Thursday, 31 March 2011

Honda Civic Ti selling fast (UK)

2011 EUR Honda Civic grille
Before it even goes on sale, Honda UK has allegedly sold a fifth of its special-edition Civic Ti. The Civic Ti is based upon the SE trim-level and is loaded with £3,700 worth of features and is priced £355 less than the regular Civic SE.

A total of 500 units will be produced; 300 with the 1.8 i-VTEC and 200 with the 1.4 i-VTEC. First customer deliveries are expected on the 20th April.

Pagani Huayra Roadster confirmed for production

Pagani has announced that it will release a drop-top variant of the Huayra supercar. CEO Horacio Pagani informed the media in Argentina that there “will be a Huayra roadster in approximately three years”.

In addition, the brand wanted to called the Huayra ‘Da Vinci’, but realised the named had already been registered. The Huayra nameplate was suggested by a marketing company, according to Pagani.

Concept Car: Chevrolet Miray

Debuting at the 2011 Seoul motor show is the Chevrolet Miray (pronounced Mi-ray) mid-electric hybrid sports car.

The Miray (meaning 'future' in Korean) was made to celebrate Chevrolet's centenary anniversary this year. The showcar sits on 20” alloy wheels up front and 21” alloys at the rear.

Concept Car: Hyundai Blue2

At the 2011 Seoul Motor Show Hyundai Motor staged a world premiere of the Hyundai Blue2 concept car (codenamed HND-6), a mid-size FCEV which shows a blueprint for future sedans. The name 'Blue2' is a combination of Hyundai's sub eco-brand 'Blue Drive' and the number `2' from H2, the symbol for hydrogen gas.

Aiming at gaining early leadership of the FCEV market, Hyundai Blue2 concept is powered by a fuel cell electric system that delivers a stack power of 121bhp (122PS/90kW) (1.65kW/L) and fuel economy of 100mpg (34.9km/l). The Blue2 is materialized in a sporty and luxurious style, a combination of futuristic, flowing designs and eco-friendly features. The Hyundai Blue2 concept is equipped with low-resistance tires and alloy wheels which are designed to improve aerodynamic performance, while the car's interior design encompasses a futuristic look by using eco-friendly new materials.

Ford to launch Fiesta ST in 2012

2011 Ford Fiesta S1600
The long-awaited Ford Fiesta ST will go on sale in the last quarter of next year, featuring 180bhp (178PS/134kW).

Previously, Ford has struggled to warrant the investment of the Fiesta ST as it's likely to arrive with a high price tag. Power for the front-wheel-drive Fiesta ST will come from a 1.6 litre EcoBoost petrol engine that will develop 180bhp (178PS/134kW). Revised gear ratios for the 6 speed manual will result in a sportier drive.

Citroën DS3 celebrates its first birthday

The Citroën DS3 is celebrating its first birthday as owners come together on Saturday 2nd April. The special event will be held at the Ferté Gaucher circuit near Paris.

With more than 80,000 units sold since its launch last year, more than 200 DS3 owners are expected to gather from across Europe at the Ferté Gaucher circuit.

Fiat to produce third-generation Panda in November 2011

According to a top Fiat executive, the firm will produce the first units of the 2012 Panda III in November 2011 in Italy, after it takes the stands at the Frankfurt motor show during September.

"We are on track in refurbishing Pomigliano, which will become a truly state-of-the-art plant when it begins production in November," Fiat Group chief manufacturing officer Stefan Ketter said.

Volkswagen stops taking orders on current Beetle (UK)

The 2005 VW New Beetle was to femenine
for the male species, the 2012 model will
finally man up
Those who are looking to purchase a VW Beetle will only be able to order from present stock, as no more factory-built orders are being taken. This is because Volkswagen is making way for its new Beetle.

Volkswagen UK has said there are around 42 unsigned hatchbacks and 3 unsigned cabriolets. A further 222 hatchbacks and 87 cabriolets are sitting on dealer forecourts, unsold.

2012 Chevrolet Malibu to be unveiled in Shanghai and on Facebook

Updated - 09/04/11

Shanghai will see the launch of the upcoming Chevrolet Malibu, however, the firm will also present the finished product on Facebook.

The brand has released a teaser picture – showing the rear LED tail-lights - and video showing the exterior designer playing around with a hologram.

Teaser: 2011 Buick Envision concept

American car maker, Buick has slipped a teaser picture of the Envision concept, before its world premier at the upcoming Auto Shanghai 2011.

The concept was developed in alliance with the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Centre. According to GM, the Envision is a crossover that features "an elegant and smooth exterior that emphasizes its modern styling and contemporary sportiness." The showcar is likely to avoid Buick's blimpish design language.

Concept car: Kia Naimo

Kia has revealed the Naimo electric crossover at today's Seoul motor show. Taking its name from the Korean word “Ne-mo”, (pronounced ‘Neh-mo’, meaning ‘square shape’), the Naimo was formed by Kia’s international design team in Seoul.

The concept features a wrap-around windscreen and a asymmetric sunroof, to emphasise the vehicles simple yet modern design. The design team at Kia also used advanced technology to give the Naimo an upmarket feel. For instance, there are no front windscreen wipers because a high-intensity air jet at the base of the windscreen performs as an ‘air wiper’ function. The door mirrors are replaced by cameras integrated into the A-pillars.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Mysterious Mazda mule spied in Germany

Is Mazda working on their own mini-MPV?
A mysterious Mazda test mule has been spied by our boys outside a Jaguar compound in Germany. The cut-and-shut 2003 2 (Demio overseas) - using the current Mazda2's fascia - could potentially conceal Mazda's own mini-MPV or Ford's forthcoming B-Max mini-MPV. The latter sounds more probable since the license plates are registered in Cologne and the mule sports the name 'Chiara' at the rear.

The windscreen is more upright and placed further forward, the bonnet is sat high than usual B-Segment cars, and weights taped on the roof to simulate a high profile all hint at a mini-MPV, in addition to the repositioned fuel cap and wide wheelarches.

New Car: 2011 Alfa Romeo MiTo

Alfa Romeo has launched the refreshed MiTo supermini in Europe. The brush up includes new exterior colours, wheel trims, interior fabrics, engines, and optional equipment. All engines are now Euro5 compliant and feature a stop/start system as standard.

Four trim-levels will be available in Italy; Progression, Distinctive, “Super” and Quadrifoglio Verde. The base 1.4 litre 78bhp (77PS/58kW) petrol engine will cost from €15,500 (£13,625) and returns 50.4mpg (5.6l/100km). Mid-spec 'Distinctive' can be powered by the 1.6 JTD 120bhp (118PS/89kW) that starts from €22,550 (£19,820).

Jaguar drops 2.2D in revised XF, new 8 speed ZF auto debuts

The 2012 Jaguar XF facelift is still undergoing
Jaguar will launch the facelifted XF with a PSA-sourced 2.2D diesel engine that will place the newcomer in the heartland of mid-sized executive diesel cars, like the BMW 520d. We've been told that Jaguar was very reluctant to give the XF a 4-cylinder diesel.

The new diesel unit develops 187bhp (190PS/140kW) and 450Nm (332lb-ft) of torque, while returning 52.3mpg (5.4l/100km) and emitting 149g/km. The fuel economy and lower emissions are helped by an intelligent stop/start system.

New Car: 2012 Porsche Panamera Turbo S

Porsche has taken the covers off the most powerful Panamera variant yet; the Turbo S. Power comes from a twin-turbo 4.8 litre V8 petrol engine that kicks out 542bhp (PS/kW), making it more powerful than the 518bhp (PS/kW) Mercedes S63 AMG. Torque has also increased to 800Nm (590lb-ft) with an overboost function. That takes top speed to 191mph (306km/h) with the 0-62mph (100km/h) dash taking a mere 3.8 seconds.

Surprisingly, fuel economy remains the same at 24.6mpg (l/100km), thanks to titanium-aluminium turbine wheels to the turbochargers and revised the engine control management of the Turbo S to boost power and performance.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Cadillac tries third attempt at European market (EU)

2010 Cadillac XTS Platinum concept
Cadillac is hoping that a refresh design style and two new models will commence sales of Cadillacs in Europe. This will be the third effort in 15 years from the American brand to gain a foothold in the premium sector in Europe. Vital to the Euro market, a diesel engine won't arrive anytime soon.

Chief executive, Dan Akerson said: “The only thing you can do is try, try and try again with Cadillac in Europe.”

Road Test: 2012 Kia Rio 1.1 CRDi

Beneath this thick coating lies Kia's new Rio supermini. Although we seen official pictures, the Rio's rigorous testing days are far from over as engineers still alter the chassis and steering.

While the previous model didn't bother the Citroen C3, Volkswagen Polo, Ford Fiesta, or Vauxhall/Opel Corsa, does the new car have what it takes to unnerve class-leaders? Read on to find out...

Monday, 28 March 2011

Land Rover reaches 250,000th Freelander milestone (UK)

The Land Rover facility in Halewood, Merseyside has produced its 250,000th Freelander 2. Production of the second-generation Freelander 2 begun in 2007, after a British world debut in 2006.

The firm is also celebrating growing demand for the award winning model as retail sales hiked 22%, year to date (Apr 2010 – Feb 2011) compared with the same 11 month period in 2009/2010.

EC to ban fossil fuelled cars by 2050 (EU)

Central London
Photo: BBC
The European Commission wants to ban fossil fuelled cars in European city centres by 2050, however, the UK has rejected the idea.

The outline proposals suggested by EC transport commissioner Siim Kallas, are intended to slash Europe's dependency on oil and reduce carbon dioxide output by 60%. Although the EC claims the plans isn't a blast on personal mobility. But UK Transport Minister, Norman Baker said it should not be "involved" in individual cities' transport choices.

Kia preparing sub-compact sports car

Instead of focusing on the luxury segments in Europe, Kia is concentrating on perfomance-orientated segments. The firm has previous publicised the wish of producing a Volkswagen Golf GTI, Ford Focus ST, and Mazda3 MPS rival, but new reports hint at the company wanting a Mazda MX-5/Miata competitor.

The 2007 Kee concept was the first hint at a forthcoming Kia sports car but ever since, Kia has remain hushed until now. The concept is powered by a “next-generation” 2.0 litre Mue V6 petrol engine.

Squirrel finds home in '03 Astra, almost destroys car (UK)

2003 Opel Astra hatchback
A squirrel decided to store hundreds of peanuts in a 2003 Vauxhall Astra, worth £5,000.

The owner, 59 year-old John Gold, took his car into a local garage when a mechanic told Gold the air intake was stuffed with peanuts. The car was initially taken in for a leaking radiator.

Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster spied virtually undisguised

Our spies have snapped the forthcoming Mercedes SLS Roadster virtually uncamouflaged on a German street. Previous prototypes sported extensive disguise across the fascia, side profile and the rear.

Unlike the SLS AMG coupé, the roadster won't arrive with gullwing doors as it will feature a retractable top. A 6.3 litre V8 petrol - with 563bhp (571PS/420kW) and 650Nm (479lb-ft) of torque – will live under the hood. With a top speed of 192mph (309km/h), a 0-62mph (100km/h) time of 4 seconds can be achieved.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Alfa Romeo MiTo and Fiat Punto Evo to gain 0.9 TwinAir petrol engine

Fiat will drop its 0.9 litre TwinAir petrol engine into the Alfa Romeo MiTo and Fiat Punto Evo, in order to offer more engine variety. If you're not aware, the small-capacity TwinAir debuted in the 500.
The small engine displacement allows the TwinAir engine to produce 85bhp (84PS/63kW), using a unique valve management system and a turbocharger, which provides plenty of low-end torque.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Unconfirmed report implies Kia hinting at production Venga EV

With nearly everyone jumping on the electric vehicle bandwagon, Kia is allegedly looking to launch its first ever EV in 2013.

While details are modest, the Venga EV – that debuted as a concept at the late Geneva exhibition – may feature a lithium-ion battery which will send juice to an electric motor that develops 80bhp (82 PS/60kW). This should give a range of 87 miles (140km) per charge, with charging taking upto six hours.

Kia reaches all-new manufacturing milestone

Kia has reached a 10 million global export landmark with a Snow White Pearl Optima sedan, that was shipped to the U.S from the Pyeongtaek Port, located 50 miles southwest of Seoul, South Korea.

"The last year was an exceptionally positive one for Kia Motors, and we expect to build on our momentum through 2011,” comments Benny Oeyen, Vice President Marketing and Product Planning, Kia Motors Europe.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

GM and Renault confirm production locations for commerical models

GM and Renault have announced the production locations of the next-generation Vauxhall/Opel Vivaro and Renault Trafic models.

The Vivaro production will save more than 1,000 jobs at the firms Luton facility when manufacturing starts in 2013.

Fisker Karma production commences in Finland

Fisker has started production on its Karma plug-in hybrid vehicle in Uusikaupunki, Finland. The Karma utilises its electric motor for 50 miles (80km) before the petrol engines kicks in.

Spokesman Roger Ormisher said: "We're going to be ramping up very slowly, very carefully to ensure quality. This year we want to get over 7,000 deliveries."

Ford revises Fiesta for 2012 (U.S)

Ford has given its Fiesta three new option packages for the 2012 model year. The interior can be specified with a 'Race Red' or 'Oxford White' package. These consist of two-tone coloured interior accents on the door panels, centre console, and air vents, leather seats, steering wheel, and gearknob. The seats also feature an integrated Fiesta logo, with the interior packages said to be inspired by fashion.

These will only be available on SEL and SES models.

Porsche may be penning mid-sized executive sedan

Unconfirmed reports from Germany suggest Porsche is penning a sub-Panamera model, targeting the Mercedes E-Class, Audi A6, Infiniti G-Series, and BMW 5 Series.

Doubtfully dubbed 'Pajun' – short for Panamera Junior – the newcomer would combine typical Porsche styling with a four-door coupé bodystyle.

Infiniti to kick-start sales Down Under (AU)

2009 Infiniti G37S coupé
Nissan's luxury division, Infiniti is looking to open up shop in Australia. Following its expansion in Europe and certain Asian markets, Infiniti would like to sell its line-up of crossovers, coupés, and sedans sometime in late 2012.

Initial Infiniti centres will open up on the east-coast of Australia, in the cities of Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney. The line-up will feature the M-Series sedan, FX-Series sporty SUV, and G37 coupé & convertible.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Maserati to premier Quattroporte replacement in Frankfurt

2011 Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S Awards Edition
Maserati is looking to produce three new models by 2015, expanding into markets the firm has never touch.

The first model will be a Quattroporte replacement that may debut at Autumn's Frankfurt motor exhibition. Codenamed M156, the newcomer will carry a 4.7 litre V8 petrol that develops between 399bhp (405PS/298kW) to 434bhp (440PS/324kW). We wouldn't be surprised to see a powerful diesel either.

Renault produces 1,000th Clio Gordini RS

Since its launch in May 2010, Renault has pushed out its 1,000 Clio Gordini RS model, where it's being built at the Alpine plant in Dieppe.

The car is sold in 18 countries, with the majority being in Europe. Following its revival in 2009, the Gordini nameplate doesn't represent performance-orientated vehicles, only ones that look sporty and come with more equipment.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Dacia reaches 4 millionth milestone after 45 years

It's taken 45 years for budget car manufacture, Dacia to built its 4,000,000th vehicle at its Mioveni facility in Romania, after the firm was found in 1966.

The milestone car was a 'Cashew Brown' Duster 1.5 dCi 110 Laureate 4WD, destined for a customer in France.

Possible New York debut for U.S spec Fiat 500C

The tip-top Fiat 500 city-car may be arriving in showrooms now, but that hasn't stopped reports suggesting that the Italian company may unveil the 500C at the New York International Auto Show.

While nothing has been confirmed yet, the 500C is expected to use the same updates as the 3dr 500, which includes a new chassis, engine, and exterior modifications.

New Car: 2012 Holden Cruze hatchback (AU)

GM has taken the wraps of the Australian-sourced Holden Cruze. The car was drawn at the Port Melbourne studio in Australia and will be produced in Elizabeth.

“In designing the new five-door hatch we wanted to retain the sporty ‘Cruze’ proportions and bring the same Holden appearance to the hatch that we developed for the new locally-built Series II Cruze sedan,” said Holden Design Director, Tony Stolfo.

Nissan delivers first LEAF EV (UK)

Smooth Radio DJ Mark Goodier with
his Leaf EV
Nissan has delivered its first UK-bound Leaf EV to customer's today. Silicon chip designer, Richard Todd was the first consumer to order and collect his Leaf.

Todd plucked for the Kuro metallic black paint and specified a roof spoiler with solar cells. He said: 'As an engineer I have always wanted an electric car – I've just had to wait for the battery technology to arrive. Hybrids are good, but the driving experience of an all-electric vehicle is way beyond this.'

Chevrolet to rename Camaro (CN)

2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
In order to adapt to the planet's biggest and fast-growing car market, Chevrolet has renamed its legendary Camaro to “Ke Mai Luo.” The reason for the renaming is so Chinese customer's can pronounce it easier.

The Ke Mai Luo (科迈罗) will also receive other modifications before debuting at the Shanghai motor show in April.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Concept Car: Chevrolet Colorado

2011 Chevrolet Colorado Concept
The Bangkok International motor show will see Chevrolet debut the Colorado concept pick-up truck.

"Thailand is the world's-largest market for midsize pickups, so this was the perfect location in which to unveil our new Colorado," said Susan Docherty, vice president, GMIO Sales, Marketing and Aftersales. "Trucks have been part of Chevrolet's core for nearly all of its 100-year history. The Chevrolet Colorado reinforces that heritage with expressive design, refinement and uncompromising capability."

Porsche 918 Spyder pricing announced (U.S)

2013 Porsche 918 Spyder design sketch
Porsche wishes to start limited production of the 918 Spyder in September 2013, in which the firm will be taking orders on the plug-in hybrid supercar. Initially, starting with 918 units, the 918 Spyder will be produced at the Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen facility in Germany at the cost of £563,000 ($845,000/€645,000) for customers, subject to VAT and country-specific charges.

While the may sound steep, here's the catch; Porsche will also bundle in a special edition 911 Turbo S "Edition 918 Spyder". This won't be available to purchase through dealerships, only customers who order a 918 Spyder will be able to obtain one, in both coupé and cabriolet forms.

Volkswagen starts production on Golf Cabriolet

Volkswagen has started production on the new Golf Cabriolet at the firm's new assembly plant in Osnabrück. The occasion was also welcomed by Germany's president, Christian Wulff.

President Wulff said: “I am very pleased we have been able to safeguard the future of Osnabrück as a car making location. Osnabrück has enormous potential. The strengths of the employees and their comprehensive enormous know-how, for example in building cabriolets, are a perfect fit for Volkswagen Osnabrück as part of the wider Volkswagen Group.”

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Audi planning A9 luxury four-door coupé

Audi has made it clear that it wants a model in every single niche segment, with the latest model being a range-topping four-door coupé, although it may be a two door coupé . The new model would sit above the current flagship A8 sedan.

German reports suggest Audi will be the newcomer into production, with Porsche over-taking development as the new model will underpin the Porsche Panamera, however, other reports suggest an aluminium space-frame (like the A8) with its main components sourced from the MLB architecture (Modularen Längsbaukasten, or 'modular longitudinal architecture'.

Heated seats come under fire by the NHTSA (U.S)

The 2011 Nissan Murano facelift is a vehicle
that features heated front and rear seats as
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will probed into the affects of heated seats by all car manufacturers to see if they present “an unreasonable risk to safety” after complaints of some experiencing burns.

Following complaints that “dozens” of people were suffering from partial paralysis or other reduced sensory conditions from heated seats, the NHTSA will examine heated seats to find out if they cause any widespread risk towards humans.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Kia axes plans to enter Indian market (IN)

2009 Kia Soul 'tiger grille'
Kia has terminated the idea of entering the competitive Indian car market.

A senior official within Kia said the company will firmly focus on developed markets like the United States, Europe, and China, where it has localised assembly plants.

British woman fails theory test 90 times (UK)

According to the Driving Standards Agency (DSA), one learner driver had failed her theory test around 90 times.

The 26 year old woman, based in Southwark, South London reportedly spent £2,790 on the test that costs £31 each time.

Audi plans X6 rivalling SUV coupé

Audi has begun developing a performance minded SUV coupé, to rival the BMW X6.

Rumoured to be called Q6, the five-seat crossover may underpin the identical four-wheel drive platform as the Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg, which utilises a 2,895mm, short-wheelbase using VAG's Colorado chassis, that also pins the Audi Q7.

European car sales increase for the first time in 11 months (EU)

2011 Volkswagen CrossTouran partial front
Hurray, car sales in European have finally increased following an 11 month tumble. The 1.4% gain was led by Volkswagen and Opel.

The spike in demand came from Germany, France, and Poland, with over 1.01m vehicles sold last month in Europe. Volkswagen posted a 9.3% gain, with Opel posting 8.3%. PSA Peugeot-Citroen and Ford saw sales freefall. Sales of Ford vehicles fell -12% to 73,133 units, however, Stephen Odell, CEO of Ford Europe, said the firm would preferably sell vehicles at a profit than hook customers with bigger discounts.

New Car: 2011 Honda Brio

Honda has taken the wraps off the new Brio budget city-car, which is designed for emerging markets.

Available strictly as a five-door hatchback, the Brio first debuted as a concept at the Delhi motor show in January 2010, with the production model shown in Thailand in November 2010.

Honda confirms CR-Z Type-R will be a hybrid

In an interview with Autocar, Tomohiko Kawanabe, Honda's R&D executive has announced that the company is preparing a high-powered CR-Z hybrid.

Kawanabe said development work has begun, and despite previous reports, it will retain its IMA system.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Audi calls for A2 supermini comeback

According to an internal Audi informant via Autocar, the firm said its A2 supermini is at an advanced stage of development.

With high demand for the A1 supermini and the increasing interest in fuel economy, Audi may be swayed to replace the car, which was axed in 2005. The original A2 was made from an aluminium which gave the car excellent fuel economy, but also increased the price-tag.

Hyundai offers 1.7 CRDi ix35 to customers in light of long-waiting list (UK)

High demand for the Hyundai ix35 compact SUV has caused customers to face a long-waiting list across the world, with the 2.0 CRDi variant being particularly popular. British consumers are said to be waiting for at least 5 months for their deliveries.

To combat this, Hyundai is offering 200 customers who faced the longest wait a 1.7 CRDi. This works with the customer paying for a 1.7 CRDi variant and when their 2.0 CRDi is prepared, they'll change cars and pay the difference.

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