CHRYSLER DROPS A BIG HINT

Chrysler has sent a poetic invitation to pique interest in the Jan. 4 debut of, presumably, the NS minivans. The poem recalls past stunts, such as the Dodge Ram that dropped through a ceiling at Detroit's Cobo Center, then says:

You should know Chrysler has more up its sleeve.

In fact these new products you just won't believe.

This will be a milestone, so be sure to go

to the North American International Auto Show.

WHAT TO READ I -Randall Rothenberg's new book, Where the Suckers Moon, details the failed marriage between Subaru and ad agency Wieden & Kennedy in Portland, Ore. The 'What to drive' campaign will be remembered as a great misstep in auto ad history.

WHAT TO READ II -Lisa Murr Chapman says women often lose encounters with auto repair shops and dealerships, so she has written The Savvy Woman's Guide to Cars, which goes on sale Jan. 16. She's a used-car dealer near Nashville, Tenn.

WHAT TO READ III - Smaller cars for personal commuting will take over from current autos that do more damage to the environment, says Robert Riley's new SAE book, Alternative Cars in the 21st Century: A New Personal Transportation Paradigm. Riley is an independent designer who worked on GM's Ultralight show car.

BIG NEWS- A booklet by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tells fleet managers: 'In relationship to their numbers on the road, small cars account for more than twice as many deaths as large cars.' Another nugget: Airbags reduce deaths 16 percent.

FUEL REFOCUS - Just 15 percent of fleet vehicles at natural gas utilities burn natural gas, according to a survey that got the dander up at the Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition. Chairman Warren Mitchell, from Southern California Gas Co., wrote 150 utility CEOs that he's switching his fleet over, and fast. 'If you took a tour of a Coca-Cola bottling plant and saw all the employees drinking Pepsi, wouldn't that send you a strong message?'

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