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  1. Mercedes-AMG (Aufrecht Melcher Großaspach) GmbH has reported 2013 to be its most-successful year with up to 32,200 AMG models sold. The German firm recorded strong demand in its three biggest markets U.S., Germany and U.K., last year driven by new products and the extension of its distribution network. Among the factors driving this growth was the broad introduction of the 4MATIC, all-wheel drive system, and the introduction of the facelifted E 63 and CLS 63 AMGs. There was also increasing demand for AMG’s SUV models and the new compact cars - the A 45 and CLA 45 AMG. The product offensive is rounded off by the recently introduced S 63 AMG. Through the introduction of the CLA 45 AMG Mercedes-AMG was able to steadily increase its sales in the USA market, with a growth of around 20 percent. AMG’s two main European markets, Germany and the U.K. posted strong sales, despite the overall market weakness in the EU, and exceeded their 2013 sales targets. The dynamic growth has been made possible by the expansion of the product range and entering attractive new segments. With the sporty A 45 AMG, the CLA 45 AMG and the GLA 45 AMG, Mercedes-AMG is offering three new entry-level models to reach out to new target groups. All three models are equipped with 4MATIC technology and the world’s most powerful four-cylinder production engine. Later this year, AMG plans to enter a new segment with a sports car it has fully developed itself. Founded in 1967 by Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher, today, the former two man company employs a workforce of more than 1,200 at its plant in Affalterbach, and over the past 47 years has become the technological spearhead and a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler AG.
  2. PetrolHead

    New showroom for Rolls-Royce in Russia

    Bespoke automaker Rolls-Royce Motor Cars celebrated the opening of its new showroom in the famous city of St. Petersburg in Russia. The new showroom will help serve increasing demand for Phantom and Ghost models and will provide the most discerning clientele in the region, with direct access to the pinnacle super luxury brand. The dealership is located at the Astoria Hotel in one of the European cultural capitals, and will be under the fine care of Tatiana Fitzgerald - who is also the Managing Director of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Moscow. The unique Rolls-Royce Bespoke personalisation service will also be available from the new showroom, underlining the further growing popularity of this service among owners in Russia. Nearly all Phantom family models and three out of every four Ghosts contain some element of individuality. Wraith, the most powerful Rolls-Royce in history, was presented at the grand opening in St. Petersburg, for the first time by the shores of the Baltic Sea. The ultimate Gran Turismo combines super luxury and refinement with power, style and drama. The bold, charismatic lines of Wraith are a brave step forward for Rolls-Royce and the car has received overwhelming feedback since its debut at the Geneva Motor Show 2013. Torsten Muller-Otvos, CEO, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, commented, "St. Petersburg, with its timeless beauty and elegance, forms the ideal backdrop to stage Rolls-Royce motor cars in this outstanding showroom. Our presence here marks an important milestone in the sustained development of Rolls-Royce in Russia." He added, "I am particularly pleased to see that a team with a proven track record in the world of super luxury will take care of the customers in and around St. Petersburg. Tatiana and her team have a wealth of experience and will add great momentum to the sphere of luxury in the Leningrad region." Tatiana Fitzgerald commented, "Rolls-Royce has a very rich history in St. Petersburg and is where the first Rolls-Royce touched Russian ground more than 100 years ago. We are really excited to write the next chapter of the Rolls-Royce story in Russia." Last year, Rolls-Royce celebrated a third consecutive record year as 3,575 cars were delivered to customers across the world, marking the highest annual sales in the 109-year history of the brand - with Russia continuing to be the best selling market in Continental Europe. 19 of the 107 dealerships in the world are located in Europe, including the new St. Petersburg showroom.
  3. Volkswagen is celebrating a million sales of the Scirocco with the launch of a Scirocco Million Edition. The figure takes into account the sales of the first two generations of Scirocco that were sold between 1974 and 1992. On the outside, the Scirocco Million is painted in exclusive 'Deep Black' metallic paint with two prominent decorative stripes, one on the bonnet and the other on the boot. It also comes with painted wing mirrors and 18-inch 'Interlagos' alloy wheels. The R-Line bodykit completes the exterior updates. The interior is fitted with standard black leather upholstery with contrasting orange stitching that is also found on the gear knob and handbrake. Stainless steel pedals and special Million-badged scuff plates round up the cosmetic upgrades. Under the hood, five engine options are available. The 1.4-litre TSI petrol have outputs of 122bhp or 160bhp while the 2.0-litre TSI produces 210bhp. The 2.0-litre TDI develops 140bhp or 177bhp. The Scirocco Million Edition will go into production in the later part of May 2013 and sadly to say, it will only be offered in China and hometown Germany. First Generation Second Generation
  4. Hiroshima-based carmaker, Mazda, has got a good reason for celebration. The company returned to profitability for the fiscal year that ended on 31st March 2013. This is after four years of losses, including a loss of US$1.14 billion (S$1.41 billion) for FY2011. Mazda posted a global net profit of US$364.3 million (S$450 million) for FY2012. Mazda CEO, Takashi Yamanouchi, attributed the result to restructuring and a falling Yen, which has depreciated by 21 percent against the US dollar since November last year. This helped to improve Japanese exports. However, the North American market continued to bleed in fiscal year that had just ended, posting an operating loss of US$519.1 million (S$641 million) although all the other regions remained in the black. Sales in North America also fell short of the company's forecast. Looking forward, Mazda expects the region to get a boost from the full year impact of the all new Mazda6 and the debut of the next generation Mazda3. For FY2013, Mazda expects global net and operating profit to double in the wake of the Yen's decline and the rolling out of more vehicles equipped with the company's latest Skyactiv engine, transmission and chassis technologies.
  5. At the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, Ferrari CEO Luca di Montezemolo announced that all Ferrari employees would receive a special bonus due to the excellent financial results from 2010 to 2012. Now, a large part of that promise has already been paid out. The first portion of that special bonus consists of an additional month of bonus for each FY between 2010 to 2012. This means a handsome three-month bonus for each of the 3,000 headcounts under Ferrari
  6. Porsche plans to increase its global dealership by 33% over the next five years. According to CEO Matthias Mueller, Porsche will invest 200 million euros annually to increase the number of dealerships to 1,000 outlets by 2018 from the current 750. "Our international dealership network is being expanded at a high pace," said Mr Mueller at the Porsche museum. "In China alone, there's a new Porsche Centre opening almost every month," he added. Despite challenging economic conditions in 2012, Porsche's operating profit rose 19% to 2.44 billion euros while delivering a record 143,096 vehicles. Such sterling results probably gave Porsche the confidence to commit to the aggressive expansion plans. However, the brand is cautiously optimistic on this year
  7. SYF77

    Lamborghini

    Unfazed by the Eurozone debt crisis and the 'Fiscal Cliff' episode in the US, Lamborghini's sales in 2012 improved by 30% as compared to a year ago. In terms of absolute figure, the supercar brand moved 2,083 vehicles last year comprising of 922 units of the Aventador and 1,161 units of the Gallardo. Asia took up the largest portion of the sales pie, accounting for 35% of global sales. The China market itself already account for 15%. This should not come as a surprise as Asia continues to be at the forefront of wealth creation, minting millionaires at a faster pace than any other region in the world. Strong sales is only part of Lamborghini's success story. The company's turnover climbed 46% from EUR 322 million in 2011 to EUR 469 million in 2012. With the global economic climate looking brighter, the bull run looks set to continue in 2013.
  8. [extract] Volkswagen's sales hit record high in 2012 despite slowing sales in Western Europe. The German carmaker sold 9.07 million cars last year, up 11% from 2011. Group operating profit rose 2.1% to
  9. Ferrari announced that 2012 was the best financial year ever for the 66-year-old brand. A total of 7,318 vehicles were delivered to worldwide dealership in 2012 while a revenue of 2.43 billion euros was recorded, breaking the record set in 2008. Net profit rose 17.8% to just under 244 million euros. "We are all enormously proud of ending the year with these kind of results despite the unfavourable economic backdrop in many European nations, and the distinctly hostile one in Italy," said Chairman Luca di Montezemolo. Although the US economy was threatened by the looming 'Fiscal Cliff' last year, Ferrari's sales in the US exceeded 2000 units for the first time by delivering 2058 cars. Sales in Europe was impressive as well with deliveries in Great Britain, Switzerland and Germany increasing by 20.4%, 17.4% and 8.2% respectively. Consumer behaviour is hard to predict some times. The results delivered by brand-related activities in areas of retail, licensing and e-commerce were excellent too, showing a 40% improvement in operating margin to over 50 million euros. If a Chinese idiom was used to describe Ferrari
  10. The 2013 model year Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster was announced for production in November 2012 and barely three months later, the order books are full until mid-2014. This means a waiting time of more than a year if someone were to place an order now. He can still get his open-top supercar earlier if he is prepared to cough out extra dough. The Aventador Roadster shares the same 6.5-litre V12 engine with the hard top version. This means that roadster develops 700bhp with a tremendous 690Nm of torque, enabling the car to go from 0 to 100km/h in 3 seconds before reaching terminal velocity of 350 km/h. The Aventador Roadster boasts a unique engine cover design and an attachable wind deflector to improve cabin airflow at high speed.
  11. Renault plans to cut 7,500 jobs in France by 2016 as a result of declining sales in Europe. This represents 17 percent of its current workforce in the country. The company would achieve its target mainly by not replacing retiring workers and by offering early retirement. The French carmaker's sales in Europe sank 19% between January to November 2012, which is the steepest among major car manufacturers in the region. The plan would save Renault 400 million euros a year in annual fixed cost, which is required to lower its break-even point. Despite the reduction in workforce, CEO Carlos Ghosn announced that no plants in France will be closed. Year 2012 is tough but 2013 is not expected to be smooth riding either. Carlos said at the Detroit Motor Show that he expects the European market to be "difficult" in 2013, predicting that car sales would fall about 3%, after contracting 8 % in 2012. Renault's action adds further woes to France's ailing industrial sector.
  12. Ferrari CEO has personally put down speculation on whether the brand will build a four door car just like its arch rival Porsche. Speaking to automotorundsport.de, Luca Di Montezemolo said: "Ferrari is all about sportiness in the most pure form of the word, and that doesn't involve SUV's or four-door saloons. A Ferrari can't have more than two doors." Perhaps, if one insists of getting a four-door Ferrari, the nearest thing he can settle for is the Maserati Quattroporte or the 2014 Ghibli sedan, which is the upcoming entry-level sedan for the Italian brand. Montezemolo added that the California (above) is as low as they are willing to go. About 70% of the buyers of the California are first time Ferrari owners and Ferrari feels that it is attracting enough new buyers and hence a cheaper model is unnecessary. Ferrari should be praised for sticking to its guns in spite of the market trends. Brand image is definitely more important than bottom line to the prancing horse.
  13. Mr Edward Lee, CEO of Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA), has been promoted to head of International Sales Division. He will resume the position back in South Korea. Mr Lee's promotion is well deserved. During his tenure in HMCA which began in May 2009, Hyundai's sales in Australia grew from 45,409 vehicles in 2008 to 91,536 vehicles in 2012, which is slightly more than doubled. In addition, dealerships in the country has increased from 142 to 155. "Working in Australia has been the most rewarding and enjoyable time of my professional career," said Mr Lee. "I would like to thank the fantastic team who have supported me, both our Hyundai staff around Australia and in our dealerships - we really do have world class people working for Hyundai and that is reflected in our results. I would also like to thank our associates across the country, everyone with whom I've worked in my capacity as CEO. I've made some lifelong friends here and it is very sad to be leaving this great country." For his effort in improving exports to Australia, Mr Lee has previously received a government award from the President of Korea.
  14. Engulfed by recession and high unemployment rate, Spain's new car sale for 2012 has plunged by 13.2%. According to Spanish car makers' association ANFAC, it was a dismal December when new car sales plunged 23% from a year ago, which led to this steep annual decline last year with little expectation of improvement in 2013. This is the lowest level ever recorded since data collection began in 1989. A similar situation is affecting France as well, where new car registrations hit a 15-year low in 2012. ANFAC commented that the figures could have been worse if not for a new car subsidy scheme introduced by the government on 1 October 2012 in an attempt to offset the effect of a 3% hike in value added tax that was introduced in September 2012. Most economists expect the Spanish unemployment rate to remain above 25% in 2013 and its economy to endure another year of recession. Spain, which is the Eurozone's fourth-largest economy, has been hit particularly hard by the collapse of the country's housing market, which forced the government to bail out the Spanish banking sector with assistance from the EU.
  15. If you think that the global economy is on its way to recovery, think again. Cumulative car sales in the European Union (EU) from January to November 2012 have fallen to a 19-year low. It dropped 7.2 percent to 11.7 million units, the lowest figure since 1993. The decline was propelled by a 10 percent plunge in November. The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association expects a full-year market contraction to about 12 million cars, the fewest cars sold in Europe since 1995. Below are the November statistics of some of the affected car makers: Brand Renault: -27.4 percent PSA Peugeot Citroen: -16 percent GM (Opel, Vauxhall, Chevrolet): -13 percent Ford: -10.2 percent VW: -2.5 percent However, BMW and Mercedes managed to buck the market trend and recorded sales growth of 0.4 percent and 1.5 percent for November respectively. Perhaps, workers in Fiat and Peugeot should start looking for job opportunities with the two German car makers as their companies have announced plans to cut 1,500 jobs each.
  16. While car makers like PSA Peugeot, Citroen and Opel are announcing job cuts and factory shutdown due to declining sales, Skoda appears to buck the trend. The year-to-date sales of the Czech car maker grew by 6.9% between January to November. Absolute figure is about 873,000 units. For the month of November, they posted an increase of 3.8% in their worldwide deliveries due to growth in China, India, Russia and Europe. "Once again, we increased our deliveries even though markets were difficult," said Werner Eichhorn,
  17. SYF77

    The end of the Gallardo era is near

    [extract] The Lamborghini Gallardo started production back in 2003 and is the best-selling Lamborghini of all time with more than 10,000 sales globally. To mark the end-of-life of the Gallardo, the Italian car maker has launched a 2013MY LP 560-4 model, which is labeled as
  18. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUVe2FjKZjg To celebrate the achievement of 10 million 'Likes' in its Facebook page, Ferrari put together a short animation featuring its chairman, Luca di Montezemolo. The video took the word 'fan' literally and shows the Ferrari boss being hit by a flying Ferrari, which is blown off by the power of 10 million fans. As the video ends, a 'Thank you' message signed off by Montezemolo pops up. Ferrari's competitors, Porsche and Lamborghini, have about 4.8 million and 4.5 million 'Likes' in their Facebook pages respectively as of 9 Dec 2012. Judging from the company's sales, it is not hard to understand why Ferrari has so many fans around the globe. The Italian supercar maker has established new records in revenues and in the number of cars delivered in the first half 2012. A total of 3,664 automobiles were delivered to dealerships, representing a 7.4% year-over-year growth compared to 2011
  19. Volvo will cut production volumes at its Torslanda (Sweden) and Ghent (Belgium) plants due to continued weak demand as the European debt crisis and sluggish global growth take its toll on the car industry. Other automakers such as Ford and Opel have already reduced their output. At the Torslanda plant, production will stop for three days before the Christmas holidays. In Ghent, there will be two production-free days come December. In addition, three individual work shifts -- one in Ghent and two in Torslanda -- will be removed from the December production schedule. Going into 2013, Volvo is not positive as well. The company said it will cut production rate at its Torslanda plant to 45 cars per hour come week four of 2013 from 57 cars an hour. Volvo commented that the production slowdown will affect the number of agency workers employed at the Torslanda plant. "We have indicated before that we will need to be flexible in light of today's market situation, and that we will use the flexibility we have in our system when needed," said Lars Wrebo, Senior Vice President Manufacturing, Volvo Cars. "While sales volumes have shown a very positive trend in recent years, we have seen a continuous decline in customer demand in 2012 which so far has not picked up. Therefore a further adjustment to our production output is required," he added. The Chinese-owned auto maker announced recently that its US sales in October slumped 14.4% to 4196 cars compared to a year ago. Sales in China for the same month were down 11.7% from a year earlier to 3389 vehicles.
  20. Lexus has stopped production of European-spec IS models due to new crash safety legislations that goes into effect at the end of the year. The issue concerns the shape of the front-end, which does not meet the new pedestrian safety requirements. Lexus has chosen not to make the necessary modifications to the current model as the all-new model is due early next year. The current IS will continue to be available at European dealerships until the existing inventory runs out. The second-generation IS was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2005 as a pre-production model, with the production version debuting shortly after. Lexus sales in Europe have suffered in recent years - with the brand selling 15,000 cars in 2007 before declining rapidly to 10,000 in 2008 and just 6,200 cars in 2010. The arrival of the all new IS saloon will give the firm the impetus it needs in the junior executive sector. The third-generation IS is previewed by the striking LF-CC concept, featuring the latest version of the brand
  21. [extract] SAIC-owned MG returned to the UK market in 2011 with the MG6 compact sedan. In saloon and five-door body styles, sales of the MG6 in the UK was found wanting with only 15 units sold in October 2011. This should not come as a surprise as the MG6 is based on SAIC
  22. Effective from November 2012, the European Union (EU) made it a requirement for tyres sold in the EU market to include a tyre label that specify their fuel consumption, wet grip and noise ratings. The label will use a classification from the best (green category 'A') to the worst performance (red category 'G'). The new initiative is part of the Energy Efficiency Action Plan drafted in 2009, which is designed to improve the energy performance of products, buildings and services to reduce energy consumption by 20% until 2020. The measure is believed to be a way to disadvantage the lower cost Asian tyre brands in the EU market. They are usually a lot cheaper than the European-made tyre but pales in comparison with the European brands in most aspects. According to the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers
  23. The Mercedes S-Class' sales in Europe has fallen victim to the on-going economic crisis in the continent. Its sales have fallen by 27% over the past eight months to just 5,227 units. In addition, the age of the model does not help either. As a result, the factory that produces the S-Class in Sindelfingen, Germany, will cut down to one shift from the current two shifts until the next generation model enters production in 2013. "Workers manufacturing the S class will be reassigned to the C-class assembly line during this period," the company said in a statement. The W221 S-Class was introduced in the autumn of 2005 at the Frankfurt International Motor Show, with export to other markets beginning in 2006. Since then, BMW and Audi have both introduced all-new versions of their flagship sedan, the 7-Series and the A8 respectively. The S-Class contributes the highest profit margin per car sold for the Stuttgart automaker and hence the pressure is on the 2013 model to continue to do so. The new Mercedes S-Class is expected to be unveiled in production form at the 2013 Detroit motor show in January, before it goes on sale next spring. The new luxury saloon was recently previewed by a new sculpture called Aesthetic S at the 2012 Paris motor show. Aesthetic S
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