VW says no to Nardo
Volkswagen canceled plans to build the 300kph, 600hp Nardo super-sports car.
The Nardo, based on the high-performance W12 Coupe concept seen at the October 2001 Tokyo auto show, was due for launch in 2004. VW planned to produce just 150 units in the first full year of production.
A running version of the W12 Coupe set a 24-hour world speed record, averaging 297kph at the Nardo test track in Italy.
VW said it would be too expensive to produce the Nardo, and that it would be difficult to position the model within the VW group. Three other VW brands - Audi, Bugatti and Lamborghini - are also working on high-end sports cars.
VW's super-economical '1-liter' car, unveiled in April, is also unlikely to enter volume production. But technology used in the prototype, such as the crankshaft generator by ZF Sachs and the lightweight systems, will appear in future VW models.
206 CC leads in France
The Peugeot 206 Coupe Convertible is the top-selling cabriolet model in France, claiming 65 percent of the segment in the first quarter.
Peugeot sold 5,526 206 CCs in France from January to March. The Renault Megane was a distant second with 5.5 percent of the segment, followed by the Smart cabriolet with 3.5 percent.
- Sylviane de Saint-Seine
Saab's sedan challenge
The new Saab 9-3, due in September, will first appear in sedan form. The current 9-3 is only available as a hatchback or a convertible.
Mikael Eliasson, Saab's head of global sales and marketing, said the move would enable the 9-3 to compete more aggressively with the BMW 3 series. The 3 series has no hatchback derivative in its lineup, apart from the small Compact model.
The 9-3 makes its debut at the Paris auto show in September and goes on sale shortly afterward. It is based on General Motors' Epsilon platform, which also underpins the latest Opel Vectra.
Saab said the initial sedan would be followed by a convertible, a station wagon and then the all-wheel-drive 9-3X crossover vehicle.
- Julie Cantwell
New 9-3 will make its debut in Paris.
2 execs join foundation
The chairmen of two major European companies have joined the six-member board of the foundation set up by Renault and Nissan in the Netherlands to protect against hostile takeover bids.
Morris Tabaksblat, chairman of Anglo-Dutch publisher Reed Elsevier, and Pierre Bilger, head of French power and transport equipment company Alstom, joined the board of the foundation, Renault-Nissan BV.
Tabaksblat and Bilger belonged to an international advisory board that was set up when the alliance was formed in 1999. Renault named them to the new foundation's board. They will be joined by two nominees from Nissan and the chairmen of Renault and Nissan.
The creation of the foundation coincides with the French government reducing its stake in Renault. The state owns around 27 percent of Renault, which means it cannot now protect the carmaker against a hostile raid. The state owned a 43.8 percent stake at the end of 2001. Renault does not rule out a further reduction in the future.
- Sylviane de Saint-Seine