Range Rover tops list
RANGE ROVER is at the top of the sport-utility list for American millionaires. The Robb Report surveys rich people on branded products in several categories. Other winners: Cartier jewelry, Cuvee Dom Perignon champagne and Rolex watches.
Vauxhall cuts congestion
RESULTS ARE IN from the Vauxhall anti-congestion experiment. On 15 May 1,000 workers in Luton, UK, shared cars, used public transport, worked from home, or otherwise tried beating peak-time congestion. More than 400 cars remained unused that day, saving 12,000km of driving, more than 1.6km of roadspace and an estimated 1,225 liters of fuel. 'Multiplied across the country that experience would produce a significant reduction in both congestion and pollution,' said Nick Reilly, Vauxhall chairman and managing director. Reilly that day used 'a combination of bicycle, train and Vauxhall Sintra' from home to office and back.
Ford tests Fiesta pickup
FORD IS TESTING a pickup truck in Brazil that is based on the Fiesta. The small truck has a 1.3-liter engine. It will replace the Pampa pickup, which has been in production for 20 years. Brazilian spy photographers have also seen a Fiesta-based sport-utility with 1.4-liter engine and luxury interior. Ford's Brazilian designers would like to see a little minivan off the platform, too.
Honda fights bacteria
In germ-conscious Japan, Honda is fitting an 'anti-bacterial' steering wheel to one of its latest models, the Life mini-MPV. Surfaces coated to resist the growth of bacteria have become fashionable in Japan. Telephones, pens, calculators and other items are widely available with germ-shedding finishes. Other carmakers are adopting the fashion. On the Honda, the steering wheel rim on the Life 'looks and feels normal but on a micro scale it has an exceptionally smooth coating which resists the growth of bacteria,' says the company.
Josse scouts for plant
JOSSE CAR is still looking for a place to build its Volvo-based Indigo sports car. The tiny Swedish firm was offered a free factory by the government of Amal, Sweden, but the offer was ruled illegal by an official auditor. Josse is trying to negotiate a new deal with Amal or another city. Meanwhile, it remains in nearby Arvika, where it lacks a paint shop, said Josse founder and co-owner Bengt Lidmalm. Josse has built and delivered six units. Josse has orders for 60 more cars.
Pound too strong
BRITAIN'S STRONG POUND is causing more automotive trouble. Nissan blamed the currency for its decision to postpone exports of the UK-built Primera to Japan. Exports of the UK-built Nissan Micra, known as the March in Japan, have slipped from a planned 300 a month to about 60 a month. Rover Group Chairman Walter Hasselkus said Rover and BMW won't change any of plans now, but if the pound stays around DM2.80, it would eventually cause Rover to source more parts outside the UK. Hasselkus said the pound ought to be about DM2.40.
James Treece and William Diem
1,500 jobs out with 164
AROUND 1,500 FIAT workers on the Alfa Romeo 164 line at Arese stop production and lose their jobs on 27 June. The replacement 166 launches next spring at Rivalta, alongside the Lancia K. Only 6,414 units were made last year.