Auto Sector

Honda logs record earnings for fiscal 2007

HondaTokyo - Honda Motor Co saw record earnings results for the fiscal year 2007 that ended in March, the company announced Friday.

Honda's net profit rose 1.3 per cent to 600.04 billion yen (5.78 billion dollars) in the year through March 31, and operating profit jumped 11.9 per cent to 953.11 billion yen. Both resulted were record highs.

Sales grew 8.3 per cent to 12 trillion yen from a year before as the company set a record high for the eight years in a row.

While domestic sales in fiscal 2007 fell 8.5 per cent to 615,000 units, overseas sales expanded by 11.1 per cent to 3.31 million units.

Heavy-vehicle maker Volvo benefits from truck sales in Europe, Asia

Stockholm  - Swedish heavy-vehicle maker Volvo on Friday reported a 14-per-cent increase in pre-tax income for first quarter 2008, saying Eastern Europe and Asia offset weak demand in North America.

Pre-tax income was 6.14 billion kronor (1.03 billion dollars), compared to 5.40 billion kronor in the corresponding period 2007 for the Volvo group that does not include the Ford-owned car division.

Net sales were up 26 per cent to 76.68 billion kronor, compared to 61 billion kronor in the corresponding business period 2007.

Tata Motors Intraday Buy Call

Karvy Stock Broking Limited has maintained ‘Buy’ rating on Tata Motors Tata Motorsstock with an intraday target of Rs 654.

According to Karvy, day traders can purchase the stock above Rs 640-642 with a stop loss of Rs 632. If the stock market remains on positive track, the next target for the day will be above Rs 655.

Shares of the company, on Thursday (April 24), closed at Rs 638.7, up Rs 3.4, on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). The total volume of shares traded at the BSE was 116,538. The share price has seen a 52-week high of Rs 840 and a low of Rs 535 on BSE.

VW reports earnings jump ahead of AGM

carmaker Volkswagen AGHamburg  - Europe's biggest carmaker Volkswagen AG presented a picture of a solid financial performance at its annual general meeting Thursday as a power struggle took shape behind the scenes for the control of the German-based group.

VW Chef Martin Winterkorn told shareholders attending the AGM in Hamburg that never had the company sold so many cars and earned so much money with the group reporting before the meeting a 26-per-cent jump in first-quarter after-tax profit to 929 million euros (1.48 billion dollars).

As a result, laying a challenge to the carmaker's rival, the Japanese auto group Toyota.

Ford Motor Co. returns to black in first quarter

Ford Motor Co. New York  - US automotive concern Ford Motor Co. reported Thursday it returned to the black in the first quarter of 2008 thanks to rigorous cost-cutting and restructuring.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based carmaker posted net earnings of 100 million dollars, compared with losses of 282 million dollars in the first quarter of 2007.

The earnings came on sales of 39.4 billion dollars, down from 43 billion dollars in the first three months last year, Ford said.

Ford president and CEO Alan Mulally commented, "The results of this quarter are encouraging, particularly our outstanding performance in Europe and South America."

Italy's Fiat reports 13.6 per cent rise in first-quarter profit

Turin, Italy  -  Italian industrial group Fiat reported Thursday a 13.6 per cent rise in first-quarter profit over the previous year - a surge it described as driven by car sales abroad and higher deliveries of its trucks and farm tractors.

Net profit before minority interests totalled 427 million euros (681 million dollars) from 376 million euros a year earlier, the Turin-based Fiat said in a statement.

Sales were up by 9.9 per cent to 15.03 billion euros, it said.

"Continued success of new and existing models enabled Fiat Group Automobiles to achieve growth, with a total of 563,600 units delivered during the quarter" a 4.1 per cent increase over the same period in 2007, Fiat said.

Everybody looking forward to the Spanish Grand Prix

Barcelona  - Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona on Sunday sees the teams competing in Europe for the first time this year and gives them an opportunity to see whether their testing during the three-week break has produced any advantage.

Championship leader Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari believes that even though McLaren-Mercedes are currently third in the championship, the race for the constructors' and drivers' titles is far from over as they head into the fourth of 19-season races.

"It's going to be very close: all the teams have introduced updates ahead of the first European race, which makes it even more interesting. We have won the last two races and that might make our competitors even hungrier to win," he told the Ferrari website.

Hyundai earnings jump 28 per cent in first quarter

Hyundai MotorsSeoul  - Hyundai Motor Co, South Korea's largest automaker, saw a 28-per-cent jump in its first-quarter net profit, thanks to a weak won and high demand for its midsized and luxury cars.

Net profit from January to March totalled 392.7 billion won (396.6 million dollars), compared with 307.4 billion won in the same period last year, the company said.

The results did not meet analysts' expectations, however, as Hyundai took a 138-billion-won loss on foreign currency derivatives after betting the wrong way on the euro.

Audi looking at plans to build super diesel sports car

Diesel Sports CarIngolstadt, Germany - Audi is considering plans to build the R8 V12 TDI, the first road going super sports car fitted with a 12- cylinder diesel engine, company spokesman Josef Schlossmacher said.

"We are currently looking at the economics and market possibilities," Schlossmacher said after the test in Miami. The car was first unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show in January.

A decision would be made by the middle of this year. Should the plans go ahead, serial production could start in 2010, the spokesman said.

Volvo's fun hatchback now comes with zebra stripes

Gothenburg  - It may sound like a joke but it isn't - Volvo is offering its stylish C30 hatchback with all over zebra-stripes, polka dots or pink camouflage.

The decoration comes in the form of applique film which covers the entire bodywork. It is removable and helps protect the paintwork underneath, says Volvo on its Swedish-language website. The finish lasts for about two years after which it can be replaced with another design.

Around 20 different stickers are available, including one with little fluffy clouds on a blue background. There are flames, butterflies, Scots tartan and the mock wood panelling effect beloved of US manufacturers in the 1950s. Rural motifs include trees and weeds.

Keeping you and your pet safe in the car

Munich  - Dogs and cats in a car should be kept in a secure pet box to avoid serious injury to the occupants of a vehicle and the death of the animal in an accident, Germany's automobile association ADAC warns.

Summing up the results of a crash test, the association said that a medium-sized dog weighing 20 kilogrammes develops an impact speed of half a ton, if the vehicle is involved in a crash at a speed of just 50 kilometres an hour.

Securing the dog to the rear seatbelt with a leash was ineffective with the dummy dog catapulting against the front seat at a massive impact, the ADAC said.

BMW presents X6 sports activity vehicle

BMWMunich- BMW has launched the X6 Sports Activity Vehicle combining the typical design features of a coupe with SUV qualities such as all-wheel drive, providing traction for every road situation.

The front emphasizes large air intakes. The big wheels lend a powerful presence while the sweeping roofline flows into a powerful rear end.

Opel apprentices build special Corsa edition

Leipzig, Germany  - Apprentices at Opel factories in Germany have built a special Corsa edition celebrating a production run of 10 million vehicles since the mini car was first launched in 1982.

The three-door vehicle with bodywork in white and contrasting black roof was unveiled at the Leipzig Motor Show and will go on sale in Germany at a price of 15,850 euros
(25,000 dollars). It will be limited to 1,000 units.

The front grille, exterior mirrors and 17-inch wheels also come in black. The interior stands out with black dashboard and white air duct frames.

Aimed at a young clientele, the sport package includes front and rear spoiler, sports chassis and tinted windows. Power comes either with a 1.2 or 1.4-litre motor with 80 and

Porsche Boxter RS 60 Spyder recalls 1960s racing spirit

Leipzig, Germany  - A special edition of the Porsche Boxster RS 60 Spyder painted in silver metallic was launched at the Leipzig Motor Show as a reminder of the Porsche racing victories of the 1960s in the Type 718 RS 60.

Fitted with a sports exhaust system, the latest Spyder comes with a power output of 223 kW/303 hp, active suspension management and 19- inch wheels.

Limited to a production run of only 1,960 units, every vehicle is marked with a special silver disc fixed to the lid of the glove compartment. The price is listed at 63,873 euros
(100,000 dollars).

Apart from the metallic paint, other visual features are the red tail-light lenses, a black windshield surround and the front bumper from Porsche's SportDesign line.

General Motors recalls 47,000 Opel Astra cars

Ruesselsheim, Germany Opel Estra Car- General Motors' European arm, Opel, is recalling 47,000 of its Astra cars because of a faulty oil- pressure sensor, the company said in Ruesselsheim, Germany, on Monday.

Opel said the cylinder-head sensor was at risk of ageing and becoming porous, allowing oil to escape.

If this happened, engines would smell strongly of oil and smoke would be given off.

Astra models G and H from the period 2003-05 with 1.6-litre engines were affected.

Opel is to write to the owners, advising that garages will exchange the sensor without charge. (dpa)

Volkswagen, SAIC open new factory in China

Beijing  -  Volkwagen AG and SAIC Motor Corp Ltd opened a new factory Friday in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing with an annual production capacity of 60,000 cars.

The joint venture company between Germany's VW and China's largest carmaker bought and expanded a factory on a 640,000-square-metre plot of land from Italy's Fiat to help fulfil rising demand in China, VW said.

Santana Vistas, new versions of China's best-selling car, are to be initially produced at the new factory, where 1,200 people are to work.

The factory is the fourth for the joint venture, Shanghai Volkswagen, and the 49th production facility for Volkswagen worldwide.

VW to recall 477,000 Fox vehicles in Brazil; defective lever

VW to recall 477,000 Fox vehicles in Brazil; defective leverRio de Janeiro- A defective lever in the back seat prompted Volkswagen to recall 477,000 vehicles of the Fox model in Brazil, the company said in a statement published by Brazilian newspapers Wednesday.

VW will also have to pay a fine of close to 1.8 million dollars for the defect, which has caused injuries to fingers as owners tried to adjust the back seat and enlarge the car boot.

The German motor industry giant reached an agreement with the authorities and with consumer protection organizations. Volkswagen pledged to solve the problems within

Tesla to sell electric car in Europe by 2009

Sell Electric CarLondon  - The U. S. electric car manufacturer Tesla has announced that it will offer its electric sports car in Europe by next year.

The two-door zero emission vehicle would be sold from late 2009 in Germany, France and the Netherlands at a price of about 100,000 euros (155,000 dollars), the Financial Times reports.

Production of the 2008 model began in March and is already sold out in the United States.

Tesla is now taking reservations for the 2009 model year, the Californian-based company announced. The car is being billed as the world's first production electric sports car.

Carbon-costing the company car

Sydney  - It's that time of the year again for Australians who drive a company car.

June is the end of the fiscal year and the higher the mileage, the greater the tax break that can be claimed. So the southern hemisphere autumn is the time for lots of aimless driving just to break that threshold and get into the top bracket for deductions.

The privately funded Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) says it's ridiculous that the taxpayer is helping fund the company car.

Over 18 per cent of motoring is by company car. It creates the same amount of greenhouse gas pollution as a coal-fired power station.

"It's over 1 billion of subsidy that you and I, taxpayers, pay for this car use," ACF director Don Henry said.

Estate version of Fiat 500 planned

Estate version of Fiat 500 plannedTurin, Italy  - The Italian car maker Fiat is apparently considering plans to build an estate version of the Fiat 500, competing with the MINI Clubman.

"An estate version is possible," a Fiat spokesman said in Germany pointing out that the car maker is working on plans to extend the model segment.

A powerful Abarth version of the new Fiat 500 is scheduled for this year with a convertible planned for 2009.

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