NHTSA beefs up odometer team
WASHINGTON - The federal government is about to pounce on odometer fraud.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received an extra $135,000 from Congress in its 1998 budget, enabling it to train three state police officers to join its odometer fraud enforcement staff.
Under the program, the federal agency will train three state police officers in investigative tactics and pay their living expenses. The home states continue to pay their salaries.
NHTSA has four investigators in each of four regions. They have cleaned up most problems, but the states of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania remain difficult.
'We're not talking about a few hundred vehicles,' said Richard Morse, director of NHTSA's odometer fraud staff. 'There is one used-car dealer with 1,000 and another with 850 in a year.'
Aluminum demand about to rise
US automotive consumption of aluminum is expected to grow 33 percent by 2002.
'It appears that the US market will reaccelerate,' said Lloyd O'Carroll, the chief economist and equity research analyst at Scott & Stringfellow USA, at the Metal Bulletin aluminum conference in Istanbul.
He said shipments of aluminum to the US auto industry would be 274 million pounds in 1998, 291 million in 1999, and 365 million in 2002.
Network TV splash for new 3 series
NEW YORK - BMW of North America Inc. plans a big advertising splash on prime-time network TV to introduce the all-new 3 series. It has not used network TV for three years. BMW is spending more than $50 million on TV, print, radio and outdoor advertising for the new 3 series from now through June 1999, said Jim McDowell, marketing vice president. The new model went on sale in July.
Output to increase
DETROIT - Extra production at General Motors to make up for the summer's strike will boost North American production during the fourth quarter. Automakers will build 4,031,000 cars and light trucks during the fourth quarter, up 3 percent from a year ago, according to forecasts by WEFA and the Automotive News Data Center. GM projects its overall output will rise 2.6 percent, to 1.46 million. Chrysler, Honda and Toyota also expect to increase production.
Neiman Marcus to offer Audi TT
DALLAS - Nieman Marcus, the exclusive Texas department store chain, has chosen the Audi TT coupe as the car it will offer in its holiday catalog this year. Last year's vehicle was a GMC Suburban loaded with Sony electronic gear. One hundred TTs will be available at $35,450, with delivery in spring.