Consumer Car News: 5/6/02

May 6, 2002

GM’S NEW INCENTIVES: EASY AS 1-2-3
While GM’s zero-percent financing is gone, the clever marketing ideas aren’t. GM’s new round of incentives, dubbed “1-2-3,” offers rebates of $1,000, $2,000 or $3,000 or financing rates of between 1.9 and 3.9 percent on 2002 models. Most GM vehicles are included, but Saturn, Saab, Hummer and all 2003 models aren’t. Ford and DaimlerChrysler haven’t responded, but Ford’s current zero-percent incentives run out today.

 

FORD HAS NEW INCENTIVES
With sales down another 8 percent in April, Ford is maintaining most of its sales incentives and rebates to rival those of General Motors. Ford says it will keep rebates of $500 to $3000 on vehicles from the Escape to the Windstar minivan — but zero-percent financing is no longer on the menu. The best rate on some Ford vehicles is now 0.9 percent, coupled to a $1000 rebate. Ford Thunderbirds and SVT-modified vehicles aren’t included; the current offers end July 1.
GM, DC Do Well in April by Joseph Szczesny (5/1/2002)

 

CHRYSLER STILL OFFERS ZERO PERCENT
Meanwhile, the Chrysler Group will be the only American-branded make to maintain zero-percent financing. Chrysler will now offer either a $2500 rebate or zero-percent financing on most of its minivans, the Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee, according to Reuters. The new offers last until the end of May.

 

HAWAII TO CAP GAS PRICES
Hawaii’s legislature has approved a cap on gas prices, pending approval of the state’s governor, says the Honolulu Advertiser. Analysts say it’s the state’s gas taxes that give it the highest prices in the country; consumers are said to be angered over the prices, which averaged about $1.67 this week according to the AAA — about twenty cents more at the retail level than the West Coast. According to the complex plan, the price cap would be refigured each week, based on average wholesale gas prices on the West Coast plus destination fees for Oahu and outlying islands. The cap, which begins July 1, 2004, passed both houses of the state legislature and still awaits Governor Ben Cayetano’s signature.

 

AW: BUICK GETTING BRAVADA
We’ve told you about the Buick version of the Oldsmobile Bravada that’s coming in the fall. Now, AutoWeek reports that the vehicle will be the only short-wheelbase member of the Bravada/TrailBlazer/Envoy family to get GM’s 285-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 engine. The big motor will be available on extended-wheelbase Envoys and TrailBlazers, too. The Buick version, rumored to be called the Rainier, will only come in five-seat form, while the extended-wheelbase utes can be had with third-row seating for seven.

 

2002 Nissan Altima

2002 Nissan Altima

NISSAN REPLACING ALTIMA SENSORS
Automotive News says that Nissan will replace airbag crash sensors in 127,000 copies of the 2002 Altima because the vehicle didn’t score as well as they’d hoped in a test by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Altima did pass the IIHS and federal crash tests, which means the action is not an official recall. The IIHS, the News reports, will issue its final numbers on the Altima in May.

 

AAA: GOOD ROADS BEFORE RED-LIGHT CAMS
The AAA says red-light cameras are having an effect on traffic safety — but the organization says that before spending for the Big Brother ticket machines, jurisdictions should apply all other road-engineering countermeasures. At the AAA’s annual meeting, the group argued that re-timing lights, improving lanes and signage and re-evaluating sight lines could have a great impact on red-light running and crash reductions. "Although some local jurisdictions are looking at red-light cameras as the quick fix, it is not always the most effective means of reducing crashes at intersections," the vice president of AAA Public Affairs, Susan Pikrallidas, said in a statement.

 

2002 Toyota Camry SE

2002 Toyota Camry SE

CAMRY IS “MOST WASHABLE”
Top Ten Best All Star vehicle awards be damned — Toyota’s Camry is now the Most Washable Car on the face of the planet, according to The International Carwash Association (ICA). The trade group you never knew existed picked five nominees for qualities like smooth surfaces, secure radio antennas and such, and chose the Camry as the ultimate washable car. Contestants were ranked after being sent through an automatic scrubber, a test only slightly less challenging than the Miss America question-and-answer round.

 

THIS WEEK’S AUTO FACT
Not just for sunshine states: Motorcycles aren't just popular in states with warm climates. In fact, four of the top ten states for cycle ownership are in the Midwest: Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois.
Source: Experian Automotive. For more information about the company, set your browser to www.automotive.experian.com.

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