The current crisis the whole world is facing is not news anymore and we all know it’s bad. However, nothing depicts something more than a picture. Or 13 pictures. UK newspaper Guardian published a set of photos with huge lots of unsold car from around the world. And probably the most disturbing photo is the one with Nissan’s factory test track in Sunderland, UK, flooded with thousands of unsold cars. Another photo that breaks our hearts was taken at the Sheerness open storage area, where huge lots of cars are waiting for dealers to come and pick them up. Make sure you check out the complete gallery, to get an idea of how bad sales are going.
With the facelifted Skoda Octavia presented last year in Paris, the new 2010 Octavia vRS is also almost out too. But, in order to give the old one a big exit, Skoda UK announced a special edition of the vRS, which will be built in only 500 units and will offer around £2,000 worth of equipment for only £750. Available either with the 200 hp 2.0 liter turbocharged petrol engine or the 170 hp 2.0 liter turbodiesel, the Octavia vRS Limited Edition will feature bespoke Italian leather seats, 18-inch alloy wheels, new touchscreen Bolero radio, new interior dash trim, three-spoke leather steering wheel plsu red and black special badging. The car is available now and prices start at £16,294 (including VAT).
According to Bloomberg, the two German giants, Volkswagen and BMW will reduce hours for 86,000 workers in order to cut costs as the demand for vehicles has decreased. Last year, Germany and the United States (two of the most important markets for both car makers) saw deliveries dropping by 2 percent, respectively 18 percent, 2008 being the worst year in decades.
As a result, BMW announced that they’ll drop shifts for 26,000 workers in February and March, which means the company will build 10 percent less vehicles. The factories affected by this drop will be the ones in Dingolfing and Regensburg, and the production of the 3 and 7 Series will be reduced by 38,000 units. “Conditions remain challenging on the international automotive markets,” Munich-based BMW said today in a statement. “This trend also has an impact on the BMW Group.”
On the other hand, Volkswagen will close five German factories (Wolfsburg, Emden, Hanover, Zwickau and Dresden) between February 23 and 27, reducing the output of Golf, Passat and Phaeton models. “The current market situation naturally has an impact on our coworkers,” Bernd Osterloh, Volkswagen’s works-council head, said in a statement. He said accounts of overtime hours were largely empty.
I’m sure every petrol head in the world would love the opportunity to go for a ride in a grand prix car and now here’s your chance. Well, how about doing that with 5 other friends? Because here’s the GP Limo, created by Mike Pettipas from Canada, a seven seater (driver plus six) grand prix race car which its creator claims is able to reach 300 mph. According to Pettipas, it took him 15 years of research and development, plus another 4 years of Government testing, but their goal of creating “the world’s fastest, most exciting vehicle and bring it to the people” was finally reached. And the car is currently available for corporate events, with Package Rates starting at $5,000 and Track Laps as low as $200.
This may not be the prettiest car ever, but I’m sure it’s worth giving it a try (if you’re in Canada, of course). Not to mention that the company is a supporter of Children Charities, so it’s for a noble cause.
More photos of the GP Limo after the jump. (more…)
It looks like Prada, the Italian fashion giant, is really fond of the automotive market, because after last year we announced a partnership with Hyundai for a special edition of the Genesis Sedan, a couple of days ago Prada announced another deal with a very important car maker, Audi. So far there’s no word about possible special editions of Audi models, instead, the two companies will work together this year for some high-profile events, the first one being the yacht “Luna Rossa” during the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series.
“Audi and Prada are strong brands,” said Peter Schwarzenbauer, Audi AG board of management member for marketing and sales. “We aim to pool these strengths and build up a long-term partnership.”
After last week the 2010 Honda Insight made it’s official debut at the Detroit Motor Show, yesterday Honda released more details and a few photos of the optional interior and exterior accessories for the hybrid. For the interior, the Insight will also be available with blue ambient lighting for the center console, stainless steel front and rear doorstep garnish, center panel and passenger dash panel. Also, a new widescreen portable navigation system will be available, plus a Rear Entertainment System with LCD screens in the front headrests, Bluetooth phone and a 40 GB Hard Disk Drive Navigation system.
For the Insight’s exterior, Honda will offer optional front, rear and side skirts, a crystal black mask for the front bumper, B-pillar and door handles in metallic finish, plus 15 inch Crystal and 16 inch Cronos and Turbine alloy wheels.
With the Nurburgring track covered in snow, you’d expect things to be quiet over there. But not when some mad Germans decided to have some fun. The guys from Autohaus Brömmler equipped a Nissan GT-R with a set Bridgestone Blizzak LM-25 performance winter tires and took it for a spin around the track. Not the fastest lap the Ring has seen, but it definitely was incredibly fun. Enjoy!
EDAG, a well known provider of engineering services, decided to take things a little further and started working on the “Light Car – Open Source” concept which will debut at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. The car’s body, which looks like it’s made out of glass, uses innovative basalt fibre, a 100% recyclable lightweight material. Also, using an all-electric drive system powered by a set of lithium-ion batteries, the car has a driving range of 150 km (93 miles). What’s really cool about the car is the in the glass panes, (O)LED lamps mark out the outlines of the headlights and rear lights, outlines which can be customized by each customers, so basically you can redesign your car every time you want to. The same can be done to the interior, where the driver can individually configure the cockpit.
“We have transferred today’s multimedia and lighting technology standards to the car, and in future want to offer the customer scope for free configuration, as the entire surface of the vehicle functions like the monitor of a multimedia installation, and can be used intelligently and individually,” explains Johannes Barckmann, Head of the EDAG Design Studio.
Last week Ford, along with GM and Chrysler, announced that it would skip this year’s Tokyo Motor Show and now, Volvo management has decided to follows it’s parent company and drop out of this year’s edition of the Japanese show. The reason behind the decision was the costs cut, the Swedish carmaker having better things to do with it’s money that to have a stand in Tokyo.
Fearing a lack of participants, JAMA (Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association) even considered, last week, to cancel this year’s edition of the Tokyo Motor Show. However, the decision was that “the show must go on”, especially with the association receiving support from the Japanese companies, who announced they’ll be at the show, scheduled to take place between October 23 and November 8.
Though there’s not much left of this winter, German tuner Miranda-Series announced a very good looking winter sport package for the BMW 320d (the current generation, but the version before the facelift). By optimizing the ECU, the tuner managed to increase the 2.0 liter turbo diesel’s power output up to 199 hp. Handling was improved by equipping the car with Eibach Pro-Street-S coilover suspension and Stop-Tech brakes. Other changes include new 19-inch black alloy wheels wrapped in Dunlop winter tires and new Recaro seats. However, there’s one small setback. The package, though it looks good, it’s not that impressive, but instead is priced at €13,544 (almost $18,000), which is a lot.
Today’s most important news is, no doubt about that, the announcement of Chrysler and Fiat’s merger, a move which might have a lot of influence on the auto market. Chrysler, faced with serious financial problems, still managed to sell about 2 million vehicles last year (most of them in the United States), while Fiat, whose main markets were Europe and Latin America, sold around 2.5 million units. So the result of the merger will be one very important company.
Fiat, who will receive an initial 35 percent equity interest in Chrysler (with an option to raise it to 55 percent at a later date), won’t make a cash investment or funding in Chrysler instead it will share platforms with the Detroit carmaker, including city and compact segment vehicles, fuel efficient powertrain technologies and will also help Chrysler expand their market outside of the United States.
“A Chrysler/Fiat partnership is a great fit as it creates the potential for a powerful, new global competitor, offering Chrysler a number of strategic benefits, including access to products that compliment our current portfolio; a distribution network outside North America; and cost savings in design, engineering, manufacturing, purchasing and sales and marketing,” said Bob Nardelli, Chairman and CEO of Chrysler LLC.
In order to celebrate their 50th anniversary, Hurst Performance Vehicles released a special 50 units limited edition of the Dodge Viper, and the first car was auctioned two days ago at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction for $275,000. The anniversary Hurst/Viper features an unique gold paint finish with gloss black stripes and black chrome Hurst wheels. Also, the car is fitted with the new Hurst HARD-DRIVE gold anodized pistol-grip shifter, 19- and 20-inch Hurst polished aluminum wheels, Corsa exhaust and Moton Club Sport adjustable coil-over suspension with Eibach springs.
The interior was also customized with special Katzkin charcoal leather with Hurst embroided logos, gold thread detailing and perforated leather inserts. For the exterior there are two color combinations available: black with gold stripes and white with gold stripes (the gold with black stripes combination was specially created only for the first auctioned unit).
At the Detroit Motor Show, Volkswagen presented the Touareg Lux Limited, a special edition aimed at the US market. Under the hood, customers will be able to choose from VW’s recently introduced 225 hp (165 kW) V6 TDI Clean Diesel, a 280 hp (106 kW) V6 FSI and a 350 hp (257 kW) V8 FSI.
As you’d expect in a special edition, the car boasts a set of exclusive features, such as 20-inch alloy wheels, styling package with special side skirts and customized front and rear aprons and customized color lineup (Biscay Blue, Black magic pearl effect, Campanella white and Galapagos gray). The interio was also modified, faeturing two-tone leather combined with special interior accents, door panel inserts trimmed in “St. Tropez white” and 12-way power seats for the driver and the front passenger.
More photos of the Volkswagen Touareg Lux Limited after the jump. (more…)
The Tokyo Motor Show is one of the most important motor shows in the calendar, especially with Japan being the home land of some of the biggest carmakers, like Toyota, Subaru or Mitsubishi. And even though there are nine months left until the show starts (on October 23), Automotive News reports that the three Detroit carmakers, GM, Ford and Chrysler announced that they’ve decided to pull out of the show. The reason? Not hard to guess…to cut costs.
“At this time, participating in the show just isn’t a strategic priority,” Ford spokeswoman Jennifer Flake said. “Given everything else we have to balance in that region and in that market, that’s not where we’ve chosen to prioritize our time and our resources.”
“We won’t be participating,” said Rick Brown, president of GM Asia Pacific. “If you really look at the business conditions that we are in right now, where we really have to make a bang out of every buck we spend, it’s simply a business decision.” Two years ago, in 2007, exhibiting in Tokyo cost GM a whopping $2 million.
“Chrysler decided, under the current challenges and market situation the company faces, to pull out of TMS in 2009 in order to secure limited resources invested efficiently on activities necessary to sustain our business,” Kaori Beppu, spokesperson for Chrysler Japan, said in a written statement yesterday.
With Inauguration Day less than a week away, GM released the official details on the new Cadillac presidential limousine. Unlike past models, which were modified existing vehicles, Barack Obama’s new limo has a completely new design, which is actually a combination of parts from Cadillac’s current range: the dual-textured grille from the CTS and the Escalade, side and rear profiles from the DTS and STS, while the interior is very similar to the CTS’ one. An embroidered presidential seal is positioned in the center of the rear seat back panel, as well as on each rear door trim panel. Presidential seals are also affixed to the exterior rear doors. The U.S. flag is placed on the right front fender, and the presidential standard is located on the left front fender when the president travels in the vehicle. High-tech LED spotlights illuminate the flags at night.
Of course, the real cool part about this car, it’s high tech safety features, remained confidential, all Cadillac said was that “the car was designed, developed and tested by specialists who adhered to an extensive set of specifications. It was subjected to an extreme testing regimen to ensure performance that achieves precise functional requirements.”