FedEX Orders First 1,900 Sprinter Vans
MEMPHIS, TN - Federal Express has ordered the first 1,900 units of the Sprinter van for the U.S. market. Daimler Chrysler Vans LLC delivered the first Sprinter units to Federal Express in June 2001. DaimlerChrysler Vans LLC in December 2001 announced the start of distribution for the commercial van Sprinter in the United States. The new Class 2 and 3 light commercial vehicle Sprinter, designed and powered by Mercedes Benz, will be marketed under the Freightliner brand in the United States.
Resale Prices Down 5.2% in Oct.; 4.4% in Nov.
INDIANAPOLIS - Zero-percent financing and rental fleet downsizing due to reduced travel are two post-Sept. 11 factors that have created a "bubble" of oversupply in the used-vehicle market, according to Pulse, ADESA Corp.'s quarterly publication.
The report says that dealers took in large numbers of trade-ins during the record new-vehicle sales month of October at the same time many rental companies were taking vehicles out of service. Many of these vehicles found their way to auctions, where wholesale used-car prices are established. Along with existing high levels of off-lease units, this "bubble" caused wholesale used-vehicle prices to fall 5.2 percent in October and 4.4 percent in November, compared to last year's levels, says Tom Kontos, vice president, industry relations and analytical services for ADESA Corp. and author of Pulse.
'O2 Silverado Available with Flex-Fuel Option
DETROIT - The 2002-model Chevrolet Silverado full-size pickup is now available with a flexible-fuel ethanol/gasoline engine option. The option meets the EPA standards for a Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) and is available for about $231.
LeasePlan Completes CSC Integration
ATLANTA - LeasePlan has completed the integration of Consolidated Service Corp., which it acquired in December 2000. All system and operational procedure haves been transitioned and fully integrated as of December 2001, according to LeasePlan
Additonally, LeasePlan relocated all CSC operations from its original headquarters in Elk Grove Village, IL, to a 60,000-square-foot facility in Rolling Meadows, IL, which will house 300 employees. CSC had used the Rolling Meadows building since 1998 for human resources, information technology, and insurance services personnel. The toll-free number of (800) 323-6644 will not change; however, the local number changes to (847) 481 - 2000.
GM Proposes Mandatory Daytime Headlights for All Vehicles Sold in U.S.
DETROIT - General Motors said on Dec. 20, 2001 it has petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to require daytime headlights on new cars and trucks sold in the United States.
GM, which already installs daytime running lamps (DRLs) on all its vehicles, said studies show the lights reduce the number of daytime, multi-vehicle, front-end collisions by at least 5 percent. DRLs are already required, in some fashion, in Canada, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Hungary, and Denmark. They are also standard equipment in all Toyota, Mercedes, Saab, Subaru, Isuzu, Suzuki, Volkswagon, Volvo, and BMW models sold in the United States. A NHTSA spokeswoman said it would give GM's request careful consideration and respond within 120 days, as it is permitted to do.
Hallett to Head ALLETE Automotive Services
DULUTH, MN - JIM Hallet has been appointed chairman and chief executive officer of ALLETE Automotive Services Inc. In this new role, Hallet will assume responsibility for all of Automotive Services, including Automotive Finance Corp. and AutoVIN, a vehicle inspection business. Hallet is also CEO of ADESA Corp., the vehicle auction component of ALLETE Automotive Services. He will continue to serve as a corporate executive VP of ALLETE, Inc.
Ford Seat Belt Reminder Increases Use to 76%
WASHINGTON - A seat belt reminder system that chimes for up to five minutes has an increased number of drivers buckling up, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (HHS). The HHS said the device, fitted to recently made Ford Motor Co. vehicles, increased driver belt use to 76 percent from 71 percent in a study conducted in Oklahoma. Seat belt reminders in other vehicles usually chime for no more than eight seconds when started, as mandated by the U.S. government, the Institute said. Under the Ford system, if a driver doesn't buckle up, a light flashes and a chime sounds for six seconds followed by a 30-second pause before repeating the cycle for up to five minutes. Ford's belt reminder system is in some 2000-model year vehicles, most 2001 models, and all of its 2002 products.
Cendant in talks to Acquire Budget
NEW YORK - Cendant, owner of Avis Rent A Car, is in talks to acquire Budget Group, owner of Budget Rent-A-Car. Budget is expected to sell its European business for about $75 million to Sixth AG, Germany's largest car rental company.