The price for the Tesla Model S around Europe started higher than the US price but then went down. On a recent conference call with investors last week, CEO Elon Musk said that the future price will be going up. Probably.
The bad economy looks to be getting deeper over in Europe. The latest evidence is German carmakers' desperate efforts to prop up badly-lagging sales. Last month, European discounts on German brands averaged 12.2 percent. And now, Mercedes-Benz is offering a 3000-euro ($3,900) trade-in incentive to customers.
Figuring out post-doomsday scenarios can make for hours of fun, but short of a cinematic "Kill them all!" they're rarely that accurate. That's because we never know which entrance doomsday is going to use, and the big doomsday is often followed by little doomsdays (as this year's Japanese earthquake/tsunami/nuclear meltdown should have taught us yet again). Still, that hasn't stopped Automotive News from taking a look at what might happen to European carmakers in case Italy, Spain and Greece lea
Even though Beijing Automotive (BAIC) tendered a non-binding offer for Opel, the company is said to have no chance of actually acquiring the brand. General Motors is still in talks with Magna and its partners, GAZ and Sberbank, and according to Sberbank CEO German Graf, "The choice has been made and the question now is of how to structure the deal."
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, watching the travails of GM, Opel and Magna from his comfy Italian perch, has sent word that his previous offer for Opel is still on the table if anyone is interested. That offer, though, can't be sweetened because he doesn't "believe we could improve Fiat's offer. It's the most rational one we can put forward from an industrial viewpoint."
When it came to buying Opel, Fiat's Sergio Marchionne told GM and the German government: "If you have a better offer, take it." They both took Magna, along with its Russian partners Sberbank and GAZ, because that consortium offered a better competitive arrangement and fewer job cuts in Germany. The deal wasn't slated to be finished until September, but it's encountered a few pockets of serious turbulence.
While General Motors dealers here in the States are awaiting 1,100 retail store losses, Opel/Vauxhall dealers in Europe have opted to take matters into their own hands. Euroda, the Opel/Vauxhall dealer association, is raising 500 million Euros ($667 million US dollars) in exchange for a 10-20% stake in the brand, plus representation on the brand's board of directors.
If you're a London gearhead and want to work on your car but have no place to do it, you'll want to check out Pit Start, a new self-service garage. It is exactly what it sounds like – a communal pay-by-the-hour workspace. Would-be tinkerers can pre-book a space or drop in, and upon arrival, a Pit Start employee will assign you one of the twenty repair bays depending on the kind of work you'll be doing.
As reported a few weeks ago, Germany has said "yes" to extending its scrapping program. The program pledged €1.5 billion to be given out in €2,500 increments to those scrapping their old cars in order to buy new ones. The program extension adds another €3.5 billion and will be available to buyers until the end of 2009. So far 1.3 million people have applied for the incentive, the extra funds will allow a total of 2 million to take advantage. Thanks for the tip, Gregg!
The trade in personalized license plates in the UK can be big business -- the most coveted ones aren't given away, they are auctioned off at country clubs and manor houses. And in spite of a thing called "the recession" the record price paid for a specialty plate in the UK has just been broken, with a Lebanese property developer paying £352,411 ($513,047 USD) to own "1 D." The actual winning bid was £285,000 ($414,893 USD), to which fees and taxes were added.
Anyone who uses a satnav regularly knows the feeling of looking at the directions being given – or actually trying to follow them – and wondering "WTF?" Try an experiment and plug one of your regular destinations into your satnav and see what it spit out; seven times out of ten you'll wonder "Why would it tell me to go that way?"
Germany recently began a scrapping incentive program that gives buyers €2,500 to get rid of their old cars and buy new ones. The plan helped create a 21% jump in car sales during the month of February, even though the plan didn't take effect until February 20. It was the kind of success that has both the UK and the U.S. mulling over such a program, and has Germany considering doubling the incentive plan by adding another €1.5 billion of government money.
The European Union made noises last year about having the WTO verify that the U.S. auto industry assistance package doesn't violate any international trade rules. Now French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said he will ask the World Trade Organization to stick their hands into the matter.
French youth like to burn cars on New Year's - and they don't mind lighting a few the rest of the year, either. German youths apparently really get their "arson on" when the economy takes a dip, as it happens to be doing right now. According to Bloomberg, at least 29 luxury vehicles have gone up in flames in Berlin so far this year, instigated by "'youths across Europe who 'perceive their future as rather precarious'."
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