Maybe it's the new products. Maybe it's the TV commercials with the Led Zeppelin music. Whatever the cause, Cadillac is less geriatric these days. Two years ago, the General Motors luxury division drew buyers with a median age of 65. Now it's 59½, says Mark LaNeve, Cadillac's marketing manager. Younger buyers have been lured by the Escalade, which has a median buyer age of 51, and the CTS, with a median age of 56. But LaNeve says he's not looking to lower the age much further: "I wouldn't be dissatisfied to stay about there throughout the next several years. ... With all the baby boomers moving through our system, if we held at 57, 58 for the next several years, you're doing pretty well."
PAY TO PLAY — Forget global positioning satellite technology. Forget real-time traffic reports. The British have devised a way to avoid gridlock in congested central London: Charge people to drive there. The theory is that if people don't need to drive their car, they'll leave it at home to avoid paying a fee of $8.20 per day. The plan begins Feb. 17, and covers an 8.4-square-mile zone in the city center between 7 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Surprisingly, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, representing the British auto industry, has cautiously endorsed the plan. Said Christopher MacGowan, the group's chief executive: "We think it's important that London's business commuters need to keep moving."
A HIT WITH THE SWELLS — The Robb Report, a magazine for the superwealthy, has included the $19,300 Mini Cooper S on its list of top 10 vehicles for 2003. The BMW AG product, ranked No. 8, is in strange company with the $230,000 Bentley Arnage T and even the $79,995 Dodge Viper SRT-10. The magazine said the Mini earned its place on the list with performance, handling and "homage to the past" without "the dreaded retro tag." First place went to the $113,915 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG.
WHEN PIGS, ER, CARS FLY — For those of you who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s, you may recall that some futurists predicted that we'd be piloting flying cars by now. Never happened. But if you want to live the dream, there is one flying car for sale - the M400 prototype Skycar built by California company Moller International. The vehicle, billed in a company press release as "a personal transportation alternative to the automobile," does indeed fly, and is capable of rolling along a highway (but don't get caught; it isn't street-legal). Talk about living in the clouds: The company is angling for upward of $2 million on eBay.