Caterham lineup set to expand under Team Lotus ownership

Caterham Seven Team Lotus trio

Caterham Seven Team Lotus Special Edition – Click above for high-res image gallery

It was only a few months ago that we reported on Caterham’s plans to expand its lineup. But a lot has happened since then, particularly for an automaker whose core product range is anchored in a design that goes back nearly six decades.

Since the launch of the SP/300.R, Caterham was acquired by Tony Fernandes – the same Malaysian entrepreneur behind Team Lotus F1. The new ownership is intent to keep the same management in place, but the cash injection is expected to lead to a further broadening of the company’s lineup.

Just what that will entail remains to be seen, but Autocar reports that whatever comes next down the pipeline will (arguably unlike some of Lotus’ own new products) remain faithful to Colin Chapman’s less-is-more philosophy.

The report also indicates a two-way door between Caterham and Team Lotus, the latter’s F1 cars set to feature the former’s branding while F1-derived technologies are set to trickle down to Caterham’s products. A Caterham Seven with regenerative braking and adaptive aerodynamics? Too soon to say, but the sky’s the proverbial limit.

Caterham lineup set to expand under Team Lotus ownership originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 10 May 2011 18:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Piech says Alfa Romeo sales could increase fourfold under VW ownership

Filed under: Etc., Earnings/Financials, Alfa Romeo, Fiat

Alfa Romeo builds some really good-looking rides, but that apparently hasn’t translated into profits for Fiat. In a recent interview with Forbes, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne reportedly called the Italian brand a “money loser,” and sales of the marque have consistently underwhelmed. But while Fiat has worked hard to rehab Alfa Romeo to no apparent avail, Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piech feels his people can do better.

Reuters reports that Piech declared at the Geneva Motor Show that VW could raise Alfa sales from about 100,000 units per year to 400,000 or more in a scant five years. The boasting by Piech may seem more than a bit cocky, but that confidence jibes well with VW’s bold proclamations that it will become the largest automaker on earth by 2018.

So what prompted Piech to announce to the world that VW could sell more Alfas than Fiat? We have no idea, and Marchionne has shown little public interest in selling the brand in the past. VW is obviously interested in buying Italy’s sweetheart, though, and the German automaker likely has the cash and can take a liability off Fiat’s books.

[Source: Reuters | Image: Nigel Treblin/AFP/Getty]

Report: Piech says Alfa Romeo sales could increase fourfold under VW ownership originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 02 Mar 2011 13:41:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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NADA picks vehicles with best cost of ownership

Filed under: Car Buying, Earnings/Financials

NADA picks vehicles with the best cost of ownership – Click above for high-res image gallery

We’ve all been there. A new car model of some variety or another strikes our fancy, we start playing around with the configurator, and before long we’re staring at a nice, tidy monthly payment on the computer screen. It seems reasonable. With a little starvation and the occasional dabbling in petty crime, it might even be easy to hand over that stack of hundred-dollar bills each and every month. Then reality politely reminds us that there’s more to paying for a new car than the check we write to the bank. Things like fuel, insurance, fees, taxes, repairs and maintenance can quickly add up to more than your monthly payment. There’s even depreciation to factor in. The pros call all of this the cost of ownership.

Good thing, too. We’ve never really been too deft at pick-pocketing.

The good folk at NADA have worked up a list of vehicles with the best cost of ownership compared to their MSRP. Sure, they assumed a few variables – specifically, that the vehicles would be driven around 15,000 miles per year by someone with at least six years of driving experience, but the figures are a good operating base for your own car-buying fantasies. Check out the gallery below for the winners in their segments and then hop the jump for the full press blast.

Gallery: NADA vehicles with the best cost of ownership

[Source: NADA]

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NADA picks vehicles with best cost of ownership originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 27 Aug 2010 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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NPR: Fight erupts over ownership of ‘stolen’ 1954 Ferrari 375 Plus

Filed under: Classics, Convertible, Performance, Government/Legal, Ferrari, Racing

Thursday is going to be a big one for the vintage automotive universe. This week, Ohio judge Norbert Nadel is expected to decide who is the rightful owner of a 1954 Ferrari 375 Plus – one of the most valuable Prancing Horses in the world. Right now, says NPR, one Jacques Swaters has possession of the vehicle and has performed an extensive restoration to bring the car back to life. Thing is, the family of the original owner, Karl Kleve, apparently still has the title as well as a bevy of parts that were on the car originally.

According to Kleve’s daughter, Kristi Kleve Lawson, Kleve bought the car in 1958 only to discover that it was a stolen vehicle 30 years later. Somehow, the car disappeared, and Kleve eventually managed to track it down in Belgium. For whatever reason, Interpol released the car to Swaters instead of Kleve. At least, that’s what Lawson says happened.

The story is a little different from Swaters’ point of view. According to him, he bought the car for $100,000 from an auto dealer in 1990. At the time, it was little more than pieces of a derelict shell. When Swaters learned that the Ferrari was reportedly stolen, he had a lawyer arrange a settlement with Kleve. Swaters says that paid the former owner $600,000 and that Kleve cashed the check.

Lawson says that’s just not true, and that if Swaters has a canceled check, the signature on the back must be a forgery. Meanwhile, Swaters has sued the Lawson family for failing to transfer the car’s title.

Whatever happens, you can bet someone’s going to be very unhappy by week’s end.

Ferrari only built six 375 Plus models. Of those, only four survive today. The car in question is estimated to be worth around $15 million in its current restored condition.

[Source: NPR]

NPR: Fight erupts over ownership of ‘stolen’ 1954 Ferrari 375 Plus originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 17 Aug 2010 17:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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