Drive Type: C4 automatic
Model: Model A
Trim: 1931 Slant Windshield Model A Ford
Hawkins, Texas, United States
Three weeks ago an analyst increased projections for European car sales this year, expecting them to climb three percent compared to last year instead of 2.7 percent. That number is a postive sign after years of hard times but it turns out February was especially good, overall European sales climbing eight percent on a wave of southern European recovery and discounts - and this comes after five months of gains including January's 7.2-percent jump over the year before.
The only country of Europe's five largest markets to post a decline was France, just as it did in January, Germany, the UK and Italy posting solid double-digit numbers, Spain rocking the charts with an 18-percent increase because of a government program to encourage trade-ins.
The only brand to miss the wave was Volkswagen, dropping 0.8 percent as it watched the double-digit growth at sister brands Audi, Seat and Skoda lift the Volkswagen Group sales up by seven-percent. Peugeot overcame flat sales at Citroën to improve the group by 3.5 percent, BMW and the Mercedes-Benz/Smart combo rose by four percent, the Fiat group jumped 5.8 percent, Ford was up 11 percent, the Renault Group 11.5 percent, General Motors 12 percent and the Toyota clan by 14 percent.
It's not really a secret that the city of Detroit is in lots and lots of trouble. Even with an emergency manager working to guide it through bankruptcy, a number of the city's institutions remain in very serious danger. One of the most notable is the Detroit Institute of Arts, a 658,000-square-foot behemoth of art that counts works from Van Gogh, Picasso, Gauguin and Rembrandt (not to mention a version of Rodin's iconic "The Thinker," shown above) as part of its permanent collection.
Throughout the bankruptcy, the DIA has been under threat, with art enthusiasts, historians and fans of the museum concerned that its expansive collection - valued between $454 and $867 million by Christie's - could be sold by the city to help square its $18.5-billion debt.
Now, though, Detroit's hometown automakers could be set to step up and help save the renowned museum. According to a report from The Detroit News, the charitable arms of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler could be set to donate $25 million as part of a DIA-initiated campaign, called the "grand bargain." As part of the deal, the DIA would seek $100 million in corporate donations as part of a larger attempt at putting together an $816-million package that would be paid to city pension funds over 20 years. Such a move would protect the city's art collection from being sold off.
The redesigned 2014 Ford Transit Connect isn't even on sale yet, but it's already making its presence felt around the world. At a commercial vehicle expo in Russia, the Transit Connect was named the International Van of the Year.
Ford's small work van edged out the new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter by just seven points to allow Ford to grab this honor for the second consecutive year, which it won last year with the Transit Custom. Not only does this make Ford the first to ever win the award in back-to-back years, but it's also the fifth time the automaker has won this award since 2003 (two with the Transit Connect, two with the fullsize Transit and once with the Transit Custom). Ford congratulates itself for the accomplishment in a press release posted below.