Here's a deal for the not-so-average car buyer: Purchase a vehicle, become a test driver. Buyers of the $1.8 million, 6.2-liter, 800-hp Ferrari FXX get to be test drivers in track events that Ferrari will organize over the next two years. Company technicians will monitor clients' driving experiences to gather data for future models. But don't expect to show up at a Ferrari showroom looking for a test drive. That's because the first of 20 FXX two-seat coupes will be delivered by the end of the year "after a careful client selection process," Ferrari says.
BOB, BLUNTLY -- It sounds like the General's product czar, Robert Lutz, has a good handle on what's ailing General Motors. "I don't think we have a lot of overcapacity," Lutz told journalists at AutoWeek, a corporate sibling of Automotive News. "What we have is a lot of underdemand." He didn't stop there. Commenting on the Cadillac CTS, Lutz said: "Today's CTS interior uses extremely expensive materials. They just wound up not looking that way." And here's our favorite remark: "We can't keep doing '20-footers' - you know, cars that look good from 20 feet away."
HISTORY SALE -- If you're a history buff and are looking for vintage ads for cars, sales literature or related items, you might want to schedule a trip to Detroit for July 30-Aug. 1. The Detroit Public Library will sell duplicates of items in its collection to raise money for the National Automotive History Collection, which the library says is the world's most extensive public archive of automotive information. When the library held its last such sale three years ago, it raised about $100,000.
SORRY ABOUT THAT -- Tire maker Michelin will shell out an estimated $12 million to mollify Formula 1 fans who attended the United States Grand Prix in Indianapolis on June 19. Just before the start of the race, two-thirds of the teams refused to put their cars on the grid, citing concerns about the safety of Michelin tires. Faulty Michelin tires were discovered during weekend practice; one serious wreck occurred. It wasn't much of a race with only six cars. So as "a gesture of goodwill," Michelin last week issued a statement saying that it will refund about 100,000 fans the cost of their $100 race tickets and also will buy 20,000 tickets to next year's race. Michelin said it is making the move because it cares about the sport, not because it is "legally bound to do this."