MPV gets choice video system
Mazda North American Operations is raising the stakes in the arena of video systems installed in minivans. With its $1,595 'rear seat entertainment system' in the MPV, Mazda has joined with airline video system supplier Rosen Products LLC of Eugene, Ore., to install a 6.4-inch video flat screen that flips down from the ceiling. The videocassette player, mounted under the third-row seat, can play VHS cassettes, digital video discs, camcorder feeds and video game plug-ins. Sound plays through the MPV's stereo system or into headphones. There is even an optional broadcast TV tuner, with antennas built into the van's D-pillar. The port-installed option will be available Jan. 1, although some display units have trickled in to dealers. Mazda is studying whether it also will install the option in the upcoming Tribute compact sport-utility.
THE PRICE WE PAY - Owning and operating a typical mid-sized car in 1960 - say, a Chevrolet Bel Air four-door sedan - cost slightly less than 10 cents a mile, or $1,394 a year, assuming you traded it in after four years with 60,000 miles on it. That's according to Runzheimer International, a management consulting company in Rochester, Wis. By 1975, a Chevy Malibu Classic sedan cost the owner 14.4 cents a mile, or $2,154 a year, based on the same 15,000 miles a year average. These calculations, Runzheimer says, include fixed or ownership costs - such as insurance, depreciation, license and registration fees - and operating costs - such as fuel, oil, tires and maintenance. How much will it cost you to own and operate a 2000 mid-sized sedan? Well, a 2000 Ford Taurus, Runzheimer says, will run you about $1,605 a year in operating costs and $5,275 in ownership costs, for an annual total of $6,880 or 45.9 cents a mile. 'Costs could be even higher,' says Doug Roy, a Runzheimer consultant, pointing to low gas prices and competitive insurance rates. Of course, he adds, 'Who would have guessed in 1960 that a mid-sized car could easily cost more than $20,000, the price of a very nice home in those days?'
SEALING FATE? While the rest of the world prepares for the new millennium, Federal-Mogul Corp. enlisted its 54,000 employees at 300-plus locations to create time capsules to mark the seal and exhaust maker's 100th anniversary. Last week in Southfield, Mich., the company reviewed the results. An Ohio plant created a 5-foot silver metal seal - the animal, not the car part - and a Toledo plant created a large spark plug capsule. Contents included videotapes of employees' children, local school drawings of gaskets and letters to the future, all to be seen when the capsules are opened on the 125th anniversary in 2024.