1st Gear: Mercedes-Benz officials made me one of the happiest men on the face of this Earthy by confirming Thursday that the 2012 E 63 AMG wagon will be part of the North American lineup. Slated to arrive in October, the high-performance wagon will receive the same 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged, direct-injection V-8 that debuted in the 2012 E 63 AMG sedan at the New York auto show in March. The engine produces 518 hp and 516 pounds feet of torque. An optional performance package boosts the output to 550 hp and 590 pounds feet of torque. Like its sedan counterpart, the 2012 E63 AMG wagon receives stop/start technology paired with a seven-speed multiclutch transmission. The wagon version receives the panoramic roof as standard equipment. We knew Friday the 13th was nothing but superstitious nonsense.
2nd Gear: General Motors CEO Dan Akerson bought more than $900,000 worth of GM stock on Wednesday, according to a regulatory filing made with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That comes out to a purchase of 30,000 shares of common stock at $31. Well, at least he's investing in what he knows. Isn't that what Warren Buffett always says you should do?
3rd Gear: Prospects for a rescue for struggling Saab Automobile remained uncertain today as several Chinese automakers brushed off reports they were in talks with the Swedish car company after an earlier financing deal fell through. The latest? Great Wall now says, despite Automotive News claims, that they are not talking to Saab or Spyker.
4th Gear: Despite an unattributed claim by a Japanese business newspaper earlier today, Mazda is not canceling its slow-selling 6 sedan. The company confirmed to Car and Driver that "there is no intention to discontinue" the model. This is consistent with what we were told during a recent conversation with Mazda's U.S. CEO Jim O'Sullivan, who indicated that the present generation of 6 would be around for the next several years.
5th Gear: The Euro-market Hyundai i40 sedan made its debut at the Barcelona Motor Show this week, revealing in full the car's design and technical specs. Last week, Hyundai teased us with a single sketch of the i40's rear end. Now, with the first shots, we can clearly see the differences between the i40 sedan and our own Hyundai Sonata. Basically, they made it look like our own Elantra.
6th Gear: Shopping for a used Cadillac? From now through June, Cadillac will make the first three monthly payments for anyone who buys one of its new certified pre-owned Cadillacs. In addition, the company is offering interest rates as low as 1.9% for pre-owned models. Does that hold true for -V models too? Because if so, I'm going to have to flip a coin between a CTS-V Sport Wagon and a new Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon.
⏎ Why I hate racetracks. [Vanity Fair]
⏎ Toyota's new Prius wagon may not arrive for a year. [Detroit News]
⏎ Fisker raises further $100 million ahead of retail sales start. [Bloomberg]
⏎ On May 18th, Audi will unveil the new Audi A6 Avant in ze Humboldt Box, opposite Berlin Cathedral.
⏎ The Dirty Job Mike Rowe was testifying about in the Senate earlier this week. [Senate.gov (PDF)]
⏎ Piecing together a supply chain. [New York Times]
⏎ Aston Martin's got a new website... and configurator for the new Virage. There goes any productivity this morning. [Aston Martin]
⏎ As usual, Ford shareholders vote to continue keeping some pigs more important than others. [Detroit News]
Today in Automotive History:
At the annual meeting of the Chrysler Corporation on this day in 1980, stockholders vote to appoint Douglas Fraser, president of the United Automobile Workers (UAW), to one of 20 seats on Chrysler's board of directors. The vote made Fraser the first union representative ever to sit on the board of a major U.S. corporation. [History]
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