Saturday 28 August 2010

News in brief

U.S car sales predicted to remain strong in August:

U.S car sales are forecasted to remain strong if the current pace continues. August car sales will equal around 1.1m. This investigation believes that fleet sales have been increasing steadily compared to last month.

"It looks like bargain hunters are getting serious about taking advantage of the model year-end deals. But this is a bargain-driven market, so as the deals dry up, sales will likely trend down from here" said CEO Jeremy Anwyl. Click here for more.

Researchers tinkering with bio-fuel (UK)

Scottish researchers are tinkering with bio-fuel – by adding waste from Scotch whisky to the mix.

The researchers have produced a type of fuel from distilled Scotch whisky, from Diageo's Glenkinchie Distillery.

Thursday 26 August 2010

Photo Gallery: 2011 MINI Countryman

The Mini Countryman will start from £16,000 when it goes on sale in September. The Mini Countryman will go on sale with the choice of three petrol and two diesel engines, varying in power from 89bhp in the One D Countryman to 181bhp in the Cooper S Countryman.

The Countryman is 398 mm longer than the regular Mini (at 4,097mm), 316 mm wider (at 1,789 mm) and 170mm higher (at 1,577mm). The Countryman offers 350 litres of luggage space and 1,170 litres with the rear seats folded.

Chevy Corvette due May 2011 (UK)

Chevrolet UK has revealed that the Corvette supercar will arrive in the UK in May 2011. Officially imported Corvettes will be sold through dealerships.

UK customers have been disadvantaged of Corvettes due to the previous importer, Kroymans who folded last year. Chevrolet UK is looking to obtain European type approval for Corvette’s complete model range: C6, Z06, Grand Sport and the ZR1.

No diesel-hybrid for MINI

Wolfgang Kuttler, Mini’s diesel-engine manager, has rejected the idea of launching a diesel hybrid even though BMW engine partner, PSA Peugeot-Citroen is investing heavily in the idea.

He said that the system called PSA Hybrid4 – set to show-up on the Citroen DS4 & Peugeot 508 – is “a very expensive and heavy system”.

Renault workers to protest about importing Latitude sedan

Renault employees in France are looking to organise a demonstration against Renault’s imported new mid-sized Latitude sedan. The Latitude is manufactured in South Korea.

According to French media, the French GTC union is arranging to ‘bus in’ factory workers to the Paris motor show, where the Latitude will premier. Unions at PSA Peugeot-Citroën are believed to be anxious at more home-brand production being sourced abroad. Renault is also facing resistance from its own Government, which owns 15% of Renault, on introducing international built models.

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Suzuki Swift pricing announced (UK)

Suzuki's all-new Swift supermini will start at £9,995 for the entry-level 1.2 SZ2 3dr, rising to £13,245 for the 1.2 SZ4 5dr automatic when it launches in September. All Swifts come fitted with a 5 speed manual transmission while mid-spec SZ3 and range-topping SZ4 are available with a 4 speed automatic transmission.

The new Euro5 1.2 VVT petrol engine replaces the outgoing 1.3 VVT and is cleaner and more powerful with 94bhp and 118Nm of torque. Top speed is increased to 103mph. Exhaust emissions are lower too, with manual cars emitting 116g/km and combining fuel economy figures of 56.5mpg (5.0l/100km). The automatic has combined fuel economy of 50.4mpg (5.6l/100km) and emits 129g/km.

Monday 23 August 2010

Citroën DS3 Racing pricing announced (UK)

Citroën UK has revealed pricing and specification on its DS3 flagship model; the DS3 Racing. The DS3 Racing will start at £23,100 when order books open on Wednesday 1st September. The price tag includes VAT at 20% because for UK deliveries will start in January 2011.

Citroën said the DS3 Racing will be powered by a specially tuned 1.6 litre THP petrol engine. This engine produces 207bhp and 275Nm (204lb-ft) of torque, with a top speed of 146mph. The DS3 Racing records a 0-60mph time of 6.5secs. Combined CO2 emissions are rated at 149g/km.

Kia recalls SOUL crossover due to steering defects (U.S)

The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) has commenced an assessment in a potential steering fault on approximately 51,182 2010 KIA Soul models.

The feds said they received one complaint from an owner who purchased a 2 month old 2010 Kia Soul with 4,300 miles on the clock. The owner said the steering shaft detached itself from the hand wheel and fell into a position that hindered with the brake pedal, ensuing in complete brake and steering loss.

Hyundai to produce budget car for Russia (RU)

Hyundai is preparing to launch production of an all-new budget model exclusively designed for the Russian market. The car will be manufactured in St. Petersburg.

Initial production will begin in September with full production coming into full swing in January 2011.

Mazda recalls 5 compact MPV and 3 compact family car (UK/U.S)

Mazda UK is contacting owners and recalling in excess of 10,200 3 and 5 models to offer free check-ups and repairs on the power steering system. In the U.S, Mazda is recalling 215,000 2007 – 2009MY vehicles. The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) said the affect cars could suffer from sudden loss of power in the steering system.

Mazda has found out that tiny particles could clog the power steering pipes and cause the electric pump to shut down. Drivers would still be able to steer the car with extra effort, even though the power assistance would vanish if the pump packed up.

Sunday 22 August 2010

BMW X1 outsells Audi Q5 by 407 units (EU)

BMW’s baby SUV, the X1 outsold Audi’s compact SUV, the Q5 by 407 units across Europe for the first six months of 2010. Audi sold 43,660 Q5s from January – June, compared to 44,067 X1’s sold by BMW. Compact SUVs rule the roost, only the BMW X5 appears in the top five selling SUVs.

Although the BMW X1 has no direct rivals and – it’s classed as a ‘ultra compact premium SUV’ – until Audi’s forthcoming Q3 arrives, its closest rivals in terms of segment would be the ‘compact premium SUV’ market.

Toyota planning small RWD coupé

Toyota has started developing a cost-effective, RWD coupé from a hot-hatch concept.

The coupé is being prepared in honour of Toyota’s chief engineer, Hiromu Naruse, who was killed in a road traffic accident, driving Lexus LF-A in Nürburgring, Germany. Naruse had an idea of a rear-wheel-drive, front engined model for youths.

Mahindra preferred bidder for SsangYong

Mahindra & Mahindra, the Indian SUV manufacturer has been named as a favoured bidder for SsangYong, the failing South Korean car firm.

SsangYong racked up debts of $634m (400m) and is presently being reorganised under court control. Last year saw fierce protests from SsangYong’s employees, postponing the launch of the all-new C200 compact SUV.

Saturday 21 August 2010

Ford terminates sales of Focus ST (EU)

Following in the footsteps of the Honda Civic Type-R, Ford has announced that it will axe the Focus ST due to strict emission regulations.

The 2.5 litre turbo-charged 5-cylinder petrol engine has joined Honda's 2.0 litre petrol engine in falling foul of the Euro5 emission law, due in January 2011.

Wednesday 18 August 2010

BMW forthcoming Gran Coupé still unnamed

The head of R&D at BMW, Dr. Klaus Draeger has divulged that the forthcoming Gran Coupé will be placed along with the 6 Series with regard to technology and pricing, however, no actual nameplate has been confirmed for production.

Dr. Draeger said that the upscale coupé will certainly make production sometime in 2012 but whether it will be pitched as a 6-Series 4dr coupé or an 8 Series was not established. The Gran Coupé will launch after the 6 Series Coupé next year.

Perodua sales increase 17.7% in July (UK)

Perodua UK has reported an increase of 17.7% last month. Despite falling car sales, the Malaysian has seen sales swell every month this year, with year-to-date registrations up by 60.9% on last year.

The understated Myvi supermini – underpinning the Diahatsu Sirion/Boon, Subaru Justy & Toyota Passo – has been hugely popular with buyers, thanks to its low price and high specification. It recorded a mind-boggling 81.5% increase in July registrations compared to last year.

Sunday 15 August 2010

Mercedes recalls '02 - '10 G-Class SUV (U.S)

Mercedes is recalling 3,552 ‘02-'10 G-Class SUV due to a problematic indicator light. There is a related recall on 1,938 G-Class vehicles from 2002-'09 to remove headlamp grilles, according to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

The G-Class’ regarding the indicator light recall have a protective grille cover over the indicator that may decrease visibility over time and may not conform with federal standards.

BMW to build X1 compact SUV in Russia (RU)

Avtotor, a Russian company that assembles car and a partner of numerous European, Asian and American car brands, will start building the new BMW X1 on 1st October.

At first, Avtotor anticipates to commence the production of the X1 sDrive18i Urban priced around £26,892, as well as xDrive20d in Urban and Lifestyle trim levels priced at £32,014 and £35,316, in that order.

Saturday 14 August 2010

KIA shoves Ford off the top-spot (RU)

Kia Motors knocked Ford off the top spot to become the best-selling foreign car brand in Russia for the first time ever in July. According to a report, Kia sold 10,502 units last month, up from 105% the same month last year.

The sudden increase in sales comes from the popularity of the Cee'd which sold 3,253 units, the Rio (3,205), and the Sportage compact SUV (1,677).

Ford working on Ranger based SUV

Ford is working on a new truck-based SUV in Australia that underpins the forthcoming T6 Ranger platform and like the Ranger, it will be sold in international markets.

Ford recently sent off American engineering executive Todd Hoevener – a man who worked on the 2011 Explorer SUV in the U.S – to Australia to manage the Ranger-based SUV development.

Alfa Romeo to launch full product line-up (U.S)

Alfa Romeo will commence its line-up in the U.S in late 2012 as part of Marchionne’s strategy to turn Alfa into a “full-line premium carmaker”.

A Giulietta based compact SUV will be the first official Alfa to be sold in the U.S. The compact SUV will be produced by Chrysler and will feature a 190bhp (193PS) 2.4 litre MultiAir 4 cylinder and a Pentastar V6 with around 290bhp (294PS). Front-wheel drive will come as standard with all-wheel drive being optional.

Subaru's RWD coupé could be more powerful than Toyota equivalent

Subaru’s variant of Toyota’s forthcoming FT-86 sports car is likely to have 60bhp more than the Toyota if development plans come to end, according to sources in Japan.

Subaru’s sports car is being developed in co-operation with the Toyota FT-86 – a sports car that has been delayed until 2013 because Toyotas desire of improving fuel economy. The forthcoming FT-86 will use a modified 2.0 litre flat four naturally aspirated from Subaru to generate around 200bhp. Subaru’s unnamed coupé will feature the Impreza STi’s turbocharged engine with approximately 260bhp.

Other car companies eager on Lotus Evora platform

According to European operations boss Mark James, Lotus Engineering has received “a few” questions from other car firms wanting to utilise the Evora platform as a basis for models of their own. However, some may go with the Elise platform instead. Mark James says that Lotus does not pursue third-party businesses such as this, but that it’s “always happy to talk”.

The Evora's wheelbase is 275mm longer than the Elise’s, but that space goes to the interior and engine bay. Around 75mm goes towards the driver’s seat travel, a V6 engine instead of an in-line 4 cylinders and enough rear legroom for a passenger up to 5ft tall. The overall length is 4,342mm and the boot can hold a full set of golf clubs. The Evora can be had in both 2+0 and 2+2 configurations.

Friday 13 August 2010

Renault aborts Koleos from line-up (UK)

Renault’s most anticipated compact SUV of the last decade has been terminated from the UK line-up.

The Koleos has only been on sale for two years before it was given the axe, due to poor sales. No more models of the compact SUV will be imported, with the handful of cars in the dealer network the last to be sold in this country.

Swedish driver could obtain a £656,000 speeding fine (CH)

A Swedish driver is facing a record-breaking £650,000 speeding fine after travelling at more than 186mph (290km/h) in Switzerland.

In Switzerland, speed tickets are worked out by taking the income of the motorist and the speed they were driving. According to prosecutors, he is now looking to face the maximum possible penalty of 300 days of fines at 3,600 CHF (£2,166) a day, totalling around £650,000.

Geely wants large executive sedan for Volvo

Geely, the new owners of Volvo would like to see the company produce flagship executive cars to compete directly with BMW, Audi and Mercedes.

Geely boss, Li Shufu said he wanted to see the Swedish car firm make more “high level cars that compete with the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7 Series”.

Thursday 12 August 2010

Nissan revises Qashqai for 2011

The European Nissan Qashqai (Dualis in international markets) crossover has been revised again...but this time it’s under the bonnet.

Around 40% of Qashqai customers plump for the 1.6 litre petrol engine. Power has been upped from 113bhp to 115bhp and Nissan has now included a stop/start system as a £200 option. Buyers opting for the stop/start will benefit from a drop of one VED tax band.

Tuesday 10 August 2010

Car sales plunge for the first time in 12 months (UK)

For the first time in 12 months, sales of new cars have dived by 13.2% in July, to 136,446 units. This follows 12 successive monthly rises, however, the market still remains up 15.1% for this year compared with 2009.

The SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) said the figures are barely surprising since sales during the previous 12 months had been stimulated by the Government's scrappage scheme which offered participants a £2,000 reduction when they traded in their old cars.

One in eight trust their GPS (UK)

According to Manheim Auctions, 1 in 8 British drivers trust their GPS systems, despite over half owning or using a satellite navigation system. This is because over a third of Britons have got lost while relying on their navigation system. Around 15% fail to attend a vital event such as a wedding, job interview or first date.

Research also suggests that 30% of drivers confessed that their GPS system caused frustration among fellow passengers. The research follows the recent announcement that actor Brian Blessed will be the voice of all TomTom car navigation systems from October.

Sunday 8 August 2010

JDM Mazda Premacy AWD launched (JP)

If you didn’t know, most passenger cars on the Japanese market are offered with 4WD. So it wasn’t long until Mazda offered the compact Premacy with AWD.

The 4WD Premacy is available in two trim levels, 20E and 20S, both of which are powered by a 2.0 litre 4-cylinder petrol engine, that is mated to an 4 speed automatic transmission. Mazda states that the driver can select front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive at a push of a button.

Volkswagen Touran facelift pricing announced (UK)

The revised 2011 Volkswagen Touran goes on sale, priced from £17,585 rising to a hefty £25,535.

Fresh & sharper styling has brought the MPV up-to-date with the rest of the Volkswagen line-up. New five-spoke alloy wheels, chrome-edged rubbing strips along the sides, 3 spoke steering wheel, new dials and a revised centre console now feature.

Road accidents rocket thanks to women (UK)

According to car insurance company Sheilas' Wheels, 29% of men confessed to being distracted by low-cut tops and short skirts in the Summer weather, leading to record numbers of collisions on the road, and it’s worse each year - in 2009 men made 16.4% more claims during the Summer than in any other month.

Sheilas’ Wheels also found that a quarter of men have had at least one summertime accident or very near miss in the last five years, compared to a mere 17% of women.

Saturday 7 August 2010

Photo Gallery: 2011 Nissan Rogue facelift

Nissan has given its compact SUV, the Rogue a mid-cycle facelift. The revised Rogue features new styling changes and equipment upgrades.

Externally, the 2011 Rogue gets a remodelled grille and a more pronounced front bumper, different front and rear spoilers, chrome side door mouldings, new front and rear tyre caps, plus new alloy wheel.

Volvo launches 'Emissions Equality' (UK)

Volvo UK has launched an 'Emissions Equality' movement which hopes to persuade UK car buyers to think "about a car’s complete emissions picture, rather than just CO2 in isolation".

The Chinese owned Swedish company is suggesting the adoption of a classification scheme for new and used cars that details an engine's emissions of nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and particulates as well as CO2. Unlike carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, and particulates are dangerous to humans.

Hyundai planning i40 coupe for 2012

According to a recent report, Hyundai is preparing a i40 coupe which is due in 2012.

While details are scares, a Hyundai source has revealed the car will borrow heavily from the wild iFlow HED-7 concept car. The forthcoming i40 coupe will complete directly with Volkswagen’s Passat CC and Ford’s future Mondeo coupe. However, when it comes to prices, the i40 coupe will cost roughly £4,530 ($6,960/€5,370) less.

Toyota to revise design language

Future Toyota vehicles will get a new grille and ‘family face’, as part of company boss Akio Toyoda’s aim to give his cars more emotional appeal. Even though the front-end look is still being decided, Toyota Europe boss Didier Leroy says it will be regular and more recognisable than the current line-up.

Smaller cars will be made to look bigger, rather than vice versa, yet, there will still be differences between ranges to differentiate them, with product groups such as SUVs and sports models obtaining their own look.

Thursday 5 August 2010

Kia Magentis replacement still nameless; new engine confirmed (EU)

Kia’s marketing department has yet to decide on what to call the Magentis replacement, due to debut at the Paris motor show in October.

The nameplate ‘Optima’, which is the U.S name, won’t be used in Europe, so an all-new name is likely. Company insiders were originally debating between ‘K5’, as it’s known in South Korea and ‘Optima’.

Honda Legend/Acura RL won't be aborted

2006 Honda Legend
Following rumours, Honda has denied that it is planning to kill-off the slow-selling Legend executive saloon.

The V6 model is rumoured to be close to an end-of-production run, but Honda chief executive officer, Takanobu Ito says the car is “a necessary model for the U.S” and points out that it has a “small but strong fan base in Japan".

Nissan to reintroduce 200SX

Nissan is looking to revitalise the 200SX sports coupé that will take on the Mazda RX-7 and VW Scirocco, insiders say.

The 200SX coupé replacement would slot beneath the 370Z sports car to give Nissan a more affordable, fuel-efficient fastback as oppose to the VW Scirocco and the Renault Mégane 3dr.

Wednesday 4 August 2010

Citroen Metropolis and Survolt due for production

Citroen is working hard on bring two of its most recent concept cars into production: the Metropolis premium saloon and the Survolt electric sports car.

Citroen’s effort at breaking into the European executive saloon market with the current C6 failed but Ploué said that Citroën must carry on and the Metropolis is the model that could do that. The Metropolis would take its place as Citroens flagship saloon and may be badged ‘DS9’.

Car sales free-fall across Europe (EU)

New car sales in Italy, Spain and France plunged radically in July as Government scrappage schemes have slowly been phased out.

In Italy, car sales were down nearly 26%, totalling 152,752 units. Domestic car firm Fiat was hit hard, as the brand saw a 35.8% drop for July in year-on-year sales. Fiat's market share dipped below 30% in Italy for the first time in 5 years.

Citroen to target 'iPod generation' with new product plan

Citroen is planning to broaden its horizons by offering a new product family for the ‘iPod generation’. It would be the fourth Citroen product family and will be positioned alongside the DS range, the regular Citroën brand and the Picasso MPV family.

Peugeot-Citroën design boss, Jean-Pierre Ploué said that the firm will introduce the new line at the forthcoming Paris motor show. Industry bystanders expected Citroën was preparing to launch a budget model line, but Ploué denied the proposal.

Vauxhall/Opel Astra Coupe concept to premier in Paris

Vauxhall/Opel will reveal a concept car - at the Paris motor show in October - that will hint heavily at the fothcoming coming Astra Sport Hatch.

Monday 2 August 2010

New Car: 2011 Nissan X-Trail facelift

Nissan has revised the X-Trail SUV with extensive updates to keep up with competition in the European market.

Like the JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) X-Trail, the European model receives a remodeled grille, headlights and bumper assembly. The X-Trail is available with both bi-xenon and halogen headlamps and the background of the headlamp cluster is painted black on all grades and fog lamps are mounted below the headlights, recessed in the bumper.

Sunday 1 August 2010

Kia allegedly abandons Soul'ster

When the KIA Soul’ster Concept premiered at the 2009 North American International Auto Show, it turned heads. Even though the 2dr open-top SUV design was well-received by the media and public, rumours surfaced of a production model, planned for the near future. Apparently, Kia has now cancelled its plans to build the Soul'ster for production.

In order for Kia approve the Soul’ster, Orth Hedrick, director of product planning, said “You have to have broader appeal” to justify the development time and money it would take to bring the model to market. He added that a production Soul'ster would be an “almost all-new vehicle,” due to structural and weight differences from the regular Soul.

New photos and video of the 2011 Hyundai Elantra/Avante

This week Hyundai will start South Korean sales of the all-new 2011 Avante, with prices starting from 14,900,000KRW - 19,500,000KRW (£7,960 - £10,418/$12,500 - $16,370 at current exchange rates).

Hyundai released new photos along with more details of the engines. The South Korean Avante is powered by an all-new Gamma 1.6 litre GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) 4 cylinder engine producing 140bhp at 6,300rpm and torque of 171Nm (126lb-ft).

Porsche produces 25,000th Panamera sedan

Porsche has announced that the 25,000th Panamera has rolled off the assembly line in Leipzig, Germany. The milestone car, a ruby red Panamera, is destined for a customer in the United States. Under the hood is a 3.6 litre V6 engine with 296bhp (300PS) and 400Nm (295lb-ft) of torque.

According to Bernhard Maier, Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing, "The benchmark performance of our Panamera V6 models wins over our customers worldwide. Even in the USA, a country with a preference for V8 engines, they impress with their efficiency and sportiness. The 4-door combines these aspects with the comfort and exclusivity of the luxury class."

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