For Sale By:Private Seller
Exterior Color: Burgundy
Trim: 4 door sedan
Interior Color: Tan
Drive Type: rear wheel drive
Milan, Michigan, United States
Brazil is the place to be, apparently. Toyota has been investing in the South American country, as has BMW, which announced a $261 million investment in October 2012, on the heels of an Audi factory announcement in San José Chiapa. The high-end immigration is only set to continue, as Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar-Land Rover have both announced plans to set up manufacturing operations there.
Mercedes is the big news here, as its new facility will see the German manufacturer invest 170-million euros for production of its next-generation C-Class and upcoming GLA-Class. "Brazil is an important future market. With our local production we accept the challenge and take on the competition," noted Andreas Renschler, Management Board member for Production and Procurement at Mercedes-Benz Cars and Mercedes-Benz Vans. Production is expected to begin by 2016.
Jaguar-Land Rover, meanwhile, isn't so concrete in its plans. The news of its investment in South America comes from a job posting for a plant quality manager in Brazil that was picked up by the UK's AutoCar. "Portuguese language skills will be definite advantage" for interested candidates, according to the job listing. The want ad follows on the heels of remarks by Jaguar Land Rover's Dr. Ralph Speth, who said there are "very intensive discussions" with Brazil's government. Unlike Mercedes, there's no mention of which vehicles will be produced in South America, although AutoCar thinks the Freelander, sold in the US as the LR2, is a leading contender.
The argument is made in a Reuters article: Audi is falling behind other luxury brands, such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW, due to a lack of research-and-development spending and "brain drain," or the migration of top executives and R&D chiefs to other parts of the Volkswagen Group. Reuters notes that Audi's current R&D chief is the third in 16 months.
Audi, which contributed to 40 percent of VW Group's $11.6 billion in profit the first nine months of the year, is delivering cars at a record pace: 1.31 million were delivered from January to October 2013 versus BMW's 1.35 million. Yet Audi, Reuters reports, doesn't have a halo car akin to BMW's new electrified i3 and i8 or an answer to Mercedes' plug-in-hybrid S-Class, and the R&D spending at Audi is less than BMW and Mercedes by a fair margin. It's noted in the article, however, that Audi benefits from other R&D spending within VW Group.
Reuters mentions that BMW "trumpets its new 'i' series" and the new Mercedes CLA and GLA ranges are winning "rave reviews" as part of its argument that Audi's recent lack of technological innovation could hurt future sales. Those cars do pack tons of new technology, some of which are firsts for mainstream production cars. But last time we checked, the i3 could be causing BMW's stock to slide, the CLA isn't receiving the rave reviews that Reuters would have you believe and the GLA hasn't been reviewed yet.
Chris Harris took to a snowy stretch of tarmac to get a fingertips-on-the-wheel feel of the Volvo S60 Polestar concept. Harris says the turbocharged sedan with 508 horsepower and 424 pound-feet of torque - and a manual transmission - is "a study to see if Volvo can get back into the fast-car market." The Polestar S60 concept, one of which was already purchased for $300,000 by a private buyer, is still making the publicity rounds because even Volvo's Chinese owners realize that, as Harris says, "Volvo sold more cars because it made fast cars" like the old 850 T5 Wagon that stormed the British Touring Car Championship in the 1990s.
For reference, Harris compares the blue wonder to the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG and its 487 hp and 442 lb-ft. The question is, were Volvo to get the price of a production version of the S60 Polestar to climb way down from its 200,000-pound sticker, could it be worthy competition to the established giants?
You can watch Harris divine the answer via a lot of drifting through the snow and a drag race in the video below.