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Corporate Business

Geoff Polites, CEO of Land Rover and Jaguar, Dead at 60

DEARBORN, Mich., April 20, 2008 – Geoff Polites, chief executive officer of Jaguar Land Rover, has died peacefully in his home country of Australia. He was 60. Mr. Polites, who is credited with leading the team that returned the Jaguar Land Rover business back to profitability and successfully steering it through its ongoing sale process to Tata Motors, had been battling serious illness for the past two years. “Geoff’s untimely passing robs his family and friends of a man who was a real inspiration to us all,” said Alan Mulally, president and chief executive officer, Ford Motor Company. “His drive and determination, combined with his clear sense of vision for the business, played a huge role in turning round the business at Jaguar Land Rover and returning it to profitability. Geoff ensured that Jaguar Land Rover was not distracted and […]

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Corporate Business

More Doubts Over MG At Longbridge

The last car to be manufactured at Longbridge may have already rolled off the production line, industry insiders fear. They said the decision by main supplier Stadco to stop manufacturing body-shells for the MG TF sports car, as The Birmingham Post revealed on Saturday, could effectively sound the “death knell” for the Nanjing project. One influential source said he doubted whether Nanjing parent SAIC would ever produce cars from Longbridge.

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Corporate Business

MG Is Back … Sort Of

Ever since MG Rover went bust in 2005 and was bought by Nanjing Automotive, rumors have flown about when the automaker’s Longbridge factory would resume production of its iconic roadster and other models. Well after a long wait, to the delight of enthusiasts MGs are once again available in the UK…just not ones made by the Chinese parent company. A new endeavor launched by Englishman William Riley called MG Sports and Racing Europe has begun selling a supercharged coupe called the MG X-Power WR. Based on the old company’s most expensive model, the new sports car is built in Eardiston, UK, and priced between approximately $150,000 and $175,000, with seven models sold so far and 35 additional orders in the pipeline.

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New Cars

Jaguar XF

With the launch of the XF sedan and the deletion of the S-Type and X-Type from its U.S. lineup, Jaguar now offers cars in America powered only by V8 engines. The XF’s hard points come from the S-Type, which it replaces. But Jaguar is using the V8 engines, suspension, subframes, six-speed transmission, propeller shaft and differential from the upmarket XJ sedan and XK sports car. Despite all the parts scrounging, the XF has little in common with the rest of the Jaguar lineup or its predecessor. This could be the car that carries Jaguar into the modern age and out of the wood-and-leather ghetto.

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Corporate Business

Triumphing During Economic Slowdown

According to MotorTrend, the economic slowdown is actually going to be a benefit for the British car industry. Cardiff Business School car industry guru Professor Garel Rhys is predicting that the falling value of Sterling will make British built cars easier to export, despite the gloomy economic outlook. He said that some 76 per cent of UK car production was for export, and Sterling’s value fall would make these vehicles more profitable, helping to justify inward investment in the UK car industry, notably from emerging economies such as China. The latest UK vehicle investor is Indian industrial combine Tata, which has recently bought Land Rover and Jaguar from Ford. Other investors include the Russian backers of the LDV van making business. He added that the currency value shifts would cut the profitability of imported cars, which currently account for 86 […]

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Aston Martin

Aston Martin GT2

Aston Martin has revealed more shots of its new Vantage GT2. The latest Aston racer was first shown as sketches in January. It also was seen at a test at the Paul Ricard circuit in southern France in March. The Vantage GT2 fills out Aston Martin’s GT lineup, giving it a competitor in each category. Three teams have signed up to drive the Vantage GT2: James Watt Automotive, Drayson-Barwell and Gigawave. The car will make its race debut in the first round of the Le Mans Series on April 5 at Barcelona, Spain. The Vantage GT2 can run on standard fuel or E85 ethanol. It’s based on the V8-powered Vantage road car. Source: AutoWeek

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Aston Martin

Aston Martin Review

A nice write up on the Aston Martin DBS over at Search Chicago Autos. Dan Jedlicka starts out by saying, “Some folks may consider the new $265,000 Aston Martin DBS too gorgeous to drive because it looks more like a million bucks. But the shapely, mechanically advanced DBS coupe is designed to be driven daily, even if it can hit 191 mph with its hand-assembled 510-horsepower V-12 engine, said John Walton, vice president and general manager of Aston Martin North America at a recent media preview of the DBS here.” Read more on the Seach Chicago Autos site.

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Corporate Business

Jaguar Sold

Car giant Ford has sold its luxury UK-based car brands Jaguar and Land Rover to Indian company Tata. Tata, India’s biggest vehicle maker, is paying $2.3bn for the British brands after months of negotiations over price and supply relationships. The irony of one time colonies buying and selling the automotive crown jewels Britain has not gone un-noticed. The negotiations started last June when Ford announced its intention to sell the companies as a package. Jaguar and Land Rover employ about 16,000 staff at UK plants in the West Midlands and Merseyside. Although Land Rover remains profitable, Ford has never managed to make money from its investment in Jaguar. Ford has been forced to sell the two companies in order to concentrate on its loss-making core US car business, which it hopes to turn around in the next two years. It […]

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Corporate Business

Cabinet Replacing Jaguars With Prius?

While I am as green as the next person, or maybe even more so, this just seems wrong on so many levels. The British cabinet is debating replacing their Jaguars with the hybrid Prius. As the Financial Times reports, “Gordon Brown’s cabinet clashed yesterday over whether to replace British-built ministerial cars with Japanese Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles, amid new evidence that the government is failing to live up to its green rhetoric. John Hutton, the business secretary, led the criticism of the plan to import more cars from Japan rather than use traditional British vehicles, saying it sent out a bad signal to domestic manufacturers.” Sad, very sad. You can read the full article at the Financial Times site.

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Corporate Business

Does Jaguar Face Extinction?

Ford is on the verge of selling Jaguar to Indian company Tata after failing to see a return on its investment after nearly 20 years. What caused the British luxury car maker’s decline? When the Ford Motor Company acquired Jaguar in 1989, the American giant was aiming for a slice of the lucrative European luxury-car business – with ambitions to snatch sales from the dominant Germans. Nearly 20 years later, however, Jaguar has yet to post a profit, its sales continue to shrink, and the British brand is about to be offloaded to giant Indian company Tata.

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Classic Cars

Specially Designed Lola Poster

Lola Cars has launched a specially designed 50th Anniversary poster at the Race Retro Show at Stoneleigh (14 to 16 March). The unique double sided A1 glossy poster depicts one Lola car from each of the fifty years, ranging from the first Lola sportcar built – the Mk1, through to the very latest LMP Coupe that will race for the first time in April of this year. The distinguished list of cars featured in the poster illustrates the true diversity of the company’s designs throughout the last From drawing boards to CAD stations, some of the UK’s most talented racecar designers have contributed to Lola’s 50 golden years in motorsport. Leading these talents from 1958 to 1997 was Eric Broadley, the founder of Lola Cars. During Broadley’s time at Lola his pupils included a long list of distinguished car designers […]

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New Cars

720bhp British Ford GT Supercar

The legendary Ford GT super car has been given a makeover and incredible power boost by a British company to form the Avro 720 Mirage limited edition. Brooklands based Avro Motor Cars has teamed up with Ford engine experts Roush to produce just 10 Avro 720 Mirage – with a top speed in excess of 220mph. To achieve this staggering performance Roush has taken out the standard supercharger and fitted the Avro 720 Mirage with a larger, polished version.

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Corporate Business

Jaguar Moving To Exclusivity

Jaguar intends to become a copycat by following Porsche’s sales strategy of selling fewer cars with higher profit margins. The British luxury-car brand has targeted the German sports car maker’s successful business formula after years of losses and underperforming sales under American owner Ford. Jaguar, along with sister company Land Rover, is on the verge of being sold to Indian company Tata, a transition that is unlikely to change plans to abandon the previous (Ford) strategy of chasing big volumes. At the launch of the car maker’s new XF model in Monaco, Jaguar’s design director and senior figurehead Ian Callum said the successor to the S-Type signalled a fresh approach for the brand. “Our aim now as a luxury brand is to aim for about 100,000 units a year, not 200,000 or 300,000,” he said. “That’s about the right size […]

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Corporate Business

Small Land Rover Coming

IT IS not a case of if, but when Land Rover will build its smallest off-roader. The LRX Concept was shown at the Melbourne Motor Show last month and Land Rover flew in its chief designer Julian Thomson for the presentation. He said the four-seater LRX “cross coupe” would go into production in three to four years and would look very similar to the show car. The LRX is smaller than a Freelander and features a rising waistline, no B pillar, a space-age interior with LED lights in the carpet which is made from recycled drink bottles, and it is powered by a hybrid electric/bio-diesel powerplant. “The exterior is close to what we will have in production – the mirrors will have to be bigger – but much of it will go into production,” Thomson said. “Car design is really […]

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Corporate Business

MG Rover Report Taking Too Long

MPs have demanded a government-backed inquiry into the collapse of MG Rover is forced to publish its findings. The independent investigation began in June 2005 but has so far not reported any of its conclusions. In January it was revealed it had cost £11.8m. The Birmingham car maker went bust in April 2005 with the loss of 6,000 jobs. The business and enterprise committee of MPs has called for the findings to be made public, but the government has refused to set inspectors a deadline. The government called in fraud and insolvency specialists to help the official inquiry into the failure of the firm, which was bought by Nanjing Automobile Corporation in July 2005. ‘Community destroyed’ Mid-Worcestershire Conservative MP Peter Luff, who chairs the business and enterprise committee, said the inquiry had taken long enough.

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New Cars

MINI Cooper To The Max

Nice article in the LA Times on the new MINI Cooper Clubman. The article starts of by saying, “It’s my considered opinion that the BMW Mini Cooper is the most successful car design of the last 20 years. What can touch it? Here’s a car that puts a spearmint thrill through you every time you turn the key, a larking, capering, glass-and-steel nymph that nicks past other traffic like it’s mired in molasses. On top of the giddy charge of merely wheeling the thing, you’ve got this utterly charismatic styling, a po-mo masterpiece, a rolling tribute to the iconic Mini (1959 to 2000) designed by Alec Issigonis and built by the British Motor Corp. That’s Sir Alec to you, you peon.” For the rest of the story, got to the LA Times.

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New Cars

Lightning GT: All Electric Sports Car

In June 2007, The Lightning Car Company announced its intent to develop electric technology for a luxury British sports car – the Lightning GT. Today sees the unveiling of its evolutionary design. This super car with its outstanding presence & performance is set to put British sports car innovation well and truly back on the map. Designed to accommodate the latest battery and motor technology and reflect its 100% electric power and performance, the electric Lightning prototype is being hand-built by a small team of passionate British engineers, designers and collaborators. Whilst the rest of the automotive world engages in the hybrid, hydrogen or electric debate, the Lightning Car Company firmly believes its 100% Electric Lightning GT will help kick start the market for performance EV’s. Without a significant positive shift in perception, electric motoring will remain a huge compromise […]

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Auctions & Sales

$44,000 For A TR-4?

Ok, I know things have been going up in price and that Triumphs have really been undervalued for a very long time, but $44,000 for a TR-4A really is a lot of money. This one was beautiful though, with surrey top and everything. Check out the full story here at Autoweek, and please let me know what you think!

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Aston Martin

British GT Entries Revealed

An entry list of 27 cars has been revealed for the 2008 Avon Tyres British GT Championship featuring 19 cars in GT3 and eight in the new GT4 class. Defending champions RPM will run two cars in the GT3 class and also expand into GT4 with a further three cars. Former BTCC race-winner Paul O’Neill will partner Steve Clark in the #1 entry while Nick Foster will be partnered by experienced youngster Oliver Bryant in the sister car. In GT4, the team will run three Ginetta G50s for the pairings of Steve Tandy/Phil Bailey, Joe Osbourne/Michael Broadhurst and Chris Cooke/James Harrison.

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Corporate Business

Vauxhall Redesign of Griffin Badge

Vauxhall is overhauling the design of its famous Griffin badge and will give the new logo a much bigger presence on the face of all its new models, starting with this summer’s redesigned Insignia, the Vectra replacement. The Griffin badge currently shares space on the nose of Vauxhall’s models with a chrome V-shaped finisher, which will remain a feature on the nose of models. But the redesigned Griffin will be the dominant identity on the nose of the Insignia, with other models getting the new badge as they are facelifted or replaced. “Time has come for the Griffin badge to get an update, just as our new model range needs,” says a Vauxhall source. The move will bring Vauxhall more in line with German sister-company Opel, whose circular badge crossed with a zig-zag dominates the front of its versions of […]