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 |  Nov 23 2011, 9:30 PM

The British would rather buy a used car from Barack Obama than David Cameron, according to a poll that measures the public’s trust in political leaders.

The YouGov poll, conducted on behalf of Craigslist, asked over 2,000 Britons who they would trust if they were buying a used car from a global leader, and Obama ranked first, with twice as many respondents preferring to buy from him than anyone else. Barack Obama captured 28 percent of the vote, followed by Angela Merkel at 14 percent. Not fairing so well is Silvio Berlusconi – 35 percent of the respondents said he was the world leader they would be least likely to buy a used car from. Other politicians on the list include Vladimir Putin and Nicholas Sarkozy.

“If Obama fails to win reelection next year, he could always launch a used car business in the UK”, says Jim Buckmaster, CEO of craigslist. “But he should clearly avoid partnering with Silvio Berlusconi, or even David Cameron.”

 |  May 12 2011, 10:05 PM

Russians and world leaders alike know not to mess with shirtless, crossbow-wielding, bear-hunting Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. But when a Lada Granta crosses the Wrath of Putin, there’s nothing to do but to make cheesy “in Soviet Russia” jokes. And run.

Putin, promoting the glory of Mother Russia and the trappings of the proletariat, paraded a brand-new Lada in front of the nation’s media at Lada’s factory recently – in part to help promote the brand after the Russian government bailed out the automaker during the economic downturn. But when he tried to start the engine, it wouldn’t start, even after five tries. Awkward.

As 60 years of Russian reliability came flooding back, Putin also needed the help of two others in order to open the trunk. Determined to save face, however, Putin—casually dressed in a sport jacket and secret SVR laser-equipped aviator sunglasses, his whale-hunting outfit—humbly blamed himself, claiming that he had pressed the drive-by-wire accelerator too sharply, a feature that his snorkelized Lada Niva (shown above) lacks.

Putin still claimed that the Granta (not to be confused with the Ford Granada, another car that helped bring an end to the Red Menace) was still “a good car.” The Granta, which will retail for around $8,000, is being touted as “the people’s car” for millions of eagerly awaiting Russian motorists who haven’t bribed their way into a higher tax bracket and an armored G-Class.

[Source: The Telegraph]

Magna Wins Opel Bid, Wants to Build Cars in Canada

Successful Saturn Bid Could See Opel-Based Saturns Built in Canada

 |  Jun 01 2009, 2:12 PM


By solidifying a deal to take control of GM’s European operations, Canada’s Magna International Inc. is eager to start producing Opel cars in Canada.

“We want to build Opel cars in Canada,” said company founder and CEO Frank Stronach. “Canada should have its own Canadian company … a truly Canadian automobile industry.”

The third largest auto parts supplier in the world, Magna certainly has the resources and the know-how – it just doesn’t have the facilities to build cars in Canada. That, however, might all change as Chrysler may close operations and General Motors Canada recently shut down its truck plant in Oshawa, Ontario.

The lower value of the Canadian currently would likely help matters and should be enough to easily offset the cost of shipping vehicles to Europe – although it’s not clear that Canadian-built cars would be for the European market, as moving production outside of Germany would certainly be a devastating public relations move.

What Stronach may have in mind is for Opel-based cars to be built in Canada for distribution in Canada and the U.S. As Magna is also currently bidding to take control of Saturn from GM, it’s entirely possible that production of those models, all but one of which are based on Opel vehicles, could happen in Magna’s backyard.

There is also a strong possibility that Magna will expand into the Russian car market.

Magna’s partners in the Opel deal include Sberbank of Russia and both Stronach and Magna have strong ties to Russia. Stronach actually did work as an auto industry adviser for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Russian Magna investor Oleg Deripaska (the owner of Russian truck maker GAZ) has had long standing aspirations to sell consumer cars.

Building Opel models in Russia is a strong possibility, however, it is unlikely those models would be exported to Europe.

General Motors is expected to announce final candidates for the sale of Saturn in the next few weeks.

[Source: The Globe and Mail]