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Muses: BMW quits F1, Mini sells Brit apparel, Ford serious on plastic wood

Posted by Bill Griffith  July 29, 2009 03:22 PM

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Nick Heidfeld drives his BMW Sauber car during a practice session for the Hungarian F1 Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit on July 25. (Reuters/Dominic Ebenbichler)

BMW announced Wednesday it is dropping out of Formula One racing at the end of the current season. It also said the upcoming 760Li will be powered by a twin-turbo V-12 producing 544 horsepower and 553 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,500 revolutions per minute. It will be coupled with an eight-speed transmission.


Automotive marketing often involves accessories. Mini, which has a history with bands such as the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and the Rolling Stones, is offering the latest in "Brit Chic" - a line of apparel including duffle coats, branded "Wellies," Lapeer trapper-style winter hat, and rock star belt.

Plastic wood? Many of us always though the highly coated dashboard "wood" on many vehicles wasn't real anyway. But now Ford is working with a German company to develop a plastic "wood" that can be used in injection molding. The goal is to have a product capable of being recycled (remanufactured) five times.

Anyone notice a decrease in the number of leasing offers? The trend is particularly hard on high-end vehicles, which more often tend to be leased. Blame it on creditors tightening up their lending policies and the inability of manufacturers to do in-house financing.

Subaru sponsored a Mt. Washington Hike-a-Thon last weekend.
Subaru PR manager Dominick Infante reports, "More than 400 people climbed and raised $113,000. As usual, it was a good/bad weather day, nice at the bottom but blowing fiercely and with rain at the top. Subaru plans another climb for next year, and it will be bigger than this year's because it's the 10th anniversary." The climb benefits the non-profit foundation that aids the Mt. Washington Observatory. Of course, not being strong hikers, we'd have rather driven the auto road in Subaru's just-introduced new Legacy, a vehicle we're itching to drive.

Ford's new Transit Connect looks to be the right vehicle on the market at the right time - an economical small van for businesses. The price is right, starting at $21,475. The 2.0-liter engine is rated at 22 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. It can lug 1,600 pounds in its 135.3 cubic feet of customizable cargo space. The company plans an electric version with a range of nearly 100 miles.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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1 comments so far...
  1. FORD is #! Always Baby!! GM lost, haha

    Posted by tim6119 July 30, 09 12:24 AM

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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
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Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
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