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Archive for August, 2009

Concours Sendup

Next week the World’s most famous Concours D’Elegance gets underway at Pebble Beach, California.

Cars worth millions of dollars each are displayed in all their finery – owners, too!

But on the same weekend and only a few kilometers away in Monterey  there is another ‘Concours’.

This is called the Concours D’LeMons….

They have several trophies and class awards including:-

THE RUEFUL BRITANNIA AWARD- for the Royal Order of MOT Failure


THE NEEDLESSLY COMPLEX ITALIAN AWARD- Conoscete un Buon Meccanico? Plaque

or our favourite

WARSAW PACT, 1945-1990, for Trabant, Wartburg, ZIL, Lada etc. AWARD- The Vladimir Ilyich Lenin Medal for the Most Glorious Achievement in Transportative Advancement for Use on Billiard-Smooth Highways as Are Uniformly to be Found Inside Workers Paradise.

Which event would you prefer to attend?

Cash For Clunkers Runs Out Of Cash

The one billion dollars allocated to President Obama’s ‘Cash for Clunkers’ scheme has already been exhausted just a few weeks after its introduction.

Officially called the Car Allowance Rabate System, or CARS, the Obama initiative is designed to help both the US economy and the environment by offering generous trade-ins for old gas guzzlers in exchange for new fuel efficient cars and trucks. Owners receive federal subsidies of up to US$4500 for their old vehicles.

The uptake of this scheme has taken bureaucracy by surprise, so the House Of Representatives has rushed through a bill to allocate a further two billion dollars to the scheme, which now awaits imminent Senate approval.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the money for the programme would come from funds previously approved as part of the economic stimulus bill.

US car dealers at last have broad smiles on their faces as buyers are returning to the new car lots after a series of tumultous shocks rocked the US car industry, culminating in General Motors and Chrysler filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.

The CARS initiative certainly seems to be working as the Ford Motor Company has just reported its very first year on year monthly sales increase in July in the US, which they attributed solely to the CARS programme.

Increased sales were also reported by Hyundai and Suburu, but  whilst Chrysler and GM also noted an uplift, they did not match sales from July ’08. 

US results mirrored those experienced by Germany, who introduced a similar scheme at the beginning of the year which boosted sales by up to 20 per cent and prompted Obama to act in the US.

In Australia the motor industry sales have been boosted by a different initiative in the form of tax incentives.

Extra tax rebates of 30 percent for big busines (which expired on June 30) and small business (which continues to Dec 31st) has put fresh impetus into vehicle sales for some manufacturers in the last three months.

Gloomy Outlook For Holden After Huge Losses

It just ain’t getting any better at cash-strapped  Holden.

After losing an export order for Pontiac vehicles earlier in the year and putting their Elizabeth, SA  workers on a one week on, one week off roster, a form of job sharing, Holden have announced an annual loss of some $70mil. for the ’08/’09 financial year, with a drop of $300mil. in total revenues.

Whilst not as severe as Ford Australia, who recorded a stunning $274mil. loss for ’08/’09 it still raises further questions about Holden’s long term prospects.

Couple the local problems with its parent’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy, it needs an eternal optimist clad in rose coloured glasses to forecast a rosey future.

Perhaps the biggest question to ask is whether they can continue with their planned introduction of the new Cruze small car onto local production lines.

The recently announced and highly lauded small car is currently sourced from Korea, but plans are afoot to gear up for local production during 2010.

This will require a great deal of capital investment, and that will be difficult to get without either Government or Head Office assistance