TCC's Daily Edition: 8/1/2001

July 21, 2001

This week, TheCarConnection.com is launching TCC’s Daily Edition, our e-mail news delivered right to your inbox. We hope you’ll enjoy the new service — and we hope that during this week of beta testing you’ll send us your suggestions and ideas. Write to us at [email protected] and let us know what you’d like to see added to this feature as we refine it and add more content — The Eds.

SUV BUMPERS PERFORM POORLY

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, seewww.iihs.org.

NEW SLK COMING

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

INFANT SEATS RECALLED

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 atwww.pegperego.com.

REPUBLICANS JOIN THREAT THAT CAFE BOOST WILL RAISE DEATHS

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)

//www.thecarconnection.com/index.asp?article=3950

CALIFORNIA'S INCENTIVES WORKING

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.

MEXICAN VW WORKERS DEMAND A RAISE

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.

DELPHI TO BUILD OEM SATELLITE RADIOS

Supplier Delphi Automotive Systems has announced that it is the first manufacturer to be certified to build OEM in-car satellite radio receivers for the XM Satellite Radio service. The units will be built through Delphi's Delco Electronics Systems unit. Delphi originally committed to the XM system in 1999. XM Satellite Radio will be broadcasting nationwide later this fall. For more information on the service, seewww.xmradio.com.

SAFETY GROUPS FIGHT RED-LIGHT RUNNERS

Several safety groups have cooperated to create a campaign against red-light runners and a rising trend in fatalities from red-light running. The National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running is aiming to increase public education on the serious of the matter through publicity, getting high-risk drivers (such as repeat drunk drivers) off the road, and encouraging physical modifications to traffic patterns if necessary. The group is also advocating the use of red-light cameras.

DEALERS NOT ACCOUNTABLE FOR AD ERRORS

The California Supreme Court has ruled that car dealers are not required to sell a vehicle for a price falsely stated in an advertisement, as long as it is the newspaper's mistake. In the case at question, a lawyer had tried to buy a $38,000 used 1995 Jaguar for a misprinted price of $26,000. The ad was originally misprinted by the Costa Mesa Daily Pilot, and the court ruled that printing mistakes are not in violation of good faith in business.

PUT DOWN THE HAIR CURLER!

If you thought cellphones were distracting, wait 'til you hear what American women are most distracted by behind the wheel. A telephone poll of women ages 18 to 28 conducted by Yankelovich Partners for Salon Selectives has revealed that 92 percent of young women routinely eat in their cars, while 72 percent apply makeup or talk on cellphones. Most astonishing, 65 percent of women polled style or fix their hair while driving. In following, the survey found that 38 percent of women polled would rather be late than arrive with bad hair.

NHTSA PUBLISHES RECALL LIST

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released a summary list of motor vehicle recalls issued in May 2001. To view the document, call 202-366-9550 or go towww.dot.gov/affairs/nhtsa3701.htm.

FACTOIDS

  • Championship Auto Racing Teams, Inc., expects to earn up to $6.5 million from TV revenue in 2001, an increase of at least 9 percent from 2000. CART cites contacts with ESPN and Brazilian television that have annual escalation amounts and CART receives additional TV revenue from advertising, as well as from radio programming and rights fees.
  • More people are running red lights . . . and causing accidents . . . than ever before. Between 1992 and 1998, fatal motor vehicle crashes at traffic signals increased 18 percent, compared with the 6 percent rise in all other fatalities. The public cost? Some $7 billion a year. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says many of the typical red light runners are higher risk drivers who are more likely to drive on a suspended, revoked or invalid license and are more likely to consume alcohol. A group of leading safety organizations is launching a "National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running."

FROM THE SOURCE

The next big thing?: OESA says it's supply chain management

Supply chain management is the single biggest opportunity for suppliers to reduce costs, according to Neil De Koker, managing director of the Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA), speaking at today's meeting of the Automotive Public Relations Council (APRC) in Troy, Mich. While he noted that e-business can be an important tool to manage supply chains more effectively, he added, "All of us in the industry have room for improvement -- to be more lean or implement other programs that will help us become more efficient ... We must find a way to take costs out through collaborative efforts between automakers and parts manufacturers."

--PR Newswire

=============

Feds want tougher rules for truckers

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed changes that would toughen licensing and sanctioning requirements for drivers of large trucks and buses. "This comprehensive rulemaking will strengthen commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver licensing requirements and enhance highway safety by ensuring that only safe drivers operate large trucks and buses," U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta said. "This proposal underscores President Bush's commitment to safety as the most important transportation priority."

--PR Newswire

Personal Audio Broadcasting gets field test

MobileBriefs, the industry pioneer in Personalized Audio Broadcasting (PAB), announced today the company has completed its product field-testing period. The field test was conducted with fifty business executives representing a sampling from major industries including financial, healthcare, manufacturing and telecommunications. The fifty participants selected to participate in the field test were top executives from well-known national companies. Participants were surveyed on all aspects of the product experience from site functionality to the quality of audio and site content.

--PR Newswire

National Fraud Database signs up Toyota Financial Services

Experian, a global information solutions provider, today announced that Toyota Financial Services has formally joined its National Fraud Database, the first national repository of verified fraudulent credit activity. The National Fraud Database contains known fraud-related data that encompasses a variety of industries such as financial services, insurance, telecommunications and retailing.

--PR Newswire

THE TICKER

Autoliv (ALV), Closed 20.79, off 0.51

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ArvinMeritor (ARM), Closed 21.50, up 0.01

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American Axle (AXL), Closed 21.02, off 0.04

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Dana (DCN), Closed 25.75, up -0.16

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DaimlerChrysler (DCX), Closed 49.30, up 0.43

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Donnelly (DON), Closed 15.50, off 0.30

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Delphi Automotive (DPH), Closed 16.36, up 0.12

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Eaton (ETN), Closed 73.44, up 0.86

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Ford (F), Closed 25.47, up 0.31

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General Motors (GM), Closed 63.60, up 0.70

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Gentex (GNTX), Closed 32.79, off 0.98

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Goodyear (GT), Closed 28.58, up 0.29

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Johnson Controls (JCI), Closed 80.60, up 0.91

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Lear (LEA), Closed 39.60, off 0.50

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Magna International (MGA), Closed 62.85, up 1.32

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SDRC (SDRC), Closed 24.76, off 0.02

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Toyota (TOYOF), Closed 35.75, unchanged

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TRW (TRW), Closed 44.25, up 0.08

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Visteon (VC), Closed 21.13, up 0.13

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Volkswagen (VLKAF), Closed 45.88, unchanged

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