This is the Motoramic Dash, a daily roundup of the most interesting news in the automotive world.
In the aftermath of earthquakes in northern Italy that killed 17 people, injured 350 and damaged dozens of small villages, several Italian automakers halted production. Ferrari went a step further, announcing it would hold an online auction to benefit survivors with several donated goods, including this rare Ferrari 599XX Evo -- a car valued at $1.6 million that its owners never take home.
The 599XX Evo offers a rolling test bed for new Ferrari technology, including some tricks from its Formula 1 program, making them the fastest Ferraris available to everyday billionaires. Instead of leaving the car with owners, Ferrari keeps them at its headquarters and schlepps them to special track events around the world.
In addition to the 599XX Evo, Ferrari says it will donate a plethora of F1 merchandise, from momentos signed by drivers Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso to an entire F1 V8 engine. The online auction will start in a few days at the Ferrari Store website.
Other news from around the industry this morning:
Car battery startups fizzle: I noted battery maker A123 Systems' troubles earlier this week; Mike Ramsey of the Wall Street Journal stitches the big picture together of an overbuilt industry fed by Obama administration money that's run into the hard reality that electric cars are just too expensive for mass market buyers today. Expect this to come up in a political ad near you soon. (Wall Street Journal)
Chrysler sales rise 30 percent in May: The first in what's expected to be mostly strong sales across the U.S. auto industry for May, led by a comeback among Japanese firms. Chrysler has a lot to tout in this report, but a near-doubling of Dodge Avenger sales does raise some questions about how many of those new cars went to rental fleets. (Chrysler)
Ford: Pension buyout offers to 98,000 start in August: Ford will attempt to reduce its pension costs by buying out the pensions of retired workers. It's like a lottery ticket: cash up front, or annuity -- except this annuity lasts as long as you live. (Detroit News)
Charles Morgan wins Spirit of Gumball award: A wise choice. (Gumball 3000 via Twitter)