FLEET AIR CONDITIONING-Air conditioning continues to grow in popular ity among fleets. Donald Shapiro, vice president of the Vornado division of Automatic Radio Manufacturing Co., said Vornado air conditioning sales to fleets are up 37 per cent over the year ago period. He attributed the increase "to the heavy pressure exerted by salesmen for air conditioned vehicles." Shapiro said over-all air conditioning sales in 1963 should rise 17 per cent over 1962 . . . Frigikar Corp. has announced a nationwide leasing plan for fleet cars under an arrangement with CIT Leasing Corp. Under the plan, fleets can lease air conditioning units for a predetermined period through Frigikar's distributor and sales network. According to Bert J. Mitchell, Frigikar president, all that is required of the lessee is an initial payment equivalent to one month's rental for each year of the lease term. At the end of the lease period, the user may continue the arrangement on a month-to-month period or turn in the equipment for new units or purchase the units at a fair market value . . . General Motors reports that 15 per cent of the cars it built during the 1962 model year were equipped with air conditioners . . . Dodge says air conditioners were put on 5 per cent of its 1962 cars.
AVIS RESERVATION SYSTEM-Avis Inc. has opened a world-wide rent-a-car reservation center in New York with teletype and telegraph connections to major U. S. cities as well as 45 foreign countries. Robert C. Townsend, Avis president, said it now takes "only 45 seconds" to place a car reservation through the direct dialing teletype in any of the 56 major Avis city reservation centers in the U. S. Similar centers are under construction in Chicago and Los Angeles, Townsend said.
NEW CAR SALES-The auto industry is continuing to sell new cars at a record clip. Sales in the first 10 days of November totaled 226,-000, compared with 196,000 in the same 10 days a year ago. The increased early November sales followed the record 726,000 cars that were sold in October, only the second time that the industry has sold more than 700,000 cars in a single month. Chevrolet, Cadillac and Ford division reported their Nov. 1-10 sales were the highest in history for the period. If the sales pace is maintained, the industry stands a good chance of reaching the 7,000,000 sales plateau this year.
NEW WARRANTY-Macmillan Ring-Free Oil Co. has announced what it calls a lifetime warranty on 400 auto parts lubricated with its products. The warranty specifies that Macmillan, under certain conditions, will pay for the costs of repairing or replacing parts that fail or suffer abnormal wear during the normal use of a car. For the first five years of the warranty the full replacement cost will be paid. After that the holder will be entitled to 65 per cent of the total cost of parts and labor. Conditions include that the car must be serviced from the date of purchase with Macmillan products and that lubrication must fall within mileage limits set by the manufacturer. Oil changes must be made within a period not exceeding 60 days. The warranty is being distributed to new car dealers for distribution to purchasers. When a car is traded, the warranty goes with it. Macmillan previously offered a warranty for three years or 36,000 miles.
LINCOLN-MERCURY LEASING GROUP--The Lincoln-Mercury division of Ford Motor Co. has yet to officially announce its new network: of dealers into a leasing-service and sales organization (as exclusively reported in the September issue of AF). It is now learned that approximately 42 key dealers are ready to provide a nucleus for the organization. It is specifically designed to aid L-M's leasing potential, particularly in the larger metropolitan areas and specifically where either Lincoln or Mercury has found a local competitive success in individual or fleet leasing. The West Coast will come in for particular attention.
NATIONAL CAR SHIFT--National Car Rental System Inc., which recently completed a reorganization, plans to move its corporate headquarters to New York City, AUTOMOTIVE FLEET has learned. The company presently is headquartered in Jackson, Miss. The shift will be the second this year. Before the reorganization, National Car was headquartered in St. Louis, Mo. A major reason behind the move; Fred M. Glass, new president and chief executive officer, likes New York City, thinks National would be more competitive if headquartered there.
TIRE PRICE HIKE-It will cost fleet operators from 3 to 5 per cent more for replacement tires as the result of recent price increases by major tire manufacturers. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. kicked off the price hike when it raised passenger car tire prices by 3 per cent. Firestone Tire & Rubber Co., U.S. Rubber Tire Co., General Tire & Rubber Co., Mohawk Rubber Co. and Sieberling Rubber Co. followed Goodyear';: lead with price increases ranging from three to six per cent. At press time, B. F. Goodrich Tire Co. followed suit and raised prices from 3 to 5 per cent. A 3 per cent increase, AUTOMOTIVE FLEET calculates, would add 78 cents to the retail-delivered price of a 7.50x14 rayon blackwall tubeless tire. The last price increase on tires occurred last March when prices on passenger car tires went up 3 1/2 per cent. It also was triggered by Goodyear. Despite the increases, O. E. Miles, Goodyear vice president, said tire prices are still 18 per cent below 1957 levels. He said a 7.50x14 tubeless tire is now $27.95 compared with $34.10 on Aug. 1, 1957.
SHORT TAKES-Nationwide Leasing Co., Chicago, announced that it will pass on to its customers the maximum benefit allowed under the new 7 per cent investment tax credit. Robert Sheridan, president, said that all leases of four years or more will qualify for investment tax credit . . . Leaseway Transportation Corp., Cleveland, has expanded its operations to Latin America with the formation of Leaseway of Puerto Rico Inc. Frank Saenz Jr. will serve as vice president and general manager. Last month Leaseway formed a Mexican subsidiary headquartered in Mexico City..., Ruffu Ford Co., Atlantic City and Frontier Motors, Winsted, Conn., have been named World Wide Rent-A-Car dealers. . . . Baltimore Car and Truck Rental Inc. has affiliated with National Truck Leasing System. . . . Kinney Service Corp. has moved into new executive offices at 10 Rockefeller Plaza, New York City. The company formerly was located at 111 W. 50th St. . . . Hertz Corp. has announced a series of executive and regional appointments, Richard T. Stearns has been named controller of Hertz American Express International Ltd. He formerly served as accounting manager for Hertz International operations Europe. New city managers for Hertz include Clinton L. Davis in Charlotte, N. C. , Donald G. Bidwell in Corpus Christi, Tex. and Robert E. Flagler in Dallas. Flagler will head truck leasing operations. Hertz also announced that it has opened an office in Milford, N. H.