DART/KRAFT ACQUISITION OF GAMBLES . , , reported first here in AUTOMOTIVE FLEET last month, should have been signed off on August 31, according to informed sources, barring any last minute hitch. None are expected to crop up, however. This will make the Gambles' unit the nation's sixth largest lessor with the expected, integration of Tupperware (9200 units), Kraft, (2800), Hobart and other Dart divisions (1500). This would, put them in the running for title of #1 squrely behind, Gelco, PH&H, CC/McCullagh, Hertz and Wheels. Gambles should, total some 58,000 units by year-end.

WEYERHAEUSER DROPS IN- HOUSE LEASING PROGRAM. . . for their 1100 cars and 2500 light trucks. Jack Bartel and his fleet department have been eliminated from the company in a corporate move toward insuring a financially sound statement and dividend capabilities. Sources report that alternate methods of controlling their fleet are under consideration. In an upcoming issue of AF, Weyerhaeuser Leasing founder/ manager John Peterson recalls how the company was formed, to handle the unique needs of Weyerhaeuser.

IMPORTS EARN 31.6 PERCENT MARKET SHARE IN JULY . . . raising domestic dealer inventories and reducing those of the imports, causing speculation on a new round of rebates or possible "hold the line" pricing of the new 1983 domestic models. The $65 question remains as to what may happen next April when the Japanese self imposed, restrictions are up and, may be dropped, and what, if any, effect, the import sales record, will have on "local content" legislation currently under consideration in Washington. As one highly-placed import executive told AF, "We're seriously thinking about building factories in this country. We can't get away with this forever!"

HERTZ AND AVIS SETTLE A CASE . . . accusing them of selling hundreds of used cans from their fleets and arranging financing from companies 'which failed to tell the buyers they could stop payment if some dispute over the sale arose. They have agreed to pay fines settling these changes and. to include consumer credit rights in financing contracts when selling their cars. Fines imposed were $70,000 for Hertz and $80,000 against Avis. They were selling their cars to credit union members with the credit unions providing the financing.

DESPITE PLEDGE CAR MAKERS MADE. .. three years ago that there'd be no more secret warranties, practice still goes on. But under different name. Definition of secret warranty: When two cars of the same make have the same problem and one is repaired at no cost to the owner while claim is denied, on second, vehicle and, owner pays, that's secret warranty. When car makers were caught at this, they conceded element of unfairness and promised in future all claims would be treated equally. Now zone decides whether car is fixed, free, or owner pays. This gets factory off the hook if car owner charged for fix in one area, discovers owner in another area wasn't charged, according to Motor Magazine.

THOSE SMALL VANS YOU'VE READ ABOUT ARE COMING . . . and Nissan/Datsun is rumored to have their's ready for first introduction in this country. It may hit these shores as early as mid-1983. Chrysler is said to definitely be the domestic producer readying the first small wan for sales, bowing early in 1985. The unit will run on a 2.2 liter engine mounted, in a modified, K-car chassis. The Nissan van is said to be powered by either a 1.5 or 1.8 liter engine, and, will be based on the Stanza, chassis with automatic or standard transmission available. A. Ford, van based, on the Ranger, and a General, Motors/ Toyota cooperative van project are also said to be brewing for the near future. The vans are said to be extremely attractive to utility and other companies currently running pickups in their fleets.

SHORT TAKES . . . GMAC will continue their 12.5 percent financing program offered on closed-end lenses until September 80. The program had been scheduled to end July 31, but popularity keeps it going . . . Audi is adding a 5000 turbo diesel model to their 1983 line-up, replacing the older 5000 models and selling for a hefty $17,480 . . . Chrysler Canada and, Perkins Engines announced, a joint subsidiary to build a, 2.2 liter four and a 3.7 liter turbocharged six cylinder diesel at a, now-closed Chrysler plant, beginning in 1984........ United Stales Leasing International of Seen Mateo, CA has purchased the vehicle leasing operations of CLC of America. The deal also adds Anaheim, CA's Consolidated, Leading's fleet of4000 vehicles to United States Fleet Leasing's fleet of more than 50,000 vehicles.