The Business


What's happening in the motoring industry? Andrew Hamilton's weeklydigest

General Motors' acquisition of Daewoo last week, has been welcomed here by Gerard O'Toole who, since 1998, headed the private consortium that created Daewoo Ireland. He is also executive chairman of Nissan Ireland and the Windsor motor group. GM now has a 67 per cent stake in Daewoo Motors in Korea in a deal valued at €1.4 billion.

"Daewoo's financial problems are well behind it and now we can get back to making real progress," he says. "We quickly became one of the top 10 best-selling marques on the Irish market with 21 dedicated dealers. We are recruiting dealers and looking forward to an expanded model programme. That will begin with the SUV Rexton in July, followed by the Kalos supermini in September with 1.2 and 1.4 litre engines. After that, we have a new 1.0 litre Matiz, an all new 1.6 Nubira and a new 2.0 litre executive model, the Magnus."

Irish Shell and the MG Club are once again running the Shell Economy Run on Saturday week, May 18th. Participants must combine the best driving skills with a light foot on the accelerator.

This year's route is through Leinster, arriving at the Shell East Link service station in Dublin at about 4pm. The route takes in 140 miles and to reflect normal driving conditions, there are urban and rural roads, both first and second class. Time limits apply on certain points and competitors must maintain an average speed of 30mph. Last year's overall winners were brothers Mark and John Paul L'Estrange, both from Lucan, Co Dublin, who achieved 75.095mpg in a Skoda Octavia.

New car registrations last month were 15,430, which is 7.46 per cent down on April 2001. For the first four months of this year, 89,606 new cars have gone on Irish roads, compared with 96,172 in the same period last year.

PAY your parking ticket by mobile phone? Not such an outlandish idea - it's actually happening in Hull. An Ericsson trial in the British city lets drivers extend tickets while they are out shopping or on business. They also, thoughtfully, get a text message when their ticket is about to run out.

Able-bodies motorists should remember that disabled street parking spaces are operative 24 hours, seven days a week. In Dublin every night scores of motorists are clamped, erroneously believing that disabled spaces are in the same category as other spaces which are unrestricted after 7pm.

Touareg is the name of a Saharan tribe and it's also going to be applied as a badge to Volkswagen's first-ever 4x4 which will be going on sale here in early 2003. The Touareg has been jointly developed with Porsche, which will have its own 4x4 version called Cayenne. Despite sharing mechanicals, Touareg and Cayenne will use different engines: the VW will have a 217bhp 3.2 litre V6 petrol and a twin-turbo 310bhp 5.0 litre V10, said to be the world's most powerful diesel car engine.