Thursday, 30 September 2010

SsangYong Korando platform to underpin two new models

SsangYong is working on two new models that will enter the B and D segments as part of a three-year plan to pull the South Korean company out of its £200m debt. The three-year plan lies with Mahindra and Mahindra, who are in concluding stages of purchasing a large share of SsangYong.

Vice president of marketing, Johng-Sik Choi, said that “We want to be working at maximum output, which is producing 250,000 cars globally per year – the new Korando should account for 100,000 of those. To do that we intend to enter growing markets such as Russia, China and South America, and we will expand our model range with cars built on our new monocoque platform.”

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Fiat 500 to retain its shape for next refresh

At this time, chief Fiat designers are working out on how the next 500 city-car should look.

The 500 has been a runaway success for Fiat and is about to go on sale in the U.S, meekly revised and built in Mexico.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

2011 Chevrolet Volt could receive 25% electric range increase

GM has been making a racket about how the Volt has an electric range of “upto 40 miles” before the 1.4 litre turbo-charged petrol engine kicks in, giving an extra 300 mile range but that may all change....

With GM filing essential paperwork with the federal government, information is leaking out at how GM may buoy up its claimed range of 40 miles to 50 miles on electric power. GM hasn’t previously hinted at extending the range beyond 40 miles since the concept was first launched in early 2007.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Renault plans affordable rear-wheel-drive sports car

Renault could have a rear-wheel-drive sports car within its line-up by 2014, providing chairman Laurens van den Acker gets his way.

Van den Acker said he not only thinks Renault should be building a compact, affordable sports car, but also that the chance to make it lies in Renault’s planned alliances.

Photo Gallery: 2011 Mercedes Viano/Vito facelift

The Mercedes Viano leads its class, defining the new benchmark for large MPV segment/compact commercial vehicle segment. New engines and transmissions reduce emissions and fuel consumption while enhancing performance. The new chassis offers the ultimate in ride comfort and driving safety. The cockpit and passenger compartment are more user-friendly and attractively appointed than ever. The Mercedes Viano is instantly recognisable by its "face", featuring the Mercedes star in the style of the current passenger cars, and a newly designed rear section.

In the UK, two trim-levels are offered; Trend and Ambiente. Both are available in three sizes; Viano compact (4,763mm), Viano Long (5,008mm) and Viano Extra-Long (5,238mm) and with three diesel engines; 2.0 CDI, 2.2 CDI and 3.0 CDI V6.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Mini rejects the idea of British design studio (UK)

Mini executive, Gert Hildebrand has rejected the idea of opening a design studio in the UK. Hilderbrand said a UK Mini design studio "wouldn't happen" as it would be too far away from Mini's engineering team.

BMW built a Mini design studio in 2001 at its Munich headquarters, close to their engineering department. Many have asked Mini to expand its design team into Britain to help offer a more traditional perspective on Mini design, but Hilderbrand - a fan of classic Minis and British culture in general – has dashed hopes of such a facility being created.

2011 Nissan Micra platform to underpin sedan and sub-compact MPV

New information has surfaced of the forthcoming sub-compact saloon and MPV that will underline the all-new Micra/March small-car platform.

The ‘V’ platform – short for versatile – it intended to adapt the structure for different body styles. The ‘V’ platform will ultimately generate production of a million vehicles annually, Nissan envisage.

Audi could sell 10,000 more cars (UK)

Audi UK is claiming it could sell 10,000 more cars this year if factory shortages in mainland Europe didn’t hold back supply. Audi UK has many more customers than production slots allocated for four key models; A3 hatch, Q5 compact SUV, Q7 large SUV and the A8.

“We’re having a great year, but forecast that we could sell up to 7,000 and 10,000 more cars this year if we had the supply,” says a spokesman for the company.

News in brief

2011 Ford Ranger preview
No 2011 Ford Ranger for America (U.S):

FoMoCo (Ford Motor Company) has recently confirmed that the ‘compact’ (large) Ranger pick-up won’t be heading Stateside, following several off-on changes. Ford said the decision comes from the fact the compact pick-up truck market in the U.S is shrinking fast and other rivals offer better vehicles.

Ford is likely to be shutting down its St. Paul, Minnesota assembly plant. The Ranger will be sold in 180 markets across the world with unveiling beginning on 15th October in Sydney, Australia. The Ranger will go on sale in the UK Autumn 2011.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Subaru to launch Impreza WRX STI saloon in Britain (UK)

Subaru to set to launch the 4dr Impreza WRX STI saloon ahead of Winter this year.

The car first premiered at the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) in Spring. The saloon is designed to overturn poor demand for the cult performance classic, which changed to a 5dr hatchback body style in 2007.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Chrysler suspends several employees for disobedience (U.S)

A scandal involving several Chrysler LLC employees – who build the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee – has shocked the automotive industry.

The employees were stalked by Fox News Detroit for a number of weeks and were caught on video smoking marijuana/cannabis and drinking beer in a local park near the Jefferson North Assembly Plant during their lunch.

Cadillac recalls 2009 - '10 CTS AWD and CTS-V (U.S)

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced a call-back regarding 20,224 the 2009 and 2010 Cadillac CTS all-wheel-drive and CTS-V sedans.

The problem comes from the passenger knee airbag which may cause the front passenger injury. To repair the issue, dealers will change the glove box compartment assembly, and in various cars may also have to alter the instrument panel structure itself.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Peugeot 206 production terminated (EU)

Peugeot will see the production of the 206 end next year in Europe after 13 of service.

EU legislation will ultimately axe it, but it’s likely to continue to be made in Iran, South America and China.

Land Rover Defender sales become sluggish

The Land Rover Defender sales aren’t bouncing back as well as its siblings. Land Rover sales nose-dived in 2008 with sales slow improving in 2009. Excluding the Defender, the rest of the line-up saw sales soar.

Defender figures depend on Government sales and these are the areas that are receiving new cutbacks, slowing the sales figure.

Diesel engines unlikely to power Bentleys

For those who were hoping Bentley will sell one of their cars with a diesel engine will be disappointed, according to the company’s chairman.

Chairman and CEO, Franz-Josef Paefgen owned up some time ago that Bentley had tried out diesel engines and found them remarkable, but unfavourable market conditions make the move unlikely, Bentley claims.

PSA Peugeot, Citroen & Mitsubishi mid-sized SUV production launched (RU)

PSA Peugeot-Citroen and Mitsubishi have started production of their mid-sized SUV’s – 4007, C-Crosser & Outlander – for the Russian car market.

The Kaluga plant, located around 110 miles south-west Moscow, began production of the Peugeot 308 in April and of the Citroen C4 in July.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

KIA Sportage full-line-up pricing announced (UK)

KIA has announced full pricing and specifications for the all-new Sportage compact SUV, with prices starting at £16,645 for the entry-level 1.6 GDI ‘1’ 2WD, rising to a eye-opening £26,170 for the flagship 2.0 CRDi KX-3 AWD automatic.

A 2.0 CRDi diesel 'First Edition' special edition model went on sale last month for £20,777, with all of the 800 cars allocate for the UK already sold.

Kia replaces Cee'd Strike special edition with VR-7 edition (UK)

Kia UK will replace the 3dr & 5dr Cee’d Strike special edition with the all-new VR-7 edition. The cars will be powered by a Euro5 compliant 1.4 litre petrol engine linked to a manual gearbox.

Equipment such as 16” alloy wheels, electrically adjustable/heated door mirrors, air conditioning, ESP, HAS (Hill Assist Control), VSM (Vehicle Stability Management), front electric windows, Bluetooth, 6 speaker sound system w/iPod cable, remote central locking, and leather steering wheel, gearknob and handbrake will come as standard.

Smart Fortwo pricing announced (UK)

The revised Smart Fortwo goes on sale this week with tweaked styling, more equipment and lower running costs. The Pulse and Xclusive models receive new alloy wheel designs, while Pulse and Passion models are available in two new colours; blue and green. Prices start at £8,780.

The reworked dashboard brings greater stowage space to the glove-box and side seat bolster pockets. The Pulse and Passion trim-levels also get a redesigned 3 & 2 spoke leather steering wheel, while three new fabric patterns are available on Passion models.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Honda to recall Accord Crosstour due to defective airbag (U.S)

Honda will be calling back 3,336 Accord Crosstours due to a faulty front passenger-side airbag according to NHTSA.

"The front passenger airbag may not have been assembled according to correct specifications. In the event of a crash, the front passenger airbag may not deploy as intended and could place an unbelted child seated in the front passenger seat at greater risk of injury should the airbag deploy."

Suzuki SX4 SZ-L special edition launched (UK)

Suzuki GB has launched a special-edition SX4 exclusively for the British market. The SZ-L (based upon the ‘SZ4’ trim-level) shows the darker side of the regular SX4 with a number of renovated interior and exterior features. It has a sticker-price of £13,145 including metallic/pearlescent paint.

Available in two colours; 'Silky Silver Pearl' and 'Cosmic Black', the SZ-L comes with distinctive gunmetal coloured front grille, alloy wheels, front & rear skid plates and roof rails.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

BMW to increase testing on British roads (UK)

The UK purchases more M-Sport models
than any other country worldwide

BMW will be testing more of its future models on UK roads ahead of new car launches.

It is now going to put more work on UK testing earlier in a new models development programme.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Ford C-Max & Grand C-Max pricing announced (UK)

Ford’s all-new C-Max compact MPV will start from £16,745 with a 1.6 litre 104bhp petrol engine, while the larger Grand C-Max starts at £18,745 when the models go on sale in October.

Only two trim-levels will be available; Zetec and Titanium. Entry-level Zetec model comes with alloy wheels, air conditioning, leather steering wheel, Thatcham category 1 alarm, DAB radio/CD and Bluetooth w/USB connectivity and voice control. Grand C-MAX has powered child-proof locks on the rear dual sliding doors, and rear parking sensors.

Cars sales down across Europe (EU)

Car sales across Italy Spain, France and the UK plummeted during August after Government incentives were wearing thin or ended.

Italian car sales dropped by 19% to 63,000 units last month while Spanish car sales plunged by a massive 23.8% to 44,578 units. French sales were down 9.8% when the scrappage scheme was near end with British car sales falling by 17.5% to 55,305 for the second month in a row. The decline comes in advance of the introduction of the September ‘60’ plate, and the market for newly registered cars is expected to fall by around 10% this month, from 367,929 units last year, even though over the first seven months of 2010 the market remains 13.2% above 2009 at 1,300,413 units. The best-selling car was the Ford Fiesta with 2,660 units.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

News in brief

KIA vice-president resigns following recalls:

Toyota and GM, take note!

KIA’s vice-chairman, Jeong Sung Eun, has quit his job last week due to 100,000 vehicles being recalled worldwide. Lee Hyong Keun will be replacing Eun as KIA’s vice-chairman.

Daihatsu to recall 581,000 K-cars (JP)

Daihatsu, Toyota’s budget brand, is recalling more than 580,000 kei-cars (city-cars) due to concerns regarding the rear lights.

The orange colour on the indicator lights are fading fast due to rapid oxidation, causing them to turn white and confusing fellow motorists. To add insult to injury, Toyota decided to use clear bulbs, meaning that once the oxidation has set in, other motorists no longer see amber indicators and instead see a dull, white light.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Land Rover having problems with Defender replacement

Land Rover “knows what the new Defender should be”, according to a well-placed source, but Land Rover is still working out how it will be engineered and put into production.

The next Defender, internally known as “Project Icon”, will axe most of its commercial variants and will allow military sales to slow. Land Rover has begun work on the 62 year old replacement since March this year.

Aston Martin pondering Lagonda sedan, Cygnet confirmed for U.S

According to a report, Aston Martin’s line-up will be revised with the addition of a few new models.

Following the decease of the Mercedes GL based Lagonda SUV concept, the Lagonda will be revived as a sedan, underpinning an extended platform of the Rapide sedan.

BMW M6 production ceased

BMW has ceased production of the M6 coupe, convertible and the 5.0 litre V10 507bhp petrol engine on 7th September 2010, however, BMW hasn’t hinted at replacing these models. The V10 is being replaced by a more fuel efficient, lighter V8 engines.

"With the departure of these two fascinating and exceptional athletes and the already-discontinued fourth-generation BMW M5, production will now also cease for the unique V10 high-rev engine," BMW said in a statement.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

2011 KIA Picanto spied in Southern Spain

Updated: 07/12/10

Kia has begun testing the all-new Picanto city-car. Now entering its second generation (launched in 2004, facelifted in 2007 & 2009), the Picanto is set to be bigger and wider than the current model.

Spied sunning itself in Granada, Southern Spain, the newcomer is wearing very thick disguise, but that doesn’t mean we can’t visualise the basics. Judging by this prototype, the Picanto will ditch its curvy, feminine look for something more manly and masculine.

Kia Sportage launched with 2.0 litre petrol engine (UK)

Kia has priced the all-new Sportage 2.0 litre from £19,495, £1,282 less than the diesel model. The Theta-II 2.0 litre petrol unit produces 161bhp and 194Nm of torque. It churns out 188g/km of CO2, with combined fuel economy of 35.8mpg. The engine is linked to a 5 speed manual. It has a top speed of 113mph and does 0-60mph in 10.3 seconds.

As with the newly launched 2.0 CRDI Kia Sportage, the four-wheel-drive petrol variant is available in one trim-level; First Edition. It includes the same features found in the 2.0 CRDi like 4WD, LED day-time running lights, cruise control, 18” alloy wheels, leather interior w/ heated front & rear seats, auto-dimming rear-view mirror w/ reversing camera and Bluetooth.

Maybach brand to continue; hybrid, four-door coupe in pipeline

Mercedes uber-luxury counterpart, Maybach, will continue to rival the likes of Rolls-Royce and Bentley, despite reports suggesting the brand was folding.

Although details are unclear, Maybach is a profitable brand despite selling 300 vehicles last year. Daimler's Joachim Schmidt said he sees ample opportunities for growth in China and North America.

Ford agrees to $131m settlement after 2001 accident (U.S)

Ford has decided to give a $131m (£85.5m) payment regarding the case involving a ’02 Ford Explorer Sport in a rollover accident. The case involved New York Mets AA player Brian Cole, who was 22, at the time driving the vehicle, who was ejected and killed, and his teenage cousin was hurt. The cousin was awarded $1.5m (£979,000) in the settlement.

Lawyers for the victims said Cole had been wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident, referring to the physical evidence on his body, but Ford disagreed and pointed out that Cole had been traveling around 80mph at the time of the rollover accident. A jury in Jasper County, Mississippi, found in favor of the claimant this week after two previous trials had ended in hung juries, and Ford settled before the damages phase of the trial was completed.

Ford launches '11 F-150 SVT Raptor SuperCrew (U.S)

Ford has revealed the F-150 SVT Raptor SuperCrew to the world.

With the exception of an extra two doors on the side, the 2011 SVT Raptor SuperCrew hasn’t changed visually. The wheelbase has grown by 12” (1ft), to 145” (3,683mm). The SuperCrew has a 60” (5.5ft/1,524mm) load bay, 36 gallon fuel tank and 8,000lb (3,600kg) towing capacity. Ford customers do get revised graphics and an updated colour palette.

Chevrolet Spark launches in Uzbekistan (UZ)

GM has begun manufacturing the Spark city-car in Uzbekistan, where GM has 95% control of the car-market.

GM Daewoo, Chevrolet’s South Korean subsidiary, is giving complete knock-down (CKD) kits of the Spark to GM Uzbekistan for local construction. The Spark – known as the Matiz Creative in South Korea – will be sold in Uzbekistan with both 1.0 litre and 1.2 litre petrol engines.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Mazda reaches MX-5 milestone (UK)

Mazda has reached a new landmark, with the sale of its 100,000th MX-5. British motorists have accounted for 10% of global sales and 40% of European sales since the MX-5 was launched in 1990.

It first launched at the 1989 Chicago motor show and arrived in the UK in March 1990, racking up 2,246 sales by the end of its first year. Annual sales hit a record high in 2007 with 9,234 units sold.

Photo Gallery: 2011 Citroën C4 Picasso facelift

Citroën has revealed the first photos of the revised C4 Picasso facelift.

The facelift is minor and consists of LED day-time running lights, new Citroën badge and white lenses for the indicator lights. At the rear, the rear light clusters now have a smoked outline.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Nissan debating on next-generation Z powertrain

Nissan is likely to borrow engines from Mercedes to use in the next-generation Z-sport cars, as well as hybrid and diesel variants for Europe.

Reducing fuel consumption and emissions are crucial goals in Europe and Japan, while in the U.S, there’s less pressure at the moment to attain this goal. That’s because Nissan is debating what engine to use.

Friday, 3 September 2010

NHTSA investigates 2011 Sonata sedan, GM recalls '05 - '08 Vibe (U.S)

2011 Hyundai Sonata probed due to steering defects:

The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) is probing around 16,300 Sonata sedans after it opened an investigation regarding the car’s steering.

"We will fully cooperate with the investigation and resolve any issues," said James P. Trainor, Hyundai Motor America spokesman. "We have received two complaints for different issues and have repaired the vehicles."

Ford recalls '98 - '03 Windstar MPV (U.S)

Ford is recalling 462,750 ‘98-‘03 Windstar large MPV as the rear axle could crack and increase the risk of a crash, according to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

The affected vehicles were produced from 1st September 1997 to 28th February 2003, and are presently registered or were initially sold in Delaware, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Nissan LEAF order book opens today (UK)

Nissan has flung open its order books for the LEAF EV with a website devoted to deal with preliminary deposits.

If you click your way to, consumers can register their interest in the LEAF by paying a £257 refundable deposit. They will then get to test-drive a LEAF by the end of this year, at which point they will need to officially confirm their order. The Nissan LEAF will cost £23,990 when it goes on sale in February 2011.

Ferrari to contact all 458 Italia owners

A few days ago, Ferrari was looking into a problem that caused the 458 Italia to catch fire. Now, Ferrari will be calling back every single 458 Italia, following videos, photos and reports of cars randomly catching fire. Most 458 Italia fires have happened in Mainland Europe. In the U.S, Ferrari dealers will be telephoning customers personally.

According to Ferrari, an adhesive used in the wheel-arch can overheat and allow the rear wheel heat shields to move around. In extreme cases, the glue can smoke and even catch fire. Five initial units of the car have caught fire, although none have been UK cars.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV pricing announced (EU)

Mitsubishi has revealed some new information on the forthcoming Euro-spec i-MiEV electric city-car.

Compared to the Japanese variant, the European model has remodelled bumpers, centre console and "improved interior comfort." Compare to the regular petrol ‘i-car’, the i-MiEV comes with ASC (Active Stability Control) and side & curtain airbags as standard.

Audi increasing A1 production

Audi will be increasing the production of its A1 supermini, to meet early demand.

Audi’s sales executive, Peter Schwarzenbauer also approved plans for the A1 to be sold in China and the U.S. China will see the car launch in mid-2012, however, the U.S is likely to see the A1 in its second generation. Originally, Audi discarded the idea of selling the A1 outside of Europe.

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