General Motors of Canada Ltd. last week apologized for mocking public transit and the people who use it in some Canadian newspaper ads. According to the Toronto Star, the automaker had run ads in some Vancouver newspapers showing buses' destination signs with phrases such as "creeps & weirdos" and "wet dog smell." The ads were promoting the 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier and Pontiac Sunfire - an "affordable alternative" to mass transit. Promised a GM spokesman: "The ads will never see the light of day again."
PONTIAC'S NOT PLYMOUTH - The trouble with longevity in the auto business is that people remember your past remarks. General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz made note of that during an address this month to the Adcraft Club of Detroit, a local advertising group that he last addressed in 1997 as a Chrysler Corp. executive. This time Lutz praised coming Pontiac vehicles, particularly the Grand Prix GTP with a Comp G package. But he felt compelled to issue this disclaimer: "Now, in case any of you remember how last time here I steadfastly praised the Plymouth and Eagle brands, let me reassure you, Pontiac isn't going anywhere."
LET THE SUN SHINE IN - If you've ever been to Detroit in March, you know it's not the sunniest - or warmest - place to be. Yet Detroit, which averages 75 sunny days annually, still made it into the top 10 U.S. markets last year for convertible registrations, according to R. L. Polk & Co. The top markets, in order, are: Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco/Oakland, Chicago, Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Philadelphia, Orlando, Washington, Detroit and Tampa/St. Petersburg.
WHAT'S IN A NAME? Yourdictionary.com doesn't think much of Volkswagen's Touareg - the name, that is. VW executives may have believed "Touareg" would conjure up visions of a people who can survive in an inhospitable environment - the perfect image for a rough-and-tumble off-roader. But in fact, says Paul Payack, spokesman for yourdictionary.com, "'Touareg' implies political rebellion by a stateless, Kurd-like tribe whose name literally means 'abandoned by God.'"