Another win for Toyota twin
The Toyota Vitz was named the 1999-2000 Japan Car of the Year by the Japan Car of the Year Committee. It was a double win for the Vitz, whose twin, the European-market Yaris, previously had been named European car of the year. Earlier, a rival Japanese group had named the Nissan Cedric/Gloria siblings as its car of the year. The Japan Car of the Year Committee named the Rover 75 its top import and gave a special award to the Honda S2000.
CALLING ALL CARMAKERS - A nonprofit environmental group is urging automakers, especially in Detroit, to escalate efforts to develop and sell electric-gas hybrid vehicles to improve air quality. The Natural Resources Defense Council in New York on Monday, Nov. 29, relaunched a campaign started in April to gather 100,000 petitions from people demanding affordable hybrid vehicles. The group added pages to its Web site at nrdc.org for the effort and plans newspaper ads in coming weeks. Jacob Scherr, a senior attorney with the group, said only 12,000 petitions were collected from April through late November. He praised efforts by Toyota and Honda but said other carmakers need to step up to the plate. 'The first-generation of these cars are probably not going to make large amounts of money, like SUVs, for the car companies,' he said. 'But the car companies have a societal obligation to put substantial investments into these vehicles.'
NO JOKE - Is that Mitsubishi Motors Corp. President Katsuhiko Kawasoe, or comedian Rodney Dangerfield, of 'I don't get no respect' fame? How else can you explain Kawasoe being asked by the usually docile Japanese press the ultimate no-respect marketing question: Do you plan to throw out the Mitsubishi brand name? The question came as Kawasoe announced plans to set up an Office of Marketing Strategy - and a $360 million first-half group loss. For the record, he said no, there are no plans to ditch the Mitsubishi name.
WHAT'S IN A NAME? MONEY - A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but would a person shopping for a new car or truck check out a Web site called rose.com? Probably not. That's why the domain name 'autos.com' is expected to sell for more than $1 million when it is auctioned off on Tuesday, Dec. 7, says HitDomains.com, a Fort Lauderdale company that auctions, buys, sells, rents and appraises Internet domain names. HitDomains will conduct the auction. HitsDomains said autos.com already receives about 190,000 hits a month. The domain name 'Wallstreet.com' sold for $1,030,000 in April 1999, HitDomains says. The company says the owner of autos.com has turned down previous offers for the name, including one in excess of $1 million. The bidding will start at $1 million.