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TCC'S DAILY EDITION: July 15, 2003
NHTSA Releases Rollover, Side-Impact Ratings
subscribeThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released the results from its latest round of rollover and side-impact testing — and Toyota’s Tacoma, BMW’s 3-Series and the new Mazda6 are on the losing end of the tests. The agency reports on its Web site (www.nhtsa.dot.gov) that in side-impact ratings of ten new sedans and SUVs, the Kia Sorento, Mercedes-Benz C240, and Volvo XC90 scored five-star ratings at all positions, while the Honda Element scored all fives save for the left rear seat position, where occupants could be at slightly higher risk for head injuries. The BMW 3-Series and Mazda6 were given three starts, which reflects an 11- to 20-percent chance of serious injury in a crash, according to the agency. In the mathematical tests used to predict rollover potential, the NHTSA found that only 17 of the 52 vehicles it rated were worthy of a five-star rating; they include the Audi TT, Buick LeSabre, Chrysler Concorde, Dodge Intrepid, Ford Mustang, and Mercedes-Benz E320. The ’03 Toyota Tacoma extended-cab pickup got just two stars in the rollover ratings.
SUV Wars Roll into Court by Joseph Szczesny (6/2/2003)
Groups sue the NHTSA to keep new fuel-economy rules from taking effect.
Toyota Adding Hybrid Technology to Trucks
2004 Toyota PriusEnlarge Photo
Hybrids Growing, Diesels Too? by Joseph Szczesny (6/23/2003)
Uncertainty reigns in Detroit over which higher-mileage option will win the day.
Hyundai May Build R&D Center
Automotive News reports that Hyundai is looking for a home for a new research and development center for its Hyundai and Kia vehicles — and the home could be in Michigan or Alabama. The weekly says the Korean automaker is studying sites near Pittsfield Township, Mich., and in Alabama, where the company has broken ground on a new assembly plant on the south side of the state capital of Montgomery. The new R&D center would represent an investment of $240 million and could be as large as 200,000 square feet.
2004 Hyundai XG350 by Robert Ahl (6/30/2003)
The Koreans build a Japanese luxury car.
Mitsu Hires SpongeBob to Sell the Endeavor
2004 Mitsubishi EndeavorEnlarge Photo
2004 Mitsubishi Endeavor by Robert Ahl (5/12/2003)
Just how goofy can SUVs get?
GM Very Unlikely to Bow to Fiat Put
While Wall Street has been long speculating on whether GM will have to absorb struggling automaker Fiat into GM Europe, GM insiders say it probably will never happen. Fiat has an option, based on the deal that gave GM’s control of 20 percent of Fiat in 2000, to make GM buy the rest between 2004 and 2009. But one GM executive said that the deal would likely not happen because Fiat would not accept a third-party assessment that the company was worth less than zero dollars and because GM could drag the validity of the option through courts for many years.