EU AGREES ON PLAN TO MONITOR CAR POLLUTION The European
Union agreed to a scheme that monitors carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from car
manufacturers. The system will be used to check the manufacturer’s voluntary
commitments to reduce CO2 emissions and replace them with mandatory rules if
necessary. The Union is hoping to reduce the average amount of CO2 emissions in
new cars by 35 percent by 2010 at the latest, and preferably by 2005.
"CHEAP, CHEAP" SAYS SAMSUNG OF RENAULT BID Samsung’s
primary creditor said Renault’s bid was "unreasonably low," but analysts say a
deal seems to be in the works. An HSBC Securities analyst told Reuter that the
gap between the $450 million Renault offered and the $1 billion "fair" price
would soon be narrowed because a merger between the two companies would benefit
both. Renault may need to take on some of Samsung’s debt to make the deal
worthwhile to creditors.
NEW HYUNDAI FOR U.S. MARKET GETS NAME, FALL SALE DATE The
four-door sedan Hyundai sells as the XGrandeur in Korea will be available in the
U.S. in September. The sedan, which is larger than Hyundai’s Sonata model, will
be called the XG300 in the U.S. market. Features on the XG300, introduced at the
Detroit Auto Show, will include a 3.0-liter V-6 engine with an adaptive,
five-speed auto-manual transmission.
SHELL TESTS ROBOTIC PUMP NEAR INDIANAPOLIS The Shell
SmartPump, a robotic fuel pump, is now being test-marketed in the Indianapolis
suburb of Westfield. The pump, which uses a combination of cameras, sensors and
a robotic refueling arm, allows drivers to remain in their vehicles and let the
machine refuel their tank. Shell said 1,000 customers have signed up to use the
SmartPump, which costs an extra $1 per fill up to use.
EU REPORT SHOWS IT DOUBTS BMW’S EFFORTS The
European Commission released a report that clearly shows it doubts if BMW
seriously considered building the Rover R30 model in Hungary before it applied
for state aid to develop the Longbridge plant in the U.K. The Commission
questioned if the government was justified in its 152 million pound subsidy to
BMW for the Longbridge facility. Industry rivals and others have one month to
comment on the report before a decision about the subsidy is made.
GM, FORD UP INCENTIVES Both General Motors and Ford upped
its incentives in order to keep the momentum from strong February sales moving.
GM’s discounts included $2000 on the four-door Chevy Blazer and GMC Jimmy and
$1,000 on the Pontiac Grand Prix and the Buick Regal. Ford added a $500
cash-back incentive on its Taurus and upped the incentives on the Crown Victoria
and the Econoline van to $1,5000 and $1,000 respectively.
CUMMINS ENGINE STAYS, SAYS DODGE After an official
statement that the Cummins diesel engine used in the Dodge Ram pickup might be
replaced with a Mercedes-Benz engine, a Dodge spokesperson said later that
Cummins will remain as the engine supplier. The Mercedes engine would only be
used if DaimlerChrysler were to build a medium-duty pickup, according to Dodge
spokesperson David Elshoff. Automotive News reported this week that three
DaimlerChrysler sources, including chairman Juergen Schrempp, said that the
Ram’s engine would be replaced with a Mercedes model for the 2003 model
MAZDA UPS ANTE, LOWERS PRICE ON MIATA Hoping to gain
more market share, Mazda has added standard features and dropped the price on
its 2000 model year Miata. Standard features on the Miata now include air
conditioning, fog lights, WindblockerT and floor mats at an MSRP of $20,545, a
$700 price reduction. The Miata LS adds air conditioning, fog lights and an
appearance package as standard equipment for an MSRP of $23,545, a drop of $450.
OVER-THE-COUNTER ALLERGY PILL CAN CAUSE
"DRUNK" DRIVING The drug found in Benadryl and other over-the-counter
allergy medications can cause drivers to be impaired as if they were drunk. A
study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that drivers who took the drug
diphenhydramine performed as poor as those who were drunk. Most surprising to
researchers was that even drivers who did not feel drowsy and believed their
driving was unaffected also performed as low as the drunk drivers.