Consumer Car News: 5/27/02

May 28, 2002

Summer gives us the perfect excuse to line up the latest set of hot wheels — and for some reason, it also gives Johnny Law the perfect excuse to yank us back to earth when the speedo creeps into the top half of its range. And while speeding tickets might have cost you big time, here at TCC, the story behind the ticket can get you valuable prizes — including a new radar detector! Read up today to find out how you can win inside TCC:
Click here for TCC’s Speeding Excuses Contest!

Are power windows too dangerous for children? A safety group that advocated interior trunk-release handles says that power windows are dangerous enough to warrant automatic rollbacks and other technology. Kids ‘N Cars, which nudged automakers into providing glow-in-the-dark emergency handles inside trunks for emergency release, wants carmakers to equip power windows with technology that would automatically lower windows if they encounter any resistance. They say some 50 children have died in the past 17 years by strangulation in car windows. Most windows now made will roll back if they encounter a moderate amount of resistance. The group, Reuters says, also wants power window switches to pull up when raising windows; many made today can be pushed to raise the window.

2004 BMW Z4

2004 BMW Z4

College freshman, Shahin Tabassi, got more than he bargained for on the way to finals this week. Tabassi found himself driving next to a 2003 BMW Z4 on the highway. Tabassi grabbed his camera and managed to get these pictures before he arrived at his college in Southern California. This second generation roadster will be officially introduced at the Paris Motor Show in late September, and is expected to be at dealerships as early as October or November.
Spy Shots: 2004 BMW Z4

2000 Jaguar F-type

2000 Jaguar F-type

Automotive News reports that the concept Jaguar F-Type roadster has been pushed back. Intended as a mid-size convertible to compete against the BMW and Benz $50,000 roadsters, the F-Type will give way so that Jaguar can finish development of other models, including the coming XJ sedan and a successor to the XK coupe/convertible. A Jaguar spokesman told the industry weekly that Jaguar would introduce 17 new products in the next four years.
Spy Shots: 2003 Jaguar XJ by Brenda Priddy (5/6/2002)

Buick will offer a new sport-utility vehicle dubbed Rainier, starting in mid-2003, the brand confirmed on Thursday. The 2004 Rainier will be based on the same chassis used for the popular Chevrolet TrailBlazer, but will have its own unique exterior and interior design, according to Roger Adams, Buick general manager.

The Rainier is the first of a half-dozen new vehicles that Buick expects to bring out over the next half-decade, Adams told the Automotive Press Association. “We will introduce an either all-new or totally redesigned product in each of the next four years,” Adams said.

Adams also confirmed Buick is considering a rear-wheel-drive car and a convertible but will stay out of the high-performance market. Supercharging is a possibility as Buick expands its powertrain offerings, but "We're not going after boy racers," Adams said. Adams also confirmed the replacement for the Buick Regal has been delayed for at least one year so it could be redesigned, he said. The redesign of the Regal was ordered by Robert Lutz, GM vice chairman, Adams said. The new Regal is now expected to appear in 2004.

New products will help Buick bring down the average age of the Buick buyer, which now hovers around 63, Adams said. The success of the Rendezvous, Buick’s first sport-utility vehicle, has proven the division can attract younger buyers with the right product. Seventy-three percent of Rendezvous buyers have never bought a Buick before and 30 percent are new to GM, Adams said. Thirty-five percent of the Rendezvous buyers are under 50, Adams said.— Joe Szczesny
Flint: Saving Buick by Jerry Flint (3/25/2002)


American Honda Motor Co., Inc. says it will recall some 1.3 million vehicles —certain 1997 to 2000 Accords, Civics, Preludes, CR-Vs and Odysseys, as well as 1999 Acura TL sedans and some 1997 to 1999 CL coupes — to replace the ignition module that could contribute to stalling. Honda says electrical contacts inside the module wear prematurely, and that affected vehicles will likely show trouble starting before experiencing stalling. The vehicles in question will be repaired free of charge.
2003 Honda Pilot by TCC Team (5/20/2002)


Daewoo, in its death throes in the U.S., will recall some 70,000 Lanos compacts because the passenger-side airbag covers are too hard. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says the recall was made because the covers could prevent airbags from inflating properly. While U.S. dealers will replace the covers, they won’t be doing much else: when GM acquired some of Daewoo’s assets in a $251 million deal earlier this month, they decided not to purchase the company’s American dealer network. Daewoo dealers will be responsible for warranty and recall work until the GM-Daewoo deal is official; after that, a separate business will be set up to handle aftermarket work.


The reconstituted Maserati has issued its first recall in the U.S. Some 352 Spyders will have modifications to their power steering hoses to avoid the possibility of engine fires, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said on Wednesday, Reuters reports. Maserati plans to sell about 1500 Spyders in the U.S. in the coming year.


It could be a year or more before consumers get the opportunity to buy the quirky Segway Personal Transporter announced with much fanfare late last year. Segway has been racing to win legislative approval for the electric two-wheelers to be used on sidewalks, rather than on streets, and so far, 23 states have given their okay. A number of corporate and government buyers, such as the police at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport, have placed orders for the devices, which source many key components from Delphi Automotive Systems. But inventor Dean Kamen tells TheCarConnection “we’ve pushed back the consumer launch,” for another year or more. That’s not necessarily surprising observers, who have questioned the private market for a machine expected to carry a base price of $8,000. Kamen says Segway is considering lower-cost versions that might delete some features, possibly limiting range. Even so, he says he’d “be disappointed” if the company wasn’t “shipping serious quantities,” measured in the tens of thousands, according to Kamen, by the end of the year.

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