Weekly Roundup: 02.02.2009 – 06.02.2009
We started the week with Sebastien Loeb clinching yet another WRC title in Ireland. As Mr. Panzariu reported, the Frenchman returned to Ireland as winner of the 2007 event and ended all days on top of the overall classification.
Crossing the ocean to the US, we found out that the American automakers were now joining forces for a major campaign against state-by-state regulations and struggle to convince the Washington authorities that a unique national standard would be useful for both sides. Find out more here.
We went back to Europe to witness the first VW Tiguan based Skoda Yeti being assembled at the Kvasiny plant, in the Czech Republic. Fans of the Golf GTI rejoiced that same day as eight official studio photos of the new model appeared on volkswagen.co.uk.
Word of a 550 HP Chevrolet Matiz cheered us up after all those pessimistic reports on the economic crisis. Yves Fourdin, founder of Fourdin Auto, and his team took a basic Matiz outputting 65 hp and fitted it with a 7.0l V8 Corvette Z06 engine and the result can be seen here.
We said we wouldn’t bother you with sales forecasts and stuff like that, but we couldn’t let this one pass. Despite doing a bit better than the Americans, the Japanese experienced in January the lowest sales in the 37 years.
Tuesday debuted with Fiat Yamaha announcing their 2009 challenger in the form of the new Yamaha YZR-M1. The Yamaha riders will have their first shot at the new YZR-M1 during the Sepang testing session later this month.
Like most motor shows this year, the Seoul one will also be a bit emptier as GM, Chrysler and BMW announced they would not be present. Nissan and Volvo had already announced their withdrawal, so things don’t look too jolly for this Asian motor show.
In a green effort, Volkswagen announced it would introduce a prototype of the future Touareg V6 TSI Hybrid (333 PS / under 9.0 l/100 km), which will enter production in 2010.
While things didn’t look good in Seoul, Geneva was thrilled to find out that Mazda's fuel-saving start-stop system called i-stop and the Mazda3 MPS will be showcased at the auto show. Worrying reports surfaced on Tuesday claiming that Mercedes and BMW could be the next two manufacturers to exit Formula 1.
Perhaps one of the most important topics of the week was Chris Bangle’s decision to leave BMW and the auto industry to pursue his own design-related endeavors.
Things don’t look good for the Sydney Motor Show, as we found out that this year’s edition will be cancelled following a deal with the Melbourne Motor Show. More info here.
Crisis affected Chrysler announced on Wednesday that they’ve received three offers for the Viper business, but the matter was being look at with “due diligence”. No mention was made regarding the possible buyers' identities or the sum of money proposed by them for the buyout.
James Bond fans clapped frantically as the Aston Martin V12 Vantage got unveiled before the Geneva show. To stir your curiosity a bit, we’ll just say that it’s currently the fastest model in the lineup.
After dominating the Dakar rally for the past decade, Mitsubishi decided to call it a quits and exit the famous competition. In addition, the company will also pull out from all Cross-Country Rally competitions.
Audi is joining the hybrid frenzy by preparing a hybrid version for the Q5 compact crossover/SUV. The official statement comes from Wolfgang Hatz, who is the head of powertrain development for the entire Volkswagen Group. Alex Oagana has more information here.
An important announcement surfaced on Wednesday as it was reported that Bernie Ecclestone has secretly agreed to grant permission in Formula 1 for a newly-based team called USF1.
We ended the middle of the week with a bunch of leaked scans of what appears to be a compact, three-door SUV from Dacia to be unveiled at Geneva. The most interesting part which caught our attention were the Brembo brake calipers revealing themselves in one of the pictures.
Mercedes AMG laughed in the face of the recession as it proudly announced that 2008 was the best year ever, with a growth of no less than 19 percent in global sales.
Despite rumors, Max Mosley is likely to run for a 5th consecutive mandate as president of the International Automobile Federation in late June. Find out more about this here.
More Geneva good news surfaced on Thursday as Renault announced that the Facelifted Clio GT Hatchback would be unveiled at the Swiss auto show. Click here for more info.
The last working day of the week started with FIA’s confirmation of the USF1 bid. Although no details were disclosed, the Englishman referred to the project as being handled by “serious people” and expects the new team to make the F1 field from as early as 2010.
clever rear diffuser designs used by Toyota and Williams F1 ahead of the Australian Grand Prix were as legal as possible. French Citroen confirmed on Friday their plans to revive the DS, which stands for Different Spirit, vehicle lineup and showed us the first concept expected to be displayed at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show.
Sebastien Buemi officially confirmed that he will be the second driver competing for Toro Rosso in 2009. He will therefore run his first test for Toro Rosso as official 2009 driver during next week's Jerez meeting.
Pagani officially unveiled the latest and the last Zonda model in the exclusive lineup. The high performance Zonda R is propelled by a 48-valve 6.0-litter V12 engine acquired from Mercedes-Benz's AMG division. It puts out 750hp and has a maximum torque of 710Nm.