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.
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
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
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. ..." -- [www].
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 --
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 --
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. ..." --
December 2009: "Aston Martin [released] the first official images of the 'Cygnet' - a new luxury commuter concept car. ..." -- [www]. 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 -- [www]. (And lots of rumours about Michael Schumacher [www], 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..
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
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) -- [www]. 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 ..." -- [www] (& the AA [www][8/12]).
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. ..." --
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 [www] (Arval [www]).
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,
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" -- [www]. Good timing.
7 December 2009: Silverstone secured the British F1 Grand Prix for the next 17 years -- [www]. There had been a plan to move the event to Donington Park from 2010.
December 2009, .au: The Monash University Accident Research Centre is conducting a survey re the effectiveness of the Victorian Vehicle Impoundment Legislation in reducing the occurrence of hoon driving behaviour ... [www].
4 December 2009,
"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
2 December 2009: "The Volkswagen Golf and Subaru Outback [won] two of the most popular categories in the Australia's Best Cars awards ..." -- RACV [www].
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
[www] ..." -- ABC
Ha, blind Freddy can ...
2-13 December 2009: Los Angeles Auto Show
1 December 2009: GM reported that it had "received expressions of interest in Saab since ... Koenigsegg Group AB" pulled out of its bid -- [www].
30 November 2009:
The FIA released the entry list for
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,
27 November 2009: BMW announced that it had agreed to sell the BMW-Sauber F1 team [www] to Peter Sauber.
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
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
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 -- [www].
24 November 2009: Land Rover announced the return of the
22 November 2009 (Sun): 28th Historic Commercial Vehicle Display, Sandown Racecourse, Vic., .au (Melways 80 C9) [www].
20 November 2009: SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) gazed into crystal balls over the future of fuels and auto propulsion -- [www] -- 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. ..." --
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..." -- more [BOM][19/11], [ABC].
18 November 2009, South Australia: "... Catastrophic Fire Danger [100+] is forecast for the Northwest Pastoral and Flinders Total Fire Ban districts. ..." -- more [BOM][18/11].
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+ --
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. ..." --
13-15 November 2009: Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham, uk [www].
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. ..." --
(Also see 13 Aug below,
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. ..." More ... [www][10/'09].
5 November 2009: Ford announced that it would introduce "automotive inflatable seat belts ... for rear seat occupants ... [in] the next-generation Ford Explorer ..." -- [www].
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
4 November 2009: Toyota announced that it would
"withdraw from the FIA Formula One World Championship (F1)" --
Toyota first raced in F1 in 2002.
remained undecided about 2010.
3 November 2009: GM decided
not to sell Opel/Vauxhall after all --
"... Opel/Vauxhall will continue to play a
strategic role within GM ..." -- Opel
Also see the BBC
The German Government had badly wanted a sale to Magna and
Sberbank (USSR), if to anyone -- see 15 Oct..
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. -- [www]. (Also see the Eco-Challenge, 28 Oct. below.)
1 November 2009: London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, .uk [www] for cars manufactured up to 31 Dec. 1904 (also Bonham's [www] 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 [Overlander]['09].
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.
and Deep Green Research electric cars also took part.)
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], [www].
24-31 October 2009: World Solar Challenge [www], 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,
23 October 2009: Jean Todt was elected President of the FIA, succeeding Max Mosley -- FIA [www].
21 October (Wed) - 8 November (Sun) 2009: 41st Tokyo Motor Show
(press 21st, 22nd, guest day 23rd, public 24-8th).
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 --
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 [www].
15 October 2009: GM was set to finalise the deal to
sell a majority of Opel/Vauxhall to Magna
(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" -- memo/09/460
The drawn out deal was subject to intense scrutiny as no European country
wanted its Opel plant(s) to suffer major cuts or even
(Also see 3 Nov. above!)
12 October 2009: The UK Committee for Climate Change (CCC) released its first annual report to Parliament -- [www].
11 October 2009 (Sun), .au: Garth Tander and Will Davison (Holden Racing Team) won the V8 Supercars Bathurst 1000 -- [www].
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. ..." -- [www].
7 October 2009: Terminal gate fuel prices, Melb., Perth,
ULP au$1.08/l, diesel $1.09-$1.10/l -- AIP
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
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 ..." -- [www], [www][5/10/'09].
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 -- [www], [www]['09].
1 October 2009: The Ig Nobel prizes were announced.
October 2009: No Sydney Motor Show in 2009 -- see Melb. Show, 27 Feb. below.
The Australian population reached
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
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)
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 -- [www].
24 September 2009: ABC TV took a look at Lake Eyre [www][24/9] which peaked in May, following the Queensland floods of early 2009, and is supporting a burst of wild flowers.
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
18-20 September 2009 (Fri-Sun): Goodwood Revival, uk
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"
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 [www], [www].
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. ..." -- [www][16/9]. (See 21 Sept. above.)
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][8/'09].
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 -- [www]. Also see the BBC [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. ..." -- [www], [www]. (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) -- [www], SAE [www] (and BBC [www][9/9]).
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. ..." --
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 -- [www][9/9].
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][7/'09].
4-5 September 2009, .au: Birdsville Races --
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]"
GM "delivered 246,479 vehicles ...",
only down 20% on Aug. 2008 but up 30% on July 2009
Chrysler sales of 93,222 were up "5% compared with July ['09] and
[down] 15% compared with [Aug 2008]"
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"
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]"
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. [www]. 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.
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
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].
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 --
17 August 2009: ‘When We Were Racers’, Australian Story (ABC TV), celebrated Sir Jack Brabham's 1959 F1 World Championship [www]['09]. 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,
15-16 August 2009 (Sat-Sun): Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb, uk [www], "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 [www], and a 1937 Bugatti type 57SC, chassis no. 57.532 (also see 7 Feb., below). Neither sold.
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. ..." --
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 ...' -- [www].
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. ..." --
inc. advice, VACC
and Consumers Affairs Victoria,
August 2009, recalls: Land Rover -
Discovery 3 TDV6 and Range Rover Sport TDV6 diesels
re the engine driven vacuum pump and the brake booster
7 August 2009, .au: Terminal gate prices, ULP au$1.17/l (Melb., Sydney), diesel $1.14-$1.15/l -- AIP [www][7/8]. 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.
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" -- [www].
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 [www], & FOTA [www][5/8].
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
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. ..."[!] -- [www].
29 July 2009: BMW Group will leave F1 at the end
of the 2009 season -- FIA
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) --
(See the Hungarian
24-26 (Fri-Sun) July 2009, uk: Silverstone Classic, historic racing cars [www].
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 [www].
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" -- [www].
24 July 2009: Morgan centenary celebrations, 24th and on -- [www].
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 -- [www].
22-26 July 2009: The War and Peace Show, military vehicles,
The Hop Farm, Paddock Wood, Kent, uk
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).
10 July 2009: Chrysler Group announced that "production will continue for the legendary Dodge Viper SRT10. ..." [www] (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.
6 July 2009: The Bankruptcy Court approved the sale of "substantially all of General Motors Corporation's assets to NGMCO" [www].
3-5 July 2009 (Fri-Sun): Goodwood Festival of Speed, uk
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 ..." -- [www], more [www].
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 [www][1/'09].
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. ..." -- [www], [www]['09], [www]['09], [www][6/'09].
15-21 June 2009: 48th Paris Air Show [www], 15-18 trade, 19-21 general public. 2009 is the show's centenary.
8 June 2009: What Car named the
8-14 June 2009: MotorExpo, Canary Wharf, London, .uk [www].
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. ..." -- [www].
4-5 June 2009: SAE Supermileage's 30th Annual competition,
Eaton Corporation's Marshall Proving Grounds.
2 June 2009: GM announced that it had "a memorandum of understanding" to sell Hummer -- [www], with Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co., Ltd. (Tengzhong) set to "acquire the rights to the ... HUMMER brand" -- [www]. (Just what China needs!)
1 June 2009: GM filed for "chapter 11" bankruptcy --
30 May - 13 June 2009: Isle of Man TT, practice 30 May - 5 June, races 6-13 June -- [www].
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 [www].
29 May 2009: Prodrive applied "for an entry in the [F1] World
Championship from the start of the 2010 season. ..." --
Prodrive is highly involved with
27 May 2009: For cheapish motoring the (European spec.) Hyundai i20 and
Kia Soul did very well in the new euro-ncap safety tests --
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 [www] 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
24 May 2009 (Sun): 93rd Indianapolis 500-Mile Race
22 May 2009: "[UK] Car production continued to fall sharply in April, down 55.3% [4/'09 v. 4/'08] ..." -- SMMT [www].
20 May 2009: "Fiat Group ... submitted an offer for the European business
of [GM's] Opel and Vauxhall ..."
As well as Fiat,
RHJ Int. [www], and
Beijing Automotive Industry Corp. (BAIC),
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
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
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
14 May 2009: Nissan claimed an improved lap time of
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 [www].
13-17 May 2009: Mecum's Spring Classic Auction, Indianapolis, includes (Fri 8pm) lot F242, 1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe CSX2601, FIA Championship Winner [www]. The bidding reached us$6.8million before the car was passed in.
12 May 2009: "... the 2009 Holden Cruze [on sale June], has been awarded a 5-star safety rating by [ANCAP]" -- [www].
11 May 2009: Series 2 of Top Gear Australia, SBS TV [www] with James Morrison, Warren Brown and Steve Pizzati.
9 May 2009: Bonhams auction of Aston Martin and related Automobilia, Aston Martin Lagonda Limited, Works Service, Newport Pagnell [www][4/'09]. A 1965 Aston Martin DB5 saloon (as per the Goldfinger movie), chassis no.2194/R, sold for £249,000 inc. of buyer's premium.
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." --
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 [www].
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. [www], VW [www]. 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 -- AIP [www][7/5].
6-11 May (Wed-Mon) 2009: Victorian Caravan Show, Caulfield, Vic., .au [www].
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. ..." --
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
Oxford University scientists has concluded. ... emissions to 2008
have already consumed approximately
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. --
Ferrari in particular was said to be unhappy with the cap.
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 [www].
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 [www], [www], McLaren [www].
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. ..." -- [www][29/4].
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 [www]. (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.)
27 April 2009: GM proposed that the US Government take a majority stake in the company as it attempted to avoid bankruptcy -- GM [www], [FT]. 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 (Sun): Corporate Challenge & Fordingbridge Season Opener for Greenpower F24 electric car racing, Goodwood Motor Circuit, uk [www]['09].
25 April 2009 (Sat) .au: Anzac Day
24 April 2009, uk: "Car production more than halved in March ['09 v. '08] to bring quarter one volumes down 56.6% ..." -- SMMT [www].
23 April 2009:
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 [www].
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. ..." -- [www] & uk army [www].
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 [budget], [motors], [AA], [BBC].
22-28 April 2009: Auto Shanghai 2009 [www] (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 [www][4/'09], 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.
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) -- [www], [www], [www]. (Also see Plugging Away in a Prius, May 2008.)
16-19 April 2009: Top Marques, Monaco [www] (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 [www].
15 April 2009: The International Court of Appeal ruled the contentious rear diffusers on Brawn, Toyota and Williams F1 cars legal -- FIA [www]. 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 [www].
10-19 April 2009: New York Auto Show [www], Jacob Javits Convention Center 11th Ave., between 34 & 39 Streets.
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. ..."
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 [www]. 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 [www], 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 [www].
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 [www].
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%. ..." [www]. (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 [www].
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 [www] and GM [www]. 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 ..." [www], & SAE [www].
5 April 2009, .au: End of daylight saving; clocks put back 1-hour.
2-11 April 2009: AutoRAI.nl, Amsterdam,
2-5 April 2009: Man From Snowy River Bush Festival[www], 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. ..." --
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
30 March 2009: At troubled GM, "Rick Wagoner is stepping down as chairman and CEO, effective immediately. ..." -- [www]. He was pushed, by the Government -- [www]. And Chrysler was told that it needs to form that alliance with Fiat -- [www]. "Chapter 11" bankruptcy remained a possibility for GM and for Chrysler.
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) -- [www].
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]; also see [sa.gov][3/'09].
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 [www].
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
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 [www].
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 ..." [www].
23 March 2009: Tata Motors announced the commercial launch, in India, of the 5-seat, 624cc, Tata ‘Nano’. "... Deliveries will commence from July 2009. ..." -- [www]; priced from 100,000 rupees, available initially in limited numbers.
21 March 2009: The Terrafugia Transition "flying car"
made a successful test flight
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 [www]. 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." [www]. Stuff up! (See 17 March).
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
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 [www]. 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 ..." -- [www] or [www]. (Also see 28 Feb. and 22 Jan. below.)
13-15 March 2009: Phillip Island Classic [www] 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
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 [www]. "... 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 [www]. Land Rover had a prototype LRX at the NAIS in January 2008.
10-15 March 2009: Avalon Airshow (Melbourne International Airshow) [www] 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 [www] 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].
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. ..." --
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" -- [www][26/2]. Also see .au, Feb. 2008.
2 March 2009: The Skycar Expedition reached its destination, Tombouctou (Timbuktu), Mali, [www][2/3]. 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, [www]['09] Yarra Glen Showgrounds, 8am-2pm, Melways 275/A2.
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 -- FPV [www].
28 February - 1 March (Sat-Sun) 2009: Pajero Challenge, Vic., .au [www].
28 February 2009: Liberty Electric Cars, uk, plan to build plug-in electric Range Rovers [www][2/'09]. 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 [www][28/2].
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
25 February 2009: The Skycar Expedition had some repairs to make after taking-off, into a tree, near Kiffa, Mauritania [www]. 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 [ABC].
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.)
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. ..." -- [www].
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 --
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] ...".
17 February 2009: The confirmed death toll from the bushfires rose to 200 --
Numerous roads remain closed --
Red Cross appeal
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 [www][11/2/'09]. However ULP and diesel retail prices danced to different tunes during the week.
9 February 2009: Red Bull's 2009 F1 car, the RB5 [www][2/'09], 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..." [www].)
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" --
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."
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.
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)." [www][1/'09].
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
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
2 February 2009: Widespread snow fell across Britain [Met.O.] -- chaos, of course.
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), [www][1/'09]. "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. (2009 F1 calendar [www][27/1/'09].)
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: Ford posted a "net loss of us$5.9billion, or $2.46 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2008" -- [www][1/'09]. And Ford was in better shape than GM or Chrysler.
28, 29, 30 January 2009: There were high temperatures, up to 45°C, across Victoria and South Australia [www].
28 January 2009, .uk: Bee Automobiles is building an
electric racing car, the
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  ... In calendar year 2008 total global production fell 7.8% below 2007 ..." -- [www][28/1].
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
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 recently claimed the World's Fastest Production Car record --
412.28km/h (256.18mph) -- with its petrol Ultimate Aero,
see 17 Dec 2008.)
22 January 2009: Mitsubishi has plans to sell, or perhaps lease, a small number of electric i-MiEV mini cars [www][1/'09] (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. ..." [www][www]. 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 [www], Ferrari F60 [www], McLaren Mercedes MP-24 [www], Renault R29 [www], Toyota TF109 [www], Williams FW31 [www][1/'09]. Force India, Red Bull and Toro Rosso still to come, and Honda F1 still up for sale.
17-25 January 2009: European Motor Show [www], 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
4 January 2009: Crude oil ↑ us$47/barrel,
possibly because of Israel's attack on the Gaza strip.
3 January 2009, .uk: The Commission for Integrated Transport (CfIT) [www] 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" [www][30/12/'08]. (‘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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