Toyota Gains On Chrysler
There may be a new number three in U.S. car and truck sales as Toyota continues to battle the Chrysler Group for the position. With its 11 percent market share gaining on Chrysler Group's 13.2 percent, Toyota has continued to steadily develop its product lineup of cars, pickups, minivans, and SUVs, while sales of Chrysler passenger cars have been in decline. Chrysler hopes to boost sales with the introduction of several new models in 2004, including rear-wheel-drive sedans designed with assistance from Mercedes-Benz and the redesigned Dodge Durango. All things aren't dismal for the Chrysler Group, however, as Ram pickup sales were up 13 percent in 2003 and sales of the Toyota Tundra took a 3.7 percent dive.
SEMA To Certify Wheel And Tire Specialists
Expanding its program to certify automotive accessory specialists, SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association, is launching its Custom Wheel & Tire Specialist Exam in May 2004. SEMA's certification program began in 2001 as a voluntary process aimed at elevating the level of professionalism within the industry. This latest test, known as the Z5, is designed to measure real-world knowledge and skills of wheel and tire professionals who install custom applications on cars and trucks. Each of the exams were developed in conjunction with ASE, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. SEMA President and CEO Christopher J. Kersting commented, "With today's market changes and innovations in wheels and tires, a great deal of knowledge is required to provide correct fitment for custom wheels and tires." Kersting also indicated that the Z5 exam was developed through an industry-wide effort, drawing on the experience and expertise of a cross section of industry experts to define areas to be tested and develop questions. The first exam is currently slated for May 6, 2004 at more than 700 test centers throughout the States and Canada. Other SEMA certification program exams will also be administered on the same day. For more information, contact: (909) 396-0289, www.sema.org/certification.
Baby Hummers In 2005
Makers of one of the largest SUVs on the market, GM will reportedly offer a downsized version of its popular Hummer H2 in 2005. Automotive insiders believe that the smaller and less-expensive Hummer H3, dubbed the "Baby Hummer," will be built on a modified hydro-formed frame from the GMT800 line and will likely share components of the Silverado and Colorado trucks. Built body-on-frame like the larger H2, the H3 will be powered by a straight-six engine and will be built at the Oshawa, Ontario, plant alongside GM's Silverado and 1500 series trucks.
Did you know there are 300 million scrap tires in the U.S.? How about that 85 percent of those scrap tires reside in Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia? No? Well, about 14 years ago that number was quite a bit larger, tipping in at about 1 billion worldwide. These days, however, about 35 percent of the annual global generation of scrap tires are burned as fuel by electric utilities, cement kilns, and boilers. Those leftover make their way to end-use markets that transform recycled tires into everything from road surfaces and overpass foundations to playground surfaces. They're also used for tennis courts, athletic fields, and newly manufactured automobiles in the form of items such as brake pedal rubber pads. The scrap tire market has increased nearly 80 percent globally in the past 10 years, seeing hundreds of millions of scrap tires reach end markets in 2002 alone.
The Coleman Company, manufacturer and distributor of everything camping for nearly 100 years, has created a one-stop source of information on more than 16,000 public and private campground locations throughout the U.S. The Web site, said to be designed to help people plan all types of outdoor trips and activities, includes campground listings and descriptions, rates, special features, available activities, special events, and wildlife guides. On-site field experts regularly provide updates on the campgrounds and include accurate local information. Also, as an added convenience, many of the campsite locations listed on the Coleman Outernet can be reserved online. The Web site also offers maps and directions as well as suggestions for scenic drives in every region of the country. For more information, contact: www.coleman.com.
Jeep Beach Hits Daytona
Hosted by the Chrysler Jeep Dealer Advertising Association, the Daytona Beach Partnership Association, and the city of Daytona Beach Shores, the first Jeep Beach will debut in the Daytona Beach area in October 2003. The event hopes to attract more than 20,000 Jeep owners and aficionados. Inspired by existing Jeep events such as Jeep Jamboree and Camp Jeep, Jeep Beach will offer attendees the opportunity to participate in a 2.5-mile parade lap around Daytona International Speedway. A number of other activities are also slated, including trail rides, sightseeing boat cruises, fishing expeditions, a beach parade, Jeep displays, and a Jeep City street festival. For more information about next year's event, contact: (866) 540-8045, www.jeepbeach.com.
Scrambler Owners Association
The recently formed Scrambler Owners Association (SOA) is currently accepting new members. Dedicated to the preservation, restoration, and promotion of Jeep Scrambler CJ-8 vehicles produced from 1981 to 1986, the SOA is a national organization with 50-plus members from 25 states. The organization's interactive Web site, with discussion forums and a searchable directory of club members, serves as the central hub of activity. The Web site also features product reviews and installations, tech tips, Scrambler FAQs, including factory specifications and optional equipment, a classified section, and many other useful links. The SOA also plans to host a national CJ-8 Scrambler event in 2004. For more information, contact: www.cj-8.org.