GM's Powertrain Performance Build Center To Produce Performance Engines
GM Powertrain plans to produce performance engines at a new manufacturing site located in Wixom, Michigan, to be called the GM Powertrain Performance Build Center.

Ed Koerner, vice president of engineering operations, in announcing plans for the build center said, "I am very pleased that GM will have a facility dedicated to building high-performance engines. A small but very passionate group of customers wants and demands vehicles with uncompromising levels of performance. The new Performance Build Center is dedicated to satisfying these customers."

GM is investing approximately $10 million in the facility. UAW Pontiac Local 653 will represent Wixom facility hourly employees, who will come from other GM locations. Site preparations began in spring 2003, with the start of production planned for summer 2005.

Teutonic Tahoe
Our spies and sources have provided camouflaged images of the Mercedes-Benz stretched M-class SUV, but this illustration, while speculative, is much more informative. Referred to as the MLV, this long-wheelbase version of the next-generation M-class measures in more than 204 inches long and sports three rows of seating. The MLV will have unique sheetmetal and air suspension as standard, with a pair of sunroofs offered as an option. But will it tuck 22s?

Urgent Legislative Alert:
Legislation To Repeal Old-Car Emissions Exemption Reintroduced In California State Assembly Here we go again! As predicted, legislation has been reintroduced in the California Assembly to repeal the state's current rolling emissions-test exemption for vehicles 30 years old and older. A.B. 2683 repeals the current pro-hobbyist exemption and replaces it with a provision requiring the permanent testing of all pre-1976 vehicles. This year, the bill was introduced by California assemblywoman Sally Lieber (D-District 22).

We join with SEMA in urging you to contact assemblywoman Lieber and your own state assembly member immediately to oppose A.B. 2683. Existing law in California exempts all vehicles 30 years old and older from emissions testing. California's current emissions-testing exemption recognizes the minimal impact of vehicles 30 years old and older on vehicle emissions and air quality. Those vehicles constitute a small portion of the overall vehicle population and are a poor source from which to look for emissions reduction. Antique and classic vehicles are overwhelmingly well maintained and infrequently driven (about one-third the miles each year as a new vehicle).

Legislators and regulators are feeling the heat from a failed effort to meet air quality goals and are looking for a convenient scapegoat. The old-car hobby should not carry the burden of their mistakes.

Contact your state assembly member to oppose A.B. 2683. Assemblywoman Lieber can be reached by e-mail at To find out who your own state assembly member is, contact the California Assembly's general information line at (916) 445-4311. This information can also be accessed via the Internet at or by calling the SEMA Washington, D.C., office at (202) 783-6007, ext. 38. Please send a copy of your letters to us by e-mail to, by fax to (202) 783-6024, or by mail to: SEMA Washington Office, 1317 F St. NW., Ste. 500, Washington, DC 20004; Attn: Steve McDonald.

Ford Still World's Second-Largest Automaker
Toyota's president, Fujio Cho, said in a press briefing in San Francisco that Toyota Motor Corporation did not pass Ford Motor Co. in global unit sales in 2003 as sales statistics released by Toyota in January at first indicated. When sales are counted on the same basis, Ford is still the second-largest automaker. The difference was made in the wholesale market stats. Toyota's wholesale figures of 6.49 million vehicles in 2003 compared to Ford's wholesale of 6.72 million vehicles in 2003 allowed Ford to edge Toyota out of the Number Two slot.