Consumer Car News: 9/9/02

September 8, 2002

GM, CHRYSLER OFFER MORE ZEROS
General Motors Corp. and the Chrysler Group are now offering zero-percent financing on 2003 models. “Zero percent ‘overdrive’ marketing is an easy to understand and easy to communicate message, which is essential in an intensely competitive environment,” Bill Lovejoy, group vice president of GM North America Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing, said as he announced the new GM program, which covers most vehicles except Saabs, Saturns and Hummers. The 2003 model year doesn’t officially start until Oct. 1 but dealers already have begun to take delivery of new models; Ford Motor Co. announced in August it planned to offer no-interest loans for the 2003 models. Gary Dilts, the Chrysler Group senior vice president for sales, said the Chrysler Group was prepared to match GM’s offer and offer no-interest, 36-month loans on 2003 models. Chrysler executives groaned about the zero-percent loans when they were forced to offer them in the wake of GM’s first announcement. However, over the past year, Chrysler, which has returned to profitability over the past 12 months, has concluded it can live with the zero-percent deals, Dilts said. “It makes for a simple marketing message,” said Dilts, who added he wasn’t surprised when GM decided to continue offering the no-interest loans into the 2003 model year.
’02 Sales: The Story So Far (9/4/2002)

 

CHEVY SETS EQUINOX FOR 2004
Chevrolet says it will market its first crossover vehicle, the Equinox, in the 2005 model year. The new vehicle is based on the company’s Theta architecture — that’s the Saturn VUE to those of us outside the Renaissance Center. The Ingersoll, Ont., CAMI plant now building the Chevy Tracker and Suzuki Vitara will be converted to Equinox production in 2004 for a 2005 model-year launch, according to GM. GM will spend more than $322 million to update the plant for assembly of the new vehicle; Suzuki has not announced whether they will field a similar vehicle to be built alongside the Equinox.
GM Interiors: Changing from Inside by TCC Team (8/26/2002)

 

2004 Cadillac XLR

2004 Cadillac XLR

2004 Cadillac XLR

2004 Cadillac XLR

’04 NORTHSTAR: 315 HP
Cadillac says the new rendition of its Northstar V-8 will vault the XLR roadster to 60 mph in less than six seconds. The 4.6-liter Northstar V-8 will produce 315 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque in that application, the first longitudinal use of the eight-cylinder engine since its first application in the 1993 Caddy Allanté. The 2004 XLR won’t be the only vehicle to use the new engine: the ’04 SRX crossover gets the powerplant, too, as well as the same Hydra-matic five-speed automatic gearbox. The engine features variable valve timing and electronic throttle control; the gearbox, advanced shift logic to hold gears during hard cornering and a clutchless semi-manual shift mode. Cadillac also says the powerplant will propel the XLR to a top speed limited to 155 mph.
Spy Shots: ’03 Cadillac CTSv by Brenda Priddy (9/3/2002)

 

DC, MTV BREED NEXT GEN OF RACERS
DaimlerChrysler is coupling with MTV to produce the reality show for performance enthusiasts — the "MTV Fast Enuff Challenge," spelling theirs. The music-television network is now scanning the country for 15 drivers that it will put into Dodge Neon ACR race coupes and train through Skip Barber’s racing schools. Then, the 15 selected entrants will be paired with celebrities (is Anna Nicole available? sentient?) and qualified down to five finalists. The last event will be a race at Homestead in Miami — and it’s all due to be televised on MTV in December. The winner gets a new Neon SRT-4 and, presumably, a full 15 minutes of fame.

LAST CAMARO — SORT OF — SOLD FOR $71,500
Chevrolet has auctioned off the last Camaro to be sold to the public. The red Z28, equipped with T-tops, was sold to Mark Gembinski of Mayville, Mich., for $71,500, at a charity auction held in Auburn, Ind. The 32-year-old Gembinski told the AP he was brought home from the hospital in a 1969 Camaro and “got a little crazy” while bidding for the vehicle at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival on Sunday. It wasn’t the actual final Camaro, though — it was next to last. The final Camaro went directly from the production line closed last Tuesday in St. Therese, Quebec, to the Chevrolet museum collection. The auction proceeds will go to the National Association of Students Against Violence Everywhere, the news service reports.
GM: Camaro Factory to Close by Joseph Szczesny (10/1/2001)

 

NHTSA POKES INTO BMW BAGS
After two recalls, the NHTSA isn’t quite satisfied that BMW’s 3-Series airbag problems are behind it. The safety agency is investigating more than 200,000 3-Series vehicles in the wake of reports of 41 injuries from side airbag deployments that occurred without accidents. Some 265 complaints of airbag deployment have been reported, usually after the vehicle has been driven over a pothole or curb. The NHTSA study will include BMW 3-Series cars made from April 1999 to April 2001; BMW has issued two recalls for 55,201 3-Series cars to remedy the problem.

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