GM to Phase Out Oldsmobile;'02 Bravada Will Be Last New Olds
Oldsmobile is coming to the end of the roadGeneral Motors recently stated that the oldest brand name in U.S. automotive history will be retired during the next few years. GM executives admitted they had failed to erase the stodgy image of a brand that was once synonymous with American prosperity and dependability. "Phasing out the Oldsmobile brand was an especially tough decision for us,'' said Ron Zarrella, president of GM North America. He said that new customers were younger and more educated, but there weren't enough of them. Oldsmobiles will be built and sold as long as GM can make money on them. GM declined to give a more specific timetable, but said that the '02 Bravada sport utility vehicle coming out next year will be the last new Olds model. As part of the plan to wind down the Oldsmobile division, GM is offering people who bought new - and still own - '96-to-'01 Oldsmobiles a $1,500 coupon for a new Olds. Combined with other incentives, that leads to discounts of $5,000 on the 2000 Bravada.
In its latest effort to unload the dying Oldsmobile line, GM said that it will increase its three-year/36,000-mile warranty to five years or 60,000 miles for all 2000 and '01 Oldsmobile models, including the Bravada SUVs. "GM is talking about phasing out the line, but if they're not careful, the public will switch it off immediately,'' Burnham Securities' auto analyst David Healy said. "What you've got is an orphan, and you need a major set of incentives like this.''
The standard warranty plan provides bumper-to-bumper coverage for the first three years. The extended plan provides coverage for two additional years on the engine, the transmission, the front- and rear-wheel-drive assembly, the brakes, the suspension, the fuel system, the cooling system, the electrical system, the computer, and the steering system, GM said. Under the plan, the customer pays no deductible costs. "What we're trying to say is that you shouldn't be afraid to buy an Olds,'' states Oldsmobile spokesman Vince Muniga.
Bureau of Land Management Looks to Expand Land Use Regulations
The BLM is currently looking at the manner in which off-road enthusiasts access and use public lands, as well as at the vehicles used for off-highway recreation. The Draft National Off-Highway Vehicle Strategy is the title of a document assembled by BLM officials, which is purported to "provide recreation opportunity for off-highway vehicles on public lands while protecting environmentally sensitive areas." Although the Draft Strategy makes no changes in land use regulations, the study identifies certain regulations that could be changed in a separate process if the BLM sees a need for expanded regulations.
Adena Cook, Director of the Blue Ribbon Coalition, a non-profit recreation group that encourages the responsible use of public lands, stated, "The BLM has suggested expanding the types of vehicles covered by the Draft Strategy to include new equipment, changing technology, and broadening recreational interests." The strategy will include updated regulations directed at 4x4s and ultra-light aircraft as well as bicycles and roller blades. Cook went on to say "...the Agency (BLM) has recognized that these diverse forms of outdoor enjoyment need both individual attention and integration into recreation management as a whole."