Driver's News: 10/29/01

October 28, 2001


As the crowds plied Makuhari Messe, the world's automakers unveiled concepts and production vehicles at the 2001 Tokyo Motor Show yesterday. Get the word (and pictures) of all the new sheetmetal parading around the Tokyo show in TCC's complete show coverage:
2001 Tokyo Motor Show Index by TCC Team (10/22/2001)


In yet another major settlement of a product-related class-action lawsuit, Ford has agreed to replace ignitions in some 22 million Ford, Mercury and Lincoln vehicles with less than 100,000 miles. The class action, fought in California, could end up costing Ford $2.5 billion in replacement costs, according to the class-action plaintiff lawyers. "This settlement is the product of literally years of negotiation, and it provides real remedies for millions of consumers and businesses who have owned the affected vehicles all over the United States," Reuters quotes plaintiff lawyer Jeff Fazio. The affected vehicles experienced stalling problems, and affected vehicles equipped with V-6 engines.
Ford Sets New Quality Goals by Michael Strong (10/15/2001)


Deciding that the technology better suited small cars, Ford has abandoned a stop-start system for its Explorer sport-ute, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. The technology, found in the U.S. on the hybrid Honda Insight, for example, turns off a car’s engine when it is stopped for a certain period of time, and restarts it when a gear is selected or the accelerator is pressed. Ford had planned on adapting such a system to the Explorer to boost its fuel-economy ratings. Ford has said that it will increase the fuel efficiency of its sport-utility vehicles by 25 percent by the year 2005.
Ford Plots Safer, Greener SUVs by Joseph Szczesny (11/13/2000)


GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler will work together to stop the production of counterfeit replacement parts, which they say are unsafe and which cost the companies $12 billion a year, they announced on Friday. The Big Three also say the overseas counterfeit production, done mostly in China, costs them and their suppliers some 210,000 jobs. The parts are becoming more sophisticated — including pieces for safety systems, like replacement brake pads — and could cause injury or death since they’re not tested to rigorous standards. Reuters quotes a GM spokesman who estimates three out of five ACDelco parts sold in the Middle East are counterfeit.


The last of the Big Three to announce such a system, Chrysler says it will offer a wireless voice-activated telephone for some of its vehicles. The system uses the new Bluetooth wireless technology to allow up to five Bluetooth-enabled phones to be used in the vehicle. Chrysler’s system will not at outset have the frills of GM’s OnStar, which couples its in-car cell service with operator-based information on directions, hotel reservations and such. Chrysler’s system also will not have a monthly premium attached; the company will charge a flat rate for hardware installed in the vehicle, including a rearview mirror mounted microphone.
Telematics Gathering Speed by TCC Team (5/20/2001)


More than eight out of ten (81 percent) vehicle owners of one, two, and three-year-old vehicles have manufacturer-sponsored roadside coverage on their vehicle. However, only 56 percent of customers are aware they have this coverage through the manufacturer. Awareness of these programs declines over time. Owners in the first year of ownership indicate they have roadside assistance 64 percent of the time. In the second year, this falls to 57 percent awareness. By the time the third year rolls around, only 43 percent of owners are aware of their manufacturer-sponsored roadside assistance program.
Source: J.D. Power and Associates 2001 Emergency Roadside Assistance Study (ERA)
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