The Week in Reverse

September 9, 2005
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Ford's Mark Fields is the latest fresh face (relatively) to get hustled up through the executive ranks. One former Ford insider we know says the Nasser brain drain's effects have taken such a toll on the ranks, that virtually no one in upper management qualifies for Social Security anymore.

Volkswagen thinks King Kong is the perfect celebrity endorser for the Touareg SUV. Given the on-screen track records of sport-utes in adventure-horror flicks of late, we think it's clever ruse to move vehicles into the "crushed by preternaturally huge beast" Excel column and write the whole lot off. Stay tuned for more Kong bulletins and a general sense of overwhelm from the floor of the Frankfurt show starting Monday.

Some other new SUVs will have a tough time meeting new fuel-economy regs if the EPA's new plan takes effect in 2008. Among the hurting kind, as predicted by U.S. News and World Report: the Kia Sorento, Jeep Commander, Benz G500 and Land Rover Range Rover. Get the facts and rankings of the six new categories of SUVs directly from the magazine's recent issue.

General Motors will be the official vehicle of the NFL for a handful of years in the future--which means they too are willing to trade the entire Seahawks team for something of equal value. Like a used Aveo.

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Gas prices have sunk in some states following Hurricane Katrina. In Georgia, Gov. Sonny Perdue dropped the state's gas tax for a month, pushing prices in the state mostly below $3 a gallon. Some economists are now predicting $2.50 a gallon by year's end - and if it doesn't sound exactly like a bargain, think of how good it sounded last Tuesday after the storm crushed four of the Gulf of Mexico's critical refineries.

We're glad to hear, directly and indirectly, of the safety of former Car and Driver editor William Jeanes, now a contributor for AutoWeek and Automotive News and his wife, art director Susan. William and Susan rode out Hurricane Katrina in their Pass Christian, Miss., home--a home that had survived Hurricane Camille intact and stood on a 40-foot bluff on the Mississippi sound. What with the prediction that the storm surge would be about 15-19 feet, [William] was confident "right up until the 45-foot storm surge blew right through the first level turning it into a clear carport, front to back. From then on it was hold on and pray." His brand new Toyota Avalon, "purchased just two days earlier, floated on through and kept on going." The Jeanes are in Jackson, Miss., for the foreseeable future, Pass Christian destroyed. But he notes that he made it through more safely than many in New Orleans, and that chillingly, Pass Christian suffered a better fate from Katrina than nearby Waveland. "Katrina saved a special bit of Hell for Waveland," he wrote. "It is totally, absolutely, and completely gone. Vaporized."

And finally, in fond memoriam of Leonard J. K. Setright, auto journalist who recent passed away, our favorite passage of his from the May 1982 issue of Car and Driver (yes, he's talking about cars...eventually...).

ReJoycentenary! Eins upon a time, a hondred years and a February it wast, inter the combing of the cocks, the cumming of the cocklichranes, and the emansipation of the cunnifers, in the waking weak of Francolin Pinkfield, came Jim Jokes to thread freeboots and lrishly through our Anglish world of reeling and wrighting-and music too, and he a Senger, sanger umlautifer, a freehold tenor; but Erse and fore most, and thus a Cork-tipped de Reszke warbling his planctive wouldnotes wailed, stitching his pre-emptive woodoats wilder, dismissed aghast the impregnable, assumedaroint the unthinkable, stepped out, stepped aught, stopped the tongue jailing and taken Rabbilazaran counsel to spoke as he writ.

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