BMW Group's Global January Sales Down 24.2%, MINI Hit the Worst

If January's sales are anything to go by, 2009 will be an even more difficult year for automakers. The BMW Group that includes the BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brands, sold 70,405 vehicles globally in January, down 24.2 percent from the same month last year (92,849 units). In the first month of 2009, the BMW brand reported 60,248 deliveries or 22.1% lower than January 2008. MINI performed even worse selling 10,120 vehicles, down 34.5 percent from last year (15,457 units).

The Bavarian automaker blamed MINI's sales reduction in part due to the lack of availability of the MINI Convertible which ended production in mid 2008 with the new model launch scheduled for March 28th. BMW said that this model accounted for a substantial share of total MINI retail, averaging 16% of sales.

As for the group's 'uber' luxury brand, Rolls Royce reported sales of 37 cars that translates to a 9.8% fall over January 2008.

BMW Group sales in January 2009 at a glance

In January 2009 Compared with previous year

BMW Group Automobiles 70,405 -24.2%

BMW 60,248 -22.1%

MINI 10,120 -34.5%

Rolls-Royce 37 -9.8%

Fan Comes up with BMW M7 Rendering, Bavarians' Still not Interested

In yet another case of 'too-much-time-itis', a reader of our Dutch friends at has come up with a new fantasy rendering of the BMW M7 - a car that has never been confirmed, and most probably never will. Using a blacked out 7-Series as a base, the artist photoshoped an "M" style bumper, lowered the car a few inches and added a set of... Brabus alloy wheels. Even though the German saloon looks pretty menacing here, we reckon that if BMW ever decided to build an M7, it would look far more aggressive than this proposal.

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Citroen DS Inside Concept: 21 High-Res Photos of Citroen's Premium MINI

On its 90th birthday, Citroen announced an array of plans to reinvent itself and bring back the desirability factor to the brand. These plans include the presentation of a new premium range of vehicles that revive the iconic DS badge and will consist of three new cars, positioned in the small, medium and large car segments. The first illustration of this new product line is the Citroen DS Inside concept that was unveiled at a special event in Paris ahead of its public debut in Geneva Show next month.

Citroen DS Inside Concept The Mini Clubman-sized concept previews the first production DS model, the DS3 that has been officially confirmed to arrive in 2010. Citroen did not disclose any details on the car in Paris, but from what we gathered, it is mechanically related to the C3 Picasso MPV and the next-generation C3 hatchback. Like the new C5 and the C3 Picasso, Citroen's premium supermini has a far more aggressive and appealing styling than what we have been used to seeing from the French brand.

And yes, according to Citroen's people we spoke to, the production DS3 will not differ much from the concept you see here. Expect to see the DS3 being offered with a wide range of diesel and petrol engines including the BMW and PSA Peugeot-Citroen developed 1.6-liter turbocharged petrol unit that also powers the MINI Cooper.

Citroen DS Inside Concept Aside from the DS3, the new line will include the Citroen C4 / VW Golf-sized DS4 and the larger, C5 / Ford Mondeo-sized DS5. The later could very well be a four-door coupe proposal in the likes of the Passat CC.

As well as the new DS range, Citroen also announced the introduction of a new three-dimensional version of its double chevron logo, the redesigning of its showrooms and website, its commitment to the WRC through its renamed Citroen Sport division (known up until know as Citroen Racing) and most importantly, that over the next three years, the firm will launch six new models in Europe, at a pace of one launch every six months.

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More Than Meets the Eye: Audi R8 and Nissan GT-R Transformers

Here in the States, when it comes to Transformer toys, we're usually restricted to receiving the mainstream Autobots and Decepticons, but in the Land of the Rising Sun, fans appear to have broader range of products to choose from. Take these Transformers for example that are based on the new Nissan GT-R and the Audi R8. Judging from what we see in the photos, the Nissan GT-R Autobot looks like a pretty neat proposal, something that cannot be said for the Audi R8 Decepticon which gives the impression of a poorly executed design.

And for those of you wondering, we have no idea which company builds these Transformers or where you can buy them.

Photos Via: The Arker

2010 Lexus RX350 Pricing Announced, Cheaper Than its Predecessor

More often than not, an all-new model comes to the market with a slightly higher price tag than its predecessor, but that's not the case with the 2010 Lexus RX350 that arrives at U.S. dealerships this month. The new gasoline-powered RX carries a base MSRP of $36,800 for the front-wheel drive (FWD) model and $38,200 for the all-wheel drive (AWD) version meaning that it is priced $900 lower than the outgoing RX350 that cost $37,700 and $39,100 respectively.

The 2010 RX 350 mates a revised 275-horsepower strong 3.5-liter V6 engine with an all-new six-speed Multi-Mode Automatic Transmission. The luxury SUV's standard equipment includes among other things, 10 airbags, 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and SmartAccess keyless-entry.

Video: 2009 Renault Clio GT

The third-generation Renault Clio has received a subtle facelift for the 2009 MY. To be officially presented at the Geneva Show next month, the Clio features a redesigned front and rear-end while Renault also introduced a new sportier version of the supermini called GT which gets an aerodynamic bodykit and a stiffer suspension set-up. No word yet on what's hiding under the hood, but Renault did release this video of the Clio GT that includes driving and beauty shots. See it after the jump.

2009 SEAT Altea Range Receives Minor Facelift

Along with the updated Leon hatchback and the new Exeo Sport Tourer, SEAT will also take the covers off the facelifted Altea range that consists of the standard model, the long-wheelbase XL and the Freetrack crossover in Geneva. Since the Altea MPV is a Leon spin-off, it comes to no surprise that all three variants feature similar styling changes with the hatchback. These include the new grille and headlamp treatment plus a larger rear window which now wraps the corners of the car.

Likewise, the Altea's interior has been updated with a revised instrument panel, central console and door panel trim and materials. Under the hood, the 2009 Altea continues to be offered with a range 10 different engines choices, five petrol and five diesel all of which have been updated in way or another according to SEAT.