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.
Finally! After a long and drawn out process, the corporate restructuring that brings full control of Porsche’s automotive side under Volkswagen ’s control is approved and official. The deal sent 4.49 billion Euros and one voting share of VW stock from VW and Porsche SE to Porsche AG, the latter item being simply a concession to avoid paying a load of taxes and was left out of VW’s press release.
This officially gives Volkswagen AG 100 percent holdings in Porsche and effectively gives VW the ability to do whatever it wants with the famed sports car builder. We have already alluded to the possibility of VW overriding Porsche’s CEO and continuing on with the “Baby Boxster” project that gained notoriety lately. That possibility was given more solid ground with a statement released by VW CEO, Martin Winterkorn.
Winterkorn was quoted saying “The path is now finally clear for a bright future together. Even closer cooperation will enable us to significantly strengthen Volkswagen and Porsche, and further expand the group‘s product portfolio with fascinating new vehicles.”
You see, it is that last section about bringing new models that really drives home the possibility that VW may be about to force Porsche to build a lesser-priced version of the Boxster . We see that as making perfect business sense because if Porsche buyers can accept a sedan and a pair of SUVs, why can’t they accept a lower-priced Boxster?
Either way, congrats to both sides and we are glad to finally see this issue laid to rest.
Click past the jump to read the full press release.
There are some pretty shady repossession companies in the world and “reality” shows like Lizard Lick Towing and Operation Repo dramatize some of the shady actions. Well, apparently in South Africa, they take repossessing a car to a whole new level.
A customer took his brand new BMW 320d to a dealership due to defective air conditioning. The dealer never fixed the car to the customer’s liking, so the customer left the 320d at the dealership until either the issue was fixed or he was issued a replacement car. In the meantime, BMW gave him a loaner 325.
There was some kind of misunderstanding between the customer and BMW about how long he was allowed to use the loaner car for, as BMW had tried multiple times to recover said loaner. Well, this last time, BMW sent Netstar to his house armed with guns and a helicopter hovering overhead and allegedly forced the customer to turn over the keys.
After turning over the keys, the customer got a court order forcing the BMW dealer to give him back the loaner car and both sides will have to present their case in front of the High Court within 30 days for a final judgment. The customer claims that BMW said that he could keep the loaner car until the situation is resolved, but the BMW dealer is claiming that the case may take up to three years and they would never loan a car for that long.
In all, this is a messy situation for the dealership and BMW as a whole. We think it might be time for BMW’s corporate offices to step in and just handle this situation and give the customer a new car with correctly operating A/C. It’ll be a small price to pay to keep negative press from spreading too far.
In the past, Ford has had some serious issues with its cars and fire. Two that stick firmly in our minds are the Pinto, which Ford famously weighed out the cost of recall vs. the cost of paying wrongful death suits, and the spontaneous combustion of the second generation Taurus . So when we learned that the newly redesigned Escape had a potential fire issue, we expected swift and proactive action from Ford.
We certainly got that, but we never expected it to be to the extent that it has become. Reports have emerged that Ford is actually paying dealerships a $300 spiff to repair each and every recalled Escape , which is about 11,500 vehicles. Even our basic mathematical skills can sort out that we are talking about $3,450,000 worth of spiff payments, which does not include the cost to repair the issue.
We are curious to find out if the dealers are passing this spiff onto the service writers and technicians that are repairing the vehicles or hoarding this payment for themselves. We are willing to bet that it is the latter, as the technicians and service writers make commission off of the recall repairs and dealers rarely share spiffs any more.
In addition to this extra bonus, Ford is also recommending that dealerships wash and vacuum the SUV, and fill the gas tank. Talk about going over the top...
It is rather obvious that Ford wants this issue gone and it wants it gone as quickly and effectively as possible. Hats off to Ford for taking this sort of approach with this extremely dangerous recall.
Porsche ’s future entry level models have been rumored to sport a new four-cylinder horizontally opposed gasoline engine, but Porsche Canada CEO, Joe Lawrence, is trying to nip that in the bid. Lawrence was recently at the ALMS race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park when he confirmed that the flat-four is definitely just a rumor.
At that point, everyone could basically let the flat four rumor go, but Lawrence immediately followed that statement up with the fact that he would actually like to see it sometime in the future. If everyone’s not on board with letting it go then the flat four cannot possibly be dead in the water, so we’re back to square one...again.
The four-cylinder horizontally opposed gasoline engine was initially rumored to be used for the upcoming baby Boxster (aka 550) which has been put on hold due to the lack of expected demand. What we see happening is new fuel economy regulations making it necessary for the four-pot to be used, even for the Baby Boxster when it gets dragged off the backburner, as well as for the Cayman . Automakers can’t make their decisions based on the market sometimes because the government forces their hand when it comes to strict environmental guidelines and as Lawrence said, "Porsche is not exempt from increasingly strict emissions and fuel economy regulations" and it’s "more likely that you’ll see more turbocharging in more vehicles moving forward." The government is, after all, the puppeteer in this stage show.
According to reports, Shelby had filed for an annulment of the marriage, citing that his wife had lied about her background and even her name, just before he died. Unfortunately, the annulment was not awarded posthumously, so it appeared as if the only other way to settle the dispute was in court.
Fortunately, the two sides managed to keep the case out of court by coming to an agreement on Monday and Mr. Shelby’s body will be laid to rest in the way that he requested, except for one minor compromise. The minor compromise is the fact that his estranged wife gets part of his ashes.
We’re glad to hear that the issue is settled, though we would have preferred to see his wife completely cut out of it. The most important thing, however, is that the issue is done and this legend can now be laid to rest peacefully and his children can hold their heads high that their father was laid to rest in the way he requested, though his son Michael says that they are still not happy with the results.
About 15 months ago, Renault was neck-deep in an espionage case that involved three executives allegedly selling electric vehicle information to China and funneling money into illegal accounts. It later came out, following a French investigation into the firing of the three executives, that the executives were not involved in industrial espionage and that they were wrongfully terminated.
Renault found out exactly what crow tasted like, as they compensated the fired executives for lost salary and defamation, but apparently there was a little leftover crow, as 15 months after this all took place, the company’s COO, Patrick Pelata, has submitted his resignation. This isn’t the first time Paleta has submitted a resignation, as he entered one shortly after the case went sour, but Renault’s CEO, Carlos Ghosn, rejected the resignation. Renault accepted the resignation, but instead of outright losing Pelata, Renault placed him in an advisory role in the Nissan -Renault Alliance.
This time, however, the resignation will stick, as Renault has announced that effective August 16th, Paleta will step down from his post in the alliance. According to reports, there is no information on where Pelata will land, but we are certain he will find a new home, despite the false espionage case.
We’ll let you know where he ends up as soon as we find out.
With De Tomaso finally biting the dust just days ago, reports are flying that the company’s chairman, Gian Mario has been arrested facing allegations claiming that $9.2 million in public funds were misused when De Tomaso tried to turn the company around.
The reports come from Reuters and also state that another two former employees from De Tomaso have been arrested with the man once responsible for leading De Tomaso’s human resource department being one of them. Amidst the allegations include ones stating that these employees may have unfairly received public funds and then transferred the funds directly into their personal bank accounts.
These claims are yet another thorn in the brand’s recent fall from grace and despite many hoping that De Tomaso could turn these misfortunes around, it seems that the company will never be a part of the automotive industry again.
For the better part of the last decade, Volkswagen Automotive Group has been snagging up various automakers and auto groups in an attempt to build an empire that would likely make Darth Vader cower in fear. It looks like one of VW’s Stormtroopers is turning its back on the “Dark Side,” as Suzuki , a company that VW bought some $2.1 billion worth of shares in 2009, is taking VW to court in an attempt to force VW to return the 19.9 percent of Suzuki stock that it owns.
The issues that run between the two are your typical automotive wah-fest, as Suzuki is boo-hooing over the fact that VW did not share enough technical information with Suzuki, which was a stipulation of the stock sale. VW, on the other hand, is crying foul because Suzuki opted to source a small-displacement engine from Fiat instead of VW. Oddly enough, VW is fighting Suzuki to keep its shares, while Suzuki has filed suit against VW in a London court to force VW to sell its shares back.
Another odd turn of events is the fact that Suzuki is willing to pay market value to VW for said shares, giving Volkswagen a cool $300K to $400K in profit.
Overall, this is a very strange turn of events, as we are not quite sure exactly what in the world VW would want with the Suzuki brand under its umbrella. The brand has been really struggling in the last decade and looks to eventually go the Isuzu route and pull out of the American market altogether . Then again, VW has been apt for turning around struggling car companies, a la Audi.
We’ll keep you posted on any new happenings in this legal battle.