Consumer Car News: 5/20/02

May 20, 2002

The 20 largest insurance companies say that claims are down since 1980 — but that payouts are higher, Reuters reports. The companies represented by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) also says the 1999-2001 Acura Integra has the highest theft rate and claim costs, due in part to hot-rod thieves that steal the vehicles for their engines and transplant them into Honda Civics. The Integra from those years is eight times more likely than normal to be stolen. The HLDI says in 1980, 15.2 of every 1000 vehicles were reported stolen; the number dropped to 2.6 vehicles per 1000 last year, but the average claim has risen nearly fivefold to about $6300.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that car crashes cost the nation $230 billion each year, or $820 per person. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta said that, based on figures from the year 2000, that alcohol-related crashes are responsible for nearly $51 billion, while the agency attributes $40 billion of the losses to speeding.
NHTSA: Two-Wheel Mayhem? by Eric Peters (4/29/2002)



2004 Chevrolet Colorado

2004 Chevrolet Colorado

Remember the spy shot of the Chevy Colorado we showed you last week? Now GM is issuing its own remarkably similar illustration of the ’04 Colorado, which begins life in the fourth quarter of 2003 in the GM factory in Shreveport, La. Chevrolet confirms the Colorado name in a press release: "With the development of an all-new truck, it is crucial to select a new name that resonates well with customers and has a strong presence,” Russ Clark, the Colorado’s marketing director said in a statement. Stay tuned for more info on the Colorado, or click here for the latest from TCC’s insiders:
Spy Shots: 2003 Chevy Colorado by Brenda Priddy (4/29/2002)



2003 Saab 9-3

2003 Saab 9-3

Enlarge Photo
Saab’s goals for the new 9-3, set to go on sale in October, are fairly lofty. In the releases accompanying this first photo of the new 9-3, GM’s Swedish luxury brand pits its new premium compact against BMW’s 3-Series and Audi’s A4. To that end, Saab says the new 9-3 is the biggest product development project in its history. A new body structure for the front-driver is teamed with an independent rear suspension for good handling. Under the hood, two new 2.0-liter turbo fours produce 175 and 210 hp, respectively; new five-speed and six-speed manual gearboxes are joined by a five-speed automatic with Sensotronic manual gear selection. Longer and wider, the 9-3 also sports ESP and brakeforce distribution, as well as traction control.


A Saab spokesman says the brand’s plans for a seven-passenger sport-ute have been scuttled. Kevin Smith told the wire service that the plans to build a Saab version of the upcoming Cadillac SRX proved difficult and more expensive than planned. Smith added that Saab plans to boost sales volume in the U.S. to 70,000 vehicles per year by 2004, by introducing a new range of vehicles, including a new 9-3 entry-level vehicle later this year and a crossover wagon variant in 2003. The new 9-3 will be the first GM product built on the company’s Delta platform, which will also spawn replacements for the Pontiac Grand Am and other compact to mid-size front-drive vehicles.
2002 Saab 9-3 Viggen Conv. by Paul Wiley Cockerham (1/28/2002)

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