General Motors swaggered into 2003's Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show with a new land-speed record for the Saturn brand and a show presence that verged on rivaling title sponsor Ford, which made it abundantly clear to the aftermarket community that The General is, as stated in a press release, "committed to offering 'gotta-have' vehicles, parts, and technology."

To underscore the significance of SEMA to GM, it even unveiled its new Hummer sport utility truck (SUT). This is the first time an automaker has used the SEMA show as a platform to announce a new model, a marketing activity usually reserved for public auto shows, such as the Los Angeles International Auto Show or the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. GM also announced future Performance Division offerings, featuring several new powertrain applications.

Clearly, GM is taking SEMA seriously, as is virtually every automaker in the North American market, and next month, we'll have extensive coverage of the 2003 SEMA show, with a special section on the ramping up of factory involvement in the show. In the meantime, GM hosted a little preview of things to come at California Street Rods in Huntington Beach, California.

New General Motors Study Shows Daytime Running Lamps Continue To Reduce CrashesContinuing its safety and technology leadership, General Motors announced results of a study that shows GM customers have avoided more than 37,000 collisions since daytime running lamps (DRLs) became standard equipment in 1995.

DRLs, exterior front lamps that automatically illuminate when a vehicle is started, increase vehicle visibility for other drivers and pedestrians in a variety of daytime conditions, including fog, rain, dusk, and bright sunlight. To date, GM has sold more than 30 million vehicles in the United States and Canada with DRLs as standard equipment.

Using information from police and collision reports, and traffic registration data from 17 states, the study shows estimated reductions in daytime multiple vehicle crashes ranging from 2.3 percent to nearly 12.5 percent, depending on the driving condition, type of DRL used, and type of collision. The study analyzed conditions, including daylight at dawn/dusk, daylight with good/poor visibility, daylight on highway/local streets, as well as multiple vehicle, pedestrian, child pedestrian, head-on, and motorcycle crashes.

The findings showed statistically significant reductions in several different crash types. The most dramatic reduction involved DRL-relevant vehicle-to-pedestrian crashes. Through 2001, it's estimated that DRLs have helped drivers avoid 772 pedestrian collisions, with children under the age of 12 accounting for 348 of these avoided collisions - a nearly 15 percent reduction. This is a 6 percent increase in the rate of reduction of pedestrian crashes since an initial DRL analysis was performed for GM in 2000 by Exponent Failure Analysis Associates.

There were 4,808 pedestrian traffic-related deaths in 2002, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Cumulatively, NHTSA estimates motor vehicle crashes costs society $230.6 billion a year, about $820 per person.

In December 2001, GM filed a petition with NHTSA, asking it to adopt rule-making that would require all automakers to install DRLs on new vehicles sold in the U.S. The petition covered passenger vehicles, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, and buses.

ExxonMobil Develops Low SPlAsh Diesel Engine Oil for DaimlerChrysler's New Diesel Particulate FilterExxonMobil announced that a cooperative technology project with DaimlerChrysler has resulted in the development of a new low-sulphur, -phosphorus, and -ash - low SPAsh - diesel engine oil that, when coupled with DaimlerChrysler's new maintenance-free diesel particulate filter (DPF), reduces automotive emissions.

ExxonMobil worked closely with DaimlerChrysler on the development criteria that its new filter required of the engine oil and consequently produced a lubricant with specifications that met the desired requirements.

The innovative technological development of filter and oil meets EU 4 (European Union) automotive emission regulations a year before they become effective in 2005, and sets an industry benchmark for the reduction of soot, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen-oxide emissions.

DaimlerChrysler's new maintenance-free diesel particulate filter was launched in September at the Frankfurt Autoshow. The new filter is currently available as a customer option on Mercedes-Benz diesel automobiles in Europe. The new Mobil-branded Low SPAsh oil will be the factory fill in these automobiles and will be commercially available in late 2003 as part of the family of Mobil-branded engine oils.

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!Hemi Ram Tows 700hpCrate-Motored Hemi Ram Sport Truck Magazine Project Truck to 2003 SEMA ShowWe had to publish this image of our 700hp, 740 lb-ft Hemi Ram project truck on its way to the 2003 SEMA show. The brand-new '04 Hemi Ram Quad Cab sported our flamed Superior Automotive-built Hemi crate motor. Our staffer, Gary Blount, reports that the new Hemi Ram Quad Cab pulled its older brother from L.A. to Las Vegas almost as easy as if the fullsize load was a pair of jet skis. We'll give you all the details on our flamed streeter in a future issue of Sport Truck.

Toyota Announces Pricing for All-New '04Tundra Double Cab PickupToyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. announced Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices (MSRPs) for the newest member of its truck family, the '04 Toyota Tundra Double Cab.

MSRPs for the Tundra Double Cab 4x2 range from $25,645 for an SR5 to $29,270 for the upscale Limited grade. Four-by-four Double Cabs have a base MSRP of $28,975 for the SR5 and $32,600 for the Limited grade.

The base MSRP for the '04 Tundra Access and regular cab models remain unchanged from '03. The MSRP for Tundra 4x2 models range from $15,955 for the V-6 five-speed manual regular cab to $27,825 for the V-8 automatic Limited Stepside Access Cab. The MSRP for the Tundra 4x4 models range from $23,875 for the V-8 automatic SR5 regular cab to $31,165 for the V-8 automatic Limited Stepside Access Cab.

Once Again, GM Goofs the Name Slang ThangIn a social faux pas reminiscent of exporting the Chevy Nova to Mexico, General Motors says it is renaming the Buick LaCrosse marketed in Canada because the term la crosse is slang for masturbation in Quebec. This must prove that autoerotic imagery just doesn't sell automobiles.

Cummins Exclusive Diesel Engine Supply Agreement Extended by DaimlerChryslerCummins Inc. recently announced that it has extended its exclusive supply agreement with DaimlerChrysler Corporation's Chrysler Group for diesel engines used in the Dodge Ram heavy-duty pickup truck. Specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed. However, our sources say the agreement includes consideration of Cummins as a supplier for the diesel engine after-treatment system as well as for collaboration on future diesel engine technology.

Nissan Produces Fullsize Titan Truck Job OneHundreds of employees who built the first Nissan Titan - a red King Cab SE 4x4 - cheered as it rolled off Nissan North America's (NNA) assembly line in Canton, Mississippi. The Titan is the third product to roll off Canton's assembly line in less than five months, an unprecedented launch schedule. Construction of the plant began just two-and-a-half years ago, and since that time, several thousand employees have been hired and trained to build high-quality, innovative Nissan vehicles. In 2003, the Quest minivan began production on May 27, the Pathfinder Armada fullsize SUV was added to the line in mid-August, and in October, the first Titan moved off the assembly line.

The first Titan, which was driven off the line with the help of Canton, Mississippi, Mayor Fred Esco Jr., will be donated to the city of Canton for use by its Public Works Department. Nissan's Canton plant is a $1.43 billion, 3.5-million-square-foot facility situated on approximately 1,400 acres about 15 miles north of Jackson, Mississippi. It has the capacity to build as many as 400,000 vehicles per year. In addition to the Quest, Pathfinder Armada, and Titan, the Canton plant will begin producing the first Infiniti vehicle - a fullsize SUV - built in the U.S. It will also eventually supplement the production of the Nissan Altima midsize sedan, also produced at Nissan's award-winning Smyrna, Tennessee, assembly plant.

Cadillac's New CTS Sedans and SRX SUVs Will Come Factory-Filled With ExxonMobil LubricantsExxonMobil announced that Mobil 1(R) with SuperSyn(TM) and anti-wear technology, the world's leading synthetic motor oil, has been selected as original equipment (factory fill) in Cadillac's newest luxury sedan and utility vehicle. The new '04 Cadillac CTS luxury performance sedans and SRX medium-luxury utility vehicles are factory-filled with Mobil 1 5W-30. For more information about Mobil, visit www.mobil1.com.

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