BMW delivers Christmas in May
Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus will offer 50 units of the 2001 BMW X5 sport wagon in its annual Christmas catalog, at $57,995 each. That's $8,025 higher than the 2000 base sticker. The Neiman Marcus X5 gets an exclusive exterior color ('Impala brown') and every conceivable option, such as 'park distance control' radar. Buyers take delivery at their local dealerships. The bad news: The earliest delivery is May 2000. To make the wait more worthwhile, BMW of North America Inc. will throw in high-performance driving lessons at the BMW Performance Center in Spartanburg, S.C., near the factory where the X5 is built; plus a package tour through the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Biltmore Estate near Asheville, N.C. - all in X5s supplied by BMW. Buyers must pay their own way to Spartanburg, but the rest of the three-day, two-night package is included in the price.
SPECIAL TREATMENT - Men love their cars. This not-surprising fact was borne out recently in a poll commissioned by Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., which asked men and women several questions about how they treat their cars. Some of the findings:
Eighty-six percent of the men and 67 percent of the women said they will gladly wash, wax and detail their cars.
Although they can afford a new car, 35 percent of the men and 27 percent of the women said they will keep the one they have.
More men than women talk to their cars. And when it comes to singing in their cars, 61 percent of the men and 55 percent of the women said they do.
When asked whether they would rather kiss their in-laws or their cars, 38 percent of the men and 24 percent of the women opted for the car.
IN A WORD - DaimlerChrysler Chairman Bob Eaton assumed a high-profile role at the Frankfurt Motor Show last week, defying rumors that his days are numbered at the company. Juergen Schrempp, the company's other chairman, is widely assumed to be first among equals. Asked whether he planned to leave soon, Eaton's reply was an emphatic no.
A GOOD INVESTMENT - Infiniti Division will give away a new 2000 I30 to the top stock-picker in an online fantasy investment competition, which runs Oct. 4 through year end. Contestants are given $29,465 - the sticker price of the prize car - in play money to invest and maximize returns during the three-month competition. Participants can register at www.I30Challenge.com, and will be given weekly updates on how well they are doing vs. the competition.
TIRELESS EFFORT - Japan wants to do away with spare tires. A 'Spare Tireless Working Group,' made up of staff members from the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association and the Tire Association, is creating guidelines for standard tires to allow for the elimination of spares. Radial tires and other technological advancements have sharply reduced the chances of getting a flat. A change would reduce the environmental toll from scrapping and burning disposed spares.
NEW NAME, SAME GAME - Globalization of the automobile industry marches on. The latest evidence: The industry-supported American Coalition for Traffic Safety has changed its name to Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety - the better to reflect its international membership, says President Philip Haseltine. New members are the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. and Mazda North American Operations. Of course, the previous membership already had an international flavor. It includes DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Nissan North America, Volkswagen of America, the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers and the Automotive Occupant Restraints Council. Haseltine said the group's mission is still to inform the public and policy-makers about technology-related safety issues.