- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 21, 2006

Polar Bear Run set for Jan. 1

The Potomac Area Road Riders will hold their 24th annual Polar Bear Run on Jan. 1

Registration for the motorcycle ride will be at the Sign of the Whale Restaurant in Loehmann’s Plaza shopping center, 7279 Arlington Blvd. (Route 50) in Falls Church from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The ride will be about 90 miles. For more information, call 703/573-1616, or Ed Bugash at 240/793-2991.

Mazda plans to scrap 4,700 exposed cars

Japan’s Mazda Motor Corp. will scrap a estimated 4,700 cars that were left for about a month on a cargo ship that nearly capsized en route to the United States this past summer.

The ship sat listing at an angle of more than 60 degrees for nearly a month after an mishap in the North Pacific in late July, Kyodo News and the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper reported, citing Mazda officials.

Even though most of the cars had no visible damage, the automaker decided to throw them out because their new-car quality could not be guaranteed after such a long time at sea, one Mazda official was quoted as saying.

The total cost of scrapping the vehicles was not immediately announced.

Nissan builds track for high-speed testing

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. recently completed construction of its 5-mile test track at its Hokkaido Proving Ground in Rikubetsu, Ashoro, making it the company’s longest high-speed circuit in Japan.

The track, built at a cost of $27.5 million, is designed to allow speeds of a least 187 mph.

Modeled after the German Autobahn, the track has continuous slopes and curves as well as various road surfaces. In addition to research of vehicle behavior at high speeds, Nissan will use the track to study driver behavior, intelligent transportation systems and other driver-support systems.

Low-rate loans offered for 2006 cars

Ford and Chrysler are extending five-year, zero-interest and low-rate loan offers on some 2006 models in order to clear out inventories and make way for 2007 models, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association.

Nearly 30 percent of vehicles sitting on Ford dealer lots are 2006 models. Older inventories account for 45 percent of the vehicles on Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep lots. General Motors’ current discount program runs through Jan. 2.

Find out about giving a vehicle to charity

People wishing to donate a vehicle to charity for tax purposes can still do so, but with a lower limit on the value actually claimed. Until June of last year, donors could cite the industry Blue Book value when giving a vehicle to charity. But the government tightened its rules.

Now $500 is the most a donor can claim initially. If the charity sells the vehicle at auction for more money, it notifies the donor for tax purposes.

Donated vehicles with a value of more than $5,000 require an independent appraisal.

Most important: Donors who want a deduction for a vehicle must get a validating receipt from the charity of their choice.

For more information, call the IRS at 800/829-3676 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. weekdays or go online at www.irs.ustreas.gov. Search for “deducting vehicle donations.”

Nissan planning fuel-cell vehicle

Nissan Motor Co. plans to introduce a next-generation fuel-cell vehicle in Japan and North America as part of its ongoing environmental strategy, according to the Associated Press.

The company aims to use an improved fuel stack that will offer performance on par with gasoline-power automobiles, but capable of traveling 60 miles on about 3 quarts of gasoline.

NADA operates donation site

The National Automobile Dealers Association offers an online vehicle donation site as a resource.

Internet visitors to www.nadaguides.com can click on the “Donate Your Car” link in the Selected Resources box and fill out basic information and details about the vehicle.

A favorite charity can be selected from a list of more than 200 accredited nonprofit organizations.

NADA will assist with the paperwork and pick up a vehicle at a donor’s home or office.

Mail items of interest to Auto Notes, care of Bill O’Brien, The Washington Times Copy Desk, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002. Or send items of interest via e-mail to bobrien@washingtontimes.com. The deadline is 5 p.m. on the Monday before the date of publication.

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