Eastern German supercar to hit the roads
TWIG - A new German sports car is making waves in the automotive press and raising hopes of an economic windfall for Altenburg, an eastern German hamlet of 40,000 known until now as the birthplace of "skat," a German card game.
In a move that proved that there is more to Germany’s automotive scene than Mercedes and Porsche, an Altenburg-based company called GMG Sportscar Manufacturing has just unveiled a sleek and stylish supercar called Apollo.
The ambitious eastern German carmakers want to do their Stuttgart-based rivals one better by putting Altenburg on the map as an automotive mecca on par with Maranello, the Italian city that Ferrari calls home.
GMG’s 650-horsepower, 360-km/h two-seater Apollo has already drawn comparisons with high-performance benchmarks like Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini and Aston Martin — and is surely a far cry from the plastic-bodied, 24-horse power Trabi that was once ubiquitous on eastern German roadways.
The top-of-the-line Apollo model will be powered by a 4.2-liter Audi V8 engine, capable of propelling its 1,000 kg chrome-molybdane-steel chassis to 100 km/hr in just 3.0 seconds.
With prices ranging form 115,000 Eur to 175,000 Eur ($142,000 to $215,000), the Apollo isn’t cheap. But Altenburg’s entry in the race to build the world’s fastest car is practically a bargain compared to competitors like the Porsche GT at 500,000 Eur ($617,000) and the Enzo Ferrari at 645,000 Eur ($796,000).
GMG can afford to offer so much bang for the buck thanks to lower labor costs in the formerly communist eastern part of Germany, where modern industry is still taking root and unemployment is nearly twice as high as in the west.
The firm can also draw on a well-educated and highly-motivated workforce that boasts a tradition of automotive innovation.
Altenburg is close to the center of eastern Germany’s thriving auto industry, which has been a bright spot on an otherwise gloomy economic landscape.
BMW and Porsche have recently set up shop in nearby Leipzig, and in the neighboring city of Zwickau, two Volkswagen facilities that have produced more than 2.2 million vehicles since the Berlin Wall fell.
GMG hopes to solidify the region’s growing reputation as an
automotive hub by tapping an eastern German company to handle the car’s
distribution on an internet platform called Ossi Versand.
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