Driver's News: 11/12/01

November 12, 2001

FIRESTONE SETTLES WITH STATES
The Associated Press reports that Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. has reached an agreement under which it will pay as much as $51.5 million to avoid lawsuits lodged by states over the Firestone tire recall. The settlement, which could be announced today, will have Firestone pay $500,000 to each state as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The company will also pay $10 million in states’ legal fees and will spend $5 million in a public-awareness campaign for tire safety, the news service reports. Last August, Firestone announced that it would recall some 6.5 million tires used on the Ford Explorer and other vehicles, because the tires were suspected in cases of tread separation that led to more than 200 deaths and hundreds of injuries. Last month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration forced Firestone to add more tires to the recall.
Firestone Forced into Recall by Marty Padgett (10/8/2001)

 

SEMA STAYS THE COURSE
Call it an automotive extravaganza: the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association convention is the world’s largest gathering of auto aftermarket suppliers, and strolling through the wide aisles of the Las Vegas Convention Center, you could find everything from air fresheners to high-performance “crate” engines. In all, Americans will spend more than $25 billion to improve the performance or just dress up their cars this year. SEMA’s Aftermarket Week traditionally provides a clear sense of consumer trends—as well as an indication of the overall health of the auto industry. And this year was no exception, writes TCC publisher TCC Team in a special report:
SEMA Stays the Course

 

TOYOTA, FORD BIG POLK/AMES WINNERS
The 2002 Automotive Market Environmental Sensitivity (AMES) Awards have been announced, and this year’s big recipients for the green award include Toyota and Ford. The awards use ratings arrived at from emissions and fuel-economy numbers to reward environmentally conscious vehicles in 15 categories. Toyota garnered 14 awards, including five for "Best in Class,” while Ford grabbed 11, including four "Best in Class" awards and General Motors took home 10. The best-in-class vehicles included the following:

 

Subcompact Car: Toyota Prius       Minivan: Ford Windstar

Compact Car: VW Passat               Full-size Van: Ford E150/250

Midsize Car: Toyota Camry            Compact Pickup: Mazda B-Series

Full-size Car: Toyota Avalon          Full-size Pickup: Ford F150

Premium Car: Lexus ES300            Compact SUV: Honda CR-V

Luxury Car: Mercedes E-Class        Midsize SUV: Acura MDX

Sporty Car: Acura RSX                  Full-size SUV: Mercedes M-Class

Sports Car: Toyota MR2

A complete list of AMES Awards is at http://www.amesaward.com.

 

 

2002 RANGE ROVER DETAILED
Land Rover has issued pictures of the new Range Rover, which it will officially unveil at the Detroit Auto Show in January. It’s only the third all-new model in the thirty-one year history of the vehicle that created the sport-ute segment, but this time instead of leading the trend it’s following, becoming bigger, more luxurious and more expensive, in line with its younger, brasher competitors from brands like Cadillac. The styling is not radically changed over that of the current model. Power comes from a 4.4-liter V-8 or a 3.0-liter turbodiesel six, both sourced from BMW, and as befits a Land Rover, four-wheel drive is permanent. The interior of the new version is even more luxurious, with wood and leather trim that would not be out of place in a car from its fellow Ford family member Jaguar, and the legendary off-road ability is sure to be maintained. -Ian Norris
Spy Shots: '03 Range Rover by Brenda Priddy (12/27/2000)

 

PENSKE DONE WITH CART?
The killing blow to CART may come as early as next week. ESPN.com reported Sunday that racing scion Roger Penske will hold a press conference in Indianapolis next week to announce his defection from CART, which he helped found in 1979, to the rival Indy Racing League, which is helmed by Indianapolis speedway owner Tony George. Penske is quoted by the sports-news site as declaring, third-person, that he’s “out of CART, period.” Penske and driver Gil de Ferran defended their FedEx CART championship this year and will receive the series’ $1 million championship payday Tuesday night in Las Vegas.

 

ISUZU GETS ASCENDER UTE VIA GM
Isuzu will replace the Trooper sport-utility vehicle in 2003 with the Ascender. The new sport-ute is based on GM’s extended-wheelbase midsize ute platform, which also counts the Chevrolet Trailblazer EXT and GMC Envoy XL as its spawn. The Isuzu version also receives the 4.2-liter, 270-hp in-line six-cylinder that powers the other GM midsize utes, as well as four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock control, a standard third row of seats, and dual front airbags as well as dual front and rear side airbags and OnStar. The Ascender enters production in September 2002.

RAM GETS FOUR WHEELER AWARD
The 2002 Dodge Ram is Four Wheeler’s "Pickup Truck of the Year,” the magazine announced Friday. The 1500 model with four-wheel drive and four doors emerged as the winner in the magazine’s annual race because, as Jon Thompson, the editor of the magazine says, "the Ram proved to be most adept at showing us all the qualities enthusiasts look for in a four-wheel-drive pickup." The full competition appears in the magazine’s January 2002 issue.
2002 Dodge Ram Quad Cab

 

LIGHTNING STRIKES FORD AGAIN
A leaky supercharger is forcing Ford to recall about 9000 F-150 Lightning high-performance pickup trucks, the company announced on Wednesday. The trucks, built at Ford’s Ontario truck plant between December ‘98 and August 2000, were sold in the U.S. and in Canada. The defect could prevent the trucks from making full power at full throttle. Customers will be notified by mail, and the repairs will be performed by Ford free of charge.
2001 Ford F-150 Lightning by Dan Carney (8/20/2001)

 

ONE LAST DRIVE
A New Jersey man who told his family that he’d drive himself to the funeral home did exactly that, his wife told Reuters on Tuesday. Harold Saber, 80, was found dead in his car at the Bernheim-Apter-Goldsticker Suburban Funeral Chapel in Maplewood, N.J., a few miles from his home in nearby Verona. Saber’s wife Sylvia Robinson said that Saber had told her many times that he would take himself to the funeral home when it was time. Saber, a diabetic, had recently been hospitalized for complications from diabetes. Authorities say nothing about the death appears suspicious.

 

story posted 11/12/01

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