General Motors Reports Record Sales Of New Disposable Car

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Issue 3712

Abandoned Mall Retains Eerie Vestiges Of Fun Shopping Atmosphere

ROSEVILLE, MN–The silent hull of Northlands Mall disquieted Erik Sandvig Monday, when the local man gazed through the locked glass doors of what was, in happier times, "Roseville's One-Stop Shopping Fun Zone." "Man, it's really creepy," Sandvig said of the once-thriving mall's mausoleum-like stillness. "There's the Sam Goody where you could get all the hottest new releases. And right next door is the Foot Locker that had all your favorite gear from Nike and Adidas." His nostalgic longing satisfied, Sandvig walked on, leaving the ghosts of former fun-seeking shoppers to roam the aisles undisturbed.

Tenants Feel Guilty Asking Elderly Maintenance Man To Fix Anything

BOSTON–Tenants in the apartment building at 437 Market St. reported Monday that they experience a gnawing feeling of guilt every time they ask Hank Hudson, the 82-year-old maintenance man, to repair anything. "The other day, my sink was clogged and, at first, I was going to ask Hank to fix it," Apt. 4B tenant Julie Winters said Monday. "Then I remembered the time he repaired the furnace and coughed for weeks afterwards. In the end, I just bought a snake and did it myself."

Oscar Countdown 2002 Begins

HOLLYWOOD, CA–With just 50 weeks to go before the big event, the buzz surrounding the 2002 Academy Awards is beginning to build. "Will Tom Hanks turn in a performance that completes his Oscar hat trick? Will Pearl Harbor be the night's big winner, assuming it's a film of artistic merit?" Rebecca Ascher-Walsh wrote in Entertainment Weekly's "Oscar '02 Preview!" double issue, which hit newsstands Tuesday. "These are some of the questions sure to be answered in just 341 days." Ascher-Walsh said Entertainment Weekly will run exclusive photos of the Versace gown to be worn by the radiant newcomer who will nab a Best Actress nomination for her surprise, star-making turn "the very moment" she becomes known.

Citizens To Vote On Young Or Old Reagan For $15 Bill

WASHINGTON, DC–On the heels of the Ronald Reagan Airport and U.S.S. Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, citizens can now vote for one of two portraits of the former president to adorn the U.S. Mint's upcoming $15 bill. "Choose either the young, General Electric Theater-era Reagan or the older, second-term-president Reagan," U.S Mint Deputy Director John Mitchell said Monday. Citizens may cast ballots at any FDIC-member bank. All voters will receive a commemorative LeRoy Neiman poster of Reagan delivering his 1981 inaugural address.

Russell Crowe Has Something To 'Crowe' About... An Oscar Win!

Item! In case you're on Mars or something, here's a news flash: The Oscars happened! I always get cable this time of year so I can watch that catty Joan Rivers and her lovely but retarded daughter dish on the fashions. Well, after last year's debacle, I was determined not to miss the Oscars, so I recorded them, and I even took notes so I could recall some of the highlights. Here they are!
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Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage


  • Goodwill Executives Arrested After Years Of Skimming Donated Goods Off Top

    ROCKVILLE, MD—In what authorities are calling one of the most wide-reaching and deplorable cases of embezzlement in recent history, seven executives at Goodwill Industries International were arrested Thursday for allegedly skimming used clothing, old furniture, small appliances, and thousands of other donated items from the charitable group.

House and Home

Deadline For Prior User To Remove Clothes From Dryer Extended 5 Minutes

JOHNSON CITY, TN—Upon finding the machine in her apartment building’s laundry room completely untouched since she last stopped by, exasperated local woman Sandra Hermus reportedly mounted all her magnanimity Monday and extended the deadline for the previous user to remove their clothing from the dryer by five minutes.

General Motors Reports Record Sales Of New Disposable Car

DETROIT–In a report released Monday, General Motors announced 56 percent growth for the first quarter of 2001, a profit increase company officials attributed to February's wildly successful launch of the GMC Whim, the first-ever non-refillable, disposable automobile.

The GMC Whim

Making their debut at a cost of $1,100 each, the vehicles are flying out of showrooms as quickly as dealers can stock them. Featuring factory-installed gasoline, an AM/FM radio with two preset stations, and a nine-volt battery to power the ignition, the Whim is attracting motorists looking for convenient, hassle-free transportation.

"I'm a busy mother of four," said Winston-Salem, NC, homemaker Hannah Plunkett, who buys a new Whim Grande minivan every seven to ten days. "I don't have time to change the oil, rotate the tires, fill up the tank, or deal with any of the other maintenance headaches you have with old-fashioned reusable cars. But with my Whim, the parts never have time to age."

"The Whim is the wave of the future," said enthusiast Glen Shriver, who recently drove from his home in Eden Prairie, MN, to Daytona Beach, FL, for the First Annual Whim Owners' Convention, consuming four of the vehicles in the process. "I've already collected all eight colors."

"Finally, I can feel comfortable teaching my kids to drive the family car," said Harold Sperber of Chillicothe, OH. "And when my oldest misbehaves, I can threaten to throw his car away."

Introduced to the nation in an ad aired during Super Bowl XXXV, the Whim's "Hi.... And Bye" spot features a rapid-fire succession of slogans touting advantages of the new car, including "Enjoy That New-Car Smell All The Time," "No Rust, No Repairs, No Fooling," and "Never Pay For A Car Wash Again. In Fact, We Urge You Not To Wash The Whim, As Hot Water Can Melt The Glue Holding The Frame Together."

The Whim's dashboard, which features a gas gauge that lets drivers know when to discard the car.

When out of gas, the car can either be abandoned at the side of the road or returned to the dealer for a $10 deposit. For $100 extra, buyers can purchase the Whim Distinct, a premium model that boasts roomier seating, super-unleaded gasoline, and a tape deck with a pre-inserted, non-ejectable tape of the owner's choice. The Whim Distinct will also offer drivers the added option of going in reverse.

"We here at GM are delighted with the success of the Whim," CEO G. Richard Wagoner said. "America's love affair with the car, combined with its love of disposable products, has spelled tremendous success for us. As long as American industry keeps producing aluminum and polystyrene, we'll keep making Whims as fast as we can."

The vehicle has also given a boost to GM employment figures. Though faulted in recent years for rampant layoffs, GM has hired thousands of new assembly-line workers to meet demand for the Whim, which can take upwards of 450 man-minutes to assemble. Wagoner also noted that the Whim costs substantially less to manufacture than conventional automobiles due to the fact that it requires no fan belt, oil-distribution system, or other parts necessary to the long-term functioning of a vehicle.

Responding to the Whim's success, rival automakers are preparing to counter with their own lines of disposable cars, including the Ford Temporaire and the Chrysler Dumper. The 2002 Mitsubishi Ditch will be unveiled later this year, with a projected sticker price of $799.