Facing legal action in at least two states, Ford has agreed to investigate
the cause of gas tank fires in its Crown Victoria police cruisers. At least
11 police officers have died in fires resulting from high-speed collisions
involving Ford Crown Victoria's over the past 10 years. Arizona Attorney
General Janet Napolitano said Ford agreed to work with her in forming a blue-ribbon
commission to study the problem. Napolitano had been pressing
for a recall of the popular cruisers, also known as Police Interceptors.
New Brunswick, NJ, filed suit against Ford in May, charging that the company
has known for decades that the fuel-tank placement in the cars could lead
to fires. Federal safety regulators have already opened an investigation
of all Crown Victorias, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Cars built
between 1992 and 2001. The rear-wheel-drive sedans share the same frame.
Napolitano had earlier called for the cars to be recalled
and refitted with fortified fuel tanks. Like the notorious Ford Pintos implicated
in numerous fiery deaths in the 1970s, the police sedans' fuel tanks are
situated between the bumper and rear axle. Critics say the design is unsafe,
but a Ford spokeswoman said there's nothing unusual about the design. Instead,
she stated that the high-speed police environment has led to the series
of fires. Napolitano said that the task force will be made up of Ford engineers
and outside experts, including active-duty police officers. Their task will
be to study the design of the Police Interceptors and recommend improvements.
Clarence Ditlow of the Center for Auto Safety said he expects Ford will
eventually have to recall more than two million of the sedans.
To Recall Maxima Alternators
As you may recall, in the Spring 2002 issue of Giammalvo
Quarterly, we had notified the National Highway and Transportation Safety
Administration, (NHTSA), about two incidents in our shop involving alternator
fires in Nissan Maximas. This past June, Nissan Motors announced that they
are recalling certain 1997 and 1998 Nissan Maximas for the possibility of
a faulty internal diode that could lead to alternator fires. Owners of the
affected vehicles will receive a letter via mail. Owners that have already
paid to have the alternators replaced may obtain a reimbursement check from
Nissan upon submitting some documentation. Owners can also call Nissan Customer
Assistance at 1-800-647-7261.
Acquires The Gas/Electric Hybrid, Toyota Prius
We now have a 2001 Toyota
Prius in stock. The Toyota Prius is the first hybrid electric-gasoline automobile
to be certified by the United States Internal Revenue Service as eligible
for a $2,000 clean-burning fuel tax deduction. In a July 26, 2002 letter
to Toyota, the IRS said, "We have determined that a purchaser of this hybrid
vehicle may rely on the certification concerning the incremental cost of
permitting the use of electricity to propel the vehicle." "This documentation
confirms Toyota's stance that the Toyota Prius, Model Years 2001, 2002 and
2003, qualifies for the full $2,000 tax deduction available to individual
consumer purchasers," said Jim Press, executive vice president and chief
operating officer of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. "Toyota Prius purchasers
can use or take this certification to their individual tax advisors to determine
how they can take advantage of this important federal tax benefit."
The IRS has requested that the consumer purchaser, in addition
to retaining normal proof of purchase documentation, retain the Toyota and
IRS correspondence as further substantiation for the Prius federal tax deduction.
Purchasers can get copies of this correspondence from their dealers. As
automakers rush to bring more environmentally responsible products to market,
one thing is clear, not all hybrid-electric vehicles are created equal.
For example, the Toyota Prius has the lowest emissions level
of any hybrid sedan on the market and that's good news for the environment.
Prius is certified as a Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV), whereas
ULEV certification allows 10 times the smog forming emissions. The only
thing cleaner is an all-electric Zero Emissions Vehicle. Hybrid vehicles,
developed in the last few years, combine a small gasoline engine and an
efficient electric motor that operate alternately or in concert to achieve
reduced emissions and increased fuel economy. Contrary to conventional wisdom,
they never have to be plugged in because the batteries are charged automatically
when the gas engine is running. Other available hybrids use the electric motor
only to assist the conventional gasoline engine. In the Prius, however, not
only does the electric motor assist the gasoline engine, it is also capable
of powering the car with the gasoline engine off. "We see hybrid vehicles
as a step to the future, when more advanced technologies such as fuel cells
will be ready for the mass market," said Press. "That's why Toyota is working
on a wide range of vehicles with this technology."
Prius is the world's first mass-produced hybrid-electric vehicle
and since it went on sale in 1997, close to 100,000 have been sold worldwide.
American consumers have purchased nearly 30,000, outselling its nearest competitor
by a margin of three to one. Worldwide, Toyota accounts for 90 percent of
the hybrid vehicle market. The key component for coordinating low emissions
and high mileage is the proprietary Toyota Hybrid System, which lets Prius
operate on either electricity, gasoline or a combination of both. No competitive
hybrid vehicle can achieve this level of powertrain versatility. The ratio
of power provided by each system is constantly controlled, depending on speed
and load, to ensure the vehicle operates at peak efficiency. When Prius stops,
for example, its engine shuts off to eliminate wasteful idling. The car then
starts up on the electric motor, and the engine restarts automatically when
more power is needed. The Toyota Hybrid System is seamless and virtually
unnoticed when changes occur in the power source. For this smooth-driving
transition, Prius has what engineers call a "split-power device." It uses
a planetary gear connected to the motor, generator and engine to deliver
power to the front wheels. All of this advanced technology is wrapped up
in a package that makes Prius a sensible everyday car with traditional Toyota
quality. It tied with the Toyota Corolla as the highest-ranking car in the
compact segment in the recent J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey.
Federal Law Allows
Customers To Service Car At Any Facility
Often we hear from some customers that say they have
purchased a new vehicle elsewhere and, therefore, can no longer service
with us until their car is out of warranty. When questioning customers about
this statement, we often learn that they were told by their salesman that
they have to stay with the selling dealer for all repair work in order to
maintain factory warranty. Any vehicle dealer that makes that statement
is directly violating the federal Magnus-Moss Warranty Act. In addition,
a manufacturer cannot mandate that only their brand parts be used to validate
warranty. The only time a vehicle must be serviced by the dealer is for a
manufacturer recall. If a dealer tries to mandate that they must perform
all the routine service work, then that dealer must provide all service and
parts free of charge to the customer.
In addition, a vehicle manufacturer cannot void the warranty
on a vehicle due to an aftermarket part unless they can prove that the aftermarket
part caused or contributed to the failure in the vehicle.
The act states:
(c) Prohibition on conditions for written or implied warranty;
waiver by Commission. No warrantor of a consumer product may condition his
written or implied warranty of such product on the consumer's using, in
connection with such product, any article or service (other than article
or service provided without charge under the terms of the warranty)
which is identified by brand, trade, or corporate name; except that the prohibition
of this subsection may be waived by the Commission if - (1) the warrantor
satisfies the Commission that the warranted product will function properly
only if the article or service so identified is used in connection with the
warranted product, and (2) the Commission finds that such a waiver is in
the public interest. The Commission shall identify in the Federal Register,
and permit public comment on, all applications for waiver of the prohibition
of this subsection, and shall publish in the Federal Register its disposition
of any such application, including the reasons therefore.
Three-Point Seat Belt Dies
Nils Bohlin, inventor of the three-point safety belt for cars,
which is credited with saving countless lives since it was introduced in
Europe in the 1950's, began his career as an engineer designing ejector seats
for the Swedish aviation industry in the mid-1950's. At that time, safety
belts in cars were strapped across the body with the buckle placed over
the abdomen. The position of the buckle often caused severe internal injuries
in high-speed crashes. In 1958, Mr. Bohlin joined the Volvo Car Corporation
as its first chief safety engineer. Using his knowledge of ejector seats,
in just under a year he designed a device that would restrain the human
body as safely as possible under extreme conditions. "I realized
both the upper and lower body must be held securely in place with one strap
across the chest and one across the hips," Mr. Bohlin once said. "The
belt also needed an immovable anchorage point for the buckle as far down
beside the occupant's hip, so it could hold the body properly during a collision.
It was just a matter of finding a solution that was simple, effective and
could be put on conveniently with one hand."
Mr. Bohlin retired in 1985. On the day of his death, Mr. Bohlin
joined the likes of Orville and Wilbur Wright, Eli Whitney and 168 others
who have been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in Akron,
Ohio. His stepsons Gunnar and Jonas Ornmark had traveled to the United States
to accept the award on his behalf. "Letters arrive all the time, from
all over the world, thanking him for his invention; it warmed his heart very
much,"Gunnar Ornmark said. "He buckled up absolutely every time he got into
Volvo estimates that the seat belt has saved more than one
million lives in the last 40 years. "We believe that he was a great inventor;
an inventor with a conscience that made great contributions to road safety,"
said Victor Doolan, chief executive and president of Volvo Cars of North
America. "There is a little bit of Nils Bohlin in every car."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,
seat belts save more than 11,000 American lives each year. At the Inventors
Hall of Fame induction ceremony, hours after learning of his stepfather's
death, Mr. Ornmark continued to spread Mr. Bohlin's favorite message: "Don't
forget to buckle up."
Did You Know?
The name of the statue on top of every Rolls Royce hood is called "The
Spirit of Ecstasy".
A car operates at maximum fuel economy at speeds between 25
and 35 miles per hour.
Chevrolet was founded by Louis Chevrolet in 1911, but was
sold to General Motors in 1917.
It took Henry Ford's Motor Company seven years to manufacture
one million automobiles. 132 working days after that figure was reached
in 1924, the company had assembled nine million cars.
(Obituaries Courtesy The Standard Times)
Joseph Lopez 33, born in New Bedford, lived in this
area all of his life. Mr. Lopez was employed as an electrician at Lezangie
Electric and was a member of The Church of the New Beginning.
Frederick T. Galligan, 83, born in Acushnet, he lived
there all of his life. He was formerly employed by New Bedford Gear as a
tool crib attendant until his retirement. In his leisure time, Mr. Galligan
enjoyed camping and traveling.
Thomas Patrick "Pat" Affonce, 68, born in New Bedford,
Mr. Affonce was employed as a fish lumper on the New Bedford waterfront
for many years until his retirement in 1994. He was a member of the Fish
Lumpers Union, Local 1749. He served in the Army during the Korean Conflict
and was a recipient of the Korean Service Medal with four bronze service
stars, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and
the Combat Infantry Badge. He enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren
and working in his yard.
Statia Adamowicz, 82, lived in New Bedford all
her life. She was a devoted communicant of St. Hedwig Church. Mrs.
Adamowicz had been a homemaker for many years. During World War II,
she was a clerk for the Army at Fort Rodman. She then worked for the Employment
Security Office in New Bedford. Many years later, she worked as a clerk at
the Hathaway School. She served as a Brownie leader many years ago. She loved
animals, reading, driving, cooking, going to the beach and being with family
and friends. She had a keen interest in local politics.
Sheila A. Swift Pickup, 70, born in New Bedford, and
resident of Mattapoisett, was the daughter of the late Chester and Abbie
Betty L. Spooner, 76, born in New Bedford, she lived
in California, Florida, Washington, D.C., and New Bedford most of her life.
Miss Spooner was an interviewer in the New Bedford office of the Department
of Welfare for many years until her retirement. She played golf for more
than 50 years and was a professional golfer on the amateur circuit. She was
a member of the Reservation Golf Club, New Bedford Municipal Golf Club, the
Elmwood Women's Golf Association and Middlebrook Country Club of Rehoboth.
Paul William Bedard, 59, born in New London, Conn.,
he lived the past 30 years in Acushnet. He was a communicant and Eucharistic
minister of St. Mary's Church, New Bedford. Mr. Bedard was a supervisor
hearings officer at the Registry of Motor Vehicles until his retirement.
Alfred Oliveira, 81, of Marion, formerly of Fairhaven
and New Bedford, he formerly was a tire builder at Goodyear Tire & Rubber.
He was a member of American Legion Post 166, and Veterans of Foreign Wars
Post 2892, both of Fairhaven. He enjoyed watching sports.