SEMA lighting task force meets with NHTSA
WASHINGTON-The Specialty Equipment Market Association's Lighting Task Force met recently with officials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to open communication in anticipation of possible new lighting rules for vehicles.
SEMA said NHTSA intends to propose new rules this year and next regarding the perceived glare from high-intensity discharge headlamps and other advanced lighting sources as well as headlamp-aiming requirements.
In a statement, SEMA said the task force plans to meet with other members then head back to NHTSA with feedback. The task force-chaired by lighting manufacturer Hella Inc.'s president, Mitch Williams-was created as a group of SEMA-member motor vehicle lighting firms seeking to assure compliance with federal and state lighting laws.
Monroe kicks off ride control promo
MONROE, Mich.-Tenneco Automotive Inc. has launched a ``Race Into Spring'' promotion for its Monroe brand of automotive replacement shocks and struts that allows consumers and vehicle service providers chances to win $1 million cash payouts.
Through the promotion, which runs through May 31, consumers can earn $1 million sweepstakes ``scratch-and-win'' cards and Safety Comeback certificates valued at up to $75 through the purchase of qualifying ride control products.
Lake Forest, Ill.-based Tenneco said the program's ``Twin/Win'' feature will pay an additional $1 million prize to the qualifying shop at which a consumer bought the winning ticket.
Program enrollment materials and merchandising tools are available through Monroe suppliers or by calling (800) 218-1596.
Among Tenneco's products are Monroe Sensa-Trac and Reflex shock absorbers and struts, Rancho shocks, Walker Quiet-Flow mufflers, DynoMax performance exhaust products and Monroe Clevite vibration control components.
SEMA adjusts sales numbers
DIAMOND BAR, Calif.-Though retail sales of products in the sport compact performance market are expected to increase, it won't reach as high as $4.5 billion, as reported recently by a publicly traded company, said officials from the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA).
In a statement, SEMA said retail sales in this segment hit $1.5 billion in 2001, instead of the $4.5 billion figure. A SEMA spokeswoman did not identify the company.
SEMA will issue its 2002 segment update April 25 at the 2003 International Auto Salon in the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Americans keeping older vehicles
DETROIT-Improved technology and vehicle quality has meant that, for the first time since the mid-1990s, Americans are keeping older cars and trucks on the road for longer periods.
That's the assessment of Detroit-based automotive research firm R.L. Polk & Co. It found that last year the median age of passenger cars rose to 8.4 years and 6.6 years for light trucks. In 2001, the median age was 8.1 years and 6.1 years, respectively.
At the same time, Polk said, vehicle scrappage rates have decreased. In 2002, 5.6 percent of passenger cars were scrapped, compared with 6.4 percent in 2001 and 9.5 percent in 1970. Trucks went from 7.5 percent in 2001 to 7 percent in 2002, though it is higher than the 5-percent rate of 1970.
Polk said the median age of light trucks remains lower than for passenger cars because of the recent boom in new truck registrations in the last few years.
``Advances in vehicle quality and engine technology have allowed American car owners to keep their vehicles on the road longer,'' said Eric Papacek, an analytic consultant at Polk. Still, he said the issue is a ``double-edged sword'' for auto makers because the increased quality can keep consumers out of the new-car market for longer periods of time.