WASHINGTON - The Cadillac Seville finished with a 'poor' rating, the worst possible score, in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's latest round of offset crash tests. In response, General Motors last week defended the car's safety record and challenged the institute's scoring of its own tests. The six large luxury cars crashed at 40 mph into an angled barrier got these overall ratings: BMW 5 series and Lexus LS 400, 'good;' Mercedes E class and Lincoln Continental, 'acceptable;' Infiniti Q45, 'marginal;' and Seville, 'poor.' Adrian Lund, institute vice president, stood by the tests.
DETROIT - A new round of cost cutting at Chrysler Corp. may imperil the Jeep Dakar sport-utility and the Dodge Copperhead roadster, the company said. The two 1997 concept vehicles are not in Chrysler's funded product plan, and money for the small-volume programs may be harder to find as the company cuts capital spending because of weakening sales. The Dakar, a stretch four-door Wrangler, was considered the most likely candidate for production. Published reports last week said Chrysler planned to trim $1 billion from capital spending in the next few years. Chrysler declined to confirm the figure.
AMARILLO, Texas - Cross-Continent Auto Retailers Inc., a publicly held dealer chain, announced last week that results for the second quarter will fall below analysts' expectations. Some analysts said the announcement could hurt future dealer initial public stock offerings. Cross-Continent reached an agreement to sell Performance Nissan and Performance Dodge to Emmett Rice Jr., chief operating officer and a director of Cross-Continent. Rice agreed to pay $9 million worth of common stock for the two Midwest City, Okla., dealerships and to resign as an officer and director of Cross-Continent.
CHANGE AT PNGV
WASHINGTON - There has been another change in the top ranks of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles, the joint industry- government effort to create a clean-running, 80-mpg car that families can afford. At the Commerce Department, Gary Bachula has been named acting undersecretary for technology, replacing Mary Good, who retired. Bachula was a top aide to former U.S. Rep. Bob Traxler, D-Mich., and former Michigan Gov. James Blanchard. Good was a senior vice president at AlliedSignal before joining the Clinton administration.