WASHINGTON - Federal officials have pushed back to June 1, 2000, the effective date for congressionally approved changes in domestic-content labels on new cars and trucks.
The extra time is doing little, however, to quell continuing widespread industry dissatisfaction with labeling requirements. Information on the stickers includes the assembly site of each vehicle, the country of origin of the engine and transmission and the percentage of U.S./Canadian parts content.
The rules were imposed in 1994, with UAW support, as a buy-American tool.
'Consumers don't really look at this information and don't really care,' said Barbara Nocera, director of government and industry affairs for Mazda North American Operations. So why waste money collecting and reporting it, she asked.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, charged with implementing the changes, said it tried to minimize problems. But it advised those who object to the underlying law to contact Congress.
Lawmakers did approve modest changes last year. They were to be effective June 1, 1999. Now, car companies and suppliers have 10 more months to alter labels.
One change eliminates the so-called roll-down provision. Currently, a component with domestic value of less than 70 percent receives no credit toward U.S.-Canadian content. Now, it will be rounded to the nearest percentage ending in 5 or 0.
It was one of the changes sought by import-brand companies, but it will increase the accuracy of content information from all companies, including General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and the former Chrysler Corp., now that they are outsourcing more of their parts, said an industry lobbyist who asked not to be named.
In another change favored by import-brand manufacturers, com-panies will be allowed to count engine and transmission assembly costs when determining the countries of origin of those parts. At present, those costs are not counted.