Industry News

Weekly News Roundup: June 3rd - June 9th

The Fiat Abarth 500 is a hit in the U.S., an upcoming VW Group management shift, and Ferrari looks to be lending their engine expertise to other Fiat brands.

Summer is always full of sneak previews within the car industry. For instance, more details about the next generation Volkswagen Golf GTI are coming out fast and we can expect the world's best hot hatch to boost around 260hp. We should also expect to hear more about the upcoming Ferrari Enzo replacement, which is supposedly going to be faster and more powerful than the Bugatti Veyron. All of these summer previews should culminate this September at the Paris Motor Show.

2012 Fiat 500 Abarth Sold Out: It came and went. After just six weeks on the U.S. market, Fiat has reported that their 500 Abarth has completely sold out. Fiat has taken clear note of the popularity of their Italian pocket rocket and plans to increase production in 2013 to meet demand. Just how long did the 500 Abarth take to be swept off dealers' lots? It went on sale only in mid-April and buyers didn't waste any time in snatching them up. However, Fiat reports there are still a few 2012 models floating around in showrooms, but they're not taking any additional orders for this model year.

Audi and BMW Reportedly Rethinking EV Plans: Audi and BMW were paying close attention a few years ago when it looked like fuel prices were about to dramatically increase globally. While they've gone up, prices didn't turn out as high as expected. Both automakers developed advanced prototypes (Audi, the A1 e-tron and A2, BMW, the i3 and i8), but now it appears both companies are putting the brakes on additional development for more models. The reason? Not enough people want EVs. Audi instead will focus more on diesel development and BMW will only focus on their upcoming i3 and i8.

Volvo Considering a New Luxury Coupe: Although the current C70 hardtop coupe/convertible will go on for another model year, Volvo doesn't have plans for a direct replacement. However, some new reports are claiming that Volvo is looking into expanding their role within the luxury coupe segment with an even larger car. Potentially called the C90, this car would be a more direct competitor to BMW and Mercedes-Benz coupes, making it bigger and more luxurious than the C70. It could even share the same platform as the next generation S80 sedan. Nothing has been confirmed yet, but we suspect this coupe to be have a fairly low production volume.

Bentley and Bugatti Have a New Boss: In what's being described as a major shakeup within VW Group management, super premium brands Bentley and Bugatti will supposedly have a new boss at the helm. Current chief Wolfgang Durheimer looks to be heading to Audi to run their R&D division. In his place will likely be Wolfgang Schreiber (yes, there two Wolfgang's). Schreiber is currently running Volkswagen's commercial vehicles unit. One of Durheimer's supposed new tasks is to sort out the infighting taking place between Audi and Porsche, which has resulted in the delay of some new models.

Ferrari to Build Engines for Other Fiat Brands: Ferrari is reportedly set to invest a huge sum (around $62 million) on a new assembly line to build forced-induction V6 and normally aspirated V8 engines for other Fiat Group brands. More than likely, those brands will be fellow Italians: Maserati, Alfa Romeo, and Lancia. The next Quattroporte will directly benefit from this plan. Its base engine will likely be a supercharged V6 with around 420hp. Although a V8 (with nearly 520hp) will remain optional, this V6 is needed for fuel economy standards as well as to power the upcoming Maserati smaller sedan.

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