FIRESTONE RECALL UNDER SCRUTINY A United States House of Representatives subcommittee on consumer protection is likely to soon hold hearings on the recent Firestone recall. The issue at question is whether Firestone waited too long to inform the public and recall 6.5 million potentially defective tires. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is currently investigating the tires, which so far have been connected to 62 deaths and 100 injuries.

FORD EXECS ON THE DEFENSIVE Ford chairman William Ford Jr. and chief executive Jac Nasser have found themselves on the defensive in the past few days. Nasser Thursday said in a USA Today interview that he is frustrated with the pace of the Firestone recall efforts, and that the automaker has been considering alternatives to hasten the recall process. Alternatives would be for Ford to offer worried Ford Explorer drivers free rental cars, or to offer those tires allocated for new Explorers to customers for replacement. William Ford Jr. in a separate interview critically pointed out that the Firestone tire recall has nothing to do with the design of the Explorer. Of the 6.5 million Firestone tires recalled last week, the majority were installed as original equipment on Ford Explorers.

NHTSA PLANS NEW TIRE TESTS The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in a reaction to the Firestone tire-safety scare, plans to establish new tire safety regulations, says the New York Times. The NHTSA is considering testing tires at higher speeds than it presently does, and the group is currently reviewing 750 reported cases of tire failure.

GM STRAIGHT ON SIX General Motors has revealed information about its upcoming inline six-cylinder engine. According to AutoWeek, the new engine, with variable valve timing, will make 270 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque, and it will be dubbed the Vortec 4200. The new engine family, set to be offered in GM's 2002 midsize SUVs, such as the Oldsmobile Bravada, Chevrolet Trailblazer, and GMC Envoy, will include inline four- and five-cylinder engines later on.

FIAT TO EXPORT INDIAN CARS TO U.K. Bloomberg News reports that Fiat India has revealed a new, unique station wagon that shows promise to be imported to the U.K. and other international markets. The Siena Weekend, built on the same platform as the European model Siena, will be exported to the U.K. starting in December.

ROVER DESTINED FOR FAILURE, SAYS SOURCE According to London's Financial Times, Rover Cars may fail financially by March 2001. Alchemy Partners, a rival bidder for Rover earlier this year, revealed that the automaker, under the ownership of the Phoenix Consortium, has no chance of restoring profitability by next year.

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