BMW ute is $49,970
WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J. - BMW will be in the high-priced segment of the sport-utility field when its X5 goes on sale late this year. The X5, with four-wheel drive and a V-8 engine, will be priced at $49,970, including the destination charge. A six-cylinder model will join the lineup next spring.
The X5 V-8 will be less than the 2000 Lexus LX 470, which at $59,500 is the most expensive sport-utility on the U.S. market, but it will be more than the 1999 Mercedes-Benz models - the ML320 at $35,545 and the ML430 at $44,345.
JUDGE REJECTS GM VERDICT
LOS ANGELES - A California state judge rejected a $4.9 billion verdict against General Motors and offered the plaintiffs a choice: Take $1.09 billion or face a retrial. The original award, the largest product-liability verdict in the United States, was granted to six people injured when the gas tank on their 1979 Chevrolet Malibu exploded during a crash.
GM argued at the trial that there was a lack of evidence linking the design of the Malibu's gas tank to the injuries. Bloomberg News Service reports the plaintiffs have 30 days to consider the judge's compromise offer.
EXIDE NAMES NEW COO
READING, Pa. - Exide Corp. has appointed Alan Johnson, a former Federal-Mogul Corp. executive, as its president and COO. He will handle day-to-day duties at the Reading-based maker of car batteries. That will allow Exide Chairman Robert Lutz to focus on long-term strategy.
At Federal-Mogul, Johnson, 51, was executive vice president of powertrain systems, a unit with $3 billion in sales and more than 20,000 employees. Johnson implemented the Toyota Production System at Federal-Mogul; he will help Exide convert to it.
GM TO EXPAND IN ONTARIO
OSHAWA, Ontario - General Motors of Canada Ltd. announced plans last week to create a $20 million Canadian, or $13 million U.S., vehicle design center as part of its Oshawa complex.
GM Canada President Maureen Kempston-Darkes says the regional engineering center will focus on chassis and body subsystems. The center also will conduct research on alternative fuels, specialty vehicles, cold-weather development and quality engineering.
The center will open next summer. GM will add 160 employees, doubling the size of its Canadian product planning staff.