Archive for April, 2009

Line-by-Line Analysis of the Obama Speech on the Automotive industry from March 30, 2009

Monday, April 20th, 2009

 

GM/Chrysler and Obama

GM/Chrysler and Obama

 

 

In the first place, Obama is right, though the rhetoric is decidedly populist, downplaying the performance of CEOs from the Big 3 (rightly of course), and promoting the efforts of ordinary Americans. Obama is right that the industry must stand on its own but he needs to address upfront that the industry is trying to operate using tired practices in tumultuous times. The Auto Task Force (or ATF as I will now call it) must realize that the problems the Detroit faces are only partly their own. It is still true that a person can only change their own habits, not others, but the ATF has a special task ahead of it, changing practices in a multi-industry downturn.

The next paragraph compliments GM for producing the Chevy Malibu, which right perhaps, received the nod for North American car of the year. But in the next sentence he go on to hail Buick of all entities as the most reliable car IN THE WORLD. You must be having a laugh. This web site has debunked these ratings in the past, but this author has never sat in a Buick that functioned properly. Something is always broken. The stereo. The windows. The suspension and ride comfort. There are a great many people who liked the bench seating in Buicks of old, but these tend to be the same people who would rather be sitting in a la-z-boy than a car.

The President goes on to discuss the decision to extend yet again the period for the automakers to restructure. GM gets two more months, while Chrysler gets 30 days. The problem with this approach is that it forces government to keep perpetuating the same failed leadership decisions. To deal with this criticism Obama notes that he has forced the departure of Rick Wagoner, GM’s Chairman and CEO, and someone who should have resigned some time ago, certainly before crisis hit in 2008. Then Obama does something, which should prove troublesome. He appoints an insider to run the company as interim CEO. Fritz Henderson gets the nod. A shrewder move would have been to insert someone with a record of accomplishment of success in breaking up companies. Henderson has served at GM during a time when the company got increasingly bloated, and the portfolio became a tangled mess.

What of this change? What good will brining in Fritz Henderson do for the viability of the company? (more…)

The Ghost: A Rolls-Royce for the rest of us!

Monday, April 20th, 2009

 

Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce

 

 

It looks like Rolls-Royce finally has a new name for their “cheaper” new model. It’s going to be called the Ghost. Read on!

20.04.2009

Press Release:

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has announced the name for its new model series which until now has been known as RR4. The name was announced by CEO, Tom Purves at a press conference held at the Shanghai motor show.

The new car will be called the Rolls-Royce Ghost and production will begin at the company’s Goodwood manufacturing facility on the south coast of England later in 2009.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars CEO, Tom Purves, said, “We are delighted to formally announce the Rolls-Royce Ghost. It is one of the most revered names in the automotive industry, evoking images of adventure and technical innovation. The name reflects this new model’s breadth of abilities. The first cars to bear the Ghost name were known not only for impressive dependability and refinement but also great flair and style. This car will be the first in a new generation of models to carry this evocative name and will give us two pinnacle product lines – Phantom and Ghost.

The Rolls-Royce Ghost will be built on its own dedicated production line at Goodwood but will share paint, wood and leather workshops with the Phantom series of cars. Rolls-Royce has expanded all areas of its manufacturing facility over the last 18 months to prepare for the introduction of the Ghost model.

European investment in green cars is all the rage!

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

 

Mercedes E-class BlueTec Hybrid

Mercedes E-class BlueTec Hybrid

 

 

Without a doubt, the EU has become the leader in improving the pollution problem for the automotive sector. Recently the U.S. put in a 27.3 mpg average fleet requirement for 2011. Please see: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov for the latest information and the impact analysis. But is the change enough to get us on the right track? How exactly do carmakers implement changes in their fleet to address the higher requirements?

The European Union defines specific emissions targets for the following 5 years as the following:

  (more…)

A new track car from Lotus

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Not having driven the new Lotus Exige Cup 260, I was of course interested to see how it would perform. But do I have the time and money to take a trip to Merry Olde England to try it out? Absolutely not. Instead, take a look at Autocar Magazine’s account. It describes the 260 as raw and useful only on the track. If you spend your weekends on the track rather than your backyard picking weeds, maybe this is the car for you!

http://www.autocar.co.uk/CarReviews/FirstDrives/Lotus-Exige-1.8-Cup-260/239389/

VW sports great numbers with the new CC and Porsche’s profits go ballistic!

Monday, April 13th, 2009
Ok, it’s true, sales for VW’s American unit are down to 2008, but that’s hardly a surprise since almost every automaker is struggling in this economy. Porsche, however, is making money hand over fist, even in an economy where sales stink. Check out the gallery for VW’s saviour, the CC, the Porsche Panamera and the official sales figures for both VW and the production figures for Porsche.
HERNDON, Va.—Volkswagen of America, Inc. today announced March 2009 sales of 15,720 units, a 19.7 percent decrease over March 2008 sale of 19,587 units.  
Volkswagen’s stylish new CC, designed to blend sports car dynamics and dimensions with sedan comfort, posted its best sales month ever with more than 2,300 units sold.
“Volkswagen is encouraged by how well our new products sold in March” said Mark Barnes, Chief Operating Officer, Volkswagen of America, Inc. “Our stylish CC posted its best sales month ever for the third month in a row, and our seven passenger minivan, Routan, doubled its sales over last month. Our 50-state compliant clean diesel Jetta and Jetta SportWagen continue to sell well. Next month our clean diesel luxury SUV, Touareg TDI, will be available in dealer showrooms across the U.S. We’re also eagerly awaiting the arrival of our all-new Golf later this year, which will also be available with our innovative clean diesel engine,” added Barnes.
In other news, Porsche, the parent company of VW (by way of it’s recently acquired majority stock ownership) [post="231"]
  

Porsche has posted spectacular pre-tax profits of €7.34bn (£6.82bn) for the first half of the German financial year, which runs from August to the end of January.

The profits for the period between 1 August 2008 and 31 January 2009 compare very favourably with the €1.6bn (£1.48bn) profit that Porsche recorded for the same period the previous year.

Porsche is at pains to point out, however, that the bulk of these profits have been driven by Porsche’s cash-settled share options in VW. The contribution of these to Porsche’s balance sheets increased from €850m (£790m) in the first half of the 2007/2008 German financial year to a whopping €6.84bn (£6.36bn) for the same period a year later.

Since this contribution depends on the price of VW shares, Porsche has warned that its profits could yet evaporate by the end of the business year if VW’s share price fails to perform well.

Elsewhere Porsche’s balance sheet doesn’t look quite so rosy. Sales fell by more than a quarter in the first half year. Surprisingly, the Porsche Cayman took the biggest hit, with sales falling by more than 60 per cent to just 3950 units.

(Source: Autocar/Porsche)

 

 

History of AMG

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

 

AMG E-Klasse Limousine

AMG E-Klasse Limousine

 

 

History of AMG

It hasn’t always been the case that AMG was Mercedes’ in-house tuner. 

Check out http://amgmarket.com/amg/the-history-of-amg-mercedes-benz/

for a history of AMG.