Yesterday, we ran a story about that new mystery British supercar from Eterniti. We had to draw our own conclusions, because we could not reach the company. Today, I received an email from Mark Carbery, who is the spokesman for Eterniti. The mail isn’t really bursting with information, but here it is:
“The first car will be shown in Frankfurt.
We will be sending out more info over the coming few weeks, followed by the full press kit at Frankfurt. Current information and image available at our website www.eternitimotors.com or www.newspress.co.uk.
Meantime I can tell you that the car in the sketch is an indication of the first car, which will create a new niche above the most luxurious SUVs currently available, and will offer handmade interiors with any level of bespoke interior trim a customer requires, as will all future Eterniti products. We’re calling the first vehicle a Super-SUV, and it will be the first car in the space which Bentley and Lagonda are talking about going after, which will have appeal in major economic and hot-spots from London to the emerging Asian markets. The company is backed by an international group of investors. We’re based in London, which will be the firm’s hub for vehicle build, trim and retailing, and the team has experience of retailing luxury and high-performance car brands internationally, motor sport, vehicle engineering, and components development and production.”
Just for the record, today we had a quick chat with Infiniti honchos in Yokohama, after Twitter had lit up yesterday with rumors that the two might be related. No relation. Infiniti had heard of Eterniti’s existence just yesterday. Infiniti did not want to comment further, which is the wise thing to do.
Now one would think that the British mainstream press would be just giddy about a possible British return to old automotive glory. They are conspicuously quiet. Apparently, they don’t know what to do with it. If in doubt, spike it. All, except for one …
Car (“the world’s best car magazine”) proudly announces that “a new British car company will launch at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show – Eterniti Motors.” Investigative journalism reaches all-time highs as Car continues: “No figureheads have been revealed yet … Sounds to us like Eterniti Motors will be powered by some former bigwigs from the industry. People of the calibre of Martin Leach, ex-Ford of Europe and Maserati boss, perhaps.”
Look, chaps, it’s not that hard: You run a Whois on eternitimotors.com. You find the administrative contact’s Name as “Joyce Wang”, who is using the email address of k.Chen at capital-alliance.net. If you know a little about China, you can stop right here. If you don’t, run a new whois on capital-alliance.net, and you will find a Kenny Chen with an email at gruppemplc.com. You can take this further, but you don’t have to, you already are an investigative journalist! If you don’t know how to run Whois, ask the good folks at Carbuzz, who have been following this story. They also read Twitter (I don’t have the time for that) and report a cryptic tweet by Eterniti: “Joint development rights on “spoiler steering” that “bends” fast airflow, shared between Eterniti and a certain bullish (withheld) #f1 team.” James Hind of Carbuzz speculates that could be “implying that it has a connection with the Red Bull/Infiniti F1 team.” But if Infiniti’s never heard of them, how would that work?
Now, the team may have “experience of retailing luxury and high-performance car brands internationally,” (Porsche dealer, Shandong Province, Aston Martin Importer, check ) motor sport (has race team GruppeM-Eterniti racing, check,) vehicle engineering (might be a bit of a stretch), and components development and production (check)… but building a whole car?
UK’s Auto Express comes to an interesting conclusion:
“The car is apparently based on the platform of an existing crossover – a necessity to enable the fledgling company to get off the ground – thought to be the Porsche Cayenne. Once Eterniti has established itself in the market, it hopes to build its own vehicles from the ground up.”
Topgear has a slightly vaguer version, but it basically says the same:
“Of course, building a brand new car from scratch is an arduous, pain-staking and money-draining exercise. It also very rarely makes the leap from fantasmic concept to Actual Thing. Eterniti tells us “we’d like to create cars from the ground up, although drivetrain development is of course an enormous undertaking”. So the first car will feature bits from an existing vehicle that is best in its class. “Where we use elements of other vehicles”, says Eterniti, “we will always choose one that sets the benchmark.”
Hmmm. The last one I had met who converted Cayennes into pricey super-duper cars was Uwe Gemballa. Last year, he was found in a garbage bag near Pretoria, South Africa, with a bullet in a badly decomposed head. He had exported Gemballa-ized Porsches to South Africa, stuffed with cash. Vehicular money laundering. One day, a car arrived sans money, the customer didn’t like it, and Gemballa was shot. Fugitive Czech crime boss Radovan Krejcir was implicated in Gemballa’s premature departure, but was never charged. Last we heard from Krejcir was that he had bought a controversial security firm in South Africa. It came with “50 sophisticated firearms,” and they are gone. Well, cars are dangerous business.
Come to think of it, when I had talked to Uwe about his China experience, he had mentioned that he had been in touch with a Chinese Porsche dealer, but severed the relationship because “I thought that they only wanted a few body-kits, and then they would copy them.” Uwe did not like that. Uwe wanted to import cars to China, possibly filled with ill-gotten cash.
While on wild tangents: When I talked to the Infiniti people, they asked: “Does their logo look similar to ours?” I said: “Not even close. It’s kind of a knight’s shield kinda thing.” However, if you compare it with Gemballa and Porsche, the similarities are striking, no? If you want to be like someone, the first thing you do is dress like him.