This all comes thanks to a report from Bloomberg, through Handelsblatt, that VW’s CEO, Marin Winterkorn, has said “We have enough to do at the moment in taking our twelve brands to where we want to be” in response to the company possibly buying Proton. He also said “We need to grow in Southeast Asia,” then followed that up with “but that does not mean that we will buy Malaysia’s Proton, like some are speculating.”
In the world of automobile acquisitions, you can always take a CEO’s words with a grain of salt, as they are saying what is true at any given second. At the drop of a hat, that truth can suddenly change, especially if DRB-Hicom decides to offer up Proton at a bargain price. Add in the fact that VW has been very shady with its business tactics lately – avoiding the tax man and sneaking Ducati under Lamborghini’s umbrella to help it meet mpg standards – and you can see why we don’t believe a word of what Winterkorn says.
VW will say what it needs to say in order to keep its labor group happy, but ultimately it is in the automobile manufacturing game to make money. If Proton and/or Lotus are seen as potential profit, VW will tell the labor group to suck it up, as they ink a deal for the Malaysian automotive group.
We’ll keep a close eye on this whole situation and see if VW stays true to it word or reverses ship if Proton falls in its lap.
So much promise, yet not enough to back it all up. Such is the case with German automaker Melkus who has now filed for bankruptcy in a Dresden district court.
German press sources have told GTSpirit that sales of the Melkus R2000 have fallen short of the company’s 25-models-a-year target, thus forcing the company to file for bankruptcy in a last ditch effort to keep the company afloat, albeit barely.
Since the company was relaunched in 2006, Melkus has produced a total of one model - the RS2000. Not exactly the kind of business Melkus had hoped for after six years of being in the business. Certainly, the car’s combination of performance and price - the RS2000 has an output of 325 horsepower and is priced at close to $200,000 - is pretty insane, especially considering the multitude of more powerful choices you can have for that kind of money, but apparently it was not enough to warrant any sales.
Melkus’ struggles appear to have come as a result of overestimating the market with a car that doesn’t pack the kind of punch warranted by its price. Now, it appears they’re paying a pretty steep price for it.
There have been rumors circulating that Volkswagen AG is interested in Proton, which includes the Lotus debacle, as either minority owners or a controlling stake. But if VW’s labor union officials have any say, this will not take place. Bend Osterloh let the Handelsblatt know that the labor union will not support VW acquiring Proton, Lotus, or any other brand.
Osterloh was quoted saying “We already have 12 brands and we first have to stabilize the group.” Osterloh also agrees that VW needs to increase its presence in Southwest Asia, but the labor union still won’t support VW in this potential purchase.
Osterloh holds a seat on the supervisory board, so he has a little pull in the company, but not that much pull. VW is looking to overtake GM as the world’s largest auto manufacturer by 2018 and we doubt a puny labor union will stop VW. Even the taxman couldn’t put the brakes on VW’s expansion when it purchased, err, restructured Porsche.
We are pretty sure that VW will own at least a portion of Proton before the end of 2013, it just has to figure out how to let its labor union know that it can either come along for the ride or step aside. This should be a pretty interesting one, as we all know exactly how well auto unions and automakers play together, so we may be in for a pretty big power struggle.
We pretty much just finished the Museum Secrets Part One video and Porsche has already graced us with part two of this awesome series. The Museum Secrets series is outlining the new storage facility for the Porsche Museum and also showing us a glimpse of some of the most awesome cars that pass through the museum.
Part One focused mainly on the storage facility and Porsche’s overall history, then showed us just one car, which was the first ever 911 Turbo. Part two, thankfully, focuses a lot more on the storage facilities contents – a ton of rare Porsches. The guys at Porsche outlined seven cars for us, some of which we never knew even existed.
The video’s pretty sweet and the cars are absolutely awesome, so check out the video. If you would like a quick peak at what’s in the video, click past the jump and you’ll see our quick summary on each car shown.
A report from our friends over at World Car Fans is stating that the Nürburgring cannot afford to host any F1 events in 2013, as it cannot foot the sanctioning bills. That totally negates the rumors about Ecclestone waiving fees or he has rescinded or simply forgotten that offer. According to the report, Nürburgring officials and F1 will go into talks soon to try and keep F1 racing at the `Ring.
Either way, we feel that Eccelstone needs to step up and waive these sanction fees, so that racing can continue at the Nürburgring. The `Ring without F1 racing, just doesn’t quite feel right to us. Nürburgring officials are confident and vow that they can still turn a profit without F1 races, but we are fairly certain that if they miss any races, they are going to have trouble continuing the recovery process.
We will keep a close eye on this whole situation and try to figure out what in the world is going on between the Nürburgring and F1.
Instead of Audi buying Ducati, Lamborghini actually bought it. This does two things for VW, Audi, and Lamborghini. First, it allows it to retain its Italian roots and secondly, it helps push Lamborghini’s overall fuel economy and emissions closer to the European standards that have plagued it in recent years.
So VW has found a way to slither its way through the EU rulebook and find a way around a very important law. Touché, VW, we bow to your supreme rule-bending abilities and the way you do it without us even noticing sometimes.
In the 11th hour, German officials have come through for their famed racetrack, the Nürburgring. The Ring had been in a bundle of issues, mostly caused by the decision to use public funds to build a roller coaster and a hotel in the vicinity of the track. This loan ultimately went into default and the European Union was, and presumably still is, investigating the legality of these funds.
This latest loan was provided by the German state Rhineland-Palatinate (RLP) and totals €254 million ($312 million at the current exchange rate) to help keep the track afloat and ultimately assure that its original loan is paid back.
The Christian Democrats (CDU) were strongly opposed to the loan and even went as far as to say it violates the EU’s competition laws. The German finance minister rejected the CDU’s questions of legality and continued on with the loan.
So for now, we can consider the Nürburgring safe, but for how long? If it spiraled toward bankruptcy once for reasons that appear unresolved, what’s going to prevent it from doing so again? For now, we’ll just have to wait and see.
We are also interested to see if Bernie Eccelstone will hold true to his offer to help the Nürburgring by offering sanction-free F1 races next year. With the condition of worldwide road racing leagues deteriorating, we are willing to bet that Eccelstone forgets his promise pretty quickly now that the Ring is not in immediate danger.
The 2012 London Olympics is now in full swing and German automaker is lending its support to the German National Team by providing a special edition, one-off A1 E-Tron model to serve as the company’s exhibition model.
We all know that the A1 E-Tron carries an internal combustion engine that charges the car’s batteries and can produce a total of 102 horsepower with a 0-60 mph time of 10 seconds and a top speed of just over 80 mph. Clearly, the A1 E-Tron isn’t exactly a rubber smoker, but nevertheless, it does make for a good celebratory piece for the German National Team at the Olympics. As an official partner of Germany’s Olympic Sports Confederation and the National Paralympic Committee Germany, Audi has even sent 60 A1 E-Tron models to London where they are being used as a shuttle service running between the MS Deutschland cruise ship and the German House.
As for the A1 E-Tron Germany Olympic Team Edition, the car carries the colors of Germany loud and proud in its support of its athletes. The one-off model also sports black bezel headlamps, ’2012’ in scripted on the side mirrors and roof, a new set of white multi-spoke wheels with touches of Germany’s national colors, and an exclusive interior trim with the same patriotic highlights reserved only for this particular model.
It’s no secret that F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has a pretty deep set of pockets. Sure, having that much money has gotten him in trouble on numerous occasions, but it still doesn’t hurt to have those kind of resources because it might come in handy when you are reportedly interested in purchasing a bankrupt race track.
That’s the word coming out of German newspaper, Rheinpfalz, which reported that Ecclestone is interested in buying the Nurburgring race track. Yeah, when we’re worried about the financial hit that will come from buying shoes, Ecclestone seems to have no worries about buying a race track.
Such is life.
In any case, the F1 chief is actually interested in buying the company that owns the Nurburgring. Financial details and specifications surrounding this apparent interest isn’t being divulged, but Ecclestone has made it pretty clear that he still wants Formula One to have a race in one of the most famous tracks in the world although he did say that it would not happen at his expense. This negates previous rumors that F1 would waive the typical sanctioning fee to bring an F1 race to the Nürburgring, which totaled $25 million when the race was brought to Austin, Texas.
This, of course, isn’t the first time Ecclestone has gotten into the business of track buying, having previously done so a few years ago when he purchased a controlling stake of the Turkish GP race track. Ecclestone also owns the Paul Richard test circuit in France.
Now it looks like he’s got his eyes set on buying arguably the most famous race track in the world. Just another day in the life of the eccentric F1 billionaire.
For most Americans, if you mention “Fall Guy” and “Volkswagen Amarok,” they have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. The former was a rather unpopular TV show that ran from November 4, 1981 through May 2, 1986 featuring a stuntman turned bounty hunter named Colt Seaver and the latter is a pickup truck that Volkswagen offers only in the European market. When you put the two together, you get the Volkswagen Amarok Colt Seaver Edition.
In the series, Colt Seaver drove a beat up 1980 GMC Sierra that was put through many suspension-breaking stunts and, much like General Lee on the Dukes of Hazzard, the Sierra never showed any signs of wear. Well, the theme of this one-off Amarok is the Sierra that Seaver beat the heck out of.
The Amarok Colt Seaver Edition receives its power from a 1,968 cc 4-pot engine that cranks out 163 PS (160 horsepower) at 4,000 rpm and 400 Nm (295 pound-feet) of torque at 1,500 to 2,000 rpm. What makes it like the Sierra that Seaver beat around is the fact that it boasts the same tan-on-brown paint scheme, brush bar, roll bar, and light bar that the Sierra boasted – scaled down to meet the Amarok’s compact size, of course. It also boasts a rather large “Fall Guy Stuntman Assoc” decal on its hood.
The truck itself actually looks rather neat with its lift kit, all-terrain tires, and classic paint job, but to name a special edition truck after a relatively unknown TV series from the `80s is strange. This becomes especially strange when you consider that the dealership building this truck is asking €51,695 ($62,700 at the current exchange rates) for it, which is just shy of three times the Amarok’s base price.
Here you go, take that ridiculous decal off of the hood and strip all ties to the TV show and it just may be worth the cash.
For those that don’t know the TV series (AKA most of America) click past the jump to see a video piecing together stunts from the show.