Auto News for Aug. 7

“Hello, Geico. I’m not sure if I am covered for this, but an elephant just sat on the hood and roof of my car trying to scratch an inch or two and destroyed my VW.” This actually happened at a park in South Africa according to the U.K. Mirror. Fortunately, the two occupants were not hurt, but emerged badly scared as one could imagine. The newspaper said the elephant broke the car’s chassis, all the windows, and left lots of dents. A wildlife expert said elephants use whatever they can to scratch an itch they can’t reach with their trunks.

Imagine a car that is so fast that its top seed cannot be verified because the tires might shred. The head of testing at Autocar, the world’s oldest auto magazine, said the successor to the super-fast Bugatti Vyron could top out at 286 miles per hour or 18 mph faster than the current model. The problem is, said the veteran tester, there is no tire currently on the market that can deal with that kind of speed without shredding to pieces. That of course presumes one could find a place to achieve that kind of speed. The Veyron successor is expected to hit the market in 2016 and you can read more about it at:

The new car’s production will be limited to about 450 units and the price, well let’s just say it will be a bit more than VW’s Golf. Pictured is Autocar’s rendition of what the new Veyron may look like.

Veyron sucessor

Not an auto item, but had to share the news that Apple once had an employee named Sam Sung. He is now auctioning off his business cars for charity.

One of the most respected auto writers in the Washington, D.C. area, Dan Carney, reports that Cadillac will unveil a new top of the line model at the 2015 New York Auto Show. It is said to be a rear drive sedan that carries design elements from the striking Elmiraj coupe concept. It would give GM a competitor in the luxury market now dominated by the Mercedes S-Class, Audi A8 and the BMW 7-series.

Motor Trend has an interview this month with John de Nysschen talking about the future of Infinity and its proposed luxury Eau Rouge. One small problem – de Nysschen is now the president of Cadillac, clearly a move that occurred after MT went to press.

Five years ago the company was bankrupt. Now Chrysler has reported a second quarter net profit of $619 million, and that is a hefty gain of 22 percent year over year. To put that in perspective, GM reported earnings of $190 million in its second quarter, according to the New York Times. Chrysler was helped by strong demand for its macho Ram trucks and by the Jeep brand.

However …

Fiat shares have lost nearly 9 percent recently and this morning hit their lowest level since Fiat announced it would buy out Chrysler. Reuters reports the merger could fold if enough shareholders sell their stock. It is reaction to Fiat’s efforts to move its headquarters out of Italy and become a Dutch registered firm and eventually apply for a listing on a U.S. stock market, thus paving the way for an overhaul of the group. Dissenting shareholders can cash out under Italian law, and if the payout exceeds a set amount, that would halt the merger for now. Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said even if the merger fails at this stage, he will try again later when conditions are more favorable. The selloff was big enough to cause the Milan market to suspend trading in Fiat shares on Wednesday.

The Detroit Institute of Arts wants to raise $100 million to keep the city from selling off art works it owns to get out of bankruptcy. Toyota has now pledged $1 million to help the institute realize its goal.

Economists are predicting that domestic auto sales will continue to post some impressive numbers for the next four years. They spoke at a seminar at the Center for Automotive Research in Michigan. Citing improved consumer confidence and an aging fleet, they predicted that annual sales will be about 17 million through 2018, according to the Detroit News.

The redesigned Honda Fit has been named the best back to school car by Kelley Blue Book followed by the Kia Soul and the Nissan Versa Note. KBB said the Fit has “the most flexible interior you’ll find in a subcompact car” along with an affordable price starting at just under $16,000.

Delaware’s governor has signed into law a measure that requires the use of ignition interlock devices for all convicted DUI offenders for a minimum of four months. Upon entering a vehicle, the operator must breathe into the device and if the alcohol level exceeds standards, in Delaware’s case .08 BAC, the engine will not start. Two dozen states and four California counties require the interlock devices.




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