Ford closes online lot
Ford Motor Co. closed its online used-car lot in Houston last week after Texas authorities threatened participating dealers with thousands of dollars in fines.
The Texas Motor Vehicle Division sent 22 Houston dealers letters warning that www.FordPreowned.com is illegal, and that they could face fines of $10,000 for each day they participate in the Internet program. The state alleges that Ford is acting as a dealer when it sells used vehicles over the Web site. Texas prohibits manufacturers from selling vehicles directly to consumers.
But Ford argues it is not selling directly to consumers because dealers take title to the vehicles, deliver them to customers and collect a profit on the sale. Texas 'thinks we're selling direct because we set the prices,' said Andy McKinnon, fleet, lease and remarketing manager for Lincoln Mercury.
Carol Kent, director of enforcement for the vehicle division, said, 'We tried to get them to make changes, but they refused. If they left price setting to the dealers, it would go a long way.'
Ford's testing of online sales of off-lease vehicles continues in Atlanta, Boston, New York and San Francisco.
Lumina to stay through 2000
DETROIT - General Motors will continue to build Chevrolet Luminas through the 2000 calendar year, the company said Friday, Nov. 19. The Lumina sedan had been expected to disappear as GM ramped up its replacement, the new Impala.
GM previously had committed to building the Lumina until the end of this year. But GM spokeswoman Carolyn Normandin said there is still a market for the Lumina in fleets. Demand will determine whether GM will hold onto the Lumina after next year, Normandin said.
Through October, GM had sold 89,168 Luminas and 56,670 Impalas. Both are assembled in Oshawa, Ontario.
Lexus TV ads stress safety
Lexus will try to expand its image to include safety in a TV ad campaign that begins Nov. 29.
Team One Advertising in El Segundo, Calif., created six 15-second spots poking fun at drivers who do dangerous things behind the wheel. The tag: 'He (or she) drives the same roads you do.' The message: You need to be in a safe car.
The ads also promote a new Web site.
Team One also created the site, lexussafety.com, which is due Dec. 1.