Astro, Safari get reprieve
DETROIT - General Motors has given the Chevrolet Astro/GMC Safari, its rear-wheel-drive minivans, two more years of life. GM said it would build the vehicles through the third quarter of 2003; before, it had only guaranteed production through 2000. The minivans are built in Baltimore. Beyond 2003, the future of the Baltimore plant will depend on the marketplace, said GM spokesman Dan Flores. Through October, GM sold 114,356 Astros and Safaris, up 6.8 percent from 1998. The Astro and Safari are the only rear-wheel-drive minivans available in the United States.
DETROIT - The Society of Automotive Engineers says the city of Detroit has reneged on a promise to pay damage claims stemming from a fire last March during the annual SAE International Congress and Exposition at Detroit's Cobo Center.
SAE spokesman Dave Schwartz said Detroit officials asked the 250 affected exhibitors to submit claims after the fire, which damaged shipping crates used to transport the exhibits.
Citing the dispute, SAE plans to ask members at the convention next March whether they want to move the show to a different city.
The claims totaled $7 million to $10 million, Schwartz said. The city has sent SAE a letter saying it is not liable for the damages. Since then it has refused to discuss the matter, Schwartz said.
Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer said the city cannot afford to pay the claims. Because some of the companies have since settled with their own insurance companies, Schwartz said, the dollar amount of claims today is likely lower.