Feds plan rules on ergonomics
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Labor Department late last week proposed rules to protect workers from health problems that develop because of the repetitive nature of many modern jobs, including assembly line tasks.
Business groups have resisted the so-called ergonomics rules for years, and the Republican-controlled Congress had prevented the Occupational Safety and Health Administration from moving ahead with regulations. But the last prohibition expired in October.
The agency unveiled a draft of its proposed rules on Friday, Feb. 19, and called for public comment.
Schrempp urges free-trade zone
CHICAGO - DaimlerChrysler Chairman Juergen Schrempp suggested here last week that business leaders lead a push to create a North Atlantic free-trade zone between North America and Europe.
'The time has come for Europe and the United States to push for a free and open transatlantic marketplace,' and for businesses to push political leaders to align themselves with global companies, Schrempp said in a speech at the Executives Club of Chicago on Friday, Feb. 19.
'If we can manage to bring together the world's two strongest markets, we can pave the way to cross-global prosperity.'
Schrempp added there should soon be time when cross-ocean mergers of the sort that created DaimlerChrysler are 'no longer unusual.'
Crain News Service
Lexus prices rise $104
LOS ANGELES - Lexus Division has raised prices $100 to $300 on five of its eight models. Lexus said the hike averages 0.3 percent; Automotive News estimates it averages $104 when spread across the entire Lexus line on a sales-weighted basis.
The increases are $100 on the SC 300 and SC 400 coupes; $200 on the LX 400 sedan and RX 300 sport-utility; and $300 on the LX 470, the most expensive Lexus. It is now $56,700, including the $495 destination charge.
Air proposals aim at trucks
WASHINGTON - The government wants tougher clean air rules to apply to light trucks as well as to cars, but that doesn't mean every pickup, minivan and sport-utility will have to be as clean as the cleanest cars.
The proposed rules, which the EPA was preparing to send to the White House for final approval last Friday, Feb. 19, use fleet averages. In other words, a company could produce trucks that pollute more if it sold enough other clean vehicles to keep its fleet average in compliance.
In addition, the heaviest light trucks, those up to 8,500 pounds gross vehicle weight, would have until 2009 to comply.
The EPA proposal also would give automakers the nationwide low-sulfur gasoline they requested. The Clinton administration wants to adopt the rules by year end and to have them effective in the 2004 model year.
Goeser to join Ford as VP
Ford Motor Co. has hired Whirlpool Corp. executive Louise Goeser as vice president of quality. Goeser, 45, who will join Ford March 1, will be the third woman among Ford's 43 executives holding the rank of vice president or above.
She was vice president of corporate quality and general manager of the refrigerator product team at Whirlpool, based in Benton Harbor, Mich. She also has worked at Westinghouse Electric Corp. and has served as a senior examiner and a judge in the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards.
Goeser will report to Richard Parry-Jones, group vice president of product development.
Zanardi NSX is $84,745
LOS ANGELES - Acura Division has priced its limited-edition Alex Zanardi NSX sports car at $84,745, including the $745 destination charge. It is the same price as the regular NSX coupe.
The Alex Zanardi is named for a two-time winner of the CART open-wheel racing championship. Only 50 of the cars will be produced, and they will be hand-built, Acura said.
Acura has set up a special Web page at www.acura.com to help prospects locate a Zanardi. The page will include a countdown of the number of unsold cars in stock at Acura dealerships.