Driver's News: Sept. 24, 2001

September 24, 2001

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MILLION-DOLLAR MISSIONS: INDUSTRY AID CONTINUES IN TIME OF TRAGEDY
In contrast to the auto industry’s downturn in the North American market, but completely in accord with the spirit of giving that followed the terrorist attacks on the United States, gifts of aid continue to pour forth from industry coffers. From Detroit, Michigan comes word that the UAW and DaimlerChrysler are jointly donating $1 million to the American Red Cross supporting victims and assist relief efforts in the wake of the attacks on New York and Washington D.C. In Spartanburg, South Carolina, the BMW Group has committed $1 million and ten new BMW X5 SUVs to the Red Cross. BMW is also donating 100 police motorcycles to the city of New York to replace those lost in the NYPD motor pool located near the World Trade Center. Top-tier automotive supplier Johnson Controls has also announced a $1 million donation to the Red Cross.
Carmakers Stunned by Attack by Joseph Szczesny (9/17/2001)

 

GM/DAEWOO: THE DEAL IS ALL BUT DONE
As we have been reporting all week here at TheCarConnection.com’s Daily Edition, only paperwork and details stand in the way of a final deal between General Motors Corporation and the creditors of South Korea’s bankrupt automaker, Daewoo Motor Company. According to word coming out of South Korea, GM (possibly with a partner) plans to pay $400 million in cash and $1.2 billion in stock shares, while Daewoo’s creditors will add another $200 million to secure the deal. For its investment, GM will get a controlling share of Daewoo, as well as control of many Daewoo factories and sales outlets in Korea and abroad.

GAS-PRICE GOUGERS GET IN LEGAL TROUBLE
The AAA is reporting that state attorneys general from Florida, Illinois, Kansas and Michigan are issuing subpoenas and preparing lawsuits against low-life gas station operators who raised fuel prices—some by more than $2.00 a gallon—after last weeks terrorist assault on New York and Washington D.C. So far, Florida has sent out 15 subpoenas and Michigan has filed suits against nine gas stations for gouging buyers at the pump. In Illinois, Casey’s General Stores, Inc. faces a state lawsuit for raising pump prices to $5.00 a gallon at many of its stations. And in Kansas, the attorney general is fining about 140 stations $1,000 apiece ($750 of which goes to the September 11 relief fund) for charging $2.49 or more for a gallon of fuel.

GM ANNOUNCES 0% FINANCING
In a move slated to inspire consumers and boost slumping sales, General Motors Corporation has announced a program of no-interest vehicle loans through its finance arm, GMAC. The 0.0-percent loans are available on select terms and classes (see below). The program starts today, September 20, and will last until the end of October. All current cash and lease incentives will remain in effect, but only as alternatives to the no-interest loans, rather than as added inducements. Here are the details:
For 2001 GM Cars:
36-mo.= 0.0%, 48-mo.= 0.0%, 60-mo. = 0.0%
For 2001 GM Trucks:
36-mo.= 0.0%, 48-mo.= 0.9%, 60-mo.= 2.9%
For 2002 GM Cars:
36-mo.= 0.0%, 48-mo.= 0.9%, 60-mo. = 2.9%
For 2002 GM Trucks:
36-mo.= 0.0%, 48-mo.= 2.9%, 60-mo.= 4.9%

 

FORD MATCHES 0% GM FINANCING PLAN
On Thursday, Ford Motor Company announced a no-interest-financing plan that mirrors exactly one released by General Motors and GMAC. Designed to inspire sales in the current hard times for domestic automakers, the Ford plan, like GM’s, runs from September 20th to October 31st. Only Ford’s popular 2002 Thunderbird model is immune to the incentive program, which features a sliding scale of interest rates that start at zero percent and peak at 4.9 percent for a 60-month loan on a 2002 truck.
For 2001 Ford Cars:
36-mo.= 0.0%, 48-mo.= 0.0%, 60-mo.= 0.0%
For 2001 Ford Trucks:
36-mo.= 0.0%, 48-mo.= 0.9%, 60-mo.= 2.9%
For 2002 Ford Cars (excluding the Ford Thunderbird):
36-mo.= 0.0%, 48-mo.= 0.9%, 60-mo.= 2.9%
For 2002 Ford Trucks:
36-mo.= 0.0%, 48-mo.= 2.9%, 60-mo.= 4.9%

 

GRAND CHEROKEES NOT AT FAULT ACCORDING TO DAIMLERCHRYSLER
In answering inquiries posed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), DaimlerChrysler AG says it can find no mechanical defects associated with the automated transmissions in 1995-1998 Jeep Grand Cherokees. At issue is a series of 48 complaints to NHTSA alleging that the Jeeps shifted out of Park and into Reverse without any bidding from their drivers. NHTSA, which began its investigation in July, has reported that the mysterious phenomenon of "inadvertent rollaway in reverse" has led to 32 crashes and 14 injuries. Chrysler is now concentrating its efforts on human factors, studying the driver’s interaction with the vehicle and its gearbox, which may offer some answers.

 

ONE OUT OF EVERY 75 ODOS IS OFF
Vehicle mileage is a key factor in most vehicle purchases. It often determines consumer interest in a given vehicle and also is a major indication of price. However, according to Experian Automotive's National Vehicle Database, approximately one in 75 vehicle odometers does not reflect actual miles, has suspicious mileage or is broken.

 

MANY NEW-CAR DEFECTS TRACED BACK TO DESIGN
Although automobile manufacturers have made tremendous strides in improving build quality in recent years, data from J.D. Power and Associates' Initial Quality Study indicates that less than 30 percent of problems identified by consumers after 90 days of ownership can be traced back to manufacturing-related causes. A much greater share of initial quality problems, 65 percent, can be traced to the vehicle design stage and approximately five percent are due to dealership sales and service functions. The data clearly points to the need to design quality into new vehicles from the start

 

TOYOTA INTRODUCES AVALON SPORT LUXURY PACKAGE
In an effort to quicken the pulse of buyers for its Avalon sedan, Toyota Motor Sales has announced a "Sport Luxury Package" for 2002. The package is available on the XL model, and includes 16-inch alloy wheels and a rear-deck spoiler. Inside, the Sport Luxury Avalons get power seats trimmed in leather, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a JBL audio system and remote keyless entry. Toyota says that the package, available beginning in November, offers "significant savings" over buying the features individually, but the company has yet to announce its price.
Toyota Video Library (7/20/2001)

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