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Auto News Briefly

'Enjoy life'? Hey, we're trying!

Volvo's latest advertising tag line is, "Volvo. For Life." That has three elements, said Dan Werbin, the new CEO of Volvo Cars of North America Inc.: "Protect life, long life and enjoy life." The first two, safety and longevity, are traditional Volvo attributes. New products such as the sporty S60 sedan are supposed to inject the "enjoy life" element. Werbin joked at a press introduction Aug. 21 that it is tough for Swedes to have fun, and show it: "As Lutherans and Protestants, this is hard for us, but we are doing it."

WELL, THEY WERE CLOSE -- Akira Fujishima, a former Japanese Supreme Court judge who chaired an independent panel set up to monitor Mitsubishi Motors Corp.'s quality-improvement progress in the wake of a recall scandal, has endorsed the carmaker's quality improvements - but maybe he spoke too soon. On the second page of the press release announcing the results of the committee's yearlong study, Mitsubishi misspelled Fujishima's name as "Fujimoto."

GO TO SCHOOL, WIN A CAR -- Dealer Tony March is helping the Hartford, Conn., school system battle absenteeism. March, owner of Tony March Automotive, says he will give a new car to the family of a Hartford student who doesn't miss a day this school year. According to the Hartford Courant, the car probably will be a Saturn worth about $15,000. "If you're in every class, you're bound to learn," said March, who owns 21 dealerships in seven states. Families of children with perfect attendance will have their names placed in a lottery for the car. Last year, 976 of the system's 24,000 students had perfect attendance. Said Hartford schools spokeswoman Jacqueline Hardy: "We're hoping to at least double that number."

RETRO VETTE IS A NO-GO -- Magna Steyr's pitch to produce a limited-edition retro-looking Corvette that could be sold through Chevrolet dealers has gotten a thumbs-down from General Motors. Magna Steyr took a current Corvette and replaced the body panels, creating a car that combines styling cues from the 1953-1955 Corvettes with the performance and technology of the current Corvette. The vehicle was displayed recently at car events in New Mexico and Michigan. "We're not going to do it," said Ron Zarrella, president of GM North America. "We've got a halo strategy that we are pursuing" with the current Corvette and the upcoming SSR. "We don't need another halo car for Chevrolet."

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