31/12/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.16/l (am), $1.27 (pm), min $1.13, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.17, min $1.12); oil us$79/b; au$1.00=us$0.90, £0.56, €0.62, ¥83
30/12/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg au$1.16/l, min $1.11, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.15, min $1.12); oil us$79/b; au$1.00=us$0.89, £0.56, €0.62, ¥82
29/12/2009 Tue Melb ULP avg au$1.18/l, min $1.11, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.15, min $1.12); oil us$79/b; au$1.00=us$0.89, £0.55, €0.62, ¥81

2009: The 'Global Financial Crisis' (GFC) hammered car makers. GM and Chrysler went bankrupt and were remade, but Ford did OK. China (BAIC) bagged a lot of Saab's IP from GM (14 Dec.) and (Geely) was set to buy Volvo from Ford. VW gained control of Porsche; it seemed things might be the other way round last year but by 2009 the people's car had definitely won the war (and Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, SEAT, Skoda). Perhaps uniquely, VW even sold more cars in 2009 than in 2008 (see 11 Jan. 2010). Car makers laid down a lot of bets for electric and for hybrid (petrol-, diesel- or LPG-electric) cars to do well over the next year or five, and generally cooled on the prospects of hydrogen (fuel-cell or IC) any time soon.

29 December 2009: Scrutineering began for 'The Dakar' which started in the new year.

29 December 2009: Bushfires near Toodyay, near Two Rocks, and in the Shire of Dandaragan, all in WA and floods in N. NSW, from the remnants of T.C. Laurence.

28 December 2009: Crude oil prices varied by us$10 from week to week, even day to day, during 2009 but rose from generally us$40-50 in Jan.-Feb. to us$70-$80 per barrel Sep.-Dec., the latter being roughly on the trend line from 2005-2006. Australian motorists were shielded from significant fuel price rises as the au$ rose from us$0.65 to us$0.90±2.
28 December 2009: Terminal gate prices, ULP, Melbourne $1.14/l, Sydney $1.15/l, Perth $1.15/l, diesel 1¢/l less — AIP [www].

December 2009, too hot seat: "Chrysler ... defect ... in some 2001 through 2004 ... Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles that had Safety Recall F17 performed or had the front seat heater elements serviced with the F17 recall repair kit ... [the] seat electric heating elements ... may overheat and cause interior damage or result in injury ..." — ouch [www][#2009/11311], [www].

25/12/2009 Fri Melb ULP avg au$1.27/l, min $1.26, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.16, min $1.12); oil us$78/b
24/12/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.16/l (am), $1.21 (pm), min $1.13, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.16, min $1.11); oil us$77/b; au$1.00=us$0.88, £0.55, €0.62, ¥81
23/12/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg au$1.17/l, min $1.13, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.15, min $1.11); oil us$74/b; au$1.00=us$0.88, £0.55, €0.61, ¥80
22/12/2009 Tue Melb ULP avg au$1.20/l, min $1.15, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.15, min $1.11); oil us$73/b

25 December 2009: Team preparations were well under way for the 2010 Dakar (S.America) — [www].

23 December 2009: Retired 7 times champion, Michael Schumacher signed to drive for the Mercedes F1 team (was Brawn, was Honda) next year — michaelschumacher.de, Brawn GP.

23 December 2009: Ford and Geely on the sale of Volvo ... "all substantive commercial terms relating to the potential sale of Volvo Car Corp. have been settled between Ford and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. Ltd. ..." — Ford.

22 December 2009: Snow and ice continued in Europe and the UK — [BBC].

20 December 2009, .au: At 9am, "A Cyclone Warning ... current for coastal areas from Beagle Bay to Pardoo, including Broome ..." as tropical-cyclone ‘Laurence’ strengthened — [bom]. & 21st: "L. crossed the coast at 80 Mile Beach late Monday afternoon". & 23rd: "A Cyclone warning is current for central parts of the interior district, including Warburton and Giles. ..." — bom, and "raining on Uluru Central Australia" — ABC.

19 December 2009: The UN Climate Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen ended with only a weak deal, the 'Copenhagen Accord', signed by US, China, South Africa and India as yet, but no legally binding treaty. It called for a maximum 2°C global average temperature rise, with little detail on how that would happen — COP15. 23rd: India, China and "other emerging nations [ensured] there were no legally binding targets from ... Copenhagen" — ABC.

18 December 2009: GM announced that "the intended sale of Saab Automobile AB would not be concluded. ... GM had been in discussions with Spyker Cars [but] issues arose that both parties believe could not be resolved. ... GM will start an orderly wind-down of Saab operations. ..." — GM. Also see 14 Dec. below. 20 Dec.: Spyker had another go — Spyker. And, see 26 Jan. 2010!

18 December 2009: 'The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) issued its 2nd report on the prices, costs and profits of unleaded petrol in Australia' and said that "... The [weekly] retail price cycles which operate in the larger cities are however a cause of concern. The system of information exchange between petrol companies mean we risk having to pay more for petrol over time. ..." — ACCC. Look at the year's (lower) prices in smaller Perth, with fuelwatch [www], compared to larger Melbourne, without, yet the terminal gate prices were virtually the same.
"[ULP] Prices in Perth have been consistently lower than the average retail price across [Adel., Melb., Perth, Sydney] since 2004-05 while prices in Melbourne have clearly been above the average ... since 2005-06." — ACCC[18/12].

December 2009: "Aston Martin [released] the first official images of the 'Cygnet' - a new luxury commuter concept car. ..." — Aston Martin. The Cygnet is based on the tiny Toyota iQ, and just might go into production – for owners of other Astons Martins. ¿A "feel good" effort, or an attempt to improve AM's fleet average emissions?

17 December 2009, .au: At 9am, category 2 tropical-cyclone ‘Laurence’ "was estimated to be 90km northeast of Derby [WA] and 105km southeast of Cockatoo Island and moving southeast at 5 kilometres per hour" — [bom].

16 December 2009: Renault decided to sell "a large stake [3/4] of [the] Renault F1 Team to Genii". Genii Capital is based in Luxemburg — Renault. (And lots of rumours about Michael Schumacher, in 2010, joining Mercedes, was Brawn ('09), was Honda ('08).)

16-20 December 2009: Dubai International Motor Show, even if Dubai World is in trouble — see 27 Nov..

17/12/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.16/l (am), $1.26 (pm), min $1.14, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.17, min $1.10); oil us$72/b; au$1.00=us$0.89, £0.55, €0.62, ¥80
16/12/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg au$1.19/l, min $1.17, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.15, min $1.10); oil us$71/b

14 December 2009: ¿Looks like a fire sale: "Saab Automobile AB announced today that it had closed on the sale to Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings Co. Ltd (BAIC) of certain Saab 9-3, current 9-5 and powertrain technology and tooling ..." — GM. Also see 18 Dec. above, and 2 Dec. below.

11 December 2009, .au: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was at Toyota's Altona plant for the launch of the first Australian-built hybrid car, a Camry — Toyota.

10 December 2009: The FIA announced the points system for F1 in 2010 — 1:25pts, 2:20pts, 3:15pts, 4:10pts, 5:8pts, 6:6pts, 7:5pts, 8:3pts, 9:2pts, 10:1pt (was 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 pts in '09) — FIA. Note the steps are 1, 1, 2, 1, 2, 2, 5, 5, & 5pts. (But modified again on 2 Feb 2010.)

9 December 2009: The UK Government's Pre-Budget Report 2009 pledged support for "low-carbon transport. Electric cars will be exempt from company car tax from April 2010 while a 100% first-year allowance will be provided for the purchase of electric vans ..." — .gov.uk.

9 December 2009: VW and Suzuki announced they would "establish a close long-term strategic partnership. ... [VW] will purchase 19.9% of Suzuki's issued shares. ..." — VW, Suzuki. (4 Dec.: GM Canada announced it "will acquire 100% ownership of CAMI Automotive Incorporated (CAMI) [buying] shares currently owned by long-time partner Suzuki Motor Corp.. ..." — GM, Suzuki. Coincidence?)

10/12/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.16/l (am), $1.24 (pm), min $1.14, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.18, min $1.10); oil us$71/b; au$1.00=us$0.91, £0.56, €0.62, ¥80
9/12/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg au$1.18/l, min $1.14, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.17, min $1.13); oil us$73/b

9 December 2009: "... Extreme Fire Danger [75-99] is forecast for the North Western NSW Fire Area ..." — [bom].

8 December 2009, uk: The AA launched a "fuel price iPhone application [to find low] ... fuel prices across the UK. The fuel prices are provided by Experian Catalist in association with ARVAL Ltd. ..." — AA.

7-18 December 2009: United Nations Climate Change Conference, including COP-15 (the 15th Conf. of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC) — the "Copenhagen meeting" on climate change and greenhouse gas reduction, COP15 (also see the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) [www].) The hosts suggest cutting "greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050 from 1990 levels, with most of the reduction coming from rich countries. ... a figure that the G8 ... nations agreed to in principle last year" w— ABC[1/12]. And, on 2/12, the Liberal opposition blocked the Australian Government's Emmission Trading Scheme (ETS) — ABC, how embarrassing (also see 25+ Nov. below). And, "the year 2009 is likely to rank in the top 10 warmest on record since the beginning of instrumental climate records in 1850 ... [and probably] the fifth-warmest year. ..." -- World Meteorological Organization #869.

7 December 2009: GM announced that it would "invest [us]$336 million in the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant to begin production of the Chevrolet Volt electric car, with extended-range capabilities, in 2010" — GM. Good timing.

7 December 2009: Silverstone secured the British F1 Grand Prix for the next 17 years — Silverstone. There had been a plan to move the event to Donington Park from 2010.

December 2009, .au: The Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) is conducting a survey re the effectiveness of the Victorian Vehicle Impoundment Legislation in reducing the occurrence of hoon driving behaviour.

4 December 2009, au: "85,833 passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles were sold in Nov.2009 - an increase of 19.9% (14,216 vehicles)" v. Nov.2008, "year-to-date 848,620 new vehicles have been sold, down 9.3%" — FCAI.
uk: "New car registrations up 57.6% on weak 2008 to 158,082 units, in line with Nov.2007 volumes. Year-to-date registrations down 8.8% at 1,844,063 units but full year market likely to exceed 1.975 million units. ..." — SMMT.
usa: Ford's Nov. US "car sales were up 14% [v.] a year ago. Crossovers sales, which include products like Ford Escape ..., were up 26% ... Truck and SUV's sales were down ... [so] total sales were essentially equal to year-ago ... at 118,536" — Ford. GM "delivered 151,427 [US] vehicles in Nov. ... a decline of 2% compared with Nov. 2008 ..." — GM. Toyota US "reported Nov. sales of 133,700 vehicles, an increase of 11.5% over last November, on a daily selling rate basis. ..." — Toyota.

2 December 2009: "The Volkswagen Golf and Subaru Outback [won] two of the most popular categories in the Australia's Best Cars awards ..." — RACV.

2 December 2009: The Australian Government has "asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to investigate if there has been anti-competitive petrol pricing. ... if coordinated activity is affecting the regular [weekly] price cycle to the detriment of motorists. ..." — ABC, "... made possible by the use of an industry website called 'Informed Sources'". Ha, blind Freddy can ... Also see 18 Dec. above.

3/12/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.16/l (am), $1.26 (pm), min $1.12, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.17, min $1.09); oil us$76/b; au$1.00=us$0.93, £0.56, €0.62, ¥82
2/12/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg au$1.17/l, min $1.12, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.14, min $1.09); oil us$78/b

2-13 December 2009: Los Angeles Auto Show (public 4-13th). Including Chrysler 2010 Dodge Viper; Ford 2011 Fiesta; GM Buick 2010 Regal, 2011 Cadillac CTS coupe, Chevrolet Cruze, 2010 Camaro & Equinox, & Volt; Honda Personal-Neo Urban Transport (P-NUT;-); Mazda Mazda2 (Demio .jp); Porsche Boxter Spyder; Toyota 2011 Sienna minivan, Prius plug-in concept, Lexus LFA, Volkswagen Up! Lite voncept.

2 December 2009: Spyker confirmed that, with its shareholder Convers Group, it was interested in Saab Automobile AB — Spyker. GM was noncommittal — GM.

1 December 2009: GM reported that it had "received expressions of interest in Saab since ... Koenigsegg Group AB" pulled out of its bid — GM.

30 November 2009:  The FIA released the entry list for the 2010 F1 World Championship — 12 teams, Brawn to be called Brawn Mercedes Benz, Sauber (was BMW) probably in, Toyota out, and new arrivals Lotus F1 Racing, Campos Meta 1, US F1 Team, and Virgin Racing (was 'Manor') — FIA.

27 November 2009: BMW announced that it had agreed to sell the BMW-Sauber F1 team to Peter Sauber.

27 November 2009: Dubai World, which may owe us$60 billion, perhaps us$80bn, might go bust — ABC.

25 November 2009, .au: Liberal opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull survived a leadership spill (48:35) by Lib. climate-change sceptics after the Labor Government and the Libs. negotiated a compromise on the Gvmt's proposed CO2 Emmission Trading Scheme (ETS) — ABC. But by 27 Nov: T. looked much less secure in his job. Senator Minchin, one of the Lib. doubters, even wrote "... Whatever the climatic role of human induced emissions of CO2, CO2 is not by any stretch of the imagination a pollutant. CO2 is, as we know, a clear, odourless, colourless gas vital to life on earth. ..." (was www.nickminchin.com.au). Oh dear. He, and like minded Libs., are obviously more concerned with things other than the planet. And on 1 Dec. Turnbull was rolled in favour of arch conservative and climate sceptic Tony Abbott — ABC.

25 November 2009, usa: Toyota recalled 2007-2010 Camrys and other 2004-2010 cars over driver's floor carpet that can "entrap the throttle pedal at the fully open position", NHTSA campaign ID number: 07E082000 and 09V388000 — nhtsa.dot.gov, Toyota[6/11].

26/11/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.16/l (am), $1.25 (pm). min $1.13, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.15, min $1.09); oil us$78/b; au$1.00=us$0.92, £0.55, €0.61, ¥80
25/11/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg au$1.17/l, min $1.14, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.15, min $1.09); oil us$76/b

24 November 2009: The Bloodhound SSC, 1000mph car, team firmed up its design layout, and favoured "Hakskeen [Pan] in the Northern Cape [South Africa]" for its record runs, some way in the future — BloodhoundSSC.

24 November 2009: Koenigsegg backed out of its proposed deal to buy Saab from GM — GM.

24 November 2009: Land Rover announced the return of the Defender 90 to Australia. "Since it's last appearance in the [.au] market the Defender 90 has received a host of major upgrades ... 90 Station Wagon offers seating for up to four people ..." — LR.

22 November 2009 (Sun): 28th Historic Commercial Vehicle Display, Sandown Racecourse, Vic., .au (Melways 80 C9).

20 November 2009: SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) gazed into crystal balls over the future of fuels and auto propulsion, mostly petrol for some time, more turbo, some hybrid, "... even at [us]$6/gal in 2011, diesels would represent just 5% and gasoline hybrids just 10% of the market ..."

20 November 2009: Small volume, sports car maker Spyker announced that it would move "vehicle assembly to its supplier, CPP (Manufacturing) Ltd, UK. By relocating its assembly lines from Zeewolde [.nl] to Coventry, Spyker will achieve considerable improvements in efficiency and substantial cost-reductions. The relocation is expected to be completed by the end of this year. ..." — Spyker.

19/11/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.16/l (am), $1.22 (pm) min $1.14, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.16, min $1.09); oil us$79/b; au$1.00=us$0.92, £0.55, €0.62, ¥82
18/11/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg au$1.18/l, min $1.16, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.15, min $1.08); oil us$79/b

19 November 2009, Victoria: "... Severe Fire Danger [50-74] is forecast for the following forecast districts: North Central, Northern Country, Wimmera, Mallee, Central, Northeast. Maximum temperatures around 42°C..." — [bom].

18 November 2009, South Australia: "... Catastrophic Fire Danger [100+] is forecast for the Northwest Pastoral and Flinders Total Fire Ban districts. ..." — bom.

17 November 2009, .uk: The RAC reckons that the "cost of motoring for Britain's 30 million drivers has fallen 5% (£123) in 2009 to £2,219 ... [based on] road tax, fuel, insurance, maintenance and [RAC membership]" but not depreciation, typically £3,000+  — RAC. (Also see RACV, .au, 2 July below.)

16 November 2009: "Mercedes-Benz will enter the Formula 1 World Championship with its own team, beginning with the 2010 season, and Daimler AG and McLaren Group will change their form of cooperation ... Daimler AG together with Aabar Investments PJSC will take over 75.1% of the Brawn GP team, with Daimler taking 45.1% and Aabar 30%. The rest of the 24.9% will remain with the current stakeholders. With 9.1%, Aabar is the biggest single shareholder of Daimler AG. ..." — Brawn GP. "... McLaren Group: to purchase Daimler AG's 40% shareholding [in McL.] ..." — McLaren. (And 2009 World Champion, Jenson Button, would drive for McLaren in 2010.)

15 November 2009: World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (3rd Sunday of November) — WHO.

13-15 November 2009: Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham, uk.

12 November 2009: Porsche SE reported "a loss before tax of 4.4 billion € for the fiscal year ... (ending 31/7/2009). Last year the group reported a profit before tax of 8.6 billion €. The primary factor in the loss reported by Porsche SE was the write-down recognized for the cash settlement options to Volkswagen shares. ..." — Porsche SE. (Also see 13 Aug below, and 26 Nov. 2008.)

12/11/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.17/l (am), $1.24 (pm) min $1.12, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.17, min $1.07); oil us$79/b; au$1.00=us$0.93, £0.56, €0.62, ¥84
11/11/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg au$1.18/l, min $1.12, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.16, min $1.07); oil us$79/b

10 November 2009: The International Energy Agency (IEA) released its ‘World Energy Outlook 2009’ — IEA (& dissent, The G [www][9/11]).

9 November 2009: The 20th anniversary of the demise of the Berlin Wall.

9 November 2009, Vic., .au: New Road Rules come into force in Victoria. In particular "A driver [must not] overtake, or do a U-turn across a single continuous centre line, or a single continuous line to the left of a broken line. However a driver can cross over a centre dividing line (except a double continuous centre dividing line) when entering or leaving the road ... must not change lanes over a single continuous lane line ... must not drive over a painted island that is surrounded by a single continuous line. ..." — vicroads.vic.gov.au.

7 November 2009: Heavy rain and flooding in N.E. NSW — [bom].

5 November 2009: Ford announced that it would introduce "automotive inflatable seat belts ... for rear seat occupants ... [in] the next-generation Ford Explorer ..." — Ford.

5 November 2009: The Bloodhound SSC team test fired a hybrid (that's liquid oxidiser + solid fuel, nothing electric) rocket in October. It may power the planned 1000mph "car" — BloodhoundSSC.

4 November 2009: Toyota announced that it would "withdraw from the FIA Formula One World Championship (F1)" — Toyota F1. Toyota first raced in F1 in 2002. Renault remained undecided about 2010. BMW announced its departure in July 2009. (And Honda in December 2008 — leading to Brawn GP!) 2 Nov., Bridgestone announced that it would end supplying F1's tyres at the end of 2010.

3 November 2009: GM decided not to sell Opel/Vauxhall after all — GM. "... Opel/Vauxhall will continue to play a strategic role within GM ..." — Opel. The German Government had badly wanted a sale to Magna and Sberbank (USSR), if to anyone — see 15 Oct..

5/11/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.17/l (am), $1.25 (pm), min $1.12, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.19, min $1.09); oil us$80/b; au$1.00=us$0.91, £0.55, €0.61, ¥82
4/11/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg au$1.17/l, min $1.12, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.15, min $1.09); oil us$79/b

3 November 2009 (Tues): Melbourne Cup Day.

2 November 2009: The Automotive X Prize, for a practical 100 mpg (or equivalent) car announced that it would receive "up to $5.5 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)." It announced "43 Qualified Teams", who had passed initial design scrutiny, on 19 Oct. (Also see the Eco-Challenge, 28 Oct. below.)

1 November 2009: Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix. Start 5pm local time, 1pm GMT.
Results: 1. Sebastian Vettel [Red Bull], 2. Mark Webber (Red Bull), 3. Jenson Button (Brawn GP). 2009 Drivers' World Championship: 1. Jenson Button (95pts), 2. Sebastian Vettel (84pts) 3. Rubens Barricello (Brawn GP, 77pts). 2009 Constructors' Championship: 1. Brawn GP (172pts), 2. Red Bull (153.5pts), 3. [McLaren Mercedes] (71pts).

1 November 2009: London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, .uk for cars manufactured up to 31 Dec. 1904 (also Bonham's auction Fri. 30 Oct. — a 1902 Panhard-Levassor Type A 7hp sold for £216,000 — and concours Sat. 31 Oct.). The 2009 LBVCR celebrates veteran vehicles manufactured in Belgium, such as Minerva. The famous Genevieve, a 1904 Darracq, completed the run.

29 October 2009: In Graz, the Australian Army took delivery of the first 11 prototypes of its Mercedes G-wagens which will replace its Land-Rovers from 2011 as part of Land 121 Project — defence.gov.au.

29 October - 5 November 2009: European Road Transport Show, Amsterdam RAI (press 28th).   (10/12/'08 event cancelled.)

28 October 2009: Ford announced that "a consortium led by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. Ltd. is its preferred bidder in the ongoing discussions concerning the possible sale of Volvo ..." — Ford.

28 October 2009: The winning solar-car, Tokai Challenger, finished the 2998km of the World Solar Challenge, Darwin to Adelaide, at 2.39pm. In the Eco-Challenge, Ford Fiesta ECOnetic diesel (from au$24,990), #15, was the best fossil-fuel car at 84.47 gm CO2/km (3.13 l/100km diesel). NB. Cars in economy runs are usually driven in very unnatural ways. (Tesla and Deep Green Research electric cars also took part.)

29/10/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.15/l (am), $1.26 (pm), min $1.10, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.17, min $1.09); oil us$77/b
28/10/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg au$1.14/l, min $1.11, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.14, min $1.09); oil us$80/b; au$1.00=us$0.91, £0.56, €0.61, ¥83

28 October 2009, EC: "... the European Commission adopted a new legislative proposal to reduce CO2 emissions from light commercial vehicles (vans). ... fleet average for all new light commercial vehicles (vans) of 175 g/km [~43 mpg] will apply as of 2014. ... phased-in as of 2014 when 75% ... 100% in 2016. ..." — [www]['09].

26 October 2009: The Green Fiscal Commission (uk) produced its final report — GFC www.greenfiscalcommission.org.uk (The SMMT did not like it.)

24-31 October 2009: World Solar Challenge, from Darwin to Adelaide. (Held every 2 years.) Eco Challenge start 24th, Solar Challenge start 25th, finish 30th, display 31st. The World Solar Challenge is for solarcars, and the Eco Challenge for production vehicles.

24 October 2009: "... pre-production work will start next week on the latest ‘Mad Max’ film, which will be produced in NSW. Thirty years after the release of the original Mad Max, [Dir. G.] Miller is preparing to head out west to shoot Fury Road, the fourth instalment ..." — ABC [www].

23 October 2009: Jean Todt was elected President of the FIA, succeeding Max Mosley — FIA.

22 October 2009: Readers of What Car Magazine voted the Land Rover Defender their favourite car — whatcar.com.

21 October (Wed) - 8 November (Sun) 2009: 41st Tokyo Motor Show (press 21st, 22nd, guest day 23rd, public 24-8th).
Including Honda CR-Z hybrid concept, Skydeck hybrid people mover, FCX Clarity fuel cell car, and U3-X electric "unicycle"; Lexus (Toyota) 4.8 l V10 LFA; Mazda Kiyora concept car, and new diesel and direct-injection petrol engines; Mitsubishi PX-MiEV series/parallel hybrid SUV, and i-MiEV Cargo electric van concepts; Nissan Leaf electric (2010), Land Glider mini electric concept, Qazana; Subaru Hybrid Tourer 4-seat gull-wing concept (2 l petrol + 10kW + 20kW electric); Suzuki Swift plug-in, "series" hybrid concept (658cc 40kW, 55kW & 2.66kW-hr); Toyota FT-EV II mini electric concept, FT-86 rear wheel drive sports car concept (developed with/by Subaru).

20 October 2009: Nissan and Sumitomo Corp. plan to reuse "lithium-ion batteries [from] electric cars, giving them a 'second-life' as energy-storage solutions," e.g., with electricity generators, esp. solar/wind, which should in effect make the batteries more economical in a car — Nissan.

22/10/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.14/l (am), $1.21/l (pm), min $1.09, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.16, min $1.07); oil us$81/b
21/10/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg au$1.12/l, min $1.09, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.13, min $1.07); oil us$79/b; au$1.00=us$0.92, £0.56, €0.62, ¥84

20 October 2009: "... the Australian-made Holden Commodore utility receiv[ed] a 5-star crash test rating from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP). ..." — ANCAP.

20 October 2009: "Volkswagen ... will take a 49.9% stake in Porsche AG in a first step towards an integrated automotive group with Porsche. ..." — VW.

18 October 2009: Brazilian F1 Grand Prix, Sao Paulo. Start 2pm local time, 4pm GMT.
Results: 1. Mark Webber [Red Bull], 2. Robert Kubica [BMW Sauber], 3. Lewis Hamilton [McLaren Mercedes]. With one race left, Jenson Button (Brawn, 5th) secured the Drivers' World Championship and [Brawn GP] secured the Constructors' Championship. The race was unusually exciting with a lot of overtaking.

15 October 2009: GM was set to finalise the deal to sell a majority of Opel/Vauxhall to Magna [www] (parts maker, Canada) and Sberbank (USSR), but [16/Oct] "European Commissioner for Competition Neelie Kroes [expressed] concerns that ... indications that aid promised by [the] German Government to New Opel was subject to the pre-condition that a specific bidder, Magna/Sberbank, was selected [was] incompatible with EC ... rules" — europa.eu memo/09/460 [www]. The drawn out deal was subject to intense scrutiny as no European country wanted its Opel plant(s) to suffer major cuts or even closure. (Also see 3 Nov. above!)

15/10/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.13/l (am), $1.20 (pm), min $1.07, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.15, min $1.06); oil us$76/b; au$1.00=us$0.92, £0.57, €0.62, ¥82
14/10/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg au$1.12/l, min $1.09, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.12, min $1.06); oil us$74/b

12 October 2009: The UK Committee for Climate Change (CCC) released its first annual report to Parliament — theccc.org.uk [www].

11 October 2009 (Sun), .au: Garth Tander and Will Davison (Holden Racing Team) won the V8 Supercars Bathurst 1000.

9 October 2009: "General Motors (GM) and Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co., Ltd (Tengzhong), today announced that the companies have entered into a definitive agreement that will allow Tengzhong to acquire GM's premium all-terrain HUMMER brand. ..." — GM.

7 October 2009, .au: There is (a little) water flowing into Lake Hindmarsh, N.W. of the Grampians, Victoria, for the first time in 13 years — ABC.

7 October 2009: Terminal gate fuel prices, Melb., Perth, ULP au$1.08/l, diesel $1.09-$1.10/l — AIP [www].

8/10/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.16/l (am), $1.21 (pm), min $1.09, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.17, min $1.07); oil us$70/b; au$1.00=us$0.90, £0.56, €0.61, ¥80
7/10/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg au$1.15/l, min $1.11, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.15, min $1.09); oil us$71/b

7 October 2009: "The price of gold [us$1040/oz] is surging ... [US] dollar slid sharply after yesterday's report in The Independent that Gulf Arab states are secretly planning to stop trading oil in dollars ..." — Independent.
"... planning - along with China, Russia, Japan and France - to end [US] dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese ¥ and Chinese yuan, the €, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf ..." — independent.co.uk.

5 October 2009: "An Australian-built Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle (PPV) will be offered to join the ranks of law enforcement departments across North America. ... [based on the] long wheelbase Holden Caprice ... V6 with Spark Ignition Direct Injection or as a V8 ... rear wheel drive ..." — GM.

5 October 2009: ABC TV's 7.30 Report had a piece on the 1939 Australian Grand Prix, at Lobethal in the Adelaide Hills, which was won by Allan Tomlinson in an MG. A 70th anniversary event featured two Alfa Romeo Tipo Bs — ABC [www].

4 October 2009: Japanese F1 Grand Prix, Suzuka. Start 2pm local time, 5am GMT.
Results: 1. Sebastian Vettel [Red Bull], 2. Jarno Trulli [Toyota], 3. Lewis Hamilton [McLaren Mercedes]. In the championship: Button 85pts, Barrichello 71, Vettel 69.

2-3 October 2009 (Fri-Sat):The 11th Deni Ute Muster, Deniliquin, NSW, .au [www] (7,242 utes in 2008).

1 October 2009: The Ig Nobel prizes were announced. Medicine: Donald L. Unger for Does knuckle cracking lead to arthritis of the fingers?, Arthritis & Rheumatism, 41(5), pp.949-950, 1998, [www] — apparently not. Physics: Katherine K. Whitcome and Daniel E. Lieberman "for analytically determining why pregnant women don't tip over". Economics: "The directors, executives, and auditors of four Icelandic banks - Kaupthing Bank, Landsbanki, Glitnir Bank, and Central Bank of Iceland - for demonstrating that tiny banks can be rapidly transformed into huge banks, and vice versa - and for demonstrating that similar things can be done to an entire national economy." And more ... [www].

1 October 2009, September sales figures: GM USA "delivered 156,673 vehicles in September. ... down 45%" v. Sept. 2008 — GM. Toyota USA "reported September sales of 126,015 vehicles, a decrease of 16.1% from last September on a daily selling rate basis." — Toyota. Chrysler "reported total U.S. sales of 62,197 units, a decrease of 42% compared with September 2008." — Chrysler.
In the UK, "new car registrations were up 11.4% in September [v. Sept. 09] to 367,929", with the so-called scrappage incentive scheme continuing, but down 15% for the year to date — SMMT.
In .au, "78,131 passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles were sold in September 2009 ... down 3.5% on Sept. 2008 ...", with year to date sales down 13% on 2008 — FCAI.

October 2009: No Sydney Motor Show in 2009 — see Melb. Show, 27 Feb. below.

The Australian population reached 22,066,000 in September 2009 — ABC.

29 September 2009:  In "Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) [tests the] Great Wall Motors SA220 and V240 utes from China received only 2 stars out of 5, while the Malaysian Proton Jumbuck ute only rated a single star. ..." — ANCAP.

1/10/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.19/l (am), $1.25 (pm), min $1.13, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.19, min $1.10); oil us$70/b; au$1.00=us$0.88, £0.55, €0.60, ¥79
30/9/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg au$1.17/l, min $1.15, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.16, min $1.10); oil us$67/b

29 September 2009: The BBC reported that Fernando Alonso would move to Ferrari F1 from next year.

27 September 2009: Singapore F1 Grand Prix. Start 8pm local time, noon GMT.
Results: 1. Lewis Hamilton [McLaren Mercedes], 2. Timo Glock [Toyota] 3. Fernando Alonso [Renault]. Championship leader, Jenson Button, was 5th. In the championship: Button 84pts, Barrichello 69, Vettel 59.

27 September 2009 (Sun): Land Rover Clubs' Expo, Sydney, NSW .au Castle Hill Showground, New South Wales 2154 [www].

26 September 2009: Bonham's Vintage and Collectors' Motorcars auction at Reims included a 1912 5-litre chain-drive Bugatti racing car (lot 128, not sold), one of three surviving, and, for example, a 1964 Aston Martin DB5 chassis# DB5/1392/L (lot 148, sold €293,500) — Bonhams.

24/9/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.20/l (am), $1.28 (pm), min $1.12, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.20, min $1.11); oil us$68/b
23/9/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg au$1.17/l, min $1.15, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.18, min $1.12); oil us$72/b; au$1.00=us$0.88, £0.53, €0.59, ¥79

24 September 2009: Electric moves, climate change, and peak oil, or not, US makers such as Ford still hedge their bets with, for example, a new 6.2 litre petrol V8 for 2011 F-series trucks, although it can run on E85 — Ford.

24 September 2009: ABC TV took a look at Lake Eyre which peaked in May, following the Queensland floods of early 2009, and is supporting a burst of wild flowers.

24 September 2009: Land Rover announced that it would put the LRX, first shown as a concept car in early 2008, into production for 2011.

23 September 2009: A huge dust storm covered Sydney and much of NSW disrupting flights into airports. The dust storm later reached Brisbane.

21 September 2009: "... Renault F1 [were] ... requested to appear before an extraordinary meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council [21/9] ... to answer charges, inc. a breach of Article 151c of the Int. Sporting Code, that the team conspired with its driver, Nelson Piquet Jr, to cause a deliberate crash at the 2008 Singapore [GP] with the aim of causing the deployment of the safety car to the advantage of its other driver, Fernando Alonso." — FIA.
The "ING Renault F1 team ... admitted" the charges and received a suspended "disqualification until the end of the 2011 season." Flavio Briatore was banned indefinitely and Pat Symonds for five years — FIA. (24/9: Renault's main sponsor, ING, terminated its support of the team - earlier than its planned end of year departure.) Also see 16 Sept. '09 below & 5 Jan. 2010.

18-20 September 2009 (Fri-Sun): Goodwood Revival, uk [www]. Bonham's auction included the "ex-Fred Stiles 1930 model/ 1938-assembled" Alfa Romeo 6C-1750 with a "Testa Fissa" motor (not sold). A 1968 Lamborghini Miura P400 Berlinetta fetched £210,500, and the "ex-Turin Motor Show, 1966 Aston Martin DBSC coupe" chassis # DBS C/266/1/R, engine # 400/2774/VC fetched £320,500.

18 September 2009: The UK Government loaned "£10million ... [to help] Tata Motors to develop and manufacture electric vehicles in the UK. ... The Tata Indica Vista EV will be the first four-seater electric car with a range of up to 200km to become available this year in Europe." — SMMT.

17-27 September 2009, Thu-Sun: 63rd IAA Frankfurt Motor Show (Cars) (press 15th and 16th). Including Aston Martin 4-door Rapide; Audi S5 Sportback, and new engines for the A4 & A3; Bentley Mulsanne; BMW Vision diesel/plugin-hybrid coupe concept; Bugatti 16C Galibier 4-door prototype; Ferrari 458 Italia V8; Ford's new C-Max 1.6 l direct injection; (GM) Opel/Vauxhall's new Astra (diesel from 109 gm CO2/km, petrol from 129 gm/km); Hyundai's revised Santa Fe & new ix35 SUV (Tucson replacement); Jaguar XJ (au$194K autumn 2010); Lamborghini Reventon roadster; Lotus Elise club racer, and a 3-cyl 1.2 l range extender-engine for series hybrids; Maserati GranCabrio; Mazda's "clean" (urea cat') diesel CX-7 and MX-5 Superlight show car; Mercedes SLS Gullwing; Mini coupe, roadster, and 4x4; Peugeot's production RCZ to go on sale early 2010; Renault's Fluence, Kangoo, Zoe (daft) & Twizy (v.daft) electric concept cars; an all new 9-5 from a new Saab; Toyota's new LandCruiser Prado 4x4, Auris hybrid, and "plug-in" Prius hybrid; Trabant nT(!); Volvo's new C30, C70, and S60 concept; VW's electric e-upl, and L1 concept.

16 September 2009: "The ING Renault F1 Team will not dispute the recent allegations made by the FIA concerning the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix. It also wishes to state that its managing director, Flavio Briatore and its executive director of engineering, Pat Symonds, have left the team. ..." — ing-renaultf1.com. (See 21 Sept. above.)

16 September 2009: Lotus will return to F1 in 2010. BWM announced that Qadbak would buy its BMW Sauber F1 team. That could make 14 teams, 28 cars. — FIA.

17/9/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.22/l (am), $1.28 (pm), min $1.14, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.21, min $1.12); oil us$72/b
16/9/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.19/l, min $1.15, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.19, min $1.12); oil us$70/b; au$1.00=us$0.87, £0.53, €0.59, ¥79

15 September 2009; Bids closed on the sale of the von Hans-Gunter Zach collection of 24 Rolls Royces and 3 Bentleys including a 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II, the Star of India (≥ €5m), — www.rolls-royce-museum.de.

13 September 2009: Italian F1 Grand Prix, Monza. Start 2pm local time, noon GMT.
Results: 1. Rubens Barrichello (Brawn GP), 2. Jenson Button (Brawn GP), 3. Kimi Raikkonen [Ferrari]. Lewis Hamilton crashed out of 3rd place on the last lap. Button's lead over Barrichello in the drivers' championship shrank to 14pts, with four races left.

12-13 September (Sat-Sun) 2009: Beaulieu, .uk, International Autojumble [www]['08].

11 September 2009: A UK government inquiry into MG-Rover, which was bought from BWM by Phoenix for £10 in 2000 and which collapsed in 2005 owing ~£1.3 billion, shows the bosses in an "unflattering" light — bis.gov.uk [www]. The "Phoenix 4" paid themselves ~£9m each.

10 September 2009: The board of GM recommended the "bid from the consortium of Magna International Inc. and Sberbank [USSR] to buy a majority stake in its European Opel/Vauxhall operations. ... Magna/Sberbank will purchase a 55% stake in New Opel; GM will hold a 35% stake and employees will be provided a 10% stake. ..." — GM. (But see 3 Nov. above!)

9 September 2009: McLaren revealed some details of its coming MP4-12C 600hp mid-engined sports car, spiritual successor to the McLaren F1, with some claims to practicality(!) but at about £150,000 (early 2011).

9 September 2009: "Koenigsegg Group AB has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings Co. Ltd. [BAIC] to explore growth opportunities in the Chinese and international markets for the products of SAAB Automobile and BAIC. ..." — Koenigsegg. Koenigsegg is buying Saab from GM.

10/9/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.24/l (am), $1.30 (pm), min $1.17, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.22, min $1.14); oil us$72/b
9/9/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.22/l, min $1.19, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.21, min $1.15); oil us$71/b; au$1.00=us$0.86, £0.52, €0.59, ¥79

September 2009: A new book, Stirling Moss, All my Races, published; Sir Stirling turned 80 in September.

9 September 2009: Geely Auto (China) was reported to be bidding to buy Volvo from Ford.

5-13 September 2009: Dakar Series, Silk Way Rally, Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan [www][5/'09], [www][3/'09].

5-6 September 2009 (Sat, Sun): Duxford Air Show, the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, UK.

4-6 September 2009 (Fri-Sun): National 4x4 Show, Melbourne [www]. NB. Melbourne Showgrounds.

4 September 2009 (Fri): Closing date for public comment on a draft management plan for Uluru (Ayers rock) which considers closing the climb — www.environment.gov.au.

4-5 September 2009, .au: Birdsville Races [www].

3/9/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.28/l ($1.33 pm), min $1.18, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.24, min $1.17); oil us$68/b
2/9/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.23/l, min $1.20, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.22, min $1.17); oil us$68/b; au$1.00=us$0.83, £0.51, €0.58, ¥77

September 2009:   August car sales in the US increased, v. early 2009, under the government's "cash for clunkers" scheme. Ford "total sales (including fleet) were 176,323, up 17% v. [Aug. 2008]" Ford. GM "delivered 246,479 vehicles ...", only down 20% on Aug. 2008 but up 30% on July 2009 GM. Chrysler sales of 93,222 were up "5% compared with July ['09] and [down] 15% compared with [Aug 2008]" Chrysler. Asian car makers were the biggest winners, e.g., Honda US "announced record August sales of 161,439, up 14.2% on a daily-selling-rate basis" Honda. Toyota "reported August vehicle sales of 225,088 vehicles, up 10.5% over [Aug. 2008] ... [and] passenger cars recorded an all-time, best-ever month with sales of 142,529 units, up 32.4% [v. Aug. 2008]" Toyota.
In the UK, "new car registrations rose 6.0% in August [v. July '09] to 67,006 units" probably due to a similar "scrappage" scheme — SMMT.
In Australia, "73,287 passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles were sold in August 2009" down 5.2% on August 2008 — FCAI.

31 August 2009: Mercedes Benz announced the launch of a fuel-cell version of its B-class sedan in limited, not for general sale, production - just 200 in early 2010. Its range on the NEDC test is 385km per tank of H2, which can be refilled in 3 minutes if you can find a hydrogen filling station — M.B.. The concensus seems to be that electric, and hybrid electric, cars are better bets than hydrogen cars, at least in the near future, but manufacturers are keeping their options open.

30 August 2009: Belgian F1 Grand Prix, Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. Start 2pm local time, noon GMT.
Giancarlo Fisichella [Force India](!) started from pole. An opening lap crash took out Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Romain Grosjean and Jaime Alguersuar. Results: 1. Kimi Raikkonen [Ferrari], 2. Giancarlo Fisichella (Force India), 3. Sebastian Vettel [Red Bull].

29-30 August 2009: Tanks in Town, Royal Mons Auto Moto Club in collaboration with the City of Mons, Belgium [www].

27 August 2009, Vic., .au: Changes to the road rules, from 9 Nov., include "motorists no longer being allowed to overtake or do U-turns over single unbroken dividing lines" (across broken dividing lines, or no centre line, ok) and "phones and navigation devices [must] be in appropriate holders or cradles in the vehicle ..." — RACV.

27/8/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.27-1.33/l, min $1.19, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.21, min $1.11); oil us$72/b
26/8/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.22/l, min $1.19, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.18, min $1.10); oil us$72/b; au$1.00=us$0.84, £0.51, €0.58, ¥79
25 August 2009, British Steam Car Team, Edward's Air Force Base: "...8.19am (California time) Charles Burnett III successfully broke the land speed record for a steam powered car - which has stood [at 121.57mph] for more than 100 years - achieving an average speed of 139.843mph on two runs over a measured mile. ..." The highest speed reached was 151.085mph, [www]. And on 26 August: "The car set the record for a measured kilometre - achieving an average speed of 148.308mph on two runs."

23 August 2009: The BBC reported the top 10 funniest jokes at 2009's Edinburgh Fringe. #2 is, "I was watching the London Marathon and saw one runner dressed as a chicken and another runner dressed as an egg. I thought: 'This could be interesting'" — Paddy Lennox, [www][8/'09].

23 August 2009: European F1 Grand Prix, Valencia. Start 2pm local time, noon GMT.  Can Button find his mojo again? Not yet (7th).
Results: 1. Rubens Barrichello [Brawn GP], 2. Lewis Hamilton [McLaren Mercedes], 3. Kimi Raikkonen [Ferrari]. Button leads the drivers' championship on 72pts with Barrichello second on 54pts.

18 August 2009: The Mercedes Benz Viano and Vito light commercial vans (where fitted with head, side air-bags) were awarded 5-star safety ratings by ANCAP, a first for commercial vehicles — ANCAP.

20/8/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.28/l (am), $1.35 (pm); min $1.20, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.21, min $1.13); oil us$72/b
19/8/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.24/l, min $1.20, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.21, min $1.13); oil us$70/b; au$1.00=us$0.82, £0.50, €0.58; ¥78

18 August 2009: GM and Koenigsegg reached a final agreement for the latter to buy Saab. "The deal is expected to close by year's end ..." — GM.

17 August 2009: ‘When We Were Racers’, Australian Story (ABC TV), celebrated Sir Jack Brabham's 1959 F1 World Championship. Famously while leading in the last race of the season, at Sebring, his Cooper ran out of fuel and stopped 100 yards from the finish; he pushed the car over the line for 4th place, and sufficient points.

17 August 2009, .au: The Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission (see 7 Feb '09 below) released its interim report. (It must be pointed out that the '09-'10 fire season is tipped to be as bad as, or worse than, the '08-'09 season. See [cfa].)

16 August 2009: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance (10:30a.m. field opens to spectators) [www].
15-16 August 2009: Gooding and Co.'s Pebble Beach Auction including a 1938 Bugatti type 57C, and a 1969 F1 Ferrari 312. A 1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spyder' sold for us$2,750,000, and the Bugatti 57C for us$1,375,000.

15-16 August 2009 (Sat-Sun): Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb, uk, "the oldest motorsport event in the world, first held in 1905". (But a bit shorter and lower than Pikes Peak — see 19 July.)

14 August 2009: Bonhams Annual Collector's Motorcar Car Auction, Carmel, CA, including a 1939 Auto Union D-Type, rear-engined, 3-litre, twin-stage supercharged, V12, chassis #19, as raced by Hans Stuck and Rudolf Hasse, and a 1937 Bugatti type 57SC, chassis no. 57.532 (also see 7 Feb., below). Neither sold.

13 August 2009: VW agreed to "take a 42.0% stake in Porsche AG by the end of 2009" as VW and Porsche merge by 2011 — VW, Porsche.

13/8/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.26/l, min $1.13/l, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.21, min $1.08); oil us$71/b
12/8/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.21/l, min $1.13/l, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.18, min $1.09); oil us$70/b; au$1.00=us$0.82, £0.50, €0.58; ¥79

11 August 2009: GM claimed expected fuel economy of 230 miles per (US) gallon for the Chevy Volt in city driving under a "draft EPA federal fuel economy methodology for labeling for plug-in electric vehicles. ..." — GM. GM reckons that the Volt uses 25 kW hrs per 100 miles in city driving — GM. The "range extender" Volt is planned to go on sale in late 2010. It could use zero petrol, arguably ∞ mpg, if used only on short trips. But what we really need to know are (a) the "real world" battery range and (b) the fuel consumption once the battery is exhausted.

7 August 2009: '... 48 projects will receive $2.4 billion in U.S. federal grant monies after being green-lighted by the U.S. [DOE] as a way to fast-track next-generation automotive technology. "We're announcing the single largest investment in advanced-battery technology for hybrid and electric-drive automobiles that has ever been made in the world," U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said ...' — SAE www.sae.org/mags/aei/6753.

7 August 2009: The British Steam Car achieved 131mph in an unofficial test run at Edward's Air Force Base, California in preparation for official timed runs from Monday 17th August.

7 August 2009, Melb., Vic., .au: "RACV has received multiple reports from members whose vehicles have suffered significant engine damage with contaminated fuel considered a possible cause of the damage. ..." — RACV, and Consumers Affairs Victoria, tel: 1300-558-181, [www].

August 2009, recalls: Land Rover - Discovery 3 TDV6 and Range Rover Sport TDV6 diesels re the engine driven vacuum pump and the brake booster [www] (#2009/10961); also 2007 to 2008MY Discovery 3 vehicles and 2007 to 2008MY Range Rover Sport vehicles re High pressure fuel injector pump [www] (#2009/10962).

6/8/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.24/l, min $1.16/l, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.21, min $1.13); oil us$72/b
5/8/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.20/l, min $1.17/l, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.18, min $1.13); oil us$72/b; au$1.00=us$0.84, £0.50, €0.58, ¥80

7 August 2009, .au: Terminal gate prices, ULP au$1.17/l (Melb., Sydney), diesel $1.14-$1.15/l — AIP. Oil varied between us$61/b and us$73/b through July and early August. A strong au$ held down price rises in ULP and diesel, but prices were consistently cheaper in Perth, with [fuelwatch], than in Melbourne, without, despite very similar terminal gate prices.

4 August 2009: "GM today concluded several meetings with both Magna and RHJI ..." over GM's plans to sell Opel/Vauxhall to Magna or to RHJI — GM. (But see 3 Nov. above.)

2 August 2009: Nissan unveiled the Nissan Leaf electric car "... range of more than 160km (100 miles) ... launch in late 2010 in Japan, the United States, and Europe ... its electric motor delivers 80kW/280Nm ... [battery] can be charged up to 80% ... in just under 30 minutes with a quick charger [or] at home through a 200V outlet [in about] eight hours" — Nissan.

1 August 2009: "Following approval by the [WMSC], late last night FIA President Max Mosley signed the 2009 Concorde Agreement, heralding a renewed period of stability for the FIA Formula One World Championship. ..." — FIA & FOTA/

July 2009:   On fuel efficiency, "... data [on cars] for 1936 through 1991 follow a pattern similar to that of all vehicles. ... there were major improvements from 1973 to 1991 (from 13.4 to 21.2mpg[US]). ... improvements from 1991 to the present were substantially smaller than those prior to 1991 (achieving 22.4mpg[US] in 2006) ..." — M. Sivak and O. Tsimhoni, ‘Fuel efficiency of vehicles on US roads: 1923-2006’, Energy Policy, 37(8), pp.3168-3170, Aug. 2009 [www].

30/7/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.25/l, min $1.12/l, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.19, min $1.09); oil us$63/b; au$1.00=us$0.82, £0.50, €0.58, ¥78
29/7/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.17/l, min $1.12/l, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.16, min $1.09); oil us$67/b

29 July 2009: Porsche's dealings in VW, and associated debts, "... should lead to earnings before taxes for fiscal year 2008/09 of up to €minus five billion ... purely accounting related. ..."[!] — Porsche SE.

29 July 2009: BMW Group will leave F1 at the end of the 2009 season — FIA, FOTA, BMW-Sauber, BMW. It was not clear what this meant for the F1 team, Sauber, as in BMW-Sauber, owned by BMW — Brawn (was Honda F1) did well after Honda departed.
(6 Aug.: BMW trying to find a buyer for Sauber.)

29 July 2009, F1: Ferrari "intends to put Michael Schumacher in Felipe Massa's car until the Brazilian driver will be able to race again" (provided that MS is fit enough) — Ferrari. (See the Hungarian GP, 26 July, below.) (An old neck injury later put paid to the plan -- 11 Aug.)

26 July 2009: Jaguar Land Rover, owned by Tata, had a "combined net loss of £673.4m last year" — FT, www.ft.com.

26 July 2009: Hungarian F1 Grand Prix, Hungaroring, Budapest, start 2pm local time, noon GMT.
Results: 1. Lewis Hamilton [McLaren Mercedes], 2. Kimi Raikkonen [Ferrari], 3. Mark Webber [Red Bull]. The first two cars were using KERS. Seven GP remain in '09. Filipe Massa (Ferrari) suffered a fractured skull in an accident during qualifying; he was doing well after an operation.

24-26 (Fri-Sun) July 2009, uk: Silverstone Classic, historic racing cars.

24 July 2009: "... the members of the World Motor Sport Council have been sent a copy of the proposed new [F1] Concorde Agreement for their consideration. ..." — FIA.

24 July 2009: Ford Australia decided not to build the small Ford Focus in Australia, but to import it from Thailand. It will improve the I6 petrol engine, as fitted to the Ford Falcon and Territory. Ford will offer a 2-litre, 4-cyl turbo 'EcoBoost' petrol engine as an option in the Falcon by 2011. A 2.7L turbocharged V6 diesel will be offered in the Territory by 2010. The I6 LPG engine (Falcon) will get "an advanced liquid injection LPG system" — Ford.

24 July 2009: Morgan centenary celebrations, 24th and on. —

July 2009: Mercedes-AMG is developing an all electric SLS AMG sports car. It will have one motor per wheel. Three liquid-cooled 400V 40Ah lithium-ion batteries total 3×400×40/1000 = 48kWh, which the motors (392kW peak total) could drain in a few minutes, but probably in an hour or two pottering around — M.B.

23 July 2009: A boards of VW and Porsche agreed to form "an integrated automotive group combining Volkswagen and Porsche. ..." — VW.
22 July 2009: Michael Macht became Chairman of the Board of Management for Porsche AG — Porsche SE.
Porsche had attempted to take over VW through 2007 and 2008, but built up huge debts doing so. The new deal seemed to put VW in control.

(July 2009: British International Motor Show, ExCeL, London. The show was cancelled by the SMMT on 19 March 2009 due to the global financial crisis. The 2008 show was held from 23 July to 3 August.)

22-26 July 2009: The War and Peace Show, military vehicles, The Hop Farm, Paddock Wood, Kent, uk, was www.thewarandpeaceshow.com.

23/7/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.21/l, min $1.12/l, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.18, min $1.09); oil us$65/b;
22/7/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.19/l, min $1.16/l, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.15, min $1.09); oil us$65/b; au$1.00=us$0.82, £0.50, €0.57, ¥76

20 July 2009: Volvo claimed impressive mpg for a prototype plugin diesel/electric hybrid Volvo V70.

19 July 2009 (Sun): 87th Pikes Peak Hill Climb, Colorado Springs, USA [www]; race week starts Tuesday 14 July. Nobuhiro Tajima (Suzuki SX4) achieved 10 minutes 15.368 seconds in the unlimited class. He holds the record of 10:01.408 (2007).

18 July 2009: The Mongol ""Rally"" launched from the UK, Spain and Italy heading for Ulaanbaatar (was mongolrally.theadventurists.com).

17-19 July 2009: LRO's Billing 2009, Northampton uk, for Land Rover lovers. Also LRM's Show, Newark Showground!
steam car
17 July 2009, Edwards Air Force Base, California: "... the car is steaming and we are all baking [in] 114°F ..." — BSCC.

17 July 2009: "Ashok Raghunath Vichare of Mumbai [became] the first customer in India of the Tata Nano. ..." — Tata.

15 July 2007: FIA President Max Mosley confirmed that he would not stand for reelection in October — FIA. (Jean Todt, ex head of Ferrari F1, announced he would be a candidate.)

16/7/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.23/l, min $1.16/l, ([Perth] ULP avg $1.21, min $1.10); oil us$62/b; au$1.00=us$0.80, £0.49, €0.57, ¥75
14/7/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.20/l, min $1.17/l, diesel avg $1.21, min $1.16 ([Perth] ULP avg $1.18, min $1.10, diesel avg $1.27, min $1.20); oil us$60/b; au$1.00=us$0.79, £0.49, €0.57, ¥74
12 July 2009: German F1 Grand Prix, Nurburgring. Start time 2pm local, noon GMT.
Results: 1. Mark Webber [Red Bull], 2. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), 3. Filipe Massa [Ferrari].

10 July 2009: The British Steam Car Challenge began testing its car for an attempt on the World Land Speed Record for steam powered cars at Edward's Air Force Base, California.

10 July 2009: Chrysler Group announced that "production will continue for the legendary Dodge Viper SRT10. ..." — Chrysler (and "C.G. is no longer pursuing a sale of the Viper business assets"). It had been planned to end production in Dec. 2009. The Viper was shown as a concept car in 1989; production began in 1992.

9 July 2009: Jaguar revealed its new XJ saloon, from £52,500. (In .au from March/April 2010.)

9 July 2009: Discussions between the FIA and FOTA over the 2010 F1 season broke down (for now?).
8/7: FOTA claimed they "had no option other than to terminate their participation" in meetings for the 2010 season (teamsassociation.org).
24/6: WMSC relased a list of 13 teams accepted for 2010.
19/6: The FIA threatened legal action and singled out Ferrari in particular.
18/6: FOTA threatened to "commence the preparation for a new [breakaway] Championship".
July 2009: In Australia, "102,847 passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles were sold in June 2009 making it the third highest selling month on-record, following 106,541 in June 2008 and 105,097 in June 2007..." — VACC. This may be an end-of-tax-year effect. 
Honda USA "posted June vehicle sales of 100,420, a decline of 32.4% compared to June 2008 results ...".
Toyota USA "posted June sales of 114,780 units, down 36.3% from the year-ago month ...".
GM USA "delivered 176,571 total vehicles in June, down 33.6% compared with a year ago ...".
Ford USA, "Ford, Lincoln and Mercury sales totaled 148,153, down 11% versus a year ago ...".
Chrysler Group LLC "reported total US sales for June 2009 of 68,297 units, a decrease of 42% compared with June 2008".
UK vehicle production in June '09: Cars 91,718, down 30.2% on 6/2008; Commercial Vehicles 8,532, down 60.4% on 6/2008 — SMMT.

6 July 2009: The Bankruptcy Court approved the sale of "substantially all of General Motors Corporation's assets to NGMCO" — GM.

4-5 July 2009: Gaydon Mini Festival, UK, celebrates the 50th anniversary of Alec Issigonis's Mini car.

3-5 July 2009 (Fri-Sun): Goodwood Festival of Speed, uk [www].
At the associated Bonham's auction, a 1922 Sunbeam 2-litre Strasbourg Grand Prix works racing car sold for £463,500.

2 July 2009: The RACV released its annual survey of motoring costs "... Hyundai continues to build on its reputation with the Getz S taking out top spot in the survey for the third year in a row, being the cheapest to own and run at $114.65 a week down from $122.83 last year ...".

28 June 2009:   Jaguar Land Rover, now owned by Tata of India, opened its first Indian showroom at Ceejay House, Mumbai — Tata.

27-28 June 2009 (Sat-Sun): Tankfest 2009, the Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorset, UK.

27 June 2009 (Sat): National Armed Forces Day, Chatham Historic Dockyard, Kent .uk.

21 June 2009: British F1 Grand Prix, Silverstone (Donnington Pk in 2010, probably. But no, see 7 Dec. above).
Results: 1. Sebastian Vettel [Red Bull], 2. Mark Webber (Red Bull), 3. Rubens Barrichello [Brawn GP].

16 June 2009: "General Motors Corp. and Koenigsegg Group AB, a consortium led by Koenigsegg Automotive AB, today confirmed the details of a memorandum of understanding for the purchase of Saab Automobile AB that secures Saab's future. ..." — Koenigsegg.

15-21 June 2009: 48th Paris Air Show [www], 15-18 trade, 19-21 general public. 2009 is the show's centenary.

13-14 June 2009: Le Mans 24-Hour Race [www].
Results: 1. D.Brabham, M.Gene, A.Wurz, Peugeot 908 Hdi-FAP (LMP1), 382 laps; 2. S.Sarrazin, F.Montagny, S.Bourdais, Peugeot 908 Hdi-FAP (LMP1); 3. R.Capello, T.Kristensen, A.McNish, Audi R15 TDI (LMP1).
11/6/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.28/l, min $1.18/l ([Perth] avg $1.24, min $1.14); oil us$72/b; au$1.00=us$0.81, £0.49, €0.58, ¥79
10/6/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.18/l, min $1.16/l ([Perth] avg $1.19, min $1.14); oil us$71/b

10 June 2009: Fiat's purchase of global strategic alliance with Chrysler passed the final legal objections — Chrysler, Fiat.

8 June 2009: What Car named the Volvo S40 1.6D DRIVe S the overall winner of its Green Car Awards of 2009.

8 June 2009: Koenigsegg (!), Renco, and a US investment group Merbanco said to be interested in buying Saab from GM.

8-14 June 2009: MotorExpo, Canary Wharf, London, .uk.

8 June 2009 (Mon): Queen's Birthday, public holiday (Vic., .au).
Snow fell in the Victorian Alps, e.g., at Lake Mountain which suffered in the February bush-fires.
6-7 June 2009 (Sat-Sun): Echuca 44th Steam, Horse and Vintage Rally.
5-8 June 2009 (Fri-Mon) Finke Desert Race, NT, .au [www], scrutineering 5th, prologue 6th, race 7th & 8th.
7 June 2009: Turkish F1 Grand Prix, Istanbul. Race start 3pm local time, noon GMT.
Results: 1. Jenson Button [Brawn GP], 2. Mark Webber [Red Bull], 3. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull). Vettel started on pole but made a mistake on the opening lap, letting Button past. Button then led to the end, apart from pit stops. Drivers' championship: 1. Button 61pts, 2. Barrichello 35pts (DNF, Turkey). Constructors: 1. Brawn 96pts.

6-13 June 2009 (Sat-Sat): Isle of Man TT races, [www].

5 June 2009: "[GM] and Penske Automotive Group today confirmed details of a proposed transaction under which Penske would acquire the Saturn brand. ..." — GM.

4-5 June 2009: SAE Supermileage's 30th Annual competition, Eaton Corporation's Marshall Proving Grounds.
"The overall winner of this year's competition was Universite Laval from Canada with economy mileage of 1804 miles per [US] gallon ..." — SAE.
(The 2008 winner, also Universite Laval, achieved 3169 mpg.)

4/6/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.25/l, min $1.14/l ([Perth] avg $1.23, min $1.13); oil us$66/b
3/6/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.16/l, min $1.14/l ([Perth] avg $1.19, min $1.13); oil us$68/b; au$1.00=us$0.84, £0.50, €0.58, ¥79

2 June 2009: Toyota USA reported May sales of "152,583 vehicles", 38.% down on May '08 — Toyota.

2 June 2009: GM announced that it had "a memorandum of understanding" to sell Hummer — GM, with Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co., Ltd. (Tengzhong) set to "acquire the rights to the ... HUMMER brand" — GM. (Just what China needs!)

1 June 2009: GM filed for "chapter 11" bankruptcy — GM.
Holden (.au) is "to be part of New GM" and "... will continue normal operations ..." — GM.
And, "Chrysler LLC today announced that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court ... has approved its request to sell substantially all of its operations to Chrysler Group LLC, the new company formed in alliance with Fiat SpA. ..." — Chrysler.

30 May - 13 June 2009:  Isle of Man TT, practice 30 May - 5 June, races 6-13 June.

May 2009: A paper in the journal Science estimates that using plant material to generate electricity to power electric vehicles would be about twice as efficient (in terms of gm CO2 per km) as using it to make ethanol to fuel i.c. vehicles — vol.324, no.5930, pp.1055-1057, May 2009 [www].

30-31 May 2009: 33rd Historic Winton, Vic., .au.

30 May 2009: Reports that Magna International (with Russian Sberbank) is favoured to buy Opel/Vauxhall from failing GM — Magna. (But see 3 Nov. above.)

29 May 2009: Prodrive applied "for an entry in the [F1] World Championship from the start of the 2010 season. ..." — prodrive. Prodrive is highly involved with Aston Martin.
And all FOTA teams "submitted conditional entries for the 2010 [F1] Championship ... on the basis that: 1. The Concorde Agreement is signed by all parties before 12th June ... 2. The basis of the 2010 regulations will be the current 2009 regulations, amended in accordance with proposals that FOTA has submitted to the FIA. ..." — FOTA. So, relations with the FIA over costs remain tense.

27 May 2009: For cheapish motoring the (European spec.) Hyundai i20 and Kia Soul did very well in the new euro-ncap safety tests — euroncap. The euro-ncap ed. notes that "overall ratings should only be compared to other vehicles of similar size and weight." For the occupant, generally, big rules.

27 May 2009: "Following Monday's confirmation that the team has submitted its formal entry for the 2010 FIA [F1] World Championship, the Formula One Teams Association has today decided temporarily to suspend Williams F1 from membership of FOTA. ..." — Williams [www]. ('cos W. broke ranks with FOTA over the FIA's proposed £40m cost cap option for 2010.)

27 May 2009: "General Motors Corp. ... announced the expiration of its exchange offers for $27.2billion of its unsecured public notes ... the principal amount of notes tendered was substantially less than the amount required by GM to satisfy the debt reduction requirement under its loan agreements with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, ..." — GM. (It's in the poo.)

28/5/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.26/l, min $1.15/l ([Perth] avg $1.22, min $1.12); oil us$63/b; au$1.00=us$0.78, £0.49, €0.56, ¥75
27/5/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.17/l, min $1.13/l
26/5/2009 Tue Melb ULP avg $1.19/l, min $1.13/l ([Perth] avg $1.16, min $1.13); oil us$61/b

24 May 2009 (Sun): 93rd Indianapolis 500-Mile Race [www]. Results: 1. Helio Castroneves, 2. Dan Wheldon, 3. Danica Patrick.

24 May 2009: Monaco F1 Grand Prix. Race start 2pm local time, noon GMT.
Results: 1. Jenson Button [Brawn GP], 2. Rubens Barrichello (Brawn GP), 3. Kimi Raikkonen [Ferrari] 4. Filipe Massa (Ferrari). Button led from the start, apart from pit-stop effects. It was his 5th win from the 6 races to date; 11 races remain. The controversy over the proposed 2010 cost-cap continued. Also see 27 May.

23 May 2009: The odds that GM would shortly file for bankruptcy increased.

22 May 2009: "[UK] Car production continued to fall sharply in April, down 55.3% [4/'09 v. 4/'08] ..." — SMMT.

21 May 2009: "Accelerating average UK petrol prices have risen to 97.68p a litre ..." — AA.

21/5/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.22/l, min $1.11/l ([Perth] avg $1.20, min $1.10); oil us$60/b; au$1.00=us$0.78, £0.49, €0.56, ¥73
20/5/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.15/l, min $1.09/l
19/5/2009 Tue Melb ULP avg $1.17/l, min $1.09/l ([Perth] avg $1.14, min $1.09); oil us$59/b; au$1.00=us$0.77, £0.50, €0.57, ¥74

20 May 2009: Heavy rain, 100mm+ in parts, in S.E. Queensland caused severe flooding, with more to come — bom.

20 May 2009: Daimler (Mercedes Benz) acquired nearly 10% of Tesla Motors Inc., the electric car maker — MB.

20 May 2009: "Fiat Group ... submitted an offer for the European business of [GM's] Opel and Vauxhall ..." — fiatgroup. As well as Fiat, Magna and RHJ Int., and Beijing Automotive Industry Corp. (BAIC) also bid. GM remained close to bankruptcy.

19 May 2009: US President Obama revealed plans for average fuel economy of new US cars to be 35.5 miles per (us) gallon (about 6.6l/100km) by 2016, still well behind European standards (e.g., see 19 Dec '07). The announcement said "all new cars and trucks", but time will tell.

17 May 2009: RM Auctions Ferrari, Leggenda e Passione included an open 1967 Ferrari 330 P4 4.2 litre V12, chassis #0858 (passed in), and a 1957 "pontoon fender" Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa which sold for €9,020,000, (~£8million) a record for a car at auction.

14 May 2009: "Following ... evaluation of the technical regulations for cost-capped [F1] teams announced by the FIA ... on 29th April 2009, the Lola Group ... will be submitting an entry for the 2010 [F1] World Championship. ..." — Lola. Prodrive, and Litespeed, a current F3 team, also showed interest in F1 for 2010.

14 May 2009: Nissan claimed an improved lap time of 7min 26 seconds 70 at the Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit for its GT-R model R35   Nissan.

14 May 2009: Melbourne fuel prices followed a weekly cycle in early 2009 with the low, almost invariably, on Wednesday and the high on Thursday. The jump was often staggered and unpredictable, e.g., an average of au$1.19/l (ULP) early on Thu. 14/5 but $1.24/l later that day. In contrast, Perth consumers always knew exactly where to get cheapest fuel, $1.08/l (avg $1.18) for all of the 14th, despite Perth's smaller market and slightly higher ‘terminal gate prices’ ($1.12 v. $1.11) — AIP.

13-17 May 2009: Mecum's Spring Classic Auction, Indianapolis, includes (Fri 8pm) lot F242, 1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe CSX2601, FIA Championship Winner. The bidding reached us$6.8million before the car was passed in.

13 May 2009: And Renault F1"The decision of the [FIA] to introduce 2 sets of [F1] technical regulations for the 2010 [F1] season has caused the Renault Group to reconsider its entry in next year's ... World Championship. ..." — Rwnault.
12 May 2009: Ferrari F1 played brinkmanship on the proposed 2010 cost cap option (see 30 April below) — "for the first time ever in Formula 1, the 2010 season will see the introduction of two different sets of regulations based on arbitrary technical rules and economic parameters. ... and if the regulations adopted for 2010 will not change, then Ferrari does not intend to enter its cars in the next Formula 1 World Championship." — Ferrari. Ferrari also said that it was not "hard up". (Arguably there have been 2 sets of regulations quite often, e.g., in the turbo/non-turbo era.) (Also see Lola, 14 May, above.)
14/5/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.21/l, min $1.08/l ([Perth] avg $1.18, min $1.08); oil us$58/b; au$1.00=us$0.75, £0.50, €0.55, ¥72
13/5/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.11, min $1.06/l ([Perth] avg $1.14, min $1.07); oil us$59/b; au$1.00=us$0.77, £0.50, €0.56, ¥74

12 May 2009: "... the 2009 Holden Cruze [on sale June], has been awarded a 5-star safety rating by [ANCAP]" — ancap.

11 May 2009: Series 2 of Top Gear Australia, SBS TV with James Morrison, Warren Brown and Steve Pizzati.

10 May 2009: Spanish F1 Grand Prix, Barcelona. Race start 2pm local time, noon GMT.
Results: 1. Jenson Button [Brawn GP], 2. Rubens Barrichello (Brawn GP), 3. Mark Webber [Red Bull], 4. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull).

10 May - 23 December 2009: 50 Years of the Mini Exhibition, Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon. Also see 4-5 July above.

9 May 2009: Bonhams auction of Aston Martin and related Automobilia, Aston Martin Lagonda Limited, Works Service, Newport Pagnell. A 1965 Aston Martin DB5 saloon (as per the Goldfinger movie), chassis no.2194/R, sold for £249,000 inc. of buyer's premium.

8 May 2009: "Fuel prices key in consumer vehicle choice ... The consumer reacted very quickly to the increase in fuel prices [in 2008] by immediately buying small. ..." — SAE.

7-9 May 2009: Shell Eco-marathon Europe, EuroSpeedway Lausitz track, Germany. "Team No.1 La Joliverie Nantes from France ... set another Shell Eco-marathon record ... 3,582km on a single litre of fuel." — Shell.

7/5/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.20, min $1.10/l ([Perth] avg $1.15, min $1.05); oil us$56/b; au$1.00=us$0.75, £0.50, €0.57, ¥74
6/5/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.13, min $1.11/l ([Perth] avg $1.12, min $1.05); oil us$54/b; au$1.00=us$0.74, £0.49, €0.56, ¥72

7-8 May 2009: Global Meeting of NGOs Advocating for Road Safety, Brussels, Belgium. "Nearly 1.3 million people die on the world's roads every year, and as many as 50 million others are injured. ..." — WHO.

6 May 2009: VW and Porsche decided to merge. "... [The] boards of both Volkswagen AG and Porsche Automobil Holding SE have been in intensive talks about the deepening of the cooperation ... and argued for the creation of an integrated car manufacturing group. ..." — P., VW. Porsche had acquired a major stake in VW, but also a major debt in doing so.

6 May 2009: Terminal gate prices Melb., ULP $1.06/l, diesel $1.07/l.

6-11 May (Wed-Mon) 2009: Victorian Caravan Show, Caulfield, Vic., .au.

5 May 2009: The British Steam Car Challenge said its attempt on the World Land Speed Record for steam power "is likely to take place in June", at Edwards AFB.

1 May 2009: "Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), USA, Inc., today reported month-end sales of 126,540 vehicles, a decrease of 41.9% from last April, on a daily selling rate basis. ...".
"American Honda Motor Co., Inc., posted April vehicle sales of 101,029, a decline of 25.3% compared to April 2008 ... Honda Division posted April sales of 92,216, a decline of 24.5% compared to April 2008. ...".
In .au: 63,965 vehicles (-24%) were sold in April 2009 v. 84,061 for April 2008, and year to date 276,935 (-20%) v. 347,514 — FCAI.

1 May 2009: "... Yesterday, Chrysler announced that, as a result of the comprehensive restructuring plan agreed to by many of its stakeholders, it had reached an agreement in principle to establish a global strategic alliance with Fiat SpA. Chrysler filed voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code ... to facilitate the restructuring and alliance. ..." — Chrysler.
30 April 2009:  "... alliance with Fiat SpA to form a vibrant new company. It will allow Chrysler and Fiat to fully optimize their respective manufacturing footprints and ... additional markets. Fiat powertrains and components will also be produced at Chrysler manufacturing sites. ..." — Chrysler, Fiatgroup.

30 April 2009: "Emitting CO2 slower will not prevent dangerous climate change unless it involves phasing out CO2 emissions altogether, before we reach an upper limit of one trillion tonnes of carbon, a team led by Oxford University scientists has concluded. ... emissions to 2008 have already consumed approximately half (0.5 Tt C). ..." — www.ox.ac.uk

30 April 2009: The FIA introduced a cost cap option of £40 million per team (exc. driver salaries) for the 2010 F1 season. A team operating under the cap option would enjoy less restrictive technical rules. And "... from 2010, refuelling during a race will be forbidden ..." Up to 13 two-car teams may enter. — FIA. Ferrari in particular was said to be unhappy with the cap. (Also see 12 May.) It seems very likely that teams operating under the cap would be more successful.

30/4/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.22/l, min $1.12/l ([Perth] avg $1.20, min $1.09); oil us$51/b
29/4/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.15/l, min $1.12/l ([Perth] avg $1.16, min $1.10); oil us$49/b; au$1.00=us$0.71, £0.48, €0.54, ¥69

30 April 2009: Terminal gate prices ULP Melbourne $1.10/l, Sydney $1.10/l, diesel Melbourne $1.08/l, Sydney $1.08/l — AIP.

29 April 2009: The World Motor Sport Council placed a suspended penalty on Vodafone McLaren Mercedes for misleading the stewards at the Melbourne race (see 29 March below), being: "... suspension of the team from three races ... [to be] applied if further facts emerge regarding the case or if, in the next 12 months, there is a further breach by the team of article 151c of the International Sporting Code." — FIA.

29 April 2009, Melbourne, Victoria, .au: "The busy Springvale Road level crossing in Nunawading will be removed in a grade separation to be completed by 2010. ..." — transport.vic.gov.au.

28 April 2009: Ford drivers managed "1,445 miles on a single tank of gas in a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid - averaging 81.5 mpg ..." — Ford. (NB. The US gallon is 83% of an imperial gallon, so they were just shy of 100mpg imp.. Economy records typically require special driving techniques such as a/c off, windows up, moderate speed, acceleration & braking, and "well inflated" tyres.)

28-30 April 2009: The Commercial Vehicle Show, NEC, Birmingham, uk (14/1/2009, event cancelled.)

28 April 2009: It appeared that Chrysler might survive on a deal with its lenders, the United Auto Union, and Fiat — Chrysler.

27 April 2009: GM proposed that the US Government take a majority stake in the company as it attempted to avoid bankruptcy — GM. GM also announced that it would phase out the Pontiac brand (like Studebaker, Packard and Oldsmobile, leaving Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC), and with it the Pontiac G8 built in Australia, as part of its reorganisation.

26 April 2009: "The Aston Martin One-77 has won the Concorso d'Eleganza Design Award for Concept Cars and Prototypes on the shores of Lake Como, Italy ..." — AM.

26 April 2009 (Sun): Corporate Challenge & Fordingbridge Season Opener for Greenpower F24 electric car racing, Goodwood Motor Circuit, uk — greenpower.co.uk.

26 April 2009: Cold weather brought early snow to the Victorian and NSW Alps.

26 April 2009: Bahrain F1 Grand Prix. Race start 3pm local time, noon GMT.
Results: 1. Jenson Button [Brawn GP], 2. Sebastian Vettel [Red Bull], 3. Jarno Trulli [Toyota], 4. Lewis Hamilton [McLaren Mercedes] — FIA. The reliability measures worked with 19 of the 20 starters finishing.

25 April 2009 (Sat) .au: Anzac Day (NB. Sat. ⇒ no public holiday Fri., or Mon.).

24 April 2009, uk: "Car production more than halved in March ['09 v. '08] to bring quarter one volumes down 56.6% ..." — SMMT.

23/4/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.24/l, min $1.13/l ([Perth] avg $1.21, min $1.11); oil us$49/b
22/4/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.15/l, min $1.11/l ([Perth] avg $1.17, min $1.10); oil us$47/b; au$1.00=us$0.71, £0.48, €0.55, ¥69

23 April 2009: Regulation (EC) No 443/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 setting emission performance standards for new passenger cars ... the Commission proposed in Jan. 2007 that ... the [EU] should pursue the objective of a 30% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by developed countries by 2020 (c.f. 1990 levels) and that the Union itself should make a firm independent commitment to achieve at least a 20% reduction [by] 2020 (c.f. 1990 levels), irrespective of reductions achieved by other developed countries. ... Community target of 120gm CO2/km by 2012 ... mandatory reductions of emissions of CO2 to reach an objective of 130gm CO2/km for the average new car fleet ... not appropriate to use the same method to determine the emissions reduction targets for large-volume manufacturers as for small-volume manufacturers ... This Regulation establishes CO2 emissions performance [to] achieve the overall objective of 120gm CO2/km as average emissions for the new car fleet. ... sets the average CO2 emissions for new passenger cars at 130gm CO2/km, ... From 2020 onwards, this Regulation sets a target of 95gm CO2/km — europa.eu [www].

23 April 2009: Terminal gate prices, ULP Melb au$1.13/l, Sydney $1.13/l, diesel Melb $1.10/l, Sydney $1.10/l — AIP.

22 April 2009: "Supacat ... designer of the ... Jackal weapons-mounted 4x4 patrol vehicle and Babcock ... engineering support specialists have formed an industry alliance to deliver around 110 Jackal 2 ... and more than 70 of the new 6x6 Coyote Tactical Support Vehicle (Light) (TSV(L)). ... the contract is worth around £55million. ..." — Supacat.

22 April 2009: The UK budget included a so-called ‘scrappage’ scheme, to run until March 2010, where an owner who trades-in a car more than 10 years old receives £2,000, half from the government, half from the maker. This is supposedly to boost the ailing (mostly non-UK owned) car industry.

22-28 April 2009: Auto Shanghai 2009 (press 20-21st).

20 April 2009: Bonhams auction of Collectors' Motor Cars and Automobilia, RAF Museum, Hendon, wound up with an airworthy two-seater trainer WWII Mk IX Spitfire, serial no. SM520, which sold at £1,739,500 (hammer price + buyer's premium (10%)). A London to Brighton eligible (see 1 Nov. above), 1905 Gardner-Serpollet 18hp Type L Steamer sold for £215,000.

19 April 2009, Sunday: Chinese F1 Grand Prix, Shanghai International Circuit (practice from Fri 17th). Race start 3pm local time, 7am GMT.
Results: 1. Sebastian Vettel [Red Bull], 2. Mark Webber (Red Bull), 3. Jenson Button [Brawn GP], 4. Rubens Barrichello (Brawn GP) — FIA. The race was wet, starting behind the safety car which also had a later outing due to a crash.

18 April 2009: The UK Government plans to offer £2,000 to £5,000 to buyers of electric and plugin-hybrid cars, when available (probably 2011) — nds.coi.gov.uk. (Also see Plugging Away in a Prius, May 2008.)

17 April 2009: As part of Morgan's centenary celebrations, "HRH The Princess Royal officially opened the Centenary Visitors Centre..." — Morgan.

16 April 2009: Ron Dennis announced that McLaren would launch its successor (code name P11) to the F1 road-car, in 2011 — McLaren.
16/4/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.19/l, min $1.10/l ([Perth] avg $1.18, min $1.09); oil us$50/b
15/4/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.14/l, min $1.12/l ([Perth] avg $1.15, min $1.09); oil us$49/b; au$1.00=us$0.72, £0.48, €0.54, ¥71

16-19 April 2009: Top Marques, Monaco (Aston Martin, Brabus, Bugatti, ...).

15 April 2009: "The [4-door] Aston Martin Rapide has moved into the final stages of its development programme ... first customer cars due to be delivered in early 2010. ... will be built ... in Graz, Austria managed by the acclaimed vehicle manufacturer Magna Steyr ..." — Aston Martin.

15 April 2009: The International Court of Appeal ruled the contentious rear diffusers on Brawn, Toyota and Williams F1 cars legal — FIA. Other teams must now follow suit.

11 April 2009: SAIC (China), owner of the remains of MG & Rover, was said to be "considering a potential investment in a new European company that [would] house Britain's Vauxhall" and Opel as GM tried to stave off bankruptcy — Telegraph.

10-19 April 2009: New York Auto Show, Jacob Javits Convention Center 11th Ave., between 34 & 39 Streets.

10 April (Good Friday) - 13 April (Easter Monday): Easter.
10-13 April 2009 (Fri-Mon): Blinman Jamboree 2009, the Land Rover Register of South Australia (LRRSA).
9/4/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.23/l, min $1.13/l ([Perth] avg $1.19, min $1.19); oil us$51/b; au$1.00=us$0.71, £0.48, €0.54, ¥71
8/4/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.15/l, min $1.12/l ([Perth] avg $1.15, min $1.09); oil us$48/b

9 April 2009: A study by 75 scientists "called for a total rethink on using biofuels for transport. ... relying on biofuels has potential for increasing the gap between rich and poor, and says the first thing governments should do is to limit demand for traditional fuels. ..." — T&E .org. (Also see 9 Nov. 2010.)

9 April 2009 (Thu), .au: Terminal gate prices, ULP $1.10/l (Melb.), $1.12/l (Perth); diesel $1.11/l (Melb.), $1.13/l (Perth) — AIP. Wait for Easter.

8 April 2009: "... RACV ... launched its Car Blind Spot Ratings to help demonstrate how some car designs can reduce visibility for drivers, especially at intersections, roundabouts and pedestrian crossings. The testing of 138 new vehicles involved rotating a laser 180° ..." — RACV. e.g., good Citroen C4 Picasso 5/'07+, VW Golf 8/04+, bad Chrysler 300C 11/'05+, Toyota Prius 11/'05+. Typically it's thick A-pillars on modern cars that are a problem.

8 April 2009, .uk: Prime Gordon Brown said that the coming Budget would include "green measures" including a boost to electric cars — The Independent.

8 April 2009: FIA on the F1 "diffuser" issue [www], "... hearing ... 10.00hrs, Tuesday, April 14, 2009 ...".

7 April 2009: The (us$10million) Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize announced a list of 111 teams accepted into the competition which has a (us) 100mpg equivalent target for a "practical" car.

7 April 2009: Enerdata energy consulting predicted that more efficient cars will lead to lower fuel prices, "... for every 1% reduction in global oil consumption, the price of oil drops by up to 2%. ..." — transportenvironment.org. (Until China and India ... )

7 April 2009, .eu: "... The EIB has approved a £340m package for Jaguar Land Rover and a £370m package for Nissan to invest in the development of new technology to help curb CO2 emissions. ..." — SMMT.

7 April 2009: "General Motors Corp. and Segway today demonstrated a new type of vehicle that could change the way we move around in cities. ..." — Segwway (was www.segway.com/puma/). Could the 2-seat 2-wheel Segway Puma be the new Sinclair C5 or are they on to something? (Certainly makes a change from GM's Hummer.)

7 April 2009: In fall-out from the Australian F1 Grand Prix, "Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has been invited to appear before an extraordinary meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris on Wed., 29 April, 2009, to answer charges that, [it was in] breach of Article 151c of the International Sporting Code ..." — FIA.

6 April 2009: BMW released details of an ‘M’ version of the (already odd) BMW X6 4x4, the X6 M. "... new 4.4-litre V8 ... 408kW ... common exhaust emission manifold joining both rows of cylinders as well as twin scroll twin turbo ... 680Nm ... 13.9 l/100km ..." — BMW.

6 April 2009, .uk: "New car registrations fell 30.5% in March to 313,912 units. Market in first 3 months of 2009 has fallen by over 200,000 units, or 29.7% ..." — SMMT.
3 April 2009, .au: "... 75,650 passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles were sold in March 2009 - down 17.1% (15,635 vehicles) [v. 3/2009] ... Year-to-date 212,970 new vehicles have been sold, down 19.2% ..." — FCAI.
1 April 2009: "Toyota ... U.S.A., Inc., today reported month-end sales of 132,802 vehicles, a decrease of 36.6% [v. 3/2009] ..." — Toyota.
5 April 2009, Sunday: Malaysian F1 Grand Prix (practice from Fri 3rd), Sepang International Circuit; start 5pm local time.
Results: 1. Jenson Button (Brawn GP), 2. Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber), 3. Timo Glock (Toyota). The race was halted on lap 32 because of heavy rain (and poor light); this being less than 3/4 race distance, half points (5, 4, 3, 2.5, ...) were awarded.

5 April 2009, .au: End of daylight saving; clocks put back 1-hour.

2-11 April 2009: AutoRAI.nl, Amsterdam, general public 2-11 April (press 31 March, trade 1 April), — autorai.nl.

2-5 April 2009: Man From Snowy River Bush Festival, Corryong, Vic, .au.

1 April 2009: The British Steam car has "successfully carried out two test runs ahead of its bid to break the century-old world land speed record (127mph) for steam-powered vehicles. ... reached speeds of over 80mph on tarmac at the [MOD's] Thorney Island facility in Emsworth, Hampshire. ...".

2/4/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.20/l, min $1.10/l ([Perth] avg $1.18, min $1.10)
1/4/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.13/l, min $1.10/l ([Perth] avg $1.16, min $1.10); oil us$48/b; au$1.00=us$0.69, £0.48, €0.52, ¥68

31 March 2009:   Heavy flooding in northern NSW   bom.

31 March 2009: The SMMT and RAC Foundation, uk, reports various "CO2 prices", from the UK trading scheme price (£1.50/tonne), to the European trading scheme price (£9, 3/'09), the "government ... Shadow Price of Carbon that defines the environmental cost to the planet of CO2 emissions" (£25.50), and fuel duty (£213), a range of 142:1 — SMMT. The report is "a bit cute" because there are other costs to society associated with cars but still that is quite a range of prices.

30 March 2009: At troubled GM, "Rick Wagoner is stepping down as chairman and CEO, effective immediately. ..." — GM. He was pushed, by the Government. And Chrysler was told that it needs to form that alliance with Fiat — Chrysler. "Chapter 11" bankruptcy remained a possibility for GM and for Chrysler.

29 March 2009, Sunday:   Australian F1 Grand Prix, Melbourne (practice Fri. 12.30 & 4.30, Sat. 2pm, qual. 5pm. Race start 5pm local time. Teams: [BMW-Sauber], [Ferrari], [Force India], [McLaren], [Red Bull] (& [Toro Rosso]), [Renault], [Toyota], [Williams]. There was controversy over the rear diffusers on the Brawn, Toyota and Williams cars, ruled OK by stewards, but to be appealed (hearing on 14th April).
The Brawns(!), now with ‘Virgin’ sponsorship, were on the front row of the grid and Button led from the start but Barrichello had a terrible start and fell well back. Towards the end Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) in 2nd was passed by Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber) but there was a collision and both crashed soon after as a consequence, thus making Brawn GP's dream finish. (Vettel was later penalised 10 places for the next race.) There was more overtaking than of late, for example, the 3rd finisher started from pit lane, and 4th from 18th. Many, but not all, cars were running KERS.
Results: 1. Jenson Button (Brawn GP), 2. Rubens Barrichello (Brawn GP), 3. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren Mercedes). Jarno Trulli (Toyota) finished 3rd but was later penalised 25secs, demoting him to 12th, for passing behind the safety car. Then (Thu 2/4/09) stewards (in Sepang) reinstated Trulli, and disqualified Hamilton and McLaren for misleading the Stewards at the first hearing — FIA.

27 March 2009, .au: Recall of Ford Territory "SX and SY Territory (exc. Turbo models) built from 1 Februry, 2004 to 31 December 2008 inclusive. ... Under certain operating conditions, front brake hoses may develop a brake fluid leak. ..." (2009/10702) — recalls.gov.au.

26 March 2009: "Water continues to flow into Lake Eyre via both the Warburton Groove and the Kalaweerina Channel [which] are now full and water is spreading out across the lake floor. Water continues to flow into the lake from Warburton Creek and Kallakoopah Creek. ... Water will continue to flow into Lake Eyre during April. ..." — bom.

26 March 2009: "Tesla unveiled [the] world's first mass-produced, highway-capable EV. Model S sedan ... The anticipated base price of the Model S is us$49,900 after a federal tax credit of $7,500. ... Three battery pack choices will offer a range of 160, 230 or 300 miles per charge. ... Tesla is taking reservations online and at showrooms in California. ..." — Tesla.

March 2009: The Bloodhound 1,000mph car project released CAD drawings and structural analysis of the proposed "car". Are they really going to do this? (It is the same team that broke the sound barrier with ThrustSSC in 1997.)

26/3/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.18/l, min $1.04/l ([Perth] avg $1.14, min $1.08); oil us$53/b
25/3/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.09/l, min $1.05/l ([Perth] avg $1.13, min $1.08); oil us$54/b; au$1.00=us$0.70, £0.48, €0.52, ¥68

26 March 2009: Terminal gate prices, ULP $1.09-$1.10/l, diesel $1.08-$1.09/l (Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney), up a couple of cents over a week – AIP.

24 March 2009: Mitsubishi Motors announced that for Feb. 2009 "Total global production came in at 45,048 units, a decline of 65.0% over Feb. 2008 ..." — mitsubishi-motors.com.

23 March 2009: Tata Motors announced the commercial launch, in India, of the 5-seat, 624cc, Tata ‘Nano’. "... Deliveries will commence from July 2009. ..." — tat.com. Priced from 100,000 rupees, available initially in limited numbers.

21 March 2009: The Terrafugia Transition "flying car" made a successful test flight on 5 March 2009 [www]. The vehicle's motor drives the wheels on-road and a rear-mounted propellor in the air (115mph). It has wings which fold up for driving on the road. (Also see the Skycar, 2 March 2009 below.)

20-22 March 2009: National 4x4 Show, Brisbane, .au, RNA Showgrounds, Fortitude Valley [www].

20 March 2009: "... the [F1] Teams gathered and unanimously agreed to question the validity of this decision ..." to change at short notice the way the World Championship is decided — FOTA. The FIA seemed to be in a conciliatory mood: "If, for any reason, the ... teams do not now agree with the new system, its implementation will be deferred until 2010." — FIA. Stuff up! (See 17 March).

19 March 2009, uk: "... the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has taken the difficult decision to cancel the 2010 British International Motor Show. ..." — SMMT.

19/3/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.16/l, min $1.05 ([Perth] avg $1.17, min $1.07);
18/3/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.11/l, min $1.06 ([Perth] avg $1.15, min $1.06); oil us$48/b; au$1.00=us$0.66, £0.47, €0.51, ¥65

17 March 2009: The FIA approved a new system to decide the F1 drivers' world championship in 2009: The driver with the most first places becomes champion. If ≥2 drivers have the same number of firsts then points decide; points are awarded under the existing 10, 8, 6, 5, ... system. Other standings in the championship, from 2nd down, are decided on points. This partly resembles the "medals" proposal (see 30 Jan. below), and without the medals. Sounds like a right hotch potch. Note, it is possible for the world champion not to have the highest points total. The constructors' championship operates as before — FIA. And in an interesting move on costs, while the existing technical regulations are "stable" to 2012, any team may run cars built to more "flexible" rules from 2010, if built and operated under a budget cap of £30million (currently €33m, us$42m). Now that'll be a tough rule to check. And the teams (FOTA) expressed "disappointment and concern at the fact that these [changes] have been taken in a unilateral manner. ..." — FOTA. FOTA had proposed revising the 2008 system to 12, 9, 7, 5, 4, ... points. (See 20 March, and 30 April above.)

16 March 2009:The rules for F1 in 2009 allow the use of a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) of upto 60kW (80hp) and 400kJ (~6.7secs) per lap. Williams is using an electric motor/generator in the drive chain and is storing energy in an electrically driven flywheel rather than a battery or supercapacitor — williamshybridpower.com. The flywheel is said to have better high-power cycling properties. There had been talk of a mechanical CVT between the wheels and flywheel around April last year.

15 March 2009: Ecotricity uk commissioned a one-off 140mph electric sports car, "... faster out of the blocks than a V12 Ferrari ... 0-60mph in 4secs. ... [a] small team ... 2nd-hand Lotus Exige with about 20,000 miles ... 96 lithium-ion polymer batteries, 2 brushless motors, a completely new transmission ... £200,000 ..." — ecotricity.co.uk. (Also see 28 Feb. and 22 Jan. below.)

13-15 March 2009: Phillip Island Classic, Vic., .au.

12 March 2009 (Thu): Terminal gate prices, ULP au$1.09/l (Bris., Melb, Sydney), diesel $1.08/l (Bris., Melb., Sydney) — AIP.

12/3/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.20/l, min $1.10 ([Perth] avg $1.11, min $1.08); oil us$43/b
11/3/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.16/l, min $1.13 ([Perth] avg $1.11, min $1.08); oil us$46/b; au$1.00=us$0.64, £0.47, €0.51, ¥63

11 March 2009: "Jaguar Land Rover has secured a £27million government grant for the production of a new model, based on the LRX concept vehicle. ... future of [LR's] fleet, working toward a 20% improvement in CO2 emissions. ..." — SMMT. "... grant ... towards the overall £400million cost of the project. ... the new car would be a key addition to the Range Rover family of luxury vehicles. ..." — LR. Land Rover had a prototype LRX at the NAIS in January 2008.

10-15 March 2009: Avalon Airshow (Melbourne International Airshow), Geelong, Vic, .au. Industry only, Tues 10th - 2pm Fri 13th. Public, afternoon Fri 13th - Sun 15th.

9 March 2009: A lucky buyer picked up a Holden FX 48-215 c1949 for $7,000 at the Shannon's Motor Auction associated with the Melbourne Motor Show (27/2-9/3). An unusual buy was a Tatra (Czech) 1974 603 V8 Sedan at $15,000.

9 March 2009: Severe Tropical Cyclone Hamish continued to move SE, about 200km off the Queensland coast — bom.

9-15 March 2009: The Corowa Swim-In [www]['09] Vic, .au — the year of the Amphibious Vehicle and the year of the Blitz II.

9 March (Mon) 2009, .au: Labour Day.
7-9 March 2009: Scoresby Steamfest, Melbourne Steam Traction Engine Club (Melways 72/D9).
6-9 March 2009 (Fri-Mon): Port Fairy Folk Festival, [www]['09].
6 March 2009, Friday, surprise: Melb ULP avg ↑$1.26/l, min $1.13; diesel avg $1.16, min $1.13.

6 March 2009, F1: "Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has announced the sale of the Honda Racing F1 Team (HRF1) to Ross Brawn, the former Team Principal of Honda Racing F1 Team. ..." — Honda. The team's new name is ‘Brawn GP Formula One Team’; the 2009 BGP 001 car is Mercedes powered. [Also see 18 October 2009!]

5-15 March 2009: 78th Geneva Motor Show.
Including Aston-Martin One-77 prototype (£1.2million), V12 Vantage & DBS Volante (open); Bentley's "most powerful production car"; BMW concept 5 Series Gran Turismo; Chrysler electric prototypes; Citroen DS Inside concept; Fiat 500C cabriolet; GM Chevrolet Spark small (petrol) car; Gumpert Apollo Speed; Hyundai HED-6 concept; Koenigsegg electric(!) Quant concept; Lotus revised Exige-S & new Evora (both on sale May '09); Mini John Cooper works convertible; Mitsubishi i MiEV Sport Air concept; Nissan Qazana concept; Opel Ampera (~GM Volt) proto; Pagani Zonda R; Peugeot 3008 crossover, HYbrid & 308CC; Porsche 911 GT3 (on sale .eu May), & Cayenne diesel; Renault's new Scenic; Rolls Royce 200EX (RR4 prototype); (GM) Saab 9-3X (4x4); Skoda Yeti(!); Smart electric prototype; Spyker CS 8; Tata Nano; Volvo S60 concept; VW's new Polo.
5 March 2009, uk: "New car registrations fell 21.9% in February ['09] to 54,359 units [v. Feb '08]. ..." — SMMT.
4 March 2009, .au: "... 70,241 passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles were sold in Feb. 2009 - down 21.9% (19,657 vehicles) compared to [Feb.] 2008. ..." — FCAI.
5/3/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.21/l, min $1.14 ([Perth] avg $1.14, min $1.10); oil us$44/b;
3 March 2009, US: Ford "sales totaled 96,044, down 48% compared with a year ago". GM "delivered 127,296 vehicles in February, down 52.9% compared with a year ago ... 1,087 GM hybrid vehicles were delivered in the month...". Chrysler's "total February U.S. sales were 84,050 units (including fleet), a decrease of 44% [v. Feb.2008]". Toyota "reported month-end sales of 109,583 vehicles, a decrease of 37.3% from last February, on a daily selling rate basis. ... [and] posted February sales of 11,814 hybrid vehicles. ...".

4/3/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.18/l, min $1.15 ([Perth] avg $1.15, min $1.10); oil us$42/b; au$1.00=us$0.63, £0.45, €0.51, ¥62

3 March 2009: The AA (uk) reports that "Passenger cars in the UK produce 12.4% of [its] CO2 emissions" and that "CO2 emissions from trucks and vans produce 40% of road transport CO2 although they represent just 10% of vehicles" — AA. Also see .au, Feb. 2008.

2 March 2009: The Skycar Expedition reached its destination, Tombouctou (Timbuktu), Mali. The car drove, and flew, including flying over the Straits of Gibraltar. (The Seep Half-Safe sailed across the Straits, and much else, in 1950.)

1 March 2009: Force India launched its 2009 F1 car, the VJMO2 [www]. The car uses McLaren Mercedes engine, gearbox and KERS.

1 March 2009 (Sun): Dandenong Ranges 4x4 Swap Meet, Yarra Glen Showgrounds, 8am-2pm, Melways 275/A2.

Ended 1 March 2009 (started 17 April 2008 ) .uk: The Imperial War Museum London held the first major exhibition devoted to the life and work of Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, 007.

1 March 2009 (Sun): Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) open day, 33 Glenbarry Road, Campbellfield, Vic., 9am-3pm, entry a gold coin donation with proceeds supporting the Guide Dogs Association of Victoria.

28 February - 1 March (Sat-Sun) 2009:   Pajero Challenge, Vic., .au.

28 February 2009: Liberty Electric Cars, uk, plan to build plug-in electric Range Rovers. The claimed battery range is 200 miles, with the some models having a "range extender" generator. Prices around £95K-£125K. The normal Range Rover (£58-£75K) is not the most fuel efficient vehicle but the electric's premium would pay for a lot of petrol or diesel so it is really the price of being seen to be green. It could be the new chic.

27 February 2009: Terminal Gate Prices, Adelaide, Melbourne, Pert, Sydney, ULP au$1.13/l, diesel $1.08-$1.09/l -- AIP.

27 February (5pm, Fri) - 9 March (Mon): 75th Melbourne Motor Show, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Southbank (press day 7.30am Fri 27th Feb).
Including Audi Q5; Bentley Continental and 1930s Speed Six; BMW M1 Hommage concept, 330d, Z4 Roadster & X6 xDrive50i; (GM) Holden new Cruze; Hyundai Genesis Coupe, i30cw wagon; Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder (open), Murcielago LP640 and a classic 1960s P400 Muira; Lotus Evora; Mazda's revised Mazda3 inc. the turbo MPS, and revised MX-5; Mitsubishi i-MiEV; Nissan's all new 370Z (for mid 2009); Porsche Cayenne 3 l V6 diesel (days 1-3, au$102K from April), revised Cayman and Boxter; Subaru Stella (electric); (Toyota) Lexus revised RX350 & LF-A Roadster;
3 Feb '09: In future "... the [new] Australian International Motor Show ... will alternate between Sydney and Melbourne on an annual basis. The first of these events will commence in Sydney in 2010. The 75th Melbourne motor show [of] this year, will be the last solo show. This will be the only major motor show in Australia in 2009. ..." — FCAI & VACC.

26 February 2009: "... For the 2008 calendar year, GM reported an adjusted net loss, exc. special items, of $16.8billion ... [v.] $279million ... in 2007. ... Including special items, the company reported a loss of $30.9billion ... [v.] $43.3billion ... in 2007, which included a non-cash special charge of $38.3billion in the 3rd quarter ['07] related to the valuation allowance against deferred tax assets. ..." — GM. Ouch.

26/2/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.25/l, min $1.14 ([Perth] avg $1.16, min $1.11); oil us$42/b
25/2/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.21/l, min $1.14 ([Perth] avg $1.16, min $1.11); oil us$40/b; au$1.00=us$0.65, £0.45, €0.51, ¥63

25 February 2009: The Skycar Expedition had some repairs to make after taking-off, into a tree, near Kiffa, Mauritania. Mad dogs and various ... .

22 February 2009 (Sun): The Victorian 4WD Show [www]['09], Wandin, Vic., .au, Melways 119/G7, 9am-4.30pm.

22 February 2009 (Sun): A memorial service was held in Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena for the bushfire victims.

21 February 2009 (Sat): Two weeks after the bushfires of 7th, some of which still burned [CFA], the confirmed death toll stood at 209 — police.vic.gov.au. Red Cross appeal [www], or visit any NAB, ANZ, Westpac or Commonwealth Bank branch.

20 February 2009: In the UK, "Car production continued to fall sharply, down 58.7% in January [2009 v. Jan. 2008]" — SMMT. (Of course it is convenient to extend an existing break such as the Christmas holidays.)

20 February 2009: Saab (GM, .se) filed for ‘reorganisation’, ie bankruptcy protection — GM. GM decided to give up on Saab in its own survival plan, 17 Feb. below.

18 February 2009: What recession? The Mercedes Maybach brand will soon have "the new Maybach Zeppelin to spearhead its luxury saloon model range. ... The Maybach 57S and the long-wheelbase version, the 62S, serve as the technical basis for the new range-topping model. Supreme performance is assured in both cases by the 6.0 litre V12 biturbo power unit under the bonnet, which now delivers 471kW and a peak torque of 1000Nm. ..." — MB.

18 February 2009: Euro NCAP launched its new rating system for cars. This now awards a single overall rating to a car combining adult occupant, child occupant, and pedestrian protection. The Mazda 6, Mitsubishi Lancer, Toyota Avensis and Toyota iQ scored the maximum 5 stars — [www][18/2].

19/2/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.29/l, min $1.14 ([Perth] ULP avg $1.17, min $1.11); oil us$35/b
18/2/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.18, min $1.15 ([Perth] ULP avg $1.17, min $1.11); oil us$35/b

17 February 2009: Chrysler submitted its viability plan to the US Treasury Department, predicting a fall of about 180,000 vehicle sales per year for the company, mentioning the alliance with Fiat, "... hybrid version of the ... Dodge Ram is scheduled for 2010. The first Chrysler electric-drive vehicle [also on sale] in 2010. ... [Has] reduced fixed costs by us$3.1billion [with] $700million [to come] ...".
General Motors too, "Evaluating Hummer sale options", and Saab, "in the US ... on its core brands; Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC ... number of hybrid models to 14 by 2012, and 60% of its fleet alternative-fuel capable. ... [in .eu] discussions with the German government for ... support. ...".
Plans must be finalized by 31 March.

17 February 2009: The confirmed death toll from the bushfires rose to 200 — police.vic.gov.au. Numerous roads remain closed — vicroads.vic.gov.au. Red Cross appeal [www], or visit any NAB, ANZ, Westpac or Commonwealth Bank branch.
And there was major flooding in northern (200+mm rain in some areas) and parts of — bom. Melbourne had ~2mm for all of 2009 to date.

12/2/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.26/l, min $1.14, diesel avg $1.19, min $1.16 ([Perth] ULP avg $1.15, min $1.11, diesel avg $1.23, min $1.15)
11/2/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.18/l, min $1.13, diesel avg $1.19, min $1.16 ([Perth] ULP avg $1.15, min $1.11, diesel avg $1.23, min $1.16); oil us$36/b; au$1.00=us$0.66, £0.45, €0.51, ¥59
12 February 2009, .au: Bushfires from Sat. 7th continued to burn in Victoria but conditions eased somewhat overnight [CFA]. Red Cross appeal [www], or visit any NAB, ANZ, Westpac or Commonwealth Bank branch.

11 February 2009, .au: The ‘terminal gate price’ for diesel remained 2 to 3¢ (.au) below that for ULP — AIP. However ULP and diesel retail prices danced to different tunes during the week.

10 February 2009: Bushfires continued in Victoria, and flooding around Ingham in Queensland.

9 February 2009: Red Bull's 2009 F1 car, the RB5, for drivers Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, came out at Jerez, Spain. (Most teams' new cars were ready earlier — see 20 Jan. below. Force India still to come. Honda F1 is still up for sale, but (Honda) Acura "will enter the LMP1 class in the 2009 American Le Mans Series ... Testing of the ... cars began in November...".

9 February 2009: Ford US plans include "a battery electric-powered version of Ford's global Transit Connect commercial vehicle, will be offered in 2010", and "a new battery electric small car in 2011, next-generation hybrid vehicles in 2012, plug-in hybrid versions in 2012" — Ford. But will people buy them? Ford is hedging its bets, e.g., "about 800 employees [are] slated to begin [the new F-150's] full production shift on Feb. 16." (Also see 29 Jan. below.)

8 February 2009 (Sun): The cool change brought little rain, just a mm here or there, but some lightning.
7 February 2009 (Sat): Temperatures reached 46.4°C in Melbourne, an all-time record. Existing bushfires were spread by strong winds and new fires broke out [www][7/2/09].  36, 76, 173, 181 people confirmed dead — Marysville was largely destroyed. Kinglake and other towns suffered major damage. The Victorian Bushfire Information Line is 1800-240-667. See the [CFA]. Victoria, and the [RFS] NSW.

7 February 2009 (Sat): Bonhams auction, Automobiles d'Exception a Retromobile, Paris, included a 1937 Bugatti Type 57S, sporting two-seat Atalante coupe, chassis no. 57502, engine no. 26S. Owned by one Dr Harold Carr and driven until the 1960s, the Bugatti was then parked in a garage until his death in 2007. It was in need of some restoration but was very original and hence desirable. Only 17 such type 57S are said to have been built.
The car sold for €3,417,500 (£2,989,500)!

6 February - 26 April 2009: Bugatti exhibition, Carlo, Rembrandt, Ettore, Jean, National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), Melbourne, .au. "The work of the Bugatti family - three generations of Italian craftsmen, artists and designers - is as diverse as it is original. The exhibition will include furniture by Carlo (1856-1940); sculpture by Rembrandt (1885-1916); as well as cars by Ettore (1881-1947) and son Jean (1909-1939)." — ngv.vic.gov.au.

5/2/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.25/l, min $1.13 ([Perth] avg $1.14, min $1.10) oil u$40/b
4/2/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.16/l, min $1.13 ([Perth] avg $1.14, min $1.11); oil us$41/b; au$1.00=us$0.65, £0.45, €0.50, ¥58

5 February 2009: Unusually for recent years, the ‘terminal gate price’ of diesel has been upto 2¢/litre less than that of ULP in Australia over the last weeks. While ULP prices in 2009 have bounced up by about 15-20¢, diesel has trended down -- AIP. Economic slump ⇒ transport slump ⇒ diesel slump. At the pump today in Melbourne diesel avg. $1.19/l, min $1.16, ULP avg. $1.25/l, min $1.13. (Several years ago, diesel was regularly cheaper than ULP.)

4 February 2009: Mitsubishi Motors revised down its forecast for its financial year, April 2008 to end March 2009, from 2,360,000 sales, as previously predicted in Oct '08, to 2,010,000 (-14.8%), and net income from plus ¥20×109 to minus ¥60×109. Mitsubishi will also withdraw from cross country rallying, including the Dakar, which it lost last month — mitsubishi.

2 February 2009: Widespread snow fell across Britain – chaos, of course.

1 February 2009: Tropical Cyclone ‘Ellie’ headed for the Queensland coast, between Cairns and Ayr before fading to a tropical low but still bringing heavy rain and major flooding.

30 January 2009:   The FIA has analysed a proposed system of medals in F1 v. the current points system (10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 since 2003). "Under the medals system, it is proposed that the top three drivers in each race would win gold, silver and bronze medals. At the end of the season the driver with the most gold medals would win the championship. If two or more drivers have the same number of golds then the silver medals would come into account and so on." If the medals system had been in use, 13 of the world champions since 1950 would have been different. For example, Stirling Moss, not Mike Hawthorn, would have been world champion in 1958. However teams and drivers might well have adopted different tactics under a different system.

29 January 2009: The Skycar Expedition flew the Straits of Gibraltar from Tarifa Beach in southern Spain to Spanish Cueta on the N.Africa coast [www]. Officials held up the vehicle for some hours at the Morrocan border, debating whether it was a car or a plane. The Expedition started on 14 January.

29 January 2009: The new Porsche Museum, in Porscheplatz, Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, was officially opened on Wednesday 28th — Porsche.

29 January 2009: Ford posted a "net loss of us$5.9billion, or $2.46 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2008" — Ford. And Ford was in better shape than GM or Chrysler.

29/1/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.25/l, min $1.07 ([Perth] avg $1.14, min $1.08); oil us$42/b; au$1.00=us$0.66, £0.47, €0.50, ¥59
28/1/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.10, min $1.04 ([Perth] avg $1.14, min $1.08); oil us$42/b

28, 29, 30 January 2009: There were high temperatures, up to 45°C, across Victoria and South Australia.

28 January 2009, .uk: Bee Automobiles is building an electric racing car, the BRM(!) Bee Four ERV (aka Watt 4), to compete in the British Hill Climb championship — beeautomobiles.com. It is an interesting challenge: high torque - good; 4WD - good; short runs - good; battery weight - bad.

28 January 2009: Mitsubishi Motors released production and sales figures for 2008: "... [Dec. 2008] global production came in at 72,916 units, a decline of 38.5% over December 2007 ... Overseas production volume totaled 30,587 units, 22.3% down over December [2007] ... In calendar year 2008 total global production fell 7.8% below 2007 ..." — Mitsubish.

27 January 2009: "Aston Martin will return to La Sarthe with two works LMP1 cars bearing the iconic blue and orange livery of Gulf Oil. ... The new car which is based on the 2008 Charouz Racing System Lola will be powered by the same production-based Aston Martin V12 engine which, last year, helped [AM] secure its 2nd successive Le Mans GT1 title with the DBR9. ..." — AM Aston-Martin won the Le Mans 24-hour race, and the world sportscar championship, 50 years ago in 1959. This year's 24 hr race: 13-14 June.

26 January (Mon) 2009: Australia Day.

22 January 2009: "Shelby SuperCars (SSC) released today the details of its revolutionary All-Electric Scalable Powertrain (AESP) ..." one application being in its ‘Ultimate Aero EV’ prototype where it produces "1,000hp and 800 lb-ft of torque ... 0-60mph in a mere 2.5sec. ... top speed of 208mph. ... range of 150-200 miles on a single charge ... 10 minute full battery recharges on a 220V service. ..." — Shelby SC. (Shelby SC recently claimed the World's Fastest Production Car record — 412.28km/h (256.18mph) — with its petrol Ultimate Aero, see 17 Dec 2008.)

22/1/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.17/l, min $1.04 ([Perth] avg $1.06, min $1.01); oil us$44/b
21/1/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $1.06/l, min $1.01 ([Perth] avg $1.06, min $1.01); oil us$41/b; au$1.00=us$0.65, £0.47, €0.50, ¥59

22 January 2009: Mitsubishi has plans to sell, or perhaps lease, a small number of electric i-MiEV mini cars (200kg 16kWh Li-ion battery), derived from the existing petrol ‘i’, in Japan, the UK and other markets from later in 2009.

20 January 2009: "Fiat S.p.A., Chrysler LLC (Chrysler) and Cerberus Capital Management L.P., the private investment majority owner of Chrysler LLC, announced today they have signed a non-binding term sheet to establish a global strategic alliance. ...". Fiat would provide efficient small-car "platforms" to be built at Chrysler factories and would get 35% of Chrysler in return.

20 January 2009: There was a run of unveilings of 2009 F1 cars. The 2009 rules restrict the 2.4 litre V8s to 18,000rpm (was 19K) and allow the use of a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS). Slick tyres are back. Rear wings are taller but narrower and front wings wider and lower and have limited adjustment by the driver, all in a bid to increase overtaking. BMW Sauber F1.09, Ferrari F60, McLaren Mercedes MP-24, Renault R29, Toyota TF109, Williams FW31. Force India, Red Bull and Toro Rosso still to come, and Honda F1 still up for sale.

18 January 2009 (Sun): End of Dakar 2009, 3-18th Jan., [www], Argentina and Chile.
Overall results: bikes Marc Coma (KTM), quads Josef Machacek (Yamaha), cars Giniel de Villiers & Dirk von Zitzewitz (VW), trucks Firdaus Kabirov, Aydar Belyaev & Andrey Mokeev (Kamaz). VW were 1-2 in the cars and would very likely have been 1-2-3 if Carlos Sainz had not crashed out of the lead on stage 12.
17-25 January 2009: North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) Detroit, [www], the Cobo Center. (Press 11-13th, industry 14-15th, black-tie charity preview gala 16th, public Sat. 17th - Sun 25th).
Including Audi R8 with a 5.2 l V10; BMW's new Z4 sports car; Ford electric & hybrid prototypes; Honda's new Insight hybrid (on sale early '09); Jaguar XFR (did 225mph @ Bonneville); Kia Soulster concept; Mazda's new Mazda3 (on sale in US, 1st qtr '09); Mercedes all new E-class (on sale '09), and battery & hybrid concepts; Subaru 2009 Legacy concept; Toyota's 2010 Lexus HS 250h hybrid, all new Prius hybrid, & an EV concept; Volvo S60 concept, and new S60 sedan (on sale '10?).

17-25 January 2009: European Motor Show, Brussels.

14 January 2009: The Skycar Expedition [www]['09] set off to drive and fly from northern France (after the UK CAA failed to issue permits) to Tombouctou in Mali. The Skycar is a buggy-style car fitted with a rear-mounted propeller, and a parafoil ram-air wing [www]['08]. On road speed to 180km/h, take-off 60km/h, flying to 110km/h. (The Skycar flew across the Straits of Gibraltar on 29 Jan..)

8-11 January 2009: Autosport International - the Racing Car Show - NEC Birmingham, UK [www], industry only 8-9 Jan., general public 10-11 Jan.. Flybrid was to show its flywheel solution to the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) option in F1 for 2009.

January 2009: Dakar 2009, 3-18th Jan.,
10 January 2009 (Sat): Rest day, Valparaiso Chile, on the Pacific coast.
9 January 2009 (Fri): Stage 7 "the only special to include passageways at 3,000 meters". Leading overall, bikes Marc Coma (KTM), quad Josef Machacek (Yamaha), cars Carlos Sainz & Micel perin (VW), "... the truck special has been cancelled" Firdaus Kabirov, Ahdar Belyaev & Andrey Mokeev (Kamaz) lead the trucks.
8 January 2009 (Thu): "Qatar's Nasser Al Attiyah [BMW] and his co-driver Tina Thorner leave the race at the end of the sixth stage . . . [he] won the 1st and 3rd stages of the 2009 Dakar and was leading the overall standing after stage 1 and stage 5." — Dakar [www].
8/1/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg $1.05/l, min $0.95/l ([Perth] avg $0.99, min $0.96); oil us$43/b
7/1/2009 Wed Melb ULP avg $0.98/l, min $0.95 ([Perth] avg $0.99, min $0.96); oil us$48/b; au$1.00=us$0.72, £0.49, €0.53, ¥68

7 January 2009, uk: "New car registrations fell 21.2% in December [2008] to 108,691 units [v. Dec. 2007]. Full year total is down 11.3% to 2,131,795 units from 2,404,007 in 2007. ..." — SMMT.

6 January 2009, .au: 1,012,164 vehicles were sold in Australia in 2008, 3.6% less than the 1,049,982 of 2007. December 2008's figure of 76,510 was 11.3% less than December 2007's 86,250 -- FCAI.

5 January 2009: "General Motors dealers in the United States delivered 221,983 vehicles in December, down 31% compared with [2007]. . . . For the year, GM delivered 2,980,688 vehicles... Annual deliveries were down 23% compared with 2007,..." -- GM.

5 January 2009: "In December [2008], Ford, Lincoln and Mercury sales totaled 134,114, down 32% compared with a year ago. . . . For the full year, Ford, Lincoln and Mercury sales totaled 1.9 million, down 20% versus [2007]. ..." -- Ford.

5 January 2009: Chrysler (inc. Jeep & Dodge) reported that "total December 2008 U.S. sales [were] 89,813 units ... down 53% from the same month in 2007. For the year ... sales decreased 30% (1,453,122 units) compared with total 2007 sales (2,076,650 units). ..." -- Chrysler.

5 January 2009: Subaru of America sold 187,699 cars in 2008, up 0.3% on 2007, although December 2008 sales were 7.7% down on December 2007 -- NAIAS.

5 January 2009: "Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., today reported year-end sales of 2,217,662 vehicles, a decrease of 15.7% from the same period in 2007, on a daily selling rate basis. . . . TMS reported December sales results of 141,949, a decrease of 36.7 percent from the same period last year. ..." -- Toyota.

5 January 2009: American Honda's 2008 vehicle sales were "1,428,765, a decrease of 8.2% compared to 2007 results on a daily selling-rate basis." December 2008 sales were 34.7% down on December 2007 -- Honda.

4 January 2009: Crude oil ↑ us$47/barrel, possibly because of Israel's attack on the Gaza strip.
But after wider profit margins over Christmas, Melbourne petrol prices finally came down closer to those of Perth, WA.

1/1/2009 Thu Melb ULP avg au$1.10/l, min $1.02, diesel avg $1.25, min $1.22 ([Perth] avg $1.00, min $0.97, diesel avg $1.31, min $1.20); oil us$43/b (2/1/'09 au$1.00=us$0.70, £0.48, €0.50, ¥63)
3-18 January 2009: Dakar 2009 [www], moved from N.Africa to Argentina and Chile after terrorist threats caused last year's event to be cancelled at the last minute. Start and finish, Buenos Aires.
(Reports in SBS TV .au.)

3 January 2009, .uk: The Commission for Integrated Transport (CfIT) (was cfit.gov.uk) and the Motorists' Forum (MF) have considered the voluntary introduction of an Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) system in the uk, and 355,000 miles were covered in tests. They recommend that there could be 6% CO2 reductions on 70mph roads, "a 100% usage of mandatory ISA could save nearly 29% of injury accidents", and "advisory ISA is predicted to be substantially less effective than the intervention based (overridable and mandatory) forms of ISA". (‘Mandatory ISA’ can reduce a vehicle's speed and cannot be overridden.) Advisory ISA, with an "off", would very probably catch on but it would be a courageous decision for a government to require anything stronger, although you could just imagine it starting with trucks... .

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