of the Malibu, Stefanyshyn said. The extended version of the Malibu will have nearly six more inches of wheelbase and will be aimed at more affluent buyers, he added, but he refused to comment on speculation about whether it will a station wagon. "It's not a crossover," and GM isn't calling it a station wagon either, said Stefanyshyn. Stefanyshyn also said GM will concentrate all of the W-car (Century, Regal, Grand Prix, Impala and Monte Carlo) production, at the company's assembly complex in Oshawa, Ont., he said.—Joseph R. Szczesny

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