Porsche reports big jump in profits

Porsche reports big jump in profitsStuttgart  - German sports carmaker Porsche reported Tuesday that its first-half profits rose more than threefold, mainly as a result of gains in Volkswagen shares.

The company said net profit for the first six months of the financial year ending in July climbed to 5.62 billion euros (7.41 billion dollars) from 1.3 billion euros a year ago.

At the same time sales declined by 27 per cent to 34,000 vehicles, causing turnover to plunge 12.08 per cent to 3.04 billion euros, the company said.

Netbooks with integrated UMTS catch signals well

Netbooks with integrated UMTS catch signals wellStuttgart, Germany  - Netbooks with integrated UMTS modules generally offer good reception strength and are downright quick when it comes to broadcasting their own signals, according to a recent study by the Stuttgart-based connect magazine.

The magazine tested three current netbooks with integrated UMTS units for wireless data transfer. The fastest in the pack was the Acer Aspire One A150x 3G, with a built-in UMTS module from Qualcomm. It far outstripped the performance of the UMTS cell phones available in the past two years.

Bobic appointed chief executive of Chernomorets

Bobic appointed chief executive of Chernomorets Stuttgart  - Former Germany striker Fredi Bobic has been appointed chief executive of Bulgaria club Chernomorets Burgas.

Bobic told German Press Agency dpa Wednesday he wanted to help create a modern club with European ambitions over the next few years.

Bobic, 37, who has been working as a television pundit, joins former Stuttgart team-mate Krasimir Balakov, now Chernomorets coach.

Porsche secures new line of credit as it raises stake in Volkswagen

Porsche secures new line of credit as it raises stake in Volkswagen Stuttgart - Sports-car manufacturer Porsche SE said Wednesday that it has received a new credit line of 10 billion euros (13.6 billion dollars) to buy up shares of fellow German carmaker Volkwagen AG.

The loan agreement would also allow Stuttgart-based Porsche to expand the loan to 12.5 billion euros over the coming weeks, it said.

Mercedes expanding young classic segment

Mercedes expanding young classic segmentStuttgart  - Mercedes is expanding its "young classic" business segment to cater to a growing demand for original and well-preserved vehicles built between 1970 and 1990, the car maker has announced.

Many of the Mercedes cars built in that period enjoy "cult status" in Europe and the United States and there is huge demand for vintage cars, Mercedes said in a press statement.

Daimler to extend Smart family

Daimler to extend Smart familyStuttgart, Germany  - The Daimler company is apparently mooting plans to add a family of small cars to the current Smart with several additions planned for a debut at next year's Geneva Motor Show, the German auto-motor-sport magazine reported quoting company sources.

There are plans for several new models including a one-seater Forone, a new Fortwo, a three-seater Forthree and a variable Forfour, according to the report.

ROUNDUP: Abu Dhabi declines to rule out boosting majority stake

ROUNDUP: Abu Dhabi declines to rule out boosting majority stakeStuttgart  - Abu Dhabi state-owned Aabar Investments declined Monday to rule out boosting its stake in giant German carmaker Daimler AG after the fund emerged over the weekend as the biggest shareholder in the manufacturer of luxury Mercedes Benz autos.

"A possible increase in the holding will have to be examined later," said Aabar chairman Khadem Al Qubaisi at a joint press conference Monday in Stuttgart with Daimler chief Dieter Zetsche. "At the moment, we are satisfied with a 9.1-per-cent holding."

Haug says Hamilton could start near back of Australian GP grid

Haug says Hamilton could start near back of Australian GP grid Stuttgart- World champion Lewis Hamilton could start near the back of the grid at this Sunday's season-opening Australian Formula One Grand Prix, Mercedes motorsport director Norbert Haug has admitted.

"We have to reckon with starting in the last third on the grid but we will guarantee ourselves that we'll improve race by race and slowly return to the front," Haug said in an interview with German Press Agency dpa.

Daimler shares jump after Abu Dhabi takes majority stake

Daimler shares jump after Abu Dhabi takes majority stake Stuttgart - Shares in giant German carmaker Daimler AG jumped more than 6 per cent Monday after the manufacturer of luxury Mercedes Benz autos sold a
9.1-per-cent stake to Aabar Investments.

Aabar Investments is a fund owned by the Arab emirate of Abu Dhabi.

As a result of the acquisition, Abu Dhabi, which is to pay 1.95 billion euros (2.6 billion dollars) for 96.4 million newly-issued shares, will replace Kuwait as Daimler's largest stakeholder. Kuwait still holds a 6.9-per cent-Daimler stake.

Friedrich a doubt for Germany with thigh strain

Friedrich a doubt for Germany with thigh strain Stuttgart - Arne Friedrich is a doubt for Germany's upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Liechtenstein and Wales after picking up a thigh strain in Hertha Berlin's 2-0 loss Saturday to VfB Stuttgart.

"I wasn't able to walk or jump anymore," said Friedrich, who was replaced after 25 minutes and will now undergo a scan Sunday to assess the seriousness of the injury.

Germany play Liechtenstein next Saturday before taking on Wales four days later. (dpa)

Suspended sentence for man over German school massacre hoax

Suspended sentence for man over German school massacre hoax Stuttgart - An unemployed man was given a five-month suspended prison sentence on Wednesday for a massacre hoax on the same day a teenage gunman killed
15 in a shooting spree in Germany.

A court in Stuttgart found the 24-year-old guilty of disturbing public order by threatening to commit a crime.

The man wrote a fake news text about someone running amok at a vocational college in the south-west town of Waiblingen and posted it on an internet website.

Daimler reports massive drop in sales

Daimler reports massive drop in salesStuttgart - Germany's Daimler AG, maker of Mercedes cars, Friday reported a massive drop in sales for February.

The company said it sold a total of 72,000 vehicles last month, a decline of 25 per cent from February 2008.

In addition to Mercedes, Daimler produces AMG, smart and Maybach models.

Sales of its flagship Mercedes-Benz brand were down 28 per cent to 63,600, while the subcompact smart declined 2 per cent to 8,600, the company said. (dpa)

Mercedes support essential for new Brawn GP team

Stuttgart - Mercedes motorsport director Norbert Haug said Friday that part of the reason the German car giant is supplying the new Brawn GP Formula One team is to ensure the same number of cars compete in 2009 as last season.

Ex-Honda team principal Ross Brawn's management-led buy-out of his former team, which pulled out of the sport last December, was announced by Japan's second largest carmaker Friday in Tokyo.

The team has agreed a partnership with Mercedes for the supply of its 2.4 litre FO108W Formula One engines and is hopeful that its driver line-up of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello will be on the grid for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on March 29.

Enhancing genitals is the latest cosmetic surgery trend

Stuttgart, Germany  - Women are showing more interest in having their genital area surgically enhanced, according to the authors of an article in a medical journal on midwifery and gynaecology published in Stuttgart, southern Germany.

Cosmetic surgery to alter the labia is the third most sought-after operation after facial and breast augmentation surgeries, the authors, psychologist Ada Borkenhagen and gynaecologist Heribert Kentenich, said. The new ideal is taken from current photographs in erotic and pornographic magazines.

Porsche Cayenne hybrid to hit showrooms in 2010

Stuttgart, Germany  - German premium carmaker Porsche expects to have a petrol-electric version of its Cayenne sports utility in the showroom by 2010, the company announced in Stuttgart.

The parallel hybrid will consume less than nine litres of fuel per 100 kilometres but offer a hefty 380 horsepower from the combination of a 3.0 litre petrol engine and an electric motor turning out 52 additional horses.

Porsche said the aim was to offer a green version of the successful SUV, a genre of cars often criticised by environmentalists for their excess fuel consumption, without compromising the performance which consumers expect from the brand. Prices have not been announced so far.

Porsche Panamera to sell for 94,575 euros

Porsche Panamera to sell for 94,575 eurosStuttgart  - Porsche's first sedan, the Panamera, will sell for a basic price of 94,575 euros (121,600 dollars) with the car celebrating its world debut at the Auto China in Shanghai in March, company has announced.

The basic Panamera S comes with the V6 engine from the Cayenne SUV with an output of 221 kW/300 hp. The Panamera 4S four-wheel drive will sell for 102,251 euros (131,600 dollars) and the top of the range Panamera Turbo for 135,154 euros (174,000 dollars). It is fitted with the V8 powering 368 kW/500 hp.

Mercedes launches armoured E-Class

Stuttgart  - The world is a dangerous place and to minimise the risk for politicians and captains of industry, Mercedes-Benz is offering an armour-plated version of the sleek new E-Class saloon.

Outwardly identical to the standard model, the beefed-up, E-Guard limousine features metal plates and aramide plastics in the bodywork which is tough enough to withstand the blast of a hand grenade.

The protective package includes thick, polycarbonate windows which can block shots from a 0.44 Magnum hand gun along with air suspension to cope with the added weight. An intercom system enables passengers to contact the outside world in case of attack.

Don't be fooled - modern cars rust too

Stuttgart  - Rust has been the curse of car owners for decades and until protection from it was improved in recent years, many an owner could only despair at vehicles which literally crumbled away beneath them.

Anti-corrosion treatment has vastly improved, but according to Germany's car testing experts, modern vehicles are prone to rust too, as not every manufacturer takes the problem seriously enough.

Compared to between 10 and 20 years ago, the overall number of cars showing serious rust problems has declined considerably, said Hermann Schenk from the GTÜ technical examination organization based in Stuttgart.

Rosberg calls for minimum weight for drivers

Rosberg calls for minimum weight for driversStuttgart  - German Formula One driver Nico Rosberg has called for a minimum weight for Grand Prix drivers.

In an report by Der Spiegel news magazine made available ahead of Monday's publication, the Williams driver said that if a pilot did not weigh enough, weights should be placed in the car.

Several drivers are said to have lost a considerable amount of weight since last season to compensate for the heavier weight of their cars which has been brought about by new regulations.

New Mercedes E-Class with AMG sports package

New Mercedes E-Class with AMG sports package Stuttgart, Germany  - Mercedes is offering its new E-Class in an AMG sports package version including large cooling air intakes, side-skirts and rear apron.

The six and eight-cylinder models feature twin rectangular tailpipes in polished stainless steel.

Other details include 18-inch alloys painted in sterling silver. Apart from the front sports seats, the AMG interior package includes floor mats with AMG lettering, a sports pedal cluster in brushed stainless steel with rubber studs, a black roof lining and a shift/selector lever in nappa leather with chrome highlights.

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