Is this your final answer?
Pity poor Mercury. Brand executives admit it has a wishy-washy image. Industry pundits cast doubt on its future. In recent weeks even folks at Ford Motor Co. have had trouble explaining how it fits into the family tree. In October, Mercury joined luxury-brand siblings Volvo, Jaguar, Lincoln and Aston Martin in the newly created Premier Automotive Group. But at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in Orlando, Fla., in January, company executives portrayed Mercury as a distinct entity apart from the group. Now comes Ford's final answer: Mercury is part of the administrative business unit known as the Premier Automotive Group, as originally announced. Premier Chairman Wolfgang Reitzle administers the activities of four companies: Jaguar Cars, Volvo Cars, Aston Martin and Lincoln Mercury. But Mercury cars and trucks will be marketed separately because they are not characterized as luxury vehicles.
THROW AUNTY FROM THE ROOF? In the film National Lampoon's Vacation, Chevy Chase's character, Clark Griswold, ties his dead aunt to the roof of his station wagon and continues on his trip. Luckily, he secured her properly. The same cannot be said of the luggage and other objects that come off vehicle roofs each year and cause accidents, said Jorg Riehle of ORIS Fahrzeugteile Hans Riehle GmbH, a supplier near Stuttgart, Germany. At the SAE 2000 World Congress next month in Detroit, Riehle will call for global standards to ensure the safe transportation of goods on vehicles' roofs. He is concerned particularly with the manufacturing and mounting of roof carrier systems, which he says may detach during vehicle operation. Among his company's products are trailer hitches, roof rack systems and carriers.
BABY'S FIRST BIMMER - No need to wait for an Ivy League diploma and a yuppie career for that shiny red BMW. This new Z3 runs on pedal power. The 44-inch-long Z3 Pedal Car, sold at all BMW dealerships, is part of what the importer calls its 'Lifestyle Collection' - a line of BMW clothing and accessories aimed at those who feel the need to display the BMW logo. It sells for about $160 - but maintenance is cheap. No oil changes, spark plugs or gasoline; just brush the cookie crumbs off the hood from time to time.