When the Foo Fighters finished recording an album in California last month, they had a problem: Their studio wasn't equipped to hear the playback in true surround sound. No problem, said the band's engineer, Elliot Scheiner. Scheiner called Acura Division headquarters and asked whether it would hustle a TL sedan to the studio. When the car arrived, with its standard six-channel Panasonic ELS surround-sound system, band members climbed in for a listen. How was that possible? Scheiner has a few strings to pull at Acura: Those are his initials that appear across the ELS system he helped create in his off hours. The system is available only in the Acura TL.
CASUAL CONSCIENCE -- Who knew dressing down could be a good deed? Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. has a casual-attire policy at its headquarters, with one caveat: no bluejeans. But there's an exception. In exchange for donating $5 to a charity, employees may wear jeans on certain days. Last year Toyota denim-wearers raised nearly $65,000 for charity.
IT JUST AIN'T SO -- Tom LaSorda, Chrysler group COO, left little room for doubt about the reported plan to export cars from China to the United States. "There is no B-segment product being exported from China," he said. B-segment vehicles are smaller than a Dodge Neon. LaSorda contradicted remarks by DaimlerChrysler AG exec Ruediger Grube in China two weeks ago. Grube, a member of the DaimlerChrysler board of management who is in charge of China operations, told reporters that the automaker is considering building a small car in China to bring to North America.
CONSIDER THE SOURCE? The Timken Foundation has given $1 million to a Washington institute that promotes good feelings about manufacturing among policy-makers and the news media and encourages people to consider manufacturing careers. The gift seems odd to some Democratic lawmakers who last year blasted Timken Co. as an example of what's wrong with U.S. manufacturing. Timken, No. 37 on the Automotive News list of the top 150 original-equipment auto parts suppliers to North America, had $136 million in global profits in 2004 but announced plans to close three Ohio bearing plants after workers refused concessions. Timken is hardly a role model, Rep. Ted Strickland, D-Ohio, fumed last week: "The parent company decided to send good-paying jobs elsewhere and to terminate loyal, hard-working employees that had helped them be profitable for so many years."