Eight weeks ago the Chrysler group started its "What Can you Hemi?" contest, which asked people to fantasize about machines that could benefit from Hemi power. The winner: a 5.7-liter, V-8 powered beast called the Hemi Trike. It was created by Marcus Braun of Vancouver, British Columbia, who wins a Hemi-powered vehicle of his choice for his efforts.
STAYING PUT, DIGGING IN -- Talking to reporters in Brazil last week, Renault/Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn gave some insight into what makes him tick. Ghosn made it crystal clear that he's not satisfied with Renault's performance there. "It is clear that using only 35 percent of installed production capacity, not making a profit and having about a 4 percent market share is far from being ideal," he said. So does that mean Renault may consider calling it quits there and perhaps concentrate on emerging markets such as China and India? Hardly. "I like to drive against the flow of traffic," Ghosn said. "If others are thinking of getting out, it will facilitate our work."
TIME FLIES WHEN YOU'RE BUILDING FUN -- Twenty-three years after building its first convertible system, ASC Inc. of Southgate, Mich., last week cranked out its 1 millionth. The system was installed on a Toyota Camry Solara at ASC's Lexington, Ky., plant. The supplier built its first convertible - a Buick Riviera - in 1982.
CHASING A LEGEND -- In anticipation of the August Dukes of Hazzard film, Hagerty Insurance, a Michigan company that insures collectible vehicles, conducted an online survey to find out what people think are the most exciting Hollywood car chases. The winner: Bullitt (1968), in which Steve McQueen put a 1968 Ford Mustang through its paces. Next up were Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) and Smokey and the Bandit (1977). So the Duke boys, in their orange 1969 Dodge Charger, have some tough competition.
WEIGHING IN ON IACOCCA -- Was the Chrysler group's decision this month to resurrect former boss Lee Iacocca as a pitchman a smart move or a tired cliche? Some industry watchers rolled their eyes over the choice. Others, such as auto consultant Jim Sanfilippo of AMCI in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., lauded Chrysler because "baby boomers buy half the cars in this country, and they're going to remember Lee Iacocca." Advertising Age, a sister publication to Automotive News, last week launched an online poll to find out whether readers see Iacocca as a returning savior or a silly anachronism. It will publish the results this week.