Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lotus Looking to Partner with a Major Automaker Says Company CEO

Lotus CEO Dany Bahar has made several changes to the storied British brand since he joined the company in 2009 and he’s not done yet. In a recent interview he made known his desire to see Lotus split off from its present Malaysian owner Proton, in search of a major global automaker – like Toyota.

According to Bahar, Lotus will need a partner in order to offset the cost of meeting strict new emissions ratings and crash tests. If a partner can’t be establish, Lotus could look at spinning off into a private company with publicly traded stock.

Rumors of a tie-up with Toyota are only too simple to generate with both automakers sharing a long-term partnership, with Toyota supplying engines in cars like the Elise since 1994.

Bahar’s plan is to build up Lotus as a serious rival to Porsche, with total sales reaching everywhere from 6,000 to 8,000 units annually by around 2015. In order to achieve this significant growth Lotus has already unveiled its New Era plan to expand several new models including a new Elise, an Esprit and even a possible city car, among others.

According to a report by Inside Line, the company is developing a latest aluminum tub to be shared across these models, which weights 220-lbs less than the 520 lb one used in the Evora.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

New BMW 328 Hommage

BMW has uncovered a surprise new car this weekend at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este classic car demonstrate, to mark 75 years of the BMW 328.

The BMW 328 Hommage is an amazing modern day reinterpretation of the 1930s classic, which BMW has dramatically debuted at the lavish Italian classic demonstrate.

It is the latest in BMW’s line of ‘Hommage cars’. These are design studies created by BMW’s chief stylists, which are their take on how a model line could have evolved had it remain in production.

The first BMW Hommage car was the 2008 BMW M1 Hommage: be expecting such models to become a BMW staple in future years, as a celebration of the firm’s past icons.

Style by BMW design director Adrian Van Hooydonk, the BMW 328 Hommage is a streamlined design with the ‘taut surfacing’ style that seems to be developing into a prospect BMW theme.

The silhouette is flat with a strong wedge shape and a distinctive front bonnet line. All design elements have been done to make the 328 Hommage look very low, extensive and sporting.

The kidney grille is also famous, while the leather straps and distinctive alloy wheels with ‘knock-off’ centre bolts extra add to the retro air. It is an incredible-looking machine that MSN Cars will bring to you in fuller detail next week.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Europeans see U.S. market for new small luxury cars

As head of Mercedes-Benz USA in the late 1990s, Mike Jackson was determined to keep the clumsy, expensive A-class small car out of the United States.

The original A class, you would say, 'Oh, my God. I will never be capable to sell that to anybody. What can I do to keep it out of the U.S. so I don't have to deal with it?'" Jackson recalls.

Americans were unwilling to pay premium prices for little cars then, even if the cars wore luxury nameplates. And sales of such cars remain low.

But European luxury brands aim to change that noticeably in the next few years. Eager to increase sales and meet strict government fuel economy standards, they plan to roll out new small cars with premium prices and luxury content.

Now Jackson's on board. Mercedes-Benz unveiled a concept version of the redesigned A-class coupe in April at the New York auto demonstrate. Jackson, on the other side of the fence as CEO of AutoNation, the country's biggest automotive retailer, calls it completely beautiful.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Daimler car sales up 7.7% on China demand

FRANKFURT - GERMAN carmaker Daimler said its passenger car business sold 7.7 per cent more vehicles in April, helped by continued tough demand for luxury cars in China.

We continue to be hopeful about the second quarter, during which we want to boost sales above last year's level,' Mercedes-Benz Cars sales chief Joachim Schmidt said in a statement on Wednesday.

Vehicle sales in China, including Hong Kong, jumped 47 per cent to a record level of 16,536 units. In the United States, where the largely car market grew 18 per cent in April, Mercedes-Benz sales edged up 2.3 per cent.

Rival BMW earlier said it expected US sales to persist growing while Chinese demand would slow this year.