Catching Up
http://www.pixelatedimage.com/blog/2011/04/catching-up/

I’ve learned – or rather I am learning – to relax. Somewhere along the way during the last 4 years I got into a performance mentality and have felt a lot of pressure to produce. It’s not a mindset that’s good for me, and it’s not a mindset that produces art I am pleased with. And I think I am learning to stop listening to those voices.

(via Instapaper)

I really like David duChemin’s photography, but it’s his writings that keep me coming back.  He really has a way of connecting with his observations on life, art, and creativity.  His eBooks are a phenomenal bargain as well, check them out at <a href=”https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?cl=88199&c=ib&aff=125066” target=”ejejcsingle”>Craft And Vision.</a>.

            

 

It’s no secret that Volkswagen wants Alfa Romeo. The German automaker is trying to become the world’s largest automaker by 2018 and purchasing Alfa would help them towards that goal.

At this year’s Geneva Auto Show, Ferdinand Piëch announced that Volkswagen could quadruple Alfa’s sales in just five years. Sergio Marchionne responded to that statement by saying that as long as he is head of Fiat, Alfa will not be sold. He also added that Volkswagen should take care of Seat instead.

Marchionne made Fiat’s intentions crystal clear but Volkswagen is adamant. via alfabb.com

Lets hope that this never happens.  A VW flat-four motor (OK, a Porsche, whatever) in an Alfa?  Not unless it is built in South Africa.  Some will get the joke.  But seriously, Marchionne needs to win this battle.  I’m now convinced that VW would destroy the brand.  Not that Fiat has done wonder for it, but they seem to have gained direction lately, and the 4C “baby supercar” in development looks like it could be a winner.  This is the direction that the marque should move, upmarket and back to its sporting heritage with cars that are exciting to drive.  

http://www.youtube.com/v/DG27f9_Z1wo&feature

Now this is a very cool advertisement. We’re not quite sure what they are messaging, other than that the brand has a future, but it is well done nonetheless. Lets hope that the car development leads to market success so that there is a lengthy future for Alfa. Oh, and Alfa please make cars that bring driving excitement.

Click to enlarge [Alfa will come with new things at the 2012 Geneva show...]

Things aren’t exactly going great for Italian company Alfa Romeo and probably the main proof for this is the carmaker’s plan for the upcoming Geneva Auto Show, one of the largest venues in Europe. Alfa will reduce the size of its stand at the 2011 Geneva show from 979 square meters this year to just 639 square meters, thus lending less space than Fiat, Lancia, Chrysler, Jeep, Ferrari and Maserati, the other brands in the Fiat Group that will attend the event. What’s interesting is that Alfa will cease its space in Hall 3 to Ferrari and Maserati, as Luca Ciferri of Automotive News Europe wrote today, with the Italian brand to move in Hall 4. Curiously, Alfa Romeo’s stand will be close to Volkswagen’s, the German carmaker that has already confirmed its interest to take over the Italian company. Wondering what’s the reason for such an insignificant presence at such a major event? A Fiat spokesman says that Alfa has nothing new to display in Geneva, so why lend more space? More goodies are likely to be revealed in 2012, so expect a larger Alfa stand in two years.

My own take is that Fiat is in a real bind. They don’t know what to do with Alfa Romeo, and apparently they have no new models in the immediate future. A launch of the brand in the USA, while hopeful, is a major undertaking and is likely doomed to failure. Talk of the next generation small Chrysler cars being based on the Alfa Giulietta may give Chrysler the product they’ve been sorely lacking to compete, particularly with the Koreans, but it certainly doesn’t do the Alfa Romeo brand any favors. Maybe a sale of the brand to Volkswagen would be the best thing, although the thought of it makes me cringe. What do you think?

Taken with Hipstamatic – iPhone 4

Ferrari F1 Drivers Alonso and Massa get their own Abarth 695 Tributo

http://carscoop.blogspot.com/2010/09/ferrari-f1-drivers-alonso-and-massa-get.html

This time, Alonso and Massa were handed over the keys of two Fiat 500-based Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari special edition models finished in Scuderia red with Racing grey details.

The limited special series Abarth model is powered a 1.4-liter force-fed four-cylinder engine tuned to develop 180HP, and comes with a bevy of goodies including carbon fibre parts, body hugging bucket seats from Sabelt, four-pot Brembo discs and unique 17-inch Corsa Grey alloy wheels.

The Abarth version of the Fiat 500 looks really fantastic.  I saw the Abarth EssEsse while in Europe, which is a very sporty version of the 500;  the 695 takes that up several notches, in looks, trim, handling, power, and performance. It should be quite a fun car to drive.  I wonder if Felipe and Fernando will actually keep the cars?  Doubtful, as they are likely suited for us mere mortals rather than an F1 driver.  Mere mortals with a big wallet, that is, as the price is huge for this little car!

(via Instapaper)

2011 Hyundai Equus – First Drive Review September 8, 2010 at 5:14 pm by Justin Berkowitz

Encouraged by the success of the Genesis, Hyundai drives further up-market. When Hyundai announced the Genesis luxury sedan in 2008, some were skeptical. A $40,000 Hyundai? But the Genesis has been a hit with buyers, outselling the Audi A6 and Lexus GS combined. After two years on the market, sales of the Genesis are still increasing. Hyundai says this is a sign that American consumers are seeing the brand differently, and are ready for Hyundai to head even further up-market. And so, with the 2011 Equus, the company has its sights set on the top of the luxury heap: cars like the Lexus LS and Mercedes-Benz S-class.

I’ve been thinking that it would not be at all a surprise if Hyundai’s plans were to spin off Genesis as a luxury brand, like Toyota did with Lexus.  They’ve been deliberately moving upmarket and differentiating models from Kia, improving fit-and-finish as well as styling and quality.  Could the Genesis and Equus models become their own brand? (via Instapaper)