A Segway employee behind the "wheel" of the GM-Segway PUMA in New York's Times Square. (AP Photo/Jin Lee)
The latest automotive news and muses from Bill Griffith.
Puma once was a huge rival of adidas in the sporting goods industry. Now, the PUMA (Personal Urban Mobility & Accessibility) is being introduced as a people mover. The two-person collaboration between GM and Segway has resulted in a prototype, said to be capable of 35 miles per hour and a 35-mile range for urban driving.
GM was No. 1. Is it soon to fall to No. 3? R.L. Polk of Germany notes that Volkswagen is poised to supplant General Motors as the world's No. 2 automaker (behind Toyota).
This ad from the Johannesburg edition of AutoTrader has been making the Internet rounds: "06 Suzuki GSXR 1000. This bike is perfect! Only done 7000 kms and has had its 1500 km dealer service. No falls/scratches. I use it as a cruiser/commuter. I'm selling it because it was purchased without proper consent of a loving wife. Apparently 'do whatever the #@%& you want' doesn't mean what I thought. Call me, Steve."
Don't know who said it first, but it's a classic. G.M. = Government Motors.
The good news is that A123Systems of Watertown, Mass. landed the battery deal for the coming Chrysler ENVI (first four letters of environment) electric vehicles. The not-so-good news is that the company came in second to Korea's LG in the bidding to provide batteries for the Chevy Volt.
Saab was born of airplanes. Now it looks as though the company may be reborn as reports have as many as 20 potential buyers kicking the tires (sorry for the pun) and hoping to take control in June.
Robert Turnquist of Morris Township, N.J., died on April 4. Turnquist literally wrote the book on Packards: The Packard Story. He was a founding member of the Classic Car Club of America in 1952. He also was able to make a living at his hobby, founding Hibernia Auto Restorations, Inc.
GMC is rolling out its 2010 Terrain at this week's New York Auto Show. It's a 4-cylinder crossover capable of producing 30 miles per gallon in highway driving.
Honda won't escalate the hybrid price war. After Toyota sources indicated the company would cut the price of its 2010 Prius to match Honda's new Insight, Honda declined to take the bait and drop the Insight's price. The bigger question will be is whether the U.S. hybrid market will grow.
A decade ago, Hyundai began offering 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranties to convince U.S. consumers the company's vehicles were competitive and reliable. The program took time, but it's worked. In January, the company came up with its most recent buyer assurance program, offering to take the car back if the buyer had an involuntary job loss, was transferred overseas, or died. This time, both GM and Ford moved quickly to offer their own plans. Hyundai's sales are up 4.9 percent year-to-date when the industry as a whole is down nearly 40 percent.
The Scirocco nameplate was used on a sporty mid-70s Volkswagen that was fun to drive but tended to have the rust and reliability of many cars of that generation. The third-generation Scirocco is on sale in Europe as a sporty three-door hatchback; however, word is VW doesn't want to bring it to the States, fearing it would be a direct competitor with the company's GTI.
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