Report: Ferrari reports fewer sales, more profit to prove strategy is working

Filed under: Earnings/Financials, Ferrari

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Ferrari’s angle of emphasizing exclusivity by limiting deliveries is appearing to bear fruit. The company posted a 7.1-percent increase in revenues to 1.7 billion Euros ($2.2 billion at today’s exchange rates) during the first half of 2013. Net profits, meanwhile, saw a jump of 20 percent to 116.2 million Euros ($153.5 million). The Prancing Horse delivered 3,767 cars, which, while an increase of 2.8 percent, represents a rate of growth that’s slower than in the first quarter of 2013.

While Ferrari may be actively trying to slow its sales down to below 7,000 in 2013, it’s seen increased numbers in the US, Great Britain and Germany, along with double-digit growth in the Middle East and Japan (39 percent and 28 percent, respectively).

The move to limit sales should have a greater impact on the numbers that come in later this year, which we told you about back in May. Ferrari’s controversial move has already seen a drop in sales to China, which saw 50 fewer Prancing Horses than this time last year.

Still, the early stages of Ferrari’s new plans have been a success, as the Chairman said, “An increase of just over two percent in volumes has been matched by 20 percent growth in EBIT which is and will remain our primary objective along with maintaining the exclusivity and value of our cars over time.” We love seeing automakers do well, but somehow, the world just seems a sadder place with fewer Ferraris in it.

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Ferrari reports fewer sales, more profit to prove strategy is working originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 01 Aug 2013 19:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Spy Shots: Is Chevy working on a Prius V, C-Max fighter?

Filed under: Spy Photos, Hybrid, Minivan/Van, Crossover, Chevrolet, GM

Chevy Orlando hybrid test mule - front three-quarter view, disguised spy shot

Chevy Orlando hybrid mule - paperwork closeup - spy shotChevrolet is testing a very peculiar MPV, one that isn’t sold in the US but is wearing Michigan plates. On top of that, riveted bodywork aside, it sure looks suspicious with a bunch of Chevy Volts and a Ford Fusion Hybrid buzzing around it like flies. Upon closer inspection, our spy photographers say it’s actually a test mule for a yet unannounced hybrid vehicle from General Motors, which will probably end up competing with the Ford C-Max Hybrid and Toyota Prius V.

After the swarm of GM engineers finally left the car alone, our photographers were able to move in and snap some shots up close. What they found was a heavily modified Chevrolet Orlando (which is sold in North America, but not the US) with tons of gas-electric hybrid components and testing gear scattered about the interior. The cargo area, for one, is stuffed with a battery and rudimentary cooling system comprised of tubes, and the battery’s casing has a “High-Voltage” warning sticker affixed to it. No plug-in port is visible, leading us to suspect it’s a straight-up hybrid. Our spy photographers were wondering if it was the Volt MPV5 concept testbed, which debuted at the Beijing Auto Show in 2010, but they have heard the MPV5 was cancelled to divert resources to the Cadillac ELR. No Voltec powertrain is suspected in this Orlando mule.

One of the telltale signs of a test mule for a new model – and not a new variant of an existing model – is body modification. From the riveted front end with Chevy Spark headlights to the lengthened cargo area, it’s clear from the outside that major modifications have been done to the Orlando’s body. After analyzing the pieced-together door panels, our spy photographers also believe the front doors were lengthened and the rear doors were shortened.

These Orlandos have been seen testing since early this year, buy they’ve been shrouded in mystery until now. They’re still quite mysterious (is GM trying to fool us by testing them alongside a Fusion Hybrid instead of a C-Max Hybrid?), but the hybrid battery found in the cargo bay is our biggest clue yet.

Is Chevy working on a Prius V, C-Max fighter? originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 26 Jul 2013 16:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mitsubishi working on 500-horsepower hybrid Evo?

Filed under: EV/Plug-in, Mitsubishi

Until reality sets in, we’ll settle for this report about Mitsubishi building what can only be described as one super plug-in hybrid. The Japanese automaker, per UK’s Autocar, is working on a version of the Lancer Evolution that would take on the Nissan GT-R.

Specifically, Autocar, citing what it says are “highly placed Mitsubishi executives,” says the PHEV would pair a 2.0-liter gas engine with two 80-horsepower electric motors to provide an awfully impressive 500 horsepower along with fuel economy of 150 miles per gallon (per the more lenient European driving cycle) and an all-electric driving range of as many as 40 miles.

Mitsubishi would use some of the technology employed in the MiEV Evolution II plug-in that raced at Pikes Peak this year, and while we don’t think it’ll look quite like that car (pictured above), we can dream a bit. Remaining an issue for Mitsubishi plug-ins, car execs say, is the continued lack of consensus on a fast-charging standard in the US, as Mitsubishi and Nissan continue to push for the CHAdeMO standard while US and European automakers bang the drum for the so-called SAE/”combo” fast-charging standard.

Mitsubishi working on 500-horsepower hybrid Evo? originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Wed, 24 Jul 2013 11:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: BMW working with Dainese to put airbags in motorcycle suits [w/video]

Filed under: Motorsports, Safety, Technology, BMW, Motorcycle

BMW Motorrad racing suit jointly developed with Dainese features airbag protection.Addressing the safety concerns of its customers, BMW Motorrad is co-developing a rider suit with Dainese to feature something that’s much more common in automobiles: airbags.

Starting with Dainese’s D-air Protect System, which is made up of inflatable protectors that deploy in 15 milliseconds, the two companies will integrate the technology into a BMW Motorrad brand, one-piece racing suit, the DoubleR RaceAir. Later a different, street-oriented airbag system that can be retrofitted to bikes will be offered to Beemer riders.

The DoubleR RaceAir is expected to be presented at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan in November, after all required crash testing has been completed.

In addition to the new racing suit, BMW Motorrad and Dainese have agreed to long-term cooperation to develop more safety gear.

Having proper safety gear equipped while riding a motorcycle is crucial, but the rider is the most important piece of the safety puzzle, so ride safely! Scroll down for the press release and to watch a video of the D-air airbag system in action.

Continue reading BMW working with Dainese to put airbags in motorcycle suits [w/video]

BMW working with Dainese to put airbags in motorcycle suits [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 19 Jul 2013 19:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Rumormill: Jaguar working on 700-hp, 200-mph hybrid F-Type?

Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Hybrid, Performance, Jaguar, Rumormill

2013 Jaguar F-Type - front three-quarter view

After first driving the 2014 Jaguar F-Type in Spain this spring, we came away mighty impressed. Of course, if you had to pin us down for a top three wish list of what improvements we’d like to see, we’d probably hit you with something like: 1) Less weight. 2) Less weight and 3) Less weight. Oh, and if we’re feeling presumptuous, maybe some additional transmission choices.

Despite leveraging aluminum for the body and chassis, this Jaguar is still a bit of a fat cat compared to its rival models from Porsche. We never felt like it was lacking for power in any of its three supercharged trims, least of them the 495-horsepower V8 S, which is a genuine madman. We knew the variants would come, though – a quick look at the rest of Jag’s lineup provides all the evidence you need of that. And so we’re not surprised to see word of a hyper-powered F-Type on the horizon, an R-S version. What is surprising, however, is a new report that put its motivation at over 700 horsepower and its top speed at 200+ mph. Us? We’re just hoping the latter figure comes at least partially as a result of a hardcore diet.

This F-Type R-S news comes according to the rumormongers at AutoExpress, who expect the high-power Brit to come in coupe form, at least initially. We still haven’t seen the debut of the fixed-head F, but plenty of spy shots suggest its arrival is imminent. Wildly, AE posits that Jag won’t look for more displacement to gain power, it will instead radically downsize by using a 1.6-liter turbo- and supercharged four-cylinder and an array of electric motors. If that sounds familiar, that’s because AE suggests the high-tech powertrain will be scavenged from the defunct C-X75 supercar program (interestingly, earlier reports suggested this combination would only deliver about 500 horsepower).

AutoExpress says we’re in for a bit of a wait before the F-Type R-S checks in, likely 2016 or later. Intriguing as it all sounds, we won’t exactly be holding our breath…

Jaguar working on 700-hp, 200-mph hybrid F-Type? originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 22 Jun 2013 17:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Rumormill: Lexus working on even hotter LFA II?

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Lexus, Rumormill

Lexus LFA Nurburgring package

Lexus LFA Nürburgring package – Click above for high-res image gallery

Even amidst the disastrous situation on their island nation, the Japanese are showing no signs of slowing down. At least, not when it comes to its supercars. Honda was recently reported to be forging ahead with on-again, off-again plans to resurrect its NSX supercar, Nissan is hard at work on the new GT-R and now Toyota is said to be working on a new version of the Lexus LFA.

While the handle being used in the interim might suggest a completely new successor, rumor has it that an LFA II is being developed as a variant of the existing model. Following in the footsteps of the above-pictured Nürburgring package, Japan’s Best Car says that the so-called LFA II is expected to push the performance envelope even further. Just what that will entail – or for that matter, if it will come to fruition at all – remains to be seen, but if there’s any truth to the reports, we certainly applaud the company’s spirit.

Lexus working on even hotter LFA II? originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 01 Jun 2011 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: NADA and banks working to curb new federal oversight efforts

Filed under: Car Buying, Government/Legal

nada logoIn 2010, the Federal Trade Commission received 1,339,265 complaints. According to the National Automobile Dealer’s Association, less than one percent of those complaints were related to new or used auto sales. That relatively low number (compared to the 250,854 people who complained of identity theft) has NADA upset over the government’s decision to pursue the creation of an automotive lending consumer advocacy agency.

NADA has given its official support to the congressional Republicans who are looking to put the clamps on this new oversight group.

This agency will be formed as part of legislation that seeks to simplify auto loan disclosure forms, and the entire process of borrowing money to obtain a new set of wheels. On the contrary, NADA believes this advocacy agency could lead to financing abuses related to the level of power granted to those in charge.

NADA and banks working to curb new federal oversight efforts originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 25 May 2011 17:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Mercedes-Benz working on Bentley Continental rival?

Filed under: Coupe, Sedan, Maybach, Mercedes-Benz, Luxury

Xenatec Maybach Cruiserio

Xenatec Maybach Cruiserio – Click above for high-res image gallery

Last week we brought you reports of the next-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class expanding into numerous body-styles, but the coupe, convertible and pair of sedans in two different wheelbase lengths may not be the extent of it. Reports indicate that Daimler is considering a new four-door coupe to slot in above the CLS.

The model would target the Bentley Continental in a high-end model with even more dramatic styling (for those who feel the second-generation CLS is too conservative) and a range of AMG engines to help justify the engrossed pricetag.

While the new model is being touted as a Mercedes, a potential Maybach version could also be in the cards, like the Xenatec Cruiserio coupe pictured above.

Mercedes-Benz working on Bentley Continental rival? originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 24 May 2011 15:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Scion FR-S caught on its working vacation in Germany

Filed under: Concept Cars, Coupe, Scion, Subaru, Toyota

Scion FR-S spy video

Scion FR-S takes in the German countryside – Click above to watch video after the jump

We have the Scion FR-S on the brain, and it’s not going away anytime soon thanks to the onslaught of new spy photos that keep rolling in. This time, however, we’ve got video instead of still photography courtesy of our friends at FT86club.com.

It’s always great to see a car in motion, and besides, now we have an idea of what the Scion sports car’s exhaust note might sound like.

We’ve been having some fun at Autoblog HQ debating exactly what’s going on under all of that swirly camouflage. Some think we may, in fact, be looking at the Subaru version of the Toyota/Subie joint venture – that wing and those wheels say STI to us. However, others point out that the wing could easily be a shout-out to the Supras of yore. Regardless, we all like what we see and can’t wait until someone pulls the wraps off this thing. Click past the jump to see the prototype in motion.

Continue reading Scion FR-S caught on its working vacation in Germany

Scion FR-S caught on its working vacation in Germany originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 20 May 2011 12:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Rumormill: Aston Martin working on Cygnet EV

Filed under: Europe, Hatchback, Aston Martin, Rumormill, Electric, Luxury

Aston Martin Cygnet

Here’s a bit of news that’s sure to acquaint faces with their respective palms all across the motoring world: word on the web is that Aston Martin is planning to produce an all-electric version of the company’s new compact, the Cygnet. This, friends, is why people drink in the morning. The vehicle is all but guaranteed to be a reworked version of the Toyota iQ EV, as you probably figured out all on your own.

Why would Aston Martin, a company that’s built its legacy on the aching chords sung by mighty V8 and V12 engines possibly forsake the altar of internal combustion for a battery pack? The same reason every other manufacturer on the planet is dabbling in electrons – to reduce its corporate average fuel economy and slim down emissions at the same time. Does this mean we can expect some other electrified coupes from Aston Martin wearing more appropriately British bodywork? Don’t hold your breath.

We can’t wait to see what Clarkson has to say about this one.

Aston Martin working on Cygnet EV originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 16 May 2011 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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