At Frankfurt Motor Show, the Future Toys of the Very Rich

At every auto show, a certain number of impossibly exotic vehicles are introduced. The brands that manufacture these pieces of the unattainable don’t usually make a point of discussing how only ultra-high-net-worth individuals can afford their creations, and nobody seems particularly surprised or perturbed if these playthings of the very rich wind up in the garages of oil barons, drug lords, Far Eastern nouveau capitalists or various Third World despots.

The 2011 Frankfurt auto show is no exception. In fact, it may be an extreme example of how popular and profitable these vehicles remain, even in austere economic times. More than a dozen such toys were among the crop of new models introduced here.

Continue reading At Frankfurt Motor Show, the Future Toys of the Very Rich

Toyota Prices Scion iQ at $15,995

A version has been available in Japan since 2008 and Aston Martin enlisted one in its struggle to meet 2012 European Union fleet-efficiency standards, but the Toyota iQ is a late entry in the North American market.

The Japanese automaker announced Wednesday that sales of the microcar, which is branded for the United States as a Scion, will begin in October in select Western states, with a wider rollout to follow.
Continue reading Toyota Prices Scion iQ at $15,995

Ahead of Villa d’Este, Aston Martin Reveals V-12 Zagato Concept

“Brutal” is not a word that design chiefs commonly trot out to describe their creations, but Marek Reichman, the design director of Aston Martin, applied it on Friday in reference to the V-12 Zagato concept, to be shown on Saturday at the Concorso d’Eleganza at the Villa d’Este in Italy.

The car commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Zagato-bodied Aston Martin DB4GT and GTZ, the first collaboration between the companies.
Continue reading Ahead of Villa d’Este, Aston Martin Reveals V-12 Zagato Concept

China in the Driver’s Seat

“The Chinese don’t understand us,” Amedeo Felisa, Ferrari’s global chief executive, told me in a recent interview. “They don’t understand why we make only two-door cars. They don’t understand why we don’t make a limousine.”

If Ferrari does someday make a stretch limo,  it will be because the Asian market demanded it. China, or what is being increasingly referred to as the “C-Factor” in the auto industry, is likely have a significant say from now on in how automobiles are designed, built and sold.
Continue reading China in the Driver’s Seat