Friday 9 July 2010

News in brief

Chevy Camaro arrives in the UK Spring 2011:

Chevrolet UK has revealed that the Camaro will go on sale Spring 2011. UK Camaro’s will be powered by a 426bhp 6.2 litre V8 that has 569Nm (420ft/lb) of torque. It can get from 0-60mph in less than 5.0 seconds and has a top speed limited to 155mph. Active Fuel Management won’t be obtainable, which shuts down 4 of its 8 cylinders when cruising to conserve fuel.

Full UK specification will be released nearer to the car's on sale date, but Chevrolet has confirmed the car will come with a full UK warranty. The Camaro muscle car has sold in excess of 200,000 units in the U.S since its launch in 2009. Grey imports start from £28,000 for the 3.6 litre V6, but the depreciation is likely to hit heavily on the £33k price-tag.

Initially, the Camaro will be available in LHD with RHD models arriving later. Prospective customers can register their interest on Chevrolet's official UK website.

Sticking with Chevrolet, UK customers will now be able to order a new styling package on the Cruze sedan. The CS styling package, inspired by the BTCC (British Touring Car Championship) is priced at £1,595.

The CS kit includes lowered suspension, rear spoiler, and 18” multi-spoke white alloy wheels. Special graphics and tailored carpet mats are also part of the package. The Cruze, in addition to other Chevrolet models will be offered with a 5 year warranty, free servicing, roadside assistance, MOT test cover and vehicle health checks for new car buyers.

“This is, quite simply, the best ever commitment to quality and service ever offered by a car manufacturer in the UK. We’re that confident in the quality of our products that we’re prepared to underwrite our reputation for dependable high value motoring with such a comprehensive, all-encompassing package. We want people to know they can count on Chevrolet.

With the 5 year promise, we are looking to transform the way we sell cars as well, with a commitment to our customers, new and returning, that no other manufacturer can match.”

2011 Audi R8 Spyder gets given all-new engine:

The Audi R8 Spyder can now be bought with the 4.2 FSI V8 petrol engine, in addition to the 5.2 FSI V10. It kicks out 430bhp with 430Nm (317ft/lb) of torque with combined fuel economy standing at 17mpg (13.9l/100km) when mated to the R-Tronic semi-automatic. The 6 speed manual combines 15.7mpg (14.9l/100km).

The engine is linked to a 6 speed manual, with the option of an R-Tronic sequential manual transmission. German prices start at €121,000.

Pagani looking to develop smaller, lighter V8 car:

Italian car firm, Pagani is allegedly looking to produce a new V8 engined, lightweight car, smaller than the Zonda. If built, the car would cost around €500k, rather than the €1m Zonda. It could hit the market in 2015 with production levels set at 500 units annually, compared to the current 40.

Pagani says the will hint at the C9, which is set for launch later this year. This uses the 6.0 litre twin-turbo V12 engine from AMG, with a €900,000 price tag.

Sales sky-rocket in China for GM:

GM’s sales have soared to 48.5% in China in the first half of 2010, over the same period last year. GM sold around 1,209,138 vehicles with most sales going to the Cadillac SRX, Chevrolet Cruze and Sail sedans.

Infiniti to produce compact executive coupe:

Infiniti is scheduling a direct rival for the Mercedes CLC coupe. Senior sources say the car is expected to be FWD as Infiniti aspires to break into the profitable premium car market in Europe. The new coupe will borrow styling cues off the Essence concept, like the tiered C-pillars – which debuted at 2009 Geneva motor show.

The forthcoming coupe will arrive in a form of a hatchback “but not as you know it” and will be primarily for the European market.

“A car can be front-wheel drive and still deliver driving pleasure,” said an Infiniti source. “BMW has shown this with the Mini.”

Toyota to construct new sporty hybrid cars:

Toyota’s flexible petrol-electric hybrid system will find its way into new models as part of the corporation’s plans to have a hybrid in every range by 2020.

Toyota will manufacture 1m hybrid drivetrains this year, to be used in its Prius and Auris HSD models. It is hesitant to develop a new system for future hybrids, given the proven reliability and cost advantages of its 1.8 litre petrol engine/electric motor/nickel-metal hydride batteries system.

Powertrain expert, Gerald Killman, confirmed Toyota would be introducing more hybrids and its current hybrid system could lend itself to sporty driving characteristics.

“Our hybrid technology is adaptable,” he claimed. “There is flexibility in the application of our hybrid system; we don’t want to develop a new one when we can give ours more character.”

Toyota has long been believed to be developing a sporty hybrid to rival the Honda CR-Z. The FT-CH concept from the Detroit motor show in January previewed how the car might look. Asked whether new hybrids would also take the Prius name to make a family of cars, Killman said, “That’s for the marketing department to decide.”

New car sales grow in UK:

Car sales in the UK rose by 10.8% year-on-year in June, a figure much high than expected after the Government scrappage scheme ended earlier this year. Upto 195,226 cars were registered in the UK in June; 0.7% of cars ordered under the scrappage scheme, compared to 19.2% in the same period last year.

Registrations climbed 19.9% in the first half of 2010 year-on-year, up by 180,000 to 1.1m units and June was the 12th consecutive monthly rise in sales. Paul Everitt, SMMT’s chief executive, is encouraged by the continued growth in sales, but warns that there will be tougher times ahead in the second half of the year.

“The results indicate improved business confidence and a strengthening economic recovery. The industry still expects challenging economic conditions in the second half of the year and government action to improve access to credit for consumers and businesses will be important in sustaining the momentum of recovery.”

Alternatively fuelled vehicle registrations – electric and hybrid cars have matched their biggest ever market share, with a 1.2% market share in June. Demand for diesel was high, with the Nissan Qashqai the best-selling diesel model in June.

The recently-launched Vauxhall Astra was the UK’s best selling car in June, ahead of the smaller Corsa.

Car sales in June 2010:

1. Vauxhall Astra: 10,525

2. Vauxhall Corsa: 9,642

3. Ford Fiesta: 8,279

4. Ford Focus: 6,895

5. Nissan Qashqai: 5,636

6. Mini: 4,925

7. Volkswagen Golf: 4,486

8. BMW 3 Series: 4,363

9. Vauxhall Insignia: 4,090

10. Volkswagen Polo: 3,923

Sales year-to-date:

1. Ford Fiesta: 57,508

2. Ford Focus: 48,314

3. Vauxhall Astra: 46,624

4. Vauxhall Corsa: 44,804

5. Volkswagen Golf: 31,578

6. Volkswagen Polo: 26,484

7. Peugeot 207: 24,252

8. Mini: 22,266

9. BMW 3 Series: 20,432

10. Renault Clio: 20,114

Audi Q5 to be built in India:

Audi has started production of its Q5 compact SUV in India. Audi will build around 1,500 Q5 cars annually for the Indian market at Volkswagen Group’s Aurangabad plant, alongside the A4 and A6.

Audi’s total production target for India is 6,000 units by 2015; it sells the A4, A6 and Q5 alongside the A8, Q7, TT and R8 and is predicting momentous growth in the market in the coming years. Audi’s sales in India in 2009 were more than 2,400 units, up from 732 units the year before.

“The production of the Q5 is part of our long-term growth strategy in India. The Indian market for automobiles will grow very rapidly, and the Q5 is the right automobile at the right time” said Frank Dreves, Audi board member for production.

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