Drivers wanted at the beach
To celebrate 50 years of VWs in America, Volkswagen of America Inc. is throwing what it calls the ultimate beach bash for VW drivers on Aug. 28 at Jones Beach State Park on New York's Long Island. DriverFest '99 will include performance-driving clinics, new-car test-drives, a classic and custom car show and lots of sports activities. There will be live concerts, and performers include Verve Pipe, Violent Femmes, Dishwalla, Atomic Fireballs and Grand Funk Railroad.
SCARE TACTIC - General Motors' latest idea for marketing its service parts: Fear. GM's ACDelco parts brand plans to run a series of TV commercials showing motorists stranded on the side of the road because they failed to ask for ACDelco parts. One motorist is stranded next to a prison where a siren is blaring. GM also will run radio spots touting the expertise of service technicians who use ACDelco parts.
A HEAD CASE - Owners of Mercedes-Benz ML320s, ML430s, E320s, and E430s could lose their heads - their cylinder heads, that is - if a California engineering consultant wins his lawsuit. Jim Feuling, perhaps best known for his work on the experimental Oldsmobile Aerotech speed car, claims Mercedes copied his patented designs for cylinder heads containing three valves per cylinder. Feuling is suing Mercedes-Benz, its dealers and 360,000 people who have bought those vehicles since 1997. Feuling wants Mercedes to recall all the vehicles and replace the cylinder heads of its 3.2-liter V-6 and 4.3-liter V-8 engines.
KEEPING IT SIMPLE - There's something refreshingly direct about the name Saturn has placed on its new large car. The LS stands for Large Saturn. Not so with the 10 other makes and 26 other nameplates that also have LS models. They aren't putting it in words, but it's a safe bet that their LS does not stand for Large Sedan; it's more likely to be Luxury Sedan or Limited Series or some equally fancy tag. The 10 other makes that offer LS models are Acura, Buick, Isuzu, Kia, Lexus, Lincoln, Oldsmobile, Mercury, Mitsubishi - and the real champ - Chevrolet, which has an LS (or LSi) in seven car lines and five truck lines.