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by Jay Traugott
Ferrari's sales are up while the global economy remains fragile, former CEO sues Lotus, Hertz buys competitors and Lincoln moves off to China.
In case anyone hasn't noticed, the 2012 Moscow Motor Show opened its doors this past week. Although it's not considered to be a major event for the industry, Mazda chose the Russian event to unveil its all-new 6 sedan. We've also been hearing more news regarding the Paris Motor Show, beginning late next month. It will be a huge display of everything automotive with plenty of big debuts from major automakers along with many new concepts and unique one-offs.
Dany Bahar Sues Lotus for $10.6 Million. Former Lotus CEO Dany Bahar has formally filed a lawsuit against his former employer for unlawful termination in the amount of $10.6 million. Everyone knew this was coming because the man said so himself only days after he was fired. Formerly owned by Proton, Lotus now answers to DRB-Hicom, which bought Proton earlier this year. The new owners didn't like the way Bahar was running things (spending boat-loads of money with nothing to show for it) and later fired the former Red Bull and Ferrari exec over his conduct. DRB has stated it will fight Bahar in court rather than settle.
Hertz Buys Dollar Thrifty. Car rental company Hertz announced that it has completed a deal to buy former competitor Dollar Thrifty for around $2.3 billion. Hertz currently controls about 25 percent of the US airport car rental market, just behind Avis. If approved by the Federal Trade Commission, this deal will likely move Hertz from the #3 to the #1 spot in market share at US airports. Consumers will not notice any changes and rental car prices will not be affected. Expect to see more large rental companies continuing to buy smaller ones in order to better penetrate markets, particularly in Europe and China.
Ferrari Expecting 2012 Record Sales. Despite a global economy that still hasn't recovered from the 2007 recession, Ferrari has announced that it's expecting to post record profits this year. While the US continues to climb its way out of a slow economy and Europe is in the midst of a debt crisis, Ferrari's wealthy customers are still lining up at dealers. According to Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo, the automaker is "on track this year to another record year." Only last year did Ferrari set a new record for itself with a total of 7,195 sales and as of this June, its sales were up by 7 percent compared to last year.
Lincoln: On Its Way to China. While Ford has had a solid presence in China for some time now, its luxury brand has been completely absent from the Far East, but no more. Beginning in the second half of 2014, Chinese customers will be able to not only buy, but customize the brand's lineup of luxury cars to their personal liking. Lincoln plans on offering a full customization program in order to firmly compete against the likes of BMW, Mercedes, and cross-town rival Cadillac. The move will not only help Lincoln sales, but also parent company Ford's in an increasingly competitive Chinese market.
Chevy Cruze Redesign for 2015. Despite its late entry to the US market, the Chevrolet Cruze has been a successful model for the brand, but fresh competition is quickly making it look old. That's why GM has announced that the next-gen Cruze will be all-new inside and out and will have improved fuel economy and storage space. In addition, the automaker will invest some $200 million to continue building it at the Lordstown assembly plant in Ohio. The Cruze is currently the fourth best-selling car in the US compact segment. However, it was No. 3 back in January and sales will likely continue to decline.