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The Fiat Palio has recently
been named 'Car of the Year' at the CNBC Autocar India awards, held
at the Taj Mahal Pace, in New Dehli, India. The awards, sponsored by Goodyear
Tyres and Amaron Batteries, were judged by a panel made up of automotive
journalists, writers, drivers and designers. The Palio also won the 'best
value for money' award.
26th March 2002: Ferrari 360 Barchetta to see production?
The Ferrari 360 Modena "Barchetta" prototype has been seen recently undergoing developement testing at the Maranello factory. Originally built in 1999 as a wedding gift to Ferrari President, Luca di Monezemolo, from Fiat owner, Gianni Agnelli, the one-off chassis, which is built without the option of a roof has been seen fitted with a roadgoing glass windscreen replacing the original plastic one. The individual bodypanels behind the front seats have also been revised.
The Barchetta would slot
into the range between the Spider and Coupe versions, building on the demand
for the open top Spider which is outselling its Coupe variant. Recent precendent
can be drawn from the success of the 550 Maranello Barchetta, the limited
run was sold out immediately after its public unveiling.
23rd March 2002: Fiat Palio reaches China
The World Car project has
now reached China: the Fiat Palio will be built and marketed in China in
a joint venture with the Yuejin Motor Group, first models due to roll of
the production line shortly after Easter. It is a further step in a collaboration
which has seen the two companies linking in the areas of commercial vehicles
|read about the Fiat Palio in China|
New Ypsilon will be a styling
evolution of the current model incorporating the now familar Lancia "family"
look, of large front grille, swooping in lights and thin vertical rear
light cluster, styling cues drawn from the Thesis and just launched Phedra.
It is expected that the Ypsilon will be based on the current Punto platform.
|3-door Ypsilon above, and expected convertible version, left|
In a lavish ceremony at the
prestigious 'Otto Restorante' in Sydney, New South Wales, attended by 430
guests, the new Maserati Spyder was launched in Australia. Last year Maserati
made a sales increase of over 150% on 2000, the highest rise in Australian
Automotive sales for the year.
18th March 2002: Ferrari to be floated on the stockmarket?
There is strong indication that Fiat, owners of a 90% stake in Ferrari, could be looking at floating Ferrari on the stockmarket in the very near future. As well as raising significant funds for the Fiat Group, who have been performing poorly recently, a float would give Ferrari funds to assist with the ongoing relaunch of the Maserati brand, since it was recently moved under Ferrari's control.
With significant investment already being ploughed into Maserati, it is expected that 3,500 cars will be sold in 2002, up from the 1,751 cars sold last year. Looking forward Maserati aim to break even by the end of next year and are targeting annual sales of 6,000 cars by the end of 2004. Recently relaunched in the US, Maserati are expecting a major percentage of sales to come from this market.
Meanwhile, Ferrari who last year sold 4,256 cars and won both the Formula 1 World Championship Drivers and Constructors titles, are looking to maximise the strong brand value by branching out into the leisure arena. This will build on the recently opened Maranello museum, with a leisure park, expected to be commenced later this year, rumoured Ferrari-branded hotels and the rolling out of Ferrari merchandising shops worldwide.
The balance sheet looks very
healthy: last year Ferrari turned over slightly in excess of 1bn Euros,
17% up on 2000, making an operating profit of 62M Euros, figures which
include investment in Maserati.
17th March 2002: artists impression of the "New Large"
Code name "New Large", the
long awaited range topping executive saloon from Fiat will fill the gap
left vacant since the Coma ceased production. No launch date or technical
information is currently available, although it is believed that the project
is proceeding to Fiat's satisfaction and may be based on a GM-sourced platform.
Disguised prototypes have been seen out on Italian roads.
A giant image of the new
Fiat Stilo is to appear on the world's largest billboard, at Fort Dunlop
near the city of Birmingham, England. Positioned next to the busy M6 motorway,
the advert is which is 132 metres long and 24 metres high, is passed by
an estimated 45 million vehicles a year.
14th March 2002: new midsize Lamborghini to debut in Paris?
It is believed that the new
ItalDesign-penned V10-powered midsize Lamborghini sportscar, official codename
LB140, although now referred to by VW as the "Stella", will make its public
debut at the Paris Motor Show later this year. Excepted to go head-to-head
with the Ferrari 360 Modena, Lamborghini claim it will have allround performance
at least "20% in excess" of the Ferrari with a slightly higher pricetag.
They are also looking towards a major sales push in the lucrative North
Continuing problems with
Lancia's new executive saloon, the Thesis, have seen the its release to
dealerships put back further. Originally scheduled for mid 2001 and then
the year end, it is now expected to be late April to early May before it
hits the showrooms.
|Alfa Romeo has revealed
a new 2.0-litre direct injection petrol engine known as the JTS (Jet Thrust
Stoichiometric). It features greater power and higher torque yet consumes
10 per cent less fuel.
Consumption is reduced by adopting a stratified charge lean burn system at speeds of up to 1500 rpm. Above this threshold, the engine harnesses all the engine’s power to increase performance.
|see the Italdesign "Brera" at the Geneva Motor Show|
|Amongst the cars
making their public debuts at the 72nd Geneva Motor Show were the Fiat
Ulysse and Lancia Phedra MPVs, as well as the new Ferrari 575M. The new
Alfa Romeo JTS engine was on display, while one of the stars of the show
was the Alfa Romeo-badged Brera from Italdesign.
Speculation was rife on the future facing Fiat, Lancia and Alfa Romeo.
|With details of the Alfa Romeo 147 Sprint being kept firmly under wraps, two artists impressions show convertible and coupe thinking based on current Alfa Romeo styling cues.|
Fiat Group has released generally
expected results for the fiscal year 2001 and for the fourth quarter. The
Fiat Group closed 2001 with overall operating and financial results in
line with guidelines produced in December.
At 58 billion Euros, net revenues for the year were slightly higher than in 2000, as gains by FiatAvio and Toro Assicurazioni and the contribution provided by Business Solutions more than offset the declines by Fiat Auto and the components sectors.
In the fourth quarter, revenues were about the same as in the last three months of 2000, even though Fiat Auto, Teksid and Magneti Marelli experienced sales declines.
Operating income for 2001 totalled 318 million Euros, compared with 855 million Euros in 2000. In the fourth quarter, the Group recorded an operating loss of 245 million Euros as against an operating income of 355 million Euros in the same period of the previous year, affected by lower sales volume at Fiat Auto, Iveco and the various components sectors
full summary and figures for 2001 financial year
2nd March 2002: ItalDesign concept car, the Brera, to be displayed at the Geneva Motor Show
Making its debut at the Geneva
Motor Show later this month will be this exciting new Alfa Romeo-badged
concept from ItalDesign. Although a concept car, the Brera, it engineered
to make production a viable proposition.It has been designed to a brief
for a rear wheel drive GT car based on an proposed all new Alfa Romeo 4-litre
plus V8 powerplant. It is based on a Maserati chassis and is fitted with
a Ferrari 360 Modena sourced V8 engine, incorporating carbon fibre bodywork
while the front mounted engine is mounted further back to allow optimum
weight distribution along with four wheel drive.
|see and read about the ItalDesign "Brera" concept car in greater detail|
|01.03.2002||detail emerges about Ferrari F60||more|
|26.02.2002||first official photos and details of new Fiat and Lancia MPV's released||more|
|19.02.2002||Fiat Auto divisional organisation restructuring announced||more|
|18.02.2002||Fiat and Peugeot/Citroen announce extension to the light commercial vehicles joint venture||more|
|14.02.2002||Ferrari unveil the 575M, replacement for the 550 Maranello||more|
|06.02.2002||rumoured new Alfa Romeo's, including artists impressions of Alfa 147 Sprint||more|
|03.02.2002||unofficial photos of Lancia Phedra break cover||more|
|28.02.2002||Alfa launch facelifted 156 range||more|
|18.02.2002||revised Ducato van released||more|
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