30th November 2008

Five billion Euro bail-out for carmakers?

The European Commission is to discuss a €5 billion bail-out for the automotive industry as part of a €200billion aid package to underpin the European economy.

The aid to the carmakers will come with specific conditions: it is earmarked for developing new eco-friendly technologies and for helping the companies adapt to the changing market demands, rather than a straightforward cash injection.

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30th November 2008

Around the tracks…November 21 2008

A weekly wrap of motorsport from around the world.

Muller top tourer
Frenchman Yvan Muller clinched the World Touring Car Championship last weekend in the season finale at Macau. He only needed a finish third in the opening race to seal the title. It is his first WTCC crown, and the first for Seat.

Rookie wins at Macau
Japanese rookie Keisuke Kunimoto was a surprise winner of this year’s Macau Grand Prix. The race attracts the best Formula Three drivers and is considered an unofficial World Cup. Kunimoto took the lead at the start, beating Italian Edorado Mortara. New Zealand’s Brendon Hartley was third. Australian F3 champion James Winslow failed to finish.

Reed unbeatable
Chad Reed continued his dominance of the SuperX series with his fifth straight win in Wollongong last weekend. The Suzuki RM-Z450 rider is unbeaten, despite a good ride from local racer Jay Marmont. Reed holds a 19-point lead with two rounds to go. Matt Moss (Suzuki) leads the Pro Lites.

Schu knockback
Honda has offered Formula One legend Michael Schumacher a chance to race in the World Superbike Championship. Schumacher is contesting some German Superbike races this year as he indulges his two-wheel passion. But he told Honda Racing’s Carlo Fiorani he doesn’t want to start a serious career on bikes.

Johnson’s treble
Jimmie Johnson has completed a hat-trick of Nascar titles. The Chevrolet star finished 15th to seal the crown, despite rival Carl Edwards winning at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Edwards threw everything at the race, running out of petrol as he crossed the finish line.

Mixed for Marcos
Marcos Ambrose had a mixed Nascar weekend in Florida. On Saturday he secured 10th place in the Nationwide Series standings with a 31st place finish. But on Sunday he hit the wall in the Sprint Cup race and was 42nd.

Economic merger
The tough economic times are having a big impact on Nascar. Two of the leading teams, Dale Earnhardt Incorporated and Chip Ganassi Racing, have announced plans to merge next year because of a lack of sponsorship.


- Carsguide

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30th November 2008



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30th November 2008

Subaru confident about Impreza sedan

Subaru is pinning its sales growth hopes for 2009 on an expanded Impreza lineup.

Subaru Australia managing director, Nick Senior, credits the Impreza with having driven sales, particularly since the arrival of a sedan model earlier this year.

Next week the range will get another boost with the updated 2.5-litre WRX sedan and hatch.

Senior says that despite the recent new car sales slowdown, Subaru is on track to achieve its 11th consecutive record sales year.

The Impreza is a big contributor, he says.

“We’ve seen Impreza sales up 7 per cent this year in a small car market that is up only marginally up year to date and that is despite the fact that we haven’t had a sedan, which accounted for 50 per cent of our sales in the previous Impreza,” he says.

“We launched the Impreza sedan in May and next week we launch the 2.5-litre WRX in sedan and hatch variants.

“We are anticipating that our WRX sales will also increase.”

Senior admitted that the past six months had been difficult but the company was performing solidly on the back of the Impreza and new Forester.

When the Impreza was launched last year it pushed sales up 7 per cent without the added bonus of the sedan by attracting new buyers.

“We had a thorough look at Impreza and in terms of a pure marketing campaign it has been a success in attracting those new audiences, particularly the professional womens’ segment… female buyers from 25-30 right through to 50-55 that are working business professionals,” he says.

“So we have grown that audience despite not having a sedan model.”

Subaru will go into 2009 with the existing Liberty and Outback range, which is not due to be replaced until the end of the year.

Senior says the company is also close to signing off on the Exiga minivan.

“We’re having a look at Exiga,” he says.

“We’ve done clinics here.

“There’s one running around at the moment doing some preliminary work on testing.

“We haven’t pressed the button on it, yet, that’s probably going to come after a few more discussions in late January.

“So I imagine in January we’ll be making a decision and if it is coming it’s probably late next year.”

Senior says unlike Japan, which has both turbo and non-turbo Exigas, only one normally aspirated model will be available here.

That is expected to be a 2.0-litre four cylinder.

In Japan that engine produces 108kW at 6000 revs and 191Nm at 3200 revs.

- Herald Sun

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29th November 2008

Payback is A Bitch: Hedgies To Sue Porsche For Billions

In a report to appear Monday, the German magazine Der Spiegel will write that “several law firms are compiling material for lawsuits to hold Porsche liable. They are working for hedge funds which had lost billions of Euros.” That’s news to Porsche CFO Holger Härter. He says he hasn’t heard of anybody who wants revenge or restitution. “I don’t even know who might have been hurt.” On Sunday, FAZ will publish an interview with Härter. First question: “When will the hedge fund called Porsche close its sheet metal factory?” Härter’s answer: “Our core business is and remains the automobile.” Everybody knows: not true. Porsche made more profits than sales in the last fiscal year. Of €8.6b in profits, only €1b were generated in that sheet metal factory. €7.6b were generated with derivatives. That was in the last fiscal year, which ended July 31. God, Härter and Wiedeking only know how much the Porsche hedge fund generated in the months thereafter, when the VW stock went wilder than girls at Mardi Gras. Härter now says they didn’t really mean it. Here is Härter’s version:

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29th November 2008

Top Gear: Bugatti Veyron vs Pagani Zonda F

There’s a new series of Top Gear going on now. We in the States don’t know much about what’s going on (we’re too proud to download it off the web, right?) We’ve already seen the TG team finally get their hands on the Bugatti Veyron and let it go around the test track. Now from some more perspective, see what it can do when pared directly against the ulta-quick Pagani Zonda F.

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