Archive for October, 2008

Weekend reading: Porsche strikes at hedge funds.

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Porsche has been increasing its stake in VW through a complex set of derivatives trades. This in turn has negatively affected hedge funds to the tune of $20billion (£12.6bn). Those hedge funds had been shorting the stock, and now it has bit them in the butt.

Jeremy Warner of the Independent explains.

Porsche buys more into VW; Economy Tough!

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Just about every automaker today is suffering from a poor economy. Most are wistful that they didn’t start producing small, fuel-efficient cars sooner, but the auto industry was caught off-guard before – anyone remember the late 1970s/early 1980s? Perhaps a read of Steve Miller’s The Turnaround Kid would be require reading for current auto industry execs. Granted most are not in as dire need to assistance as Chrysler was, but they could be if the downturn continues.

But this downturn could prove much more difficult than ever before because we see three issues at work. First, most consumers rely on financing and leasing to purchase vehicles. Even with a huge government investment, banks are using the money to cover themselves for past mistakes, rather than using the monies to start new auto loans. Second, the price of oil remains high and has effectively ended the “we love SUVs” craze. Spending $500 per month on petrol has certainly dried up that part of the auto industry. Third, and finally, government regulation is coupling with the second factor to require significant reduction in CO2 emission and greater gas efficiency. Some automakers have been successful in making changes to drive trains to comply to 130g/km regulations, but even Porsche, which makes among the most efficient sports cars is far from the target.

Bad times for consumers, Good times for Ferrari

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Are Ferrari and most other supercar makers immune to economic recession? That was the question that everyone wanted an answer to because the “just how bad is it?” gets answered when we financial figures.

Ferrari released this press statement verbatim on October 27:

“Maranello, October 27th, 2008 – The Board of Directors of Ferrari SpA met today under the chairmanship of Luca di Montezemolo, to examine the third quarter results. Ferrari recorded 450 million in revenues (up 22.3 percent year-over-year), and a trading profit of 79 million (17.6 percent of revenues), up 41.1 percent from the 56 million figure (15.2 percent of revenues) for Q3 2007.

LOTW: 2CV Turns 60

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

For some, the 2CV is an eyesore, a step back to a lesser time in motoring. But for others, the CV represents a bygone era of pure motoring. This week’s link guides us on a journey to Moscow in a 2CV – and you thought you had a hard time making it to Phoenix without air conditioning!

BBC – To Moscow and back by Deux Chevaux –

The New 911

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Yup, there’s a new 911 in town. We publish a new clip about the 2009 997. Of note are the PDK gearbox and the Direct Fuel Injected engine. But rest easy, it doesn’t look radically different!

LOTW: How much is your trip to Tampa costing you?

Monday, October 6th, 2008



We’ve discovered a great new site that can help budget your costs for the next cross-country road trip.

To review the site, it’s a little slow at times, but if you have a 2000 or new car and have your itinerary planned out for your great drive across America, Cost2Drive can calculate, pretty accurately, the cost of driving from Phoenix to Los Angeles in a 2001 Honda Civic. The answer is of course: $35. The price for driving a $1.5mm Bugatti Veyron with more than 4 times the horsepower? $135. But guess what, you won’t get there any faster…at least not legally!