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September 20, 2009

Auto Briefs

Biopics to bring DeLorean back to the future and Japan addresses hybrids' silence

John DeLorean

DeLorean Motor Company

Moviemakers vie for DeLorean biopic
Hollywood is eyeing an epic pileup over three separate projects featuring the renegade automotive entrepreneur John Z. DeLorean (right), who died in 2005 at age 80. Filmmakers have been chasing the DeLorean story at least since 1984. That year DeLorean -- famous as a high-living executive who left General Motors and started making sporty stainless-steel cars named after himself, with doors that opened upward like wings -- was acquitted after being tried on charges of selling cocaine to prop up his failing company. Director Brett Ratner is leading one DeLorean project, while George Clooney is considering a staring role in another. The third group is working with DeLorean's son, Zachary.

--New York Times News Service

Toyota Prius

Toyota

In Japan, electric cars may be too quiet
The Japanese government has set up a panel with automakers, organizations for the blind and consumer groups to address worries that blind people may be endangered due to the silence of hybrid and electric cars. A solution may have such vehicles emitting what sounds like engine noise or musical sounds like a cell-phone ring-tone, officials say. Such measures may be available on Toyotas like the Prius (right) going on sale in 2010, possibly with radar to sense nearby pedestrians and making noise only at slow speeds.

--Associated Press

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