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.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Škoda continues it's record breaking 2012 with record volume for the first quarter.

  • Record March registrations of 9,711 vehicles
  • Record first quarter registrations of 15,504 vehicles
  • Record first quarter market share of 2.6%

 ŠKODA’s outstanding start to the year has continued through the key sales month of March, with UK new car registrations breaking the 9,000 barrier for the first time.

In total, 9,711 customers bought a 13-plate ŠKODA in March, up 14.2% on 2012 (8,507), with demand for the all-new third generation Octavia playing an important role. Despite only going on sale on 16 March, 281 were delivered to customers who were impressed with its mix of stunning design, exceptional practicality and fuel-efficient performance.

The hard work of ŠKODA’s 132-strong UK retailer network in January, February and March means it’s also been a record first quarter for the brand. An amazing 15,504 new ŠKODAs have found homes since the start of 2013, up 11.7% when compared with the same period in 2012 (13,878).

The brand’s market share for 2013 so far is 2.6%, another best-ever figure for the end of the first quarter.

Demand for ŠKODA cars last month was impressive across the entire range.

Alasdair Stewart, Brand Director for ŠKODA UK, commented: “It’s been an unprecedented start to the year for our retailers, and they deserve huge credit for their efforts during an exceptionally busy March. It’s clear our entire range is meeting the needs of customers, but it’s particularly pleasing to see the all-new ŠKODA Octavia making a significant contribution after just two weeks on sale.”

Model delivery split in March

Citigo 1084
Fabia 3803
Roomster 390
Yeti    1324
Rapid 1063
Octavia (outgoing model) 958
Octavia (new model)  281
Superb 808
Total  9,711

Nissan celebrates another record breaking month

  • Nissan breaks sales record set in March 2012
  • Qashqai maintains position as sixth best-selling car in the UK
  • Record sales for 100% electric Nissan LEAF
  • LCV performance tops record set last year
  • Nissan is celebrating again this March after breaking sales records set last year.

Despite speculation that the 13-plate would deter buyers, UK new car registrations rose by 5.9% in March. During March, 23,576 new Nissans were delivered giving the company a market share of 5.4%, representing a 6.4% increase over the same month in 2012.

For the full financial year (April 2012–March 2013), Nissan sold a record 120,310 new vehicles, giving a record market share of 5.2%.

Sales of the 100% electric Nissan LEAF went up by 38% over the same period last year, firmly establishing it as the UK’s best selling all-electric vehicle. This comes just a week after Prime Minister David Cameron visited the company’s Sunderland plant to mark the start of production of the next generation LEAF.

Nissan’s pioneering Qashqai crossover model continued to show its popularity, maintaining its position as the sixth best-selling car in the UK in March with 8,465 models sold.  The Juke compact crossover also celebrated its best-ever month with sales of 6,382, over a thousand more than were sold this time last year.

Jim Wright, managing director of Nissan (GB) said: “There’s no doubt that the new car market is becoming increasingly competitive, which only goes to show just how impressive Nissan’s latest record-breaking sales result is. It’s proof that we’re offering exactly the right vehicles for UK buyers.”

Nissan’s LCV range made a valuable contribution to the company’s record sales.  The multi-award winning NV200 was the best seller in March with sales of 1508, up a staggering 118%. Nissan will be showcasing the 100% electric eNV200 at the Commercial Vehicle show at the NEC in Birmingham next week.

Wright continued: “We are looking forward to the exciting new products we have coming in the next 12 months including the new LEAF and NOTE which will be built at our fantastic plant in Sunderland.”

Ford increases production of new Kuga

Ford Kuga production is set to increase by 10 per cent this year to cope with an increasing demand throughout Europe. As a result, production of Ford’s latest smart utility vehicle is expected to reach 100,000 units annually for the first time.

Demand in the UK is helping drive Kuga’s production growth. Since it was launched at the end of last year, over 8,000 orders have been placed as families switch to SUVs in favour of conventional saloon cars.

Roelant de Waard, vice president, Marketing, Sales and Service, Ford of Europe, said: “The new Kuga is a smarter SUV that offers a comprehensive array of technologies including the segment-first hands-free tailgate, and debuts Ford’s global intelligent all-wheel-drive system.

“This significant production increase is a very promising start to an SUV rollout that is spearheaded by the new Kuga and leverages Ford’s historic leadership in SUVs in North America and other regions to bring to Europe the all-new EcoSport, and later the Ford Edge.”

Ford has said it expects to sell more than one million SUVs in Europe in the next six years with SUVs accounting for 10 per cent of all Fords sold in the region by 2016. Ford Kuga UK sales and share were both up in March 2013, compared with last year.

The all-new compact EcoSport will launch at the end of 2013, and will later be followed by the next generation Ford Edge, a larger and more premium utility vehicle popular in the U.S. and other markets.

The new Ford Kuga achieved a Euro NCAP overall protection score of 88 per cent, the highest-ever for a mid-sized SUV, as well as a Euro NCAP Advanced reward for the Ford SYNC with Emergency Assistance system, which  calls emergency services in the appropriate local language for the region following an accident.

New Kuga also delivers class-leading fuel economy through significantly improved fuel efficiency from a powertrain line-up that, for the first time, includes EcoBoost engine technology. Petrol engine fuel consumption has been reduced by 25 per cent and diesel engine fuel consumption by 10 per cent.

The new Kuga has been acclaimed by UK media, with Autocar magazine this week rating it ahead of five key competitors.

Suzuki increases sales in a bumper March month.

  • Quarter 1 sales of 10,009 units
  • VAT free campaign extended until the end of June 2013 and now spread across four models in the range

Suzuki GB PLC is pleased to announce a marked increase in sales for the first quarter of 2013 with impressive registrations of 10,009 units, a 29.1 per cent climb over the same period in 2012 and the highest quarterly volume since the same period in 2006. March registration figures were also strong at 7,089 cars which represented a 19.3 per cent increase over March 2012 and a healthy 1.80 per cent market share.

Suzuki is currently the second fastest growing mainstream brand in the UK with clear evidence of new customers migrating to its small, inexpensive to own and fun to drive cars. As an example, the 99g/km VED exempt Alto is currently running at 166 per cent year on year and accounts for 43 per cent of the range volume followed by Swift. Suzuki in the UK is currently one of the market leaders in small cars amongst all other Suzuki European markets.

The projection for full year 2013 is to reach at least 28,000 units which will represent an increase of over 3,100 units versus last year. This will be helped by the addition of the all new SX4 Crossover model due to be in dealer showrooms in the autumn.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Toyota's turn now to issues increased sales in the UK for march

  • Sales of Toyota family car range in March up 37.3 per cent compared to March 2012
  • Toyota’s share of the family car market at 7.2 per cent, up 1.4 percentage points.
  • New RAV4 has strong start to sales, with an increase of 54.7 per cent
  • New Auris positive sales momentum continues, with sales increase of 30.4 per cent
  • Toyota family car range sales increase by 28.2 per cent year to date compared to 2012

The rejuvenation of Toyota’s family car range has seen sales figures forward in the plate change month of March. Official figures show sales of Auris, RAV4, Verso and Prius + family cars at 5,515, a 37.3 per cent increase over 2012. Toyota’s share of UK family car sales in March was 7.2 per cent, up from 5.8 per cent in 2012.

New RAV4 sales success
New RAV4 arrived in showrooms in early March and has already proved a hit with customers, with an increase of 54.7 per cent in March. Corporate sales have grown by 62.4 per cent, thanks to the addition of the new fuel-efficient 2-litre diesel D-4D front wheel drive variant to the range.

Momentum is with Auris
March was another strong month for Toyota’s new compact family hatchback. Sales of the car increased by 30.4 per cent, and have increased by a similar figure in the year to date. Thanks to new running cost-efficient diesel and hybrid powertrains, corporate sales have grown by over 50 per cent. This trend is set to continue into the summer with the introduction of Auris Touring Sports.

Mercedes like others have a record March.

  • Biggest month ever, at 18,655 new car registrations, up 15.4 per cent
  • Biggest quarter ever, 28,698 new cars registered, an increase of 13.2 per cent
  • Mercedes-Benz continues to be the fastest-growing premium brand
  • Record monthly and year to date (YTD) market share of 4.7 per cent
  • Record month for C-Class Coupé, CLS four-door Coupé, G-Class
  • AMG registrations up 89.6 per cent YTD
  • Registrations to private buyers increase 16.3 per cent YTD
  • Vans record a strong March, with registrations up 3.8 per cent
  • 199 Citans registered in the first full month of customer sales

Milton Keynes.  Mercedes-Benz UK and its dealer network have achieved their best-ever record-breaking registration performance, according to figures released today by SMMT.  March 2013 was the most successful in the company’s history, with 18,655 new cars being registered.  This is an increase of 15.4 per cent over March 2012.

March topped a record-breaking quarter for the company, as 28,698 new cars were registered in Q1, which was 13.2 per cent more than the first three months of last year.  The quarterly result eclipses the previous record, set at the end of 2012, by 2700 cars.

The stellar results mean that Mercedes-Benz continues to be the UK’s fastest-growing premium manufacturer, and in a buoyant overall new car market, recorded its best-ever month and year to date market share of 4.7 per cent.  Likewise, registrations to retail customers were up 16.3 per cent.

The registration boost was reflected across the range, with sustainable levels of growth in all segments.  The C-Class achieved 10th place in the overall registration figures for the UK in March and ninth place for Q1. Registrations, meanwhile, were up in all sectors. The CLS Coupé, for example, reported 1301 registrations – a record for March and for Q1.

High-performance purchases were up too, as AMG registrations increased by 89.6 per cent for the YTD. So far this year, 747 new AMGs have been registered, including 27 G 63 AMGs; marking an overall YTD AMG increase of 89.6 per cent.

Marcus Breitschwerdt, President and CEO Mercedes-Benz UK, explained the results:  “More new and returning customers than ever before are choosing to drive a Mercedes-Benz, and that’s great news for them, and the thousands of dedicated people we’ve got all over the country who work so hard to achieve these extraordinary results.  Everybody’s hard work and effort is paying off.  Making our attractive, exciting, affordable premium cars appeal to ever-more people is our mission and it’s a mission we’re continuing to meet head-on.

“Today’s results also show that we’re not dependent on one or two models to bolster the bulk of our sales volumes – we’re selling more cars to more people across the entire range.  AMG appropriately continues to charge ahead, as does every vehicle in our portfolio that we’re volume-controlling by either its graduated introduction or phased run-out.”

Marcus Breitschwerdt continued:  “We don’t take any of this success for granted, and are using the momentum of our new car registration results to continue to offer great deals on fantastic products through our UK network of excellent dealerships.  We’ve a wide range of new cars ready to arrive in the UK too, and I’m looking forward to the opportunities and results throughout the rest of the year.”

Commercial vehicles

Mercedes-Benz vans rallied to a strong performance in March, with registrations increasing by 3.8 per cent to 5888 units.

The new Citan got off to a great start, with 199 new compact vans being registered in the first full month of customer sales.  Over 200 Euro-V Vito Taxis have been registered YTD, over 26 per cent more than Q1 2012.

Actros led the heavy trucks divisions’ performance, with registrations rallying 60.8 per cent in March 2013, and up 2.6 per cent over 2012’s launch phase.  Axor increased 5.3 per cent in March, and Fuso Canter registrations were up 17.6 per cent in the same month.

Marcus Breitschwerdt commented: “It’s encouraging to see that our vans division is delivering great results, and the first figures from our compact Citan show it is supporting the success of our established Vito [medium] and Sprinter [large] vans.

“Our heavy truck range is currently going through the biggest change-over in our history, and pretty soon the New Actros will be the ‘oldest’ product we offer – and it’s only just turned one year-old!

“At next week’s CV Show we’re showcasing a wealth of new products, showing that Mercedes-Benz is making enormous investments across the range to deliver efficient, safe, cost-effective commercial vehicles for operators that help drive British businesses forward.

“A new van or truck can be an important investment, and our team will be on site at the NEC in Birmingham to explain in detail how a new Mercedes-Benz can support their businesses.”

Mitsubishi sales up 54.2% in March and 44.8% for the year to date.

Mitsubishi Motors in the UK has continued its strong start to 2013 with passenger vehicle sales for March up 54.2% on 2012. So far this calendar year passenger car sales are up 44.8% making Mitsubishi the fastest growing manufacturer.

The March statistics[1] follow similarly good numbers for February and are partly due to the two new arrivals: the Mirage, an all-new compact and clever supermini, and next generation Outlander. These cars have created a real buzz and excitement for the brand with a number of dealers reporting exceptional sales figures for the new cars.

Every car in the Mirage range boasts emissions figures of 100g/km of CO2 or lower, meaning no road tax or congestion charge is payable. Designed from the ground up to be as environmentally friendly as possible, it’s fresh, funky and eye-catching too. The New Outlander launched in February has class leading emissions and fuel economy, while comfort and refinement levels have been significantly enhanced over the previous model.

Of course Mitsubishi Motors in the UK does not just sell passenger cars; they also have the rugged and award-winning L200 pick-up truck. This model is once again the best-selling truck in the retail pick-up market with March sales up 18.7% and 8.7% so far this year.

With  passenger car and commercial vehicle sales both going so well,  SMMT’s statistics for March reveals that Mitsubishi Motors in the UK are up by 37.2% on the same month last year and 27.7% in 2013.

Lance Bradley, Managing Director of Mitsubishi Motors in the UK, said:

‘Naturally we are thrilled that so many people are coming to Mitsubishi to take a look at our range and increasingly, take one of our cars home with them. From the exciting new Mirage to the dependable pick-ups and 4x4s that have proved so invaluable during the wintry weather we’ve all endured, we really do have something to offer everyone. And on top of great cars, customers really appreciate the high level of customer care offered by our network of dealers.’

2013 is already looking like being a very good year and this success looks set to continue not only with the popularity of the New Outlander and Mirage but also from a new range of vehicles that we will introduce to our line-up over the course of this year:

  • Mirage Auto – arriving in showrooms in May 2013
  • ASX Auto – for sale in July 2013
  • Outlander PHEV – this game-changer is due to the UK towards the end of  2013

With such a good start, and so much more good news to come, 2013 looks set to be an exciting year for Mitsubishi Motors in the UK.

Ford continues to dominate UK sales

UK market leader Ford has increased its car and commercial vehicle (CV) sales for March and the year to date, compared with 2012.  Ford’s retail car sales and share were also up for March and for the year to date, compared with 2012, with the Ford Fiesta outselling its nearest rival in retail sales by more than two to one.

According to the official sales figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders

First quarter 2013 highlights:

  • Ford leads UK market: total vehicle sales 102,686, share 15.0 per cent
  • Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus are the UK’s number one and two best sellers
  • Ford extends its retail car sales lead by 19.8 per cent over its nearest rival
  • Ford CV sales and share up compared with 2012

March 2013 highlights:

  • Ford total vehicle sales 66,013, or 14.9 per cent market share
  • Ford Fiesta is clear leader in overall and retail car sales
  • Ford extends its retail car sales lead by 22.4 per cent over its nearest rival
  • Ford CV sales and share up compared with 2012

Mark Ovenden, Ford of Britain managing director, said:  "The important March sales month, when the number plate change boosts registrations, has provided more positive news for the UK market and seen Ford’s car and CV ranges continue their terrific 2013 sales record.

“Vigorous consumer demand is also driving up our share of more profitable retail sales thanks to our latest and most exciting range of vehicles and the UK’s strongest dealer network.  This range has been strengthened further this year with the launches of the new Ford Fiesta, the Ford Transit Custom, the Ford Kuga and the headline-grabbing new Ford Fiesta ST."

The official figures released by the SMMT today show that total car sales in March were up 5.9 per cent to 394,806 units, compared with March 2012. Ford car sales of 54,702 were up from 53,830 in March 2012.  For the year to date (end March) total UK car sales were 605,198, up 7.4 per cent compared with 2012, while Ford car sales for this period were 84,347, up from 82,848 in 2012.

With a total of 22,748 registrations the Ford Fiesta was the UK best seller in March - 6,579 sales and 1.7 percentage points of market share ahead of its nearest rival - and for the year to date with sales up from 31,695 to 34,309, compared with the same period in 2012.

Excluding large cars, which were in reduced supply for a period, all Ford cars have increased sales and share for the year to date, compared with 2012.  This includes Ford Ka, Ford Fiesta, Ford B-MAX, Ford Focus, Ford C-MAX and Ford Kuga.

UK CV sales in March were up 6.5 per cent, compared with March 2012.  Total sales of Ford CVs in March were up from 10,534 to 11,649, compared with the same month last year, with share up from 22.0 to 22.8 per cent.

Ford medium commercial sales, headed by the industry-leading Ford Transit, were up from 8,676 to 10,025 and Ford’s share of MCV sales was 32.1 per cent up from 30.2 per cent in March 2012. The Ford Transit is the seventh best-selling vehicle in the UK.

Ford Transit leads all the CV segments in which it competes with its share of the one tonne segment bolstered by the introduction of the Transit Custom and the Tourneo Custom, which notched up sales of 1,327 and 144, respectively, in March.  Ford Fiesta van outsells its closest rival by more than two to one, taking 65.8 per cent of its segment in March and 67.5 per cent for the year to date.

Jaguar Land Rover posts increased sales in all sectors

  • Land Rover posts highest monthly retail sales in its 65 year history
  • Land Rover sold 14,268 cars, up 12% year on year
  • Jaguar UK sold 3,505 cars, up 20.6% year on year
  • Success driven by strong new product and model year updates

Jaguar Land Rover UK has reported its highest sales month ever in March, owing to desirable new product and continued strong demand. Jaguar Land Rover sold 17,773 vehicles in the UK in March, compared to 14,789 in March 2012 - an increase of 20%.

Land Rover’s sales success was led by the all-new Range Rover and Land Rover Freelander which were up 43% and 45% respectively with the Range Rover Evoque continuing to perform strongly up 9%.

Jaguar’s UK sales increase was driven primarily by the new XF Sportbrake, which accounted for almost 23% of Jaguar’s overall UK sales in March. Sales of the Jaguar XF saloon are consistent with figures for March 2012, indicating XF Sportbrake buyers are new to the Jaguar brand. With first deliveries to customers of the new Jaguar F-TYPE sports car scheduled for late April, Jaguar expects to welcome more and more customers to the brand in 2013.

The all-new Range Rover has been particularly well received with sales order books filling up quickly. In addition, reaction to the revised 13 MY Land Rover Freelander launched in quarter four of 2012 has been particularly positive. A combination of revised exterior styling, making the Freelander even sportier, combined with a redesigned interior has maintained its popularity as Land Rover’s entry-level model.

Jaguar Land Rover UK Managing Director, Jeremy Hicks said: “The strong sales performance of Jaguar Land Rover products in March has been driven by new product, considered model year updates and a strong luxury sector performance.

“The demand for the all-new Range Rover has been extremely encouraging and customers across the country are now receiving their new cars. We have also been fully prepared for the extreme weather conditions, with the Freelander Black and White special edition selling out very quickly and contributing to the rise in registrations.

“Jaguar UK sales are up 24% year to date and Land Rover UK up 17%. With the market launches of the all-new Range Rover Sport, Jaguar F-TYPE and Jaguar XJR still to come in 2013, Jaguar Land Rover UK is in a very strong position.”

Fourth dacia model to enter the UK market is another great priced model

Dacia looks to banish British pence per litre worries forever with Logan MCV - UK’s most affordable new estate car, from £6,995

  • Daciac onfirms pricing and specification for its fourth UK model – Logan MCV (Maximum Capacity Vehicle) from £6,995
  • Logan MCV’s 573-litre boot (1,518 seats down) gives it executive class Volvo V70-rivalling boot space (575 litres) for city car money. In pence-per-litre terms - with a jaw-dropping price tag from £6,995 and a 573-litre boot a paltry 12.2p
  • Three versions to choose from: Access, Ambiance and Lauréate
  • Numerous options available, including seven-inch touchscreen MediaNav, leather upholstery and rear parking sensors
  • Two attractively prices accessory packs: Protection and Touring
  • Choice of three frugal engines, including new three-cylinder 0.9 TCe 90 petrol and 1.5 dCi 90, both with ECO mode

Available to order from today. Available for test drive in Dacia Retailers from July 2013
If it’s not the weather getting us Brits down, it’s our obsession with pence per litre. Renault Group’s smart buy brand Dacia is capable of many things, but conjuring up the sun might be a stretch too far, even for them. But, on a brighter note, when it comes to pence per litre – we’re talking bootspace for your money here, not the stuff which comes out of the fuel pumps - it can help cash-conscious new car buyers. The Logan MCV (Maximum Capacity Vehicle) becomes the “UK’s most affordable new estate car” today, with prices from a whisker under £7,000.

The fourth Dacia model to hit our shores arrives in July with a boot to take on a Volvo V70, let alone one to shame every other supermini estate. Or, in layman’s terms, executive class-sized load lugging for city car cash. In pence per litre? With a jaw-dropping price tag from £6,995 and a 573-litre boot with the rear seats in place, a paltry 12.2p. With the seats down and a cavernous 1,518 litres freed up, it drops to only 4.6p. You can’t even get a couple of Black Jacks or Flying Saucers from the corner shop for that these days.

To get anywhere near its unrivalled value-for-money, for the same outlay, most buyers would be left trudging forlornly around used car forecourts on the hunt for a worn-in supermini estate up to four years old. Even then, as a comparison, a Skoda Fabia Estate only musters a 505 litre boot. And at these prices, it'll more than likely be well outside its standard manufacturer warranty period.

For those looking to buy a rival supermini estate from new it just gets worse. As examples, the list price for its Czech rival starts at £11,105. Its Iberian VW Group stablemate, Ibiza ST, at £12,260. Oh yes, both a whopping £4,000 to £5,000 more than the Dacia. With another £1,700 or so in their pockets compared to the Spaniard, buyers could easily put two Logan MCVs on their driveway instead. It’s not quite buy-one-get-one-free, but you get the idea. Care to know their equivalent pence per (boot) litre stats just to round off their miserable showing? A rather hefty 21.9p and 28.5p respectively.

Of course, those with a more care-free approach to life, could always fulfil their “bootylicious” dreams with an older, larger motor. Like say, the aforementioned Volvo V70. But, then you’re talking six- to seven-year old ones. With up to 100,000 miles on the clock. And funnily enough, still no manufacturer warranty left.

Whichever way you look at it, if Dacia’s ‘You do the maths’ ethos is anything to go by, their sums simply don’t add up.

Like every other Dacia model, the current version of Logan MCV has been a global smash hit. So, while Renault’s Romanian offshoot won’t be importing the Logan saloon into the UK, it’s expecting its spacious new arrival to find plenty of new homes. The new five-seat model is effectively an estate version of the Sandero supermini, sharing exactly the same underpinnings, engines and transmissions, but with a different look beyond the driver’s door.

Whether it’s going to be used as the family workhorse, taking dogs to the park, carting mountain bikes around for dirty (riding) weekends, or loading up with the latest season’s gardening essentials, Logan MCV is built to make life simple. That its boot is vast is immediately obvious, but backing up its impressive practicality is an equally helpful low loading lip. Just 589mm up from the ground. The boot opening’s a decent size too, with a 787mm entry gap up to the roof, combined with a 1011mm boot opening width. Forget the sink, with those kinds of figures, it’s plenty big enough to take the entire kitchen.

It would be churlish to think Dacia is expecting buyers to buy its new baby only for its unpretentious practicality. Underneath its smart looks, Logan MCV has plenty more to offer. Including bulletproof reliability and very low running costs.

LoganMCV– UK’s most affordable new estate from £6,995

In true Dacia ‘simplicity’ style, the Logan MCV line-up mirrors its sister car, Sandero, exactly. The only difference is £1,000 in price between comparable versions, to account for its estate body. Three easily distinguishable trim levels are on offer, Access, Ambiance and Lauréate, priced from only £6,995 to a still scarcely believable £10,795 for the range-topping diesel.

Trim level Engine CO2 emissions MPG
(combined) Benefit-in-kind On-the-road
Access 1.2 16V 75 135 48.7 18% £6,995
Ambiance 1.2 16V 75 135 48.7 18% £7,595
          0.9 TCe 90 116 56.5 14% £8,395
          1.5 dCi 90 99 74.3 13% £9.395
Lauréate 1.2 16V 75 135 48.7 18% £8,995
          0.9 TCe 90 116 56.5 14% £9,795
          1.5 dCi 90 99 74.3 13% £10,795

The starting point for this load-lugging frivolity is Access. Unlike its Sandero and Duster siblings, it even comes with the stylish addition of body coloured bumpers. Naturally, the 15” steel wheels round off its practical, rugged look.

Daciahasn’t skimped on safety kit though, with ABS with EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution), ESC (Electronic Stability Control), ASR traction control, ISOFIX points in both outer rear seats and four airbags all fitted as standard. The all-new Sandero/Logan ranges have yet to be tested by Euro NCAP.

On the inside, its 573 litre boot versatility grows with a 60/40 split rear folding seats. Its characterful, no-nonsense nature is reinforced by manual windows and pre-wiring for the optional accessory fit radio and speakers which will be available to buy through official Dacia Retailers.

Only £600 more takes buyers up to Ambiance, the mid-point of the range. There, a whole array of additional style and comfort features kick in. Among them are a radio CD player with fingertip remote controls, USB/AUX input/ Bluetooth™, remote central locking, electric front windows, 15” ‘Colorado’ wheel trims and black roof bars. Befitting its name, trading up to this version also brings with it some plush interior touches such as chrome surrounds for the air vents, instrument dials and steering wheel logo.

Like other Dacias, the range-topping Lauréate is likely to account for the bulk of sales. With an extensive equipment list and prices from £8,995, it’s easy to see why.

Typifying Dacia’s approach of offering big car features for small car prices, the Logan MCV range-topper comes packed with air conditioning, heated and electrically adjustable door mirrors, cruise control and electric rear windows as standard.

Things get even better with a height adjustable driver’s seat and steering wheel, leather steering wheel and gearknob and an upgraded radio CD player with MP3 CD reader, fingertip remote controls and four speakers. The interior also becomes more upmarket with a graphite look finish for the centre console surround, front door handles and steering wheel lower insert.

Its modern looks are also made even sharper with 15” ‘Kalahari’ wheel trims, chrome front grille, front fog lights, body-coloured door handles and door mirrors and satin chrome roof bars.


Not only will Logan MCV be affordable to buy, it’ll also be economical to run.

Powering it are a choice of three frugal engines. The first, the 1.2 16V 75, one of the Renault Group’s most tried and tested engines, is on offer with every trim level. The even more frugal, yet powerful, TCe 90 and dCi 90, can be had with both Ambiance and Lauréate.

Even the heaviest Logan MCV only weighs in at 1090kg, so in spite of its heady load-carrying ability, it hasn’t got a hulking great body to haul around. Proving it, the smallest powerplant, the four-cylinder 1.2 petrol delivers 48.7 mpg on the combined cycle with CO2emissions of 135g/km, enough for road tax band E. That means road tax of just over £10 per month.

The second engine for Dacia’s new supermini is the TCe 90. It’s relatively new to the brand, following its launch on Sandero, after debuting in the Renault Clio with the added bonus of Stop&Start technology. In Logan MCV, the 0.9-litre three-cylinder turbocharged unit is capable of 109 mph, with fuel economy of 56.5 mpg and CO2emissions of just 116 g/km. That adds up to just £30 in road tax every year, with absolutely zero to pay in the first. It also comes with Hill Start Assist on UK models.

Rounding off the series of modern engines is the new dCi 90. Belying it’s 1.5-litre diesel size, it delivers 74.3 mpg and sub-100 grams of CO2 per kilometre emissions. In other words, you don’t owe the taxman a penny when it comes to road fund licence, plus, London drivers will currently be able to sidestep the Congestion Charge.

The two top engines also boast an ECO mode to limit engine torque, both to help you eek the most out of your tank – by 10% - and save you valuable pennies at the pumps. Combined with a gearshift indicator, they’ll also no doubt help you do your bit for the environment too.

…the options

Dacia’s motto is to eliminate the unnecessary, giving its customers the option to pay for what they value and not be forced into buying things they don’t want or need.

This philosophy lends itself well to options and accessories, where buyers can treat themselves to the latest equipment, either because it’s their first new car, or simply because they’re moving across from another brand, or even a larger car, but still hanker after the finer things in life.

Among the luxuries on offer are a seven-inch touchscreen multimedia system and even leather upholstery. Yes, we are still in so-called value territory here, but only just.

The former, MediaNav, is available as an option on the flagship Lauréate for just £250 including VAT. Packing an AM/FM/LW radio, satellite navigation, USB and AUX connectivity, Bluetooth and even steering column-mounted fingertip controls, it’s arguably the most comprehensive and best value car manufacturer system of its kind on the market.

The latter, leather, is more affordable than ever, at just £600, again, on Lauréate.

Three other popular options are likely to be metallic paint at £495, 15-inch ‘Sahara’ alloy wheels for £425, both available for Ambiance and Lauréate. Rear parking sensors cost £250 on the range-topper too.

When it comes to enhancing the smart looks of Logan MCV, several paint colours are available. Access comes exclusively in white, with the other two trim levels able to be specified in one of five metallic shades: Cinder Red, Mercury, Pearl Black, Sargasso Blue and Stone.

As well as a series of options fitted at the Pitesti factory, the UK’s most affordable new estate also proffers two equally cost-sensitive accessory packs. Both of which are likely to appeal particularly to estate buyers. The first, Protection Pack, costs £225, and features a boot liner, rear parking sensors and rear carpet mats. When it comes to keeping the interior, not to mention the boot, looking as pristine as possible, free from caked in mud and assorted detritus courtesy of the kids or the family mutt, it’ll likely prove invaluable.

The second, Touring Pack, is ideal for getting away from it all. And hopefully, after making a substantial saving upfront, they’ll be plenty left in the pot for frequent breaks. The three items in the aptly named ensemble are front centre armrest, boot luggage net and transversal roof bars, for £280.

As with the other three Dacia models in the UK, Logan MCV comes with a competitive warranty of 3 years/60,000 miles. Plus, 3 years/60,000 miles free roadside assistance to boot. Those seeking even more peace of mind can opt for 5 year/60,000 miles and 7 year/100,000 miles upgrades, costing just £395 and £850. Dacia even offers the possibility of 5 for 5 for 5 – its five-year warranty, for £5 per month, over five years, on hire purchase.

Kia records best march sales ever

  • Kia sales in March reach 12,608 - a new one month record
  • Best first quarter since 2010 scrappage peak with 19,204 sales
  • Sportage most popular Kia with 5,237 sold during first quarter

Kia set a new record for sales in the UK during March with 12,608 vehicles delivered to customers - helping the brand to its best first quarter result since the height of the Government's scrappage scheme in 2010.

With 19,204 vehicles registered in the first three months Kia captured a 3.17 per cent share of the new car market - up by almost 12 per cent against 2012. The March month figures showed a near 13 per cent increase against 2012's figure of 11,178.

Kia's bestselling car in the first quarter - for the first time - was the Slovakian-built Sportage, followed closely by Picanto, Rio and cee'd.

President and Chief Executive of Kia Motors (UK) Limited, Paul Philpott said: "this is a fantastic result for Kia and its dealer network and is the culmination of a lot of hard work by our dealers. At a time when there is still a lot of uncertainty over big ticket item spending our performance shows the importance of good quality product with a still-untouchable seven year warranty delivered by dealers who care about their customers.

"I am particularly pleased that the March results simply add to our success this year as a whole. This has been our best first quarter since 2010 when the market was aided by the scrappage incentive that encouraged a lot of people to trade in old cars at a very advantageous price. As we come out of a long recession to get close to those numbers is extremely encouraging and shows the importance of ensuring that we and our dealers work hand in hand to deliver what the customer truly wants," he added.

Can the BMW X6 get any uglier, yes it can, enter the X4 a new sort of Ugly

 Every new BMW X model is a trailblazer. Indeed, the world premiere of the first BMW X model (the BMW X5) in 1999 saw the BMW Group call into being the Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) segment – one in which BMW X models remain the market leaders. The BMW X3 and BMW X1 were likewise the first SAVs in their class and continue to set the pace among their rivals today. This development took on a new dimension in May 2008 with the introduction of the BMW X6 – the first Sports Activity Coupé (SAC). This still unique concept brought together the rugged looks of a BMW X model with the emotion and sporting character of a BMW Coupé for the first time. The enduring popularity of BMW’s first SAC is demonstrated by its consistently high sales figures. The short history of the BMW X range is already a successful one. Since the first BMW X model took to the stage, average sales across the BMW X line-up have been on a constant upward curve: one in four new BMW cars globally is now a BMW X model.

With the BMW Concept X4, the BMW Group offers a preview of the future of the BMW X family. It takes no more than a glance to see how smoothly the qualities of a BMW X model can blend with the genes of a BMW Coupé. The new Sports Activity Coupé concept from BMW is poised to continue the success story of the BMW X6 in a new vehicle class. Eye-catching proportions, tight contours and high-quality details produce an unrivalled product character brimming with emotional appeal, dynamism and the sturdiness you would expect from a BMW X model, while at the same time holding out the promise of out-standing performance and driving dynamics. All of this can be experienced when the BMW X4 production model rolls out of the factory for its market launch, scheduled for 2014. The second Sporty Activity Coupé in the brand´s model range will be built at BMW Plant Spartanburg in the USA, the competence centre for BMW X models which also produces the BMW X5, BMW X6 and BMW X3.

The sporting character of the BMW Concept X4 is articulated by its dynamic lines as well as its proportions. With a body length of 4,648mm, a width of 1,915mm and a height of 1,622mm, its exterior dimensions signal sporting elegance and powerful robustness. In addition to a long bonnet, short overhangs and set back passenger cell, its signature BMW features include a long wheel-base measuring 2,810mm, while 21-inch light-alloy wheels lend an added flourish to the athletic bearing of this Sports Activity Coupé.

A front end with urban sporting presence.

The front-end styling of the BMW Concept X4 exudes hallmark BMW dynamics and the rugged purpose and presence of a BMW X model in equal measure. Classic BMW features such as the kidney grille and stylised twin circular head-lights give the front end a clear identity and ensure it shines out as a BMW the first time you set eyes on it. The BMW Concept X4 lavishes both these front-end design icons with meticulous detail and three-dimensional depth. The large kidney grille stretches out within a solid-looking surround. The high-gloss frame is open to the sides and at its lower extreme, lending it an almost “floating” appearance in the centre of the front end. The grille features prominently sculptured bars with stylish detailing. The hollowed out, high-gloss black bars have a milled lower third with a matt finishing, which lends the kidney structure extra visual depth. And the grille also comprises additional air apertures to ensure an increased supply of cooling air to the engine.

The kidney grille is flanked by dynamically contoured full-LED headlights. Inside the light units, a flowing, hexagonal interpretation of the familiar BMW twin circular appearance points to an unwavering focus on the road ahead. The horizontal continuation of the inner light elements creates a visual connection with the grille, accentuating once again the width of the front end.

This dynamic impression extends to the front apron. In keeping with BMW Coupé tradition, the side air intakes are larger than the inner units and make a visual feature of the increased cooling air requirement – while satisfying that need. Together with the car’s wide track and low centre of gravity, the intakes represent a promise of exceptional performance capability. The side air intakes pick up on a stylistic theme from the kidney grille; their black horizontal bars are, like the grille’s, partly milled out but boast gleaming chrome edges. It all makes for an enticing contrast of materials, a fusion of high-end quality with the characteristic robustness of BMW X vehicles. This design theme concludes in the under-ride protection, where three milled out, gleaming chrome elements present a high-quality take on the modern preference for minimalist solidity.

Side view with an extrovert edge.

The qualities of a BMW X model merge with the values of a BMW Coupé in the muscular silhouette of the BMW Concept X4. Its proportions present a persuasive case for the BMW Concept X4 as the most dynamic vehicle in its segment. In hallmark BMW style, a longer wheelbase, relatively long bonnet, short over-hangs and a set-back glasshouse lend the car an undeniable dynamism even when standing still. The striking interplay of surfaces creates a vibrant contrast of light and shadow that exudes a feeling of agility and power. Prominently rising lines mould the flanks into a wedge shape and give the car as a whole a forward-surging momentum.

The coupé-style roofline sweeps elegantly downwards and makes the car appear longer. Below, the windows extend well to the rear, where they are bordered by a dynamic interpretation of BMW’s signature Hofmeister kink. The stretched and shallow band of glass creates a persuasively dynamic link between the glasshouse and vehicle body, the slim glass surface giving the body a powerful appearance. At the same time the visual centre of gravity is lowered, underlining the sporting mission statement summed up by the car’s flanks.

The BMW Concept X4’s contours include a new interpretation of the familiar BMW swage line, a pair of dynamic lines defining the eye-catching impact of the side view. A concave area under each swage line lends the flanks an almost sculptural expression – at once robust and dynamic. The surface volumes and definition of the contours deepen as they extend towards the tail and imbue the rear end with added stature. Here, the powerfully flared wheel arches team up with the concave surface below the rear swage line to visualise the power rippling through the rear wheels. The radiant exterior paint shade Long Beach Blue is a perfect match for the elaborately structured volumes and contours, and brings particular depth to the expressive design language.

Fitting the BMW X template, the wheel arches of the BMW Concept X4 are large and almost square in design. This prominent emphasis on the wheels draws further attention to the car’s planted stance and long wheelbase, while at the same time providing a visual showcase for the xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system. The pared-back, matt black protective cladding provides the final element of bodywork before the BMW Concept X4 meets the road.

Expressive 21-inch bi-colour light-alloy wheels round off the car’s appearance when viewed from the side. Intricate, high-gloss polished spokes provide visual allure, while behind them dark-coloured flame surfaces contribute an impressive feeling of depth.

Cutting-edge presence for the rear.

The rear of the BMW Concept X4 takes the sporting, width-accentuating elements of the front-end design and reproduces them with an emphatically horizontal flavour. The body’s lines and the slim LED tail lights positioned at the outer edges of the rear emphasise the muscular wheel arches and wide track. Below, horizontal lines split the rear visually into sections, while light surfaces reduce the car’s visual height and underline its width.

The shallow rear window gives the vehicle body an even more powerful impression and its broad shoulders a show-stealing presence. Looking further down, the L-shaped rear lights of the BMW Concept X4 underscore its consummate stance on the road. A full-sized inner element in the tail lights, meanwhile, replicates the signature BMW “L” shape in three-dimensional form with impressive depth.

The most striking element at the back of the car is the rear apron, which provides a wide, full-length interpretation of the front apron’s large outer air intakes. The apron’s cut-out picks up the two exhaust tailpipes in a dynamic sweep before diverting the gaze to the wheels. Body-colour elements reaching well down towards the road surface provide a high-quality border for the rear end and re-emphasize the road-focused proposition of the BMW Concept X4.

The under-ride protection acts as the body’s lowest edge. Matt black surfaces lower the car’s perceived height and accentuate the robust BMW X character of the rear. At the front of the car, three milled elements in gleaming chrome add a sophisticated touch to the under-ride protection.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

ŠKODA launches limited edition Fabias Monte Carlo TECH

  • New Limited Edition Fabia ‘Monte Carlo TECH’ on sale now
  • Additional equipment over standard Fabia Monte Carlo
  • Petrol and diesel versions priced from just £11,990 OTR
  • Sales limited to 1,000 cars in the UK

ŠKODA has announced details of a limited edition version of the hugely popular Fabia Monte Carlo model, called Monte Carlo Tech, with an enhanced specification over the standard model.

Limited to 1,000 cars, the newcomer benefits from a state-of-the-art Amundsen satellite navigation system and Bluetooth connectivity at no extra cost to the customer.

These are in addition to the striking sports-styled exterior, which includes piano-black body trim, black door mirror covers, a black radiator grille top, smoked headlamps and black 17-inch lightweight Trinity alloy wheels.

Inside, the all black sports seats boast additional side support. Both Monte Carlo Tech versions come with black roof lining, a perforated leather steering wheel with red stitching, and a leather handbrake and gearstick gaiter. To complete the look, silver kick plates and steel pedals are fitted as standard.

The ŠKODA Monte Carlo TECH is available in two striking colour combinations – red with a black roof or white with a black roof. There are two engine choices, a 1.2-litre TSI 105PS petrol and a 1.6-litre TDI 105PS diesel. Sales of each will be restricted to just 500 units. The cars are priced £11,990 OTR and £12,960 OTR respectively.

Customers can opt to pay with a 7.9% APR Personal Contract Plan (PCP) or Hire Purchase (HP) agreement available through ŠKODA Finance. The offer includes free servicing based on three years / 30,000 miles.

Alasdair Stewart, Brand Director for ŠKODA UK, commented: “Offering customers exceptional value is at the heart of our business.  Since its launch in 2011 the Fabia Monte Carlo has proven to be a huge success for ŠKODA and we’re certain that this latest addition to the model line will build on this.”

The ŠKODA Fabia Monte Carlo was launched in January 2011 to celebrate 100 years of the Monte Carlo Rally, and to commemorate the 110th anniversary of the company’s motorsport commitment. It has been a huge success for the brand in the UK and more than 4,000 have been sold since launch.

F1 fastest pit stop goes to Red Bull racing at 2.05 seconds

With no shortage of talking points in Malaysia, lots of stuff that would usually make headlines passed by unnoticed. For instance, despite the slippery surface and the concentration-sapping heat in Malaysia, we broke the record for the fastest ever pitstop. In fact, having reviewed the data, we're pretty sure we beat the previous mark on five separate occasions during the race.

McLaren have held the record since last year's German Grand Prix, where they changed four wheels for Jenson Button in 2.31s. We went under that in Malaysia with Seb's first stop being 2.13s. Mark's first stop, two laps later was also 2.13s. The crew then lowered the new benchmark to 2.05s when Mark came in again, and his two subsequent stops were 2.21s and 2.26s.

These times are all taken from the car data, which each team uses to record the stationary times. TV do their own rough-and-ready calculations, and sometimes we take timings off video as well, though for real precision the common practice in the pitlane is to use the car's own datalog. Whichever metric you prefer, those are all pretty quick. It's basically a blink-and-you'll-miss-it blur of tires, wheel-guns and improbably balletic mechanics.

What you won't hear, however, is anyone using the word "perfect." There's always a quicker stop out there, and it's possible this season we'll see the magical two-second barrier breached at some point. However, rather than chasing individual times, improving consistency is always the thing coveted by the crew; breaking records is merely the consequence of doing that well.

Car data recorded the following stationary pit stop times (Malaysian Grand Prix 2013):

Sebastian Vettel Stop 1 (Lap 5): 2.13 seconds
Mark Webber Stop 1 (Lap 7): 2.13 seconds
Mark Webber Stop 2 (Lap 19): 2.05 seconds
Mark Webber Stop 3 (Lap 31): 2.21 seconds
Mark Webber Stop 4 (Lap 43): 2.26 seconds

Another award for Audi - congratulations.

The Audi A4 was recently named a Top Vehicle for Commuters by AAA. Top vehicle picks are selected by AAA Auto Buying experts who test drive and evaluate hundreds of vehicles each year for their fuel efficiency, comfort and overall performance. The 2013 Audi A4 – praised for its beautiful finish, superior handling and overall driving pleasure – was named a winner in the “sedan” category.

“Audi prides itself on delivering state-of-the art design, technology and safety in all of our vehicles,” said Mark Del Rosso, Chief Operating Officer, Audi of America. “We’re pleased that the Audi A4 has been recognized by AAA as a top vehicle for commuters.”

The 2013 Audi A4 boasts an athletic, elegant exterior and refined interior. Dynamic hood lines, reconfigured bumpers with angular air inlets, sleek headlamps and new LED daytime running light design give the A4 a dynamic look, while optional static halogen cornering lamps make the car’s segment-leading adaptive front lighting system even more illuminating for the driver. Inside, the 2013 Audi A4 features reconfigured climate and infotainment controls, exclusive wood inlays and chrome and high-gloss trim applications.

The 2013 Audi A4 features the groundbreaking turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, TFSI® engine, which provides 211 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque with an EPA estimated fuel efficiency of 24 city/ 31 highway/ 26 combined MPG. The chassis of the A4 is striking with its sporty precision, high ride comfort and superior safety. To ensure exceptional grip on wet or dry roads, the A4 offers the available quattro® all-wheel drive system.

Aluminum components in the front and rear suspension provide responsive handling and are optimized to reduce weight. The electromechanical power steering reduces emissions up to 11g/mile. In addition, the steering system is lighter than the previous generation further improving efficiency through its reduced weight.

The 2013 Audi A4 features the award-winning infotainment system Audi connect®, which enhances the driving experience by providing the benefits of access to information and content, when needed, through interfaces that are designed for the in-vehicle environment. Audi is the first company worldwide to feature factory-installed wireless Internet, allowing up to eight wireless devices to be connected at once. With Audi connect, the onboard Audi MMI Navigation system is enhanced with Google Earth™ maps and real-time SiriusXM® Traffic information for a true aerial view of the route.

Audi connect also features real-time localized weather, news and live fuel prices; Google™ Local Search for detailed information about travel destinations, such as restaurant or hotel hours, pricing and customer reviews; and the myAudi Destination feature, which allows registered users to log on to Google Maps™ from any location and download up to 50 destinations to the vehicle.

Chevy Volt owners exceed MPG estimates

Chevrolet Volt owners are consistently achieving the published EPA-estimated mileage of 98 MPGe gasoline-free miles, and many are even exceeding it. Their experience contributes to an out worldly total of 150 million electric-powered Volt driving miles – roughly the distance from Earth to Mars.

The typical Volt owner who regularly charges the vehicle is going 900 miles between fill-ups of the gasoline engine that powers the Volt’s on-board generator. That avoids about $1,300 a year at the pump.

MPGe is a measure of the average distance traveled per unit of energy consumed. The EPA uses it to compare the consumption of alternative fuel vehicles, plug-in electric vehicles and other advanced technology vehicles with the fuel economy of conventional internal combustion vehicles expressed as miles per U.S. gallon of gasoline.

Some drivers are all but avoiding gasoline.

“I have driven more than 23,500 miles in my Volt in 21 months, and have been to a gas station twice,” said Brent Waldrep of Auburn Hills, Mich. “The last time, was in August (2012), and I still have about 65 percent of that tank left. I go about 9,000-10,000 miles between fill ups.”

Waldrep is atypical, but he is not alone.

“It’s been more than 5,000 miles and I’ve only filled up once not including the dealer fill,” said Larry Read of Canyon Lake, Texas.

Paul Friday of San Jose, Calif., says he gets about 7,000 miles between fill-ups and adds about three gallons of gas to his Volt every three months.

“We’ve seen and heard from our Volt owners that they are achieving fantastic performance numbers with their vehicle as many are beating the EPA label estimates,” said Cristi Landy, Chevrolet Volt marketing director. “Our Volt owners are showing the performance potential of driving electric, and having fun doing it.”

Volt owners remain the most satisfied of any in the entire industry for the past two years with more than nine in 10 telling a major consumer publication they would buy another Volt.

For the first 38 miles, the Volt can drive gas and tailpipe-emissions free using a full charge of electricity stored in its 16.50-kWh lithium-ion battery. When the Volt’s battery runs low, a gas-powered generator seamlessly operates to extend the driving range up to another 344 miles on a full tank.

Congrats to General Motors, another accolade to add to its trophy cabinet

Working Mother magazine today named General Motors one of the dozen “Best Companies for Hourly Workers” for 2013, its annual recognition of employers that have the best policies and programs for promoting women and a dynamic work life culture.

“General Motors sets a standard of excellence for having not only work life programs and policies that supports this distinction, but for having a company culture that enables it to flourish,” said GM Chief Diversity Officer Ken Barrett.

The survey, conducted by the Working Mother Research Institute, reveals that 41 percent of hourly employees at the Best Companies participate in family health insurance programs through their employers, and 61 percent participate in employer-sponsored personal health insurance programs. Women in full-time service jobs are often uninsured, with 35 percent of restaurant workers, 36 percent of cashiers and 26 percent of retail sales assistants lacking insurance versus only 16 percent of all U.S. women, according to an analysis of 2010 Census Bureau data by the National Women’s Law Center.

“Since 2006, the retail and wholesale sector has cut 1 million full-time jobs and added more than 500,000 part-time jobs, “said Carol Evans, president of Working Mother Media. Creating programs to help employees succeed at hourly jobs has become not only good business but also the right thing to do.”

Said Jennifer Owens, editorial director of Working Mother Media: “The Best Companies for 2013 have found solutions to providing opportunities for nonexempt employees to advance into salaried and management roles.”

Here are the 12 Best Companies for Hourly Workers of 2013:

  • Best Buy Richfield, MN
  • Bon Secours Virginia Richmond, VA
  • Capital One Financial McLean, VA
  • General Motors Detroit, MI
  • Hilton Worldwide McLean, VA
  • Marriott International Bethesda, MD
  • Mercy Health System Janesville, WI
  • Sodexo Gaithersburg, MD
  • University of New Mexico Hospitals Albuquerque, NM
  • University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Madison, WI
  • Valassis Livonia, MI
  • WellStar Health System Marietta, GA

All of the Best Companies offer career advancement opportunities, including technology training and mentoring. Ten of 12 offer career counseling and language skills training.

The full results of the Working Mother Best Companies for Hourly Workers report can be found at:workingmother.com/hourly, on Twitter @_workingmother_ and @BestCompaniesWM and at facebook.com/workingmother.

About General Motors Company

General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM, its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at http://www.gm.com

About Working Mother Media

Working Mother magazine reaches 2.2 million readers and is the only national magazine for career-committed mothers; WorkingMother.com (www.workingmother.com) gives working mothers @home and @work advice, solutions and ideas. This year marks the 27th anniversary of Working Mother’s signature research initiative, Working Mother 100 Best Companies, and the tenth year of the Best Companies for Multicultural Women. Working Mother Media, a division of Bonnier Corporation (www.bonnier.com), includes the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE, www.nafe.com), Diversity Best Practices (www.diversitybestpractices.com) and the Working Mother Research Institute. Working Mother Media’s mission is to serve as a champion of culture change.

Canada is definitely Chrysler country

  • Industry leading 40 consecutive months of year-over-year sales growth 
  • Best March sales since the year 2000 
  • 24,173 vehicles sold; an increase of 6 per cent over March 2012 sales 
  • 7,476 Ram sales represents the best month in history for Ram truck sales
  • Dodge Dart sales more than double versus February 
  • Town & Country sales more than double year-over-year setting a new March sales record 
  • Ram pickup and Dodge Grand Caravan are the #2 and #5 best-selling vehicles in Canada

Chrysler Canada today announced its 40th consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth, representing the longest sales streak in the company’s history and the longest current streak in the industry. March 2013 sales were 24,173 compared with 22,703 vehicles sold in March, 2012, which represents a 6 per cent increase.

These sales results maintain Chrysler Canada’s position as the number one seller of vehicles in the country for 2013.

”We experienced our best Ram truck sales in our history this month, helping Chrysler remain the number one seller of vehicles in Canada,” said Dave Buckingham, Chief Operating Officer, Chrysler Canada. ”Dodge Dart sales really gave us a boost this month as well, more than doubling our February sales.”

Sales Highlights:
For 2013, Chrysler Canada introduced all-new Light-Duty and Heavy-Duty Ram trucks. Canada’s longest lasting line of pickups deliver best-in-class fuel economy, extraordinary technology and outstanding capability in the light duty model, while the heavy duties deliver best-in-class towing, torque and GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Recently awarded the triple crown of prestigious automotive awards (North American Truck/Utility of the Year, Motor Trend Truck of the Year and Truck of Texas), Ram trucks saw their best sales month ever in March of 2013 with 7,476 units sold - compared with 6,526 sold in the same month of 2012. This represents a 15 per cent increase.

Launched less than a year ago, Dodge Dart experienced its best sales month to date in Canada, with 1,041 units sold. This is more than double the sales recorded one month ago. Dodge Dart is the most technologically advanced car in its class and features mid-size interior room, tons of safety options and customization choices, along with great fuel economy plus a starting price of $15,995 that continues to generate excitement in the Canadian market place.

In addition, our Canadian built Town & Country set an all new monthly sales record. 793 Town & Country sales this month more than doubled the 279 sales of March 2012.

Congratulations to Mazda

  • All-new Mazda6 recognised for its outstanding design
  • KODO-inspired Mazda6 honoured for it high level design innovation
  • Latest award follows two recent accolades for the all-new Mazda6 from Fleet News and CarBuyer

The all-new Mazda6 has been recognised for its outstanding design by the world’s largest design competition, the ‘red dot design award”. In previous years, fashion and lifestyle brands such as Nike and Apple were among the ‘red dot’ product design category winners. This year, the 37-head jury of independent design experts, who judged entries according to nine criteria, honoured the KODO-inspired Mazda6 for qualities such as its high level of design innovation and bold stance.

The 2013 winners will be announced at the ‘red dot’ design award presentation ceremony at the Aallto-Theater in Essen, Germany, on 1 July.

It is yet another accolade for Mazda’s striking new flagship and the company’s revolutionary “KODO – Soul of Motion” design theme.

KODO is Mazda’s award-winning design language for its new generation of vehicles. Inspired by the explosive release of energy observed in animals or athletes springing into motion, KODO symbolises Mazda’s distinctive vitality and agility, providing the perfect complement for the company’s convention-defying approach to fun-to-drive cars. Other prizes KODO has captured thus far include Auto Bild’s 2012 European Design Award (Mazda CX-5, the first KODO model) and first place in the concept car category at the German Design Council’s Automotive Brand Contest 2012 (Mazda Takeri).

Based on the Takeri concept, the new Mazda6 – the company’s second KODO model – features the full range of ground-breaking SKYACTIV technology to deliver Mazda’s distinctive no compromise approach to performance and efficiency. Embodying the Sustainable Zoom-Zoom vision in its most advanced form yet, Mazda’s latest flagship model delivers class-leading fuel economy, performance and safety.

“We were aiming with the new Mazda6 to awaken the observer’s senses and turn heads with an uncompromising balance and proportion that instantly makes one want to get in the car and drive,” says Peter Birtwhistle, chief designer at Mazda’s European R&D Centre. “The red dot award for product design is a very prestigious testimony to what we have achieved at Mazda with the bold expressions personified by KODO.”

This latest award for Mazda’s “KODO – Soul of Motion” design theme follows two recent accolades for the all-new Mazda6 including; ‘Best Upper Medium’ title at the recent Fleet News Awards, and for its good looks, fun driving experience and impressive levels of standard equipment, experts from the CarBuyer website selected the all-new Mazda6 Saloon as their ‘Best Large Family Car’ and Mazda6 Tourer as ‘Best Estate Car’.

The all-new third generation Mazda6 was launched in January and is powered by the manufacturer’s range of high-efficiency SKYACTIV engines, including two petrol and two diesel units mated to six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.

Low CO2 emissions, which are critical to keeping company car-related taxes and operating costs in check, are among the many attributes of Mazda’s unique SKYACTIV technology.

All-new Mazda6 priced from £19,595 to £28,045 (on the road). The 150ps 2.2-litre SKYACTIV-D Saloon diesel has class-leading CO2 emissions of just 108g/km and combined fuel consumption of 67.3mpg. Benefit in Kind tax for a 40 percent tax payer is £133 a month (Sport trim).

About the red dot design award

Initiated in 1955 by the Germany-based Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen, the red dot design award is one of the world’s largest design competitions. Prizes are granted for product design, design concept and communication design. Mazda and other winners of the “red dot award: product design 2013”, which saw 4,662 entries by 1,865 manufacturers from 54 countries, will receive their awards on 1 July at the Aalto Theatre in Essen. The products themselves have earned the privilege to bear the “red dot” symbol, internationally acknowledged as a seal of design excellence.

7th gen Golf GTi, faster, quieter, more eco friendly, what more could you want.

The seventh-generation version of the iconic Volkswagen Golf GTI, which was introduced at the Geneva International Motor Show in March, is now available to order in the UK, with prices starting at £25,845 on the road – just £195 more than the previous model despite substantial enhancements.  For the first time it is available from the factory with two power levels: the standard 220 PS GTI and the GTI Performance, a £980 option which increases power to 230 PS, adds larger brake discs and a front limited-slip differential.

The new GTI is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged direct-injection petrol engine (TSI) with 220 PS.  In the GTI Performance version, the engine’s maximum power is boosted to 230 PS.  Both GTI models develop a maximum torque of 350 Nm (258 lbs ft).  The standard GTI accelerates to 62 mph in 6.5 seconds and reaches a top speed of 152 mph.  The GTI Performance has a top speed of 155 mph and needs just 6.4 seconds for the sprint to 62 mph.  Despite its impressive performance, the new Golf GTI is in insurance group 29E – five groups lower than its predecessor.

Both versions of the GTI are equipped with a Stop/Start system and fulfil the EU-6 emissions standard that takes effect in 2014.  With a six-speed manual gearbox, they attain the same low fuel consumption value of 47.1 mpg (CO2 emissions of 139 g/km).  This means that the latest Golf GTI offers an 18 per cent improvement in fuel economy compared to the previous model.  With the optional six-speed DSG gearbox, the two GTI models achieve fuel consumption figures of 44.1 mpg (equivalent to 148 g/km CO2 for the standard GTI and 149 g/km CO2 for the GTI Performance).

Buyers who opt for the £980 Performance pack gain not just an extra 10 PS of power, but also uprated brakes and a limited-slip differential.  The ventilated front brake discs increase from 312 x 25 mm to 340 x 30 mm , while the rear discs, which are 300 x 12 mm solid discs on the ‘standard’ GTI, are changed to 310 x 22 mm ventilated discs.  The front differential is a new development, dubbed VAQ.  This provides more neutral and agile driving behaviour and allows higher speeds to be carried through curves.  The system consists of a multi-plate coupler between the differential cage and right driveshaft, which controls locking torque electro-hydraulically.  Visually, vehicles with the Performance pack are distinguished solely by ‘GTI’ lettering on the red brake callipers.

The sporty character of the Golf GTI is reflected in its styling, which includes the characteristic red stripe across the honeycomb radiator grille – now also extending into the standard bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights – red-painted brake callipers, two chrome tailpipes and sports suspension.  As standard, the GTI comes with 18-inch ‘Austin’ alloy wheels with 225/45 tyres, special side sills, a rear diffuser framing the exhaust pipe at either side, smoked LED rear lights and LED number plate illumination.

Interior highlights include 2Zone climate control, sports seats with the classic tartan ‘Jacara’ cloth upholstery, a black roof lining and red ambience lighting.  GTI drivers will also appreciate the bespoke sports steering wheel, gear lever and instrument cluster, trim strips and stainless steel pedal caps.   The standard touchscreen infotainment system also includes DAB digital radio, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity.

As well as high performance, a high level of safety equipment comes as standard in the Golf GTI. On top of high passive safety levels – thanks in part to a passenger cell made from high- and ultra-high strength steels – active safety features include the Automatic Post-Collision Braking system, which automatically applies the vehicle brakes after an accident to reduce the chances of a second impact; the pre-crash system, which tensions seatbelts and closes windows and the sunroof if an accident is likely to improve the effectiveness of the airbags; Front Assist, which warns the driver in the event of coming too close to the vehicle in front, can prime the brakes, and operates at speeds of up to 99 mph; City Emergency Braking, which can automatically brake the vehicle at speeds below 18 mph; Automatic Distance Control, a radar-operated cruise control that maintains a set distance from the vehicle in front; and seven airbags as standard, including one for the driver’s knees.

Optional equipment includes 19-inch ‘Santiago’ alloy wheels, ‘Vienna’ leather upholstery, keyless entry, High Beam Assist, Lane Assist, Park Assist (parking sensors are standard), a rear view camera, ACC Adaptive Chassis Control, touchscreen satellite navigation and a Dynaudio sound pack with 10-channel amplifier and eight speakers.

For more details visit www.volkswagen.co.uk.

Key facts

  • Engine: four-cylinder TSI (turbocharged direct petrol injection); front transverse;displacement 1,984 cc; bore/stroke 82.5/92.8 mm; compression ratio 9.8:1
  • Power: 220 PS from 4,500-6,300 rpm / GTI Performance 230 PS 4,700-6,200 rpm
  • Torque: 350 Nm (258 lbs ft) from 1,500-4,400 rpm / GTI Performance 1,500-4,600
  • Front brakes 312 x 25 mm ventilated discs / rear brakes 300 x 12 mm solid discs /
  • GTI Performance front brakes 340 x 30 mm ventilated discs / rear brakes
  • 310 x 22 mm ventilated discs
  • Fuel consumption / CO2 emissions: 47.1 mpg; 139 g/km (manual), 44.1 mpg, 148 g/km (DSG); 44.1 mpg, 149 g/km CO2 (DSG Performance)
  • Performance (manual): 0-62 mph in 6.5 sec; top speed 152 mph / GTI Performance 0-62 mph in 6.4 sec; top speed 155 mph
  • Unladen weight: 1,351 kg

Audi delivers 100th race car.

Audi R8 LMS ultra handed over to MS RACING on Tuesday
Current ADAC GT Masters champion’s team to start relying on Audi
Car number “100” symbolises success of the program

Newcomer to Audi Sport customer racing: Team MS RACING is switching to Audi and will be fielding two new R8 LMS ultra cars in the 2013 ADAC GT Masters. On Tuesday, quattro GmbH handed over the 100th race car from Heilbronn-Biberach, a facility of the Neckarsulm location, to the squad.

For the customer sport project that has only been in existence since 2009, this vehicle handover marks a symbolic milestone as quattro GmbH delivered the 100th race car based on the Audi R8 to a customer only four years after the program was launched. The Audi R8 LMS ultra meanwhile embodies the third evolution of the GT3 model. For the United States, the line-up also includes a GRAND-AM version that won the GT class at the Daytona 24 Hours in January.

We’re delighted about Team MS RACING having opted for Audi for the first time,” emphasises
Franciscus van Meel, Managing Director of quattro GmbH. The wholly owned Audi subsidiary based in Neckarsulm develops, produces and sells the customer sport race cars of the brand with the four rings. “The sporting tally that meanwhile reflects 18 championship titles plus endurance victories at the major 24-hour races on the Nürburgring, at Spa, Daytona and Zolder underscores the car’s qualities as well. More than 50 percent of the race car is based on the production vehicle. At the same time, on delivering the 100th car, we’re extending our global market position. The R8 is meanwhile being fielded in races in Australia, Asia, Europe, North and South America.”

Sebastian Asch, last year’s champion in the ADAC GT Masters, visited the handover of the Audi R8 LMS ultra together with his team-mate Florian Stoll. Race engineer Ralph Stoll accepted the keys to the car from Dirk Spohr, Head of Customer Management at Audi Sport customer racing. The team based in Waldshut-Tiengen will announce its complete driver line-up in the next few weeks before the season starts at Oschersleben on April 27.

2nd gen Panamara now with hybrid tech and a claimed 91mpg

  • Second generation of Panamera Gran Turismo introduces plug-in hybrid technology to the executive segment for the first time
  • Panamera S E-Hybrid offers 416 hp of combined power, with 95 hp electric motor and lithium-ion battery that can be recharged on the move or in four hours via appropriate domestic socket
  • Fuel economy of up to 91 mpg on NEDC -- 71g/km CO2 -- with 0-62 mph in 5.5 seconds
  • New twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine joins the range

World debut Shanghai Motor Show, 21 April; available to order now, in Porsche Centres from July
Since its launch in 2009, the Panamera Gran Turismo has successfully expanded the appeal of the Porsche marque into the executive saloon segment. Now, a new chapter in the development of the four door, four seater sports car opens with the unveiling of the second generation Panamera, led by the world’s first plug-in hybrid in the class.

The innovative Panamera S E-Hybrid offers combined system power of 416 hp and extends further the breadth of sportiness and comfort that characterises the model line. Furthermore, an entirely new twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 is now offered in the Panamera S and Panamera 4S. These new and further developed drivetrain technologies have enabled fuel savings of up to 56 per cent, while further enhancing ease of use and driving comfort.

The new Panamera underscores its exceptional positioning with a more expressive exterior design language signified by tighter lines, more pronounced contours and newly-shaped body elements. Overall, the new generation car is more efficient, sporting, comfortable and elegant and celebrates its world premiere at Auto China in Shanghai on 21 April.

Panamera S E-Hybrid sets new standards in efficiency, performance and convenience

The Panamera S E-Hybrid is a systematically advanced development of the proven Porsche parallel full hybrid, with a more powerful electric motor, a higher-performance battery that supplies more energy and the ability to be recharged externally from the electrical grid.

The electric drive produces 95 hp (70 kW), which is more than double the power of the previous model’s 47 hp (34 kW) electric motor. It draws energy from a new lithium-ion battery, which at 9.4 kWh has over five times the 1.7 kWh energy capacity of the previous (nickel metal hydride) battery technology. When connected to an industrial outlet, it can be charged within around two and a half hours via the integrated on-board charger and the standard Porsche Universal Charger (AC), and it can be charged in less than four hours when connected to a conventional household electrical outlet.

With its increased output, the Panamera S E-Hybrid far exceeds the driving performance of the previous model. In addition, the NEDC fuel economy has increased by 56 per cent to 91 mpg, which equates to emissions of 71 g/km CO2. Furthermore, the all-electric driving performance has been substantially improved with regard to electric acceleration, the electric range and electric top speed.

An intensive pure electric driving experience is possible without any fuel consumption or local emissions, which is especially advantageous in the urban environment. The electric driving range of the Panamera S E-Hybrid has been determined as 22 miles (36 km) in NEDC-based testing. Driving range may vary in everyday operation, since air conditioning and heating are deactivated in NEDC test conditions, for example. A realistic all-electric driving range in everyday operation would lie somewhere between 11-22 miles – and under particularly favourable conditions it could even exceed this.

The Panamera S E-Hybrid can reach speeds of up to 84 mph in all-electric operation, and the acceleration time from 0-62 mph has been shortened by half a second to 5.5 seconds. The electric boost function helps here, in which the performance of the electric motor aids that of the combustion engine. Boosting can also be activated by kick-down – such as when overtaking. The car’s overall top speed is 168 mph. The parallel full hybrid concept developed by Porsche also offers ‘coasting’ at higher speeds, which refers to free coasting with the internal combustion engine shut off and generating electricity by energy recovery.

The forward-looking concept of the Panamera S E-Hybrid also embodies an entirely new range of convenience functions, which can also be activated and called up by a smart phone ‘app’. There is the charge status indicator, for example. In addition, the auxiliary climate control option of the plug-in hybrid enables car pre-heating or cooling via Porsche Car Connect; it can be programmed in the vehicle or even more conveniently via the smart phone app. A smart phone may also be used for battery management or for remote access to vehicle information such as the remaining driving range or for guiding users back to their parked vehicles. All functions that are not specific to the hybrid drive are also available as options for the other Panamera models via the Car Connect smart phone app from Porsche.

More performance and efficiency by downsizing: new twin-turbo V6 engine

Boosting performance and efficiency is a core competency at Porsche. In developing the new Panamera, this led to an entirely new engine based on the downsizing concept: a V6 engine with 3.0-litres displacement and twin turbocharging. The V6 bi-turbo replaces the previous 4.8-litre V8 engine in the Panamera S and Panamera 4S. Its basic parameters themselves are indicators of progress: 20 hp more power and a further 20 Newton metres of torque, combined with up to 18 per cent better fuel economy compared with the V8. This not only gives the driver a more powerful and efficient engine; turbocharging results in the maximum torque of 520 Nm being available over a very broad range of engine speeds for a superior and uniform power curve, even at low revs.

The majority of Panamera models feature the seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung PDK dual-clutch transmission. The eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic is used in the Panamera Diesel and Panamera S E-Hybrid, which creates optimal conditions for further development of other efficiency functions. For example, the extended start-stop function now deactivates the engine earlier while coasting to a stop, which saves more fuel. With the exception of the Panamera GTS, models with PDK also offer a coasting function in which the clutches open in overrun, the engine idles, and the vehicle coasts freely. This function can significantly improve fuel economy, especially when travelling on the motorway.

Design development highlighted by a new option of LED headlights

The evolutionary exterior design of the new Panamera is at first identified by the tighter and more prominent line-work on the nose, particularly the larger air intakes and the distinctive transition to the headlights. In side profile, the new, more swept-back rear window creates an extended silhouette. When viewed from the rear, the new generation Panamera is primarily identified by its new tailgate, and the wider rear window visually emphasises the sporting character. The rear section itself has also been redesigned, including the wider spoiler, and it shows a tighter transition to the rear lights, similar to the headlight treatment at the front of the car.

The new Panamera models also offer many differentiating exterior characteristics. Further customisation is achieved by a variety of options, including new LED headlights, which give the Gran Turismo a very distinctive appearance. In addition, an extended line-up of optional assistance systems is available for safety and convenience. The adaptive cruise control system, for example, now actively intervenes in the braking process in hazardous situations, and camera-based traffic sign detection and lane departure warning offer greater convenience.

The new generation Porsche Panamera will arrive in Porsche Centres from July 2013. Prices will be confirmed in due course.

Standard equipment on all models includes Bi-Xenon headlights, multi-function steering wheel, automatic tailgate opening, leather interior, dual-zone automatic climate control, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, Porsche Communication Management satellite navigation with seven-inch touch-screen, Digital radio, eight-way powered front seat adjustment, front and rear electric windows and a three-year warranty. Four-wheel drive models add Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel drive.

Fitted to every Panamera is a Porsche Vehicle Tracking System (VTS), a sophisticated vehicle security package approved to Thatcham Category 5 standard. Customers will also be able to explore the potential of their new car, and further develop their own skills behind the wheel, by participating in a complimentary course at the Porsche Experience Centre, Silverstone.