TCC's Daily Edition: 8/1/2001

July 21, 2001

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In the latest round of testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a group representing U.S. auto insurers, six of seven midsize sport-utility vehicles had significant and costly damage in low-speed, five mile-per-hour tests. In the IIHS tests, the Acura MDX was the only vehicle to demonstrate very little damage in the tests, with only $448 in damage. A 2001 Suzuki Vitara XL-7 performed worst in the group's tests, with a total combined $5802 in damage in the tests. The Buick Rendezvous, Isuzu Axiom, and Pontiac Aztek also each had well over $3000 in damage from the tests. For more information on the tests and the complete results,


The all-new Benz SLK, caught in the Nevada desert while undergoing hot weather testing, is believed to be the first second-generation SLK test mule ever photographed. Although not too much is visible under all the camouflage, insiders informed us the car will be featuring design elements of the SLR concept such as the F1-inspired nose, two pairs of round headlights and the rounded rear end. See the photos today at TCC by following the URL below:

’04 Benz SLK


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that Indiana company Peg Perego USA is recalling more than 14,000 infant car seats for a problem involving the way that the seat latches to its base. According to the NHTSA, the latch mechanism might look engaged when it is actually not, with a possibility that the seat might detach from its base in an accident. Seats covered by the recall were made between February 1 and June 1 of this year. For more information, call the NHTSA's Auto Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236, or see the manufacturer's Web site


Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday said that a Democratic plan to raise Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards would raise the rate of traffic deaths. Spurred by comments made recently by the auto industry and its lobby group, many Republican lawmakers are trying to emphasize that lighter-weight vehicles will mean a drop in safety. A recent National Academy of Sciences report to Congress concluded that a moderate increase in fuel economy requirements (of up to 47 percent over ten or fifteen years for light trucks) would be reasonable.

Flint: CAFE a Risin’ by Jerry Flint (7/30/2001)


Since California enacted a law allowing special privileges to drivers of electric and natural gas vehicles about a year ago, 3661 drivers--more than 60 percent of those eligible--have taken advantage of it, along with up to $3000 in incentives per vehicle, according to the Xinhua News Agency. Those who drive electric or natural gas vehicles are allowed to drive in the carpool lane without a passenger, and they are also allowed free parking in metered spots in Los Angeles.


Union workers at Volkswagen's Puebla, Mexico, plant have announced that they will go on strike in three weeks if a 30-percent pay raise is not met. Out of the plant's 16,000 workers, about 12,000 are union members. The union is using Mexico's high inflation rate of nearly nine percent as part of the reason for the demand, and also the vast discrepancy between U.S. and Mexican auto workers, especially now that trade is free between the two countries. The Puebla plant makes New Beetle, Jetta, and Golf Cabrio models for export to the U.S., and it also makes the old Beetle for sale in Mexico only.

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