Driver's News: 11/12/01

November 12, 2001

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)


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


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



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)

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