It's not easy being green
A Toyota Prius, a Nissan Altra EV and a natural-gas-powered Ford F-250 were displayed at the foot of the U.S. Capitol during an Earth Day celebration organized by the National Association of Manufacturers. The day-long event drew hardly any public officials but did attract some protesters. Liz Hitchcock of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group said it was 'cynical and disingenuous' of manufacturers to stage the event after working so hard to roll back laws that protect the environment and public health. Undeterred, Jeremy Barnes of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., who stood watch over the hybrid Prius all day, said he was pleased that visitors to the exhibit, while few in number, included many young people - the future owners and drivers of environmentally friendly vehicles.
COME FIX THIS SQUEAL - The 24-hour Mercedes Customer Assistance Center gets some pretty strange requests, according to Momentum, a magazine for Mercedes owners. One owner called because his pet potbellied pig got stuck under the driver's seat of his E320. A service technician went to the scene, unbolted the seat and freed the pig. A woman called on a portable phone from inside a bathroom, looking for the answer to a 'Trivial Pursuit' question: 'How many points in the Mercedes-Benz star?' If she's a Mercedes owner, she must not drive very often.
A DAY WITH THE COACH - Massey Cadillac salesman Terry Hollenback won a sales contest at the Orlando, Fla., dealership in February that had him flying high in April. As a reward for reaching 127 percent of his personal sales goal, Hollenback, 50, received a day with success coach Gary Coxe. The April 6 trip included a flight on Coxe's Lear jet - piloted by Coxe -from Tampa, Fla., to Sandals Resort in the Caribbean for breakfast and lunch. Then it was on to Charlotte, N.C. The rest of the day included a limousine ride to and from the airport, a sales and self-development presentation by Coxe and dinner. Coxe, 34, sells the trips to companies that want to reward their salespeople. The price ranges from $850 to $1,250 and includes coaching during the trip and a consultation with Coxe 30 days later.
NOW, THAT'S SECURITY - Car alarms and the Club are for sissies. Real security is a car that can stop a bullet. Kroll-O'Gara Co. in Fairfield, Ohio, offers a 'Level IV' package that can foil assault-rifle bullets or even a grenade attack. You provide the Chevrolet Suburban, Mercedes-Benz E class, Range Rover, Toyota Land Cruiser or Jeep Grand Cherokee. Kroll-O'Gara showed a Level IV Suburban at this year's New York auto show.