Consumer Car News: 9/23/02

September 22, 2002

General Motors is putting one more zero in 2002 — zero percent on any remaining 2002 model, the company said yesterday. Effective Sept. 19th-30th, GM will finance any new 2002 vehicle for up to 60 months interest free. The offer includes all GM vehicles, even Saabs and HUMMERs and Saturns, which had been excluded from some previous offers. GM is also offering zero percent on some 2003 models through Oct. 31, but not Saabs, Saturns or HUMMERs. The latest spiff is GM’s latest salvo in the zero-percent wars, which has seen Ford and Chrysler responding with similar deals. Of the three, Ford is seen as the company with the most ’02 inventory to clear — and thus, the company spending the most on the deals.
Zero Percent a 9/11 Hero? by TCC Team (9/16/2002)


The still-brewing energy bill before both houses of Congress now includes a proviso that cuts light-truck fuel consumption by 5 billion gallons over the next seven years, Reuters reports. The effect of the new legislation would raise the fuel economy of vehicles built between 2006 and 2012 by less than 1 mpg. Earlier this year, environmentalists had pressed for a dramatic increase in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards that have mandated an average of 20.7 mpg for light trucks since the rule’s inception in the mid-1970s. One important feature of the bill is that light trucks are now included in future mileage increases; earlier versions of  the Senate’s energy bill exempted light trucks from future fuel-economy increases.
“High and Mighty”: On or Off-Track? by Joseph Szczesny (9/16/2002)


2003 Saturn ION

2003 Saturn ION

The Saturn ION sedan will carry a $11,995 base price including destination and well-equipped models will run between $14,500 and $16,500, the brand announced on Tuesday. Production of the new compact four-door begins this month in Spring Hill, Tenn.; the ION Quad Coupe won’t begin its run until early 2003. The prices for various ION sedans in numbered trim levels are as follows:

ION 1 Manual $11,995
ION 1 Automatic $12,895

ION 2 Manual $13, 995
   *includes air conditioning, power locks and AM/FM stereo with CD standard
ION 2 Automatic $14,895
   *includes air conditioning, power locks and AM/FM stereo with CD standard

ION 3 Manual $15,495
   *includes air conditioning, power windows, power locks with RKE, power mirrors, cruise control, 16" alloy wheels, and AM/FM stereo with CD/cassette standard
ION 3 Automatic $16,395
   * includes air conditioning, power windows, power locks with RKE, power mirrors, cruise control, 16" alloy wheels, and AM/FM stereo with CD/cassette standard

The Detroit News reports that Ford will discontinue the two-door Ford Explorer Sport. The paper says the shorter Explorer, in the lineup since 1990, will be dropped even though sales are actually rising this year — up 9 percent over last year. The News cites a source within the Louisville, Ky., plant that builds the Explorer. The two-door model rides on the chassis of the last-generation Explorer, also shared with the Explorer Sport Trac.
Ford Shows Future Products by Joseph Szczesny (7/22/2002)


Ford, Bridgestone and the plaintiffs involved have settled a Firestone tire lawsuit in California. The case, which had gone to court, charged that Ford and Bridgestone’s Firestone tires were liable in the injury of Cristina Hernandez, 21, who suffered brain injuries in a 1999 rollover in her 1997 Ford Explorer. Hernandez’ vehicle rolled after a tire on the truck lost its tread, Reuters reports. Ford and Bridgestone admitted no liability in the settlement, but the financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Ford Cop Cars Face Outcry by Jim Burt (9/9/2002)


Like those nifty GM ads with the somersaulting vehicles and the t-riff-ic soundtrack? If you thought that was Joan Jett howling away, you’d be wrong — it’s Bif Naked and her Canadian hit single, "I Love Myself Today," from the album Purge released a couple of weeks ago. Naked’s catchy single brought her to GM’s attention and from there, it wasn’t long before commerce and art merged, she says: "Rock and roll and automobiles have always had a beautiful relationship.  'I Love Myself Today' and the 2003 GM lineup is pure symmetry." The commercials are set to run through the fall.


Volkswagen’s new Dresden assembly facility won’t just host the Phaeton sedan — it’s also hosting the apropos opera Carmen. The city’s recent flooding has forced the Semper Opera from its regular 19th-century stage, so beginning on Oct. 26th, the Dow Jones Newswire reports, the company will perform from the Volkswagen plant. The opera house sustained $20 million in flooding of the Elbe River.

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