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Corporate Business

Delay In Carbon Emissions Cut

British car manufacturers have won a four-year delay to the introduction of European rules designed to force them to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from new cars. Jaguar Land Rover was granted a special deal after Britain joined ranks with other car-producing EU states to water down fuel efficiency targets proposed last year. The highest levels of fines for failing to comply with the targets will not come into force until 2019, not in 2015 as previously proposed. The deal means manufacturers will be able to delay investing in expensive carbon-reduction technology for several more years. MEPs and the 27 EU member states have agreed to abandon plans to force the industry to reduce average CO emissions from around 158g/km last year to 130g/km by 2012.

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Aston Martin

Aston Martin May Cut 600 Jobs

Aston Martin may cut as many as 600 jobs, the British sports car brand said today. The possible cuts of 300 full-time jobs along with “a similar number” of temporary positions are part of a discussion between the former Ford Motor Co. subsidiary and its trade union. Aston Martin also said it’s considering other undisclosed cutbacks related to worldwide economic woes and plunging sales. “These are regrettable but necessary measures in the extraordinary market conditions we all now face,” Aston Martin CEO Ulrich Bez said in a statement. The cutbacks come as the automaker seeks to revive the Lagonda luxury brand to diversify its product mix beyond sports cars.

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Corporate Business

Lotus Evora

People planning on buying a car in the new year may want to hang on until the Lotus Evora arrives in showrooms across the UK, after it was given the thumbs up by British vehicle enthusiasts. The model scooped the title of Overall Most Rated Car of 2008 in a poll of iMotor Magazine readers. Some 95 per cent of participants chose to rate, rather than slate, the vehicle. Mike Kimberley, chief executive officer of Lotus, said the award was particularly impressive considering the car did not go on sale in the UK until next spring. Commenting on the popularity of the Evora, iMotor editor Mat Watson said: “Its … score of 95 per cent is truly impressive and enough to see it beat brilliant machines such as the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 and Nissan GT-R.”

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Classic Cars

A Brief Look At MG

The MG sports car is now back on sale in Britain. The company’s story is an amazing one of survival since the birth of the marque in the 1920s. It survived ownership by BMC, British Leyland, BMW and is now in Chinese hands. Yet, this nifty little sports car is still there bearing its badge with pride. So with the rebirth of the brand in Britain, it is perhaps appropriate to look at the model which drove MG into modern times. The MG TD was arguably the most popular of all the T series cars. It followed the success of the TC Midget which made inroads into the United States market. Underpinned by the success of the TC, the TD answered calls for a bigger and better equipped car. MG was then owned by the Nuffield Group and as the […]

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New Cars

Diesel MINI Lowest Depreciating Car

In a survey of residual values carried by EurotaxGlass’s, publisher of the Glass’s Guide ‘trade bible’, the MINI 1.4TD came out with an average trade-in value of 62.3 per cent after three years. It is the second year in succession that the MINI has topped the table of the slowest-depreciating cars, although the downturn in used car values is indicated by the fact that last year it retained 71 per cent of its value after three years. Seven of this year’s top 10 are cheap to buy and run, small and fuel-efficient. The almost identical Citroen C1, Toyota Aygo and Peugeot 107 were second, fourth and fifth respectively. However, the Ferrari F430 coupe and spyder took third place, retaining 60.9 per cent of their value after three years. The Lamborghini Murcielago was in eighth place (55.2 per cent), while rear- […]

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Corporate Business

MG5, Roewe 350 to be built in Nanjing

The second phase of the MG facility, located in Pukou, Nanjing, has started construction after Chinese auto giant SAIC invested 2.566 billion yuan ($376.24 million), Beijing Youth said today. Construction of the facility, which is to develop an all-new A-class car platform and the matched small engines, will be completed in 2009, according to Gao Yunhang, assistant general manager of MG sales company. When its construction is completed, the project will get an annual capacity of 200,000 vehicles and 250,000 engines, said Gao. The small engines are all turbocharged engines ranging from 1.3L to 1.5L, Gao said. The A-class car platform will build both MG5 and Roewe 350 models and will also develop MPV, hatchback and sedan models later, a source said. The MG6 is actually the hatchback model of Roewe 550, not just a common hatchback, the source disclosed. […]

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Corporate Business

Jaguar Land Rover – Jewel In Crown?

Jaguar Land Rover’s importance to the West Midlands has been spelled out as business minister Lord Mandelson considers a rescue package for the embattled UK car industry. The Indian-owned company is critical for the future of the region, according to Mick Laverty, chief executive of development agency Advantage West Midlands. And JLR chief executive David Smith urged the government to support the industry’s “jewel in the crown” with funds to help it to survive the recession and credit crisis. Mr Laverty and Mr Smith were speaking at a round table meeting held at a Birmingham restaurant that was hosted by government manufacturing adviser Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, head of the Warwick Manufacturing Group. He claimed that JLR would have “gone into thin air” in the present crisis had Ford sold it to private equity interests instead of Tata Motors of […]

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Corporate Business

Volvo Going To China Too?

Ford is in talks with the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, China’s biggest car-maker, in a desperate attempt to sell its prestigious Volvo brand. A source close to the American motor giant said it recently made a second approach to SAIC, which already owns the rights to the MG car marque. Earlier talks in the summer faltered over price. Ford, which bought Volvo for £4.4billion in 1999, is said to be hoping the sale will fetch £4 billion. The disposal would send an important signal to the US Congress that Ford is taking major action to restructure its business in return for a massive cash injection.

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Classic Cars

Deal On Classic Motorsports Magazine

Still looking for a great holiday present? Give a gift subscription to Classic Motorsports magazine! From now until December 25, they’re offering a special discounted price of $17 when you subscribe online. That’s almost a third off the normal subscription price. This is a great deal on one of my favorite magazines. Be sure to check them out.

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Corporate Business

Auto Industry Bailout Lesson

A faltering auto giant whose brands are synonymous with the open road. Hundreds of thousands of unionized workers with powerful political backers. An urgent plea for the government to write a virtual blank check. This is not the story of Ford and General Motors, but British Leyland, a car company that went through £11 billion of inflation-adjusted British taxpayer money, or $16.5 billion, in the ’70s and ’80s before going out of business. All that is left of the company now are memories of cars like the Triumph, and a painful lesson in the limited effectiveness of bailouts.

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Corporate Business

MGTF Selling Out Fast

The Birmingham Mail reports that the new MGTF is selling quickly. MG enthusiasts keen to get their hands on one of the limited edition MGTF models will have to move fast – as the last few are now coming off the Longbridge production line. The first 500 MGTF models made at Longbridge have been the special LE500 versions and Chinese owned MG UK is now getting ready to make the more regular, cheaper version of the car in the New Year. To date 400 of the 500 have been sold and there are some still some available through dealers, although a lot of those are demonstrators. Eleanor De La Haye, MG UK’s corporate communications manager, said the reduction in VAT had given a last minute boost to the sale of the last few LE500s. “Sales have gone well and the […]

Aston Martin Production - Gaydon
Corporate Business

British Auto Industry Jobs At Risk

The BBC’s Chanel 4 News is reporting that thousands of jobs at two UK car plants could be at risk as a result of a worldwide sales slump. General Motors, the world’s biggest car company which owns Vauxhall, said it will be bankrupt within months unless it gets an emergency cash injection from the US government to help it during the global financial crisis. The firm said it had called off merger talks with Chrysler and was asking the government for help after using up $6.9 billion (£4.4 billion) in the third quarter of 2008. The company employs around 5,000 workers at plants in Luton and Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, which produce around 215,000 vehicles a year. Meanwhile, German car giant BMW announced that production of the Mini was to be curtailed, with workers at plants at Oxford and Swindon told […]

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Classic Cars

MG Museum Up and Running

A museum dedicated to the MG car has reopened in Abingdon. The MG Museum opened on October 25 on the second floor of the County Hall Museum, in Market Place. The small museum, organized by former MG employee Brian Moylan, ran for a trial each weekend throughout last winter. However, it has now been given a permanent home – with the promise of more space to follow when the museum is revamped. Abingdon Works Centre, the local branch of the MG Car Club, donated £500 towards expanding the exhibition.

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Auctions & Sales

Price Of Classics Tumbling?

Driving.ca is reporting that the current financial crisis is having an impact on the collector-car scene, with prices all over the map at the first Barrett-Jackson Auction held in Las Vegas, Nevada recently. Hemi Mopar madness has ended – the days of the $80,000 Austin Healey and six-figure E-Type Jaguars are over for now. A 1962 Healey 300 MKII (Lot 762), which was a ground-up restoration by Healey Lane, of Oregon, was perfect yet sold for a mere $53,900. In January, that car would have sold in Scottsdale, Ariz., for $80,000. (All prices in U.S. dollars.)

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Corporate Business

Former MG Employees Paid Less

Two out of three people who lost their jobs when car maker MG Rover collapsed in 2005 are now earning less money, research has revealed. This is hitting the Longbridge area hard. […]

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Corporate Business

New MG Hatchback!

MG is expanding their line with a new hatchback model. Nanjing Automobile – the Chinese company who owns the MG brand – will launch a new Ford Focus-sized hatchback in the UK as soon as 2010. […]

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Corporate Business

MG Relaunched – In Chile

A new MG saloon has been launched, the first all-new product to wear the famous octagonal badge since MG Rover collapsed into administration in 2005. But for now, the MG 550 has only been introduced in the Chilean market. Behind the MG badge this is a Roewe 550, a car developed by Shanghai Automotive and based on a heavily modified Rover 75 platform. It has an all-new interior and is powered by an updated version of the familiar Rover K-series engine in 1.8-litre turbo form. The MG branding has come about as a result of last year’s merger between SAIC and fellow Chinese manufacturer Nanjing, which acquired rights to the MG brand. One of the reasons Chinese authorities encouraged the two car makers to join up was because SAIC lacked a globally recognised brand for exports – something confirmed by […]

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Corporate Business

London Cabs Made in China

London Taxis are as British as bowler hats and Big Ben. But the latest models coming off a new assembly line in China are unlikely to ever touch an English road. At a sprawling factory in the lush green suburbs of Shanghai, young Chinese workers are gearing up for full-scale production of one of Britain’s most iconic vehicles. It’s part of an alliance that awants to give the distinctive black cab a greater presence outside its namesake city. London Taxi International, which will continue to build nine out of 10 cabs used in Britain at a factory in Coventry, England, couldn’t increase production at its small-scale, high-cost plant. So it turned to a partner — and to China — as a way to drive overseas expansion. “To say the writing was on the wall would be pushing it a bit […]

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Corporate Business

Plans for Longbridge MG Rover Site Delayed

Plans to create a new town with up to 2,000 homes on the former MG Rover site at Longbridge could be delayed for years because of the slump in land and property prices, a developer warned. The derelict car factory, which ground to a halt after the collapse of the famous marque in 2005, is set for a £750 million transformation which will create 10,000 jobs and mix modern houses with parkland. Initial plans projected it would take at least 15 years to complete the biggest regeneration scheme ever seen in the West Midlands, meaning it could be complete as soon as 2023. But at a public inquiry into the plans yesterday, Jason Tait of landowners St Modwen said progress could be slower. “There might be some growth in the market in the next 18 months or two years but […]

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Aston Martin

Aston Martin One-77 Defies Financial Woes

The Telegraph is reporting that more than 100 people have applied to buy the One-77, the most expensive road car in the world, even though only 77 will be made. The 200mph car was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show this week, and Aston Martin said that the growing financial gloom had not hit sales. “The interest is incredible,” chief designer Marek Reichmann told The Sun newspaper. Aston Martin has been reluctant to release details about the One-77, but it is known to have a 7.0 litre V12 engine, carbon fibre chassis, and aluminium body. “One-77 fuses advanced technology with stunning Aston Martin design to create possibly the world’s most desirable automotive art form,” the Warwickshire-based carmaker said. It will “deliver exhilarating performance for a strictly limited number of discerning customers”, the according to the firm.