Cobras with no engines
AC Car Group Ltd. plans to export 25 Cobras a year to the US, but they won't have engines. The MkII and MkIII rolling chassis will be aimed at historic racers. When the UK sports car company changed hands last year, the new owners got a three-year license for the Cobra name from Ford Motor Co. AC expects to get $100,000 each for the hand-formed aluminum bodies and chassis. AC won't export the most up-to-date version of the Cobra, the MkIV.
Crain News Service
Jaguar wants Bond in the driver's seat
JAGUAR IS TRYING to slip itself into the James Bond league. Aston Martin was the original James Bond car company. Then BMW placed its Z3 in 1995's Goldeneye and its 750iL in this year's 007 epic, Tomorrow Never Dies. Jaguar is going to the source. 'We are involved in discussions with author Raymond Benson, who has been commissioned by the Fleming estate to write the next Bond book,' says Jaguar commercial executive David Crisp. 'He is considering putting Bond in our car. Of course it is not automatic that a film script follows the book, but we do hope it is possible that Bond will drive the XK8 in the future.'
FORD MOTOR CO. spent $4.3 million for a high-tech transfer machine to make V-8 engine blocks. But there was a problem: how to get the 100-ton behemoth from the Comau plant in Turin, Italy, to the engine plant in Windsor, Ontario. Ford hired two giant, four-engine, Russian-built Antonov AN124 cargo planes to fly the machine, packed in 22 crates, across the Atlantic. A convoy of trucks hauled the crates from the Windsor airport to the engine plant. The Comau machine will take up 168 square meters of the plant.
BILL BAKER, the PR man at Land Rover North America Inc., had a slip of his usually silver tongue at the dedication of a new US headquarters last week, when he said BMW AG acquired Rover Group in 1949. 'It was 1994, not 1949,' corrected Walter Hasselkus, the BMW executive who runs Rover Group. 'I think that (1949) was a time when Rover could have considered buying BMW, but we were able to avoid that.'
1,000 GM workers test anti-congestion methods
A THOUSAND GM employees in the UK will be part of an anti-congestion experiment in Luton on 15 May. They will work from home, share cars, stagger their work hours and use public transport instead of going to work in the conventional way. Vauxhall Motors managing director Nick Reilly proposed the idea in January as a way to obtain real-world data.
COOPERATION among Italy's coachbuilders extends to sharing workers. For three months, Carrozzeria Bertone will lend 72 workers to Industrie Pininfarina for duty in the paint shop where the Peugeot 306 cabriolet is built. If necessary, the workers will remain longer. This is the first such cooperation between the fierce business rivals. In the past, when initial orders of the Fiat Coupe ran higher than expected, Lancia loaned some workers to Pininfarina.
Germany above all
GERMANY is the best country for making cars, say 3,400 drivers from 20 countries, including eight in Europe. Japan ranks second and the US third in the global opinion poll taken by Market Opinion Research of the US. Among automakers, Mercedes leads, followed by BMW. Among brands with names different from their parent company, Jaguar is the most widely known, followed by Cadillac and Audi.
Congress nearly sold out
The Automotive News Europe Congress is almost sold out. Only a few delegate places remain.
The Congress will be held at the Brussels Sheraton Hotel and Towers on 9-10 June.
Keynote speakers are Volkswagen AG Chairman Ferdinand Piech and Robert Bosch GmbH Chairman Hermann Scholl.
Registrations are being accepted by Network Events Ltd., which is handling logistics. Cost is £495. Full details are available by return mail or fax (44-1705-631-797) from Network Events Ltd.
A.T. Kearney, the management consultancy, is co-sponsor of the event with Automotive News Europe.