- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 11, 2007

Mercedes shows off concept convertible

Mercedes-Benz introduced an elegant four-door convertible concept car this week at the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The carmaker said the concept car, called Ocean Drive, could become reality if demand becomes sufficient.

Cycle show revs up at convention center

The Cycle World International Motorcycle Show is in town today through Sunday.

The show offers a close look at hundreds of 2007 street bikes, dirt bikes, cruisers, ATVs, concept bikes and vintage bikes as well as stunt performances.

Attendees will get to see the world’s smallest rideable motorcycle (2.55 inches high), the world’s first monster bike (15 feet long by 7 feet high), the world’s fastest bike (broke the world record at more than 350 mph), plus the show’s most expensive motorcycle, the Nehmisis, priced at $250,000.

Thrill seekers can see the BOSS Motorcycle Stunt Team as they perform gravity-defying motorcycle stunts and synchronized tricks.

The show is open to the public today from 4 to 9 p.m.; tomorrow from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place NW.

For more information, visit www.motorcycleshows.com on the Internet.

Chrysler reduces ‘sales bank’ inventory

Chrysler Group’s top executive said recently that the number of vehicles in the automaker’s “sales bank” had dropped below 10,000, a promise he made last month under criticism that the company had built far more vehicles than dealers had ordered.

“I said in December that we would bring down our inventory of unassigned vehicles back to historical normal levels in the low five digits,” Chrysler Group CEO Tom LaSorda said during a conference call with journalists. “Our number of unassigned vehicles is below 10,000 at the end of December, which is, in fact, in the normal-level category.”

It marks a big drop from the fall when it became clear that the company had turned parking lots around metropolitan Detroit into storage areas for vehicles that hadn’t been ordered by dealers. The company acknowledged it had built 100,000 unassigned vehicles, according to McClatchy-Tribune Business News.

Toyota to produce more cars overseas

Toyota Motor Corp. plans to produce more cars overseas than in Japan for the first time this year, according to a Japanese newspaper report.

The Japanese car giant plans to expand overseas car production to around 4.4 million vehicles, up from 4 million in 2006, while its domestic production is expected to increase to 4.2 million vehicles this year, compared with 4.11 million in 2006, the Asahi newspaper said, without citing sources.

Toyota is increasing production in various regions, including a plant in San Antonio that began production in November. It has also outlined plans to boost production at existing plants in Canada, Thailand and Mexico.

Auto show scheduled downtown Jan. 24-28

The 65th annual Washington Auto Show will feature the vehicles of at least 42 domestic and foreign automakers. They will display 700 new cars, trucks, minivans and sport utility vehicles at the Washington Convention Center.

This year’s show, sponsored by the Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association (WANADA), will focus on “Presenting Advanced Technologies.” Exhibits will include “Technology Highway” and “Alternative Fuel Alley.”

During the five-day run, a luxury Mercedes-Benz ML320 CDI — an SUV worth nearly $50,000 — will be given away by local dealers.Register for the giveaway at the Mercedes-Benz display at the show or at any of the local Mercedes-Benz dealerships from Jan. 24 to 28.

The show and the D.C. Lottery and Charitable Games Control Board also will give prizes to 27 Powerball players in its “Second Chance Drawing.” The first-prize winner will get a Chevy Impala, courtesy of the Washington Area Chevrolet Dealers. The second-place winner will get the Chevy HHR, and the rest of the winners will each get a gasoline card worth $200 at local gas stations.

The drawing will be held Jan. 28. To enter, deposit entry vouchers at the specially marked places at the D.C. Lottery show booth or mail them to: D.C. Lottery Auto Show Drawing, PO Box 71540, Washington, D.C. 20024.

For more information, call 202/249-3000 or visit www.washingtonautoshow.com.

Find out about giving a vehicle to charity

People wishing to donate a vehicle to charity for tax purposes can a lower limit on the value that can be claimed. Until June 2005, 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.

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.

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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