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THE FOLLOWING AUTOMOTIVE tidbits aren’t indicative of important trends, compelling gossip, or breakthrough technology. They’re just things I found interesting in recent issues of Automotive News, the weekly journal of the automotive industry. Each one jogged my memory on one thing or another.
Morgan Quattro Passeggeri? The Morgan Motor Company Ltd. had 110 years of family ownership, but it was announced at the Geneva auto show that Italian investment firm Investindustrial has bought a majority share of this classic English producer of sports cars.
Benvenuto! Morgan will be in good company: Automotive News, March 11, 2019, writes that Investindustrial also “has stakes in Aston Martin and motorcycle Ducati.”
Toyota’s Theft Deterrent. A Toyota patent reported in Automotive News, March 25, 2019, describes fitting an onboard fragrance dispenser, no doubt to prolong that new-car atmosphere.
But there’s a grabber: Should an “illegitimate engine start attempt” be made, the Toyota system also has a tear-gas dispenser.
Gotcha! Cough, cough.
Peugeot Returns. After a 28-year hiatus, French automaker Peugeot is returning to the U.S. Automotive News, March 3, 2019, writes in a minihistory that Peugeot dates from an 1810 steel foundry producing, among other things, coffee grinders, umbrella frames, and saw blades.
Peugeot’s Lion logo reared up in the mid-19th century on the company’s saw blades. Its first motor car came along in 1889. Another, unheralded in the Automotive News minihistory, was my own brief fame with the marque.
VERA, as in Vehicle Econome de Recherche Appliquée, was a mildly modified Peugeot 305 Turbodiesel. Yet, its aerodynamic and other refinements made VERA what I termed back in 1982 “a wonderful example of incremental engineering.”
Imitation is the Sincerest… Automotive News, April 1, 2019, isn’t fooling when it asks, “Can you spot the major differences?” Automotive News notes, “Neither could the Beijing Chaoyang District Court.”
Also quoted is Michael Dunne, CEO of Hong Kong-based automotive consulting firm ZoZo Go. (Michael is the son of Jim Dunne, renowned spy photographer, not to say legendary palm reader.) Michael notes, “The ruling is highly significant. For years, foreign companies have taken Chinese rivals to court for purloining designs and lost. GM, Mercedes, BMW, Toyota, you name it.”
Gee, maybe Toyota could install fragrance gizmos in Chinese design studios? ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2019