Makers offer airbag cash
WASHINGTON - In a new bid to sway a White House decision on advanced airbag rules, automakers are offering to contribute an estimated $1.5 million or more to federal investigations of vehicle crashes.
The car companies, through their Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, say getting more data from real crashes will prove that depowered airbags are effective and there is no reason to revive a 30-mph solid barrier crash test.
Automakers say the test, with an unbelted adult male dummy, forces them to install more powerful airbags that pose a greater risk to children and small women.
The industry contribution would at least double - to 600 or more - the number of real crashes investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the alliance said in a Thursday, March 9, letter to White House Chief of Staff John Podesta.
The Clinton administration, which missed a March 1 deadline for completing the rules, is believed still to be mulling its decision on the 30-mph test, favored by some regulators and outside safety groups.
Bigger Hyundai bows this fall
Hyundai Motor America will launch its upper mid-sized sedan this September under the name XG300. It will have numerous standard luxury features in an effort to broaden the Korean auto- maker's marketing reach. The car will be priced about $25,000.
Larger than the mid-sized Sonata, the XG300 will have a 108.3-inch wheelbase, 191.5-inch overall length, 71.9-inch width and 55.9-inch height. Those dimensions are roughly the same size as a Nissan Maxima or Acura 3.2TL. It will be powered by a 3.0-liter V-6 engine that generates 192 hp and 178 pounds-feet of torque. The engine will be mated to a five-speed automatic transmission that adapts to the driver's tendencies.
Standard features will include air conditioning, antilock brakes, cruise control, remote locks, alloy wheels, trip computer and side airbags.
Key Plastics considers sale
DETROIT - Struggling auto-plastics supplier Key Plastics LLC wants suppliers and other creditors to give it 90 days to restructure and explore the potential sale of the company.
A Tuesday, March 7, letter sent to Key creditors and obtained by Crain's Detroit Business says the company is in 'dire financial circumstances' and couldn't pay off unsecured creditors if the plastics maker were liquidated as part of a bankruptcy.
The letter also said Key, in Southfield, Mich., is negotiating with its largest customers - Ford Motor Co., General Motors and DaimlerChrys- ler - and a secured-lending consortium represented by Bank One to obtain financing and restructure existing debt.
The letter was written bybythe National Association of Credit Management- Great Lakes, which is acting as secretary for an informal committee of unsecured Key creditors.
Crain's Detroit Busines
Lee Sage joins dealer Web group
Lee Sage has left Ernst & Young LLP to become chairman of Autolink.com, a new Web-based service for automotive dealers.
Sage was leader of automotive industry services at Ernst & Young and is a co-creator of the Automotive News PACE Awards.
Autolink.com provides online training for dealership employees, customer relationship management services, discount volume purchasing, industry and dealer news, as well as e-mail and other services.
Autolink.com, in Wheat Ridge, Colo., began service Jan. 22.
Web snag halts Focus advertising
Because of a tangle in the World Wide Web, NBC is refusing to run commercials for the Ford Focus.
The spots ask viewers to look at the www.focus247.com Web site, where details of a contest are described. NBC is concerned because the contest involves watching ABC programs, where Focus live interactive ads are airing exclusively.
An NBC spokesperson confirmed the network is not running the commercials but declined to discuss its review.