U.S. House OKs liability reform bill WASHINGTON—For the second time in less than a month, the House of Representatives has passed a limited product liability reform bill which the Clinton administration opposes.
The new bill, which passed by a veto-vulnerable vote of 221-193 Feb. 16, caps punitive damages at $250,000 or three times compensatory damages—whichever is less—in product liability lawsuits against companies with 25 or fewer employees.
It also exempts retailers from liability for products received from manufacturers and sold without alteration; lifts the $250,000 cap for willful intent to do harm, but puts the burden of proof on the plaintiff; and applies uniform federal liability standards to supersede stricter rules in 41 states.
In a formal statement, the White House denounced the legislation as "a sweeping tort reform measure that amends state liability rules as they apply to businesses both large and small." The bill's future in the Senate is uncertain.
Pirelli offers tire on Internet only
GENEVA, Switzerland—Pirelli S.p.A. has unveiled a new tire line designed for sale only on the Internet, and initially only in Europe.
Pirelli has created a special interactive Web site—www.P2500euro.com—where motorists can view the new tire, check sizes, prices and performance data, and book an appointment with their nearest dealer. Motorists who place orders will be issued a coupon that they will take to the dealer to claim the tires.
"The P2500 Euro is specially conceived to be commercialized on the Net, the only place where information on the product, its performance, pictures and videos will be available," Pirelli said at the 70th annual Geneva Auto Salon.
Pirelli has given the P2500 an M+S mud and snow rating, but the online data refer to the line's anti-aquaplaning characteristics.
Canadian Tire earnings fall
TORONTO—Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd. reported a 12-percent drop in net earnings to $145.9 million (all amounts are in Canadian dollars) for year-end 1999.
The company said its pre-tax consolidated earnings were reduced by $50 million in expenses associated with Y2K charges, costs to develop an e-commerce business scheduled to be launched later in 2000 and the retirement of CEO Stephen Bachand.
Canadian Tire closed the year with consolidated gross operating revenue of $4.7 billion, an 8.8-percent increase from 1998.
For the fourth quarter, net earnings plummeted 70 percent from the previous year to $12.9 million.
Gross operating revenue for the quarter rose 13.1 percent to $1.29 billion. The firm attributed this growth to increased shipments to associate dealers.
ASA offers Web referral service
BEDFORD, Texas—The Automotive Service Association has partnered with GreatMechanics.com to offer Web site development, maintenance and customer management at a 25-percent discount to ASA national members.
GreatMechanics.com is a Denver-based Website referral service designed to bring customers to participating shops by publishing information on participating shops' facilities and services on the Internet.
For more information, contact ASA at (800) 272-7467, ext. 246.
Penske honors Goodyear service
AKRON—Penske Truck Leasing awarded Goodyear its Overall Outstanding Supplier of the Year Award during Penske's annual supplier conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., in early February.
Representatives from Penske Truck Leasing's 20 major suppliers attended the event.
The company, Goodyear's largest national account customer for truck tires, also extended, to 2004, its exclusive supply agreement with Goodyear, which it inked last April.
STS offers techs tool discounts
WARRENDALE, Pa.—The Service Technicians Society, an affiliate of the Society of Automotive Engineers, is offering discounts on tools and giveaways for technicians.
Members can receive discount coupons to purchase tools from MAC Tools at a 20-percent discount or receive a 10-percent discount on purchases through SPX Corp.'s catalog.
STS also will give away tools through its Web site, www.sts. sae.org. The prize is a John Force 24K, gold-plated Signature Series Ratchet from MAC Tools.