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Bernie’s bid for Saab is based on internet in cars
Posted By: James Allen  |  08 Jan 2010   |  5:09 pm GMT  |  81 comments

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is fronting a powerful European consortium making a late surge to buy troubled Swedish car company, Saab. His partners in the consortium are Renault F1 owner Gerard Lopez, via his Geniii Capital vehicle and Swedish real estate entrepreneur Lars Carlstrom.

Saab is currently owned by General Motors and is loss making.

Bernie
Ironically for a man who is suspicious of the internet, Ecclestone’s bid is based on the latest thing in automotive innovation – internet in cars.

On its website this afternoon, Genii Capital said that it had been brought into the bidding process at a late stage by advisors close to the deal. It says it will “aggressively work towards a successful closing of the transaction.”

The consortium’s strategy is to add value to Saab by working with areas of overlap with its own business, particularly in the emerging field of internet in cars, which has been a talking point of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.

Genii is very interested in VOIP and GPS systems in cars as well as on demand systems. They believe that Saab has very strong brand values already and an innovative image. And by putting Saab at the cutting edge of these new technologies they can make the company’s cars very attractive to younger, well heeled, tech savvy buyers, particularly if they are first to market with these new technologies.

There is inevitably speculation that this might bring Saab into F1, but I’m not sure that is the strategy here, at least in the short term. Lopez sees an opportunity for his new technologies in the automotive sector.

His team will be called Renault for at least the next two years, as part of its commitment to the Concorde Agreement. After that, if the French manufacturer, which retains a 25% stake in the team and is still the engine builder, were to exit, Lopez may well wish to introduce the Saab brand to his team, as there are few better platforms for promotion than F1. But at that stage other rival competitors might question Ecclestone’s involvement, if it were to continue.

Incidentally, I hear that there are likely to be many personnel changes at Renault’s Enstone base over the coming year or so.

The third member of the Saab consortium, Lars Carlstrom, told Dow Jones today that talks with General Motors were going well and that a bidder should have some EUR800 million available. He did not comment on how much his consortium would be prepared to pay for the car maker. But there believed to be the possibility of a European Investment Bank loan of around €400 million.

“Saab will be able to supply over 100 000 cars in a few years, this is by no means impossible, ” said Carlstrom. This is the kind of number it used to sell. Projections for 2010 are around 50,000 cars.

Carlstrom was previously trying to buy Saab with two investors who are now against him in the bidding process. A third bidder is Spyker, which made a disappointing cameo in F1 recently when it acquired the former Jordan team from Midland. It sold on to Vijay Mallya, who renamed the team Force India.

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  1. Swedish
    Automobiles
    Always
    Breakdown

    good luck with that Bernie

    1. Howard Hughes says:

      Don’t be daft. Swedish unreliability?! That’s a tautology as absurd as American abstinence or Japanese luddites…

      1. Stephen Kellett JAF1 says:

        I’ve got to admit I was thinking WTF? when I read the original post. Saab don’t exactly have a bad or boring reputation. The second hand prices speak for brand very well.

      2. apparently you don’t understand scarcastic humour, it’s not rocket science to determine it’s an Acronym that was begging for it.

        As for reliability, it did not say Volvo, it said Saab, run by Garbage Motors, ’nuff said.

      3. Howard Hughes says:

        Hardly nuff said my caustic friend. You said ‘Swedish’ motors, none of which brands have ever been accused of unreliability. Thereofre it wasn’t ‘scarcastic’ humour, merely inaccurate and unfunny…

  2. Ishaak says:

    Dunno about you guys but I think if Saab were to enter it would be great! another manufacturer, with potential as the team in its former guise was quite successful (Benetton,Renault). But as you mentioned James, it would raise suspicions but none more so than Todt’s appointment as FIA president I would have thaught. Anyway, lets not get too far ahead of ourselves, they haven’t actually baught it yet!

  3. Duncan says:

    From what I’ve read and heard about Bernie over the years the angle of his interest is a surprise.

    I once heard a story that it’s almost impossible to get in touch with Bernie unless you have his mobile – apparently his office answering machine just says ‘leave a message’ although it’s not him saying it, which is incredible way to communicate such high-powered business like he does.

    Is this true James?

    1. James Allen says:

      No it is not. He is far more accessible than CEOs of comparable sized businesses.

      1. melonfarmer says:

        Did you see the photo in Autosport last year of Bernie on his mobile with all the numbers written on a piece of paper taped to the back? The man is fallible afterall!

        Let’s just hope SAAB doesn’t have the same rescue/prolonged death that Rover did.

        Isn’t Jan Mol (of Spyker) still a 50% private shareholder in Force India?

      2. James Allen says:

        Yes the Mol family still has a shareholding. He was not a part of Spyker, they were a partner

      3. Howard Hughes says:

        I used to work in Knightsbridge, across the road from Harrods… and one week I ventured down to Princes Gate every day at lunchtime hoping to spot him leaving his office for lunch in the pub he’s rumoured to often frequent. Dunno why I did really…except he was a hero and I just felt like thanking him for his inspiration…

  4. RON says:

    Internet in cars, is about as exciting as internet in a toilet…

    The key to any business is to ensure the fundamentals are the best they can be…

    Make a good car, and Saab will succeed…

    1. Rudy Pyatt says:

      Yes! Thank you RON for the does of common sense.

      1. Rudy Pyatt says:

        (cont.) Of course, most drivers are excellent, pay more attention to their driving and are not distracted by their electronic toys. Right…

      2. Rudy Pyatt says:

        “dose”

        All we need is (another) distraction to drivers via the Internet.

      3. Sander van Angelen says:

        I think internet in cars is for example more about traffic information and knowing at witch place there are free parking spaces etc.

        I’m a Saab owner and it would be just great if Saab is saved and if Saab would end up in F1 it would be a dream come true for me.

        Saab has a huge fanbase in Holland and is still very much alive. Next week there’s a support convoy of 350 Saab’s.

        Realy woul’d be nice iff Genii wins the bid!

    2. jeff says:

      “Internet in cars”?

      “Monkey Tennis”?

      1. James Allen says:

        Oh I love that! Alan Partridge were are you now?

    3. Stephen Kellett JAF1 says:

      Well said.

      Technology is great. But only when worthwhile.
      I’m pleased that Saab will hopefully soon be free of GM, but the internet stuff, that is fluff.

    4. M__E says:

      where are these guys living? havent they heard of mobile broadband? internet in cars LMAO! :D

      bernie I thought you were doing very well for an 80 year old, but now you’re making me wonder..

  5. Swede says:

    Lovely, and we will maybe get a Saab F1-team.

  6. Marcus says:

    One normally has to take anything that B.C. Ecclestone says with a little pinch of salt, but there is clearly a lot more substance to this than the headlines would suggest. It might not be such a bad idea either: I am sure that Saab just needs the right management and more focus than GM gave to it and it could become profitable again (which would not be before time).

  7. Opposite Lock (Ken) says:

    GM took a company with unique, quirky, niched products and made them bland and conforming to the GM line of bland “me too” autos. I hope Bernie realizes that a small auto brand has to offer something unique in looks as well as features to attract buyers. It will take more than cutting-edge electronic internet connections to bring in the buyers for their cars. especially well-heeled young buyers.

  8. Flintelli says:

    Sorry, completley of topic, but has it sunk in yet! Schumachers back! Trust you’ve all heard, I hope Alonso bets him purely as a Ferrari fan but it will be great wont it..

    1. Howard Hughes says:

      Rumour has it Freddie Mercury’s died…

  9. Bhavesh says:

    What has the automotive industry come to when the latest “innovation” is something as boring and useless as internet in cars. You already get these services on your mobile.

    Thinking about the massive changes we have seen in nearly every other industry in the last 20 years and it is clear that the automotive industry has been sorely lacking in ground breaking ideas.

    I love cars but if this is the best the industry can do innovation and new ideas then its heading for the scrapheap

    1. Stephen Kellett JAF1 says:

      There was a guy on the last series of Dragons’ Den promoting just this sort of thing. Claiming advanced batteries (when the stuff that I’ve been raving about hadn’t even been mentioned in the research press – he was going to use the current battery tech) and internet in cars and an MP3 socket. Gosh.

      After initially being interested in the green side of the business, they ripped him to shreds, especially over the more technology drive aspects of the idea. He left without investment and sorely dressed down.

      1. James Allen says:

        Maybe, but this is definitely happening, to judge from the CES in Vegas this week and it makes sense to me

      2. Stephen Kellett JAF1 says:

        I’m not saying the deal isn’t happening. But cars + internet – that isn’t exactly news. I mean come on, phones are mobile (as in moving targets) as are aircraft.

        What exactly is the difference between that and a car, except that putting it in front of the driver is a seriously irresponsible and dangerous thing to do?

        In the last year, the worst driving I have seen (on multiple occasions) has been comitted by people paying *FAR* too much attention to their sat nav and not enough attention to driving.

        Symptoms:
        Erratic speed changes from slow to fast to slow to fast etc, over extended distances, which you can measure in miles. Turning, the wrong way, into one way streets, and so on.

        How do I know they were using Sat Nav? You can often see it glued to their windscreen or because when they finally turned out of my way I got to see the very device that was making my driving behind them hell. They were completely oblivious that I was behind them, even when I flashed them and beeped at them for being so stupid as to turn into a one way street the wrong way, etc.

        Internet in cars will only make this worse.

        If I’m killed in a car related accident, the idiot that kills me will be using a mobile or glused to his satnav or internet enabled car.

  10. Dave P says:

    I hate it when things like this hapen in F1. The first thing to creoss my mind was that I am sure that Bernie must have had contact with Renault for some time over this… most likely before Renaults hearing at the WMSC, where Renault got off scott free.

    Its not hard to see Bernie weilding influence to ensure Renault got off lightly… thus ensuring his deal went smoothly..

    [Please read the rules of the blog - no libellous allegations, no direct personal attacks - there are plenty of forums where that kind of stuff is allowed - Mod]

    1. @ Dave

      At this early stage, it appears that Bernie (and co) may be bidding to buy the Saab motor company – as it stands, there nothing of substance anywhere to say that it will ever be an F1 related project.

      1. Dave P says:

        I think you missed my point a little..

        The point is that if Renault had been fined $100 million dollars, been banned, reputation in tatters, both Bernie and Renault would not be in the same comfortable position to go ahead with this deal. By sweeping it under the carpet as it was the deal is somewhat softened. Bear in mind we are only talking about Saab being bought for $400 million… so the fine would be 1 quater of this amount… this means Bernie and Renault’s bank accounts stay a lot richer…

        So you F1 is involved by default

  11. rpaco says:

    Sorry but I don’t believe a word of this, Bernie is only interested in making money, he has no inkling of mass car production.
    Something smells very fishy, yes it’s Bernie’s involvement in something that will require huge investment and not make a profit for at least 5 or 6 years if ever, meanwhile eating money voraciously.

    It does not look remotely feasible,unless there is a “BMW to Rover Group” type deal hidden here, where all the assets are bought for £1 and owned by a separate holding company, while the producing and trading company goes bust (like the case of the infamous Rover Phoenix 4, Towers and co) OR a possible split out of the “New Tech” division into another company which again could become profitable while the main company fails. (Delphi, Gm’s tech company already went bust as did Ford’s Visteon both have risen again though somewhat different so one wonders what Saab had that Delphi did not. GPS is very old tech now; VOIP in cars only work on mobile GSM service or above which will require the car to have an account)
    Remember that even before the financial meltdown there was about 20-25% car production over capacity, in Europe. Theoretically a major volume brand will disappear in the next couple of years. I always expected it to be Ford to die in Europe, now it looks like GM brands will go eventually.

    In the days of the Saab 900 Turbo, Saab GB were my favourite customer, the nicest people in the industry.
    Eric Carlsson drove us round on track days at race speed and then showed how easy and safe it was to have a tyre cut in half at speed with no hands on the wheel. Later he demo’d brake pipe cutting again with no hands. His tuition showing how one could safely brake hard in the middle of a bend did not entirely sink in and I later traveled backwards at around 65mph across the infield of Club corner (I vividly remember how very smooth it was) much to the consternation of Peter Messenger, then the Saab GB purchasing manager who was my unfortunate copilot.

  12. Ted the Mechanic says:

    I didn’t know Bernie was suspicious of the internet. How does this manifest itself?

  13. Tom - Australia says:

    Errr goodluck with that. With products like the iPhone and the soon to be announced Apple Tablet, not to mention all the other competitors mobile internet products, there is really no reason for car internet.

    Bernie is laughably out of touch.

    1. chris says:

      you don’t know how the internet will be used. In car entertainment won’t be the only agenda here. It will also be used to help diagnose and maintain a cars health. Sniff out problems before they occur like they do with airplanes. There are many other uses aswell.

      1. rpaco says:

        You had better hope that microsoft dont write the firmware for it, Or the old joke about innovation comparison between the automotive and the computer industries will come true.

    2. Howard Hughes says:

      Not at all. World’s away from the early-adopter geek kids are hundreds of thousands of weary commuters, sales reps, delivery drivers, minicabs etc. Even if Saab isn’t the vehicle they all use, the technology could be a godsend for the legions of people confined to their vehicles for 2, 4, 6+ hours a day who could benefit from voice-activated internet…

      1. James Allen says:

        And snowed in on English motorways and A roads. Would be nice to Skype the missus when you are forced to sleep in the car..

      2. Stephen Kellett JAF1 says:

        You can use your mobile for that. Both will be using the same technology (2G/3G/HPDSA). If you are the type of person that would have an internet enabled car, you already own a suitable mobile phone.

        Nothing new here. The only difference is that Skype is free, assuming that your internet enabled car has free internet access (which it almost certainly will not).

      3. Silverstoned says:

        Ah but you may have to activate webcam in evidence too

  14. Henry Manney says:

    I don’t partake of hallucinogenic drugs, but this news
    makes me wonder if someone slipped some LSD into my
    single malt !

  15. Renn Sport says:

    Bernie if you do manage to help those guys buy Saab then for gods sake make them RWD or 4WD and interesting!

    Kill the eurobox blandmobile.

  16. David says:

    “GM puts Saab into liquidation, despite new bids
    January 9, 2010 – 9:38AM

    The US auto giant confirmed the Swedish brand’s closure on Friday, saying it had selected consulting firm AlixPartners “to supervise the orderly wind down of Saab”.”

    http://www.smh.com.au/business/world-business/gm-puts-saab-into-liquidation-despite-new-bids-20100109-lzai.html

    :-(

  17. philipb says:

    Even before GM’s announcement, the deal would be unbelievably complex, expensive and close to impossible to administer. Imagine extracting a company from within such as operation as GM. So many services are shared (IT, production, parts, HR, design, real estate and the rest) that it might be easier just to buy the Saab name & start again from scratch.

  18. Mike Dawson says:

    Incar Internet. Great idea. Easily acess multiple radio stations, get up to the minute updates on traffic, find out where that parking space is, get a menu for a restaurant while you’re trying to find that parking space. Re-wind the radio to catch that news article or tune again. Alert emergency services with your location.

    It’s the way forward.

    1. Dave P says:

      Been doing that in my BMW since 2006….. Yawn…

    2. Henry Manney says:

      “Incar Internet. Great idea.”

      Can you really be unaware that it doesn’t require an in-car
      installation to perform almost all the above tasks ?

      I suppose it’s possible. After all, Bernie doesn’t seem to be aware of this either.

    3. Brace says:

      You can do all that with mobile phone and similar gadgets today.
      And if I have to choose if I’ll have it on my mobile or in my car, I’d rather have it accessible always and not just when I’m in my car.

    4. Steve Earle says:

      Automatically dial an ambulance after crashing due to loss of concentration caused by more in-car distractions?

      1. rpaco says:

        Yes I believe Jaguar owners already have this benefit.

  19. George says:

    Doesn’t seem like a good plan to me, there are a lot of good saloon cars on the market. I cant see Bernie and a bunch of investors creating a car I’d rather have over an 3-series C class or A4.

  20. chris says:

    Is Bernie really that suspicious of the internet? I think the problem is that there is no real opportunity for FOM to make money from the net at present. If there was then i am sure Bernie would jump at it like he is with this saab deal.

    1. rpaco says:

      Yes exactly, so what’s he doing sticking his fingers in the SAAB pie? There is no obvious profit to be had unless the assets are able to be sold or used against another scheme. Forget making cars, its far too expensive.

  21. rpaco says:

    About 15-20 years ago the SMMT ICE committee was discussing the forthcoming in car GPS, video and internet facilities and it was decided that it should not operate above 4 mph.(which obviously went by the board) However BMW (I think, but maybe Merc) have a new screen where the driver sees GPS or car info whilst the passenger can watch a video, on the same screen, that’s good tech. It is amazing sometimes how slowly in car technology advances, from what I knew when I retired 7 years ago, I expected internet in all cars as standard fit about 5 years ago. Unfortunately the great ICE (in car entertainment) driving force is gone. The competition between Ford and Vauxhall in the UK was responsible for the raising of ICE spec levels over many years, The UK had the most advanced ICE in Europe, simply because no other country fitted it as part of the car spec. While in the UK, because Ford an Vauxhall had this competition going on, pushing each other forward, other manufacturers and importers were forced to add ICE to their cars. Unfortunately the golden goose was killed when OEM ICE was fitted to major volume models, everyone lost out. It was one of the worst economic industry moves ever made, however it is long gone now and the internet in cars is inevitable, but this will mean a GSM or higher generation connection from the car, GSM (as opposed to GPS) positioning is then possible (by cell strength differential) which of course makes it trackable and obviously average speed can be calculated from that. Is that what you want? Our next government may put off the compulsory tracking and charge per mile on all cars but when Labour get back in again, no doubt they will introduce it.

    As people n teh thread have pointed out Saab is now in liquidation, this makes it much easier for Bernie to pick up tasty bones out of the carcass wothout having to but the whole lot.

    1. Stephen Kellett JAF1 says:

      Tracking vehicles by GSM is not a good idea.
      Problems:
      1) Not all vehicle occupants have mobiles.

      2) Not all the UK is covered by GSM. If you think otherwise, or you believe your provider, you are mistaken.

      3) GSM coverage is patchy and can be affected by many things:
      a) Morphology (ground clutter, trees, vegetation)
      b) Buildings, especially buildings with steel frames (tower blocks, skyscrapers)
      c) Air moisture. Certain sizes of rain drops (drizzle, snow, etc) can seriously mess with the signal.

      OK. You think I’m talking crap. That is fine. you should be aware that in 1994 and 1996 I did work for two different companies in the UK to do with GSM traffic management solutions that identified “traffic holes” (places where there was not enough capacity to handle the traffic requirements) in the UK GSM network that no one else could detect. That work will still be in use today.

      I also reverse engineered traffic planning software (because it had not been documented by the people that wrote it) that enabled my customer to apply for patents for GSM traffic planning technology.

      I also wrote software for traffic planning migrations from analogue to GSM phones.

      All of the above required knowledge of how traffic signals are affected by various factors, the major ones I have listed above.

      The above problems are real and not easily overcome, especially by any GSM/3G based solution.

      For true big brother tracking they will need to use satellite or mandate that I have to carry a mobile phone.

      I may disagree with the former, but not much I can do about it, but the latter is a health risk and I will not accept it. Sure most of you (guess 99%) will think I am a loon. I have many friends in the mobile industry that design mobile circuits and you have how many? Why am I the skeptic? Draw your own conclusions.

      1. rpaco says:

        “The above problems are real and not easily overcome, especially by any GSM/3G based solution. For true big brother tracking they will need to use satellite or mandate that I have to carry a mobile phone. I may disagree with the former, but not much I can do about it, but the latter is a health risk and I will not accept it. Sure most of you (guess 99%) will think I am a loon. I have many friends in the mobile industry that design mobile circuits and you have how many? Why am I the skeptic? Draw your own conclusions.”

        The point was that the car, rather than you, would have the GSM device as a means of enabling the internet connection, (which was the theme of the post) (the car may very well also have GPS) In fact often there are 5 GSM transmitters in detectable (or signal strength measurable) range. Thus occulation and multipath of the signal could be calculated out. ~Your point re poorly or non, covered areas is of course a major one. G3,4, 4.5, 5 or beyond may end up being used. The frequencies of some of which may not coincide with those of water. (which woulds seem sensible) Of course some cars have this already in a very rudimentary from for emergency position marking (Jaguar is one) for auto alerting the AA.
        I was impressed by the attitude of one of my former customers, an engineer (at GM) who had previously worked on High frequency/microwave signal transmission, neither he nor any of his former colleagues would have a microwave oven in the house, thus I appreciate your comment re the safety of mobile phone radiation, though this has been investigated and proved beyond doubt in both directions. :-)

        However whilst the external national security/internal terrorist threat, remains (and it will now always be there, if not it will be invented) the government of the day will inevitably move toward a total surveillance society; car movement will form part of this. However since all air transmitted data is currently filtered by our supposed allies, will this make much difference?

  22. Monktonnik says:

    I hear what you are saying, but I could see certain applications that would work. Internet radio, in car I tunes. Also, streaming movies and other content for passengers. After being stuck in traffic for four hours with a four year old when snowed the other week I can see the attraction.

    If it is done right it will be revolutionary. Look what the I phone has done with the humble mobile phone. If they get the killer applications it could be fantastic.

  23. Shane says:

    Internet in cars eh???? Yet it’s illegal to use a phone, eat an apple, drink from that can of cola, or even talk to a passenger if the police decide your driving without due care and attention. So maybe Internet cars will be good for one thing, googling lawyers.

    1. Stephen Kellett JAF1 says:

      Quite. There have been cases of drivers being prosecuted for being stationary (at traffic lights or roadworks) and eating an apple or drinking water (*) and yet they were prosecuted (successfully! Ouch!) for doing so.

      This beggars belief as low blood sugar leads to poor concentration. Also low hydration leads to poor concentration. You only need to be down 5% on hydration for considerable impairment.

      I would have expected an imformed police force (or judge, should it come to it) to be pleased that people were eating or drinking while stationary as it will aid improved driving once they start moving (and stop eatiing/drinking).

      If while movimg the argument is that eating or drinking is a potential choke hazard (minor hazard but correct potential) and thus worthy of prosecution. But for stationary offences it is laughable and should be thrown out of court with the police given a severe reprimand.

      The lack of common sense (combined with knowledge of blood sugar/hydration) is, frankly, quite staggering.

      1. rpaco says:

        You should be aware that common sense was officially abolished by Tony Blair as giving the populace far too much latitude it was replaced with over 3500 new laws creating criminal offenses of most everyday actions. It is now barely possible to enter a car without committing an offense. :-)

  24. Robert McKay says:

    I think it’s a bit dodgy for Bernie to be trying to go into business in partnership with a group he helped get a majority stakeholding in a Formula 1 team.

    Given his position in F1 I think he is sailing a bit close to the wind with his relationship with this Genii Capital group. It’s a conflict of interests.

  25. P Byrne says:

    The problem with ‘internet in cars’ is surely that hardware and to a lesser extent software will be out of date within a couple of years (the latter can at least be updated on-line). Also is mobile internet access availability sufficently widespread in all markets across remote geographical locations?

    I’d love to see Saaab survive though and it does fit in with the innovative brand image the company has. Also, a huge number of BMW/Audi buyers are IT geeks so clearly there’s a huge potential market there.

  26. Howard F says:

    Anyone that has made several billion as Bernie has would not be committing to a business that, given the right investment and expertise, will fail. SAAB’s have always been good cars albeit without adequate investment and a very small range. As regards the technology, an internet access point in cars is only a matter of time. This could also be developed and integrated into a diagnostic system to monitor engine and other parameters and log defects, even to the point of predicting failures and required rectification. These systems are already widely used in the aviation industry and have been for some time. I think there is almost certainly a long term plan here to bring another Euro manufacturer into the F1 fold. As the de-facto head of F1 though, wouldn’t Bernie be compromised if, as a majority owner of a manufacturer based team, SAAB F1 became a reality??

    1. Stephen Kellett JAF1 says:

      These systems are already built into the cars. even older cars (the car I drive is T reg and the car prior to that an R reg, both from VW/Audi, both with computer sockets) has computer sockets where diagnostics can be attached. An internet connection is no big deal.

      What would be a big deal (and what will not happen) is if the information from that socket was available over the internet and that I (not my local BRAND dealer or local INDEPENDENT garage) could look at the information.

      Until that happens, having an internet enabled engine/car-system diagnostic is worthless.

      Recently my car failed with a strange would-not-start failure. Lots of smoke (turned out to be unburnt diesel), but no action. After some investigation (including talking to the onboard computer) it turned out that nothing onboard reported a failure, including the diesel pump (the main suspect). So they looked at the injectors (that have no reporting on them). Sent them to a specialist that cleaned them etc. Now fixed.

      How would internet enabled have helped me? Not one bit.
      a) Not reported by the computer
      b) Not reported to me, only the dealer (if at all).
      c) I want it reported to me, or any garage I choose to use.

      Internet car diagnostics is a nice idea. In a few cases where you are stuck in Glen Coe with a catastrophic “Guitar Hero 3 failure” it may be helpful.

      But in the real world, where you local garage need to fix it, they can conect in the passengar cabin or in the engine bay at one of the provided locations.

      1. rpaco says:

        “How would internet enabled have helped me? Not one bit.”
        Strange, the first thing I do when I have a problem with my S reg Xantia is get on the internet to the Citroen forums. So far they have always had the answer.
        (did I miss the point? :-))

  27. Tom P says:

    James can you expand on your comment regarding personnel changes at RF1′s Enstone base?

  28. Rick J says:

    Where can I buy a supply of that longevity supplement Bernie is clearly taking?

  29. Haven’t had a chance to read through the replies, so forgive me if im repeating anything!

    Might beinteresting to see what Bernie does with Saab, could turn it into a success, and this could be a chance for him to show the world ‘how it is done…’ I like Bernie, actually, sad as it maybe I would emulate him if I were to come into his success in life, I would rather be Bernie that Richard Branson anyway.

    Im very interested to see where Saab goes with this, and perhaps how in the future Saab becomes a player in F1….

  30. Most people are quick to judge or get rid of Bernie from F1. Not many people recognize his good work & judge him based on the money he makes. Just like we all love to bag out politicians. F1 is a huge business after all. Why shouldn’t he think like any other businessman???

    Anyway off the topic, I was wondering James, who are the possible options to replace Bernie at the moment if he decides to quit?

    1. James Allen says:

      That is something everyone in F1 has been asking for years!

  31. It’s certainly a name I wouldn’t associate with F1…. But that’s often how it works.

    Does Saab have association with the lorries makers Scania?

  32. Mike Dawson says:

    Wow, does this mean cars have radios in them now? Neat, I’ve been carrying my wireless around for ages.

  33. Silverstoned says:

    Just on Renault, James, is there any more talk about Prost coming in at any future time?

    1. James Allen says:

      Not heard his name in connection with Renault since rumours around Singapore time

  34. Another attempt to make driving as boring and dull as possible. The car industry (apart from super car makers) seems to have run out of ideas. Internet in cars brings nothing to the mix to the owner. Who will be responsible for providing the service? The dealership through the telecoms? Or the telecoms directly? Why would it be different from using an iPhone (hands-free off course)? Or the voice-activated sat-navs? How much does the contract adds to the cost? Does it run over the same bands or is the government flogging new frequencies? I’m certain a saab owner won’t mind the extra costs but I’ll pass. Will stick to my fun driving car with no internet but diagnostics connection :-). Now that’s and idea. Allow more diagnostics to be accessible to the common folks and geeks. Then we may see some serious innovation. Not some old folk’s home idea of what’s modern. Rant over :-). Great site James.

  35. rpaco says:

    I have to agree largely with Mr Kellett, in that having internet functions in cars that are driver accessible is going to cause many accidents. GPS is only just viable because of the audio instructions. Sadly the ability to verify those instructions and not drive into rivers etc seems to be diminishing. We still have morons using hand held mobile phones in cars whilst driving. (all these should be shot on sight).
    Because of GPS and a decline in the scout/guide movement we will have whole generations who cannot read a map.

    As a former company rep I know it is quite possible to eat a sandwich, and consult a map whilst driving, at 70mph, of course you have to hold your drink between your legs whist doing this, and the phone ringing may necessitate putting the sandwich down briefly. But then this was in the good old days when there was less traffic and my reactions time was about 1/10th sec and one could easily steer with one’s knees whilst shaving, tying a tie, changing a shirt etc. all in perfect safety. But now it’s a minefield!! :-)

  36. manatcna says:

    So. Will having an internet connection sell cars? I don’t think so

  37. Gary says:

    James, any more news on the “many personnel changes” at Enstone? Is this a case of Genii wanting to bring in some new people to freshen up the team, or does it mean lots of jobs going? It’s been quite a roller coaster ride for the guys and gals at Enstone.

  38. Spyros says:

    I thought that automotive innovation worked only with things that can be copywrited. Variable valve timing comes to mind.

    How exactly can anyone copyright… VOIP??

    Clearly I’m missing something.

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