The TACH Report: Ford Goes Ga-Ga Over California, Letterman Snubs Lowly Hyundai Salesman

30 March 1998


Two weeks ago the Lincoln Mercury division of Ford Motor Co announced
they were moving the entire division--200 people--out to Irvine,
California, in order to be where "automotive action is conceived."
Now FOMOCO says they will move their design studio to the same area,
and besides just drawing cars, they will have a shop/garage
constructed for engineering prototypes.  Researchers have told Ford
that American automotive culture follows trends that begin in
California.

The top five positions of the Fed EX/CART race lineup for the Twin
Motegi circuit in Japan went to Honda, Ford, Honda, Honda, and
Mercedes, respectively.  The fastest qualifying Toyota was that of Max
Papis in 23rd starting spot.  Rookie Tony Kanaan, driving a
Reynard/Honda/Firestone, started in the 10th spot, five cars ahead of
Paul Tracy.

Last week we told you that when David Letterman made a disparaging
remark about Hyundai cars a bold young Hyundai retail salesman from
Missoula, Montana drove all the way to New York to see Dave and show
him his 1998 Hyundai Tiburon in the hopes that Letterman would at
least acknowledge his presence.  The kid made a bunch of stops on his
six day trek, picked up gifts for the talk show host, and had Dave's
picture painted on the hood of the Tiburon.  But when he got to CBS,
he was told to get lost.  In fact he handed Hyundai T-shirts out to a
bunch of show goers who put them on, only to be told by CBS security
to take them off or go home.  Nice going Dave.

LaForza, the overpriced Italian made sport ute that couldn't get off
the ground nine years ago in the U.S., is attempting a comeback.  The
old inventory has been purchased by a California group, and they are
looking for dealers for the Jeep look-a-like four door AWD vehicle.

Ford may drop the SHO Taurus, as sales of the four door hot rod are
declining. The vehicle costs over 35 grand, because the modified V8
motor is built in Canada and worked on by Yamaha.

Chrysler is recalling 91,000 Cirrus and Dodge Stratus cars because the
Feds say the rear seat belt anchors are not correct.

Today Dodge Neons sport a $1500 cash back incentive. Not bad for a
neat car.

Bill Maloney -- The Auto Channel

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