Monday, 30 September 2013

Why My Car Is Like A Bugatti Veyron

See the similarities?  Actually that isn't my car, it's one the same that I found after doing a quick Google Images search.
So what could these two cars possibly have in common?
Well, they both cost their manufacturers two-and-a-half billion Australian dollars.
And if you're wondering why I'm quoting that figure in Australian dollars, it is because the information is sourced from this story in
It lists Europe’s Top 10 Loss-making Vehicles thus:
Model                       Years               Estimated Total Loss
Smart Fortwo         1997-2006           $5.0billion

Fiat Stilo                2001-2009           $3.0b

VW Phaeton          2001-2012           $2.9b

Peugeot 1007         2004-2009           $2.8b

Mercedes A-Class 1997-2004           $2.5b

Bugatti Veyron      2005-2013           $2.5b

Jaguar X-Type       2001-2009           $2.5b

Renault Laguna      2006-2012           $2.2b

Audi A2                  2000-2005          $1.9b

Renault Vel Satis    2001-2009          $1.7b

The list is, perhaps surprisingly, topped by the Smart car.  There are a few other quirky cars in there too, the Peugeot 1007 with its sliding doors that nobody wanted and the tiny aluminium A2 that was expensive to build.

There was also the original Merc A-Class seen here failing the Elk Test - maybe it wouldn't have been on the list if it wasn't for that embarrassment so early in its life.
I always liked the Vel-Satis but not many people were tempted to pay big money for a strange-looking luxury Renault so it was doomed from the start.
I am quite surprised that it had an 8-year lifespan.

The article also breaks down how much each manufacturer lost per example of these cars sold:

Model                     Years                    Estimated Loss Per Vehicle (rounded up/down)
Bugatti Veyron      2005-2013                $6,700,500

VW Phaeton          2001-2012                     $40,800

Renault Vel Satis   2001-2009                     $27,200

Peugeot 1007         2004-2009                     $22,300

Audi A2                 2000-2005                     $11,000

Jaguar X-Type       2001-2009                        $6800

Smart Fortwo         1997-2006                        $6500

Renault Laguna      2006-2012                        $5150

Fiat Stilo                 2001-2009                        $4000

Mercedes A-Class   1997-2004                       $2100

The Peugeot figure is quite shocking because $22300 = £12875 (€15400,US$20800) at current exchange rates which can't be too different from its selling price.

$6800 works out as £3925 (€4700,US$6350) so maybe I got a bargain when I bought my car.

Probably not as much of a bargain as Tata got when they bought Jaguar/Land Rover off Ford though.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Would you sell your Granny?

Somebody is.

And if I had £5K spare and some space and some time to travel down to East Anglia (as opposed to Ford Anglia - there's one of them for sale too) I would certainly be interested in making a purchase.

After all, she is beautiful:
It's the rarer 3-door coupe style as well.
So what alerted me to this sale?
This did.
It is a story from the BBC about a 1961 Triumph Herald up for sale with just 20 miles on the clock.  It is believed that the "one careful lady owner" never actually drove it. 
Sounds a bit like the story of the Merc I found in Swansea.
It goes under the hammer on Saturday together with the car you can just see behind it.
The car in the picture behind it interests me because my first car was identical to it.
OK, it had a different registration number and was three years younger but it was a Triumph Dolmite 1500HL in Vomit Yellow (aka Sandglow).
It must be in excellent condition because it is estimated to go for between £14K and £16K - although they've clearly got the colour wrong in the listing (brown) and the mileage too (69 - maybe they meant 69000)
I don't think they are too clever when it comes to the listings.  They have the mileage for the Herald that is making the headlines down as being 3750 (next to a photo of the speedo that shows 20).
3750 is still unbelievably low for a 50-year-old car and probably belongs to a second Herald the auctioneers are selling that they have listed as having 20 miles.
I would love to have a wander around this auctioneers site - the actual, physical site, not the website, although that is pretty interesting too.
For example, they have a 1988 Rover 213 - why on Earth would that be a classic?
Well, to answer my own question (and I bet you thought it was rhetorical) it only has 3101 miles on the clock and is expected to fetch £3K.
They also have Granny's successor for sale: 
Oh dear.  Maybe not.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

2014 Toyota Corolla Ditches Drab Design, But Will It Sell?

Of course it will - it's a Toyota Corolla.

They would have to triple its price and replace the driving seat with a huge, rusty spike for it not to sell.

The question is asked by Autoguide here.  They are commenting on the radical new look of the 2014 Corolla:
Caertainly more striking than the orginal Corolla:
The Corolla has been going since 1966 - just like me.  This photo of a 1966 model is taken from this Mail story from last year reporting on the milestone achieved when the Corolla officially became the World's most popular car.  They claim one was being sold every 40 seconds - I see no reason for that to change.
The radical look of the 2014 version won't put off the "traditional" buyers - they would buy it whatever it looked like.  Heck, in the mid-nineties, they bought (in Britain at least) Corollas that looked like this: 
The new look might even attract in some other buyers who wouldn't have given a Toyota a second glance.  The whole Toyota range is looking more stylish these days - but I think they are still a couple of years behind other manufacturers.
Like Honda for example.
When I first saw the new Corolla, I did think it looked like a Honda Civic:
Coincidence?  Maybe that is what Autoguide should have been asking.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Renault Space

A few different Renault stories have caught my eye this week.

The first comes on the back of my story last week about Ford's new Vignale sub-brand - it seems Renault want their own upmarket label.  They are calling it "Initiale Paris" and although it won't be a sub-brand, it will adorn the classiest versions of their range.  Like Vignale, it was launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
It's purple.
Autocar, amongst many others, had the story.  Initiale Paris sounds pretentious - but that is probably because I hate the perfume adverts that pollute British television.  I wonder if perfume adverts in France have an English voice saying "Pie and Chips, the new scent from Fred Higginbottom"
The second story involves a priest giving the Pope a Renault 4 to potter around Vatican City in. 
The BBC used this photo in their story of a priest after a few brownie points.  Maybe the priest was inspired by my earlier story on that subject.  It's supposedly only 20 years old.  Yes I know that sounds old for a car but I didn't think they were still making Renault 4s in 1993.
Searching for a good link for that story of the Pope's newest car did lead me to this picture of Carly Pope.
Apparently, she's a Canadian actress.  But I digress.
The final Renault story of the week is this one
This handsome chappie is Carlos Ghosn who, according to Wikipedia, is a "French-Lebanese-Brazilian businessman."
There is no doubt, however, as to his position as president of Renault-Nissan.
He has been telling us, at the Frankfurt Motor Show, that the worst of the recession for the auto-trade is now over.  Hope he doesn't end up looking like an idiot.
Not that a French president could ever look an idiot.

Or could he?

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Wilmslow Motor Show Sponsored by Etihad

I used to live in Cheshire.

Until they moved it.

Cheshire is one of Jeremy Clarkson's least-favourite counties - mainly because that is where a lot of Premiership footballers and their WAGs live.

Wilmslow is a town in Cheshire that is popular with such people.

Today I took my WAG and children along there for the second ever Wilmslow Motor Show Sponsored by Etihad.  They have their own Website.

Being Wilmslow, it had to be posh cars.  There were lots of Aston Martins - mostly new ones - but also this lovely example of a DB5:
There were three examples of the BAC Mono there - not a name that would go down well in America.  These cars look a lot better in real life:
There were a series of cars with their bonnets open.  From the tiny bonnet on this MG SV: 
To the huge bonnet on this Mustang: 
To the gigantic bonnet on this (admittedly rear-engined) Ford GT: 
Dave Newsham's BTCC Toyota Avensis was there: 
 Actually, that isn't true.

Despite this photographic evidence to the contrary.

This is actually Ollie Jackson's car with Dave Newsham's name and number on it.  I spoke to a member of the Speedworks crew who was there with the car.  He told me that the team were still working on the Newsham car after the damage it sustained a fortnight ago in Knockhill.

The Police (The Constabulary, not Sting and his mates) were also there letting children sit in one of their cars.  They also had a wrecked Renault Megane in which a 21 Year-old lad had died.  A woman was there handing out leaflets and telling us the story of what happened.  It was night, he was not speeding, he was very slightly over the drink-drive limit, weather conditions were fair, he lost control going around a bend and hit a tree.  A Doctor travelling in a car in front saw the headlights disappear and went back to see what had happened - he declared him dead at the scene which is why the car wasn't cut open.  The lad's parents donated the car to the Police and it was now being used to highlight how driving inexperience can lead to serious accidents.  It was about this point when the woman revealed that we were looking at her son's car.


Sort of makes you think after looking at Lambo's, AMGs, Loti, Nobles, TVRs, Bentleys and the like.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Top Ghia

Two big companies hit the headlines (if you looked at the right sites) this week with announcements about new products.

The motoring press were keen to hear about Ford's new Vignale range which will be a posh-end sub-brand to their standard range. Here's a Mondeo Vignale to be debuted at Frankfurt next week:
It's brown.
CarAdvice have the story here while Pistonheads cover it here together with a very cheesy 1980s ad (although it's more like a music video) for Ford RS accessories featuring an Escort from that time.  Just about every motoring site around also has the story with their own take on it - most seem quite negative - especially if you read readers' comments.
I can understand why.
Ford have always had top-spec cars - usually with the Ghia moniker.  Ghia being an Italian coach-builder/design-house much like Vignale.  In America they used the Mercury brand - until they scrapped it.  Here, they owned Jaguar, Aston-Martin and Volvo - until they sold them all.
Ford are suggesting separate facilities within their dealerships for their Vignale customers - that will cost a fair bit and possibly make their existing buyers feel second-rate.
Rather than buy a posh Ford, people will just go out and buy a posher brand - BMW being the obvious one.
Now, where have I heard that name Vignale before?
Ah yes, here:
And why Vignale anyway?  Ghia is easier to pronounce.
Both have an illustrious history - here are couple of 1950s Abarth Fiats:
This is the Vignale. Hmm...
...and this is the Ghia.  The Ghia is moderately less ugly - even with Tweetie-pie's beak.
Of course, Ghia has its own connotations - here's Delboy's "Capri Ghia" as he liked it to be known or "Pratmobile" as Rodney liked it to be known: 
Some of the motoring press are saying that if this actually works, then the sporty Ford-buyer will be offered a sporty sub-brand - the ST - which just brings us back to the RS brand in the Pistonheads video.
Now, the other company with a proud, important pre-launch is Samsung.  They seem to like the name Ford is rejecting so let's just hope that there is no confusion between the Ford Galaxy Ghia... 
and the Samsung Galaxy Gear...