Day: June 14, 2007
In a recent survey conducted by Motor Klassik, readers of the trade journal named the Mercedes CLS, SL and G-Class models ‘classics-to-be,’ placing each at the top of their respective classes in the ‘upper medium,’ ‘convertible’ and ‘offroader’ segments. Other Mercedes models mentioned in the survey included the SLR McLaren in the ‘sports car’ category, the Maybach 57/62 in the ‘luxury’ category and the smart fortwo in the ‘mini cars’ category, with each of the aforementioned earning second in their respective classes.
We might not have formed a clear idea yet to as how the upcoming X6 crossover will look like -no thanks to BMWâ€™s more than perfect camouflaged X6 prototypes, but at least thereâ€™s no shortage of CGIâ€™s around the net. The above rendering comes from Italian webzine, Infomotori, with the artist proposing a sporty look for the mid-size crossover with a coupe-like roofline and â€œMâ€ style bumpers and rims. His guess is as good as ours.-Follow the jump for more pictures
Drivethedeal.com, an online car broker, names Volkswagen Golf as the most popular car bought.
The Peugeot 207 is also very popular as it followed Volkswagen Golf in the list. So is the Audi A3, while cars like the Mazda MX-5 and Ford Focus have always featured in its annual top 10. Newer family cars such as the Ford S-MAX and Volkswagen Touran have become more recent favorites.
â€œWe have always sold the Volkswagen Golf in large quantities, while more recently the Golf Match has proven very popular. The car is bought both as a first car and second car and offers practicality with German build quality and a good resale value,â€ explained Richard Sanders, managing director of Drivethedeal.com.
The average price of cars bought through Drivethedeal.com has risen from Â£15,000 in 2002 to Â£17,000 in 2006/07.
â€œConsumers are just as happy to buy a car online as they are with a lower value item such as a TV. A new car is the same no matter which UK main dealer supplies it, and our job is to find the dealer keenest to pick up extra business. We also speak to all our customers about things like delivery times and specification, so despite ordering online they still get to speak to a person,â€ said Sanders.
Volkswagen AG, Europe’s largest car maker, will reduce discounts and warranty claims, and concentrate on the sales of the most profitable models to make up for their loss in North America.
â€œWe have a better financial result this year than last year, categorically,” said Adrian Hallmark, Volkswagen of America’s executive vice president. â€œWe’ve cut costs, we’ve reduced incentives and we have hedged.â€
Volkswagen sales have fallen in the U.S. this year as the company prepares new models for 2008. The company only sold 91,743 vehicles in the U.S. in the first five months, a 4.4 percent drop from a year earlier. Sales in 2007 will be flat, Hallmark reiterated.
Hallmark has a long-term goal of increasing U.S. sales to 400,000 to 600,000 vehicles a year. Last year, the car maker sold 235,140 cars and SUVs in the world’s largest market. Volkswagen’s U.S. sales record, set in 1970, was 569,696 cars and vans.
Volkswagen expects to increase U.S. sales next year with the introduction of a compact sport-utility vehicle, a new Passat coupe and a minivan built with DaimlerChrysler AG. The car company will also reintroduce a diesel Jetta in 2008. Volkswagen this year pulled the diesel, which accounted for 30 percent of U.S. Jetta sales last year, to switch to new technology.
Volkswagen’s North American loss in 2006 was 607 million euros, after a loss of 317 million euros in the first half. The company will no longer give profit figures by region when it reports first-half earnings on July 27.
Worldwide, the company reported a first-quarter profit after cutting labor costs. The Volkswagen brand had earnings before interest and tax of 386 million euros compared with an operating loss of 49 million euros a year earlier.
Volkswagen has lowered North American costs by decreasing spending on warranty claims by two-thirds over the last two years and focusing on sales of more profitable vehicles, Hallmark said.
â€œThe car maker will double Rabbit sales this year to 20,000 vehicles while reducing Passat sales. The incentive costs for selling 2,600 Passats in the U.S. are eight times as high as selling the same number of Rabbits,â€ Hallmark said.
Hallmark plans to shorten delivery times from European and Mexican factories by one week by the end of the year. It now takes six weeks to get vehicles from Mexico and 14 weeks from Germany. Hallmark also said that it would cost $35 to $40 per week in transit for a Passat.
Hallmark, 44, replaced Executive Vice President Len Hunt as head of Volkswagen’s U.S. operations in late 2005. Volkswagen made changes in North America after sales plummeted and losses deepened. Hallmark had been running sales and marketing for the Bentley luxury-car division.
â€œHallmark was moved from Bentley, where he was very successful, and has had one clear mission: Get Volkswagen’s U.S. operations into shape,” said Stephen Pope, head of equity research at Cantor Fitzgerald in London, who has a `buy’ rating on the stock. â€œThe benefits of the hard work are being seen and when the new models come through it will auger well for the sales.”
Once while traveling through the southern US I saw a DIY solar hot
water heater made from an old Chevy, that was up on blocks, painted
black and the proud owner had run 200 feet of garden hose through the
interior. It provided enough heat for his family to shower he said.
the "Weird Asia News" blog we get the story of a man who made his
family a solar hot water heater from 66 recycled beer bottles. He
should have called, I could have helped him empty the bottles.
Weird Asia News:
A Chinese farmer has made his own solar-powered water heater out of beer bottles and hose pipes.
Â“I invented this for my mother. I wanted her to shower comfortably,Â” says Ma Yanjun, of Qiqiao village, Shaanxi province.
MaÂ’s invention features 66 beer bottles attached to a board. The
bottles are connected to each other so that water flows through them.
Sunlight heats the water as is passes slowly through the bottles
before flowing into the bathroom as hot water, reports China Economy
Ma says it provides enough hot water for all three members of his family to have a shower every day.
And more than 10 families in the village have already followed suit and installed their own versions of MaÂ’s invention.
Henry Liu, a retired civil engineer, has won the Popular Science 2007 Invention Award for producing a replacement for the more than 9 billion clay bricks manufactured in the US each year. Manufactured from fly ash,
a byproduct of coal combustion with a worldwide surplus production
running in the hundreds of millions of tons each year, these new bricks
are as strong and safe as the bricks we’re all used to seeing, cost 20%
less to make, and are far more environmentally friendly.
‘n’ Busted: clay bricks are fired in a kiln at over 2000Â°F (1100Â°C).
New Hotness: Liu’s new building material is cured in a 150Â°F (66Â°C)
steam bath after exiting a 4000 psi (28,000 kPa) press, saving massive
amounts of energy and reducing the carbon footprint for builders
considerably. In addition, the new bricks are easier to use which will
save bricklayers time, and homebuilders money. To top it all off, the
bricks may also improve air quality.
Having recently passed federal safety standards in the US, Liu will begin licensing his technology to manufacturers in 2008.
Weâ€™re pretty sure that most of you will have heard the story:On June 15, 1957, Tulsa Town buried a brand-new Plymouth Belvedere along with along with several other artefacts (a pack of cigarettes, bobby pins, an unpaid parking ticket etc) in a cement vault, as part of a contest in which the person who most closely guessed the cityâ€™s 2007 population would win the Belvedere on June 15, 2007.
Today (Wednesday June 13), just two days before the â€™57 Plymouthâ€™s scheduled exhumation, Tulsa Town decided to open up the vaultâ€™s lid. To everyoneâ€™s misfortune, the workers discovered several feet of standing water and indications that the car had been submerged. Tulsaâ€™s Public Works Department was summoned to pump the water out of the vault but since there was a danger that the water could be toxic, the Fire Department’s Hazmat team was also called to the scene. Ironically, the vault had been built to withstand a nuclear attack, but apparently not water.
While the condition of the tailfinned Belvedere remains uncertain because the car was covered in cosmolene, a metal preservative then wrapped in plastic, the equation -â€™57 Plymouth, half a century and several feet of water, is definitely not promising. Weâ€™ll have more on Tulsaâ€™s time-capsule latter on. Until then click â€œRead Moreâ€¦â€ below to see more photos along with a video