THE FAMED Nürburgring race circuit in Germany (pictured), nicknamed Green Hell by Jackie Stewart, has officially filed for bankruptcy. The track, which is owned by the Rhineland-Palatinate state government, is facing unsustainable debts of almost €500 million following a disastrous attempt to expand its facilities with a massive hotel and theme park complex.
An aid package, aimed at staving off bankruptcy for six months, was denied at the last minute. It throws next year’s German Grand Prix into doubt, as well as the various prototype and testing programmes at the circuit carried out by most, if not all, major car makers.
* EUROPEAN CAR makers are entering into a dangerous war of discounts and incentives in an effort to prop up disastrous car sales across the continent.
Peugeot and Opel are quoted as the largest discounters, with up to €5,000 off the price of a new Peugeot 508 saloon in France, while in Spain, Renault is offering buyers the chance to be given an entire Twizy electric vehicle (pictured) if they buy a new Laguna or Espace.
Even Volkswagen, riding high on recent record sales and profits, is at it, offering up to €5,000 off a new Golf. Many analysts are seeing the discounting war as the last throes of a failing market before major restructuring looms for several car brands, quoting similar market conditions in the US market before the collapse of GM and Chrysler.
* FORD IS ABOUT to expand the offering of its new, and award-winning, 1-litre turbo petrol engine. The 100bhp and 123bhp versions of the engine made their debuts this year in the Focus, and will be available in the C-MAx and Grand C-Max MPVs from October.
Both five and seven-seat versions will be in Band A for tax, with CO2 emissions of 117g/km and 119g/km respectively.
“People love this engine – it puts a smile on your face when you drive and it’s amazingly fuel-efficient,” said Roelant de Waard, vice president of marketing, sales and service, at Ford of Europe.
“It’s already very popular on the new Focus, so it makes a lot of sense to offer in the C-MAX and Grand C-MAX as soon as possible.”
* HONDA HAS officially revealed the new European version of its successful CR-V SUV, almost a year after the US version of the car went on sale.
It looks as if it might have been worth the wait for Europe though, as Honda is claiming some pretty remarkable CO2 emissions figures for the new car.
Thanks to lighter kerb weights and improved efficiencies, the carry-over 2.2-litre diesel engine manages improved emissions of 149g/km, but the headline star will be a new front-drive-only 1.6-litre diesel model, with emissions of just 99g/km, making it the first family-sized SUV with sub-100g/km emissions.
* AUDI WILL OFFER another 250 examples of its hot 335bhp RS3 after unprecedented demand for the car. Costing €65,260 in Ireland, the highly modified RS3 Sportback will see production continue even as sales of the all-new A3 hatchback (the RS3 is based on the outgoing model) gear up.