Transmissions? Check Aisle 4
Speaking at the SAE World Congress in Detroit last week, SAE President Neil Schilke encouraged the audience to get more involved in the organization by appealing to their pocketbooks. 'When you consider the cost of membership, SAE is the bargain basement of opportunity for you to get involved in the future of the automotive community,' said Schilke, a General Motors engineering executive. 'I look at it as the Costco of technical societies.'
AW, SHUCKS - The new GT3 tire from Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. has an ingredient that is generating a lot of interest in Iowa and Nebraska: BioTRED, a filler material made from corn that partially replaces the carbon black and silica Goodyear uses in other tires. Goodyear says BioTRED reduces rolling resistance, fuel consumption and noise. 'We had to field a lot of media questions,' says Goodyear spokesman David Russ, who said wisecracking reporters have been having bushels of fun with the a-maize-ing new ingredient. He says there's no fear that livestock will eat the tires right off your pickup, and the GT3 has great traction if you're driving on butter and salt. 'And the best part is you can eat them when they wear out.' The corny tire will debut on a Ford Fiesta in Europe; Goodyear didn't say when.
NEXT FEATURE: NAGGING - When Sun Microsystems Inc. Chairman Scott McNealy, in Detroit last week to speak at the SAE World Congress, was in his brother's car recently, he noticed a dashboard warning that tire pressure was low. 'It's been like that since I bought it,' his brother said. McNealy's suggestion: The car ought to be smart enough to notify the automaker, who can nag the owner to bring the vehicle in for service. 'There ought to be an e-mail to him, or a letter written to him that says, `Hey, would you bring your car in?' And if that doesn't work, then somebody ought to call him while he's in the car ... and it ought to all be documented - that the car told him, the letter told him, and you called him.'
SWITCH-CASTER - Have you caught the error in Subaru of America Inc.'s two TV spots for the Outback L.L. Bean Edition? It appears that a fly fisherman brings his rod back with his left arm but casts with his right. He actually uses the same arm for both actions, but the negative was flipped. You can tell because a small bag around the fisherman's waist magically switches sides. Subaru's ad agency, Temerlin McClain in Dallas, did that on purpose, said Jennifer Casey, an account supervisor. 'We wanted to keep the direction the car is traveling before you see the fly fisherman the first time and then the second time when the car is going over a bridge,' she said. 'The fly fisherman is secondary.'