"BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS" - Buick has become part of the "Breakfast of Champions" for the summer. Golfer Tiger Woods, Buick's spokesman, stars on Wheaties cereal boxes. In a special promotion, two boxes are banded together with two Nike golf balls and instructions on how to win a Rendezvous.
A SUNROOF IS A FEW BUSHELS MORE - Because of spiraling inflation and the devaluation of the peso, Argentina's auto market doesn't amount to a hill of beans. So some imaginative farm-belt dealers have begun accepting wheat, sunflower and soybean crops as payment for new vehicles. The barter system works because the price of commodities has remained stable in dollar terms even though the value of the peso has plunged 75 percent since January to about 3.5 to the dollar. Dealers price vehicles based on the day's commodity-market price for the crop being offered, plus a surcharge of 20 to 25 percent for handling and taxes. At last week's prices, dealers said, about 1,000 quintals of soybeans - just over 110 tons - would buy a regular-cab pickup.
FACING FAX - A St. Louis-area dealership has agreed to pay up to $6.5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging that it faxed ads to more than 33,000 businesses and individuals in 2001. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Newbold Toyota-BMW of O'Fallon, Ill., maintained it did not know the practice was illegal when it hired American Blast Fax of Dallas to do the faxing. That firm has gone out of business. Those eligible for settlements of up to $500 each have been notified - by fax, of course.
NEW LIFE IN THE DESERT - After 2½ years of baking in the Arizona sun, a shut-down used-car store has found a new life as the third Mercedes-Benz dealership in metropolitan Phoenix. Mercedes-Benz of Chandler, housed in a former AutoNation used-car superstore, is run by Mahmoud Khayami and his son Mehrdad, says Mercedes spokeswoman Donna Boland. Boland says the upscale demographics in the suburbs south of Phoenix made Chandler a prime location for the Mercedes store, joining Phoenix-area dealerships in Scottsdale and Phoenix.