As part of a promotion for its "What Can you Hemi?" contest, the Chrysler group created a barbecue grill that the company says can cook 240 hot dogs in three minutes. A Hemi engine powers an electric motor that produces heat. If you think that's a bizarre idea, check out Randy and Robin Fredner's Hemi-powered paper shredder or Tim Flucht's Hemi-powered snow blower at whatcanyouhemi.com. The Fredners and Flucht are among five finalists in a Chrysler contest that asked: "If you could infuse the power and torque of the 5.7-liter V-8 Hemi engine into anything, what would it be?" Next month the Chrysler group will pick a winner who will receive a Hemi-powered vehicle.
WHAT'S THE BOTTOM LINE? -- So how much do Juergen Schrempp and Helmut Panke earn? It has been impossible to find out because German companies traditionally have refused to disclose executive salaries. They're legally required only to disclose what the management board, as a whole, earns. Two years ago an effort began to get corporations to publish the information, but the effort failed because there were holdouts -- notably Schrempp's company, DaimlerChrysler AG, and Panke's BMW AG. But the pressure is on: Last week the German Cabinet embraced a proposal requiring disclosure of executive pay. The bill is subject to legislative approval.
FLUNKING FRESHMAN MATH -- Freshman Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., got a hero's welcome when he spoke to import-brand dealers in Washington last week at the American International Automobile Dealers Association's legislative conference. Why? In November he whipped Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle, seen by many business people as an enemy. Thune said the candidates, political action committees and other groups spent about $40 million on the hotly contested race -- and he estimates that only about 40,000 voters ever were undecided. He mused, "Maybe it would have been cheaper to buy everyone a car." The bad news: Thune doesn't know what 40,000 cars would cost. The good news: He's not on the Senate Finance Committee.
CHINA NEEDS MORE SHIPS -- Even if overseas demand for Chinese cars soars, the nation's export ambition could be constrained by a global shortage of car-carrying ships, Reuters reports. "We would like to export more, if we can get freight space at a reasonable price," says Lawrence Ang, executive director of Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd., which hopes to double exports to 10,000 units this year after shipping 4,846 cars in 2004, mostly to the Middle East. Ang says the company could export as many as 20,000 cars this year if it could find enough reasonably priced carrier space.