Mercedes vows platform purity
Will Mercedes-Benz owners face the indignity of riding around on Chrysler hardware? No way, DaimlerChrysler AG executives say over and over. To reinforce the message one more time, Mercedes-Benz of North America Inc. has been mailing letters to all Mercedes-Benz owners in the United States - and there are more than a million - reassuring them that Chrysler platforms would not be used for any Mercedes-Benz vehicle. 'We knew they would have questions,' Mike Jackson, president of Mercedes-Benz of North America, said last week during a holiday luncheon in Detroit.
ON THE MEND - Harry Pearce, vice chairman of General Motors, is home again. Pearce, who underwent treatment for leukemia in summer in Seattle, returned to Detroit last week. In a memo to staffers, Chairman Jack Smith said Pearce will spend much of his time at home, gradually picking up the work pace as he recuperates. GM will install a closed-circuit TV in Pearce's home for video conferences.
NEW WORLD TO CONQUER - With more and more electronic components stuffed into cars and trucks these days, Delphi Automotive Systems is learning 'amazing things' from its silicon-savvy suppliers, President J.T. Battenberg III said. Still, it's a little disconcerting to see how companies such as IBM, Microsoft Corp. and Netscape Communications Corp. look at vehicles as just another commodity, another sales opportunity to be chased. Said Battenberg: 'Those geniuses are after our market, there's no doubt.'
'MINT' CONDITION BUICK -Jeweler, car collector and Buick admirer Nicola Bulgari last week donated a $30,000 sterling silver reproduction of the Buick Park Avenue Ultra to the Sloan Museum's Buick Gallery and Research Center in Flint, Mich. Bulgari had an identical 81/2-inch-long silver model made for himself. His private car collection includes several Buicks, including one that was used by the Vatican from 1938 to 1965. Last year he visited the GM assembly plant in Orion Township, Mich., to take delivery of eight matching black Park Avenue Ultras, one for each Bulgari shop in the United States. 'When I was growing up in Rome, all the embassies used American luxury cars,' Bulgari said after the presentation in New York last week.