Consumer Car News: 3/4/02

March 4, 2002

GAS USE UP SINCE SEPT. 11
With air travel down since Sept. 11, drivers are on the road more and using gasoline at a record pace, according to a report by Reuters. While jet fuel demand is about nine percent lower than last year, gas usage is about 2.5 percent higher, the news service says. Other factors cited in the report include warm winter weather and strong SUV sales; the EPA says gas prices might rise 15 cents by the end of spring and stay at those levels through the end of the summer.

WOMEN WORKING ON CARS MORE
The percentage of women fixing their own cars is rising, according to the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA). In the households that fix their own cars, 1/3 of the mechanics are women, up from 27 percent reported in 1994. Most often, reports the AAIA, women perform light maintenance, including oil changes, fluid checks and tire rotation; a quarter of female home mechanics tackle bigger jobs like brakes, shocks, and mufflers. And in contrast to popular belief, the study insists, roughly the same percentage of households are still performing their own maintenance, despite the growth of independent maintenance shops and the increase in car complexity.

DC LOSES GRILLE BATTLE

2003 Hummer H2

2003 Hummer H2

General Motors Corp. has emerged victorious in the first round of a legal battle with DaimlerChrysler AG over the use of a seven-slot grille for the Hummer H2. A federal judge in South Bend, Ind., has declined to grant DaimlerChrysler a pre-trial injunction against its use. The injunction would have prevented GM from using the grille design that the German-American automaker claims is unique to Jeep and violates one of the company’s long-established trademarks. Ann Smith, a DaimlerChrysler spokeswoman, said the automaker had not yet decided whether to appeal the judge’s decision. “It’s too early to say,” she said. “DaimlerChrysler looks forward to presenting its complete case at the December hearing when a full trial will be held,” a DaimlerChrysler statement said. GM, not surprisingly, said in a statement it was pleased with the decision and said it was moving ahead with its plans for introducing the H2 in July. “General Motors is gratified that the South Bend federal court has refused to stop the use of the characteristic Hummer grille on the H2 model,” GM’s official statement said.
GM Hummer H2 Goes Public by TCC Team (12/17/2001)

AN: CADILLAC GETS SUBURBAN VERSION
Automotive News reports that Cadillac is adding a version of the Chevrolet Suburban to its lineup as the Escalade ESV. The paper reports that Mark LaNeve, Cadillac general manager, confirmed the new model at the opening of a new-generation Cadillac dealership last week in Miami. The full-size SUV, a longer vehicle than the existing Escalade, would join the lineup in fall 2003. While the vehicle was confirmed, the ESV tag was revealed to dealers at the NADA meeting in New Orleans earlier this month.
GM: Bigger Changes Ahead? by TCC Team (2/11/2002)

NISSAN MURANO SET FOR NY DEBUT

2003 Nissan Murano

2003 Nissan Murano

2003 Nissan Murano

2003 Nissan Murano

What Nissan calls its new “urban SUV” will make its debut at the New York auto show later this month. The Murano, which the company says is named for the fine Italian glass, will offer a crossover-type package with a unique interior. Nissan offered no technical specs but has issued the drawing here prior to the New York Show’s media days, March 27-29. Stay tuned with TCC this month as we give you an advance look and preview of more New York concept and production vehicles.

SENATE PASSES NEW BOOSTER-SEAT REGS
New booster-seat legislation has cleared the U.S. Senate. The new rules, written by Sen. Peter G. Fitzgerald (R-Ill.) are designed to promote more booster-seat use and safer vehicle designs. Booster seats protect children too big for car seats and too small for seatbelts. The rules would give financial incentives to states passing booster laws, would require carmakers to equip each seat position with a shoulder/lap belt, and would expand booster-seat testing to children heavier than 50 lb.

CARMAKERS WIN ON TIRE SENSORS
The government is close to a compromise that would allow automakers to use a less expensive tire-pressure monitor in future vehicles. In the wake of the Firestone recall, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it would require the warning systems on all new vehicles, and proposed a more expensive system with monitors at each wheel. Automakers countered with a system that uses existing anti-lock braking sensors to interpolate a deflating tire. The compromise in the works would allow automakers to use either system until at least 2006, while NHTSA studies the systems further.

CHRYSLER SWINGING FOR GOLFERS
The Concorde and 300M are getting special Pro-Am editions for 2002, Chrysler announced Friday. Both come with golf-club trunk organizers, a set of Taylor Made 360 clubs and a Chrysler-logoed bag, along with special graphite paint, leather bucket seats and embroidered floor mats. Manufacturer's suggested retail prices are $29,585 for 300M and $29,275 for Concorde Limited; the Pro-Am option package has a net price of $515. 

TOYOTA THIRD CHANNEL IS SCION
Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. has announced that its Genesis marketing group will be called Scion. Scion will be responsible for the launch of a new line of vehicles it plans to market through Toyota dealers for the next generation of new-car buyers in the near future. Toyota plans to show the first Scion concept vehicles at the New York Auto Show late this month and to outline plans for the upcoming launch of the youth-oriented vehicles.

NISSAN’S MARCH HEADED STATESIDE?

2003 Nissan March

2003 Nissan March

2003 Nissan March

2003 Nissan March

The first Nissan vehicle bearing the full imprint of Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn is the subcompact March. It could be, if Tokyo insiders are on the mark, the first Japanese junior-edition car to cross the Pacific to the U.S. in 2004 or 2005. The March joins Honda’s Fit and Toyota’s Vitz as neat performing one-liter-engine sedan-ettes priced well below $10,000, an entry-level market in which the only players on the U.S. market are the Koreans – Hyundai, Kia and Daewoo. What the March offers, not unlike the Fit and Vitz (Jazz and Yaris in Europe, respectively), is a fully equipped runabout from about $7800.  No strippo, it has a peppy engine, a New Beetle-like nose and grille, standard side airbags, elliptical headlights halfway up the raked hood, ivory-tone control buttons and onboard e-mail capability through a standard computer. Nissan dealers shown the March in a secret meeting pleaded with Ghosn for an Americanized version. Ghosn sees March as rivaling Toyota’s new ’03-model youthmobile and Honda’s coming Model X.-Mac Gordon
2019
The Car Connection
See the winners »
2019
The Car Connection
Commenting is closed for this article
 
Ratings and Reviews
Rate and review your car for The Car Connection
Review your car
The Car Connection Daily Headlines
I agree to receive emails from the site. I can withdraw my consent at any time by unsubscribing.
Thank you! Please check your email for confirmation.