Bernd buys a Rolls
BMW CHAIRMAN Bernd Pischetsrieder has bought a Rolls-Royce. The car is a classic: a 1931 Phantom 2 Continental, chassis No. 3, the last car to be inspired by Royce himself. 'Now you know all there is to know about BMW and Rolls-Royce,' Pischetsrieder said, 'for the moment.'
TALK ABOUT FAST. The latest Pininfarina design goes at warp speed. Pininfarina Extra, the industrial design subsidiary of Pininfarina Group, designed a virtual reality computer helmet for the Turin-based Computer Union group for new multimedia computer games.
Alfa's good start
THE ALFA ROMEO 156 got off to a good start on 24 October, its first day on sale: 16,000 orders in continental Europe. That's an annual rate of 4.8 million, but Fiat Auto President Roberto Testore expects sales in 1998 to be about 100,000. Vittorio Rava, Fiat Auto advertising director, said the launch is getting L70 billion ($40 million) in advertising support. 'In the past we spent more only for mass-market segments,' said Rava, 'such as the L120 billion-L130 billion spent in 1993 to launch the Fiat Punto, and the L100 billion spent in 1995 to launch Bravo and Brava.'
German concepts built in Italy
NOT ONLY DID ITALDESIGN build the W-12 prototype for Volkswagen, but the three other German concept cars unveiled in Tokyo were also built in Turin. The Audi AL2 Open End prototype was constructed by Prose Group, which built the first AL2 unveiled in Frankfurt. The BMW Z07 concept was built by Cecomp, the preferred prototype shop of the De Tomaso family. The new Mercedes-Benz Maybach concept was built at Stola.
THERE WILL BE no 'life after death' for the current Rover Mini after it is replaced in 2000, said Rover Chairman Walter Hasselkus. Production will not be licensed to another firm. 'The Mini is industrial archaeology,' said Hasselkus. 'Some of the welding guns still in use date from 1958. The engine is of pre-war design.'
Toyota is silent
ALL THE JOURNALISTS in Tokyo couldn't pry a fact out of Toyota regarding its proposed new plant in Europe. Toyota President Hiroshi Okuda only said: 'We have not decided yet. We need another plant.' One thing he did make clear, is that 'there is no foundation' for the rumor that Toyota would buy a Peugeot plant.
No Saxo for Japan
CITROEN cannot use the Saxo name for its small hatchback in Japan. The word is too close to the Japanese word for turd, so in Japan, the car is a Chanson. Meanwhile, Renault decided against selling the rival Clio in Japan under that name, because Clio is the name of a prominent Honda dealership. The Clio is the Lutetia in Japan.