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A decade ago, Porsche opened up a brand new factory in Leipzig, Germany and the first vehicle to roll off of its line was a spankin’ new Cayenne . Whether by dumb luck or precision planning, the 500,000th vehicle to roll off of that same production line just happened to be a Cayenne – a white Cayenne S, to be precise.

Instead of just slapping a window sticker on it and sending it off to some random dealership to be lost forever in the shuffle of new cars, Porsche did something special. It took this brand new Cayenne S, which carries an MSRP of $65,000, wrapped it in a special red foil for the fire brigade in Leipzig, fitted it with a light bar and handed the keys over to the Leipzig’s mayor free of charge.

This vehicle is intended to act as a command vehicle for said fire brigade, and with its 4.8-liter V-8 engine that pumps out 400 ponies and 369 pound-feet of twist, we doubt that this new Porsche fire truck will have any issues being the first at any scene.

The Leipzig plant is already producing a record number of vehicles each year for Porsche, and the soon-to-be fully Volkswagen-ized sports car company is set to add another model to its workload, the Macan , which is due to start production in the Leipzig plant in 2013. In no time at all, the Leipzig plant will be hitting the 1,000,000-car mark and we are wondering how Porsche plans to celebrate that mark.

All around, this is just a classy gesture on Porsche’s part. Few automakers really understand how much their factories and the cities that house them affect their success. It’s obvious that Porsche does not have any problem recognizing the little guy.

There are only a handful of circumstances that can force the cancellation of an event as highly-anticipated as the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb .

Unfortunately, Mother Nature is one of them.

As a result of the Waldo Canyon wildfire in Colorado Springs, the U.S. Forest Service has clamped down and banned the staging of the 90th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in June 8. According to the government agency, the extreme conditions of the fire, coupled with its unpredictable nature, has made it virtually impossible to host the event at this moment.

Major bummer.

Tom Osborne, chairman of the board for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and president and CEO of the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation, understands the decision of the Forest Services, noting that safety for participants and fans remain top priority.

"Our deepest concern is for the safety of the public and the competitors," he said.

"It was obvious that several agencies charged with public safety would not be able to commit the resources and manpower required to ensure those requirements because of the critical need for their resources at this time. Our city is in an unprecedented struggle right now and we are deeply sensitive to it."

For now, race organizers have announced that the event will still take place at a later date, possibly "later in the summer." The schedule has to be set up in such a way that all the participants - drivers, teams, etc. - are available, making for what could be a huge logistical problem for the organizers.

Likewise, fans that have already booked tickets for the event will have their tickets honored on the new race date, whenever that’s going to be.

2012 Dallara IndyCar Concepts

After a Chinese beer festival overrode the popularity of INDYCAR and was bumped out of Qingdao, China , we all assumed that INDYCAR wouldn’t just cancel the race outright. Officials pointed to several venues as the possible replacement for the beer-bumped race, the most likely of which was Texas Motor Speedway, but that never came to fruition, as INDYCAR officials have chosen to just axe the race altogether.

According to reports, the cancellation was not due to lack of interest, but rather due to not being able to promote the event and fees. Randy Bernard was also quoted saying “We want to make sure that when we add events to our roster they have long-term potential and are given every opportunity to be successfully promoted.” So apparently just because it wouldn’t be a repeating race each year, INDYCAR chose to just hack the points from the season… It’s interesting to think of the logic behind that.

NASCAR has tracks, sponsors, and promoters chomping at the bit to get a race in their speedway. Plus, there would be no need for promotion. Just put up a sign and you’d have 200,000 screaming NASCARites at the gates ready to pay for tickets. As if the cancellation of the race for a two-week-long beer festival wasn’t indicative enough of the condition of INDYCAR, this just proves that only a very select audience watches it.

I can personally live without either, but if I absolutely had to watch on of them live, I would take INDY every time. I guess I am the strange one.

Saab 9-3

As Saab closes up its latest chapter, which included bankruptcy and many months or “We’re sold, wait, no we’re not” turmoil, we were left wondering what happened to the 900 (ish) Saabs that got held up at port whenever the failed car company filed for bankruptcy. Well, now that Saab has been liquidated to the point that only the 900 cars remain, we now have an idea what’s going on with them.

According to reports, all 900 cars will be auctioned off to varying companies and exporters. Only 300 of these leftover Saabs will make their way into dealerships and the dealers have the option to either put them up for sale at a 30- to 50-percent discount and sell them or strip them down for parts. Obviously the most profitable game would be to strip them down, but it may take a while to sell off all of the parts. So we may be in for some super-cheap Saabs hitting what remaining Saab dealers there are.

The majority of the leftover Saabs will be auctioned to exporters and rental companies. So, for an American to snag up one of these Saabs he has to either find a dealership close enough that actually wants more stock on its lot or pick one up after the rental car company is done with it – AKA after it has been thrashed to within an inch of its life. Who buys a used rental car anyways?

According to the inventory report, there are 67 company cars, which include a 1960 Quantum IV and a `70 Sonnett III, over 450 9-5 s, 400 9-3 sedans, 60 9-3 wagons, 12 9-3 convertibles and 28 9-4X crossovers.

So thus closes another part of the Saab saga. Now we just have to see what NEVS can do with the bankrupt Swedish automaker.

Former F1 banker, Gerhard Gribkowsky, is expected to be sent to jail for corruption and abuse of trust, and in an effort to have his sentenced reduced, he’s going down swinging.

The former BayernLB risk officer has admitted to receiving $44 million of bribe money from F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone. The DAPD news agency quoted Gribkowsky admitting to the Munich state court that the bribery charges were "essentially true." On top of that, Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport also quoted the former banker saying that Ecclestone offered him "a huge pile of money." Apparently, that ’huge pile of money’ is around $44 million.

For his part, Ecclestone has denied bribing Gribkowsky, although he did admit to paying off Gribkowksy after the latter threatened to snitch to the UK tax authorities to do a tax inquiry on the 81-year old Formula 1 boss.

All this drama in the circus that is Formula 1 isn’t entirely new to a lot of folks. But this raises concerns on just how political the sport can be. If the sport’s most powerful man can admit to paying off somebody just to keep the UK tax authorities out of his nose without even the slightest inquiry, you know something’s wrong with that picture.

Source: BBC
Will.I.Am's IAMAUTO Car

For a while now, Black Eyed Peas member, Will.I.Am, has been prancing a DeLorean DMC-12 wrapped in a body kit and some rather odd looking headlights around calling it a (ahem) “Concept car ” for his new “car company” dubbed “IAMAUTO.” In reality, this is literally nothing but an uglier version of the original crap box that hit the market in 1981.

Saying that any rendition of the DMC-12 could be uglier than the original may seem rather impossible, but this monstrosity takes the cake. Its sheer ugliness is not the news though. The news is that the LAPD has recently impounded this “concept” car. Though we wish we could say it was impounded for lowering property value, we cannot, but it is for an equally boneheaded reason.

Will.I.Am was caught driving this thing around L.A. without a license plate, registration, or VIN plates. We venture to say that list can also include insurance, as you typically cannot insure a car without a VIN.

So why did Mr. I.Am decide to take his “concept” on an un-plated and extremely illegal spin? According to reports, the musician said he just wanted to feel what it was like to drive his concept car on the street. Um, a few problems… First, that is no more a concept car than a 1987 Fiero with a Ferrari kit is a concept car. Secondly, you are a multi-millionaire pop star, pay to have the thing registered before driving it or take it to a track to drive it!

We’re not here to pass judgment on the guy, but please use that 3-pound hunk of water, lipids, protein, carbs, soluble organics, and inorganic salts inside of your skull (A.K.A. your brain) next time you think about taking an un-plated and unregistered car for a spin.

A silver lining in the whole situation is that Will.I.Am was, according to reports, extremely cooperative with the police. So we have to give him credit for that, at least.

See, we told you this saga wasn’t over just yet… So when Lotus chose to fire Dany Bahar after an investigation that apparently revealed that he had used Lotus funds to inappropriately deck out his rental homes that were already paid for by Lotus, Dany decided that was a prime opportunity to milk even more money from the spiraling sports car builder, in the form of a wrongful termination lawsuit.

That’s right; according to a report from MSN U.K., the former head of Lotus has denied the allegations that he incorrectly used funds and is suing the British automaker. So not only did he collect £1.2 million ($1.48 million) per year as his company spiraled down the drain, but now he wants a little bit more money from Lotus, who needs to save every dime it can if it hopes to ever recover.

Here’s TopSpeed’s own solution to the problem. Hire the guy back, give him his old job, and have him sign a non-disclosure form that also waives his right to sue for the previous termination. Next, call him into a board meeting and fire him for the overall performance of Lotus in his three years as its head.

If I perform poorly at work and cost my company millions of dollars, I get fired. My boss wouldn’t have to dig up some weird financial slight on my behalf. Just call me into his office, tell me that I was not performing, and send me on my merry old way. That is it… Then again, maybe this whole investigation was to avoid having to pay a severance package to Bahar, which would likely be several million dollars, and that is the fuel powering this alleged lawsuit.

As expected, Lotus and Bahar are not available to confirm or deny whether this lawsuit is actually happening or not, which points to the likelihood that it is happening.

Source: MSN U.K.

We all know that when you buy or sell anything of significant worth, the gummament is not too far away with its hand out asking for its share. It doesn’t care which side it comes from, just as long as someone pays “The Man.” Well, when VW AG decided it was time to buyout the remaining 50.1 percent of Porsche and get its former ownership group completely out of the picture, we were talking billions of Euros, €4.5 billion to be exact.

Well, even in Germany, “The Man,” or better yet “Der Mann,” is there in the form of the Baden-Württemberg Finance Mini Mini stry asking for his cut of the deal, which would total about €1.5 billion ($1.9 million). This was just about the breaking point of the entire deal, as a part of the buyout was that VW pays the tax.

After five months of massaging the numbers, looking at the laws, and manipulating things in ways that would make a business ethics major cringe, VW and Porsche are about to pull off this deal 100 percent tax free. How they pulled this off was simple enough… The only real sticking point was the fact that VW had to find out how to manipulate the deal into a corporate restructuring, as opposed to a sale.

To achieve a restructuring classification instead of a buy-sell classification, VW gave Porsche the €4.5 billion buying price, but included in that price a single voting share of VW stock… Yeah, that’s it. One little piece of paper that says “I can vote on important issues” saved VW €1.5 billion. Gotta love those tax attorneys.

The deal has yet to be approved by state authorities, but sans any omissions or errors, this looks to be a final deal that gives VW the title to Porsche, instead of just a rental contract.

Saab 9-3

few days ago, we let you know that several sources were reporting that bankrupt Swedish automaker, Saab, was finally sold to Hong Kong-based, Sweden-registered renewable energy company, National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS). This in turn booted Youngman out of the bidding war for the third time, but we had not yet seen any official reports. Well, we now have all something official.

NEVS’ boss, Karl Johan Jiang (interesting mixture of names) announced at a news conference that NEVS indeed won the folded automaker and that NEVS will indeed use the “Saab” name on its cars. NEVS was awarded the Saab factory, its tooling company and the 9-3’s architecture, which is odd, as BAIC purchased the intellectual rights to the 9-3 several months ago. We assume that BAIC got the drivetrain rights and Saab retained the underpinnings and body.

NEVS also let us know that we will not be without a new Saab vehicle on the road for much longer, as NEVS is currently developing an EV car based on the 9-3’s architecture that it was awarded and that car should be released in the next 18 months. Sales will start in China, then eventually move worldwide.

Unfortunately, NEVS’ bid did not include the 9-4x or 9-5 rights, so other than the 9-3, Saab will be starting all over again with brand new models, if it ever gets off of the ground. Given the Saab 9-3’s somewhat sporty nature, we expect to see a higher performance EV made of it. It definitely won’t be a screamer, like the Tesla Model S , but also not as slow as a Nissan Leaf .

There should be loads more information coming down the pike in the next 18 months, and we will update you as often as we can. Until then, congratulations to NEVS and the “Saab” name for making it through this long saga.

The Queen of England may not have the power that she once had, but she certainly remains a powerful figure in the hearts of all British folks. On June 2, 2012 the Queen celebrated her 60th year on the throne, which brought about a celebration dubbed the Diamond Jubilee – “Diamond” indicates 60 years, for those wondering.

In the festivities, the Queen was spotted riding around in a rather luxurious automobile that one of our readers keenly pointed out is either a Rolls-Royce or Bentley , and he turned to us for help identifying the car and telling him a little about it. Figuring he is not the only person interested in the topic, we felt that a full-on review was in order.

As it turns out, after a good amount of research, we have found out that the queen traveled around in the Jubilee in a 2002 Bentley State Limousine. This is no typical Bentley limo either, as it is fit for a… Well, Queen, of course!

Click past the jump to read our full review of the Queen’s ride.


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