GM pushed into 4-door pickup
General Motors is finally in the four-door, full-sized pickup truck market. The company built its last three-door, full-sized pickup two weeks ago and this week will step up production at three plants for the four-door Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, said GM spokesman Tom Beaman. The four-door, extended-cab pickups will represent up to 70 percent of GM's overall half-ton pickup production, Beaman said. Originally, GM's four-door pickup wasn't due until the 2001 model year, but popular new four-door pickups from Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler pressured GM into getting the new truck out eight months early. GM's four-door pickups, which have been trickling into dealerships since December, are being built at plants in Pontiac, Mich.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; and Oshawa, Ontario. (See production table, Page 62.)
DAY WITHOUT A WHAT? The entire population of Bogota, Colombia - give or take a few people - abandoned their cars and trucks last Thursday after Bogota Mayor Enrique Penalosa asked the city to observe a 'Day without a Car' clean-air initiative. The move sidelined some 700,000 vehicles as residents traversed the sprawling city on bicycles and on foot. Those who tried to drive anyway - 256 people - were fined. Luckily, the rain held off until 5 p.m.
BOB'S BARGAIN - Is DaimlerChrysler Chairman Bob Eaton looking for a little extra spending money now that retirement is approaching? Maybe so. Eaton took one of his cars, a red 1992 Dodge Viper, serial No. 9, to the Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction in Phoenix on Jan. 22. The auction draws cars from all over the world, and it's common to see a rare car sell for six figures. But the bargain of the day might have been Eaton's Viper, which sold for $58,000.
NO DISRESPECT - Truckers have feelings, too. That's one way to read a complaint from the American Trucking Associations to General Motors about a Chevrolet Malibu commercial. Walter McCormick, ATA president, said the commercial unfairly portrayed trucks as an ominous hazard (Jaws-style music, no less), and it encouraged unsafe driving by showing the car cutting in front of a tractor-trailer on an expressway. McCormick, in a protest letter, said the commercial insulted 37,000 ATA member companies and 9 million professional drivers. James Jandasek, director of car advertising and sales promotion for Chevrolet, said in response: 'I regret that you interpret the Malibu commercial as you do and assign an attitude of disrespect, which was never intended.' Ah, close enough. A recent American Trucking Associations newsletter said Chevrolet had 'apologized' for the ad.