Thursday Snippets

The Generenissan saga continues to unfold. GM will be holding a board meeting on Friday to slug it out.

“The board was going to meet anyway on July 7, before any of this became an issue, but I’m sure that this will be among the topics,” a spokeswoman for the company said.

Thank you, Captain Obvious….

Meanwhile, Autoweek are writing that the whole thing would have taken GM by surprise. It’s certainly a shot accross Rick Wagoner’s bow, but I don’t think it’s totally unexpected given that we now know that this was floated earlier in June behind closed [restaurant] doors. Kirk’s definitely put the discussion at the top of the agenda, though.

If I seem a little dispassionate about this, it’s because I am.

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More interesting, to me at least, are the artist’s images of the proposed Audi A1 that were floating around today. I think they originated on a German Car Blog, but I found them at Autoblog and Jalopnik.

AudiA1sketch.jpg

Looks a lot like an Alfa GT to me.

But it is interesting because this will, hopefully, be one of the class competitors for the Saab 9-1. It should be at least. This and the BMW 1 series, which is apparently fun to drive but about as practical as two left shoes.

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I was reminded via email this morning that there’s been no mention of a Talladega 2006. It is, of course the 10 and 20 year anniversaries of Saab’s previous Talladega endurance runs. The subject’s been addressed here previously and was quietly received, but with some interest, buy the folks at Saab USA.

Since then there’s been no further mention. I still think they’d be mad not to do it. And I still think they will do it, but not this year.

The 10-year symmetry is nice, but I have a feeling they’ll look to 2007 instead.

1) The Biopower concept shown in Detroit earlier this year (late last year?) was said to be about 18 months away. i.e 2007. An event like Talladega would be ideal for showing off performance and reliability in a new engine line.

2) 2007 will mark the 60th anniversary of the birth of Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget. They’ll be looking for ways to mark the occasion and I think this could be one of them.

3) Maybe there’ll be some sort of new model to take along there, even if it’s just the new interior-ed 2007 9-3. A remodelled 9-7x maybe. Who knows?

4) Following on from (1), perhaps they’ll decide that the mods needed to bring the diesel engine into line with US emissions standards are worth the trouble and run a tri-fuel line up at Talladega. The last words relayed to me on diesel were that “not at this stage, but they’d keep an eye on it”. So, it’s not dead yet. A very, very weak heartbeat, maybe, but not dead.

The main reasons are (1) and (2). I still think we’ll get to see another Talladega and I think it’ll be a fantastic exercise. But I don’t think we’ll see it until next year.

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3 Comments

  1. I still havn’t seen one positive analysis ot this GM-Renault/Nissan thing in the press. Most think it’s just a deseprate move by Renault since they really need a new partner before they are swallowed by Toyota or Daimler-Chrysler. After the failed Volvo deal in the 90’s, they found a run-down Nissan in 99 and formed an alliance. Although they have about 9% of the world-market, they don’t make enough money. Apart from the Infinity-brand (which is almost unknown in Europe), they only make low-end car (Renault, Dacia, Nissan). Non of the German brands wants them, Vovlo is taken, Fiat is in bed with the PSA-group and they already have a Japanese brand. And the French government can’t continue to subsidies the industri they way they always have (which is one big reason to stay clear of anything French in business deals…).

    News this morning in Swedish press is that Wagoner together with a majority of the board is skeptical of an alliance, but will nontheless look at it closely before deciding anything further.

  2. I don’t see where the A1 fits into Audi product range. This car is expected to use (yet again) the golf platform however; I can’t see it being the 5th Generation, because Volkswagen will have the Golf VI on the market in 2008. But I digress, the main question is how do you have the A1, A3 and TT using the same chassis, yet be of significantly different proportions?
    What customer is this car being designed for?
    Is the A1 aimed at BMW’s Mini?
    If the car was to use the Polo platform then that would make sense. It would be marginally smaller than the A3 thus slightly less practical.

  3. The one positive analysis of the proposed alliance I’ve seen has been based solely on the idea that GM needs a cash infusion.

    The guy at Autoextremist.com seems to think that Kerkorian “won” the early PR war on the alliance, with analysis about why the alliance is bad only appearing in stories about 2-3 days after the news broke.

    I’m not sure about that – the first article I read on the proposed alliance quoted a Wall Street trader as saying he thought it was a disaster designed solely to put money in Kerkorian’s pocket.

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