The Chrysler 300 may be a hit with rappers, but Chrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche is sticking with rock 'n' roll. Zetsche affected the image of a bad-boy rock 'n' roller when he launched the Dodge Caliber concept at the Geneva auto show. Zetsche pretended he was smashing a guitar though a window, which shattered to reveal the Caliber. "Europeans love American rock 'n' roll," Zetsche told the crowd. "They will love the Dodge brand and its American heritage."
Dieter Zetsche rocks Geneva.
TIME TO PRACTICE RIGHT-HAND DRIVE? California dealer Bob Tuttle, a longtime player in national politics, may be stepping onto the global stage. Washington insiders expect Tuttle to be nominated to serve as the U.S. ambassador to England. The Court of St. James is one of the most prestigious posts in U.S. diplomacy. Tuttle has been a donor and has raised big bucks for candidates, including President Bush. He also served in the Reagan White House. His father, dealer Holmes Tuttle, helped get actor Ronald Reagan into politics and was a personal adviser. Bob Tuttle is co-CEO of the multistate, multifranchise Tuttle-Click Automotive Group in Irvine, Calif. People close to him diplomatically declined comment last week.
WHAT'S IN A NAME? The Mazda Miata won't be the Miata for long. Mazda's roadster will be known as the Mazda MX-5 when the redesigned 2006 model arrives in the United States in late summer. The car will have only MX-5 badging. In the past, the badging said "Miata" and "MX-5." Although some references to the Miata name will continue in marketing campaigns and PR materials, the long-term plan is to phase out the Miata name. The car still will be called the Mazda Roadster in Japan.
JAPANESE OSTRICHES -- When Consumer Reports magazine last week rated the 2004 Hyundai Sonata as the most trouble-free U.S. car, it was big news in the United States, but not in Japan. The business newspaper Nihon Keizai and the automotive papers Nikkan Jidosha and Nikkan Kogyo did not report that the best cars from Toyota, Honda and Nissan were bested by a Korean sedan.