S80 platform has fan at Ford
Volvo's S80 platform could be used for other Ford luxury brands, according to Ford Motor Co. CEO Jac Nasser. 'Volvo has a fantastic new platform for the S80,' he said. 'It is very versatile and will be used to launch different Volvo models. It is in our best interest to develop the S80 platform.' Nasser said no final decisions have been made on sharing the platform. 'We could use evolutions of the S80 platform for new Lincolns or Jaguars or use Lincoln or Jaguar platforms for future Volvos,' he said. 'With the Lincoln LS, the Jaguar S-Type and the Ford Thunderbird, we clearly showed how we can offer very distinct products aimed at different segments - but all based on the same platform.'
NO. 2 TO LEAVE NHTSA - The revolving door spins again. This time it is Philip Recht, deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, who is leaving government to become a lawyer-lobbyist. Recht, 45, has been at the safety agency since late 1994, first as chief counsel, then as the second-in-command. His role, in effect, was to apply political pragmatism to the often esoteric work of safety regulation. He is joining the Los Angeles office of Mayer, Brown & Platt and will chair its government relations group. Recht previously practiced law in California before enlisting in Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign and subsequently joining the administration. Recht acknowledged that 'the so-called airbag crisis was one of the biggest challenges we faced,' but he said the administration's most important accomplishment has been to 're-energize the highway safety movement.'
PILLAGE SAFELY - Volvo will help sponsor an exhibit that celebrates the 1,000th anniversary of Vikings visiting North America in the year 1000. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and Hans-Olov Olsson, president of Volvo Cars of North America Inc., made an announcement in Washington last week. The exhibit, 'Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga,' will visit seven cities in the United States and Canada, starting in Washington in April 2000. Said Olsson: 'Volvo is proud to embrace the Viking spirit.'
2+2 = RX-7? Mazda won't say whether it's going to bring out a new RX-7, but the business card of Martin Leach sure suggests it will. The card shows the outline of a sports car and an image of the inner workings of a rotary engine, the RX-7's trademark. 'We have a surprise for you in Tokyo,' says the card, in reference to this October's Tokyo auto show. Leach, product planning chief for Mazda Motor Corp., said he could say nothing beyond that.