I will try my best to provide detailed info on various cars and what is like to live with them, I have already produced a few for Jaguar-car-forums, I will do my best to be unbiased, but it will be hard for some cars. I will re-produce press releases and copy from other motoring news.

Friday, 25 January 2013

The British Government's UK-Italy business awards, gives Ferrari award.

Ferrari has won the prestigious Innovation in Engineering Award during the 6thedition of the UK-Italy Business Awards organised by the British Government.
The Award was presented to Ferrari’s Chief Engineer, Roberto Fedeli at the Milan Stock Exchange in the presence of Michael Fallon, the UK’s Minister for Business and Enterprise, Corrado Passera, Italy’s Minister for Economic Development, Infrastructures and Transport, and Christopher Prentice, the British Ambassador to Italy.

The award was given to Ferrari by the British Government as a formal recognition of the company’s role in the UK as a symbol of Italian excellence in the automotive industry, where it has continuously demonstrated innovation in advanced engineering.
Further details of the UK-Italy Business Awards can be found here: http://ukinitaly.fco.gov.uk/en/news/?view=News&id=852195182

Third row start for AUDI and the R8 GRAND-AM in Daytona 24hr

  • Filipe Albuquerque with Alex Job Racing is best Audi driver
  • Teams are mainly focused on race preparation
  • All four Audi R8 GRAND-AM cars are thoroughly prepared

The best Audi R8 GRAND-AM will be starting into the 24-hour race at Daytona (Florida) from the third row. The fastest driver of the Audi customer teams in qualifying was Filipe Albuquerque.

Following several warm-up laps, the Audi factory driver managed to make a perfect landing. After the tyre pressure had reached the planned optimum level, Albuquerque drove a flawless lap on the high-speed track in Florida. His time of 1m 48.282s earned him and Team Alex Job Racing grid position six in the GT class, making Audi the third-best brand in the field of the eight manufacturers.

René Rast achieved the second-best time of an Audi driver. The German from Team APR Motorsport took grid position eleven (1m 48.581s). Markus Winkelhock in the Audi R8 GRAND-AM qualified in the front half of the field of 34 GT vehicles as well. The Audi from Rum Bum Racing will start from position 16 (1m 48.865s) on Saturday. The American Matt Bell from APR Motorsport achieved grid position 27 in another R8 GRAND-AM.

The main focus of all the teams was and continues to be placed on preparing for the 24-hour race. All teams are using the remaining night practice on Thursday and a final practice on Friday to further refine the set-up of the customer race sports car. The race will start at 15:30 local time on Saturday.

Selected quotes

Romolo Liebchen (Head of Audi Sport customer racing): "In qualifying, there were no surprises. We concentrated on preparing for the race. It was important not to take any risks today. Together with the preparation in the tests at the end of last year and in the beginning of January, we’re tackling the race with a clear conscience. The drivers are giving us feedback confirming that we’re running with a set-up that provides very good driveability."

Filipe Albuquerque (Audi R8 GRAND-AM #24/Alex Job Racing): "I’m very happy with my lap. I kept my cool because I knew that the first three laps are nothing special. I knew when I’d be able to attack. The tyre pressure was developing according to plan and then I only needed a single lap. Everything was right on the dot. There was no more traffic and I made no mistakes. Afterward, the tyres were used up. Things couldn’t have gone any better today. And in the other practice sessions we want to improve our car a little bit more. I’m looking forward to the race."

Qualifying results

1 Nick Tandy (Porsche) 1m 47.631s
2 Andy Lally (Porsche) 1m 47.828s
3 Sean Edwards (Porsche) 1m 48.007s
4 Patrick Long (Porsche) 1m 48.137s
5 Alessandro Balzan (Ferrari) 1m 48.260s
6 Filipe Albuquerque (Audi R8 GRAND-AM) 1m 48.282s
7 Marco Seefried (Porsche) 1m 48.319s
8 Robin Liddell (Camaro) 1m 48.330s
9 Daniel Serra (Ferrari) 1m 48.521s
10 Anthony Lazzaro (Ferrari) 1m 48.577s
11 René Rast (Audi R8 GRAND-AM) 1m 48.581s
16 Markus Winkelhock (Audi R8 GRAND-AM) 1m 48.865s
27 Matt Bell (Audi R8 GRAND-AM) 1m 49.937s

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Dealer Sells MG's before officially launching as an MG dealer - Not bad, now sell even more !

Hartwell, the newest MG dealer in the UK has sold cars even before it opens!
The dealership in Corporation Road, Grimsby, is hosting a festival of events on Friday (January 25) to mark its official opening – but two MG6 Magnettes have already been sold and the proud new owners will join in the celebrations. 
Dave Robertson, General Manager of Hartwell, Grimsby, said: “We opened a few weeks ago ahead of the official opening and the response has been tremendous.

“There has been a lot of genuine interest. We’ve already sold two MG6 Magnettes and one of the owners will collect their keys on Friday. It’s interesting to see just where the MG enquiries are coming from because it’s not just from MG fans; we’re getting lots of interest from people who tell us they hadn’t even considered MG before.
“The value-for-money message seems to be going down well in our area. When people realise just how well equipped the car is, suddenly they start getting serious.”  
The Hartwell group is 30th on the AM100 list of Britain’s biggest retail motor businesses and the Grimsby dealership was one of eight new MG dealerships announced last year.
The MG showrooms in Corporation Road, just off the A180, has two of the recently announced MG6 GT BTTC Edition models and a new MG6 DTi-TECH diesel model alongside petrol MG6 GT and MG6 Magnette models on display.  
There will also be several classic MG models on display during Friday’s events.   .   

Ford's Evergreen Fiesta gains top seller in Europe for 2012

  • The Ford Fiesta is Europe’s top-selling small car of 2012, and the second most popular car overall,* with one purchased every two minutes on average
  • Fiesta has been overall UK best seller every year since 2009
  • European sales success confirmed as dealerships across the continent celebrate Fiesta Day to mark the latest model’s arrival
  • New Fiesta offers a bolder exterior, a more refined interior, the award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine, Ford SYNC and Ford MyKey

Consumers bought a new Ford Fiesta every two minutes on average last year, making it the best-selling small car in Europe, according to automotive data intelligence provider JATO Dynamics.*

Ford last year sold 953,174 cars in the 30 European markets monitored by Jato, including 306,405 Fiestas. Ford recently announced that during 2012 more than 1.4 million Ford vehicles were sold across all of the 51 European markets in which it operates.

In the UK, Ford sold almost 110,000 Fiesta models last year – confirming its position as the nation’s most popular car every year since 2009.

In anticipation of the latest model’s arrival, Ford’s 530 UK dealers set aside January 24th as “Fiesta Day” to help manage unprecedented levels of interest in Ford’s new baby.

In addition to special “Fiesta Day” showroom features and attractions, Ford has also launched a Facebook app which analyses information on profile pages to match users with their ideal Fiesta specification.  The app also encourages the submission of ideas on the perfect 24 hours in a new Fiesta – as already enjoyed by singing star Jessie Ware (www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lAuJqakzYY).

“The Fiesta had a fantastic 2012 in the UK, Europe and across the world,” said Roelant de Waard, vice president, Marketing, Sales and Service, Ford of Europe. “This iconic car has come to define what customers desire from a small car – style, quality, efficiency and great technology.”

Ford has sold more than 15 million Fiestas worldwide since the vehicle first went into production in 1976. The Fiesta now has been the top-selling small car in Europe for three out of the past four years. During that period, more than 1.7 million Fiestas have been sold in Europe and 2.1 million globally.

The U.K. was the most successful European market for Fiesta in 2012, with 109,250 models registered according to Ford figures. Across Europe, Frozen White proved the most popular paint colour among Fiesta customers.

Ford is currently launching the new Fiesta in Europe – which is coming to dealerships now – which is redesigned inside and out and offers the 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine – the 2012 “International Engine of the Year”. An ECOnetic Technology version powered by a 1.6-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel engine achieves 87 g/km CO2**.

The new Fiesta also offers MyKey, a Ford-exclusive technology that allows parents to encourage safer driving and limit their teenager’s exposure to risk at the wheel. Ford also has equipped new Fiesta with Ford SYNC, a voice-activated in-car connectivity system, and SYNC Emergency Assistance, which directly connects vehicle occupants to local emergency services operators after an accident.

In addition, Fiesta offers Active City Stop, which can help avoid or mitigate low-speed collisions.

“The new Fiesta has some big shoes to fill in 2013 but is perfectly equipped to do so,” said de Waard. “Being acclaimed as Europe’s best-loved small car in 2012 is a great achievement and we thank all of our customers who continue to put their faith in the Fiesta.”

* JATO Dynamics results are based on information provided by JATO Consult, the company's bespoke consulting service.  Figures are based on 30 European countries. For more information please visit www.jato.com.
** The stated fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are measured according to the technical requirements and specifications of the European Regulation (EC) 715/2007 as last amended. The results may differ from fuel economy figures in other regions of the world due to the different drive cycles and regulations used in those markets.

McLaren P1™ what more can be said

  • Development of the McLaren P1™ continues ahead of its next global appearance
  • Film released of the McLaren P1™ undergoing testing, available to view and embed from the official McLaren Automotive YouTube channel – http://youtu.be/VW2LOgchfno
  • XP development cars shown carrying race track-inspired camouflage

The McLaren P1™ was unveiled to the world as a design study at the Paris Motor Show in September 2012, and was met with the glare of a thousand camera flashes. Since then, development of the technology beneath the carbon fibre skin has continued at great pace. The team at McLaren Automotive has continued the relentless testing programme for the car. The goal being: to produce the best driver’s car in the world on road and track.

The latest short video gives the most detailed view yet of the production McLaren P1™.  Leveraging five decades of skills and knowledge gained through the company’s involvement at the pinnacle of motorsport and through Formula 1 techniques and processes, the McLaren P1™ promises to raise the supercar performance bar.

Using CFD (computational fluid dynamics) aerodynamic modelling and bespoke Formula 1™-derived dynamics simulation tools, outstanding performance against aggressive targets was established even before the first prototype builds.  Detailed analysis has continued hand in hand with physical testing to accelerate the further development of the McLaren P1™.

A dedicated team of McLaren engineers, technicians and racing drivers are running a fleet of XP-codenamed vehicles, around the clock in some of the most demanding conditions, and on roads and circuits across the globe. The rigorous testing procedures for the McLaren P1™ have seen the development team working closely with McLaren Automotive technology partners on bespoke components and developments, including Akebono on a highly-efficient braking system, Pirelli on high performance tyres and Mobil 1 on leading cooling, lubrication and hydraulic fluids. As all these activities converge on the final specification, a remarkable vehicle is emerging.  The McLaren P1™ is set to deliver truly outstanding road and track dynamics and performance, coupled with levels of driveability and refinement unprecedented in such a supercar.

The obsession to detail which McLaren is known for carries through with the work being done by the McLaren P1™ development team. This fascination that everything should be designed for a reason has filtered down even to the striking camouflage being worn on the development cars. Designed in-house by the team behind the shape of the car, the graphic incorporates the outlines of famous circuits from across the world, each of which is significant in the history of the brand.

The race is now on for the McLaren P1™ ahead of the next public appearance…

WOW, An Italian car (Ferrari) wins in Germany, now this is News

The readers of the prestigious German car magazine Auto Motor und Sport have crowned the 458 Spider “Best Imported Cabriolet” in the traditional “Best cars” poll.

This is the second time the 458 Spider has won this category, and it’s the 15th time that a convertible Ferrari has received this award, demonstrating the esteem with which the marque is held in Germany. The trophy was presented by Auto Motor und Sport Editor-in-Chief, Ralph Alex, to Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa at the prize-giving ceremony held in Stuttgart today.

The 458 Spider continues the long tradition of Ferrari mid-engined V8 convertibles and is the first mid-engined model to feature a folding hard-top combining performance and style perfectly. The engine powering the car – the remarkable 570 HP, 4.5-litre V8 – has also been in the spotlight, having won the International Engine of the Year award for two consecutive years in 2011 and 2012.

Overall the 458 - in both the Italia coupé and the Spider versions - has received over 50 awards worldwide to date and is one of the most recognised and successful models in the history of Ferrari.

Dacia proves a safe bet for UK buyer, with good three year residuals

  • Depreciation on Duster over 3 years/60,000 miles up to £3,260 less than pricier SUV rivals
  • Set to retain up to 34% of its value after 3 years/60,000 miles according to CAP, just 2% shy of rivals costing thousands more
  • Duster’s picked up a five-month waiting list already for Access versions

Ever thought that buying a car with a headline-grabbing price tag only made sense in the short term? Then think again.

New figures for the Dacia Duster SUV from leading UK residual value provider, CAP, prove that you can have your cake and eat it (though whether you’d want to eat any more after overdoing it these last few weeks is another thing). Showing that as well as being one of the best value new cars, they forecast it’ll also be a good buy in the long run too. And it’s all down to being one of the least depreciating cars on sale today.

On the back of a bulging pre-order bank (over 2,000 if you’re counting) for its Duster SUV and Sandero supermini, in true James May style, the “good news” just keeps on rolling in for consumer champions, Dacia.

The latest boost for Europe’s fastest-growing car brand comes in the wake of CAP’s announcement that a typical Duster will retain an impressive 34% of its value after three years/60,000 miles. Or, in simple terms, save customers up to £3,260 more than plenty of the competition.

Holding onto a sizeable chunk of its value isn’t something that the multi-award-winning Duster finds difficult, whatever end of its price list you look at.

Up first is the UK’s “most affordable SUV”. At a shade under £9,000, compared to every other compact crossover, it’s hardly going to leave you penniless at the outset. Even so, a fair few buyers treat themselves to a Dacia as their first new car, with modern reliability, frugal engines and a comprehensive three year/60,000 miles warranty included as standard. In which case, like every other new car buyer, they will want the peace of mind that it’s still worth something further down the line.

Well, they’ll be in luck. The entry-level Access is forecast to retain an impressive 34% of its value (£3,025) after three years/60,000 miles. For that kind of money, it doesn’t take a betting man to assume that after hearing way too many glowing ownership tales, even the Jones’ next door might go out and treat themselves to one. Chances are though, that by then the word on the street will be out, so tracking down a used one is going to prove pretty tricky. In fact, due to its appeal, the entry-level Dusters have already picked up a not-to-be-sneezed-at five-month waiting list. So, if wannabe UK owners aren’t quick off the mark, soon the queue will likely be halfway to India (where they’re built, in case you’re wondering).

The news is just as sweet for the Duster flagship, Lauréate. Canny buyers will hopefully be all smiles when they learn that depreciation here too, is forecast to be unbeatably low. Thanks to a tidy combination of appealing, chunky styling and reliability, against a P11D value of £12,940, CAP believe that the dCi 110 4x2 will lose £8,540 over the same period. In simple terms, a lot less than everything else in its class, where the average loss is nudging £12,000. So, not only will a Duster prove a good buy initially, even over the longer term, it’ll still come out trumps.

Even when you look at it in purely percentage terms, it’s still a bleak picture for its rivals. Forecast to hold onto a respectable 33% over the same period, it falls just 2% shy of pricier SUV rivals from the likes of Hyundai, Kia and Skoda. Clearly, compared to its bargain £12,995, you’d have shelled out a lot more for these challengers in the first place.

Speaking on the news, Dacia UK Marketing Director, Phil York, said, “We know that the Dacia Duster is a great package for anyone after a practical, reliable and affordable SUV. CAP’s view just reaffirms our belief that its got bucketloads of appeal for British buyers. After living with one, I doubt most owners will ever want to be parted from their trusty Duster. But, if they do have to sell it, or maybe even trade it in for a newer Dacia, they won’t be hugely out of pocket. I can’t help but think the residual value forecast for Sandero is going to blow the competition away too, in the not too distant future.”

Due to unprecedented demand for Duster production from all right-hand-drive markets, including the UK, which has already taken more than 1,700 orders for it, even before test drives began at Retailers, deliveries of the award-winning model will begin in March. Customers who placed an order during the pre-launch period are naturally being given priority in the queue.

As expected, orders for the £8,995 Access version have been impressive. In a blow to some critics who claimed the attention-grabbing entry price purely a marketing stunt, it makes up a fifth of all orders. In fact, almost a third more than Dacia UK’s initial sales forecast. A little like 4x4 orders, which, at a heady 40%, are almost double predictions too. Clearly, British buyers have done their homework. Including when it comes to going off the beaten track. They’ve cottoned onto the fact if you put a proven four-wheel-drive system into a well-built, robust car designed to take on extremes of road and climate around the globe, it’s a winning, yet still “shockingly affordable”, combination. So, like the company’s current TV ad campaign and its strapline, “You do the maths”, why pay more? Especially now, in austerity Britain.

Rounding off the rosy picture, orders for the range-topping Lauréate, which make up around two thirds of sales in other countries, are following exactly the same well trodden path over here. Mind you, they’re priced from only £12,995. With air conditioning, alloy wheels, full electric windows and leather steering wheel, all for the same cash as plenty of mid-range superminis, it’s not hard to see why they’re proving so popular.

THROW BACK THURSDAY 005 - Jaguar XF added to the production line in India to join the Freelander

In Our fifth TBT, we revisit the news that had the Jaguar XF being added to the production lines at the recently opened Jaguar Land Rover plant in Pune, India, with a modern plant, and two of the most popular models within the JLR range. 

It was an obvious choice to have these cars made here, the post was originally published on 24th January 2013, so, now over two years later, we can pop back and see that, this plant, has gone from strength to strength, and is producing a significant number of locally sourced cars.
Jaguar Land Rover is commencing production of the Jaguar XF saloon at its facility in Pune, India, from components supplied from the company’s Castle Bromwich plant in Birmingham, UK.

The initial Pune-built Jaguar XF models will feature the company’s acclaimed 2.2-litre diesel engine, which is coming to the Indian market for the first time. The Jaguars will be built alongside Land Rover Freelander 2 vehicles which have been produced in Pune since May 2011

Dr Ralf Speth, Chief Executive of Jaguar Land Rover, said: "India is a market that offers significant opportunities for both the Jaguar and Land Rover brands. The expansion of our Pune operations to include the Jaguar XF will help us realise our ambitions for the Indian market.

“Jaguar Land Rover is committed to building a sustainable, profitable business; increasing our global manufacturing footprint is a key element of our growth strategy. Together with our joint venture manufacturing facility already under construction near Shanghai, expanding our operations at Pune will help us increase the global volume of cars we build, in addition to those produced in the UK.”

Rohit Suri, Vice President, Jaguar Land Rover India said: “The Land Rover Freelander 2 and the Jaguar XF are our best-selling models in India and this has driven the move to build these products locally.

"The Jaguar XF has become very popular with our customers due to its sports car performance, outstanding luxury saloon elegance and contemporary individual styling. Its inspired engineering and technological innovation have helped it to win more than 100 awards internationally. So we are now delighted to offer this car as a locally built product with a new engine for this market, which will enable us to provide our customers with a wider choice of competitively priced models."

Jaguar Land Rover India recently announced a 32% growth in wholesales in 2012 at 2393 cars compared with 1813 cars in the previous year.

Further details, including specifications, are available on the Jaguar India website (www.jaguar.in) and Land Rover India website (www.landrover.in).

MINI wins for the 11th consecutive year in the BusinessCar awards

MINI has once again reinforced its position as the car to beat after BusinessCar Magazine named the MINI Hatch ‘Supermini of the Year’ for the 11th consecutive year at their annual awards.

The BusinessCar Awards are the only honours in the company car and van industry that are solely voted for by the readership, which makes them the most influential in the business car arena. MINI continued to impress readers, with the it’s unique combination of great design, low running costs, low CO2 emissions and exceptionally strong residual values contributing to its repeated success.

“MINI’s combination of brand prestige and fun-to-drive character with efficiency and residual values that lead to unbeatable running costs mean it’s no surprise that the car has now held onto BusinessCar’s Supermini of the Year award for an 11th year,” said BusinessCar Editor Paul Barker. “It’s a huge achievement, and illustrates the massive appeal in the corporate sector for a car with the qualities that the business car market relies on.”

Efficiency has never been more important for business customers, and MINI has continued to lead innovation some 11 years after first winning BusinessCar’s Supermini of the Year award. MINI’s acclaimed MINIMALISM technologies are fitted as standard on Cooper, Cooper D, Cooper S, Cooper SD and John Cooper Works models, employing a host of fuel-saving and emission-lowering technologies. Brake Energy Regeneration, Auto Start-Stop, Gearshift Indicator and Electromechanical Power Steering are among the key MINIMALISM technologies, ensuring CO2 emissions on the MINI Hatch start from just 99g/km on the MINI Cooper D.

The 11th BusinessCar accolade comes as MINI prepares to celebrate another milestone this year, with 100 years of continuous car production at the brand’s historic Oxford production plant in March.  The MINI Plant has been producing the award winning MINI since 2001, prior to which an array of vehicles were built in the preceding 88 years.

ANOTHER special edition MINI hits the roads.

Following in the wheel tracks of illustrious London-inspired MINI special editions such as the Camden, Bayswater and Baker Street, MINI presents an exclusive new Clubman limited edition model named after London’s most famous high-end shopping street.

Due to premiere at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, the MINI Clubman Bond Street fuses the inherent practicality and superb driving dynamics of the Clubman, with a unique interior and exterior interpretation that reflects the style of this most upmarket of London addresses. Production will begin in March 2013, and like many of the goods retailed in the street that bears the same name, such exclusivity will only be available for a strictly limited period: the MINI Clubman Bond Street will be on sale for a limited time only.

The MINI Clubman Bond Street is finished in a distinctive and lustrous Midnight Black Metallic for the exterior, with a contrasting roof, exterior mirror caps, bonnet stripes and the lower sections of the C-pillars all finished in Cool Champagne. Distinctive light-alloy wheels further distinguish this exclusive Clubman: a twin spoke 17” design in black with a highlight being the trim ring around their edge in Cool Champagne. Further embellishment comes from the ‘Bond Street’ script applied to the side indicator surrounds and on the doors’ sill protection strips.

Inside, lounge leather sports seats are finished in Carbon Black with contrast piping and stitching. The instrument panel is covered in Black/Carbon Black leather, while other interior surfaces are finished in Deep Champagne. The Chrome Line interior package adds the final flourish to a highly distinctive and truly premium cabin ambience.

As you would expect with such an exclusive limited edition model, the MINI Clubman Bond Street benefits from a wealth of standard equipment, including front fog lights, Chrome line exterior package, climate control, on-board computer, Bluetooth, USB functionality, rain sensor and automatic headlamp activation, sport leather steering wheel, height adjustment for both front seats, the storage package and the lighting package.

As with every MINI, customers can enhance the appeal of their car further using the extensive options list of comfort, convenience, design and technology features.

The MINI Clubman Bond Street is available with four engine options, consisting of two petrol engines and two diesel-powered options: the MINI Cooper (122hp), MINI Cooper S (184hp), MINI Cooper D (112hp) and MINI Cooper SD (143hp). All engines are linked to a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, with a six-speed automatic available as an option.

  • MINI Cooper Clubman Bond Street  £20,275
  • MINI Cooper D Clubman Bond Street £21,625
  • MINI Cooper S Clubman Bond Street £23,355
  • MINI Cooper SD Clubman Bond Street £24,045

NCAP, Hyundai Santa Fe as been named safest in class.

  • New Generation Santa Fe is rated as the safest ‘Large Off-Road 4x4’ in 2012
  • Best-in-class Euro NCAP results in all categories
  • Further evidence of Hyundai's commitment to the highest safety standards

The Hyundai New Generation Santa Fe has been named as the safest car in its class assessed by Euro NCAP during 2012.  Its scores across all test categories were best-in-class, making it one of the safest vehicles ever tested by the independent vehicle assessment organisation and the best in the ‘Large Off-Road 4x4’ segment –ahead of the Mercedes-Benz M-Class and Range Rover.

Of the 36 vehicles tested during 2012, the eight top-performers in their segments have been recommended by Euro NCAP for their leading levels of safety across a range of assessments.  In the ‘adult occupant’ category, New Generation Santa Fe scored 96% with maximum points in the side barrier test.  In the ‘child occupant’category, the D-segment SUV received a score of 89%, and features such as electronic stability control contributed to the car’s score of 86% in the ‘safety assist’ category.

In a further demonstration of Hyundai’s commitment to safety, the New Generation Santa Fe is the brand’s first car to be equipped with an active bonnet.  This activates if a pedestrian is hit, reducing impact forces and reducing the risk of serious injury.  The result of this is a ‘pedestrian safety’ score of 71%, making the New Generation Santa Fe stand out among its rivals in this category with the nearest high score being 63%.

Allan Rushforth, Senior Vice President and COO of Hyundai Motor Europe, commented, “Having the New Generation Santa Fe recommended by Euro NCAP as the safest car in its class demonstrates Hyundai’s commitment to the safety of its customers and other road users.  The car’s inherent safety combined with low CO2, high levels of equipment and emotional design make the New Generation Santa Fe the complete package for European buyers.”

The New Generation Santa Fe is the latest of a long line of Hyundai models to achieve the maximum five-star score in Euro NCAP’s rigorous assessment program, following the top ratings achieved by the New i20, ix20, ix35, i40, Veloster and the New Generation i30.

Every New Generation Santa Fe on sale in Europe comes with Hyundai’s Five Year Triple Care.  This award-winning customer assurance package includes a five-year warranty with no mileage limit, five years of roadside assistance and five years of vehicle health checks.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

After the UK Government Expenses scandal, is this the next one, parking/transport expenses.

The British motoring magazine "Auto Express" has investigated our politicians, this time for motoring related expenses, for those who remember, back in 2009 the Telegraph group produced a report of ministers expenses claims, this involved members from all main parties, and concluded with a number of high profile arrests, and imprisonments, even the House of Lords was not exempt from the scandal, two Lords were charged and imprisoned.

Now, according to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority our wonderful politicians have fleeced over £4 million from the public's pocket, well, fleeced might be a strong word, as I am sure that they were all claimed in all honesty, but are they justified, as you can see below, a list of who and how much, and will this become another scandal.

The "gentleman" above Mr Khalid Mahmood claimed nearly £13k for using his own car, I find it quite remarkable that motoring charges can be added up at over £250 per week, especially when Parliament is open for 150 days a year, are these charges correct, has there been a mistake made, or is it something more, I leave it for you to judge but a top ten list of own car expenses is below.

"Auto Express" also worked out that the amount that was claimed by Mr Mahmood could have purchased him a brand new Dacia Sandaro Access at £5995 and then the remaining money would be enough to take him 53,840 miles, that's about 5 years of average driving, not bad is it ?

The second section for claims that "Auto Express" looked into was for parking expenses, these included parking at airports, staff parking and other "within constituency travel", personally I find it odd that not all the Scottish MP's are not claiming this amount, as surely they have the same if not further distances to travel, anyway, we all know parking charges are high in main cities, so lets see what's been charged to the public purse with these top ten.

Well, looky here, Mr Doran, another, like Mr Mahmood, Labour MP, was at the top of the claimers list for "parking charges", again thats about £100 per week, which is a great deal, like I said before, parliament is only open for 150 days a year, so where is he parking to get nearly double the second place.

Now the odd thing is and maybe I am wrong, but surely if you are claiming so much money in own car expenses, surely your parking charges would be high also, but none of the top ten are on the above list, but the claiming doesn't stop there there is another section, "toll/congestion charge", these are charges for using private roads and driving within congestion charge areas of cities where excessive amounts of vehicles were apparent, with Parliament inside the congestion charge area it is obvious charges will be claimed back, the Lady at the top is the biggest name in politics within these three lists.

Apparently Ms Becketts office confirmed that she applied for a yearly congestion charge, because “Mrs Beckett says she did not drive in London before 2010 and was unfamiliar with the charge. She was told the best thing was to pay for the entire year so she was always covered. She was unaware of other options. If there is an alternative, she’ll certainly be looking into it.” my biggest surprise there is that she actually did it her self and didn't get one of the staff to sort it out for her, but good on her for doing it herself, if indeed she did.

Did you notice that the top claimers on each list were from one political party, I did, it will be interesting, if indeed there will be an investigation in these claims, how Labour will approach it, if indeed it ever gets that far, teh remaining nine are :-

Stephen O'Brien and Khalid O'Brien appear on two lists, these are the only two that take up a place in the top ten on two lists, I fully understand that expenses have to be paid, and I have no issues with this, however, if anyone is found to be doing something that is not in line with guidelines or policy I am happy for them to be disciplined for it, If any of teh above are not legitimate only they will know, If none of them are dodgy, then that's great, I am glad that they know what they can claim for and that we the general public, again, have to put our hands in our pockets to pay for there days out.

Another award for Nissan, this time the Qashqai, and teh award was for business car award for crossover of the year.

  • Qashqai sales account for 50 per cent of total Nissan fleet sales
  • 130PS 1.6-litre dCi Qashqai with 62.8mpg and just 119g/km CO2 singled out for praise
  • Qashqai continued to be a strong seller to fleets during 2012
  • Nissan has won the inaugural 2013 Business Car award for Crossover of the Year.

Built at Nissan’s plant in Sunderland, the Qashqai was recognised in a sector it pioneered, earning acclaim from Business Car for “its distinctive looks” and “a drive that surpasses expectations.”

Further praise was lavished on Nissan for keeping the Qashqai fresh with a series of updates, notably the introduction of the 130PS 1.6-litre diesel option that now provides 62.8mpg and just 119g/km CO2 to offer a greener and more cost-effective solution for fleets.

In 2012 the Qashqai continued to be a strong seller in the fleet market with sales of 27,865, which accounted for 50 per cent of Nissan’s total car fleet sales.

Jon Pollock, Nissan’s Corporate Sales Director said: “We’re delighted to win the inaugural Business Car Crossover of the Year award. The Qashqai has been a strong seller to fleets and residuals have remained strong, a trend we expect to continue through 2013 as fleets recognise the growing size and attractiveness of this sector.”

Nissan recently launched the Qashqai 360 which promises to be the best-selling example yet of the sector-defining crossover. Starting at £19,945, the Qashqai 360 includes Nissan Connect with 360° Around View Monitor to aid parking and reversing.


Sir Chris Hoy MBE was present to show support for the launch of the Jaguar Cycle Challenge at The London Bike Show 2013. The multiple world and Olympic champion track cyclist, and Jaguar Academy of Sport Ambassador, was on hand as the programme, which will be managed by Jaguar dealerships in partnership with local cycling clubs throughout the UK, was announced to an enthusiastic audience.

Speaking at the event, which attracted over 85,000 visitors throughout the weekend to London Excel, Sir Chris Hoy MBE said: “It is fantastic to see Jaguar and its network of UK dealers taking an active role in cycling. I hope people across the nation are inspired to take part in the Jaguar Cycle Challenge.

“It is important that we harness the rising popularity of cycling in this country and through the Jaguar Academy of Sport, there is a real opportunity to facilitate the development of rising stars in this great sport.”

Every Jaguar dealer across the UK will be holding their inaugural Cycle Challenge events on 01 February, working with local cycling clubs and bicycle retailers to support and encourage cycling programmes in the local community.  A Jaguar dealer locator is available online at: http://www.jaguar.com/gb/en/dealerlocator/

The commitment of Jaguar to cycling is highlighted by its successful partnership with Team Sky; winners of the 2012 Tour de France. Two prototype versions of the new Jaguar XF Sportbrake in striking livery were used to support the Team Sky Riders and its management team throughout cycling’s most famous endurance race.

During the first weekend in February visitors to UK Jaguar dealers can be among the first to discover why the new XF Sportbrake lives at the heart of the pro-peloton, and prepare to achieve peak cycling performance in 2013. The all-new XF Sportbrake is a serious cyclist’s dream. With a balance of flowing beauty and intelligent utility, it’s packed with sophisticated technology for ultimate driving engagement, yet offers a spacious 1,675 litres of loadspace to accommodate cycling equipment.



Volkswagen has created an even more sumptuous version of the upmarket Touareg SUV, with the introduction of the new Touareg R-Line.  Based on the already well-equipped Touareg Altitude, the Touareg R-Line adds luxurious extra equipment and unique R-Line styling cues, together worth over £4,000, for a premium of just £750.

The Touareg R-Line sits on 20-inch ‘Tarragona’ alloy wheels with 275/45 R20 tyres, while the distinctive front and rear bumpers and side skirts give an even more purposeful look, added to by R-Line badges on the front wings.  Standard bi-xenon headlights with dynamic curve lighting and LED daytime running lights give the R-Line driver a commanding view of the road, and are complemented by LED rear lights and number-plate lights.

Stepping into the cabin – over the bespoke R-Line sill plates – both passengers and drivers will appreciate the extra light which floods into the spacious cabin through the standard full-length panoramic electric sliding glass sunroof.  Also standard is keyless entry and start – provided the key is in the vehicle, the Touareg R-Line starts at the touch of a button – and an electrically powered tailgate that makes for effortless loading and unloading.

Like every Touareg, the R-Line also comes with leather upholstery, a satellite navigation and audio system with eight-inch full-colour touchscreen, DAB, Bluetooth and MDI multi-device interface for iPods, 2Zone climate control, a Stop/Start system and battery regeneration, to help maximise fuel efficiency.

The Touareg R-Line is available with an eight-speed automatic gearbox paired to a
3.0-litre V6 diesel engine with either 204 PS, for £44,025, or 245 PS, for £45,645


Those seeking even sleeker luxury motoring are also in for a treat this winter, with the lowering of prices across the CC range.  The price of every CC model in the range is now at least £470 lower than last year, meaning you can get behind the wheel of a CC from just £24,050 (RRP OTR).

Those opting for the best-selling CC GT 2.0-litre TDI 140 PS version (with either manual or DSG gearbox) will now get even better value, too, with prices for this model down by a total of £1,320, thanks to the removal of ACC Adaptive Chassis Control, which now becomes a £850 option.  ACC remains standard on the CC GT 2.0-litre TDI 170 PS and CC GT 2.0-litre TSI 210 PS, and is optional on all other models.

two new special editions give more kit along with reduced pricing

  • New Mii and Ibiza Toca editions get cutting edge SEAT Portable System and other desirable equipment
  • Mii Toca adds rear parking sensors; Ibiza Toca adds 16-inch alloy wheels
  • Available now, Toca models are based on the already generously specified Mii 1.0 60 PS SE and Ibiza 1.4 85 PS SE 
  • Buy before April for amazing discounts; Ibiza SC Toca just £9,995
  • Ibiza Toca models reduced by a stunning £2,705; Mii Toca reduced by £850
To prove that SEAT really is in touch with what its customers want, the company is delighted to announce the market introduction of the Mii and Ibiza Toca editions.

Toca is the Spanish word for ‘touch’, giving a fairly obvious clue as to the particular bonus that buyers get when choosing one of these new models.
Yes, it’s a touch screen. Specifically, Toca models come with the very useful SEAT Portable System, first introduced to the SEAT range with the Mii city car.
The Mii Toca is based on the 1.0 60 PS SE version, and adds the SEAT Portable System and rear parking sensors – both especially useful in the car’s natural environment, the busy city streets.
At full retail price (see table below), the additional outlay for the Mii Toca edition over the SE is a modest £475 – great value when these options individually would require an £805* spend.
In the Ibiza Toca, buyers get a set of 16-inch ‘Stratos’ alloy wheels (up from 15 inches) along with the SEAT Portable System, for a £425 premium over the SE car on which it’s based. 
The Toca editions are available to order now, with first cars expected to hit the road during early February – and customers buying either the Mii or Ibiza Toca before April will enjoy huge discounts.
That’s because until the end of March 2013 the Mii Toca is reduced by £850, putting the three-door model at an attractive £8,995, while the Ibiza Toca editions all receive a £2,705 cut, leaving the three-door (SC) model with an outstanding £9,995 price.

Every Toca edition is loaded with equipment, including air conditioning, a leather steering wheel and gear knob, heated and electrically adjustable door mirrors, electric front windows, electronic stability control (ESC), remote central locking, and front fog lights with cornering function (Ibiza Toca only).
The SEAT Portable System packs a deluge of digital driver aids into a lightweight package not much bigger than a cassette box. It includes satellite navigation, Bluetooth phone connectivity with audio streaming, a MicroSD card slot for music storage, and trip computer functions, all controlled via a fool-proof interface on a five-inch touchscreen.
“The Ibiza Toca is another example of SEAT giving great value to buyers by providing cutting-edge equipment at a very reasonable price,” said Simon Bradley, Product Manager at SEAT UK.
“The SE specification is very popular among current Ibiza owners, which is no surprise given the amount of comfort, safety and convenience equipment it has as standard. But we really want as many as possible to have access to the remarkable SEAT Portable System. By bringing big car technology to the city car and supermini classes, the device really has moved the game forward,” he added.
The SEAT Portable System is, from this month, available as an optional extra on all Ibiza models, superseding the TomTom unit previously available. The system is capable of having additional functionality added by way of software upgrades, and will shortly be updated to include internet search functionality. Existing SEAT Portable System owners will be able to access these additional features.


In 2012, Euro NCAP published the results for 36 vehicles available on the European market. Six five-star vehicles performed highly in each of the four individual marking criteria: adult occupant protection, child occupant protection, pedestrian protection and safety assist systems.

The best in class of 2012, recommended by Euro NCAP for their outstanding safety performance are:
Renault Clio
Volvo V40 – Small Family
Renault Clio  Supermini
Volvo V40
Small Family
Ford B-MAX
Fiat 500L - Small MPV
Ford B-MAX
Small MPV
Fiat 500L
Small MPV
Ford Kuga
Hyundai Santa Fe
Ford Kuga
Small Off-Road 4x4
Hyundai Santa Fe
Large Off-Road 4x4
BMW 3 Series
Ford Transit
BMW 3 Series
Large Family
Ford Transit
Business/family van
The FIAT 500L and Ford B-MAX are sharing the Best in Class honour in the Small MPV category. The Volvo V40 reached the highest combined score of any car previously tested by Euro NCAP. Whilst 26 five-star cars were released, one model achieved four stars and 8 received three stars. Last year’s underperformers were theJeep Compass and Renault Trafic, each of which was only able to score two stars against the latest set of requirements.

The runners-up of 2012 are the Ford Fiesta in the Supermini category; the Opel Mokka in the Small Family category; the Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid in the Large Family category; the Subaru Forester in the Small Off-Road 4x4 category, and the Range Rover in the Large Off-Road 4x4.

For the first time, Euro NCAP released comparative tests results in the popular category of Business and Family vans. The Ford Transit is the first van to achieve a Euro NCAP five star overall rating and to receive the best in class honour.The runners-up in this new category are the FIAT Scudo and its twins, the Citroen Jumpy andPeugeot Expert, all of which received three stars.