Daily Edition: Feb. 13, 2006

February 13, 2006

TCC's Street Names Contest: Finalists!

Our readers, it seems, have crisscrossed every inch of the country looking for the wildest, weirdest, and wackiest street names, and since we launched our contest on December 20, they've come up with some amazing signs of our time.

We can't tell you how many different places have streets named ThisaWay, or ThataWay. There are countless Yankees and Doodles and even Dandies. City planners must be a hungry lot, considering the number of Chicken Dinner Ways, Streets, and Places. And whatever the original intent, we've got some naughty minds who can't send us enough entries for

Kitchen Dick Rd.
, Morning Wood, and Hooker Lane.

All told, we've received nearly 2500 entries, enough to get TCC's Editorial Assistant Eric Edelstein to the eye doctor, all the while mumbling incoherently. But he's finally finished up and it's time to pick the winners.

Well, potential winners, anyway. The members of TheCarConnection team have narrowed our selection down to a Top Ten, and now we'd like you all to weigh in with your own choices by voting in this week's TCC poll, which you'll find on the home page.

TCC's Street Names Contest: Finalists! (2/12/2006)
From Psycho Path to

Farfrompoopen Rd.
, you've uncovered some weird stuff. Won't Mom be proud?


Bigger Is Better in Chicago

2008 Toyota Tundra

2008 Toyota Tundra

Enlarge Photo
If last year's oil shock changed the way Americans are driving, the message was apparently lost on those showing off their wares in the WindyCity. The 2006 Chicago Auto Show put plenty of emphasis on large trucks: Toyota rolled out its next-generation Tundra pickup on Thursday, while General Motors rolled out yet another variant of its all-new big truck platform -- the 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche. Dodge's mid-size Nitro SUV was nearly the smallest truck on display. And at Lincoln, the new Navigator showed up with an even larger L model.

2006 Chicago Auto Show: Last Words (2/12/2006)
To sum it up: there are a lot of trucks here, aren't there?

2006 Chicago Auto Show Coverage by TCC Team (2/6/2006)


Ford Says It's Number One for 2005

Ford is going after Chevrolet's claim that it was the best-selling brand in the U.S. in 2005. Chevy bases its claim on sales data as reported by the manufacturers. However, new data from R.L. Polk indicates that Ford registered more vehicles in 2005, and actually beat Chevrolet by more than 5000 units, which means it kept its sales leadership for the 20th consecutive year, according to Ford spokesman Jim Cain. "To us, the Ford versus Chevy race is a remnant of the old Big Three mindset.  We're managing our business to emerge a winner in the Big Six shootout, and that means looking farther east than

Jefferson Avenue
to measure ourselves," he said. "That said, the industry standard for advertising claims is R.L. Polk. The Polk data doesn't support GM's claim of Chevrolet leadership, so we will be contacting GM and asking them to stop making the claim," he told TheCarConnection. GM chief executive officer Rick Wagoner told Automotive News that Chevrolet wasn't going to drop its claim of being number one. -Joe Szczesny


Detroit Stakes Out Political Path

President George W. Bush seems to have ruled out any kind of a bailout for American carmakers. But that hasn't stopped the domestic brands from soliciting support for policies related to research and healthcare that bolster their interests.

One aspect of the Detroit policy now coming together was on display during the press previews for the Chicago Auto Show. Ford, General Motors, and even Chrysler talked up ethanol aggressively, as new tax credits and subsidies are being heavily promoted in Washington. Opposition to the proposals in Detroit seems to have melted away in the wake of President Bush's decision to extol the virtues of ethanol in the State of the Union address.
Executives from Detroit, in fact, spoke cheerfully about governmental support for ethanol and suggested the federal government ought to think about offering even more incentives to convert and develop vehicles for ethanol. Ethanol does seem to have broad political support, uniting agricultural interests, critics of urban sprawl who maintain the U.S. needs to protect and not develop farmland, and national security hawks who loathe transferring more American wealth to the Middle East.

Detroit Stakes Out Political Path (2/12/2006)
Ethanol wins over Detroit and Washington, but healthcare still a big concern.


Lincoln Abandons Names, Mostly

2007 Lincoln MKX

2007 Lincoln MKX

Enlarge Photo
"What is in a name?" So wondered Shakespeare, and so are wondering observers around Dearborn this week. In a clearly controversial move, Ford has decided to abandon some of the traditional names used by its Lincoln brand, opting instead, for alphabetical designations. The old Aviator SUV, for example, will be reborn as the MKX, or "Mark-X," the newly preferred pronunciation. The new Zephyr sedan, one of the division's few recent success stories, will be renamed the MKZ.

"'Mark' is one very, very strong nameplate," asserts Anne Stevens, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Ford's operations in North and South America. It was a long-running nameplate used on a variety of Lincoln products, most recently with the Mark VIII coupe, and Stevens added, "We believe it will be very relevant."

A few familiar names will survive the transition, such as that on the Town Car, Lincoln's rear-drive traditional luxury sedan, and that on the Navigator, the brand's newly redesigned full-size SUV. "The Navigator name has a lot of equity across the marketplace, so we decided to keep it," explains Ford's Vice President of Marketing, Sales and Service, Cisco Codina.

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