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Consumer Car News: 10/21/02

October 21, 2002

FORD GT40 LESS THAN $150,000
Ford says the upcoming production version of the GT40 concept vehicle won’t cost as much as has been reported. The 500-hp GT, which may not carry the “40” designation as a series production car, will be priced “substantially less than $150,000,” according to Steve Lyons, Ford Division president. The company will build three GTs in 2003, to commemorate Ford’s 100th anniversary and the company’s 1-2-3 finish at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans; regular production of 1000 vehicles per year will begin in 2004.
Ford Concepts Command Millions by TCC Team (6/17/2002)


GM’s display at November’s 2002 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show will include vehicles from the Chevy, Cadillac, Pontiac and Saturn divisions. The company will show many of the vehicles planned for the aftermarket show on November 4 — vehicles including Sunfires and Cavaliers with supercharged Ecotec 2.2-liter fours. The company will also show a wide range of parts it’s making to become the platform of choice for tuners. The show runs Nov. 5-8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.


Beginning next year, automakers will have to reimburse drivers who pay for repairs that are later covered under recalls. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will require the coverage beginning in January, in a decision linked to the Firestone/Ford recalls of 2000. The new procedures will require carmakers to come up with a reimbursement process, where some claims can be rejected. Those claims deemed fitting are to be paid within 60 days.


Drivers are paying more at the pumps than any time this year, according to a study by the Department of Energy. The DOE says prices this week are the highest since last September, averaging $1.44 across the country. The 13-cent increase from last year, Reuters reports, comes on rising crude prices and fears of war with Iraq. As usual, West Coast drivers are paying the most — about $1.48 per gallon, while the southeast Atlantic states have the best prices, on average $1.38 a gallon.


Nissan Alpha-T Concept

Nissan Alpha-T Concept

Nissan intends to take straight aim at the full-size U.S. pickup truck market when it launches its first entry into the segment next year. Unlike Toyota, which chose to market a slightly undersized Tundra, the as-yet-unnamed Nissan pickup will have virtually identical dimensions to such full-size domestics as the Ford F-150. “We don’t have any credibility in this segment, so we have to earn it and to do that, we have to over-deliver in a lot of areas,” notes Nissan’s chief product specialist for North American trucks, Larry Dominique. Among other things, Nissan will offer a variety of body configurations and powertrain options. Among other things, the Japanese automaker is considering a ¾-ton version which would take aim at one of the fastest-growing niches within the big pickup segment. The final decision on the ¾-ton will be made by Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn. Overall, there’s a 2.3 million unit-a-year market for full-size pickups, a segment that has traditionally been one of the most domestic and brand-loyal. But Nissan believes about a third of those buyers are open to considering one of its trucks, which will be built at an all-new factory in Mississippi. The initial V-8, designed specifically for truck use, will be produced at a new line in Decherd, Tenn. Eventually, Nissan expects to produce a full family of truck engines at Decherd.


Chrysler’s 2002 minivans are being recalled for a potential fuel leak. The company said on Tuesday that it will recall nearly 143,500 minivans for a problem with a fuel-tank weld that could pose a hazard. The vehicles involved were assembled at Chrysler’s Ontario plant between September 2001 and March of this year. Some of the vehicles will require new fuel tanks, the company says. Recall letters will be mailed early next month.

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