The Sierra Club likes high-mpg vehicles because they protect the environment. But in ads unveiled last week in Detroit, the club broadened its emphasis in light of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Fuel-efficient vehicles also protect national security, it said. The club is urging the public to e-mail Bill Ford, chairman of Ford Motor Co., a message that reads in part, "You can help break the grip of oil-producing countries." Bill Ford was targeted because he supports environmental causes - but his company recently opposed a recent Senate bill to toughen federal fuel-economy standards about 50 percent over 12 years.
SECOND CAREER -- To launch its pricey new 7 series in New Zealand, BMW leaned on a little American glitz. BMW signed up former president Bill Clinton as a pitchman for a one-night stand. New Zealand's press found Auckland's crowds swooning over Clinton, who fetched $500,000 for the appearance. A select audience of 7-series prospects paid $25,000 each to hang out with Bill, according to published reports. Does this mean the former prez has gone Euro import? Not likely. Clinton arrived at the party in a gold Ford Explorer.
AUTO LINK - Tyco International of Bermuda, in the news recently because CEO Dennis Kozlowskiresigned just before being indicted in New York on charges of tax evasion, has links to the auto industry. Tyco was the owner of now-defunct ADT Automotive Inc., a wholesale auto auction chain based in Nashville, Tenn. ADT was purchased by Manheim Auctions in 2000.
GAS PAINS - How's this for a government incentive: Iran's Oil Ministry has offered $500 million to the country's biggest carmaker to phase out one of Iran's most popular cars, the Paykan. A ministry official told Dow Jones News Service last week that the move was being made to cut gasoline consumption. The maker, Iran Khodro, has produced the Paykan, which is based on the British Hillman Hunter, for 35 years. There have been few changes to the car, which has a reputation for guzzling gas, since then.
CATCHING A REPO MAN'S EYE - Bill Lovejoy, General Motors' top sales executive, thinks the new angular design of Cadillac's CTS sedan is a winner, based on an ex-repo man's eye for styling. Lovejoy, GM's group vice president for vehicle sales, service and marketing, began his career repossessing cars for GMAC in New York, his hometown. That's where he grew to love expressive design, particularly as embodied in 1959 Cadillacs. "I repossessed a lot of those," Lovejoy said. "I could be driving down a street in New York and see one of those babies half a block down. Today when you look down a street everything looks the same."