Created with IMS Web Dwarf from Virtual Mechanics Inc.
All the motoring news you need, freshly made up every fortnight
14-28 September 2001
A heated battle between Volkswagen Group chairman Ferdinand Piech and his Ford Europe counterpart, David Thursfield has overshadowed the new model launches at this week's Frankfurt Motor Show. The war of words began when the two men encountered each other in the executive lounge at Frankfurt airport. Sources say Thursfield spied Piech across the room and repeatedly shouted "Boring, boring Polo" until the VW boss, visibly angry, leapt across a table and seized his Ford rival in a headlock. The two executives were soon prised apart by their aides but the damage was done.
At a later Volkswagen press conference Piech was in characteristically aggressive mood. "THURSFIELD, I'M GONNA TOAST YOUR BLUE OVAL ASS" he yelled into the nearest television camera, "YOU COME HERE TO FRANKFURT EXPECTING VICTORY? I BEAT YOU IN GENEVA, I BEAT YOU IN DETROIT, THIS IS MY TURF AND I'M GONNA BEAT YOU AGAIN" he continued before adding, "YOU GONNA HAVE TO GIVE AWAY A WHOLE HEAP O' FREE INSURANCE DEALS IF YOU EXPECT TO SHIFT THAT NEW FIESTA PIECE O' CRAP". Piech, or 'The Dark Doktor' as he likes to be known, then stormed out of the press conference to the accompaniment of 'The Final Countdown' by Europe whilst attendant VW staff repeatedly chanted his name.
For his part, David Thursfield was unrepentant. At Ford's 9am press call he too was in bullish mood, shouting "SO THE SO-CALLED 'DOKTOR' THINKS HE CAN WIN HERE IN GERMANY. WELL LEMME TELL YOU SOMETHING PIECH YOU AIN'T GOT A HOPE. YOU COME HERE WITH YOUR NEW POLO LOOKING LIKE IT'S NINETEEN NINETY GODDAM SEVEN. I'M GONNA WASTE YOUR ALREADY-DATED BUTT AND THERE AIN'T NO SUPERIOR QUALITY DASHBOARD MOULDING CAN SAVE YOUR SORRY ASS." The Ford Europe president then performed a back flip over the table, his silver cape billowing in the air, and walked slowly down the central aisle, arms aloft as the sound of Tina Turner's 'Simply The Best' filled the room.
Industry analysts have already expressed concern that this battle will continue to rage outside of the sales arena. These fears have escalated with the announcement that Piech has ordered his engineers to build him "a monster truck" for the upcoming Tokyo Show. The truck will be based on the Golf chassis.

VW boss Piech prepares for another fight
The Frankfurt Show is one of this year's most German motorshows.
Our work experience boy, BEN SMALL, needed material for his GCSE photography project so we sent him along to get the latest news.

BMW unveiled a new version of the MINI, powered by helium. The company claims this is the fuel of the future because it's so light, although it does make the engine note rather high and squeaky. However, the innovative announcement was marred by news that the MINI is subject to a second recall after BMW found cars have been leaving Cowley with a live wolf accidentally left on the back seat. The error, which was discovered by an engineer transporting live chickens, affects all cars delivered so far. BMW stresses that the recall is merely 'precautionary', that the risk of being savaged is 'minimal' and that this incident is not a 'complete fuck up'.

The new MINI
Lambourghini wowed show goers with their new Murchilargo supercar. The Murcheligo, which replaces the legendary Doblo, has a 6.2 litre V12 giving 7,500bhp at 571rpm and incredible performance: 0-60 takes over 200 seconds and top speed is an amazing 3.8mph. Audi's influence can clearly be seen in the Murkylingo's styling and in the news that all buyers will be offered a high performance pronunciation course to help them to get the most from saying their car's name. "We want our customers to fully appreciate the potential of this complex new name," said Montibongo designer Luke Donkerbonk, "and we've learned lessons from Ford's experience with the car. No, that's car. No, no, you've still written it wrong" We asked Lambogihni engineer Luca Flambidambi about the company's future plans but Sniff Petrol isn't very good at Italian and I think we might have insulted his mother instead. "You have disrespected my family," he said candidly, "and now I will have you destroyed."

Muchilargo: The name means 'badger' in Welsh
SAAB took the covers off their first concept car in quite a long time: the unusual X9. The company claims this innovative one-off points the way to future SAAB design and combines elements of coupe, sportscar and practical hatchback. "To blend such diverse qualities was a challenge," said designer Roger Mauer, "so in the end we just sort of copied the Austin Allegro estate. Groovy!"
SAAB also used the Frankfurter Show to announce a
simplified range. From now on all SAABs will come in just two trim levels, designed to reflect their customer base. Saloons, estates and hatchbacks come with a package called "Dentst" whilst the 9-3 convertible gets a unique trim pack, "Drg Dealer". We asked SAAB Marketing boss Benny Andersson about the reasons behind this change but Sniff Petrol isn't very good at Swedish and I think we might have asked him to marry my sister; "This is a bit sudden," he remarked, "perhaps I will need some time to think about it."

There was confusion on the Toyota stand as no one could find the new Corolla. Company officials were preparing for a photo opportunity with the new model when a sharp-eyed executive noticed that the car they were leaning on was a Nissan Almera! The embarrassed officials suddenly realised they were in completely the wrong place and hurriedly moved onto the adjacent Honda, Mitsubishi and Daewoo stands before finally locating their own display of bland and derivative design. We asked Toyota design director Hakoru Yakamoto how they arrived at the new Corolla's indistinct looks but Sniff Petrol isn't very good at Japanese and I think we may have had a conversation about monkeys by mistake. "My favourite is the baboon," Mr Yakamoto smiled, "They are funny."

Is this right?
Finally, one for the home team: MG-Rover proudly took the covers off their new luxury sports model, codenamed 8X0. The new coup� is based on the chassis of the Kuvarlay Magnagunta but with a brand new British body on top. Designer Steven Peters is clearly pleased with the new car, and he revealed a surprising influence on the design: "I'm delighted with what we've achieved in the time we had," he said, "The tail lights in particular caused some headaches and we had to try several different designs before we found the ones that gave us the desired appearance of an obscure kit-car. We asked MG-Rover's spokesperson for more details about the car but they had a funny Midlands accent and we couldn't understand them.

A major motorshow is a highpoint in any car journalist's calendar. Here ROY LANCHESTER (right), motoring correspondent for the Harrogate Evening Weasel, gives us his exclusive view of the Frankfurt Show.
For me, the run-up to a major motorshow is time of excitement and speculation. Rumours are rife: will the BMW buffet be as good as last year? Will Skoda have brought enough Czech lager? Will the Ford evening dinner clash with the Honda fondue party and barn dance? All these questions and more were answered as I made my way to the impressive 2001 Frankfurt Motorshow.

Many outsiders think a motorshow is a just one big freebie for the average provincial motoring hack. Nothing could be further from the truth. Press day is actually remarkably stressful as one dashes from stand to stand, gathering information. And food. For example, as I arrived at the show halls I was ready for the major new rival offerings from Ford, Volkswagen and Citroen. Imagine my horror when a colleague informed me that Ford were making their most important announcement within five minutes of Citroen! I arrived at the vast Ford stand just in time to hear them say "The breakfast buffet is open" but there was little time to lose. I quickly stuffed my pockets with croissants and bacon rolls before hot footing over the Citroen just in time to hear them reading out the menu for the sit-down petit d�jeuner. A close call and no mistake. My editor wouldn't be happy if I'd missed the soft cheese selection so early in the day.

Another hidden stress of press day is the amount of things one has to carry. Many manufacturers hand out complimentary items such as cufflinks, baseball caps, carpet slippers and Hostess trolleys as well as press packs. By the end of the day one can be weighed down like a mule! The trick, I've found, is to carefully gather all those weighty press packs into one suitably capacious bag and then chuck it behind the nearest large pot plant. Bingo! More scope to carry those vital trinkets and toys!

At this year's Frankfurt Show there was so much to see and eat that it's hard to know where to begin. For me, the personal highlights were the delightful SEAT tortillas, the spectacular Lamborghini vol-au-vents and the very British MG sandwiches. Special mention must also go to the lovely Toyota PR lady who let me catch a quick nap in the back of a Previa after a very busy lunchtime in the Daimler-Chrysler bar.

Of course, with any motorshow there are always going to be disappointments and mine came when, along with several hundred fellow writers, I arrived for Opel's massive evening buffet only to discover that it had been eaten by Steve Cropley.

In this

Frankfurt offerings from;
& MG

A hack's view of the show

� 2001 Sniff Petrol every fortnight. Next issue 28 September

Thanks this issue:
Haz, 'Jim Wood', 'Alan Ripley', Poo.
Praise, abuse, litigation:
[email protected]