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.

“Quality is a top priority for Kia and Hyundai Motor Co. management,” Chae said. “They don’t want to tarnish their image.”

To date, KIA recalled 85,900 vehicles due to a wiring problem that could cause fires. Around 36,000 Souls, 33,000 Sorentos, 8,000 Mohaves and 8,900 Cadenza sedans are on the list. Kia is preparing to recall an additional 18,147 Sorento, Borrego and Soul passenger cars in China due to problems with circuit boards.

Toyota Prius III continues to be top seller (JP):

For 16 months now, Japanese customers have been flocking to Toyota showrooms across the country to buy a Prius hybrid. However, while sales are still rapid, they fell to their lowest level in 2010.

Government tax cuts and new car incentives that are aim at fuel efficient vehicles run out towards the end of September. Japanese buyers bought 22,263 Priuses last month, 30% better volume than the second place Honda Fit.

The Prius continues to be by far the best performing hybrid in Japan; although there was some premature competition against the Honda Insight just over a year ago, it ranked 15th on Japan's best-seller list last month.

Geely brand to disappear:

Geely is axing the Geely brand to focus on its sub-brand like Gleagle, Emgrand, Shanghai Englon and, Volvo. Gleagle, short for Global Eagle, is Geely’s global brand, while Emgrand is the firm’s luxury division. Shanghai Englon focuses on economy and some fleet vehicles.

The result to axe the Geely brand will most likely be a good move for the company as its on course to become China’s leading car company. Geely’s first half profits rose 35% to $119 million.

Toyota recalls over 116,500 Hilux pick-up trucks in Australia (AU):

Toyota’s Australian division is recalling 116,507 Hilux pick-up trucks due to a faulty rear driveshaft bracket support.

The recall covers Hiluxs produced between January 2005 – February 2010 with 4WD. Toyota says that the concern primarily affects vehicles used in rough road conditions, such as over cattle grids and on poor unpaved terrain.

Toyota said that 19 vehicles have suffered support tears, but only one suffered total failure. No injuries have been reported.

MINI plans Countryman Coupe:

MINI is preparing a sporty coupé variant of the all-new Countryman crossover, with initial images on the drawing board at MINI’s design studio in Munich.

With BMW planning front-wheel-drive models, the Countryman coupé would be the first of many models in a niche of its own. According to insiders, the concept is being probed because the BMW X6 is a success.

MINI is eyeing up the forthcoming Range Rover Evoque because MINI could give a cut-price rival for around £20k. If green-lighted, the coupé will arrive in 2013 with rear-hinged (suicide) doors and no B-pillars.

Via Autocar 
Police to fit parking sensors to reduce repair bills (UK):
Police in South Yorkshire, Northern England, will fit parking sensors on all police cars to shrink the amount of cash spent fixing the destruction caused by low-speed accidents; they spend around £60,000 annually.

Martin Whysall, South Yorkshire Police’s fleet manager, said, "Police station yards were not necessarily designed for cars and they can be tight in terms of space."

Police forces across the land spend hundreds of thousands of pounds repairing damaged police cars. From April 2009 – April 2010, Merseyside Police spent £205,403 on repairing crashed cars. Humberside Police buys cars with reversing sensors as standard, whereas North and West Yorkshire police already add parking sensors to the larger vehicles in their fleets.

Infiniti M30d pricing announced (UK):

Infiniti has released prices for its first-ever diesel saloon which goes on sale next month.

The M30d is available in 5 trim-levels; standard, GT, GT Premium, M30d S and M30d S Premium. The standard model starts at £36,750 and comes with heated steering wheel, bi-xenon headlamps, 10 way electrically adjustable front seats, rear parking sensors w/reversing camera and Infiniti Driver Selector.

The GT model – at £39,250 – features semi-aniline leather heated and ventilated front seats. The GT Premium starts at £44,600 and comes with a blind-spot monitoring system, adaptive cruise control, Connectiviti+ infotainment system and Infiniti’s Air climate control.

The sportier M30d S features 4 wheel steering, sports suspension, sports seats, 20” alloy wheels and gear-shift paddles. Flagship M30d S Premium adds the extra equipment included in the GT Premium over the standard GT model at £46,600.

Volkswagen Caddy facelift pricing announced (UK):

Prices have been announced for Volkswagen’s revised Caddy LCV and Caddy Maxi. The Caddy starts from £12,100 (excluding VAT) for the 1.6 TDI 75bhp, rising to £22,690 for the Caddy Maxi MPV 2.0 TDI 110bhp 4Motion. The Caddy Maxi starts at £14,050 (excluding VAT) and comes with a 102PS, 1.6 TDI.

Joining the 1.6 TDI 75PS and 102PS diesel engines is a 2.0 TDI that is available with 110bhp and 140bhp, while Volkswagen offers two Bluemotion models. These make use of stop/start, automatic battery regeneration, aerodynamic wheel arch spoilers and low rolling resistance tyres, in addition to the 102PS, 1.6 TDI engine for combined fuel economy of 55.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 134g/km. This gives the vehicle of range of 735 miles (1,181km).

All Caddy models come equipped with ESP, ABS, Traction Control System (TCS), automatic hazard lights, driver's airbag, speed sensitive power steering, remote central locking and a CD stereo w/AUX-in socket as standard. A 7-speed DSG gearbox and 4Motion is available.

Order books open 27th September with first customer deliveries in November.

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