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Baby Rolls Royce RR4 for 2009

Yes, the British Luxury Car Manufacturer will present a down-sized version of the famous Phantom at the Geneva Motor Show in 2009. It is said that the so called baby Rolls Royce is meant to be the volume sale from the luxury brand, while doubling the current production volume. The codenamed RR4 will share components with the brand new 7 series from BMW.

As for engine range, it is rumored to be a V8 double turbo engine, with a sportier version V12 lurking ’round the corner. But that’s not all. A Diesel and a Hybrid are taken into consideration. While the hybrid could prove to be a good choice when considering that Rolls Royce cars are famous for their noiseless apearences, among other things, we cannot say the same thing about the diesel version.

In conclusion, Rolls Royce is downsizing. Also, their entrance in volume market segments could proove to be very a profit-wise solution. We can hardly wait for this particular unveiling at next year’s Geneva Motor Show.

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Mini Clubman rickshaws at the Olympics

Minirick

While the World’s head is turned towards the Olympics that just started in Beijing, that is the definitive place to have your commercial campaigns. Mini Clubman brings a whole new meaning to “chinese traditional transport”, with its very inspired campaign in the current capital of worldwide sports. The Mini-Rickshaws hit the headlines, and make the Mini Clubman campaign very sucessfull. The rickshaw is a traditional Chinese transport means, it was first powered by men on foot and dates back to 1868. Guess the Mini marketing team really hit the spot this time.

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Porsche Confirms: Diesel for Cayenne

Yes, the “big bad wolf” of the SUVs gets a diesel engine. It is now official. Since Porsche owns a big share of VW, it was only a matter of Brand Image before they would have introduced a diesel on their models. Cayenne will get the 3.0 L V6 diesel that runs on both VW Touareg and Audi Q7. The 240hp engine could be a choice for the Panamera model, as well, although a hybrid was discussed for the 4 door Porsche saloon.

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Tragedy: Pininfarina boss dies in motorcycle crash!

The world’s auto industry stands still today, as the head of the famous Italian coachbuilder, Pininfarina, died in a road accident. 51 year old Andrea Pininfarina was involved in an accident in Trofarello near Turin. Police stated that he was riding a motorbike when he was involved in a collision with a Ford Fiesta. The Pininfarina Chief Executive, who was a part of the family business since 1983 and in current position since 2001, leaves behind a wife, two sons and a daughter. The company is expected to have a press release later today.

Our regrets to go his family and friends. Rest in Peace!

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Mazda RX9 replaces RX8 and adds hydrogen

The world renowed Rotary engine on the Mazda RX-8 is very likely to transform into a gas-hydrogen hybrid on the next generation, and that the hybrid model will be called RX-9 to distinguish itslef from the gas version. The downsize to this is that on hydrogen mode, power drops 20%, but Mazda hopes to introduce this as the city-mode, while it can switch on gas when full-power is needed. In terms of styling, the next generation is said to borrow elements from the Mazda Taiki concept.

Mazda hopes to have this up and running by 2012, meeting the current hybrid trend spreading world-wide.

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European Sports Car Manufacturers in danger of becoming Outlawed

As the European Union is threatening to make the emissions screw even tighter, European Sports Cars Manufacturers become more and more worried about the future.

As we all know, whether its a Ferrari, Maseratti or a Lamborghini, it still has up to three times the emissions of a normal car. With Proposals from the EU that targets 120 gr/km in 2012 (compared to 160gr/now) the sports  car manufacturers are trying to make themselves heard. One card to play is rumored to be a tax exemption for the manufacturers that have less than 10.000 units/year (Aston, for example, hopes to have 7.500 this year) but that would be worthless for such as Lamborghini or Ferrari who are owned by larger groups (Fiat sells around 1.2 million cars each year).

Voices at Lamborghini talk about the preservation of European art that talks about the continent to the world, and so it must be protected, since emissions of 120gr/km for a V12 is not likely to happen.

Ferrari on the other hand talks about the fact that hybrid solutions will take much more time to become accepted by their clients, and that the ” less than 10.000 units/year exemption” would be nothing else than discrimination.

Also, the fact that supercar owners only take them out on rare occasions, and the number of supercars selled each year represents an insignificant percent of total car sales, is also brought to the table of negociations.

These dispute is likely to scale up to greater heights in the near future, between Sports Cars Manufacturers on one hand, The EU and Environmentalists on the other, as solutions seem to be scarce.

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2010 Mercedes Benz E-class New Spyshots

One of the most expected cars from MercedesBenz, the E-class was spied again. Although under heavy camouflage, we can see that the headlights are not round anymore, and from some of the pictures we can partially distinguish the dashboard. The all new angular dashboard, now includes a huge center display screen (most likely S-class “stolen” from) and also the gear-lever on the steering column was added so that the 2010 E-class will align to the M class, GL and S Class trend.

The business class sedan and station-wagon is due to make its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show, next year. With a wide selection of engines, diesels and petrol, the E-class is also expected to embrace hybrid technology, start-stop technology to fit into earlier stated plans of the manufacturer.

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BMW Progressive Activity Sedan (PAS) spied

BMW is once again spied in the American desert. This time, the target was the new PAS, or V-series or RFK as this model has had different names circulating around it. Hevily masked, there is not much to say about the exterior design. But, we can clarify that we are not talking about a van (R-class competitor) as some rumored, and it is a rather sedan-coupe shape with frameless windows. It could be aimed at Mercedes’s CLS coupe. A final version is set to be unveiled at the 2009 IAA Frankfurt motorshow.

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Renault Megane III spied

The Renault design team outdoes itself each and every new generation of cars. You can clearly see that the future Megane III has been radically changed, in these spy shots caught in the USA on a filming site. The new design lines the Megane up with the new Laguna and Clio and it is built on the Quashquai platform competing in C segment with Peugeot 308, yet to come Golf VI, Ford Focus and so on. It will most likely be available as a 3 or 5 door hatchback,and later as a sedan, station wagon, coupe-cabrio and most likely as a cross-over. Furthermore it will be built in France as well as in its Turkish sister factory.

As a personal impression i am looking forward to the new Megane unveiling later this year (this autumn to be precise) at the Paris Motor Show as i believe that French designers are some of the best in the world and Renault has had its head-turning share of cars and all bets are that they’re not going to stop anytime soon.

Source: WCF

New Honda S2000? Its about time

Fans everywhere have been waiting for the new S2000 for a while. It seemed like the Japanese manufacturer forgot all about it. At the British International Motor Show in London, Honda revealed the Honda S2000 Concept that we all hope will soon go into production. The waiting cannot go on any longer!

The concept car looks like a close relative of the Honda Civic. The interior is also similar to the Civic, with that un-earthly blue lighting in the background. Also, the concept car uses hybrid technology. We’re pretty sure that is not going to be taken serious by the 2 liter, 200 hp, older Honda S2000 drivers looking for an upgrade. The spare space behind the front seats could house two small seats, arriving at the second important change in the S2000 two-seater philosophy.

One more thing to be taken into evaluation is the possibility of the presence of a hard-top. Honda hasn’t mentioned anything about this, or about a normal canvas roof for that matter, leaving a lot of room to speculations.

We have one thing straight though: this is clearly a great looking car and hope much of those lines make it onto the production line.

More photos after the jump.
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“Scaniagen”! VW buys 68.60% of Scania

The world-renowed Swedish truck manufacturer, Scania, has been acquired by the Volkswagen Group (VAG). Recently VAG has received antitrust approvals to increase their shares in Scania from 37.98 percent to 68.60 percent, bringing Scania well within the majority of voting rights, and officially taking control of the company.

It is known that VAG also has shares in MAN AG (German truck manufactuer). MAN was supposed to make a hostile takover of SCANIA, (while the Volkswagen Group, who owned stakes in both companies, came winning from the allegedly merger) but that has been denied, and VAG acted on its own on Scania shares.
Coming as the ninth company in the VAG portfolio, Prof. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG. stated that Scania will retain its well known values, its corporate identity and established culture, while having a clearer shareholder structure.

Scania will not change its name after Volkswagen either, “Scaniagen” is just something we invented.

“Baby” CLS to replace A&B class from Mercedes

Lately, rumors fly around about the 3 pointed star manufacturer giving up the costly sandwich structure of the current A and B class in favor of a small 4 door coupe named CLA. This is only one of the four distinct products that will take over the A and B class positions.

While giving up the sandwich structure, we can only ask ourselves if the new models will line up with the rest of the fleet and have proper RWD so we won’t hear enthusiasts complaining that “its not a real Mercedes” anymore.

The German Car Magazine Autozeitung has generated an artist’s impression of what might the CLA look like, although we will not know for sure until around 2012. Furthermore, the small coupe will probably be built in the new plant Mercedes is starting in Hungary.
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Plugged-in Opel/Vauxhall based on the Volt

Although GM’s CEO said the much anticipated VOLT is not guaranteed to go into production, and that the massive resources put in motion for the technology were not enough, we find out that there will be an European restyled version.

Opel and Vauxhall will both benefit from redesigned versions of the GM VOLT, however, it is expected that the prices will be steep, and we should expect price growth of around 10.000 Euros more than normal Opel/Vauxhall variants. That does not sound like a market hit to us, but it will be a good image booster for the company as this idea fits well within the current tendencies .

Expect the Opel/Vauxhall VOLT to hit European shores around late 2012.
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Porsche Panamera Hybrid? Guilty as charged!

As roumors fly around, Porsche is going to introduce its first hybrid. Weather it will be the Cayenne or the Panamera we’re yet to find out, but what we know for sure is that the company already registered Panamera Hybrid Logo with OHIM (The EU trade and design marks agency).

There’s no surprise in the design, it uses the known Porsche font, and it does not emphasis in any way the “hybrid”. It is plain and conservatory design. Something you do expect from a car manufacturer that has not radically changed the design since their first product.

The Cayenne Hybrid is going to use a VW V6 3.6 litre engine (after all, let’s not forget that Porsche does own important shares in VW, and making use of their engine and know-how is one of the reason they bought the shares in the first place) along with an electric engine. The fuel economy will be made by using the electric engine at steady speeds. We expect the same treatment for their hybrid sedan.

We can hardly wait the expression on people’s faces after the double shock: A 4 door Porsche hybrid.
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BMW M5 switching from V10 to twin-turbo V8

According to an inside source, BMW might change the direction lanes for their top-end performance M5 saloon. The change refers to their long lasting tradition in high-revving naturally aspired engines, in this case, the all-powerful V10 might be changed for a twin-turbocharged V8.

The engine, could be a tweaked version of the 4.4liter, twin-turbo engine presented on the X6, modified to 4.8 liters, an output of around 400hp and an improvement in torque. It seems that the success of their in-house-built twin-turbo engines, that currently power the 335i and the 535i has taken even the manufacturer by surprise in terms of efficiency, and has generated this turn-around. As big enthusiasts of the M5, we can’t say that this is a bad change, switching from the high-pitched, F1 “scream” of the V10 to a lower, baritone, rhythmical sound, since we can, surely, love them both as much.
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