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Consumer Car News: 12/31/01

December 31, 2001


Got plans for the New Year yet? While you’re carousing in a drunken revelry, the world’s automakers (and those of us at TCC) will be prepping for the twin auto shows that kick off the year. This week at, we’ll be at the 2002 Los Angeles and Detroit Auto Shows to show you in advance the sheetmetal we’ll be seeing on the show floors, including L.A.’s 420-hp Jag S-Type R, the 2004 Chrysler Crossfire and the 2002 Maserati Spyder, and the cavalcade of Detroit intros including the Honda Pilot SUV and the return of the Chevrolet Bel Air.
2002 L.A. Auto Show Preview (12/16/2001)
2002 Detroit Show Preview (12/16/2001)


In the wake of the Firestone tire recall, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants tire and automakers to begin sending it information on faulty tires. The agency says that it has proposed that the makers of products sold in the U.S. would be required to submit warranty and consumer data, as well as injury and property damage reports, to the agency. The agency has a deadline of June 2002 to enact such proposals, by dint of a law passed by Congress in the summer of 2000, in the middle of the Firestone-Ford debacle.
Ford, Firestone in Class Action by Jim Burt (12/3/2001)


It’s almost official — the finalists for the North American Car and Truck of the Year have been named. The winners of the competitions will be announced during the press days of the Detroit auto show.
CARS: Cadillac CTS, Ford Thunderbird, Nissan Altima
TRUCKS: Chevrolet Avalanche, Chevrolet TrailBlazer, Jeep Liberty
2002 L.A. Auto Show Preview (12/16/2001)
2002 Detroit Show Preview (12/16/2001) 


In an unprecedented action, General Motors is petitioning regulators to order the new safety hardware for vehicles sold in the U.S.  Since 1997, all U.S. GM light-duty vehicles have been equipped with Daytime Running Lights, or DRLs, which stay on whenever the vehicle is running.  "We think it's time to afford that safety benefit to all roadway users," said GM safety official Bob Lange, noting a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows a seven-percent decline in accidents where DRLs could play a role.  And NHTSA found a 29-percent drop in pedestrian fatalities involving DRL-equipped vehicles.  Regulators appear receptive to the idea.  The devices typically add $20 to $40 in cost, but they're already mandated in a number of countries, including Canada, which would make it easy to add DRLs on models also sold in the U.S., Lange noted.  DaimlerChrysler is reportedly already working on its own DRL rollout plans.



Cunningham C-7 Concept

Cunningham C-7 Concept

As anticipated when Bob Lutz joined GM, his new company has in turn invested in the supercar company he helped revive. GM says it will invest $2 million in Cunningham Motor Co., which has said that it will build a $250,000 supercar virtually — that is, using other companies’ production lines, powertrains, and subassemblies — and compete with the likes of Ferrari and Aston Martin. Lutz and Cunningham heir Briggs Cunningham III announced the project at the January 2000 Detroit auto show and followed with a concept Cunningham C7 at the ’01 show.
Lutz: “Turmoil and Change” at GM by TCC Team (12/24/2001)



Segway short pic

Segway short pic

The Segway Personal Transporter has been hyped as one of the hippest machines ever to travel on a mere two wheels — and it does it by deftly merging some unique technology to the old dream of easy mobility, with some inspired help from Delphi Automotive Systems. Delphi’s connections to Segway, the fledgling New Hampshire company organized by inventor Dean Kamen, are seen inside the company as a public relations coup. The company hopes it’s one way of showing the world outside Detroit that it’s about more than cars and trucks.
Segway: Delphi's Dream Job by Joseph Szczesny (12/24/2001)



Bentley State Limousine

Bentley State Limousine

The Queen of England (not Elton John, but you were close!) will receive a special new vehicle in May of 2002 — a Bentley State Limousine that will honor her fiftieth year as Britain’s head of state. The Bentley will be the first from the brand to be used in an official capacity, and will essentially be a handbuilt vehicle for Her Royal Highness designed with her input as well as that of Prince Philip, the family’s chauffeur, and her other subjects.
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