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The 2010 motoring year – from A to Z
Most people connected to the motor industry will be glad to see the back of 2009. But that’s all water under the bridge now: it’s a new year, and a new decade.
In South Africa, car sales were down by more than 20 percent, but many are hoping for a mild upturn this year. And there’s certainly no shortage of new models expected here – from small to big, from commuter to sports car, from gas guzzlers to hybrids.
But let’s start with two brands that have been arch-rivals for decades. And the both come from Bavaria. We’re talking, of course, about BMW and Audi. And both brands have a very busy 2010 planned as far as new model launches in South Africa are concerned.
Expect Audi to expose the Spider version of its seminal R8 supercar in time for the European summer. It’s likely to be offered in V10 form only, and feature an electrically operated soft top. Lucky occupants will really be able to savour the banshee wail of that Lambo-sourced engine.
Much bigger news for South Africans is the debut, this week, of the all-new A5 Sportback. Although it’s a mix of hatchback, sedan and coupé, the design convinces aesthetically, with swift dynamics to match.
Yesterday General Motors announced that they had reached a binding agreement with Dutch supercar manufacturer Spyker Cars on the purchase of Saab Automobile AB. The Swedish Government and European Investment Bank have thrown their weight behind the transaction.
The fate of Saab has been unknown ever since GM (facing serious financial strain due to the ailing American economy) said that it was looking to dispose of Saab which it has owned since 2000. At first it looked like fellow Swedish supercar manufacturer Koenigsegg Group AB would purchase Saab but the deal was scrapped later due to timing uncertainty.
This is undoubtedly good news for everyone involved, but especially for Spyker because they have the advantage of buying a company at bankruptcy prices but with very little of the negative goodwill that is normally associated with such a deal. GM has taken the brunt of the bad publicity and Saab (although not the strongest of companies) in seen to have just been in the wrong hands at the wrong time.
Autocar is reporting that during an interview with VW Group Chairman Martin Winterkorn, the first official confirmation that a sub-Boxster sports car was being evaluated. He went on to say that it would probably not arrive before …
Some good news for all us small and downright beautiful car lovers – Fiat’s CEO Sergio Marchionne recently announced in a teleconference with financial analysts that Fiat will finally be launching the new Panda in 2011.