Archive for July, 2007

Porsche’s Emissions Strategy: Go Hybrid!

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

It is not often that companies have the opportunity to see the future, but in a sense, the future is now. Notably, the future is Porsche. The German sports car marker announced this week that the forthcoming Porsche Cayenne SUV will not only be faster, but be more economical as well.

Porsche's Hybrid Drive System

Also included in the hybrid mix will be the forthcoming 2009 Porsche Panamera to be produced in Leipzig.

The hybrid system in the Cayenne will be the strongest yet in the world, with the ability to run on full-electric cycle at 70 mph. Estimated fuel economy will reach 40 mpg, 26+ mpg on the European combined cycle.

The important thing here to understand is that Porsche’s announcement marks a full shift away from petrol-only cars. The writing is now on the wall for sure. Expect to see modified hybrid systems (and likely alternative fuel versions) across the entire Porsche line in the not so distant future.

On the larger scale the move marks the turning point when all carmakers, Lotus, Maserati (they’ll spend this year’s profits on R&D), Ferrari, Lamboghini, et al will begin development on hybrid systems, albeit far more sophisticated and powerful than those in existence today.

Investor’s tip: invest in OEM parts/system makers that will develop and provide these systems to the car makers into the future. There’s a lot of money to be had as demand for these vehicles will continue to gather steam and eventually reach critical mass.

Sources:
Financial Times: Emission cut by California put the heat on Washington

Automobilewoche article here

Graphic courtesy Porsche/Automobilewoche.

Historic Day at Aston Martin

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

Few companies are as steeped in tradition and history as Aston Martin. Following the post-World War II buyout of Aston by Sir David Brown (of DB designation), the company opened a factory, Newport Pagnell, in 1954.

The facility has seen the almost all modern Astons pass through it’s door, but as of July 19, all Astons will be built at the new facility opened in 2003 in Gaydon, Warwickshire, England.

Sean Connery as James Bond next to the Aston Martin DB5.

With the recent consortium buyout of Aston Martin, coupled with the upcoming sale of Land Rover/Jaguar, the factory’s future is uncertain. From a strategic perspective, Aston will be well served by their current factory, which produces DB9s and V8 Vantages. In the future it will produce the DBS, the successor to the now retiring Vanquish line.

Jaguar and Land Rover will likely also have to move their product elsewhere, but Jaguar could probably stand to cut some production as demand has waned in recent years, in part due to a very aged product line. Both the S-type and X-type are due for major overhauls, though the lack of success in the X-type may prompt its demise from the company altogether.

Middle East Supercar Sales Surge, You Pay for Them!

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

Enjoying paying US$3+ for that gallon of gas? Didn’t think so. But don’t worry the Middle Easterners are more than happy to sell your their pricey car juice. And they’ll use it to buy themselves a Ferrari! Super!

Yellow Ferrari F430 Spyder

Article Here

Aston Martins, Ferraris, and Lamborghinis are selling like hot cakes in the land of sand, so get yours before the list gets too long…

Photo courtesy Ferrari.

White lines ‘cut more accidents than cameras’

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

White lines are more effective at reducing road crashes than speed cameras saving up to eight times as many lives, according to new research from the European Road Assessment Programme (EuroRAP).

Britain has about 6,000 speed cameras, which typically lead to a 10% fall in the most common types of crash – head-on incidents, side impacts at junctions, collisions with trees and lampposts and accidents involving cyclists or pedestrians hit by cars.

But Dr Joanne Hill, the head of research at EuroRAP, said dedicated lanes for turning right or left cut side impacts by up to 80%. Anti-skid surfaces can lead to a 65% improvement, while new signs can reduce crashes by up to 40% and renewing road markings cuts them by up to 35%.

Dr Hill said: “Speed cameras are the least effective measure because drivers can still wilfully drive at speed through an area. A pot of paint doesn’t cost a lot of money but the rate of return is phenomenal.

“A highways authority could typically save 20 fatal or serious injury accidents over three years just by relining a junctions. A speed camera shouldn’t be the only measure installed.”

EuroRAP examined the crash statistics of 900 major routes to calculate death and serious injury rates. A seven-and-a-half-mile stretch of the A452 in the West Midlands was found to have seen the greatest reduction in serious accidents, down by 72% in six years. The improvements were achieved by cutting the speed limit by 10 mph. (Daily Telegraph: July 2).

BTKM Note: No kidding! It’s unfortunate that governments lack enough sophistication to realize that the primary cause of accidents is not speed.