Saturday, 31 May 2008

UK diesel is cheapest in Europe

Until the government tax is added, then its the most expensive. According to Government figures, the UK's diesel costs an average of 48.8 pence a litre before tax is added.

However, that leaps to an average 116.6p or £1.06 a litre once the Government's 58% tax has been added, making it the most expensive diesel in Europe.

Unleaded petrol prices are the third-lowest in Europe before tax, 62% tax, the third highest in Europe meaning it is the fifth highest-priced.

The Conservative Party slammed the revelations. Shadow Treasury minister Philip Hammond said: 'Gordon Brown’s claim that world oil prices are the cause of the soaring costs is exposed as a sham.

Diesel tax rates in Europe:

UK 58%

Sweden 52%

Germany 51%

France 50%

Austria 48%

Denmark 48%

Ireland 48%

Audi R8 waiting list grows to several months

The Audi R8 is defiantly a good-looking supercar but now theres a large demand for it.. Nevertheless, a new sales report from Audi says the car "is sold out for months."

If demand remains strong for the car then it's fair to assume the backlog will continue to grow.. According to chairman Rupert Stadler, the R8 isn't the only Audi with strong demand. The top executive said the large Q7 SUV has taken the A4's place as Audi's most popular model in the U.S.

What's more, Stadler said he expects to see Audi's overall sales exceed one million units this year globally. Last month, the manufacture had sold 86,700 vehicles and sales could increase even more into the second half of 2008. In 2007, Audi sold 964,000 vehicles worldwide.

Toyota recalls 90,000 Highlander SUV's (U.S)

Toyota has announced that it will recall 90,000 Highlander SUVs in the U.S due to a defect in the Highlander's third-row seat belts, which could prevent rear-facing child seats from being secured properly.

The Japanese automaker has also issued a stop of sale on all 2008 Highlanders equipped with third-row seating.

The recall impacts Highlander models built between May 2007 and March 2008. Owners will be informed of the recall in June. No injuries or accidents have been linked to the defect.

KIA Morning receives 6 month waiting list (KR)



The Kia Morning (known as Picanto in Europe and South Africa) has a 6 month waiting list in Korea. This is due to the rising fuel prices which has now made city cars in the country ever more popular.

Throughout April this year, Kia Motors has sold over 33,000 units of the Picanto/Morning. That’s a growth of 30 percent from the same period last year.

Kia says the fuel-efficient city car has been so popular that it has over 32,000 units on back order, meaning a wait of upto 6 months for many buyers throughout the world.

GM Chevrolet/Daewoo’s Matiz has also seen a steady rise in sales with more than 5,000 of the cars sold since March and another 5,000 on back order. The two models are currently the only city cars made by Korean automakers for domestic sale, putting demand far above supply.

Friday, 30 May 2008

Bigger Golf gets facelift










It seems like that the Golf/Rabbit isn't the only Golf-based model to receive a facelift. Spies have caught the new Golf Plus facelift undergoing mechanical and altitude testing in the Austrian Alps.

The revised Golf Plus will have its debut at the Bologna motorshow in late December, before UK sales start in early 2009. The front end gets the same styling treatment as the upcoming Golf Mk6 hatch but the rear is apparently going to be similar to the current Golf Plus model.

The Golf Plus, Jetta sedan and Golf Estate will receive technical improvements including direct-injection engines to cut down on fuel consumption and emissions without affecting performance. Expect an expansion of the 1.4 TSI petrol engines which are now available in 140, 150, 160 and 170bhp form.

Related links:

Difficult is worth doing - By Honda

I was given a early preview for the all new Honda Accord advert. The advertisement is called Difficult is worth doing. The adverts are teaser ads of the making of the new Honda Accord.

Difficult is worth doing highlights how Honda are at the cutting edge of technology and the ad also brings to light the team behind the making of Honda and their teamwork.

Let me know what you think of it.

Part 1 - Introduction:

video

Part 2 - Rehearsals on the ground:

video

Part 3 - The wind tunnel:

video

Part 4 - Filming the stunt:

video

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Chevrolet Europe set to expand its range by 2012

Chevrolet Europe will double its car range by 2012. Chevrolet wants to be competitive in 65% of the market within four years, an increase of a third from 2006.

“The whole Chevrolet portfolio will be renewed by 2012 and we are looking to expand into new segments,” said Wayne Brannon, chief executive of Chevrolet Europe. “We’re particularly interested in creating a new monocab MPV to compete with the Zafira and a small SUV that would sit beneath the Captiva.”

The new Epica mid-sized sedan is the first stage in the new strategy and will be followed by the all new Beat, Camaro and electric Volt.

New engines will also be a key part of this growth, said Brannon. “We’re looking to produce a new 1.0-litre diesel engine in the next two to three years, and we are also hoping to add a 1.3-litre diesel to the range.”

Progress is also being made on the company’s hydrogen fuel-cell car, which is also due to enter the Chevrolet range by 2012. The first working fuel-cell demonstrators, which will be based on the Equinox SUV, will be in action in Europe by the end of next year.

VW Tiguan customers receive free Golf (DE)

Buyers from Germany who have purchased a Volkswagen Tiguan SUV will receive a Volkswagen Golf as a courtesy car until their vehicle has arrived in January 2009.

Faced with high demand of its soft-roader and in an effort to stop Tiguan buyers from looking elsewhere, Volkswagen has taken the unusual move of getting its dealers to hand out Golf's to anyone who orders a Tiguan. To cover the costs of depreciation on the Golf, VW will pay the dealers €1000 (£800) for every Tiguan sold.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Squaring up the Cube





Nissan is working flat out on the new Cube. The first generation of the quirky vehicle was only sold in Japan where it enjoyed huge success thanks to its eye-catching design. Since it was only for Japan, the vehicle got imported by customers in their thousands. The Cube also had an older brother called Cubic which provided a 3rd row of seats.

The new model, caught here undergoing testing in France will be sold throughout the world, including Europe and the U.S.

Nissan showed a concept called Denki (electric in Japanese) Cube with high-efficiency lithium-ion batteries at the New York Motor Show. The hybrid will utilise cutting-edge lithium-ion battery technology and will developed in the UK alongside with NEC. This previews an electric Cube scheduled for 2010, as well as a conventional petrol engined version. A 1.6VVT petrol engine is expected to be borrowed from the Renault Clio alongside the 1.5 dCi, which is expected to stay firmly in Europe.

Exterior changes should be minimal compared to the concept, although the current car’s low rear lights will be placed near the boot lid to meet European regulations. A smooth CVT automatic and manual gearbox will be offered along with a classier interior to suit UK tastes.

The first photo shows the car undisguised at a press conference. Other than testing in France, Nissan has been testing Cube mules in London, near their design centre. These prototypes include the Cube and the Cube Cubic. The latter may make it to the UK if demand is sufficient.

Its hard to distinguish what the Cube will be rivalling since the Note takes on supermini based MPV's like the Renault Modus, Vauxhall/Opel Meriva, Daihatsu Materia and Ford Fusion but it is safe to say, for those who don't want a European styled people carrier will have the option to choose the Cube. The Cube should reach dealerships by 2010 followed by the hybrid in 2011. Expect a world debut at the LA autoshow in November. Nissan Cube to be unveiled in LA

'09 Nissan Maxima production started (U.S)

Nissan's flagship sedan has officially gone into production today. The first '09 Maxima rolled off the assembly line at Nissan's Smyrna, Tenn. manufacturing plant.

The new Maxima is built on Nissan's new D-Platform but is powered by an upgraded 3.5 litre VQ V6 engine producing 290bhp, a 35bhp increase than the current model but still less than the new 3.7 litre V6 with 330bhp (borrowed from the Infiniti EX37 and G37). The engine is mated to a new Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) with manual and Ds (drive sport) mode for a more sporty drive.

"We set out to create one of the best performing front engine, front-wheel drive sedans in the world," said Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager, Nissan division, Nissan North America. "The Maxima delivers on all levels offering the value, quality and exhilarating performance consumers have come to expect from Nissan."

The Nissan Maxima was first introduced in the U.S back in 1981 and today 4 of every 5 sold are still on the road today, not bad for a car that's in its 8th generation. The new 2009 model will come in two trim levels; Maxima 3.5 S and Maxima 3.5 SV. Pricing will announced before sales start in summer 2008.

Upcoming Lexus rumors


Lexus is expanding their current range of cars. Recently introduced is the IS-F that rivals the BMW M3 sedan, Mercedes C-Class AMG and the upcoming Alfa Romeo 159 GTA. Although the schedule is 2 years out of date, it still gives a brief idea of what Lexus is getting upto.

2008:

'08 MY IS convertible:

According to Lexus insiders, Lexus has registered the following trademarks: IS 250C, IS 300C and IS350C. Presumably, the C stands for coupe or convertible. What's even more interesting is the trademark on IS 300C. Lexus doesn't sell an IS 300 anywhere so its likely the new model will fill the 100+ bhp gap between the IS 250 and IS 350.

Lexus didn't trademark a IS-FC or any other combination of those letters so a 2 door IS-F may not be in the Lexus future but the coupe could be marketed as the IS-F.

See spy photos here > Lexus IS coupe and cabriolet

'08 MY LX470:

Initially the LX470 SUV is due for a replacement in September judging by the schedule but the top 2 rows of black boxes have both got "06" typed on them, so its kinda confusing.

'08 MY LS900h:

Considering the name, LS900h is indicating a larger engine than the 5.0 litre V8 powered LS 600h which develops 435bhp. No information is currently available for the engine or model.

2009:

RX Series:

In 2009, we should see the all new Lexus RX SUV. Current engines are expected to be carried over and there will be a hybrid variant available.

"JX" Crossover:

Since the RX SUV is considered as a crossover to Lexus, does that mean Lexus is planning a proper crossover? Although its not known what the RX is named internally, could the Lexus "JX" crossover be real?

IS Series facelift:

In order to keep it looking nice and fresh for the small premium car market, the IS is readying for a minor facelift. There could even be a hybrid in the pipeline for the new IS.

"BS" small hatchback:

Although its been rumored for years and Lexus hasn't hinted at wanting a small premium hatchback, it seems that there will be no baby for Lexus so the "BS" could just be BS.

Upcoming Jaguar and Land Rover rumors



Jaguar is on a roll. After the successful launch of the XF mid-sized sedan, Jaguar and Land Rover will be introducing a series of new engines and models including a hybrid XJ. An upcoming Porsche Panamera and Aston Martin Rapide rival is in the pipeline for Jaguar and we're likely to see the new super-coupe in 2011 the earliest.

Longer-term JLR plans to develop green technologies have won government financial backing under the Low Carbon Vehicle programme. These are likely to result in production developments over the next five to 15 years and include the REHEV (Range Extended Electric Vehicle) for a plug-in hybrid, a new flywheel-based energy recovery system and a 120g/km luxury.

2008:

This year could see a new, smaller diesel engine finding its way underneaths the XF's bonnet. The current 2.7 litre V6 diesel engine pollutes 199g/km and new diesel unit is likely to be a 2.0 litre in-line 4-cylinder engine. This should offer much better fuel economy and even lower emissions.

2009:

A new 3.0 litre V6 diesel engine based upon the current 2.7 litre V6 and an all new direct injection 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine will find its way in some Land Rover's and Jaguar's. The 5.0 litre V8 could find its way under the upcoming XF-R hood.

Jaguar XE Coupe:

No information has been surfaced yet but a £40,000 price tag is expected. The new coupe maybe based upon the XK or XF platform. C-XE (registered on 18.04.2008) could hint at a cabriolet version of the upcoming XE coupe. This is likely to rival the Porsche Boxster, Mercedes SLK and BMW Z4.

2010:

A micro-hybrid using stop-start technology and based around the 3.0-litre V6 diesel will be the first to be launched in the Land Rover Discovery 3, Range Rover Sport, Jaguar XF and Jaguar XJ in 2010. This system will improve economy and lower emissions by 10%.

Transmission wise, a new 8-speed ZF gearbox is key to the hybrid development. It features a completely new approach to the internal design of an auto, itself a fuel-saving feature, and a separate hydraulic reservoir that makes the 'box compatible with stop-start devices unlike today's six-speed ZF unit.

Jaguar XK:

The XK coupe and cabriolet first came into production in 2005/2006. Since then, a slight refresh has been offered for the 2008 model year. 2010 could see a complete facelift or a whole new model. The usual 4.2 litre V8 petrol engine will be standard and if demanded, a diesel engine could even find its way under the hood.

Jaguar XJ:

Testing is in full swing for the new large luxury sedan. The new XJ will take styling hints off the XF, interior and exterior wise including the new pop-up JaguarDrive gear selector. C-XJ (registered on 14.04.2008) could suggest a convertible version of the XJ sedan. The XJ will reach showrooms in 2010 with a possible sports version dubbed: XJ-R. This could rival the upcoming Lexus LS-F and the Mercedes S-Class AMG. The XJ-R could use a tuned version of the upcoming 5.0 litre V8.

Like the current XJ, the next generation will be available in both SWB and LWB version and is set to be lighter than the current model, thus saving fuel and giving better handling.

2011:

Land Rover Freelander, LRX and Discovery:

The Land Rover Freelander should receive a refresh or facelift in this year. In the same year, Land Rover's LRX coupe will reach showrooms. This uses a diesel engine mated with a hybrid system. The Discovery has received a refresh this year but in 2011, there should be a facelifted model arriving.

Jaguar XF:

As for Jaguar, the XF will receive a facelift to keep it looking fresh.

2012:

Jaguar is considering the system for a full-hybrid version of the next XJ and it could be on the market as soon as 2012. Land Rover is looking at a different hybrid solution using its rear-mounted 'Electric Rear Axle Drive' electric motor.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

New Car: 2008 Peugeot 407 facelift



Its been 4 years since the Peugeot 407 was launch at the Geneva motorshow. 4 years later, it went under the knife receiving a slight nip and tuck at the rear and added chrome to the exterior.

Mechanically, the engines have been tweaked to make them cleaner. The 2.0-litre HDi engine now produces 140bhp requires 5.6 litres of diesel per 100 km, emits 150g/km of CO2 and meets Euro 5 emissions standards.

Peugeot also added a new engine to its range, the 2.0-litre Bioflex engine which runs on Ethanol fuel will be available where governments apply biofuel tax incentives.

Press Release:

Since its launch, the elegant, distinctive and dynamic 407 Saloon and SW have become a benchmark in their segment due to their high levels of road holding. They also introduced a touch of style into a segment based around traditional yet conventional saloon and estates, designed with just volume and practicality in mind. Peugeot based the design of the 407 around a number of core motoring values identified from its customers: appearance and technology, driving enjoyment in both the Saloon and SW models, with the SW particularly ideal, due to its versatile for leisure pursuits, for both families and individuals or for business activities.

The 407…a distinctive ‘stylish vehicle’…:

One of the main attractions of the 407 Saloon and SW is their feline appearance. The forward positioned and inclined front windscreen, bold rear design, large wheels, the 407 has all the personality that underlines the new design signature of Peugeot cars and has become an inspiration for the design of the front of all new models.

Characterised by an ever more distinctive design at the front, with an air intake that fits perfectly both in terms of technical performance and its bold design, it provides the 407 with its overall dynamic image. Its dynamic characteristics including exceptional road holding, is the result of a number of technical solutions and Peugeot’s expert fine tuning of the suspension, benefiting both ride and handling.

In 2008 … The new 407:

Since its launch, the 407 has enjoyed a strong position within its segment due to its distinctive appearance that sets it apart from the other vehicles in the segment and is still contemporary with the 207 and 308 models. It continues to excel in terms of road holding and offers a combination of active safety, driving enjoyment and comfort of the highest level.

In anticipation of the changing expectations of its customers, Peugeot will strengthen the appeal of the 407 even further this summer. The new 407 enhances the core aspects that are the key sources of enjoyment experienced by its users.

Subtle visual improvements updating a design that is just as dynamic and bold as before but now offers more in terms of elegance, robustness and high quality, both externally and internally. New enhanced comfort equipment increases the appeal of the different versions by offering even greater well being to its occupants, in particular onboard temperature control and new telematics systems.

New equipment like front parking assistance enhances the car’s world-wide reputation for ease of driving and dynamic performance.It is available with a choice of four- and six-cylinder engines featuring cutting edge technology, particularly on the HDi Diesel versions, the most popular engine option in the 407.

These include an updated 2.0-litre HDi engine with a 6-speed manual gearbox which develops a power of 103 kW (140 bhp), an increase of 3 kW. It also benefits from a fuel consumption of 5.6 litres/100km and CO2 emissions reduced to 150 g/km. This engine, which complies with future Euro 5 emission standards, has been approved in accordance with this regulation.

This new specification testifies Peugeot’s ongoing commitment to achieve the best possible environmental performance on the new 407.

For example, after the standard fitment of an additive-enhanced diesel particulate filter system (FAP) on all HDi Diesel powered 407s and following the introduction of the 1.6-litre HDi FAP engine (110 bhp), particularly well suited as a fleet vehicle thanks to its low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions (only 140 g/km for the Saloon and SW), a new 2.0-litre Bioflex engine operating on E85 fuel will be available for destinations where road tax incentives favours biofuels, with their environmental benefits.

To summarise, Peugeot has seized a great opportunity during the summer of 2008, to strengthen the appeal among motoring enthusiasts with the attractive new 407 in both Saloon and SW versions.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Hyundai "BHL" spied again

Following my previous article on Hyundai i70/VI, spy photographers have caught the new sedan testing in South Korea and Germany again.

New rumors suggest that the new sedan will be called i90 and not as previously reported, i70, although the official name hasn't been finalised. Known internally as "BHL", the newcomer will measure in excess of 4.9 metres or 4900mm and will rival the likes of the Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, Lexus LS and the Cadillac DTS.

Hyundai promises that the new vehicle will be fully equipped with technology usually found in premium brands listed above. This includes an iDrive-style cabin control interface, as well as a collision mitigation brake system (CMS), which detects an imminent accident and warns the driver to take corrective action. Power will come from a petrol fuelled 4.6 litre V8 developing around 375bhp and possibly a V6 developing 233bhp or 300bhp. Both engines are borrowed from the recently launched Genesis sedan.

Since testing is under full swing, 2009/2010 sound about right to see the new car. The sedan's prime markets are China, Middle-East, USA and parts of Asia so don't expect it to come to Europe since Hyundai has a reputation for "value for money". When it comes to pricing, the sedan is expected to undercut its rivals significantly.

Related link:

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Hyundai sales increase in India (IN)

Despite dismal sales from Japan with only 22 units sold last month, Hyundai India has sold over 40,000 cars in India compared to 27,069 units in the same month in 2007. Sales were up by 47.8%. The domestic car sales last month was 21,501 units and 18,500 of those units were exported.

“HMIL sales for April had been robust with a very healthy growth and we feel that the budget has been a contributory factor. The i10 too has done exceedingly well to establish itself as a major player in this segment with domestic sales alone accounting for over 50,000 units in just six months which is the fastest ever for any model and with the highest growth rate in this segment things are looking good for HMIL,” commented Arvind Saxena, Senior VP for Marketing and Sales.

Hyundai marks its strong presence in the small car market with the i10, Santro and Getz.

Related link:

New Car: 2009 Renault Laguna Coupe











The long-awaited Renault Laguna Coupe will be launched Monaco Grand Prix and the Cannes film festival this weekend.

To reduce rear visibility, the bootlid sit up high like the Laguna hatch and it will receive LED rear lights, borrowed from the concept. The new car is closely based on the Laguna hatch so the coupe is built on the same platform as the 5dr with the same suspension layout. The Laguna Coupe is shorter, lower and wider, measuring at 4.64m long, 1.4m high and 1.83m wide. Higher-trim levels will be available with Renault’s new Active Drive four-wheel steering system as used on the Laguna GT.

Under the bonnet, the Laguna Coupe will use a series of petrol and diesel engines borrowed from the current Laguna. The 3.0-litre diesel will produce 235hp and 332b ft of torque, while the 3.5-litre petrol unit offers 240bhp and 244lb ft and both come with an automatic transmission. The petrol V6 will be the range-topping model and should hit 60mph in under seven seconds.

The coupe will be aimed and priced in between the Peugeot 407 Coupe and the BMW 3-Series Coupe which means that prices will start around £22,000 and rising to £27,000 for the flagship V6 models.

Despite the low sales of upmarket French cars such as the 407 Coupe, Renault Vel Satis and Avantime, Renault claims that the UK is one of the important four markets for the new Coupe.

Due to be launched at the Paris Motorshow in October, sales of the new Renault Laguna Coupe will start this November in the UK.

Related link:

Press Release:

RENAULT LAGUNA COUPÉ:

FOR SHEER MOTORING ENJOYMENT:

Renault has chosen the glamorous weekend which sees the Cannes Film Festival coincide with the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix to take the wraps off Laguna Coupe.

The flowing lines of the newcomer’s elegant, uncluttered design express timeless beauty and the promise of sheer motoring enjoyment. Its performance provides unprecedented pleasure behind the wheel thanks to the combination of its Active Drive chassis equipped with four-wheel steering – which has been acclaimed by the media across Europe on the GT version of Renault Laguna – and the two new V6 powerplants which have been introduced at the same time as this image-forging vehicle. The brand new V6 dCi, which is poised to become a benchmark in terms of performance and pleasure, delivers 235hp (173kW), while the new 3.5-litre petrol powered V6 offers 240hp (175kW). Laguna Coupe stands out as an inspiring, four seater with genuine sensual appeal and will be shown in further detail at the forthcoming Paris Motor Show in October.

Saturday May 24 saw Renault President Carlos Ghosn arrive at the foot of the illustrious steps of the 61st Festival International du Film de Cannes at the wheel of Renault Laguna Coupe. The occasion marked the first public showing of the new model’s definitive, distinctive lines and was a fitting way for the carmaker to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its exclusive partnership with the famous film festival. Renault Laguna Coupe also profited from the weekend to make a guest appearance around the track of the 66th Monaco Grand Prix to showcase its sporting credentials. Two Laguna Coupes completed several laps of Monaco’s legendary circuit in the hands of ING Renault F1 Team test drivers Lucas di Grassi and Romain Grosjean, providing the many thousands of spectators with a unique and unexpected show.

Renault Laguna Coupe bears a close resemblance to the racy concept car revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2007, while its elegant styling and proportions boast all the hallmarks associated with truly exceptional coupes. Its distinctive front end suggests the presence under the bonnet of the finest Renault-Nissan Alliance engines which have been designed and developed to ensure supreme driving enjoyment. Indeed, Renault Laguna Coupe is capable of accelerating from standstill to 100kph in less than seven seconds, and this upper-range performance combines with the Active Drive chassis and four-wheel steering to deliver optimum pleasure at the wheel.

Head-turning, racy styling:

The flowing lines of Renault Laguna Coupe’s elegant, uncluttered design express a blend of timeless beauty and the promise of sheer motoring enjoyment. There is no mistaking the legacy it has inherited from the show car unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2007 and from the Renault Laguna range at the top of which it is destined to preside. With a length of 4.64 metres and a width of 1.83 metres, its proportions are nicely balanced, while the character line which stems from the grille rises forcefully along its flanks, like a wave of air, gracefully underpinning the design of its front wings before extending rearwards to highlight its muscular haunches. The glazed area of its windows is shown off to its best advantage by a pure, flowing arc. Sitting on its 17- or 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels, Laguna Coupe’s stance exudes a sense of dynamism and power thanks to a wheelbase dimension of 2.69m and a height of 1.40m. This sensation is echoed by the pronounced crease-lines of its long bonnet and by its new variant headlamps. The rear, meanwhile, features a very short overhang and broad, slim lights which give Laguna Coupe a bright, distinctive lighting signature which suggests refinement and power, especially at night when the indicators form a halo that picks out the contours of the thin red LEDs.

Four-wheel steering for an exceptional ride:

Developed jointly by Renault Engineering and specialists from Renault Sport Technologies, Laguna Coupe’s technologically-advanced chassis guarantees the ultimate in dynamic performance. Its outstanding agility and stability set new standards when it comes to safety and surefooted handling, while the new car corners with unrivalled directional precision as if it were on rails. Following its introduction on the GT version of Renault Laguna, this chassis has naturally been carried over to Laguna Coupe and is particularly suited to being powered by the new car’s V6 engines. At low speeds, the Active Drive chassis and four-wheel steering system enhance manoeuvrability and it takes drivers no time at all to familiarise themselves with their characteristics. In town, as well as on twisty roads, the car is easy to drive and offers outstanding handling precision. It makes choosing the optimal cornering line intuitive and further enhances the pleasure experienced behind Renault Laguna Coupe’s wheel, a feeling reinforced by the absence of transient dynamic phenomena through turns and by its directional precision at small low steering wheel angles. On the active safety front, the Active Drive chassis equipped with four-wheel steering excels not only under braking in difficult conditions (asymmetric grip, deployment of ESP), but also when taking avoidance action (the so-called ‘elk test’). Meanwhile, the high level of travelling comfort ensures peace of mind for all occupants who can sense Laguna Coupe’s unrivalled active safety.

Powertrains with pedigree:

Under the bonnet of Renault Laguna Coupe, the brand-new V6 dCi, which is destined to become a benchmark in terms of performance and driving pleasure, develops 235hp (173kW) and peak torque of 450Nm. The same figure for the petrol 3.5 V6 powerplant, which is mated for the first time with the AJ0 automatic six-speed transmission it shares with the diesel engine, is 330Nm, while maximum power is 240hp (175kW). In this configuration, Renault Laguna Coupe can accelerate to 100kph in less than seven seconds. Renault Laguna Coupe also naturally benefits from the best engines available for Laguna, in particular the top performing versions of the range’s two-liter petrol and diesel powerplants.

Immersive experience with Microsoft®’s Deep Zoom technology:

Friday May 23 saw the inauguration of a bespoke Renault Laguna Coupe website. Building on the success of the Renault Laguna launch in 2007 (inside new laguna), the experience has been carried over for customers who wish to find out more about Laguna Coupe. The www.laguna-coupe.com website has been developed in an exclusive European association with Microsoft®. Thanks to a landmark innovation known as Deep Zoom technology, it has been designed to evolve constantly depending on the latest news to offer an immersive experience at the very heart of this exceptional coupe.

Renault Laguna Coupe will be shown in greater detail at the forthcoming Paris Motor Show and will be available for international media road tests immediately after that. As the spearhead of the Laguna range, it has been designed to offer sheer driving pleasure and plays a key role in the Renault’s brand’s expansion in the upper-range market. Renault Laguna Coupe epitomizes this savoir-faire when it comes to motoring enjoyment and quality which is built into its genes and which can be seen in the finish which matches even the most demanding standards. Laguna Coupe will be introduced progressively across the Renault sales network from mid-October featuring a long list of luxury equipment.

Friday, 23 May 2008

Honda Pilot pricing announced (U.S)




Honda USA has announced pricing for their 8 seaters, newly designed Pilot SUV. Prices start at MSRP $ 27,595 for the entry level Pilot LX and will rise to $38,395 for the flagship Pilot Touring.

"The timing is right for a vehicle like this as fuel prices drive families out of larger SUV's even though their lifestyles still require the type of functionality that Pilot delivers," said Dick Colliver, executive vice president of Honda USA.

The Honda Pilot is powered by a 3.5 litre, 250bhp i-VTEC V6 engine with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) which can switch between six-cylinders and 3-4 cylinders depending on circumstances so it achieves 17 mpg in the city, 23 mpg for highway driving and 19 mpg on the combined cycle.

Staying with the Honda Pilot, the new SUV will also be sold in Russia. Russian-bound Pilots will still be produced at Honda's Alabama production facility but Honda doesn't expect Russia to be a large market for the Pilots with only 3,245 units are slated for the Russian market for this year but that number should climb to 4,650 by 2011. The first Pilots will be shipped to Russia this summer.

Honda engineers didn't have to tweak the Pilot much for Russian consumptions with the only changes being the addition of headlight washers, rear heated seats and reflectors on the rear bumper.

Russian-bound Pilots will also get different corrosion protection — to guard against chemicals used to melt snow but will still be powered by a 3.5 litre V6.

As with the previous-generation Pilot, the new SUV will also be sold in Canada, Mexico, the Middle East and South America.

Chevrolet has a new beat



















Updated: 29/05/2008:

Out of Chevrolet's trio (Trax, Groove and Beat) of city cars, the Beat won over 1.8 million votes which has force GM to produce it.

Prototypes have only been sighted and spied in China undergoing winter testing and mechanical testing. Despite the thick camouflage, the overall styling and size of the car remains true to the concept first shown at the New York motorshow.

GM hasn't set a launch date yet but we can expect to see the new car in late 2009/early 2010. The U.S market is not scheduled to get the Beat but GM hasn't ruled the idea out.

The new city car is set to replace the popular but dated Matiz/Spark in 2009. The Beat would rival the upcoming Nissan Cube, Suzuki Splash, Vauxhall/Opel Agila and Fiat Panda in Europe. Prices are likely to start from around £6,500.

Related links:

Chevrolet Beat heads for production

Chevrolet Trax heads to New York motorshow

FIAT announce's 500 cabrio



Watch out Mini Cooper, Fiat is on a roll. Following the successful launch of the 500 hatchback which outsold the Mini Cooper, Fiat has announced that a cabriolet will be joining the line-up next year.

This information comes from the manufactures styling director, Roberto Giolito, who revealed at a recent conference in Turin, Italy, that the car will feature a traditional fabric soft-top.

Giolito explained that the car will remain simple and affordable and that recent advances in fabric roof design will remove some off the perceived drawbacks. “They’re now tougher and more resilient through the use of new materials,” he told journalists.

Lower cost is not the only benefit of a fabric roof. The design also weighs less and takes up less room than a complicated folding hard-top which in the end should also improve fuel economy, performance and carbon-dioxide emissions.

Engine will also likely stay the same as the coupe, which means the new 70bhp 1.2 and 100bhp 1.4 petrol engines and the fuel efficient 75bhp 1.3 Multijet diesel will be carried over.

Also planned for production is a new wagon called ‘Giardinetta’ which translates to "garden" in Italian and is expected to be launched late next year.

Related links:

Fiat 500 sold out in the UK

FIAT 500 at 2008 F1 Grand Prix

FIAT 500 UK pricing

FIAT 500 production expands again

FIAT 500 crash test results

Private importers import FIAT 500 in UK

FIAT 500 production expands

FIAT 500 goes off-road

FIAT 500 Abarth expected in Tokyo

FIAT 500 goes on sale in France & Italy

FIAT 500 commercial shoot pictures

Toyota to export U.S built vehicles to emerging markets

Sales of large SUV's and pick-up trucks have been pummeting in the U.S for a few months thanks to rising fuel prices and growing environmental concerns have forced customers demand towards smaller and more economical vehicles.

Fast-growing car markets like the Middle-East, Russia and China, where gas-guzzling SUVs still sell in massive numbers, could allow Toyota to ramp up production at one of its under-utilised U.S. factories. According to a Japanese newspaper, Toyota will begin shipping the large Sequoia SUV to the Middle East later this year and the Sienna MPV as early as 2010 to China and other markets.

Both models are built at a plant in Indiana but extra capacity could be utilised at Toyota’s Texas light truck facility.

Toyota currently sells all vehicles built in the U.S within North America except for the Avalon sedan, which it already exports to the Middle East in limited numbers.

Ford to import Kuga SUV and C-Max MPV to U.S

Ford is continuing with its European invasion into the U.S. The Fiesta sedan and European Focus has been given the green light for import and the Kuga and C-Max should be ready by 2010 and 2011. These will be third and fourth of Ford’s global cars to come Stateside.

Both models will be based of the C1 platform which is used on the Volvo S40/Volvo V50, Ford Focus and Mazda3. The current U.S. Focus uses an older generation of the platform but all three models - Focus, Kuga and C-Max share the same underpinnings in Europe.

2010 will see the launch of the U.S Fiesta sedan followed by the European Focus in 2011 and 2011 or 2012 for the Kuga and C-Max although the latter dates aren't official.

Ford also announced that it would be synchronising the product development cycles between the U.S, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region now that it is moving to global platforms. The move is intended to keep supply chains and economies of scale advantages that would disappear if models aren’t receiving updates at the same time across the global market.

Skoda to produce first generation Octavia again

Launched back in 1998, the first generation of the Skoda Octavia will come back into production as a discount model to provide value for money to such rivals as Kia, Hyundai and Dacia.

Although details have been kept under wraps, the newcomer is set to go on sale in 2010 with a price tag of £10,000 and it will be well equipped with front electric windows, electrically adjustable/heated door mirrors and air-conditioning.

Skoda has described the car as a "world car" and will be available across Europe as emerging car markets such as China. It is possible that the first models will use an upgraded version of the VW Group’s 1.9-litre diesel and its 2.0-litre petrol engines, however, smaller, more economical engines may also be offered at a later date.

The newbie is likely to share some of its design and engineering with the recently confirmed SEAT Bolero which is based on the last Audi A4 platform.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Volkswagen Routan pricing announced (U.S)

Volkswagen USA have announced pricing of the new Routan. The Routan is based on the Chrysler Grand Voyager/Town & Country and rivals the like of the Dodge Caravan, Chrysler Town & Country, KIA Sedona, Hyundai Entourage, Toyota Sienna and the Nissan Quest.

Prices start from $24,700 for the entry level S grade, $29,600 for the SE grade and $33,200 for the flagship SEL grade. As an added incentive VW is partnering with Upromise, the country's largest private source of college funding, to offer Routan customers $1500 towards customers kids college education.

"We know parents are concerned about saving for their kid’s future. To help families tackle this challenge of saving for college, we’re excited that we are able to partner with Upromise,” said Tim Ellis, Vice President of Marketing, Volkswagen of America, Inc. “We’re aware that the cost of college continues to rise exponentially, far outpacing inflation, and our hope is to help our customer’s off-set that cost, while getting a great new vehicle.”

The minivan will go on sale in the U.S this September.

Prius sales exceed 1,000,000 units

Despite the credit crunch and rising fuel prices, the successful Toyota Prius hybrid has sold in excess of a million units worldwide ever since its launch back in 1997, 1,028,000 to be precise.

Although the Prius only ventured beyond Japan in 2000, over 100,000 units have been sold in Europe since then with the UK market taking 23,893 Priuses

The Prius continues to perform strongly despite being an old model in a struggling new-car market. UK sales are up 7.1% in April this year compared to last years sale in the same period. In the U.S, sales rose by a staggering 67% last month.

It’s claimed that since the car’s launch, Prius vehicles have contributed to reducing CO2 emissions of approximately 4.5 million tonnes when compared with conventional vehicles of the same class.

Infiniti gains 10,000+ potential customers

Nissan's luxury marque, Infiniti has launched an exclusive digital reservation list for potential customers ahead of its European launch. The site, http://www.infiniti.eu/ gives those who sign up top priority in purchasing a new Infiniti before pre-orders begins.

After signing up and receiving your own personal reservation number, you will be invited by your nearest Infiniti centre to specify your desired car before pre-ordering is opened to the public.

According to Infiniti Europe’s marketing director, Bastien Schupp, 10,000 + people have signed up to be an “Infiniti Insider”. Schupp said, “We are pleased to see that excitement and anticipation are building even faster than we expected”.

Infiniti is to launch across Europe over the next two years; first countries to open it doors are France, Spain and Italy in October 2008, followed by Germany and the UK in April 2009 and Sweden in January 2010.

The European line-up will consist of the EX-Series, G-Series sedan, coupe & convertible, and the flagship FX-Series SUV and a series of V6 and V8 petrol engines but in 2010, in conjunction with Renault, a V6 diesel will arrive which is expected to be the most popular engine.
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