Jack 'em high Bad night for a New Jersey auto dealership:
Crooks cruising for some wheel deals on July 14 stole eight sets of tires and expensive aluminum wheels off vehicles parked on the lot, leaving the cars propped up on bricks. The Bergen County Record reported that the Wayne Dodge car lot is lighted at night, but has no video surveillance cameras or security guards.
The brazen thieves' haul was worth an estimated $11,000.
Township detectives are investigating a possible link between that crime and a similar incident at Butler Chrysler-Plymouth on the same Route 23 a month earlier. Tires and rims worth about $23,000 were stolen from six cars there. Similar modus operandi—vehicles left on bricks.
So, Jersey tire dealers, beware: If some character comes calling bearing too-good-to-be-true deals or trade-ins on tire/wheel packages, they probably are just that—too good to be true. Call the cops.
Please pass the hat
What with the booming economy, ``golden parachutes'' etc., a lot has been said about some of the exorbitant executive salaries being paid nowadays in the business world.
In an impending deal in Motown, Roger Penske is expected to get approval for his $83 million takeover of UnitedAuto Inc. Marshall Cogan, who has headed the company, will remain on its board.
According to a proxy statement, the company agreed to pay Mr. Cogan at least 25 percent of whatever it pays Mr. Penske, through 2005. However, since Roger's salary as chairman and CEO will be only a buck a year, that leaves Mr. Cogan getting a nice shiny quarter annually.
But shed no tears for him. He will keep his $750,000 annual salary through 2005—plus a bonus, plus stock options. All that and 25 cents will buy Mr. Cogan several thousand cups of java.
This 'n that
...Or are you just glad to see me—We've heard of people smuggling drugs in tires, among other places, but here's a new wrinkle: Two guys in Jersey were caught by cops after allegedly smuggling more than $10,000 worth of Viagra, the anti-impotency drug, out of a drug factory. They stashed the stuff in their underwear, according to the Associated Press.
Legally, the pills go for $7 each, but can bring about 20 bucks apiece on the street.
And no, neither of the guys was retired politico Bob Dole, Viagra's TV spokesman.
Bumper sticker: "So what if your kid is an honor student. You're still an idiot." (Taken from the Beck/Arnley Worldparts Corp. newsletter's "Parting Shots" column.)
Thesaurus lesson: ``He's not dead—he's electroencephalographically challenged.''
Words of wisdom: ``It's what you learn after you know it all that counts,'' basketball coach John Wooden once said.
Rolling right along: The ``Micro Joule,'' a vehicle constructed by the technical college of Joliverie in France, established a new distance record of 2,227 km (that's about 1,384 miles) using just one liter of fuel.
The car was shod with specially developed Michelin-made radial tires, still in testing, which feature very low rolling resistance.
Obviously, Michelin's corpulent mascot, Bibendum, was not along for the ride.
In 'Hawg Heaven'
In his weekly Automotive News column, Keith Crain, chairman of Crain Communications Inc., which publishes Tire Business, recently wrote about what he called ``a hot new marketing tool'' coming ``a little late'' to the automobile business (can the tire industry be far behind?).
They're known as ``affinity groups''—owners, for instance, of Saturns who venture to Tennessee for reunions at the auto plant that made their cars. Or Dodge Viper, Ford Mustang or Chevy Corvette owners who meet regularly to swap stories with other owners.
And for years Jeep owners have gathered for the annual ``Jeep Jamboree,'' where they take their favorite vehicles mountain climbing during a week-long party.
One of the early ``affinity'' trendsetters is the Harley-Davidson Motor Co.'s HOGs, which stands for ``Harley Owners Group.'' Of course, it's also what bikers affectionately call their Harleys. Just don't call a biker a hawg, if you value your life.
Perhaps the day isn't far off when owners of certain tire brands will gather at air pumps across the land to talk of their favorite road hazards, compare tire mileage, and discuss neat tread patterns and maybe even the best places to go to get balanced and rotated.
Several suggested group names come to mind, such as the ``Yokohama Mamas,'' the ``Cooper Clan'' or, for members of the clergy, the ``Firestone and Brimstones.''
After officials of the Edinburgh, Scotland, City Council tried to oust Tom Farmer, chairman and CEO of Kwik-Fit Holdings P.L.C., from his company's board, he got even by hitting them in the pocketbook.
The Scottish Daily Record reported that pension fund officials with the council, which holds shares in Kwik-Fit, tried to have Sir Tom removed by voting against his re-election at the firm's annual meeting in April. The reason for their displeasure was not reported.
Founded in Edinburgh, the company was Europe's largest independent tire dealership when it was purchased this past spring by Ford Motor Co.
In response to the council's action, Mr. Farmer said: ``I feel that we now do not have the support of the city and as a result we no longer feel able to give back anything in return.'' So he pulled the plug on sponsorship of community projects to the tune of tens of thousands of pounds.
Hey, council: Put that in your bagpipes and smoke it.