The Coronavirus continues to dominate most areas of news this week, and sadly the auto industry is no exception. Amongst the countless event cancellations here’s hoping this week’s edition of Fast News Friday can provide a welcome, albeit brief distraction.
Here’s a concept car that will split opinion. German tuning company RUF Automobile has created a one-a-kind off-road concept, heavily inspired by the Porsche 911 Safari rally cars from the 1970s. According to its creators, the RUF Rodeo also features elements that were inspired by fashion design and American western culture. Although it appears to be a resto-mod Porsche 911 that has escaped a film set, the vehicle is actually all-new. Under the skin is RUF’s own carbon fibre monocoque chassis first seen on the CTR Anniversary concept. Available with a range of engines, the Rodeo model also offers four-wheel drive; as you’d expect from a car that features all-terrain tyres, a raised ride-height, a tow-rope wrapped around a bull-bar and even a shovel.
The move towards electric vehicles has seen many auto brands taking stock of their corporate identity, adapting them for the new era of zero emissions and silent drive. BMW is the latest big name to announce an update to its propellor-inspired blue, white and black roundel, with a new two-dimensional “pared back” version, which was created for communication purposes only. Whilst the change is noticeable, it’s interesting to learn that the brand’s current vehicles will retain the existing logo, even if the latest i4 Concept wears the new one proudly.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has announced a range of important transport investments and grants that will affect motorists in the first Budget of 2020. This includes a freeze on fuel duty for the 10th year in a row, and the extension of the Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG) which will be extended to the 2022/2023 financial year.
Following the McLaren team’s decision to pull out of this year’s Australian GP due to a team member who has a confirmed case of Coronavirus, the FIA has decided to postpone the entire Formula 1 calendar until May. With the news stream running dry as a result, Top Gear magazine decided to look back at ten of the sport’s best moments this week. From Ayrton Senna’s stunning pole-winning qualifying lap in Monaco in 1988 to Jenson Button’s incredibly impressive (and let’s be honest, lucky) victory at the 2011 Canadian GP, it’s hard to argue with the selection.
Legendary Italian supercar manufacturer Lamborghini has closed its factory due to the Coronavirus pandemic which has now caused over 1,000 deaths in the country. “This measure is an act of social responsibility and high sensibility towards our people,” said Lamborghini chairman Stefano Domenicali. “We continue to monitor the situation in order to react rapidly and with the right flexibility, in collaboration with our people and in order to restart with energy in the right moment.” The closure comes at a busy time for the company, as it reported a record year for sales in 2019 with 8,205 vehicles leaving Sant’Agata – a massive 43% increase over the previous year.