Friday, June 17, 2011

Mr Money: Best selling new cars reduced by 20 per cent

Vauxhall's latest deal sees almost all of its new models greatly reduced in price as it competes with Ford to become the bestselling car manufacturer in Britain.

Buyers of brand-new cars can look forward to a price war in the showrooms this summer, with numerous top-selling models being formally discounted by a fifth before the haggling even starts.

As I reported lately, Vauxhall dealers have set the price agenda by taking it upon themselves to offer selected fresh-from-the-factory models discounted by thousands of pounds. But now the manufacturer has bigheartedly stepped in and instructed them to slash the price of new cars by 20 per cent across the board, for at least a month.
Even already reasonable models such as Agila are cut by £2,000-plus, while the Corsa and Meriva both have more than £3,000 off. The saving is nearer £5,000 on the British-built Astra Sports Tourer, and customers who choose an Insignia VXR Nav 2.8i V6 24v Turbo 4x4 auto will enjoy savings starting from £7,165.

Under the terms of the "Vauxhall Countdown" programme, the vast popular of the company's most popular models come with 20 per cent off – but only when a car is ordered or registered between June 17 and July 18 2011. Cars ordered prior to the 17th of this month but still not delivered will also be eligible – but only if registered between the particular dates. It's worth noting that the industry-leading 20 per cent reduction applies to the list price only and excludes factory-fitted options, delivery and other on-the-road charges, and that bottom-of-the-range Expression models, plus ES/Tech, Zafira Exclusive and Astra GTC, are excluded.

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Motoring Memories: Duesenberg J and SJ, 1928-1937

Among the thousands of automobile nameplates throughout history, America’s Duesenberg J and SJ ranked with the worlds greatest. They were the equal of such famous marques as England’s Rolls-Royce, Germany’s Mercedes-Benz, France’s Bugatti, Italy’s Isotta-Fraschini and Spain’s Hispano-Suiza.

The J and SJ were the creation of German-born Fred and August Duesenberg, who came to America as children in the late 1800s. Growing up in Iowa, they were keen cyclists with enough natural mechanical capacity to build their own race-winning bicycles.

With the emergence of motorized vehicles, the brothers were soon dabbling in motorcycles and cars. In 1906, with backing from a Des Moines lawyer named Mason, they began production of the Mason car, a high-quality performer that won hill climbs and races. The company prospered and in 1910 was bought out by the Maytag Company, improved known for washing machines than for cars.

By 1913 the Duesenbergs were able to classify their own Duesenberg Motor Company in St. Paul, Minnesota, to build automobile and marine engines. They were soon producing winning racing cars that were made famous by such legendary driving greats as Eddie Rickenbacker and Ralph Mulford.

This attracted New York capital and in 1916, a $1.5 million venture was organized and a enormous factory constructed for the Duesenberg Motors Corp. in Elizabeth, New Jersey. This was during the First World War, and car building was late while the plant turned out aero engines.

When the war ended in 1918 the brothers returned to the car-building venture with a four-cylinder engine, but their hearts weren’t actually in it. This led to their departure, leaving them free to think on their real love, an eight-cylinder overhead camshaft racing engine.

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