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2:43 AM

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Geneva motor show: pair of Ferrari 599 GTBs revealed

Rafay Ansar

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Ferrari has confirmed that it will bring two new versions of the 599 GTB Fiorano to the Geneva motor show. In addition to the rumored Handling GT Evoluzione (HGTE) package, it will show off the technology-laden 599XX.

Included in the HGTE package are newly designed 20-inch wheels wrapped in more aggressive rubber, stiffer springs, thicker antiroll bars, a retuned exhaust system and a new front grille. Expect the optional handling package to tack an additional $25,000 onto the 599’s bottom line.

The 599XX is Ferrari’s rolling test bed for its latest technological developments from the company’s road-going and Formula One work. Specifics haven’t been revealed, but Ferrari claims that many of the systems implemented into the 599XX are being used for the first time and have been exclusively developed for the model.

In the words of Ferrari, it’s “aimed at a select group of clients,” so look for it to make it to the road in some form.

2:05 AM

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Bentley Continental Supersports clocks 204 mph on road to Geneva motor show



Bling may not be the obvious place to be for a luxury sports car maker today, but here's Bentley showing what the ultimate development of the Continental GT will be.

The Continental Supersports will be shown next week at the Geneva motor show as a production model. Its 630-hp turbocharged W12 will make it the fastest and most-powerful Bentley ever.

The headline figure is 204 mph, taking the Supersports into the stratospheric territory of production cars capable of eating up a mile in less than 18 seconds.

The Supersports can do this while drinking either standard pump fuel or E85, making it the first Bentley to be biofuel compatible, a step that all future Bentley models will make as the British company pushes toward a greener future.

Started as an under-the-radar project, the Supersports is likely to become the best-selling Continental GT if Bentley¹s experience with its Speed models is anything to go by--the Speed model now makes up 60 percent of coupe sales.

"The Supersports is something my engineers worked on amongst themselves, to create the ultimate Continental, and then we picked it up as an official project," says Uli Eichhorn, Bentley chief engineer.

The changes to make the Supersports run on E85 should not be underestimated, adds Eichhorn. As well as re-engineering the fuel system to cope with the corrosive ethanol, all the electronic subsystems had to be reprogrammed and revalidated.

With U.S. regulatory approval still to be cleared, the Supersports will go into production the fall, with North American cars becoming E85-capable by summer 2010.

The main change to the engine to increase power above 600 hp is extra boost from the twin turbos, whose airflow is eased by 10 percent larger intercoolers. The latest, quick-shifting version of ZF's six-speed automatic helps the higher-output engine deliver sharper performance. Bentley quotes a 0-to-60-mph time of 3.7 seconds and 50 to 70 mph in 2.1 seconds.

Billed as the ultimate "extreme" Bentley by the company, there are dozens of detailed underskin changes to ensure the Supersports delivers a special driving experience.

Most significant is a new, rear-biased 60:40 torque split from the center differential for the four-wheel-drive system, which is said to reduce understeer and increase chassis adjustability on the throttle.

But there's also a wider rear track, extended by 0.8 inch to enhance high-speed stability, and standard carbon-ceramic brakes to haul the Supersports down from its tarmac-ripping top speed.

Steering, suspension, spring and damper rates have all been revised, too, in line with the extended performance.

The lower front suspension arm is now made from aluminum, the antiroll bar is retuned and stiffer bushings improve steering responses.

Even Bentley doesn't describe the 4,938-pound Supersports as lightweight, but it is considerably lighter than the Continental Speed.

The rear seat is removed, a rear panel is made from carbon fiber and new lightweight 20-inch wheels save 5.5 pounds per corner. In total, the Supersports is 242 pounds lighter than the GT Speed.

There are styling differences, too. The wider rear track necessitates new rear body panels that beef up the Supersports's rear haunch. Extra cooling vents are needed in the hood and front airdam, features that increase aggressiveness.

A subtle change is new brightwork around the window openings, which now features a smoky-chrome look. Even this cosmetic change introduces new technology, the finish being applied for the first time to stainless steel using physical vapor deposition.

Inside is new carbon fiber trim, including a cross-cabin beam that looks like a body stiffener but is actually a luggage retaining bar.

There's plenty of substance to this reworked Bentley Continental, which is also reflected in a significant 20 percent price rise. The figure is not final yet, but if you've got around $250,00 to spend on a fabulous sports car, the Bentley Continental Supersports just jumped onto your wish list.

10:31 AM

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Audi TT RS to pack 340 hp; still no word on U.S. sales

Rafay Ansar



Additional details and photos of Audi’s hotrod TT RS have trickled out onto the Internet ahead of its official debut at the Geneva motor show.

From the teaser information released last week, we know Audi plans to take a page from its heritage playbook by using a five-cylinder engine. We now know that the 2.5-liter direct-injection turbocharged engine will provide a meaty 340 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque. Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission are standard.

All this results in the TT RS reaching 62 mph from a standstill in less than 5 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph.

From the full images, you’ll notice a new front fascia with larger air dams, LED daytime running lights, an exclusive rear bumper and a fixed rear spoiler.

Expect the standard high-performance RS fare with larger brakes and stiffer suspension tuning. The cabin features generously bolstered leather sport seats.

The TT RS will be available in Europe as a coupe and convertible. Unfortunately, the fact that the TT RS has not being approved for U.S. consumption remains. So start sending your angry notes to Audi today.

1:40 PM

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Audi TT RS roadster to roar into Geneva motor show

Rafay Ansar

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Audi's TT roadster is mighty sporty inside and out. But for some, that's not enough. Those enthusiasts will want the Audi TT RS, which will make its debut at the Geneva motor show. Audi is giving us a peek ahead of the show.

But here's the bad news: This bad-ass TT has not gotten the OK from Audi honchos to be sold in the United States--at least not yet.

Under the hood of the Audi TT RS is a 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder engine with direct injection and a turbocharger. That's right--Audi is dipping into its heritage with a new five-cylinder engine.

All that powertrain hardware is good for plenty more than 300 hp, Audi says. Top speed is limited to 155 mph--but it would go faster if the electronic leash was removed. The quattro all-wheel-drive system is standard.

10:01 AM

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Peugeot 3008 (2010)

Rafay Ansar

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The Peugeot 3008 is a compact and spacious crossover. It represents a new and innovative offer, not only in the Peugeot range but also in today's car market as a whole. Manufactured in Eastern France at the Sochaux manufacturing plant, its concept and specification has draw on all of Peugeot's expertise and values.

The Peugeot 3008 is positioned at the crossroads between several existing vehicles: the SUV, the MPV and hatchback. The car derives its strengths from this blend of motoring concepts while at the same adopting a number of new and original technologies (Dynamic Roll Control, Grip Control, etc) enabling it to combine specifications often deemed incompatible (driving pleasure inside a "tall" vehicle, improved traction while at the same time being eco-friendly, etc).

Through its non-conformist approach and its resolute styling, the Peugeot 3008, designed as a pioneering vehicle, offers an original solution and optimal versatility to customers in search of modernity, practicality and driving pleasure.

Protective, versatile and status-enhancing, the Peugeot 3008, a crossover in all respects, opens up new motoring horizons.

The architecture of the Peugeot 3008 successfully combines a single-compartment body shape with a forward-positioned front windscreen with elements borrowed from the world of the SUV, such as its lower tailgate (or hobby), its plunging side windows and its raised driving position.

The vehicle's style achieves a harmonious fusion of these different genres. Its balanced proportions and dynamic and robust lines provide an indication of the car's innovative content.

At the front, the Peugeot styling genes have evolved to adapt to the car's generous size, while at the rear the wide sculpted flanks help to visually attach the car to the road.

Depending on the trim level, the vehicle can have off-road styling elements, in particular inserts for the sills and lower panels.



Inside its spacious interior, the driver occupies an ergonomic and particularly luxurious driving position that calls to mind the world of the luxury coupé and has some similarity to the cockpit of an aircraft.

Passengers can enjoy a generous and extremely comfortable passenger compartment (in terms of design, seats, acoustics, etc), where each occupant will feel naturally at ease. For even greater interior brightness and visibility, they can benefit from a large glass roof measuring 1.60 m2.

Its Multiflex interior can be converted at will thanks to its 3-position load area floor and folding rear seats. With the latter folded, together with the front passenger backrest, the Peugeot 3008 offers a perfectly flat floor from the lower tailgate hobby to the fascia panel. Its load volume under the parcel shelf then increases from 512 litres (or 432 dm3 in the VDA standard) to 1,604 (or 1,241 dm3 VDA) behind the front seats.

To add to the tranquillity and safety of all its occupants, the driver can benefit, as standard or as an option, from technology that is rarely if ever seen in this market segment:

* Head Up Display,
* Distance Alert (helps the driver to respect a safe distance between the vehicle in front according to speed),
* automatic electric parking brake, hill assist,
* a range of telematic systems with satellite navigation.

THE PEUGEOT 3008, A CROSSOVER THANKS ITS UNIQUE DRIVING SENSATIONS AND INTELLIGENT OFF-ROAD TRACTION

Thanks to Peugeot's expertise and use of new technology, the Peugeot 3008 offers road holding qualities worthy of the best saloon cars, no mean feat for a "spacious and tall" vehicle. Every effort has been made to ensure class leading levels of road holding on all versions of the Peugeot 3008, without in any way sacrificing passenger comfort. Indeed the Peugeot 3008 will become the new benchmark in the world of spacious, compact vehicles in terms of driving pleasure and active safety.

It achieves this through its excellent body rigidity, large wheels and suspension comprising of a McPherson type front suspension and a rear suspension consisting of a rear torsion beam.

Combined with two of the most efficient engines (the 1.6 litre THP and the new 2.0 litre HDi FAP), the Dynamic Roll Control system, fitted to the rear suspension, sets new standards in terms of body roll control while still retaining optimal damping characteristics.

Another innovation is the Grip Control system. Consisting of an advanced traction control system and special Mud & Snow tyres, it optimises the traction of both front wheels of the Peugeot 3008 for real off-road driving. The driver controls the system by means of a knob with five settings: Standard, Snow, Off Road (Mud/Dirt/Wet Grass), Sand and ESP off.

THE PEUGEOT 3008, AN ENVIRONMENTALLY-FRIENDLY CROSSOVER


At an early stage of the project, the search for optimal environmental efficiency was a major priority, especially as the vehicle was a crossover.

Particular attention was paid to the car's aerodynamics (Cx of only 0.296), weight optimisation (lightweight materials, laser welding, etc) and Michelin tyres with a low rolling resistance (derived from the Peugeot 308) are fitted to most versions.



At the heart of the Peugeot 3008's eco-efficiency, its six power trains feature the most advanced technologies in the market segment, both for petrol (with the 1.6 litre VTi and THP engines developed in co-operation with the BMW Group) and diesel versions (1.6 and 2.0 litre HDi fitted with a diesel particulate emission filter). Fuel consumption on the most eco-friendly version is therefore reduced to only 4.9 litres/100 km or 130 g/km of CO2.

In 2009, the Peugeot 3008 range will be as follows:

* HDi FAP diesel:
o 1.6 litre HDi FAP 80 kW (110 bhp), 240 Nm, 6-speed manual gearbox - CO2: 137 g/km
o 1.6 litre HDi FAP 80 kW (110 bhp), 240 Nm, 6-speed electronically-controlled manual gearbox - CO2: 130 g/km
o 2.0 litre HDi FAP 110 kW (150 bhp), 340 Nm, 6-speed manual gearbox - Euro 5, CO2: 146 g/km
o 2.0 litre HDi FAP 120 kW (163 bhp), 340 Nm, 6-speed automatic gearbox - Euro 5, CO2: 176 g/km
* Petrol:
o 1.6 litre VTi 88 kW (120 bhp), 160 Nm, 5-speed manual gearbox - Euro 5, CO2: 165 g/km
o 1.6 litre THP 110 kW (150 bhp), 240 Nm, 6-speed manual gearbox - CO2: 176 g/km, and the 1.6 litre
o THP 115 kW (156 bhp), 240 Nm, 6-speed manual gearbox - Euro 5, CO2: 170 g/km

Finally, from 2011, the Peugeot 3008 will be the first vehicle in the PSA Peugeot Citroën Group to benefit from HYbrid4 technology, as unveiled on the Prologue HYbrid4 concept car at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. This technology, representing a real breakthrough in terms of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions (in the order of a 35% reduction), it also allows four wheel drive thanks to front wheel drive provided by the HDi FAP diesel engine and rear wheel drive provided by an electric motor. The latter also allows an "all electric" drive mode, i.e. with zero emissions.

THE PEUGEOT 3008, A CROSSOVER YOU CAN FEEL SAFE IN

The Peugeot 3008 is designed to offer maximum safety in every respect:

* primary safety is guaranteed by the high levels of road holding,
* secondary safety is based on a particularly optimised structure (with three impact absorption structures or channels at the front and the fitment of Bogé impact absorbers) and efficient means of restraint (including six air bags),
* tertiary safety is assured by the Peugeot Emergency service which can pinpoint the vehicle's location and dispatch emergency services in the event of an incident. This service, first launched in 2003, is available free of charge with the new WIP Com 3D telematic system available on the Peugeot 3008.

THE PEUGEOT 3008, A STATUS-ENHANCING CROSSOVER WITH AMBITIOUS QUALITY TARGETS


Based on the same processes first introduced with the launch of the 308, both perceived quality and driveability were made a priority during the design, development and manufacture of the Peugeot 3008.

For example, a major 3,000,000 kilometre on-road test programme is under way to gather information that will help to optimise the vehicle's quality at the time of its launch. Similarly, the number of quality control checks has been increased at each stage of production.

This constant drive for higher quality at all levels will also have a positive effect on the durability, reliability and running costs of the Peugeot 3008.

It will also have a direct effect on the "overall cost of ownership", an important factor for many owners and a crucial consideration for fleet buyers.

Running costs and the vehicle's residual value will also depend on the attractiveness of the car, its environmental efficiency and its repair costs, parameters for which the Peugeot 3008 has solid arguments in its favour.

THE PEUGEOT 3008, A CROSSOVER AVAILABLE IN A SIMPLE AND CLEAR RANGE

According to countries, the Peugeot 3008 range will be available in four trim levels. To offer the widest possible choice, it will be available in nine body colours and, according to trim level, two different ambiences: Tramontane (anthracite) or Guérande (bluish light grey). The latter come with cloth, leather or "integral leather" seats and fascia panel.

10:04 AM

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Chicago Auto Show: Gut reactions from the floor



This is a bit of a delayed Gut Reaction to the Chicago auto show.

For those of you familiar with AutoWeek vernacular, GRs are our quick-hit reactions from the show floor in the wake of car reveals and press conferences. So apparently it took awhile for my stomach to settle, but now that it has--the Windy City spectacular can be condensed into two must-see things: the Taurus SHO and the Corvette Stingray.

To borrow from some more AW jargon, we’ll call this Truth & Beauty.

The Truth, or perhaps substance, is the new performance version of Ford’s flagship sedan. This is a car to check out. At $37,995, it’s priced a bit below Chrysler’s 300C with awd, and it’s a true sleeper. At first glance, it appears identical to the regular Taurus, and you have to look closely to check out the SHO badging on the trunk lid in the back.

But think about this: all-wheel stability and performance, and 365 horses and 350 lb-ft of torque from an EcoBoost V6 powerplant. That’s not bad. Throw in the 25-mpg highway figure, and it’s a car that makes a nice commuter cruiser for parents looking to spice up their mundane work-a-day-lives.

And the Taurus is a good base to work off for a performance-oriented sedan. Just enough chrome, nice taillights that sort of channel the Interceptor concept and some understated sheetmetal. If you’re dropping by Chi-Town, the SHO is one of the show’s stars.

Now for the Beauty. That’s the Corvette Stingray concept that General Motors unveiled at Chicago. It’s a true looker, blending cues from the 1959 Stingray race car and the 1963 split-back. Spectacular styling lines, a sharky-style grille, chrome wheels--it’s one of the best-looking rides at the show.

But here’s the rub. GM held a splashy press conference to unveil a movie prop. This concept doesn’t even run, design boss Ed Welburn said, and he was particularly careful not to allude in any way if it might hint at future Corvettes. It’s main role is to play the character Sideswipe in the Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen film due in June.

The concept is a styling exercise created by some Corvette designers a couple of years back, and Transformers director Michael Bay was taken by its looks on a tour of GM studios.

Like the Hollywood director, you too will be blown away by the lines and presence of this sports car. Just try not to think about the lack of engine under the hood and the half-interior.

Beyond those two, it’s a fairly calm show. Lots of cars have already been seen by the media, but it’s very consumer-oriented with spread-out displays and room to sit in most of the sheetmetal. If you make it to Chicago, it’s worth your time to scope out the Genesis coupe, which is going on sale this spring, and is a worthy Mustang fighter. The R-Spec version is an option worth investigating if you’re a driving enthusiast, but don’t want to drop serious cash.

The Dodge Ram Heavy Duty is simply monstrous, and worth taking pictures of--plus the Chrysler exhibit has cars you can actually drive. Acura’s TSX with a V6 powerplant pushing out 280 hp is a nice option for those looking for an upscale ride, and considerable improvement over the four cylinder. With fuel at reasonable levels again, it’s a smart move for Acura.

So there you have it. After a couple of days of pacing the floor in Chicago, those are our basic conclusions. It’s a true consumer show with some eye candy and some decent displays to benchmark future purchases.

And--it’s in Chicago. Get your fill of cars and than hit one of the city’s many museums or watering holes. Seems like a win-win for car people.

Stop by CorvetteGuys.com and check out their large selection of
Corvette Exhaust.

9:06 AM

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Wolfgang Bernhard returns to Daimler

Rafay Ansar

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Wolfgang Bernhard, the hard-driving executive who was forced out of Volkswagen and DaimlerChrysler, has rejoined Daimler to be the head of its Mercedes-Benz van group. He starts the job on April 1.

Bernhard, 48, is replacing Wilfried Porth as head of the vans unit. Porth becomes a member of Daimler’s board of management, in charge of human resources and labor relations.

Bernhard worked at Daimler from 1994 to 2004, and was the COO/product guru counterpart to now Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche when he was in charge of the Chrysler group.

Bernhard drove the Tomahawk concept motorcycle, powered by a 500-hp Viper V10, onto the stage at the Detroit auto show in 2003. And he was the driving force behind the Chrysler ME Four-Twelve supercar concept shown at the Detroit show in 2004.

Bernhard was poised to take over the Mercedes-Benz brand, as Zetsche rose to become DaimlerChrysler chairman. But the move was blocked by the company's board of management at the behest of outgoing chairman Juergen Schrempp, and Bernhard left the company.

Bernhard then joined the Volkswagen Group to run the Volkswagen brand, putting high emphasis on cost cutting and boosting quality. But he was ousted in January 2007 in a boardroom shakeup engineered by Ferdinand Piech.

In a statement on Tuesday, Zetsche said: I am delighted that Wolfgang Bernhard is back on board at Daimler. I have valued his knowledge and experience since the time we spent together in the United States, and I'm glad we can continue our excellent collaboration.”

10:25 AM

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BMW design boss Chris Bangle leaves auto industry

Rafay Ansar

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BMW Group's design head Chris Bangle is quitting "to pursue his own design-related endeavors beyond the auto industry," the German carmaker said Tuesday.

Adrian van Hooydonk, head of design for BMW brand, will succeed Bangle.

"Christopher Bangle has had a lasting impact on the identity of BMW Group's brands. His contribution to the company's success has been decisive," said Klaus Draeger, BMW's development chief in a statement

10:19 AM

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Toyota Prius a race car? Sort of--in Japan

Rafay Ansar

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With steely stares and clenched hands, the drivers peer from their crash helmets as the race marshal slowly raises the green flag. Then the flag drops.

And they're off! But with deafening silence and snaillike lethargy. The field of Prius hybrids inches from the line to start the race.

No roaring engines, no squealing tires--and no wonder. The so-called Prius Cup pits Japan's Toyota dealerships against one another in a contest of gas mileage and crew service--not speed.

The circuit is Toyota Motor Corp.'s latest tool for promoting its popular hybrid, sharpening dealer familiarity with the product and creating buzz before the new-generation Prius debuts this year. The sixth running of the Prius Cup, outside Nagoya in December, drew 22 dealer teams from central Japan.

"Through this race, our teammates will understand exactly how these cars work, and I think this will benefit all my associates," says Kazuo Oguri, executive vice president of Nagoya Toyopet Corp., one of Japan's biggest Toyota dealers with 70 stores in Aichi prefecture.

Dealers don't have to participate in the Prius Cup, but most want to.

"It's better than playing golf," Oguri says.

Prius showcase

The Prius Cup was started in December 2007 as a way to showcase the hybrid vehicle's excellent fuel efficiency.

The event encompasses a series of races held in different regions of Japan. The winner of the race in Gamagori logged an average fuel consumption rate of 29.46 kilometers per liter (69.3 mpg) over the 20-lap event.

But this year's race series is also about setting the stage for a nationwide marketing blitz.

Starting this year, dealers and media reports say, Toyota will start selling the Prius through all four of its domestic sales channels instead of just two, as is done today. Indeed, most of the teams in December's race were dealers that don't even handle the Prius.

But in 2009, they all hope to stock the redesigned third generation.

"I wanted to prepare for next year," Mikinori Tsuzuki, owner of Netz Toyota Chubu, said at the December event. "I don't know how many new Priuses I'll sell. But if I hit 1,000 a year, I'll be happy."

Because Tsuzuki doesn't yet sell the Prius, he had to rent one for the race. He wanted to take part to give his mechanics and sales staff exposure to the car before it reaches his showrooms.

The Prius is expected to have stiff competition this year, when archrival Honda Motor Co. unveils its Insight hybrid. The Insight is expected to cost less than the Prius and be the toughest competitor to date.

The Prius Cup has a service and race portion. During the service leg, teams are clocked on how fast and accurately they service their car, from checking the engine to rotating the tires.

Testing on the track

During the race, three drivers take turns piloting the car around the track. They are penalized for going too fast or too slow and strive to keep the car going on as little gasoline as possible.

The service and race scores are combined to determine the overall winner.

A key strategy is accelerating slowly at the green flag and after pit stops, letting the hybrid vehicle's electric motor do most of the work.

Fuel burn is chronicled on the Prius' midconsole monitor. And team managers lean over the pit wall with message boards instructing drivers to either speed up or slow down to avoid penalties and boost efficiency.

Unlike in the United States, where Prius sales have slumped on tight supply, global sales for the world's best-selling hybrid grew 3.5 percent to 269,200 units through November.

Sales here climbed 23.1 percent to 67,200 cars in the first 11 months. The Prius got a big boost from soaring gasoline prices.

Hot seller, cold market

The Prius' success is welcome relief for Japanese dealers, who have been hammered in recent years by a relentless slide in domestic sales. In 2008, total light-vehicle sales were down 4.8 percent to 4.9 million units.

The Toyota Group fared slightly worse, down 2.2 percent to 1.7 million vehicles.

Dealers blame the decline on everything from Japan's fumbling economy to the urbanization of young people, who increasingly shun car purchases or turn to low-priced 660cc minicars.

"People are losing their jobs and don't have money to buy cars," Oguri says. "And young people don't want to own cars. They spend their money on mobile phones and video games."

In the 1990s, dealer Oguri's Nagoya Toyopet booked annual sales of 60,000 units. But he moved only 40,000 cars last year and is looking at sales closer to 33,000 this year.

"Only Prius sales are getting better," says Oguri. "Everything else has a head wind."

9:43 AM

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Former McLaren F1 boss Teddy Mayer dies

Rafay Ansar

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Former McLaren Formula One boss Teddy Mayer, the man who rescued the team after the death of its founder, Bruce McLaren, has died at the age of 73.

Mayer first became involved in motorsports through his younger brother, Tim, who worked his way up from humble beginnings with Austin Healey in club events in 1959 to competing in the U.S. Grand Prix by 1962.

A law graduate, Mayer joined his brother as manager and mentor when he tried to make it in Europe, initially in Formula Junior. Tim Mayer quickly impressed, and landed a Cooper F1 seat for 1964. As a precursor, he partnered with Bruce McLaren in the winter Tasman series. Tim Mayer showed real potential, but lost his life in a crash at the deadly Longford road circuit.

Despite the tragedy, Mayer chose to stay involved with motorsports and in effect became McLaren's right-hand man; he organized the team and the factory, and oversaw the hugely successful CanAm campaigns.

When McLaren was killed in June 1970, Mayer took over. Emerson Fittipaldi went on to win the world championship in 1974, and James Hunt repeated that feat two years later.

But in the late 1970s the team had lost its way as it failed to keep up with ground effect technology. Mayer took a lot of flak for failing to sign Gilles Villeneuve for a full-time drive, although he did give Alain Prost his first seat in 1980.

That year, sponsor Philip Morris engineered a takeover by Ron Dennis, who had put together his own F1 project. The two men worked together for a while, but inevitably Mayer didn’t stay long.

Mayer returned to F1 in 1985, running Carl Haas’s Beatrice-backed Lola team. All the ingredients seemed to be in place--Ford engines and the likes of Ross Brawn and Adrian Newey on the engineering strength--but the team flopped.

Mayer subsequently went to work for Roger Penske, and he was a key part of the team’s massive success into the 1990s. Mayer ran the British operation in Poole.

Not one to suffer fools gladly, Mayer had a somewhat dour image, but in fact he had a dry sense of humor, and his achievements as a manager speak for themselves.

Born Edward Everett Mayer, he was the son of a World War I flying ace, Edward Mayer Sr., whose first wife was the daughter of Titanic victim Benjamin Guggenheim. When she died young, Mayer's father married into Pennsylvania’s famous Scranton family, which had close ties with the Republican party. Mayer's uncle, William W. Scranton, would become state governor and was considered for the 1964 presidential nomination.