Audi offers to stabilize TTs
MUNICH - Audi AG denied that its new TT Coupe and Roadster are unsafe but offered to retrofit an electronic stability system amid mounting concerns about the cars' high-speed stability.
Five people reportedly have died in TT crashes in Germany since October. There also have been numerous complaints about the cars' handling at high speeds, prompting an investigation by German authorities.
At an emergency press conference Friday, Feb. 4, Audi Chairman Franz-Josef Paefgen said of the five deaths: 'That is not a large number if you consider 8,000 to 9,000 people are killed each year on the autobahn in Germany.'
The retrofit will be available only in Germany, and it will cost customers 650 German marks (about $324 at current exchange rates). Audi said it is subsidizing the upgrade at a cost to the company of about 100 million marks (about $49.9 million).
Paefgen said Audi is in discussion with its U.S. subsidiary and importers in other countries to determine whether to offer the electronic stability system to the 40,000 owners outside of Germany.
Diana T. Kurylko
GM ad chief on the mend
DETROIT - Phil Guarascio, a General Motors vice president, underwent successful triple bypass heart surgery Feb. 2. Guarascio, 58, has headed GM advertising and corporate marketing since 1994 and also oversees the GM Credit Card operations. GM spokesman Terry Sullivan said Guarascio is expected to return to work in four to six weeks. Guarascio joined GM in 1985 after 21 years with advertising agency Benton & Bowles Inc.
D/C taps new dealer director
DaimlerChrysler on Friday appointed Fernando Falcon director of dealer relations, a new position at the company. Falcon takes over from Gary Dilts, who guided dealer relations and retail strategies.
Falcon, 37, comes to the Auburn Hills, Mich., headquarters from the Denver zone sales and service office. He joined Chrysler as a sales trainee in the Chicago zone in 1987. Dilts was named vice president of DaimlerChrysler's E-Connect Platform. He will develop plans for the company to use the Internet to trim procurement costs while also building closer ties with customers.