U.S. seeking trunk-latch rule
WASHINGTON - The federal government plans to require all new cars to have trunks with internal release latches by Jan. 1, 2001. The purpose is to prevent people from being trapped in trunks. The proposal was announced Wednesday, Dec. 15. Major automakers already have taken steps to install latches on new cars either this model year or next. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will accept comments on the proposal for two months.
LITHIA ADDS 2 IDAHO STORES
MEDFORD, Ore. - Lithia Motors Inc. acquired Roundtree of Idaho, which consists of two dealerships in Boise, Idaho. Roundtree's franchises are Chevrolet, Lincoln, Mercury and Isuzu. Roundtree's estimated 1999 revenue was $101 million. In a separate move, Lithia swapped its GMC, Oldsmobile and Toyota franchises in Roseburg, Ore., for another dealership's Chrysler, Plymouth and Jeep franchises in the same city. Lithia now runs 98 franchises in California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Idaho. Including the revenue from Roundtree, Lithia's 1999 revenue will reach $1.4 billion.
SONIC COMPLETES DEAL
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Sonic Automotive Inc. has completed two previously announced acquisitions, adding $1.7 billion in revenue. One of the dealership chains, FirstAmerica Automotive Inc., operates 29 stores in California and Nevada. Another, Freeland Automotive Group, runs Volvo dealerships in Florida, Maryland and Las Vegas.
FORD SETTLES AIR CASE
WASHINGTON - Ford Motor Co. has agreed to settle a series of federal air pollution cases by paying a $1.1 million penalty and changing the primer system at its Dearborn (Mich.) Assembly Plant from a solvent-based system to a waterborne system, according to the Justice Department.
The agreement would settle complaints about emissions from coating lines at three plants: the Michigan Truck Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich.; the Wayne Assembly Plant, also in Wayne; and the Dearborn plant.
WOODS SIGNS BUICK DEAL
LA JOLLA, Calif. - Golfer Tiger Woods has signed a five-year marketing agreement with Buick. In addition to using a golf bag emblazoned with Buick's logo, Woods, 23, will play in some of the four Buick-sponsored golf tournaments each year, star in Buick TV spots and appear at promotional events.