- Have your iPad wrapped in Bentley leather by Ettinger
- Skoda Auto at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show
- Volkswagen Formula 3 Champion Mortara with Audi in the DTM
- Novices to join Volkswagen Racing Cup grid in 2011
- VW merger with Porsche delayed by share probe
Posted: 24 Feb 2011 03:49 PM PST
Driven by its outstanding heritage of hand-crafted fine leather interiors, Bentley and its luxury leather partner Ettinger have devised a range of modern must-have personal accessories to be launched at this year’s Geneva Motor Show.
Inspired by the Beluga and Hotspur interior trim colours of the Bentley Continental Supersports, the capsule collection of leather items in black and red leather with contrast stitching includes keyrings and iPad, iPhone and Blackberry cases.
Founded by Gerry Ettinger more than 70 years ago, the company is still family owned and run by his elder son, Robert Ettinger. It is one of the few British luxury leather goods companies still manufacturing in the UK.
The company started working with Bentley more than five years ago to develop the Ettinger for Bentley collection. Robert comments: “The initial collections were made from black English waxy hide on the outside and the distinctive Ettinger colour of panel hide on the inside which has been made and used by Ettingers for over 75 years.
“The collections include everything from purses and wallets, passport cases, luggage labels and portfolios, as well as the iconic Bentley key case.”
Ettinger has recently added some of the latest Bentley upholstery hides (fuchsia, yellow and blue) to its range. Everything is handmade in its factory in Birmingham, which uses the same skills that have been handed down for generations.
In 1996, in recognition of the work carried out for the Royal Household, Ettinger of London was appointed with a Royal Warrant to HRH the Prince of Wales.
1930s: Gerry Ettinger founded Ettinger in 1934. Having worked as a film producer in Italy and Germany (where he worked with Marlene Dietrich) he used his extensive contacts in continental Europe and England to create a range of luxury gifts
After a pause in the 1940s during the second world war, he returned to London to reinvigorate and expand his business.
In the 1950s Gerry Ettinger acquired a small leather goods manufacturing business, which had been making leather goods in London since the 19th century.
Gerry Ettinger continued to work in the business until well into his 80s and saw the transformation of the company into one of the most respected leather goods designers and manufacturers in the UK.
In 1990, Robert, his elder son took over and continued the tradition of craftsmanship and quality as well as bringing in some more contemporary designs. He has since further ‘internationalised’ and developed the business in Asia, Korea, South Africa, Hong Kong, Australia, Japan and the US.
1999: James Homer Ltd
In July 1999, Ettinger acquired one of Walsall’s oldest leather goods manufacturing companies, James Homer Ltd (established in 1890). Homer is at the heart of Ettinger’s hand-made manufacturing process and is home to some of the most skilled leather craftsmen in the UK.
2005: Bentley Collection
The collaboration with Bentley puts a whole new collection on the road.
2007: Showroom Makeover
The London showroom, in Ettinger’s Putney Head Office, sets a new standard for the brand.
For further information visit: www.ettinger.co.uk
Posted: 24 Feb 2011 03:00 PM PST
Highlighting its achievements and the brand’s new direction, Skoda Auto will present a new corporate design at the forthcoming Geneva Motorshow. With strong growth over the last 20 years and the best–ever sales result achieved in 2010, the Czech car manufacturer has set new ambitious goals to at least double its sales by 2018. Furthermore, the brand is set to present a concept car at the Geneva Motorshow which reflects Skoda’s new design language.
- Skoda Auto
Posted: 24 Feb 2011 02:16 PM PST
A career boost thanks to Volkswagen Power: The young racer Edoardo Mortara moves up into the DTM.
The 24-year-old will be driving an Audi A4 DTM in the future, marking another milestone in his still young motorsport career. The Italian had previously won the prestigious Formula 3 Grand Prix in Macau twice with Volkswagen and dominated the Formula 3 Euro Series.
“Congratulations to Edoardo Mortara. He really deserves this next step in his career that will take him into the DTM and thus into one of the world’s most important and toughest racing series,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. “Volkswagen’s Formula 3 programme pursues two aims: One of them is to demonstrate technological expertise and the other is to spot top talents in racing at an early stage and to give them opportunities to advance. We have achieved both of these aims in the past season with Edoardo Mortara at the top. I am sure that we will be hearing a lot of positive news about in the DTM as well.”
Mortara’s career so far has been shaped by formula racing. After starting in kart racing Mortara switched to Formula Renault. In 2007 he contested his first Formula 3 Euro Series season which he finished in eighth place as the best rookie. 2008 saw him clinch his first victory with Volkswagen Power plus the “vice champion’s” title in the leading junior formula series. In 2009 Mortara switched to the GP2 series before returning to the Formula 3 Euro Series in 2010 when he dominated the season with Volkswagen’s partner team Signature – seven victories, five pole positions and an early title win speak for themselves. In addition, he celebrated victories at the Formula 3 world finale in Macau in 2009 and 2010, which makes him the only driver to date to have won the world-famous city street race twice in a row. In 2011 the native of Geneva, who holds an Italian and a French passport, will take the wheel for Audi Sport Team Rosberg.
Posted: 24 Feb 2011 01:17 PM PST
Two of this season’s crop of novice racers in the Volkswagen Racing Cup with FUCHS Lubricants are switching from two wheels to four. Both Thomas Wilson and Richard Morgan have raced motorcycles and are looking to expand their competition experience in a championship ideally suited to those taking their first steps in car racing.
Wiltshire-based 19-year-old Wilson caught the racing bug after watching family friend and reigning Volkswagen Racing Cup Champion Steve Chaplin in action in his Beetle. “I have raced karts and bikes off road,” says Thomas, “and seeing Steve at the wheel whetted my appetite for circuit racing.” Wilson has acquired a RacingLine-built Mk V Golf GTI which he and his father, Jonathan, will maintain at meetings, under the watchful eye of champion Chaplin.
Morgan, 53 and from Chichester, has bought another RacingLine-built Mk V Golf GTI for his switch to car racing after many years in the saddle. “I have been racing bikes for years,” says Richard, “but the problem is that as you get older it takes longer to pick yourself up when you fall off… But I still have a burning desire to compete and have been looking around for something to race.
“The Volkswagen Racing Cup is ideal for me because it is a very friendly championship, the cars need not cost a fortune to own and race, and yet it is very competitive.”
Championship director Melissa Wright is delighted to welcome Wilson and Morgan to the fold: “Over the championship’s 11 seasons we have provided a great environment in which dozens of novice racers have taken their first steps in racing. Many have gone on to win races and championships, and that is a great honour. We are sure that Thomas and Richard are going to have a superb time and gain valuable experience.”
One of those drivers who cut his teeth in the Volkswagen Racing Cup is Liam Griffin, who is stepping up to the British Touring Car Championship this season. It was announced yesterday that the 2007 Volkswagen Racing Cup Champion, Tony Gilham, is to join him on the BTCC grid.
The Volkswagen Racing Cup is supported by FUCHS Lubricants, Hankook Tyres, Ceva Logistics, ECM Vehicle Delivery, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Superchips and Milltek Sport.
Posted: 24 Feb 2011 12:27 PM PST
Volkswagen AG’s planned merger with Porsche SE will probably be delayed into next year because of legal and financial obstacles. In manufacturing, the integration is already in full swing.
Porsche said a longer-than-expected probe into allegations of share-price manipulation by two former board members will likely push completion of the merger into 2012. While the probability of success decreases as the process drags out, Porsche said on Wednesday it believes the combination will go ahead.
Volkswagen already said last year that the combination may be held up by U.S. lawsuits and German tax disputes. As the two companies work to resolve those issues, they are forging ahead with the merger on the factory floor.
A VW plant in Osnabrueck, Germany, will build Porsche Boxster and Cayman models, plant director Ludger Teeken said in an interview this week. VW already assembles the bodies for Porsche’s Cayenne sport-utility vehicle and four-door Panamera at VW plants.
“Volkswagen is moving forward to fit Porsche into its structure,” said Stipo Bralo, a Frankfurt-based analyst at SEB AG. “The merger is fully underway in operating terms.”
Stuttgart-based Porsche and VW, whose headquarters are in Wolfsburg, Germany, agreed to combine in August 2009 following a failed attempt by the sports-car maker to take over its larger rival.
Porsche shareholders voted in favor of a 5 billion-euro ($6.9 billion) share sale that would facilitate a merger by lowering debt piled up as part of its earlier takeover attempt.
Porsche to be 10th VW brand
VW gave Porsche authority in November to run sports-car development across the group. Adding Porsche as its 10th brand may help Volkswagen in its effort to overtake Toyota Motor Corp. in sales and profitability by 2018, Bralo said.
Porsche’s next model, the Cajun compact SUV, will be based on the platform of VW’s Audi Q5 model, saving Porsche development costs.
Porsche’s supervisory board will vote March 15 to build the Cajun at the carmaker’s Leipzig factory, said a person familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition he not be identified before the board vote.
Porsche, working with VW, has a target of doubling sales to 200,000 vehicles by 2018. The carmaker will do so by expanding the number of model lines to seven from four, the person said. Each model will have a seven-year lifespan before being replaced, allowing Porsche to bring one new vehicle to market every year, the person said. Porsche spokesman Heiner von der Laden declined to comment on the carmaker’s plans.
“Cooperation will intensify,” said Marc-Rene Tonn, an auto analyst with M.M. Warburg in Hamburg who recommends buying VW stock. “VW and Porsche have the resources to uncover new areas of business. The challenge will be to do all that without harming Porsche’s brand identity.”
VW, which is scheduled to publish 2010 earnings March 10, will probably report earnings before interest and tax last year more than tripled to 6.66 billion euros on surging demand in China, according to the average estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Full-year revenue will rise 17 percent to 123 billion euros, the average estimate of 11 analysts shows.
VW in October said the combination with Porsche may be delayed because of the legal and tax issues. U.S. hedge funds last month appealed a judge’s ruling dismissing lawsuits they brought claiming Porsche cost them more than $2 billion by misleading short-sellers in its purchase of Volkswagen shares in 2008. Porsche maintains it did nothing wrong. The two carmakers must also resolve tax issues in Germany linked to any merger.
VW CEO Officer Martin Winterkorn is swapping managers between the two carmakers to speed the integration. Porsche CEO Michael Macht, moved to VW last October as production chief, while Matthias Mueller, VW’s chief product strategist, succeeded Macht.
Porsche’s head of quality management, Frank Tuch, switched to the same position at VW last August and Klaus-Gerhard Wolpert, former head of Porsche’s Cayenne SUV, succeeded Mueller as chief VW product strategist.
“Joining this multi-brand group with its resources in development and production will prove to be a turbo for Porsche in all areas of business,” Winterkorn, who also runs Porsche’s holding company, said last month at the Detroit auto show. “The combination with VW will help Porsche to decisively expand its market position.”
Geneva show debuts
Volkswagen bought the assets and factory site of insolvent carmaker Wilhelm Karmann GmbH in Osnabrueck in March 2010, three months after completing the purchase of a 49.9 percent stake in Porsche’s carmaking business.
Located 170 km (106 miles) west of VW’s base in Wolfsburg, the factory can make 100,000 cars a year and will start production of the Golf convertible, to be shown next week at the Geneva auto show, during the second quarter, Teeken, 53, said.
Porsche will premiere a hybrid four-door Panamera in Geneva. At an average 159 grams of CO2 emissions per kilometer, the 106,185-euro vehicle will be Porsche’s least- polluting model. Other Porsche models to be unveiled are the racing version of the 918 Spyder, the 330-horsepower Cayman R, the Boxster S Black Edition and the 911 Black Edition.
Osnabrueck will handle overflow assembly for Porsche starting next year, should output at the main plant in Zuffenhausen, Germany, reach limits.
“We’re already making prearrangements to build Porsche Boxster and Cayman models,” Teeken said. “Volkswagen has great faith in the Osnabrueck operation and already gave us permission to ramp up production.”
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