Wednesday, April 30, 2008

[rF] Honda Barcelona 2008

Daimler to become new key shareholder in Tognum


Daimler AG to acquire 22.3% equity interest from EQT
Daimler to participate in growth potential: protection of
long-term supply relations between Daimler and Tognum
Blocking minority stake targeted

Stuttgart, Apr 30, 2008 - Daimler AG aims to acquire EQT�s 22.3% equity interest in Tognum AG and has entered into an agreement in this matter. The proposal on this matter has been approved by the Supervisory Board of Daimler AG today. Thanks to the optimized shareholder structure and the initial public offering in 2007, Tognum AG has become a globally leading producer of off-highway engines with above-average operating margins. As EQT indicated its willingness to sell its stake in Tognum, Daimler will now be able to protect its long-term supply relations with Tognum by taking over this equity interest.

The price per share is �20.00. On this basis, the purchase price would be approximately �585 million, making Daimler the largest shareholder in Tognum.
Daimler has also arranged to acquire an additional nearly 1% of the shares in Tognum.
In the short to medium term, Daimler aims to acquire a blocking minority stake in Tognum. As a consequence of the equity interest, Daimler will appoint two of the members of the Supervisory Board of Tognum in the future.
The former Daimler AG disposed of its off-highway activities at the end of 2005 because the company then faced numerous operational challenges and was about to consolidate its operations. This led to a focus on the core business, and Daimler therefore did not want to make the substantial investment required to improve Tognum�s competitiveness.

Daimler and Tognum continued their traditionally intensive cooperation also after the sale of Tognum. For example, the Mercedes-Benz plant in Mannheim supplied more than 17,000 diesel engines and the Detroit Diesel Corporation plant in Detroit more than 5,000 diesel engines to Tognum in 2007. They are used for example in agricultural machinery, industrial applications such as cranes, pumps or snow cats, marine applications, as well as in power generation systems. In particular, volumes in the fast-growing worldwide industrial-agricultural market are to be further expanded in the future, thus also making a contribution to the long-term supply with engines from Daimler.

Tognum generates annual revenue of more than �300 million from sales of engines from Daimler and an additional �160 million from sales of drive shafts to Daimler.
Furthermore, Daimler and Tognum are currently discussing the possible future supply of Daimler�s new and technologically leading medium-duty engine generation (MDEG) in the power segment below MTU�s future new engine Series 1600.
Tognum today is one of the world�s leading suppliers of off-highway engines whose profitability could be improved significantly in recent years. In 2007, revenue increased by 12% compared with the prior year to �2.8 billion and adjusted EBIT rose by 26% to �390 million. Adjusted return on sales increased to more than 14% in 2007.
The transaction is to be completed in the third quarter of 2008 at the latest, after receiving the approval of antitrust and other authorities.

About Daimler

Daimler AG, Stuttgart, with its businesses Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler Trucks, Daimler Financial Services, Mercedes-Benz Vans and Daimler Buses, is a globally leading producer of premium passenger cars and the largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles in the world. The Daimler Financial Services division has a broad offering of financial services, including vehicle financing, leasing, insurance and fleet management. Daimler sells its products in nearly all the countries of the world and has production facilities on five continents. The company�s founders, Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz, continued to make automotive history following their invention of the automobile in 1886. As an automotive pioneer, Daimler and its employees willingly accept an obligation to act responsibly towards society and the environment and to shape the future of safe and sustainable mobility with groundbreaking technologies and high-quality products. The current brand portfolio includes the world�s most valuable automobile brand, Mercedes-Benz, as well as smart, AMG, Maybach, Freightliner, Sterling, Western Star, Mitsubishi Fuso, Setra, Orion and Thomas Built Buses. The company is listed on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt, New York and Stuttgart (stock exchange abbreviation DAI). In 2007, the Group sold 2.1 million vehicles and employed a workforce of over 270,000 people; revenue totaled �99.4 billion and EBIT amounted to �8.7 billion. Daimler is an automotive Group with a commitment to excellence, and aims to achieve sustainable growth and industry-leading profitability.

Copyright � 2008, car-evolutioncars. All rights reserved.

Formula One's billion dollar men

LONDON, England (CNN) -- They are an eclectic bunch with two things in common: their wealth and love for Formula One.

While the drivers take centre stage these men sit back and pull the strings, building the sport's reach and helping maintain its reputation for consuming and generating large sums of cash.

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone is the leader of the pack, turning the sport into a global brand through his control of television rights and watching his fortune surge to $4.8 billion as a result.

The self-made Ecclestone left school aged 16 and initially went to work at a gasworks. However he began trading motorcycle parts, building the business into one of Britain's biggest motorcycle dealers.

He first dipped his toe into Formula One in the late 1950s, buying the Connaught team. However, after leaving the sport twice, his real immersion began with the purchase of Brabham in 1972.

In 1974 he helped form the Formula One Contructors' Association (FOCA) and a year later led the group in a battle with the FIA, the sport's governing body, to win a new entry and appearance fee system.

The groups wrestled for commercial control of the sport until 1981, when FOCA won the rights to negotiate television contracts.

Fortunately, for Ecclestone, the teams allowed him to form his own company (Formula One Promotions and Administration) to manage their sale. TV revenues were split, with 47 percent going to the teams, 30 percent to the FIA and 23 percent to Ecclestone's company, which contributed the prize money for races.

Control of the rights shuffled between the trio until 1997, when Ecclestone's company, Formula One Management, won out in return for an annual payment.

Ecclestone, who has homes across Europe, netted $3.8 billion in 1999 from a bond issue and the sale of 75% of the business a year later, according to the UK's Sunday Times newspaper.

That sum was put into to Jersey-based trusts controlled by his wife Slavica, 49. Ecclestone gives about �50m a year to charity, the newspaper said.

Like Ecclestone, Dietrich Mateschitz, the owner of the Red Bull and Scuderia Toro Rosso teams, has combined a canny business sense with a strong eye for marketing to generate his $4 billion fortune.

The Austrian's first job was for global manufacturing giant Unilever. However, while working for Blendax, a German cosmetics company, he met Thai Chaleo Yoovidhya and discovered the drink that would later become Red Bull.

The pair launched the drink in 1987, with global sales now more than $4 billion.

Mateschitz, who rarely drinks, does not smoke and holds a pilot's licence, now focuses on other interests including a magazine and Hangar-7, the event center, at Salzburg airport which houses his historic aircraft collection.

Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya has also made his money with drink -- Kingfisher beer.

Mallya, the diamond earring-wearing owner of F1 debutants Force India, has been dubbed the 'King of Good Times' after a series of high-profile launches and lavish parties.

He inherited the family company aged 27, streamlining the operation and founding the Kingfisher brand, a cornerstone of holding company United Breweries' $5 billion worth.

Mallya pushed his father to give him seed money to launch Kingfisher after a chance find.

"When I was straight out of high school, and I went to my graduation, I was actually working as well. That's when, while going through the archive of United Breweries ... I stumbled across this label of Kingfisher beer that had been launched in the 1850s but was no longer in production.

"And something excited me about Kingfisher, you know, the bird. I saw color, I saw vibrancy, I saw movement, I saw a lot of cheekiness," Mallya said.

Cheeky and charming are two qualities Renault boss Flavio Briatore � has in spades.

Briatore, who is worth $150 million, has made an art form out of living the high life.

While not a billionaire, the Italian entrepreneur and serial supermodel dater has turned his knowledge of the super rich into a profitable brand.

Briatore's marquee project is the Billionaire Club, an exclusive night spot perched on the Italian island of Sardinia. The 2,250-sqaure meter discotheque is a magnet for celebrities and the uber wealthy.

He got involved in Formula One after Benetton, the Italian clothing empire he had been working for in the U.S., bought a struggling F1 team in 1985 and made him the marketing director.

Briatore, who knew nothing about the sport, quickly realized it was an excellent match for the clothing brand, and attracted a host of beautiful people to the paddock.

The move helped increase coverage of the sport outside motoring circles, leading to sponsorship deals with corporates that covered most of the team's costs.

One of his brightest moves, after advice from Ecclestone, was signing future seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher.

The German would go on to be one of the world's wealthiest sportsmen, with an estimated worth of more than a $1 billion.

Schumacher was the first driver to win personal sponsors after Ferrari, his last team, allowed him to sign a $10m annual deal with a German bank to place its logo on his cap.

He also actively pursued the development of his own retail range, which included caps -- he sold hundreds of thousands at $30 a pop -- and even a branded vacuum cleaner. This was in addition to his estimated $40 million annual salary.

Despite retiring Schumacher continues to test drive for Ferrari, and recent reports have suggested a movie about his life is in the offing.

McLaren team principal Ron Dennis has been a dominant force behind the scenes in F1 for nearly three decades.

He joined Cooper Racing in 1966 and in 1968 was appointed Sir Jack Brabham's chief mechanic. Three years later he launched his own company, Rondel Racing, and then in 1980 his Project Four business was merged with Team McLaren to form McLaren Racing.

He has barely looked back since, growing McLaren into a series of diversified businesses with a combined turnover worth hundreds of millions. He has a $150 million stake in McLaren and is worth an estimated $220 million.

Like Dennis, Sir Frank Williams is practically a piece of F1's furniture. Worth an estimated $158 million, the Briton formed his first racing team in 1966, competing in Formula Two and Three.

In 1977 he formed the team known today as Williams, beating early funding issues and a 1986 car crash that left him wheelchair bound to create an enterprise with a turnover around $150 million.

Getting into gear: The transmission

The engine�s power is fed to the rear wheels via a gearbox. This gearbox must have a minimum of four forward gears and a maximum of seven gears (although everyone opts for either six- or seven-speeds). A reverse gear must be fitted. The gearbox is connected to a differential � a mechanical device that determines how the power is split between the inner and outer wheels. Driveshafts take the power from the differential to the wheels. These principles are exactly as in almost every car in the world. But the detail is very different.

Although the system of cogs and shafts are like a conventional manual gearbox, the gears are selected not by a conventional mechanical linkage but by hydraulic pressure actuated by electronic control. Although the driver can change the gears, usually the gears are selected automatically, controlled by the electronic brain of the engine. This system saves time (electronically controlled shifts take less time than manual shifts), increases safety (the driver can have both hands on the wheel at all times), and helps the car aerodynamically (the cockpit can be narrower because it doesn�t have to include a gear lever). A very fast manual upchange using the old mechanical system used to take around 0.1 seconds, during which time the car would lose about 2 mph because of the high aerodynamic drag and engine compression of the car. The electronically controlled shifts take only around 0.02 seconds.

The differentials can be tuned to alter the handling characteristics of the car. These too are electro-hydraulically controlled and have sensors measuring the torque being fed to each driveshaft. The traction control system, which cuts the power when wheelspin is detected

How thirsty is a Formula One engine?

We can take it as read that the drivers use their engines to the max (if not, then they�ll soon be out of Formula One employment). But, within this accepted premise that drivers push their engines to the limit, the fuel mileage of a Formula One car can still vary considerably. What kind of mileage a Formula One car gets depends upon a couple of things:
  • The nature of the track: A track that requires a lot of braking from high speed down to slow � and lots of accelerations back up again � makes the cars consume more fuel than does a track with a more flowing nature, where speeds are more constant. Also tracks with lots of corners make the cars run more downforce through altering the settings of their wings. This costs aerodynamic drag on the straight, and that hurts fuel consumption.
  • The engine settings: The team can alter the fuel/ignition settings from the pits via telemetry. Sometimes they do this to help a driver eke out an extra lap or so before a pit stop; sometimes they make changes just to play it safe when a driver�s race position is under no threat.
Given these qualifications, we can say that the fuel consumption of a Formula One car typically varies from around 3.5 mpg (miles per gallon) up to around 4.3 mpg.


The Majors Packs were introduced as a new series in 1957 as a companion to the 1-75 series in a larger scale. As the King Size series was introduced three years later, the Major Packs were slowly fade out and some were merged into the King-Size range. By 1967, the series had ended.

The first vehicle in the Major Pack series was the Caterpillar DW20 Earth Scraper. It was to be one of 15 vehicles in the line. The underside of the tractor was marked "Made in England No.1 by Lesney" and the sides were marked with "CAT DW20". This line of Major Pack vehicles was the forerunner of the King and Super King range.


Matchbox Models of Yesteryear Y-9 1924 Fowler "Big Lion" Showman Engine. Very few of Y9-1 Showman's Engines were produced with strange purple effect. Normally the body colour of this model varies from deep maroon to bright red.

E 63 AMG spotted

A photographer has recently caught a beautiful still picture of the next generation E 63 AMG. Under the heavy camouflage, we can barely distinguish any lines, but overall, we can say the car will have a very muscular presence, judging by the massive 'shoulders' and hood.

Copyright � 2008, car-evolutioncars. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ford Ka

The Ford Ka lives for the moment. With its unmistakable styling, superb driving dynamics and a catch-me-if-you-can attitude, this is a small car with big ideas. If you�re looking for more power, there�s Ford Sportka SE with its aggressive styling and feisty 1.6-litre engine. Whatever you�re into, the Ford Ka wants to be part of the action.


Ford Ka is proof that good things really do come in small packages. There�s just something about it; that curvaceous body, the sculpted headlights, those distinctive bumpers and that unmistakable zest for life. The Ford Ka was made to get noticed and so you always reach your destination in style.

Now you can make an even bigger statement with Ka-ligraphy, a range of vibrant exterior vinyl graphics which complement the cute curves of the loveable Ka.


Because life�s about seizing every opportunity � and creating some fantastic memories, flexible 50/50 split rear seats and a handy glovebox mean you can bring whatever you need for your latest adventure. And with a comfortable and stylish interior you�ll never fail to make a statement.

Video;New Mercedes GLK

When the Mercedes GLK was launched at this year's Beijing Motor Show there was very little left to the imagination as we had already seen the pre production Freeside and Townside concepts at the Detroit Motor Show back in January. But the area of imagination is where the Mercedes designers have been found lacking, with a rather uninspiring design which falls well short of the innovation expected in the premium SUV sector.

"Hey guys, the boss says we need to make something to compete with the X3! -Really? I'm so lazy today. Ok give me 5 minutes and a ruler, I will work something out." commented WCF reader Afterace2.'

Fortunately the German manufacturer has at least popped in a few of its recently developed technologies including 4MATIC all-wheel-drive, Agility Control suspension, Intelligent Light System, PRE-SAFE and 7G-TRONIC transmission. Power units range from the 170 hp 2.2-liter four cylinder engine up to the top of the range 3.5-liter V6 pumping out 272hp.

Check out the video for driving footage of the all new GLK.

Source: Mercedes

Venturi Fetish with the new VM300 engine ...

The Venturi Fetish was first shown at the 2004 Paris Motor Show and will go into production this year, but Venturi first wanted to give the Euro 100,000 electric sports car an upgraded engine. This engine is called the VM 300 and produces 300 hp (220 kW) with 380 Nm of torque while weighing just 35 kg.

The Venturi Fetish was designed by Sacha Lakic and will be entering the newly established electric premium segment with the Fisker Karma and Tesla Roadster.

The 2009 Venturi Fetish with the new VM300 engine will be presented at the upcoming 2008 Paris Motor Show this October for those who have missed it at the elite Top Marques show in Monaco last weekend.

Source: Venturi

Opel Corsa OPC by Steinmetz

Steinmetz presents/displays a preparation to us for Opel Corsa OPC, the Corsa more powerful than is sold at the present time and that is from most attractive in its segment and category by his fit price, benefits and design.

The preparation of Steinmetz consists, in the first place, of kit the aerodynamic, that consists of elements like a new one and guessed right frontal grill, followed of a spoiler located in the inferior part of paragolpes front and divided in two parts, new range of alloy rims that are offered in diverse sizes - from 16 to 19 inches -, among others.

In the mechanical section, it still more receives a reduction of 30 mm in the suspension, leaving it under which the one of series, in addition to an involution in its small supercharged motor 1,6 of 192 CV with a turbocompressor, that thanks to the preparation happens to count on 202 CV, that is to say, 10 CV extra, but Steinmetz has not at the moment revealed the improvement in the benefits that implies. Finally, we were the new escapes located in the back diffuser, that are those that contributes to the increase of power.

In general, this preparation still more improves the one of by aesthetic exceptional himself of Corsa OPC, the only failure (to look for some to him), would be the positioning of the later escapes in the back diffuser, that cause that that zone is recharged too much.
Source: Steinmetz

Related entries:
Opel Corsa OPC in Depth
Opel Corsa OPC Sets Circuit Record on N�rburgring

Bentley Apprentices Win Spirit of Greenpower

The only green usually associated with Bentley other than the color is the amount you have to spend to own and operate one. However there are some within Bentley who are working on cars that don't necessarily represent conspicuous consumption. A team of young apprentices working for Bentley took part in the GreenPower Corporate Challenge over the weekend and won the "Spirit of GreenPower" award with their Continental DC. The Continental DC doesn't have the typical wood and leather interior associated with the brand, but instead is a minimalist single-seater running on battery power. The GreenPower challenge is a electric vehicle competition for British high school students that is in its tenth year. For the Corporate Challenge, company teams had the opportunity to take on the top 15 student teams from the regular GreenPower series.

The victorious Continental DC features a snug carbon fiber body that encloses a 240 W, 24V wheel chair motor and a pair of 12V lead acid batteries. The little racer has a top speed of 40mph. Maneuvering in a parking lot could be problematic with its 63ft turning circle. Of course with its 265lb mass you could just pick it up and turn it around. The team had some technical issues in the first part of the four race but persevered to win their award. They will go on to compete in the F24+ series this season.

[Source: Bentley]
Bentley Racing Green

28 April, 2008

Crewe, Monday 28th April 2008... A Bentley Motors apprentice team has won a special "Spirit of Greenpower" award for its performance in the Greenpower Corporate Challenge which took place at Goodwood race circuit yesterday. The Bentley apprentice team designed, engineered and built the electric powered car which they entered into the Greenpower Challenge as well as a season of "F24+" racing. The Bentley Greenpower car is called Continental DC (Direct Current) and runs off a 24-volt motor supplied by two 12-volt batteries. Designed for lightness and maximum power efficiency the one-seater Continental DC has a carbon fibre chassis and low resistance tyres.

Greenpower is a series of events which aims to promote greater interest in young people to follow careers in the fields of engineering and technology. The 2008 Greenpower corporate challenge held yesterday was the first race of the season. 25 teams entered, comprising 15 school entries and 10 company teams. The Bentley team achieved their goal of completing the four hour race, despite some technical difficulties in the first section. The award was given in recognition of their excellent team spirit which they showed in overcoming these initial technical challenges. The F24+ season consists of eight 90-minute endurance race events which will culminate in a grand final at Goodwood in October. Race tracks on the F24+ schedule include Dunsfold, Rockingham, Croft and Aintree.

The Bentley Motors team is composed of nine of the company's apprentices who are all following a three or four year apprenticeship scheme at the factory in Crewe. Margaret Cheshire, Head of People and Organisational Development at Bentley Motors said, "It's fantastic that the apprentices are not only gaining the technical skills associated with building a car but are also increasing their knowledge of other areas of the business such as finance, purchasing and public relations." She continued, "It's all about giving the individuals knowledge and expertise to be successful in their future careers after the completion of the Bentley apprenticeship programme."

Having taken the initiative themselves to compete in the Greenpower challenge the apprentices have devoted weekends and evenings for the past ten months taking full responsibility for all aspects of the car's development. Three team members acted as drivers on race day, the rest of the team provided essential back-up support in the pits.

Tom Hodgson, Greenpower team manager added, "In building the car we pooled the expertise and resources from across the business to produce a project of which we're all proud. Having completed our first race we now know what we have to do to be successful for the rest of the 2008 Greenpower season. The experience of developing a project from idea to race-day was exhilarating. It was also hugely satisfying to see the positive support from sponsors keen to help the Bentley team".

Technical highlights of the Bentley Greenpower car

- Its 24v Motor delivers 0.5bhp and 5.1 lb ft (7Nm):
- Top speed of 40mph (64km/h).
- Zero CO2 emissions.
- Chassis & design:
o Fixed carbon fibre suspension wishbones for maximum strength and minimum weight.
o Excellent roadholding and superior grip from unique 1x16" carbon fibre wheels with bespoke Michelin low resistance tyres.
o Rear grille matrix in chrome finish.
o Bentley Hide/Alcantara trimmed interior
o Specially built ECU to control motor/transmission

More information on the project is available at


MODEL TYPE Single Seater

Type 24v Wheelchair motor (Regulation)
Installation Transversely mounted, One-wheel drive
Power 240 Watt
Torque 7 Nm
Fuel Source 2 x 12 v Lead Acid Batterys

Type Continuous one-wheel drive
Gearbox Nuvinci CVP
Ratios Infinitely variable between 0.5 under and 1.75 overdrive

Top speed 40mph (64km/h).

Front Single wishbone rigid suspension
Rear Single wishbone rigid suspension

Type Rack & pinion,
Turns lock to lock 1
Turning circle (kerb to kerb) 19.2m

Rear 160mm ventilated disc (to single wheel)
Anti lock In development!

Construction Carbon Fibre monocoque
Length 1420mm
Width (inc. mirrors) 1000mm (82.76in)
Weight 120 Kg
Height 500mm
Wheelbase 1300mm
Front track 1000mm
Rear track 1000mm
Wheels Custom made 16" carbon fibre

Tyres Michelin Eco-Marathon specials

Fuel consumption 2 hours per battery set
Carbon dioxide emissions 0g/km

EXTERIOR FEATURES Bright chromed grille
Bentley Wheel Badge

INTERIOR FEATURES Trimmed Steering wheel, Seat and dashboard, Touch screen driver information panel in development

Tom Hodgson
Bentley Test & Development Engineering Apprentice
Greenpower Project Manager

Andrew Conneely
Bentley Whole Vehicle Engineering Sponsored Degree Apprentice
Greenpower Design of steering and suspension components

Martyn Brookes
Bentley Prototype Workshop and Test Facility Apprentice
Greenpower Chassis, Design & Electrical.

Ellis Dawson
Bentley Apprentice Analyst Programmer
Greenpower Team Marketing, Website, data logging and telemetry.

Annabelle Gibson
Bentley Commercial Apprentice
Greenpower Contact for sponsors.

Charlotte Watling
Bentley Electrical Engineering Apprentice
Greenpower Electrical design & Production and driver.

Hannah Proffitt
Bentley Body Hardware Engineering Sponsored Degree Apprentice
Greenpower Interior trim, Steering and driver.

Laura Taylor
Bentley Trim Development Apprentice
Greenpower Seat design and manufacture.

Paul Johnson
Bentley Manufacturing maintenance Apprentice
Greenpower Data logging and telemetry

Tony Dron tests the new Volkswagen Passat CC

If you thought the VW Passat saloon was just a bit, well, worthy, then the new Passat CC is a stylish and luxurious alternative. Assuming you require neither Pickfords' carrying capacity nor a family bus, then this "upper mid-range segment coup�" might not be an Audi, a BMW, or a Mercedes-Benz but it is a very stylish temptation. Its makers evidently hope that it will be seen as a poor man's Mercedes-Benz CLS. Although the CC name might suggest a metal-topped convertible, in this application it actually stands for "Comfort Coup�", so note first that the roof does not open.

This new version of the Passat has the right image and the right price range, but be wary of VW's claim that it offers space without compromise: anybody sitting in the back who is much over 6ft tall will find their head touching the roof. This is a bit unfortunate as the Passat CC is strictly a four-seater luxury car and is fitted inside with different seats and more costly materials than you'll find in the saloon. It is a genuine luxury car and quite a large one at that, 15ft 9in long yet only 4ft 9in high, with generous legroom and a surprisingly voluminous boot, albeit with a small opening. It may be based on the Passat saloon's platform but the CC is longer, wider and the body stands a full couple of inches lower.

It's no surprise to see VW producing a superlative expression of the latest automotive technology. In fact, we expect nothing less and the Passat CC offers sophisticated adaptive chassis control. It's also the first VW with "lane assist", to help keep dozy drivers from wandering off the road.

From July, when Passat CCs start arriving here, there will be a choice between two petrol engines and one diesel. The cheapest model, from �21,000, is the CC TSI, front-wheel drive and powered by the smallest petrol engine, a 1.8-litre turbo producing 158bhp. Lively, smooth and quiet, this new engine is remarkably efficient, giving a top speed of 138mph, 0-62mph in 8.6 seconds and returning a very acceptable EC Combined fuel consumption figure of 37.2mpg, with CO2 emissions at 180g/km.

Early models also include a front-wheel drive, two-litre turbodiesel, whose impressively smooth engine gives 138bhp, which is sure to be the most popular choice because of its long-term cost. Later on there will be another petrol engine, with 197bhp, and a second diesel with 168bhp.

The range-topper, available from the start and the one that VW must hope will steal some sales from the rich boys' showrooms, is a very different machine. With an on-the-road starting price likely to be �31,120, the Passat CC V6 4Motion is packed with every technical marvel you could think of, including four-wheel drive, adaptive chassis control and a DSG gearbox as standard. With 296bhp on tap, its 3.6-litre V6 engine delivers the high performance expected. This is a very quick car - its top speed is electronically limited to 155mph - and on paper it does appear to take on far more costly rivals. Its sophisticated all-wheel drive and stability systems do all the right things to keep it safe and controllable but, driving it, I could not escape the feeling that VW has tried a bit too hard here.

This is another fast, technically brilliant machine, but it is heavy and I felt that the concept might be a touch overblown. I was occasionally conscious of the sound of all that sophisticated machinery driving it along, in a way I never am with, say, an Audi or a Mercedes-Benz, but then those cars do cost a lot more. VW tends not to make marketing mistakes these days and the company seems quietly confident of its ability to satisfy a niche or two with the Passat CC range.

When it comes to driving pleasure, however, I found the cheapest Passat CC, the 1.8-litre petrol, the most enjoyable of the lot. It felt lighter in every way, the new engine was smooth and very willing and it never seemed like a slow car. A top speed of 138mph cannot be regarded as remotely inadequate, surely? VW's four-cylinder engines, petrol or diesel, are all excellent now. They can be found in the cheaper Audis, too, where they seem that bit quieter, but there isn't much in it.

For all its sporting looks, the Passat CC does not rival BMW in driver appeal. There's a touch too much understeer for that and the CC can best be described as supremely competent. Volkswagen calls it a "Comfort Coup�", after all, and that's exactly what it is. With the choice of comfort, normal and sport modes, however, its behaviour can be altered and, to be fair, it feels noticeably firmer and sharper when the damping is set for sport.

The most intriguing new gadget is the optional "lane assist". When engaged, this comes into play at 40mph and above. It disengages when the indicators are used or the speed drops below 37mph. What happens when you let the car drift off its lane? Very gently, reacting to signals from a camera, you can feel the steering easing the car back on line. Although we tried it only in sunshine, it should also work in bad weather and at night. It's effective, but it doesn't take over the driving completely, not yet anyway. If you let it carry on, it will wander from side to side three times before emitting a warning noise and flashing a sign telling you to take proper control. Quite right, too. I can't help feeling that anyone who really needs this sort of help shouldn't be driving at all. More useful is the optional "park assist" which will guide you into a parking space (as long as it's big enough), with you working the pedals.

Does the Passat CC make the grade? Probably, thanks largely to its very stylish looks. The neighbours will be impressed, no doubt about that, and they might also be astonished to see that it carries VW Passat badges.

Volkswagen Passat CC

Price/availability: 1.8 TSI from �21,000, 2.0 TDI from �21,870, V6 4Motion from �31,120. On sale from May, 2008; deliveries commencing in July.

Engines/transmissions: 1.8 TSI: 1,798cc turbo petrol in-line four-cylinder, 16-valve DOHC; 158bhp at 5,000rpm, 184lb ft of torque at 1,500rpm. 2.0 TDI: 1,968cc turbo diesel in-line four-cylinder, 16-valve DOHC; 138bhp at 4,200rpm, 236lb ft of torque at 1,500rpm. V6 4Motion: 3,597cc petrol V6; 296bhp at 6,600rpm, 258lb ft of torque at 2,400rpm. 1.8 TSI and 2.0TDI: six-speed manual; seven-speed DSG optional. 4x4. V6 4Motion: six-speed DSG. Four-wheel drive.

Performance: 1.8 TSI: top speed 138mph, 0-62mph in 8.6 seconds, EU Urban fuel consumption 27.1mpg, CO2 emissions 180g/km. 2.0 TDI: 132mph, 9.8sec, 37.6mpg, 153g/km. V6 4Motion: limited to 155mph, 5.6sec, 18.7mpg, 242g/km.

We like:Stylish looks with convincing feeling of luxury, good legroom in rear for this class, adaptive chassis control and loads of technical goodies.

We don't like Not quite as sporting to drive as its looks suggest, visibility slightly difficult when reversing, restricted headroom in rear, noisy mechanicals in the V6 model.

Alternatives: Alfa Romeo 159, from �18,555. BMW 3-series, from �24,145. Mercedes-Benz CSL, from �43,962.

Related entries:
Volkswagen Passat CC Four-Door Coupe Revealed
Volkswagen's Passat Coupe Spied Again

Turn Your Cadillac CTS into a Convertible

The Cadillac CTS sedan has enjoyed a fair amount of success since it was launched last fall and this could well continue in the form of the top of the line 550hp CTS-V which will hit dealers later this year. Lets also not forget the coupe variant currently under development derived from the awesome CT Coupe concept.

But obviously the line up is missing an open top variant, this is where conversion specialists Coach Builders Ltd come in with their version of the CTS Convertible. The design has just been completed and orders are now being taken at a whopping $19,000.

The convertible kit does not have a roll bar and features an acrylic polyester cloth hydraulic top in a number of colors, a padded roof and exterior fabric for sound and temperature insulation, it takes about eight weeks to complete.

Source: InsideLine

Related entries:
Cadillac CTS Coupe and Wagon
2009 Cadillac CTS-V Debuts at NAIAS
Cadillac CTS-V Promo Video
2009 Cadillac CTS-V revealed
Leaked: 2009 Cadillac CTS-V

4x4 Mercedes

Photo from Dark Roasted Blend World's Strangest Vehicles

The only reason this Wacky 4x4 Mercedes car is on here is because It's so darn funny, and because its my blog and I have always thought it would be crazy to do that to a Mercedes. So here it is.

10th Anniversary of Mercedes-Benz Customer Center in Bremen


Ceremony with Bremen Mayor Jens B�hrnsen and Mercedes-Benz Director of Passenger Car Sales Germany Peter K�spert
Mayor Jens B�hrnsen: �The Mercedes-Benz Customer Center strengthens Bremen�s position as an attractive city for tourism and special events.�
Plant Manager Peter Schabert: "The Customer Center is a window on the plant, and at the same time it creates a link to the city and the region."
Berta Benz available as travel companion with historic patented motorcar

Bremen, Apr 28, 2008 - Today, the Mercedes-Benz Customer Center Bremen will mark its tenth year with an anniversary celebration. It was opened on April 27, 1998, after a construction period of 15 months. The imposing glass structure was the third customer center in a Mercedes-Benz passenger car plant, following Sindelfingen and Rastatt. Every day, about 140 customers pick up their new cars here, and roughly 100,000 visitors experience the Mercedes-Benz brand at the site every year.

On April 27, 1998, the Mercedes-Benz Customer Center was opened at the Bremen plant. Today, ten years later - almost exactly to the day - 400 invited guests, including Bremen Mayor Jens B�hrnsen, will gather here to celebrate the tenth anniversary. Plant Manager Peter Schabert comments: �In our Customer Center, people can experience the Mercedes-Benz brand at first hand. For customers and visitors, it�s a window on the plant, and at the same time it creates a link to the city and the region as a whole.�

Peter K�spert, a member of the management team at the Mercedes-Benz Sales Organization Germany and responsible for sales for Mercedes-Benz Cars, underscores the Customer Center�s role for building brand loyalty: �Our Customer Centers are a crucial part of the brand strategy of Mercedes-Benz. Our company recognized the importance of direct contact between the customers and the plant very early on.� The Sindelfingen Customer Center was built in 1981, replacing a car delivery office that had been there since the 1950s. In 1997, the Mercedes-Benz Customer Center in Rastatt was opened, followed half a year later by the Customer Center in Bremen.

�The site of production is the best place to generate enthusiasm for the Mercedes star and the Mercedes-Benz brand,� K�spert adds. �And if you experience the brand and the people behind it at first hand, you have a much more emotional bond with the brand and the product.�
In January 1997, development began on the site at the northern edge of the �Holter Feld� area, on a piece of land the company had purchased in the late 1970s for the purpose of expanding the plant. The impressive edifice of steel and glass was built in only 15 months at a cost of �18.5 million. The main hall, which is more than nine meters high, is covered by a wave-shaped aluminum roof that modulates the austerity of the large structure. A sweeping, single-story section of the building shaped like the quadrant of a circle extends beneath and beyond it, framing a lake specially created for the Customer Center and welcoming customers and visitors as though with open arms.

Fourfold brand experience

Inside the building, customers and visitors can enjoy a variety of activities related to the Mercedes-Benz brand. Doris Heitkamp-K�nig manages the Customer Center with a staff of 73 employees. �Our approach for giving customers an experience of the brand is based on four pillars: vehicle pick-up, support for groups of visitors, the events, and the exclusive product consultation,� says Heitkamp-K�nig.
About 140 customers arrive every day to pick up cars, often in the company of family and friends. Mostly, they drive away in cars built at the plant, in other words, the C, CLK, SLK and SL-Class. But if the customer chooses, any other Mercedes-Benz passenger car can be delivered and picked up here as well.

The Customer Center also offers plant tours, which are very popular. �We want to give customers and visitors a clear idea of the production processes and show them how a Mercedes-Benz is created,� says Plant Manager Schabert. �We offer hands-on quality, innovation, and high-tech.� Last year, 510 groups with 11,100 guests visited the Customer Center just to take these tours. Many of them combine the trip with a visit to the city of Bremen.
�The Mercedes-Benz Customer Center attracts many visitors. That�s a welcome development to the Bremen senate too, because it underscores and strengthens Bremen�s position as an attractive city for tourism and special events. One thing I find especially impressive is the fact that a remarkable note has been struck with the architecture too. There are many reasons to offer our warmest thanks,� says Mayor B�hrnsen.

The Bremen Customer Center has become an established venue for business conferences and evening activities, too. On average, more than one event per week takes place there.
On the other hand, the automotive customer is the sole focus of the exclusive consultations involving the customization packages designo, Mercedes-Benz Guard, and AMG. In these discussions, customers can get expert advice on highly personalized and exclusive equipment options for their new Mercedes-Benz cars, based on samples of material and paints.

Berta Benz available as travel companion with historic patented motorcar

To mark the anniversary, the Customer Center will host the Benz patented motorcar - complete with an actress portraying Berta Benz - until April 30. After all, this year is also a centenary of the first �long-distance trip� by Berta Benz, the wife of Karl Benz. In 1888, she drove the roughly 100-kilometer-long route from Mannheim to Pforzheim together with her two sons and thus proved that the first gasoline-powered car in the world was fit for extended travel.
The current exhibit in the Customer Center likewise deals with a historical theme, namely, the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. Until mid-July, visitors will find selected museum exhibits replicated accurately in every detail, as well as all manner of valuable, interesting information and curiosities from over 100 years of automotive history.

More information about the Mercedes-Benz Customer Center in Bremen is available on the Internet at:

Copyright � 2008, car-evolutioncars. All rights reserved.

Leaked photos:2009 BRABUS SL

2 photos showcasing the upcoming 2009 BRABUS SL were prematurely leaked on the internet today. As we don't have any information about the car itself apart from the pics, I think it would be unfair to start speculations about the technical capabilities of the supercar. Maybe waiting for the press release will be rewarding...

Copyright � 2008, car-evolutioncars. All rights reserved.

Mixed Tape 20

Mercedes-Benz has recently released the Mixed Tape 20, which is available for free download at the next web address:

Copyright � 2008, car-evolutioncars. All rights reserved.

Mercedes-Benz IPTV Weekly Show 29.04.2008

The new weekly show on Mercedes-Benz IPTV brings to its viewers 3 exciting movies:

1.Interview with Gary Paffet, the man who regularly switches from F1 to DTM and viceversa.

2.This week we meet Kurt Oblander, once in charge with the engine development at Mercedes-Benz, and Leopold Miculic, his succesor.

3.How to create a very stylish film;Mercedes-Benz IPTV went behind the scenes of the anticipated 'Sex and the City' movie.

Head over to Mercedes-Benz IPTV

Copyright � 2008, car-evolutioncars. All rights reserved.

La Carrera Panamericana 1953 - Fangio

Prismacolor pencils on red stock � Paul Chenard 2008
Private Collection

Five-time F1 Driver's World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio was the pride of Argentina. Soft-spoken and humble, he could just as easily win in sports car, illustrated by his 1953 win of the Carrera Panamericana in a Lancia D24.

Limited edition of 50, numbered and signed premium archival Giclee prints $125 USD plus shipping/handling.

Daimler achieves EBIT of � 1,976 million in first quarter of 2008


Net profit of � 1,332 million (Q1 2007: �1,972 million)
Revenue of �23.5 billion at prior year�s level
Full-year EBIT from ongoing operations (excluding Chrysler) expected to be well above 2007; earnings forecasts confirmed for the divisions

Stuttgart, Apr 29, 2008 � Daimler AG (stock-exchange abbreviation DAI) today presents its interim report on the first quarter of 2008. Daimler achieved EBIT of �1,976 million in the first quarter (Q1 2007: �3,292 million).

The Mercedes-Benz Cars division improved its EBIT and thus compensated for the lower earnings recorded by Daimler Trucks and Daimler Financial Services.
Earnings decreased primarily because EBIT in the first quarter of 2007 included a special gain of �1,563 million related to the transfer of EADS shares. In the first quarter of 2008, special gains were realized in connection with the sale of the real-estate properties at Potsdamer Platz (�449 million) and in connection with the transfer of EADS shares (�102 million). There were opposing effects from expenses of �491 million related to Chrysler (special items are shown in the table on page 8).
Net profit amounted to � 1,332 million (Q1 2007: �1,972 million), equivalent to earnings per share of �1.29 (Q1 2007: �1.89).
Unit sales up by 9% in Q1 2008
In the first quarter of 2008, Daimler sold 503,800 cars and commercial vehicles worldwide, thus surpassing the figure for the prior-year period by 9%.

Daimler�s revenue increased slightly from �23.4 billion to �23.5 billion in the first quarter of 2008. Adjusted for exchange-rate effects and changes in the consolidated group, revenue growth amounted to 4%.
At the end of the first quarter of 2008, 273,902 people were employed by Daimler worldwide (Q1 2007: 270,986). Of this total, 166,661 were employed in Germany and 24,108 were employed in the United States (end of Q1 2007: 165,753 and 25,114 respectively).

Details of the divisions in the first quarter of 2008

Mercedes-Benz Cars increased its unit sales by 17% to 318,300 vehicles in the first three months of this year, thus setting a new record for the first quarter. The Mercedes-Benz brand sold 284,000 vehicles, an increase of 10%, also achieving a new record for the first quarter. The smart brand almost tripled its unit sales from 10,800 to 31,200 cars. The division�s revenue grew by 4% to �12.5 billion.
Mercedes-Benz Cars� EBIT improved by 45% to �1,152 million.

The significant increase in earnings was mainly a result of the good development of unit sales for both the Mercedes-Benz and smart brands. Unit sales of the C-Class and the smart fortwo were particularly positive. Further efficiency advances also contributed to the EBIT improvement. Exchange-rate effects and increased raw-material prices had a negative impact on EBIT in the first quarter of 2008.
Daimler Trucks sold 107,700 vehicles worldwide in the first quarter of 2008 (Q1 2007: 119,200). The decrease is primarily due to the significantly lower sales volume in the USA and supplier bottlenecks in Germany. Revenue decreased from �7.3 billion to �6.3 billion.

The Daimler Trucks division posted EBIT of �403 million (Q1 2007: �528 million). The decrease in earnings is primarily due to the tense economic situation in the United States and the weaker demand caused by the introduction of the EPA 07 exhaust-emission standards in the US in 2007. Earnings were also reduced in Europe as a result of production losses caused by a supply bottleneck of one supplier. But Daimler Trucks assumes it will be able to compensate for this production loss during the rest of the year. Earnings were positively affected, however, by the ongoing favorable sales trend in Latin America and in some important Asian markets. There were additional positive effects from efficiency improvements and improved product positioning.

The Trucks Europe/Latin America unit (Mercedes-Benz) sold 33,800 vehicles in the first quarter, once again achieving the high level of the prior-year quarter. Trucks NAFTA (Freightliner, Sterling, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses) sold 27,500 vehicles, which was significantly fewer than in the prior-year quarter (Q1 2007: 46,200). In the first quarter of 2008, there was a significant negative impact on demand from the economic slowdown in the USA. In addition, the introduction of the US emission standard EPA 07 had led to purchases being brought forward until the first quarter of 2007 and a subsequent drop in demand from the large fleet operators. Unit sales of Trucks Asia (Mitsubishi Fuso) increased in the first quarter by 18% to 46,500 vehicles.

Daimler Financial Services increased its contract volume by 2% to �58.3 billion in the first quarter of 2008. In the first quarter of 2008, 15 subsidiaries were fully consolidated for the first time (mainly in Eastern Europe and Asia). Adjusted for these consolidation effects and for exchange-rate effects, the increase was 7%. New business of �6.7 billion was 2% below the prior-year level. After adjusting for the two aforementioned factors, there was also a decrease of 2%.
EBIT of �168 million reported by Daimler Financial Services for the first quarter of 2008 was lower than the result for the prior-year period (Q1 2007: �214 million). The decrease in earnings was mainly due to the expenses incurred to set up a new financial services organization in the NAFTA region following the transfer of a majority interest in Chrysler. Increased risk costs also had a negative impact, but remained below the long-term average. There was a positive impact on earnings, however, from the increased contract volume.

EBIT of the Vans, Buses, Other segment amounted to �371 million (Q1 2007: �1,872 million). The decrease in earnings was primarily caused by the lower special gain of �102 million related to the transfer of EADS shares (Q1 2007: �1,563 million). The sale of the real-estate properties at Potsdamer Platz resulted in a special gain of �449 million in the first quarter of 2008.
The Mercedes-Benz Vans and Daimler Buses units profited from the continued positive development of unit sales and both achieved higher earnings, which are now reported individually for the quarters due to the growing importance of the business. Mercedes-Benz Vans reported EBIT of �186 million and Daimler Buses reported EBIT of �75 million.

Daimler�s share of the earnings of EADS amounted to �22 million (Q1 2007: �165 million). The company�s 19.9% interest in Chrysler, which is accounted for using the equity method, reduced EBIT by �340 million in the first quarter of 2008; this result includes expenses of �94 million resulting from the restructuring actions at Chrysler. As the Group generally applies the equity method of accounting for its interests in EADS and Chrysler with a three-month time lag, these figures mainly reflect the developments in the fourth quarter of 2007.
These results are by no means indicative for the results to be reported by Chrysler Holding LLC due to substantial valuation differences between US-GAAP used by Chrysler and IFRS accounting used by Daimler.

In connection with the transfer of a majority interest in Chrysler, the Group retained certain rights contingent upon the development of economic circumstances, in particular the development of residual values of Chrysler vehicles. At the time of the Chrysler transaction, these rights were measured and recognized as an asset in an amount of �185 million. In light of falling residual values of Chrysler vehicles, Daimler had to impair these assets by �151 million in the first quarter of 2008. Neither the equity result of Chrysler nor the impairment of the assets is cash effective.

The Mercedes-Benz Vans unit increased its unit sales by 11% to 68,600 in the first quarter of 2008, thus setting a new record.
The Daimler Buses unit sold 9,200 buses and chassis in the first quarter of this year, exceeding the high level of the prior-year quarter by 11%. Market developments in Brazil played a particularly important role; unit sales in Latin America increased by 19% to 5,700 vehicles.


Although economic growth has slowed down as a result of the international financial crisis � particularly in the United States � making life harder for the automotive industry including Daimler, the Group continues to assume that the unit-sales targets it has set for its divisions will be met in 2008.
Based on the divisions� planning, Daimler expects its total unit sales to increase in the year 2008 (2007: 2.1 million vehicles).

Mercedes-Benz Cars expects to further increase its worldwide unit sales in 2008, thus surpassing the record level of the prior year. The full availability of the sedan and station-wagon versions of the new C-Class and of the new smart fortwo will make a decisive contribution to this development. Mercedes-Benz Cars expects to achieve a renewed increase in EBIT in 2008.

The Daimler Trucks division anticipates rising unit sales for full-year 2008. This will result on the one hand from the positive development of some Asian markets and on the other hand from higher unit sales in Europe � primarily due to the growth of markets in Eastern Europe. Based on these unit-sales expectations and the ongoing implementation of our Global Excellence program, Daimler Trucks assumes that the division�s earnings in full-year 2008 will be higher than in the prior year.
Daimler Financial Services anticipates a moderate increase in its business volume as the year progresses. Despite the expenses connected with developing its own financial services organization in North America, Daimler Financial Services continues to assume that it will achieve a return on equity of at least 14% in full-year 2008.
Due to the strong demand for the new Sprinter and the positive sales trend of the Vito/Viano, Mercedes-Benz Vans expects a significant increase in unit sales and a new unit-sales record in the year 2008.

Daimler Buses also anticipates a continuation of strong demand and is therefore confident that it will match the high level of unit sales achieved in the prior year.
The Daimler Group assumes that total revenue will increase moderately in full-year 2008 (2007: �99.4 billion).

On the basis of the divisions� confirmed projections, in 2008 the Daimler Group continues to expect to post EBIT from ongoing operations of well above the prior-year level. Effects related to Chrysler are not included therein. In the year 2007, earnings included positive contributions in particular from the transfer of shares in EADS and negative contributions from Chrysler and related to the new management model.

The special items shown in the following table affected EBIT in the first quarters of 2008 and 2007:

About Daimler
Daimler AG, Stuttgart, with its businesses Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler Trucks, Daimler Financial Services, Mercedes-Benz Vans and Daimler Buses, is a globally leading producer of premium passenger cars and the largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles in the world. The Daimler Financial Services division has a broad offering of financial services, including vehicle financing, leasing, insurance and fleet management. Daimler sells its products in nearly all the countries of the world and has production facilities on five continents. The company�s founders, Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz, continued to make automotive history following their invention of the automobile in 1886. As an automotive pioneer, Daimler and its employees willingly accept an obligation to act responsibly towards society and the environment and to shape the future of safe and sustainable mobility with groundbreaking technologies and high-quality products. The current brand portfolio includes the world�s most valuable automobile brand, Mercedes-Benz, as well as smart, AMG, Maybach, Freightliner, Sterling, Western Star, Mitsubishi Fuso, Setra, Orion and Thomas Built Buses. The company is listed on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt, New York and Stuttgart (stock exchange abbreviation DAI). In 2007, the Group sold 2.1 million vehicles and employed a workforce of over 270,000 people; revenue totaled �99.4 billion and EBIT amounted to �8.7 billion. Daimler is an automotive Group with a commitment to excellence, and aims to achieve sustainable growth and industry-leading profitability.

Copyright � 2008, car-evolutioncars. All rights reserved.

[rF] Porsche 993 - Nordschleife unedited pics