SEAT BELTS STANDARD-Reports out of Detroit indicate that the auto industry is considering a plan to equip all new cars with seat belts starting in 1964. Ford Motor Co. reportedly made the offer to the Automobile Manufacturers Assn. The AMA has held committee meetings on the idea and its board may vote on the matter in the near future. Some of Ford's competitors feel the company made the proposal to counteract possible adverse publicity as the result of its auto racing program. Since the 1962 models came out, all cars have special seat belt anchorages. Only five states have laws requiring that cars be equipped with belts-Wisconsin (as of last year); Virginia and Mississippi this year,, Rhode Island in 1964 and New York in 1965. It is estimated that it would cost the auto industry |75,000,000 a year to put belts in all cars. The cost undoubtedly would be passed along to the buyer...The American Seat Belt Council reported that seat belt production in 1962 totaled more than 8,000,000 belts, double the 1961 figure of 4,000,000. More than 15 per cent of the 6,900,000 cars produced in 1962 were equipped with belts, either at the factory or through dealers.
CHEVROLET REPLACEMENT PARTS-Chevrolet is stepping up its efforts in the replacement field. The company, which recently extended its parts exchange program to include factory built Powerglide and Turboglide automatic transmissions, is now offering a conversion kit for self adjusting brakes. Conversion kits will be merchandised through Chevy dealers for 1959 through 1962 Chevrolets, 1960 through 1962 Corvairs and 1962 Chevy IIs. Self adjusting brakes are standard on all 1965 Chevrolet models.
INVESTMENT TAX CREDIT-The Internal Revenue Service announced that it is drawing up a permanent regulation permitting a lessor to treat the lessee as the purchaser of the equipment for purposes of claiming the recently passed investment tax credit law. According to the IRS, complaints had been received that its temporary rules on passing along the investment credit did not allow sufficient time for all lessors to file with their lessees the necessary statements required under the law. The permanent regulation will provide that the statement of election to permit the lessee to claim the credit shall be filed with the lessee on or before the 60th day after possession of the property to the lessee or before March 15, 1963, whichever is later. Lessors do not have to pass along the credit to their lessees but most leasing companies are doing so.
CAR THEFTS RISE-More than 27,500 cars were stolen during December, according to the National Automobile Theft Bureau. This was an increase of 16 per cent over the same month a year ago. Thefts increased 28 per cent in the Southwest; 18.5 per cent in the Pacific Coast states; 18.5 per cent in the Southeast and 14 per cent in the East. The Midwest theft rate was unchanged. Although 90 per cent of the stolen cars are expected to be recovered, 2,750 autos worth $2,500,000 will not be recovered, the bureau said. Most of the unrecovered cars are stolen by professional theft rings. The NATB urges motorist, especially fleet drivers, to lock their cars even when they intend to park only for a few moments. Nine times out of 10 car thieves seek out the unlocked car.
CARELESSNESS BOOSTS COSTS-A recent year-long study showed that automotive transportation and maintenance costs can be reduced by careful driving habits. The National Automobile Theft Bureau said that 80 field agents covered an average of 25,000 miles in 12 months at a per mile cost of 6.5 cents-almost half the national average of 12 cents per mile. The agents concluded that careless driving habits increase motoring costs by wasting gasoline and wearing out tires, besides causing accidents.
NOTES ON AIR CONDITIONING-Oldsmobile reports that 40 per cent of all standard-size Olds are currently being ordered with air conditioning, the highest usage since the GM division first offered air conditioning in 1952. The percentage is even higher in the Southwest. In Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma, 82.5 per cent of all standard Olds and 42.2 per cent of F-85 models are ordered with factory installed air conditioning. In Dallas, nearly 100 per cent of standard Olds cars and 66 per cent of F~85s are air conditioned . . . Nordic International Co., Miami, has doubled the warranty period on its under-the-dash air conditioning units to 24 months or 24,000 miles . . . Vanguard Products Inc., Dallas, has moved into expanded quarters in order to meet demand for air conditioning units. The company was formed only a year ago.
GENERAL MOTORS ADVANCES-Detroit scuttlebutt has it that General Motors Corp. is working on several revolutionary automotive ideas. One is a steering lever which would replace the conventional steering wheel. The Saginaw Gear division is working on the device and AUTOMOTIVE FLEET learns that it will be introduced on some 1965 models. The big problem, according to GM sources, is not engineering but simply a matter of educating the public. GM is also said to be preparing a new automatic transmission utilizing a new type of torque converter with "gear steps." Buick will offer the new transmission this fall and the other GM divisions will have it by 1965.
SHORT TAKES-A complete listing of replacement glass for all new motor vehicles is given in the 1963 Shat-R-Proof Auto Glass Parts catalog. Included are NAGSP parts numbers for clear, tinted or shaded-tinted safety glass either curved or flat. Write Shatterproof Glass Corp., 4815 Cabot Av. , Detroit . . . Hertz Corp. has extended its apartment building rent-a-car service to Chicago . . . Boston auto dealers have won their fight against a city regulation requiring that they be photographed and fingerprinted . . . Lloyd P. Rogers has been named manager of operations at Peterson, Howell & Heather Ltd., a Canadian affiliate of the Baltimore company. He previously served as manager of sales and service for PHH . . . Arthur I. Kilpatrick has been named director of sales and marketing for Econo-Car Rental System. He will direct the company's national franchise sales program "aimed at creating a 50-state auto rental system by the end of 1965." . . . Curry Auto Rental Inc., Scarsdale, N. Y., has changed its name to Curry Corp.