Archive for the ‘cars’ Category

Cars: Private enterprise vs. government-owned

Friday, June 12th, 2015

Private enterprise vs. government-owned: A consumer economy beats a command economy, all the way down the road.

Read my article here

Venezuela: And now for the Iranian cars

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Venezuela, where gasoline is almost free but the cars are lousy.

Jesus Silvia’s report on Press TV:

Iran’s car industry has shown signs of enhancing its share in Venezuelan market. The sale of US cars in Venezuela’s market has decreased dramatically since President Nicolas Maduro banned American automakers from using dollars for transactions. Iranian vehicles made by Venirauto group seem to be an alternative to Venezuelans in times of a troubled market.

VENezuela + IRan + AUTO = Venirauto, which is also a handy pun for “coming by car” (venir en auto)

Video:

At the 0:40 mark, Francisco Espinoza, president of Venirauto group, “Our achievement is based on inspiration given by our late commander, Hugo Chavez. He wanted Venezuela to ally with Iran, and we’re doing so.”

Compare and contrast the very low-tech plant shown in the video with a Hyundai assembly plant at Kancheepuram district in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu October 4, 2012,

or the Volvo trucks assembly plant in South Carolina

One of the reasons Iran is willing to build cars in Venezuela when foreign automakers are leaving is that, as early as 2007, Iran agreed to build platforms in a US$4 billion development of Orinoco delta oil deposits in exchange for Venezuelan investments.

As you would expect from a government-forced monopoly, the cars don’t look jazzy (emphasis added),

The company Venirauto, which is 51% Iranian and 49% Venezuelan, is producing two different models. The first model, the Turpial at a price of Bs. 17 million (US$7,906), is a 4-door sedan based on the old Kia Pride model. The second is the Centauro, at a price of Bs. 23 million (US$11,069), and is based on the Peugeot 405 given that the French firm is the main supplier of engines and technology to the Iranian company. Both models are exempt from Venezuela’s sales tax IVA (Value-added tax), due to a government program to subsidize cars that include Venezuelan production.

The goal is to eventually produce 100% of the cars in Venezuela.

The Peugeot 405 was introduced on 1987 and, according to Wikipedia, is still produced under license in Iran and Egypt but ceased production in France in 1997. The old Kia Pride (not to be confused with the Kia New Pride) was in production from 1987 to 2000.

Don’t expect to find those in Kelley’s Blue Book Top 10 anytime soon.

Parting question,
Can the Venirautos be bullet-proofed?

Argentina: Top Gear hot water

Friday, December 26th, 2014

The Top Gear Christmas special airs this weekend on on December 27 and 28. The lads covered a lot of ground,

And they were run out of town:

Top Gear Christmas Special: What really happened in Patagonia?
Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond arrived in Argentina in September to film the Top Gear Christmas Special. The subsequent fortnight was even more dramatic than they could have imagined

He can have my Volvo for US$500,000

Friday, November 7th, 2014

Soon-to-be-former Uruguayan president Pepe Mujica claims that an unnamed Arab sheik (who must have been smoking the Uruguayan government’s most famous crop) has offered to buy Mujica’s VW Beetle for US$1million:
Uruguayan president Jose Mujica receives $1m offer for his blue Beetle
The leader says that an Arab sheikh wanted to buy the car which has become a symbol of his humble style

he joked that he did not sell it because of his dog Manuela, famous for only having three legs.

Yeah, right.


The Love Bug

The Top Gear Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, October 6th, 2014

The Top Gear lads got ‘chased by thousands and ordered out of country’

“When we saw people on Twitter getting upset we took the plate off. But they still attacked us so we made a break for it to our hotel in Ushuaia.

“The mob just descended on the hotel and encircled us. State representatives came and ordered us out of the country.”

Here’s the car that caused the fracas,

Video of the police escorting them.

ARGENTINA
Barcelona star Lionel Messi to face tax evasion trial
Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi is to face trial for alleged tax evasion, a Spanish judge has ruled.

Argentina central bank governor resigns amid economic woes
Argentina’s central bank governor Juan Carlos Fabrega has resigned after less than a year in office.

BOLIVIA
Bolivian Couple Arrested in Argentina Accused of Killing Their Daughter

BRAZIL
With election Sunday, Brazil deals with oil scandal
With election Sunday, Brazil deals with oil scandal
Corruption charges in a refinery project complicate the race for the ruling party
.

They include corruption, political machinations with the state-controlled oil company, and delays and overspending on a multibillion-dollar oil refinery that Brazil needs desperately.

CARIBBEAN
20141004_AMC803PetroCaribe and the Caribbean
Single point of failure
Venezuela’s financing programme leaves many Caribbean countries vulnerable

CHILE
Extreme skiers Auclair and Fransson die in Chile avalanche
Police in Chile have found the bodies of two extreme skiers who had been missing since an avalanche struck a mountain in southern Chile on Tuesday.

COLOMBIA
Colombian Attorney General Says Conflict Cases Could Be Shelved

Prince Charles and Camilla to Visit Colombia and Mexico

Who will save Bogota?

CUBA
Keep Cuba out of hemispheric summits

Prosecutors seek 5-year prison term for Cuban opposition activist Ciro Alexis Casanova

Fraternal Relations, Part III

ECUADOR
The Dark Side of Green Justice
Review: ‘Law of the Jungle’ by Paul Barrett

HAITI
Former Haiti president Duvalier diesJean-Claude Duvalier
Haiti’s notorious former ruler Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier has died of a heart attack in the capital Port-au-Prince, reports quoting official sources say.

JAMAICA
Jamaica Gets Help Preparing for Possible Ebola Cases

MEXICO
Leader of Cartel Is Captured
The leader of one of Mexico’s largest cartels, Héctor Beltrán-Leyva of the Beltrán-Leyva gang, has been captured, the authorities said Wednesday night, giving President Enrique Peña Nieto another high-profile victory against organized crime.

Indeed, How Dare We Leave Andrew Tahmooressi Behind?

PANAMA
Is Panama’s President Being Coerced by Cuba’s Regime?

1,400 Cops Occupy Unruly Panamanian Prison

Panama President Demands That Judge Explain Growing Wealth

PARAGUAY
Rutherford B. Hayes: An OK President but a hero in Paraguay

Hayes agreed to negotiate a long-held border dispute between Argentina and Paraguay, and the decision gave the nation 60 percent of its land.

PERU
Spanish Speleologist in Hospital after 12 Days in Peruvian Cave

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico Offers Itself as a Gateway to U.S. Market, Official Says

VENEZUELA
Venezuela Oil Price Continues Tumbling
Venezuela’s Ministry of Energy and Petroleum reports that the average price of Venezuelan crude sold by Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) during the week ending October 3 fell to its lowest price since January of 2011. The Latin American Herald Tribune notes that the Ministry continues to post an inaccurate average for the year and reduced the average price for the whole of 2013 by $1.41 without explanation

Venezuela: Lawmaker Killed in His Home, Police Say
A day after Robert Serra, a rising star in Venezuela’s governing party, was stabbed to death in his home, officials said Thursday that it was a carefully planned murder.

The week’s posts and podcasts:
Brazil: Aécio goes to the runoff

Argentina: Top Gear fracas

Brazil: More of the same?

En español: El Alcalde de Iguala en la UdQ

Argentina: Hoping it’s hit rock bottom

Cuba: Risky business

Taxes, and a book

Brazil: Dilma up in the polls

En español: Últimas noticias del idiota iberoamericano

Venezuela: Why the military won’t rise up

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
I’m a tax exile, and proud of it

And now for something completely different: A book on Cuban history

The week’s podcast:
Let’s chat with Alina Garcia-Lapuerta, author of “La Belle Creole”

Argentina: Top Gear fracas

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

Top Gear crew ‘chased by thousands and ordered out of country’

“There were hundreds of them. They were hurling rocks and bricks at our cars. They were trying to attack us with pickaxe handles.

over a license plate that reminded people of the Falklands.

H982 FKL.

I kid you not.

The Argentinians call the Falklands the Malvinas, but, all the same, look at this,

The locals had their two minutes of hate, and the lads needed police escort to get out of the country safely.

Communism at work: Give up your car

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Translation: Workshop:
Maximum Socialist Efficiency
The State enterprise building
the New Economic Order

My latest article, Communism at work: Give up your car, is up at Da Tech Guy Blog.

In other related news, Maduro says he needs $15billion to rebuild the exhange system, which is the amount Hugo Chavez spent on weapons purchases three years ago.

Damme!

Friday, November 15th, 2013

As in Jean-Claude Van,

On second thought, the song is Only time,

How Volvo Created the Jean-Claude Van Damme ‘Epic Split’ Video

Argentina: Pope Francis, Renault 4 Club’s lifetime member

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

A few days ago an Italian priest gifted Pope Francis a popemobile that is a lot like him: frugal, clad in white and with a fair bit of mileage. The Pope will use it for getting around the Vatican, which tells me a couple of things:

  • Popes get parking privileges
  • Francis likes stick shift
  • The little car looks like fun
  • He runs his own errands.

Following the news of the Pope’s new wheels (which, at 186,000 miles goes beyond “certified pre-owned”), the Buenos Aires-based Argentina Renault 4 Motor Club has granted Pope Francis a lifetime membership, since Pope Francis owned a green Renault 4 back in the day.

Here’s a YouTube of the club’s loyal fans meeting in the cold rain to show off their “roadrunners”, as they call their cars,

I can’t wait to see photos of the Pope washing the car when he needs to think.


Mexico: Iron Man? No, Peatónito!

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013


Nice abs, too.

Standing for truth, pedestrians, and the Mexican way, at the intersection where wrestling meets traffic.

Take a look,

A Very Pedestrian Superhero Grapples With Mexico City Traffic
Peatónito, Walkers’ Masked Champion, Leads a Double Life; Has Paint, Will Travel

There is no one more neglected than Mexico City’s walkers, says Peatónito.

“The pedestrian is nobody in this city, he has been forgotten by authorities and our own citizenry,” Peatónito says. “The curious and paradoxical thing is that we are all pedestrians at some moment. As such, we have forgotten ourselves.”

The guy has his work cut out for him. Follow him on Twitter,

Hierarchy >> Pedestrians, especially vulnerable people; cyclists; public transport riders, cargo vehicles and automobiles.