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Put the Brakes on Firms' Power-to-Spare Concepts

January 30, 2002

Oh yes! The new cars look great, and the concept cars--I'm ready to have one grace my driveway (Highway 1, Jan. 16). But one problem, and it's bothered me for some time: Why are manufacturers still making cars that can speed to twice the limit in most states?

Seems to me we could do without a 4.6-liter aluminum 32-valve Northstar V-8 engine that is available with 275 or 300 horsepower, in favor of a car with a top speed of 75 mph if it really looks great.

And in the hands of some freeway drivers, a car at 65 mph is too dangerous. We know speed kills, so why make cars that endanger lives? I don't need the horsepower. Do any of us?

Larry Pike

Los Angeles

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Oscar Wilde said it best: "Nothing succeeds like excess."

That's what popped into my mind as I read "Auto Makers Hitch Wagons to Truck Market," (Business, Jan. 9).

Trucks? Make that luxury behemoths! It was all about "full-size luxury" SUVs and "super-performance" upgrades, SRT-10s, MLs and X5s, all bigger, better and mo' money.

I had just come from a story about why a very large number of Third Worlders don't love Americans--by way of an ad for the latest $92,000 BMW.

I can only hope the National Safety Council and state and federal highway transportation people will be getting together on a study to ban Hummer and Mercedes-Benz's Galaendenwagen from coming at my (and your) granddaughter's Ford Focus head-on.

John C. Gunn

Morro Bay, CA

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Your article about the new Nissan 350Z (Highway 1, Jan. 23) was, as usual, intertwined with disparaging remarks about automobile dealer practices.

A surcharge on the new 350Z? Why not! It is rare to find a consumer willing to pay the suggested retail price for any vehicle. If the dealer is expected to discount his/her product when that product is in plentiful supply, why shouldn't that same dealer be entitled to a surcharge when supplies dip?

Was the writer commissioned to write about the new 350Z or write another editorial blasting automobile dealers?

W. Raymond Runyan

Hoff Leasing

Oxnard

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Highway 1 welcomes letters from readers. All letters become property of The Times and must include a valid mailing address and phone number. Mail: Highway 1 Letters, Business Section, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. Fax: (714) 966-4562. E-mail: highway1@latimes.com.

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