Posts Tagged ‘car’

For years now Alfa Romeo’s non-sports cars (think Spyder and GTV) have been identified be their numerical nomenclature. Perhaps it was a way of banishing names with associations like the Alfa Sud.

Well, it looks like that’s now a thing of the past thanks to a leaked document from Chyrsler (following their merger with Fiat) which sees the new Mito being joined by models named the Milano and Giulia. 

This is the document which formed part of Chrysler’s viability plan submitted the US Treasury: 

alfa namesTo be honest I’m not too sure about the names. While when things are leaked early they often get changed, naming cars takes forever and I doubt Alfa will come up look at coming up with replacement. The Mito is fine and cute little motor – even if its ads to wind me up – but I’d love to know what other people are thinking about the proposed new names?

Sad stuff this. Honda are closing up their Swindon plant for four months once today’s shifts are over. Staff will get their basic pay for the first two months but an estimated 60% of it for the rest of the shutdown.

Yes, this is all in response to the economical crisis and downturn in the car market – not just in the UK, it’s worldwide. Honda have said that global third quarter profit was down 89%.

The philanthropist in me wants to run down my local dealer and encourage everyone to buy up a load of new Honda Civics but I have to re-look at that last point: “profit was down.” So they’re still making a profit.

Loads of car manufacturers – including the once infallible Toyota – posted losses. Honda made a profit. Don’t get me wrong – I’m extremely sympathetic to those staff that won’t be working during the shut down but it seems more a case of a manufacturer doing what we should all do – tightening belts to get through.

The union are saying that staff – while still being paid – are cutting their expenses… “others will take a second mobile phone back  or will take holidays in the UK instead of abroad.”

These are things that should’ve been done anyway regardless of employer. I’m doing that anyway and a friend of mine – who was made redundant and not being paid – can barely afford rent and one mobile phone let alone a second.

To me this is simply a case of Honda doing what it needs to do to ensure long-term survival and the more businesses look at long-term, post-recession plans the better. The more we focus on the negative the more we’ll speculate and continue the downward cycle. Let’s see how the media continue to spin this one!

I woke up this morning thinking it was Saturday all ready and prepared myself for a lie-in. The realisation that we’re still in the working week is never a good start to the day.

Last night I managed to finally see the Top Gear road test that the whole office has been talking about at one point or another since it was aired: the ‘sensible’ road test for the new Ford Fiesta. I already liked the new Fiesta, I think they’ve done a wonderful job with the styling so I was curious to see what was so special about the road test which seemed to be plodding along at rather a pedestrian rate until the “what if I go to a shopping centre and get chased by baddies in a Corvette” section flashed on screen.

Very rarely have I appreciated that motoring show much lately, then I saw the new Ford Fiesta thrown around the inside of a shopping centre – I did remember thinking I felt sorry for whoever had the job of cleaning up after – trying to out manoeuvre the Corvette. They did a better car chase through a shopping centre and car park scene than the famous one in Blues Brothers.

Not only was there the Fiesta-goes-window-shopping scene but then the final flash card: “What if I’m asked to take part in a beach assault with the Royal Marines?” Suuuuuuuuurely I cannot have been the only person who watched that to go “no way!” But sure enough, there’s the new Fiesta in the middle of a landing craft and promptly filling with marines and water as it storms the beach to culminate in what has to be the most dramatic, panoramic and show-stopping final scene to a road test, anywhere. Ever.

No wonder people were talking about it. I wonder if Ford will change their advertising for it from “New Fiesta: This is now” to “New Fiesta: storm the beaches?” I doubt it, but I don’t think Ford’s agency could have come up with a better advert in their wildest dreams.

While stumbling around the Internet looking at the news in the automotive world I came across this video.  “Shanghai Lady” as she’s become known returns to her lovely new Chevrolet Captiva to find it’s become the victim of the tow truck.

She deals with it thusly:

Now that’s testament to the power of a new Chevrolet. Chevvy 1 : Shanghai Council 0

Not sure if this was used as an argument for the future of GM during their recent bail-out talks over in the U.S though.

There’s things I love about winter and tied into those are things I hate.

For example, I love the chill in the air, even in the morning. It wakes me up and makes me feel more alive. Yet, as mentioned before, I hate the effect it has on my car’s shine. I’m beginning to lose patience with defrosting it in the mornings.

I also love the gradual build up to the big day.

Don’t mistake this for being as excitable as a child about Christmas. While I’m far from Scrooge, I look forward more to the break and putting my feet up after a big meal and watching rubbish tv. It’s the only time of the year I can excuse the normal television programming. I really enjoy the feeling that builds within as the day draws in. What I don’t like though is the constant reminders in supermarkets and television.

Not to mention the press of people that fill the town centre on weekends during December. This, however, shouldn’t be a problem for me this weekend. Firstly because I’ve only just started my Christmas shopping and will be doing it at various quieter intervals – not having to worry about bedtimes for kids as I don’t have any – and a large part of Christmans will be dealt with thanks to a bit of online shopping.

There’s also the fact that I’m going to be heading down to my local Medway Alfa Romeo dealership tommorow. I know I’ve only just bored you all with the details of how much I love my car but the idea of looking at some new ones is too tempting.

Not that it’s a done decision, I’m taking mine in for a service yet I know I’m going to be sorely tempted to trade up.  This ties into the love/hate thing nicely though: I love both driving and driving my car, though I hate the maintainence side of the deal which is why I hand it over to the dealer to do the job I guess.

I’m often outspoken on what I think is wrong with the automotive industry and it usually boils down to the fact that so many new cars look alike or identical. That’s one of the reasons I’ve always like Alfa Romeos, in my mind they are one of the few brands out there that exert a sense of distinctive and attractive styling.

Plus I say nuts to the fear-mongering press, it’s still a good time to buy a car.  Yes, we’re all looking at the grim end of a recession but how is not-spending and believing the worst going to help? No wonder there’s no consumer-confidence when all the press wants to do is tell us we’re doomed. I’m starting to think Marvin the Paranoid Android is in charge of the press. If we all cower in fear and start hiding our money away how is the economy ever going to recover?!

Can I withstand temptation or will my wallet be confiscated in time?

It’s a strange thing how the weather can affect so many things that you wouldn’t normally expect it to. Take my car, for example.

While it’s not the fastest, flashest or even newest car on the roads (or even the driveway thanks to the girlfriend’s new Peugeot) I take a lot of pride in it as it’s certainly the best one I’ve had yet, accordingly I’m determined to take car of this one.

Thing is, I refuse to use a certain well-known and monopolizer of car-goods company that begins with ‘H’ after an incident with a leaky seal on an oil bottle ruined the interior of my previous car and the disputes that followed. With that in mind, and with my penchant for sitting on my behind and shopping online, I buy such things as car polish and  from the ‘net.

Having spent time cleaning out the garden shed, as mentioned before, next on my list of “things to do when I can get round to it” was cleaning the car. Of course, the shed had to come first as without having somewhere to store them (somewhat obsessively in their organisation) the shampoo and polish etc would still be in a box in the spare room. As it is the whole lot of car-cleaning and related stuff sit happily alongside the tools in what is fast become a museum to my obsessive big-boys toys collection rather than a shed.

Being environmentally-minded (or at least constantly told to be by a certain Peugeot owner) I wash the car by hand and being smitten with my motor give the car a nice gleaming shine when I’m done. Using the strangely cheery weather we experienced on Saturday I got my car nice and clean then buffed to a gleaming shine.

While I doubt it made much difference I always like to imagine that it made people jealous as I hurtled up and down the motorway for my commute over the last couple of mornings. Until, that is, this morning when I came out to find my car had been turned into an iceberg. Where only a short time ago gleaming silver paintwork shined were swirls of ice and frost.

Now as I look out at my car in the car park it’s not even the shiniest one anymore. If anything it seems to close to grubby and dirty again – filthy ice! So this means I either grin and bear it as the winter weather deters me from making what seems to be a futile effort or give it another clean and polish when the time allows.

Don’t worry though, I’m not about to go and buy one of those covers for it, I’m not that precious about my car. Though the fact that my car is no longer a glimmering beacon of car-care in the carpark does seem to be strangely heavy on my mind this morning.