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, 12 April 2013

MG shows stunning concept, shame they won't make it.

A stunning MG urban SUV concept car will be unveiled at the Shanghai Motor Show.

It will be the world premiere of the cutting-edge MG CS concept, designed to slot into the compact SUV sector, one of the fastest growing areas of the global automotive market where style and sports utility dominate fashion trends.

It’s the latest result of a massive investment in the brand by MG’s owner, the giant SAIC Motor group, and previews MG’s first production urban SUV. It will be unveiled on the firm’s stand at around 3am (BST) on April 20, Press Day at the Shanghai Show.

It has been penned by a top design team led by MG’s Global Design Director, Anthony Williams-Kenny. The MG CS oozes British design flair while embracing the sporting DNA of MG, an iconic brand.

The MG CS has many strikingly unique features, including the headlights which have a multi-faceted ‘shard’ structure which refract light in different colours and shape from the side, but coalesce to form the iconic MG’s trademark octagon from the front.

A strong horizontal emphasis gives the side profile of the MG CS a distinctive, sporty style and youthful appearance. Creative design, style and charisma dominate the look of this latest MG.

MG has a rich history of daring designs that break new ground and sophisticated UK design has carried through to the family of new generation MGs. These include the MG6 production car and the MG ZERO concept car, which pointed the way to the MG3 production model.

There has been much speculation about an MG SUV and this model is expected to create a sensation among young, fashion conscious people. The MG CS concept will expand the global reach of the MG brand.

VW group posts improved March and Q1 figures

  • 864,400 vehicles delivered in March / +0.2 percent*
  • Group Board Member for Sales Christian Klingler: “Stable first-quarter development for the Group. March clearly shows that markets worldwide are becoming even more difficult.”

The Volkswagen Group delivered 2.27 (January-March 2012: 2.16; +5.1 percent)* million vehicles from January to March. The company handed over 864,400 (March 2012: 862,700; +0.2 percent)* vehicles to customers in the month of March. “The Volkswagen Group showed stable development at a high level in the first quarter and performed slightly better than the overall passenger car market. Positive momentum was maintained in North America and China. Almost all other regions, however, particularly the markets in Western Europe, remain affected by uncertainty which is in some cases considerable. The data for March clearly show that the markets are becoming even more difficult,” Group Board Member for Sales Christian Klingler said in Wolfsburg on Friday.

Group brands delivered 881,600 (936,900; -5.9 percent) vehicles on the overall European market in the first quarter as demand for vehicles took a general downturn; of this figure, 477,400 (507,100; -5.9 percent) units were handed over in Western Europe (excluding Germany). In the home market of Germany, 262,100 (282,400; -7.2 percent) customers took possession of a new car, while Europe’s largest automaker delivered 142,100 (147,400; -3.6 percent) vehicles in the Central and Eastern Europe region. The delivery trend in Russia remained slightly positive, with 67,300 (66,000; +2.0 percent) units handed over to customers.

Developments on the American continent were mixed. Deliveries in the North America region from January to March grew 14.9 percent to 205,700 (179,100), of which 142,800 (124,400; +14.7 percent) vehicles were delivered in the United States. In the South America region, on the other hand, there was a 4.5 percent decline to 219,200 (229,400) units, of which 160,600 (164,500; -2.4 percent) vehicles were handed over in Brazil.

Group figures for the Asia-Pacific region remained encouraging. 860,700 (726,100; +18.5 percent) vehicles were handed over to customers there in the first quarter, of which 769,200 (633,900; +21.3 percent) units were delivered in China, the Group’s largest single market. Deliveries in India, however, fell to 25,900 (34,100; -24.0 percent) units.

Outline of developments at Group brands

The Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand delivered 1.43 (1.36; +5.2 percent) million vehicles to customers worldwide from January to March. The brand continued to develop well in the Asia-Pacific region, where deliveries ran at 653,500 (540,600; +20.9 percent). In the North America region, Volkswagen Passenger Cars handed over 145,700 (135,700; +7.3 percent) vehicles to customers, while deliveries on the overall European market, which remained difficult, ran at 396,300 (441,800; -10.3 percent) units.

Audi delivered 369,500 (346,100; +6.8 percent) vehicles worldwide in the first quarter. Deliveries by the premium brand from Ingolstadt developed well in the Asia-Pacific region, where 124,200 (108,100; +14.9 percent) models were handed over to customers. Audi delivered 41,100 (36,000) vehicles in the North America region during the same period, an increase of 14.1 percent.

The sports car manufacturer Porsche, which became a Volkswagen Group brand on August 1, 2012, delivered a total of 37,000 vehicles in the period to March. Demand for models built by the Stuttgart-based carmaker was particularly strong in the Asia-Pacific region, where 11,700 vehicles were handed over, and in the North America region, where deliveries ran at 10,500.

ŠKODA delivered a total of 220,400 (242,700; -9.2 percent) vehicles in the first three months. The Czech automaker handed over 53,900 (60,900; -11.5 percent) units to customers in Central and Eastern Europe and – as a result of a downturn in India – 65,600 (72,600; -9.7 percent) vehicles in the Asia-Pacific region.

SEAT delivered 87,100 (80,100; +8.7 percent) vehicles worldwide in the period to March, continuing the upward trend of the first two months. Deliveries by the Spanish brand developed particularly well in Germany, where 16,600 (13,100) units, equivalent to an increase of 26.9 percent, were handed over, in the UK, where the company delivered 11,500 (10,900; +5.2 percent), and Mexico, where 5,500 (5,100; +7.7 percent) vehicles were delivered.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles handed over 124,200 (130,700; -5.0 percent) vehicles to customers in the first quarter, of which 70,200 (80,400; -12.6 percent) units were delivered on the overall European market. In contrast, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles recorded a 13.7 percent increase in the Asia-Pacific region, where the company handed over 4,400 (3,900) vehicles to customers.

IMPORTANT INFO - do you own an older Toyota, honda, Nissan or Mazda, then read this

Our friends over at AUTOEXPRESS have posted this report and is important information should you own or know someone who owns any of the cars these manufactures made.

Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mazda will recall 150,000 cars in the UK, after discovering a fault with passenger seat airbags

Four Japanese manufacturers - Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mazda - are to recall more than 3.4 million cars after a potential fault with the cars' airbags was identified.

Toyota is recalling 1.7 million cars worldwide after its vehicles had a defective part that "could cause the airbag inflator to rupture and deploy the airbag abnormally in a crash". However, the manufacturer confirmed that the airbag would still deploy in the event of an accident.

Honda is recalling 1.1 million cars, while Nissan and Mazda are recalling 480,000 and 45,000 cars respectively.

In terms of UK numbers, the recall affects around 76,000 Toyota models, while Nissan is calling back 59,000 cars. Around 15,400 Hondas are affected by the fault and 1,900 Mazda cars. The fault affects cars sold between 2000 and 2004.

UK models affected include the Toyota Corolla and Yaris, the Honda Civic, CR-V and Jazz models, and the Nissan X-Trail, Patrol, Almera and Navara.

The problem came to light after Toyota received five separate reports of the fault, three in the US and two from Japan. There have been no complaints from owners in the UK and a spokesman for Toyota confirmed that there had been no injuries as a result of the incident. Honda, Nissan and Mazda claim there have been no incidents involving their cars.

The Japanese car makers said the defective part was supplied by parts maker Takata Corp.

All four manufacturers have said that the part will be replaced free of charge, and will notify customers over the next 30 days. Toyota owners can also go to the recall information section of www.toyota.co.uk and put in their registration number to find out if their car is affected. Meanwhile worried Nissan owners can call 01923 899334.

2014 AUDI R8 more fun, faster and improved, Even Iron Man has one.

Offering uncompromised performance and unmistakable design, the new 2014 Audi R8 model represents the pinnacle of Audi performance with the top up or down. The R8 has established itself as an icon in the short time since its introduction in 2008. The new 2014 Audi R8 is more dynamic and powerful than ever and is officially on sale as of April 11th, 2013.

The new Audi R8 has been further optimized thanks to numerous improvements, including an available new seven-speed S tronic transmission that improves the 0-60 mph time by 0.3 seconds on the R8 V10 Plus. The new S tronic transmission also significantly improves comfort through smoother gear shifts and greater efficiency. New full-LED headlamp design continues to give the R8 an unmistakable presence while standing still and at speed on the road or the track.

At the top of the range is the new R8 V10 Plus Coupe with 550 horsepower and 398 lb.-ft. of torque. Equipped with the available S tronic, it catapults from zero to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds and can achieve a top speed of 196 mph. It weighs approximately 130 lbs. less than the R8 V10 due to ceramic brakes, carbon fiber side blades, front splitter, rear diffuser, and spoiler; a smaller fuel tank; manual Alcantara® seats and reduced sound insulation in the engine bay.

The interior receives beautiful diamond-stitch leather seats as well as an available flat-bottom multi-function steering wheel among other improvements. “The launch of the R8 represented the turning point of the Audi brand and placed luxury on notice,” said Scott Keogh, President Audi of America. “The 2014 R8 will continue to build upon that success for our halo sports car and for the Audi brand as a whole.”

Tony Stark, played by actor Robert Downey Jr., will once again be back in the Audi R8 as his car of choice. Iron Man 3 debuts in movie theatres across the country on May 3rd, 2013.

Congratulations to Bentley on another award

For the second year in a row Bentley’s Continental GT was selected ‘Classic Car of the Future’ in the Coupe Category by readers of the prestigious Motor Klassik magazine, a publication of Motor Presse Stuttgart.

More than 22,000 participants voted in both the print and online editions of the magazine, choosing from 60 cars in six ‘classic car’ categories and from 54 cars in 9 ‘classic cars of the future’ categories.

Throughout Bentley’s history, iconic grand tourers have forged the brand’s reputation. In the 1950s the beautiful R-Type Continental set new standards of performance and style. Gaining inspiration from the R-Type, which is universally regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful cars, the Bentley styling team designed new Continental GT which in2002 revolutionised the luxury coupe market, combining supercar performance and dynamism with remarkable everyday practicality. Not only did this mark the birth of a new product range for Bentley but also the beginning of an extraordinary renaissance for the Bentley brand.

Today the Continental GT range consists of the Continental V8, the Continental W12 and the recently launched performance flagship Continental GT Speed, available as both Coupe and Convertible.

Remarking on the Motor Klassik award, Dr Wolfgang Schreiber, CEO of Bentley Motors, said: “Bentley’s heritage is a cornerstone of our brand. For decades our cars have defined ultimate luxury and high performance grand touring. It is our goal to continue to build the best luxury cars in the world. We are honored that the readers recognize the Continental GT as a future classic and we thank them for this prestigious award.”

The award was presented at the Motor Klassik gala award ceremony at Schloss Dyck in Jüchen, Westphalia on April 9th.

McLaren launches new scheme for pre owned models

  • Launch of the first approved scheme for pre-owned models from McLaren
  • All models fully upgraded to the latest specification and undergo a full qualification from McLaren-trained technicians
  • Preferential rates through McLaren Special Operations enables every customer to create a bespoke 12C or 12C Spider
  • McLaren ownership experience offers access to exclusive events and offers
  • The latest approved models are available to view at www.McLarenQualified.com

Following the global launch of the 12C and 12C Spider, McLaren Automotive has now launched its bespoke pre-owned car programme, McLaren Qualified. The new service makes entry to the McLaren ownership experience more accessible, with the added peace of mind that each and every vehicle has been checked by a McLaren trained technician, and brought up to date with the latest upgrades.

Attention to detail is key with everything at McLaren. Even during the build phase, every McLaren is different and, for this reason, at each stage along the production line, each 12C and 12C Spider is subjected to rigorous tests and validation checks to ensure that everything is how it should be. Buying a Qualified 12C or 12C Spider will offer peace of mind knowing that, on returning to McLaren, this same attention to detail is carried through to the Qualified programme.

McLaren technicians undertake a comprehensive bumper-to-bumper qualification check. This means that each new owner can be safe in the knowledge that their McLaren has been fully qualified and updated to the latest specification, so it is as good, if not better, than when it first left the McLaren Production Centre.

Further benefits offered through McLaren Qualified include:

Updated with the latest upgrades and software enhancements

McLaren Qualified is the only programme which can guarantee that every car is fully updated with the latest upgrades. As part of the multipoint checks, every 12C sold receives the latest 2013-specification updates. This means each car is presented with the upgrade in power of 25 PS, giving yet more vivid acceleration at track speeds with no loss in efficiency, while the latest calibration optimises the SSG transmission to further enhance responsiveness.

Tailor each and every car through MSO

Buying a McLaren through the Qualified programme allows owners the opportunity to further personalise their 12C or 12C Spider through preferential rates on the extensive range of bespoke options available through McLaren Special Operations (MSO). The upgrades are available to every customer up to four weeks from handover.

Minimum of two years comprehensive factory warranty and roadside assistance

As part of the reassurance that underlines the McLaren Qualified programme is a minimum of two years / unlimited mileage comprehensive factory warranty, covering parts and repairs, and two years McLaren roadside assistance. This service offers owners a direct contact to McLaren Automotive, and a dedicated service which will get you back on the road as quickly and efficiently as possible should there be a problem.

McLaren Qualified – an extension of the McLaren family

Every McLaren owner is given access to an array of opportunities and offers designed to make the ownership experience even more unique, and this extends to McLaren Qualified customers. Invitations include exclusive events, dedicated ‘Pure McLaren’ track days and visits to the McLaren Technology Centre, the global home of the McLaren Group.

Commenting on the launch of McLaren Qualified, McLaren Automotive’s Sales and Marketing Director, Greg Levine said: “The management and tight control of pre-owned vehicles is key to maintaining the exclusivity, customer experience and overall residual values of each McLaren. This is something that is important to us and, more crucially, our customers. Through the McLaren Qualified programme, we are ensuring that the pre-owned McLaren ownership experience is a unique journey, that provides owners with the knowledge and confidence that every pre-owned 12C or 12C Spider is sold to McLaren standards.”

To view the latest models available, and to find your Qualified McLaren, visit www.McLarenQualified.com.

Ford to introduce a new member of the EcoBoost family of engines

 Ford Motor Company today announced that a new 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine will join its line-up of fuel-efficient, innovative powertrains. The 1.5-litre engine is a key strategic entry for Ford, as the company works to meet the strong global demand for its four-cylinder EcoBoost engines.

With the launch of the newest fuel-efficient engine, Ford now has capacity to build 1.6 million EcoBoost engines annually. By the end of 2013 six plants across Europe, Asia and North America will be producing EcoBoost engines, triple the number that were doing so in 2010.

Production of the four-cylinder 1.5-litre EcoBoost – the fifth member of the EcoBoost family – will commence initially at Ford’s world-class facility in Craiova, Romania, later this month. Other manufacturing locations will be announced in the future. The new engine will be first introduced in China in the all-new Ford Mondeo, making its public debut later this month at the Auto Shanghai Show 2013, with applications following in the Fusion sedan in North America this year, and later the new Mondeo in Europe.

As a key contributor to Ford’s aggressive fuel economy and emissions strategy, EcoBoost technologies enable improvements to both fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions of up to 20 per cent. The 1.5-litre engine benefits from signature EcoBoost turbocharging, direct fuel injection and variable valve timing and has been designed to be even more fuel-efficient and offer high levels of engine refinement, quietness and performance.

Additionally, the newest EcoBoost engine will be a strategic entry for Ford in global markets that offer tax relief to consumers who purchase vehicles powered by engines of 1.5-litre capacity or less.  

The new aluminium-block, twin-cam 1.5-litre EcoBoost engine will feature some of the innovative features introduced on the award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost, including an integrated exhaust manifold. The new engine is expected to provide similar horsepower and torque performance to Ford’s current 1.6-litre EcoBoost, while delivering improved fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions.

The 1.5-litre EcoBoost engine is the first engine from Ford to incorporate a computer-controlled clutch on the belt-drive water pump, which further improves efficiencies by reducing warm-up time. A water-cooled charge air cooler is added to offer a more efficient feed of air into the engine.

“Ford EcoBoost technology has changed the way people look at petrol engines and has enjoyed huge success with customers,” said Joe Bakaj, vice president, Powertrain Engineering, Ford Motor Company. “The new 1.5-litre unit further extends our EcoBoost promise of economical motoring in terms of both fuel efficiency and, in some markets, tax-savings.”

Ford has sold more than 600,000 EcoBoost-equipped vehicles globally since the range was launched with the 3.5-litre V6 EcoBoost in 2009. Ford added the 2.0-litre EcoBoost in 2010; the 1.6-litre EcoBoost followed in 2011; and last year the 1.0-litre EcoBoost was launched, winning the 2012 “International Engine of the Year” award.

By the end of this year, nearly 80 per cent of the company’s global nameplates will be available with fuel-saving EcoBoost technology.

Aston to race Hybrid at the Nurburgring

  • Global debut for Rapide S race car at ADAC Zurich 24 Hours of Nürburgring
  • Aston Martin will be first to race with hydrogen power
  • Target of first zero CO2 emission lap in mainstream racing

The record-breaking Hybrid Hydrogen Rapide S – based on Aston Martin’s new four-door, four-seat sports car – will become the first hydrogen-powered car to compete in an international event as well as the first zero CO2 emissions sports car to complete a race pace lap at the Nürburgring 24-hour race.

Working in partnership with hydrogen experts Alset Global, Aston Martin’s engineers have developed a prototype twin turbocharged 6.0-litre V12 engine that will power the Nürburgring car.

Capable of running on pure gasoline, pure gaseous hydrogen, or a blend of both, the Hybrid Hydrogen race car showcases Aston Martin’s commitment to engineering innovation. In pure hydrogen mode, Aston Martin and Alset Global aim to show that a zero CO2 emissions lap of the Nordschleife is possible while emitting virtually only water from the exhaust.

Showcasing the technology at the Nürburgring – acknowledged as one of the toughest and most demanding circuits in the world and, of course, nicknamed ‘the Green Hell’ – Aston Martin will underline the reliability and safety of today’s hydrogen technology.

Welcoming the debut of the Hybrid Hydrogen Rapide S, Aston Martin Chief Executive Officer Dr Ulrich Bez said: “As we celebrate our centenary in 2013 and look back on a century of excitement, innovation and style it’s also the perfect time to look to the future with this astonishing race car.

“Aston Martin has a strong track record of innovation and, with our superb history of competition and testing at the Nürburgring, it is only right that we showcase this amazing new technology at this year’s 24-hour race.”

He added: “Working with Alset Global to unveil this system in such a challenging environment as the 24 Hours of Nürburgring shows once again how confident we are in our cars, our people and our partners.”      

The Hybrid Hydrogen system comprises a hydrogen fuel rail, storage tanks and proprietary engine management system. This enables flexibility in the control of the combustion process according to each particular driving situation: either pure hydrogen, gasoline or a arbitrary blend of both can be selected to ensure optimum power, acceleration and CO2 reduction. This control results in a powerful and dynamic propulsion system that provides sports car performance but with a carbon footprint more akin to that of a supermini.

Safety is paramount, of course, and the system includes four ultra-high strength carbon fibre tanks holding a total of 3.5kg of hydrogen stored at a pressure of 350bar – two tanks housed next to the driver and two in the boot of the car. Meanwhile the entire hydrogen system developed by Alset Global and its partners is approved by German motorsport’s governing body, the DMSB.

The Hybrid Hydrogen race car is based on the new Rapide S four-door sports car that is arriving in Aston Martin showrooms worldwide this month.

Redesigned and re-engineered to offer even greater style and significantly enhanced performance by virtue of its new AM11 6.0-litre V12 naturally aspirated engine, the new Rapide S is capable of 190 mph and sprints from 0 to 62 mph in only 4.9 seconds.

Dr Bez said of the new road car: “It is a four-door sports car that uniquely combines luxury, style and sporting excitement in Aston Martin’s most flexible and accommodating silhouette. This is the four-door sports car in its most versatile form.”

Aston Martin returns to compete in the ADAC Zurich Nürburgring 24 Hours on May 19-20 for the eight successive year. More than 150 cars will start the fearsome 24-hour race, which runs on the daunting 25km circuit that combines the legendary Nordschleife with the modern Grand Prix track.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Land Rover and the United States Equestrian Federation continue partnership

Land Rover North America and the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) announced today that they will continue their longstanding partnership through 2016. Land Rover, the leader in world-class sport utility vehicles, will remain the official vehicle sponsor of the USEF as well as title sponsor of the Land Rover United States Eventing Team and the Land Rover Competition and Training Grant Program for Eventing Riders.

"The Land Rover brand is distinguished for combining elegance and power, two traits essential to equestrian sport," said United States Equestrian Federation CEO John Long. "We could not think of a better brand partner in the automobile category and look forward to and appreciate their continued support of the United States Equestrian Federation."

In addition to the grant program, Land Rover will become presenting sponsor and official vehicle of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, and presenting Sponsor of the NBC telecast of this competition which will air on NBC on Sunday, April 28, 2013 from 4 - 5 p.m. EST.  The 2013 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Land Rover runs from April 25 - 28 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. This coveted event is critical in the Eventing calendar and will play a large role in developing athletes aiming for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

"Land Rover is proud to partner with the United States Equestrian Federation, an organization that provides support to a wide range of equestrians including, but not limited to some of the greatest horse-and-rider combinations competing on the International level," said Kim McCullough, Brand Vice President, Land Rover North America.  "Providing support to Equestrian pursuits and Eventing specifically in the United States provides an opportunity to showcase the Land Rover model line-up in an authentic outdoor setting."

Continuing its support of the Land Rover United States Eventing Team and USEF, Land Rover will carry on the Land Rover Competition and Training Grant Program for Eventing Riders. The Program benefits horse-and-rider combinations, allowing them to compete abroad and gain valuable international experience as they prepare for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Grant recipients will be offered assistance at International competitions that will serve as selection trials for the Games.

Schumacher becomes an Ambassador for Mercedes benz

Mercedes-Benz and Michael Schumacher today announced a long-term partnership which will extend far beyond motorsport and Formula 1. Michael Schumacher will mainly be involved with topics relating to the future, in particular the further development of the Mercedes-Benz safety and comfort systems “Intelligent Drive”, and represent them as an ambassador. For many years now the seven-times Formula 1 World Champion has been working on road safety; as a partner he will from now on be supporting Mercedes-Benz's involvement in this field.

As a racing driver Schumacher’s motto was “If you don't go forwards, you go backwards”. Again and again he motivated himself and his team throughout his incomparable career to achieve new developments and top performances. Now he is actively placing his expertise at the service of road users by searching for the best solutions for safety on the roads together with Mercedes-Benz.

“The future interests me much more than the present and past. During my Formula 1 time I always believed that you must not allow yourself to rest on your laurels, but that you must continuously try to improve. In so doing I was very often able to rely on the help of all the technologies available to me in the car and use them to my advantage. That is why I am a declared supporter of driving assistance systems both in the racing car and in the road-going car”, said Schumacher of the new partnership.

Dr. Joachim Schmidt, Executive Vice President Mercedes-Benz Cars, Sales and Marketing, added “We are proud that Michael Schumacher, the most successful and best-known racing driver in the world, is again joining us as our partner. Right from the time when he was a Mercedes-Benz junior and of course in the last three years as a driver in our Formula 1 team, Michael Schumacher has always been committed to our company’s projects. This is why it is only logical for both sides to pool their expertise and know-how and to use them, for instance, for enhancing driver assistance systems and thus improve safety on the roads within a partnership.”

Michael Schumacher will be making his first appearance as a partner of Mercedes-Benz together with Dr. Dieter Zetsche on 1 May 2013 at ‚Handelsblatt PATHFINDER – The future starts today.’. “I wanted to have a clearly defined remit within the new partnership and I find it very exciting to be able to contribute towards further developments and the optimisation of safety together with the inventor of the car”, said the record Formula 1 World Champion of this future working relationship.

LED headlights from AUDI improve fuel economy !

  • LED headlights recognized as energy-efficient technology
  • Audi is already equipping five model series with LED technology
  • LED headlights from Audi verifiably improve fuel economy. That is why the European Commission is now certifying this technology.

Lighting systems have a tremendous effect on an automobile’s fuel economy. Conventional halogen units, for example, consume over 135 watts of power in their low-beam headlight mode. By comparison, LED headlights from Audi operate with significantly better energy efficiency – the low-beam lights only consume around 80 watts.

The EU Commission has measured the fuel savings achieved by LED headlights from Audi – testing the low-beam headlights, high-beam headlights and license plate light in dynamometer testing. In the ten NEDC cycles that the Audi A6 ran through, CO2 savings were found to be over one gram per km (1.61 g/mile). As a result, the EU Commission has officially identified the LED headlights as an innovative technology for reducing CO2 emissions. Audi is the first car manufacturer to be certified for this technology.

LED daytime running lights made their debut in the Audi A8 W12 back in 2004. Then, in 2008, the R8 sports car became the world’s first car to feature full-LED headlights. Today, this high-end lighting system is available in five model series: the R8, A8, A6, A7 Sportback and A3.

Audi designs the LED headlights very differently for different models. On the A8, for example, 76 light-emitting diodes are used per unit. On the Audi A3, 19 LEDs operate in each headlight to generate the low-beam and high-beam lights; they are supplemented by a module for the all-weather and cornering lights as well as a light guide for the daytime running lights, side lights and turn signals. Besides improving energy efficiency, LED headlights also offer safety and comfort benefits. With a color temperature of around 5,500 Kelvin, their light resembles daylight and hardly causes any eye fatigue. The LEDs are maintenance-free and designed to last the life of the car.

Ford producing Explorers in Russia - Who would have thought of that 40 years ago

  • Ford Sollers, Ford’s joint venture in Russia, today launched the start of full production of the Ford Explorer, marking the first time the iconic SUV has been produced outside of the U.S.
  • Explorer sales in the U.S. rose 33 percent in March. Ford exports Explorers from the U.S. to 64 countries around the globe
  • The Russia-built Ford Explorers are being assembled in Ford Sollers Elabuga Assembly Plant in the Republic of Tatarstan for the Russian market

As demand for utility vehicles increases around the world, the Ford Explorer is being produced from the ground up outside of the United States for the first time in the iconic SUV’s history.

The first full-production Explorer rolled off the assembly line today at Ford Sollers Elabuga Assembly Plant in the Republic of Tatarstan for the Russian market. Previously, only knock-down versions of Explorer had been built anywhere outside of the United States, including Elabuga, since 2012. Knock-down production means partially assembled vehicles are imported from the home plant – in this case, Ford’s Explorer plant in Chicago – along with the parts needed to complete them, and then fully assembled at the local facility.

Explorer sales in the U.S. rose 33 percent in March, marking the best monthly sales since the current model debuted in 2010. Since the vehicle hit the market in 1990, Ford has sold nearly 7 million Explorers in the U.S., leading the way as America began a love affair with SUVs that continues with today’s more refined and fuel-efficient models.

Now consumers worldwide are embracing Explorer. Last year exports of the SUV increased nearly 65 percent from 2011, to more than 24,000 vehicles. Explorer was shipped to 64 countries including Canada, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. In Russia, SUV sales accounted for 31 percent of the market in 2012, according to data from Russia’s AUTOSTAT market-research agency. In February, Ford Sollers sold more than 400 Explorers, a record in Russia. Additionally, Explorer sales are scheduled to begin in China in the coming weeks.

“Russia is on its way to being the largest market in Europe and presents an enormous opportunity for growth,” said Ted Cannis, president and CEO of Ford Sollers. “We anticipate SUV sales to continue to grow as Russian customers prefer the image and performance these utility vehicles provide in severe weather and challenging road conditions.”

The Russia-made Explorers will be manufactured at the same high level of efficiency and to the same quality standards as those built at the Chicago Assembly plant.

“With our partner Sollers, we were able to take the best practices from Chicago Assembly Plant as well as our other SUV plants around the world, and combine them with our latest advances in the Ford Production System to ensure we achieved world-class quality and significantly reduced lead times of one to two years,” said John Fleming, executive vice president, Global Manufacturing and Labor Affairs.

The Ford Production System (FPS) – which Ford starting rolling out in 2012 to its 65 plants worldwide – improves flexibility, process and quality, investment efficiency and capacity utilization. In Russia Ford was able to significantly reduce investment costs and accelerate tooling and equipment installations in the Elabuga plant by using existing tool designs from its global tool shops. The implementation team visited several Ford facilities around the world to learn best practices for employing the global FPS in the Ford Sollers plant.

As production at Elabuga ramps up, Ford Sollers plans to hire an additional 500 employees to supplement the plant’s existing 1,500 employees. Chicago Assembly Plant will continue to produce Explorers for the U.S. and more than 60 other countries around the world.

GM to invest four billion euro's in European operation

  • GM Board of Directors makes clear commitment to Opel
  • GM CEO Dan Akerson: “Opel has GM’s full support”
  • Confirmation of “DRIVE!2022” plan for future
  • Piece of Berlin Wall as symbol of solidarity

The General Motors (GM) Board of Directors used its meeting in Rüsselsheim to underscore its commitment to Opel and Germany. This commitment was also manifested in the approval of a comprehensive investment program: GM will invest 4 billion euros in Germany and Europe through 2016. “As a global automotive company GM needs a strong presence in Europe – in terms of design and development as well as manufacturing and sales,” said Dan Akerson, Chairman and CEO of GM, at a press briefing at Adam Opel Haus. “Opel is a key to our success and enjoys its parent company’s full support.”

The Board of Directors chose Germany for a regularly scheduled meeting to get first-hand information on the progress on its 10-year strategy DRIVE!2022 and the challenging European automotive environment. The Board also used this opportunity to meet with economists, unionists and politicians.

In addition to Akerson, Opel CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, Supervisory Board Chairman Steve Girsky and Works Council Chairman Dr. Wolfgang Schäfer-Klug also spoke at today’s press conference in Rüsselsheim. The Board of Directors welcomed the guests of honor Minister President of Hesse Volker Bouffier, the American Ambassador Phil Murphy as well as Rüsselsheim Mayor Patrick Burghardt, who brought the city’s Guest Book for the visitors to sign.

Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, CEO of Adam Opel AG, emphasized that it is a great honor for Opel to be able to host the GM Board: “This Board has once again made very clear that our 10-year plan DRIVE!2022, that foresees our return to profitability by the middle of the decade, has our parent company’s complete support.” A large part of the investments are going into the Opel model offensive. Through 2016, Opel will introduce 23 new models and 13 new powertrains.

Opel Supervisory Board Chairman Steve Girsky said, “The Board of Directors is here to underline its solidarity and support. Opel has been part of GM since 1929 and is today more than ever a decisive element for the entire company’s innovative power. This partnership is stronger than it has ever been.”

Following the press briefing Dan Akerson revealed a piece of the Berlin Wall that belongs to Opel and will be placed in front of the Adam Opel Haus on Friedrich-Lutzmann-Ring. “This piece of the wall is a symbol of our corporate culture,” said CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann. “The symbol should remind everyone that we overcome any walls in our heads and those between different cultures and that we are now starting a new chapter in the history of Opel.”

Happy Birthday Lamborghini

In 2013, the 50th year since it was founded, Automobili Lamborghini is participating in the annual Techno Classica fair at Essen, where Lamborghini will be showing two of its supercars that have made automotive history, at pavilion 7.

Introduced in 1964, the 350 GT was the first mass-produced Lamborghini, while the 1972 P 400 Miura SV was the final evolution of the legendary Miura - the first super sports car with a modern design. Both vehicles on display were taken from the extensive collection of historic cars in the Lamborghini Museum at the company’s headquarters in Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy.
An expert on replacement parts for classic cars will also be at the stand to provide information on original spare parts for early Lamborghini models.

The Lamborghini 350 GT
Characterized by its balanced lines and developed by Franco Scaglione from prototypes of the 350 GTV, the 1964 350 GT was the first Lamborghini to be mass-produced. With its 3.5 liter, 12 cylinder engine perfected by engineer Giotto Bizzarrini and rated at 280 hp, it could reach a maximum speed of 250 km/h. The vehicle body featured aluminum components, four-wheel independent suspension and disc brakes on all four wheels. And, some models were equipped with a self-locking differential. By the end of 1966, 120 of these remarkable vehicles had been produced at Carrozzeria Touring. The final versions featured a 4 liter engine with the same power as the 3.5 liter power plant, but with greater torque. Carrozzeria Touring also produced two Spyders (350 GTS).

The Lamborghini Miura P 400 SV
Steady demand for the Miura S prompted Lamborghini to introduce a more advanced version called the SV (Super Veloce). This occurred during development of the subsequent, revolutionary model called the Countach LP 500, which made its worldwide debut in the spring of 1971. The Miura P 400 SV was equipped with a 4 liter, 385 HP V12 engine and attained a maximum speed of over 290 kmh.

Although it lacked the signature “eyebrows” over the headlamps, the SV stood out for its new rear suspension, wider track and more powerful engine. And unlike previous models, it was equipped with separate lubrication. The last Miura produced in January 1973 was purchased by a famous Italian industrialist. 150 of these remarkable cars were built from 1971 to 1972.

Original Lamborghini Replacement Parts
Preserving the models produced over the fifty-year history of Automobili Lamborghini is in the interests not only of Lamborghini itself, but also of the world’s countless keen collectors of the marque. Authorized Lamborghini Workshops specialize in servicing classic Lamborghinis. A web portal that can be entered from any point in the world provides access to catalogues of every Lamborghini model and enables the desired spare part to be conveniently ordered. If a special component is not available, it can be produced right away from the original blueprints. An expert in the sector of replacement parts will be at the Lamborghini stand at Techno Classica to answer questions about obtaining original parts for classic Lamborghinis.

Lamborghini’s 50th Anniversary
In 2013, Automobili Lamborghini is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding with a series of international events involving customers, dealers and fans of the marque. The festivities will hit their high point with the “Lamborghini 50th Anniversary Grande Giro".

On May 7-11, 2013, more than 300 Lamborghinis from every period in the company's history will travel 1200 kilometers along the Italian peninsula. On the first leg, Lamborghini owners from 29 countries will journey from Milan to Forte dei Marmi. Next, they will continue on to Rome, and finally return to Bologna on May 10. On May 11, a Concours d’Elegance will be held in Piazza Maggiore in Bologna, and all participants will then parade to Sant’Agata Bolognese, where Lamborghini 50th celebrations will culminate in a festive gala dinner.

Ford F-150 raptor special Edition, why is this not available in the UK

New Ford F-150 SVT Raptor Special Edition answers customer calls for more exclusivity in addition to Raptor’s unmatched off-road capability
Raptor Special Edition features a unique exterior color, exterior graphics and interior styling
Raptor Special Edition helps continue Raptor’s sales success

 Ford’s F-150 SVT Raptor, the ultimate high-performance off-road pickup truck, has a new Special Edition package customers can order that adds more unique touches to the hot-selling pickup.

Ford today reveals the 2014 F-150 SVT Raptor Special Edition, which adds unique new touches to Raptor’s existing Luxury Package, including a Ruby Red Metallic exterior color and box-side graphics. Interior upgrades include Brick Red seat bolsters with black inserts and cloth honeycomb highlights, console top finish panel, and center stack and door panel appliqué accents. Raptor Special Edition is also available in Tuxedo Black Metallic.

The 2014 F-150 SVT Raptor Special Edition goes on sale this fall.

“Raptor owners are looking for a high-performing, uncompromising off-road pickup truck with the features and luxuries found in today’s premium trucks,” said Doug Scott, Ford truck group marketing manager. “Since its launch in 2009, we’ve continually moved Raptor forward in capability and design, and the 2014 Special Edition is the best Raptor yet.”

Raptor has found an enviable niche in full-size pickups. SVT Raptor sales are up 14 percent in 2013, with five out of the past six months seeing record sales. More than 13,000 Raptors were sold in 2012.

SVT Raptor prowess and power

Since launching as a 2010 model, the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor has set the benchmark for low- and high-speed off-road performance through aggressive all-terrain tires, industry-exclusive internal triple-bypass FOX Racing Shox™ dampers, skid plates and standard Hill Descent Control™.

A Raptor development imperative has been continuous improvement, so Ford expanded Raptor’s footprint for 2011 with a four-door SuperCrew model joining the two-door SuperCab original.

For 2012 Ford began offering a grille-mounted camera to improve driver visibility when climbing over rocks or other obstacles. The 2012 addition of a Torsen® limited-slip differential to Raptor’s 4WD system enables the truck to balance traction between both front wheels.

For 2013 industry-exclusive beadlock-capable wheels were added to help increase grip in low-traction conditions, along with high-intensity discharge headlamps for improved visibility. SYNC® with MyFord Touch® was also made available for added connectivity.

SVT Raptor is available exclusively with a 6.2-liter V8 engine producing best-in-class 411 horsepower and 434 lb.-ft. of torque, mated to an electronic six-speed automatic transmission with tow/haul mode and SelectShift Automatic® functionality. The 4WD system features electronic shift-on-the-fly capability for the transfer case.

The front axle features a Torsen® differential with 4.10 to 1 gearing. The rear axle is also 4.10 to 1, with an electronic-locking differential.

Norway takes LEAF to its heart.

  • Nissan LEAF takes 1.7% of total Norway market
  • Award winning EV is second top seller in Norway's second city
  • EV drivers enjoy extensive set of benefits
  • Sales set to rise even higher in 2013

No country has sold more Nissan LEAF models per capita than Norway, with the world's first mass production electric vehicle taking 1.7 percent of all vehicle sales in 2012, its first full year on sale.

The country has embraced zero emission mobility like no other. The multi-award winning Nissan LEAF was Norway's 13th best selling new car with almost 2,298 examples registered in 2012.

More impressively yet, LEAF is the second best selling car overall in Trondheim, Norway's second largest city behind Oslo.

In total, more than 3,300 units have been sold in Norway since the battery-powered electric car went on sale in October 2011, and last year it was Nissan's second most popular model in the country with sales just 599 units behind Qashqai.

Part of the reason for its success is that Norway's five million inhabitants are among the most environmentally aware in the world and all have access to power created from renewable energy - hydroelectric plants generate 99 percent the country's electricity, more than in any other country in the world.

Sales of the Nissan LEAF have also been boosted by the incentives open to buyers and drivers of electric vehicles in Norway. There's no value added tax (VAT) on the car's purchase price and no road tax to pay.

Toll roads, tunnels and ferries are mostly free to EV drivers while any driver commuting to work in an EV in Norway is allowed to use bus lanes; a typical rush hour drive might take as little as 20 minutes in a Nissan LEAF compared to over an hour in a conventionally powered car.

The EV driver also benefits from free parking while dedicated EV parking spaces usually include access to a charging post -- and the electricity is free, of course.

Norway, in common with Nordic nations Sweden, Finland and Denmark, also has a growing network of Quick Chargers to allow EV drivers to tackle longer journeys. Quick chargers, which allow a depleted battery to be recharged to 80 percent of its capacity in as little as 30 minutes, can be found in shopping malls and car parks.

Reflecting the popularity of electric vehicles across the country, Norway is to receive 10 of the 400 chargers Nissan has pledged to give to European markets.

In addition, a link has recently been established with McDonalds Restaurants, which will be installing Quick Chargers in its car parks, allowing EV drivers to recharge their car's batteries while they recharge their own, a blend of Fast Food and Fast Charging.

Currently Norway has around 3,500 publicly accessible AC normal chargers and 65 publicly accessible DC quick chargers, and by the end of 2013 there will be more than 200 DC quick chargers across Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

Norway has also seen some notable EV firsts, such as young mum Solveig Marie Ødegård who passed her driving test in 2012 behind the wheel of a driving school's Nissan LEAF. The real significance, however, is not simply that she passed her test in an EV, but that she has never driven a car powered by an internal combustion engine in her life.

Her first car? A new Nissan LEAF, of course.

Increasing EV sales mean there's a growing band of enthusiastic owners keen to compare notes with likeminded people so Norway has an active EV organization with a lively discussion forum. Membership of the forum is included in the purchase price of every Nissan LEAF sold in the country.

Nissan LEAF also took center stage at a pioneering 'hands-on' exhibition, Future:Today, that opened in Oslo in October last year at the start of a seven week Nordic tour across Norway and Sweden. Special guests included more than 200 Nissan LEAF owners, many of whom regard themselves as ambassadors for the car.

Ferrari looks forward to the Chinese Grand Prix

This year, the Chinese Grand Prix celebrates its tenth birthday, with every race having taken place at the massive and monolithic Shanghai International Circuit. As Formula 1 has expanded its horizons in recent years, it has generally headed for nations that were expanding their economy. That was definitely the case when the sport landed in the country with the second highest Gross Domestic Product. Since then, China’s growth on the automotive front has run at the speed of a Formula 1 machine, making it the second largest market in the world for Ferrari road cars: just under 800 cars were shipped to the area known as Greater China in 2012, with no less than 500 going to China itself. Motor sport is expanding in the region and later in the year, the Shanghai circuit hosts a round of the Asia-Pacific series of the Ferrari Challenge one-make championship. The Grand Prix teams have yet to perform to a full house at this circuit on the outskirts of Shanghai and that is unlikely to change until a Chinese driver makes it to the grid. Here too the Maranello marque is helping to promote motor sport, and the Ferrari Driver Academy is working with the Chinese Automobile Federation to increase awareness of the sport and to assist young drivers.

Last year, running a three stop strategy in the less than competitive F2012, Fernando Alonso finished ninth, while a two stopping Felipe Massa was thirteenth. Twelve months on, the Brazilian is confident that a better weekend is in prospect. “I know we have only done two races, but I have a good feeling so far this season,” says Felipe. “The work we did with the F138 over the winter has taken us in the right direction and the car has much more potential. Of course, I always want to be fighting for the win, although that did not work out in the first two races, but the signs were good with an excellent race pace and now we have to keep moving forward race by race.” After just two Grands Prix, it would be unreasonable to expect to see any definite trends emerging. “All I can say is that there are definitely more than two teams that are capable of fighting for the wins and the championship,” reckons Felipe. “Our team is one of them, with the car moving forward in the right way and it is delivering results on track that we expected when looking at data in the wind tunnel and the factory. In Melbourne we had a car that was capable of winning and in Malaysia the car was again competitive, even if conditions made the race something of a lottery.

In the break since Malaysia, Massa, along with Alonso, has spent some time at the factory in Maranello and that’s put him in a reasonably confident frame of mind for the coming weekend. “We are well prepared for China and we will have all the updates we hoped to bring with us in Shanghai, after work in the factory and the simulator last week,” he revealed. “I hope this translates into a further performance improvement on track. Shanghai is a very nice track with a variety of corner types and fast straights, so you definitely need a car that works well in the fast sections, but you also need it to have plenty of downforce to deal with the tighter turns. We can expect to see quite high tyre degradation, especially on the fronts. As to the Brazilian’s expectations for the third round of the championship, the Paulista sums them up succinctly: “the aim is to fight for a lot more points, for a podium, for a win even, because you have to set yourself high targets.”

It is part of a driver’s make-up to always be optimistic, but we can expect Technical Directors to be a bit more circumspect and that’s the case with the Scuderia’s Pat Fry. “We’ve shown reasonable race pace and on all the tyre types we have used so far we have performed well, however we still have a way to go to be quickest in qualifying and we are working very hard on that at the moment,” says the Englishman, when asked for an assessment of the first two chapters of this season. “We’ve been concentrating on the longer runs, even if they are not as long as in the past, because this year we expect more pit stops during a race. However, we have not ignored our qualifying pace. I am sure there is more to come on this front, as we learn more about our car and start getting the best out of it. The key will be to try and move our car development programme forward quicker than the other teams do. It’s a tough cycle that will last all year and we need to at least match our 2012 development pace if we are to perform better in qualifying. So far, we have worked well, all the way through from design to manufacture, improving on how we did things last year in terms of actually getting new bits onto the car. Also, our aero correlation is better.”

Fry is equally cautious when it comes to assessing the F138’s chances in China. “Shanghai is a challenging mix of different corner types and a 1.2 kilometre straight. Is it going to suit our car better than some others? It is too early to say, as there are too many unknowns. For example, it will be the first weekend this year that we will use the Pirelli Soft compound, along with the Medium. At the end of this Grand Prix, we will have a clearer picture of how all the tyres compare to one another. So to some degree, Shanghai will be another learning exercise for everyone, although we can say that our pace, relative to the other teams, has been okay on all the tyres we have tried so far.”

The Scuderia was the first team to have its name engraved on the Chinese GP winner’s trophy when Rubens Barrichello was first past the flag in 2004. There were a further two wins for the Prancing Horse, from Michael Schumacher in 2006 and Kimi Raikkonen in 2007. As for our current line-up, Fernando Alonso won, but not in red, in 2005. The Spaniard has started from pole twice and has two other podium finishes to his name. Felipe Massa’s best finish was a second place in 2008.

Porsche shows significant worldwide growth in Q1

The German sports cars from Zuffenhausen and Leipzig are very coveted in 2013 again: In the first three months, Porsche delivered 37,009 vehicles to customers the world over – an increase of 21.1 percent compared to the same period of the prior year. In March, the sports car manufacturer achieved over 14,000 deliveries for the first time in its company history.

“The success of the first quarter encourages us to implement our Strategy 2018 systematically,” said Bernhard Maier, Member of the Executive Board Sales and Marketing of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG. “Our responses to the uncertainties on the market are products that induce great enthusiasm in customers, such as the new Panamera as well as a highly motivated workforce.”

Porsche registered a heightened customer interest in the rear-engine and mid-engine models on the Chinese market: one third more Boxster, Cayman and 911 vehicles were delivered in the first quarter of 2013. All in all, Porsche sold 8,844 cars in China during this period – an increase by one fourth in comparison to the first quarter of 2012. At the end of the month, the new generation of the Panamera – with which Porsche launches the first plug-in hybrid worldwide in the luxury class – will have its world premiere at the Auto China in Shanghai, which opens on April 21, 2013.

The demand for the 911 continues unabated: from January through March, Porsche delivered 7,230 models of the sports car icon – an increase of 18.6 percent compared to the first three months of the previous year. The Cayenne also continued to expand its market position: Around 20,000 vehicles of the sporty SUV have been handed over to customers so far this year.

About Porsche Cars North America

Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA), based in Atlanta, Ga. is the exclusive U.S. importer of Porsche sports cars, the Cayenne SUV and Panamera sports sedan. Established in 1984, it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Porsche AG, which is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, and employs approximately 220 people who provide parts, service, marketing and training for 190 dealers. They, in turn, work to provide Porsche customers with a best-in-class experience that is in keeping with the brand’s 63-year history and leadership in the advancement of vehicle performance, safety and efficiency.

At the core of this success is Porsche’s proud racing heritage that boasts some 30,000 motorsport wins to date.

Citroen's latest concept shows the future of SUV's in DS range.

  • Citroën unveils new DS Wild Rubis concept car ahead of Shanghai Motor Show debut
  • Wild and rebellious yet refined and sophisticated, DS Wild Rubis concept is the vision of a future DS SUV
  • Designed to be driven by full-hybrid plug-in technology
  • Citroën has unveiled the DS Wild Rubis, a unique and captivating concept which points to a future DS SUV. The concept will debut at the Shanghai Motor Show later this month.

The latest expression of the DS line, the DS Wild Rubis joins DS3, DS4, DS5 and the Numéro 9 concept, complementing the distinctive series with unique and inimitable style. Stimulating imagination and emotion, the concept breathes sophistication with an exceptional finish and utmost attention to detail.

A bold statement, the latest chapter in the DS line is as wild and rebellious as it is refined and sophisticated. Designed to be driven by the full-hybrid, plug-in technology, DS Wild Rubis is packed with technological innovations.

A new vision of Citroën’s premium DS line, DS Wild Rubis’ unique profile combines the powerful appearance of an SUV with the refined codes of the DS line.

With impressive dimensions – 4.7m L, 1.95m W and 1.59m H – a wheelbase of 2.9m and planted on 21” wheels, DS Wild Rubis expresses power and strength, inviting onlookers to step inside and explore a feature-rich and versatile cabin suited to the needs of executive customers.

The car’s silhouette is highlighted by a unique chrome signature on the side. The roof bars accentuate the impression of height, whilst hinting at power and performance, before blending into the bodywork and flow of the profile of the rear wing.

Featuring the new front-end identity inaugurated by the Numéro 9 concept, the face of DS Wild Rubis is characterised by the three-dimensional radiator grille decorated with a DS emblem.

The grille flows into unique full-LED headlights, made up of three mobile lighting modules and surrounded by scrolling indicator lights at the base and a tuning fork-shaped light signature on the edge – a feature that gives the Wild Rubis a bold, hypnotic and unique stare.

The new arrangement of the lights at the rear appears to be part of the raised tailgate. Just like a jewel, the glass of the rear lights is encased in chrome, further enhancing the light signature, whilst a subtle lighting effect on the DS emblem creates an impression of depth. The foot of the sculptural rear tailgate is highlighted by the chrome finish, incorporating the twin exhaust pipes.

The utmost care and attention to detail in its creation makes DS Wild Rubis a worthy addition to the DS line. The most expressive features include the side chrome signature, the multitude of sculptured details in the metal, the front and rear light signatures and the finish of the materials, such as the guilloche pattern on the hub caps.

The finely etched DS pattern fades away in the centre of the wheel, allowing the textured paint to stand out in all its splendour. The rear lights are also decorated with a chrome DS emblem embedded in black and engraved with the DS pattern.

The hues and materials of the DS Wild Rubis concept present a wild yet sophisticated appearance. The colour of the ruby red bodywork changes with the intensity of light with a rich tone completing the chromatic sections of the deep and emblematic DS colours

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Jaguar Land Rover post increased Q1 sales figures.


With sales of 53,772 in March and 115,504 for the first quarter of 2013, Jaguar Land Rover has recorded its best ever monthly and quarterly global sales performance up 16% and 17% respectively versus the prior year.

Jaguar demonstrated strong growth with sales of 9,856 in March up 28% and sales for the quarter of 20,210 up 31%. Land Rover meanwhile delivered the best single month and quarter in its 65 year history with March sales of 43,916, up 14% and quarter one sales of 95,294, up 15% versus 2012.

Phil Popham, Group Sales Operations Director for Jaguar Land Rover said: "Jaguar Land Rover has had a record breaking start to the year reflecting the continued interest in our two great brands and our commitment to delivering desirable products that resonate with customers across the globe.

“Jaguar Land Rover is seeing continued year on year growth following the introduction of new models, engines and drivetrains with the Jaguar XF Sportbrake, new Range Rover and Range Rover Evoque amongst our top selling models.”

March Sales Highlights

Jaguar Land Rover had a record month in the UK with sales of 17,784, up 14% on the previous best set in March 2012. Jaguar sales in the UK were up 21% primarily reflecting a 25% increase in XF sales with the XF Sportbrake accounting for 23% of all UK Jaguar sales for the month. Land Rover delivered 14,268 sales – a new record month – up 12%, reflecting continued strong demand across the range with, Freelander up 45%, Range Rover up 43% and Range Rover Evoque up 9%.

China delivered its best ever month retailing 8,487 units collectively, up 22%. Jaguar sold a record 1,592 cars, up 91%, reflecting the new 2.0l turbo and 3.0l supercharged petrol engines in the XJ and XF. Land Rover continued its strong sales performance with 6,895 vehicles sold in the month, up 13%.

North America delivered its best March performance since 2006 with sales of 6,453, up 6%. Jaguar sold 1,554 vehicles, up 11%, primarily reflecting the XF which was up 34% for the month following the introduction of the 3.0l and 2.0l petrol engines and an all-wheel drive option. Land Rover set a March record selling 4,899 vehicles, up 5%, reflecting a new monthly sales record for the Evoque, up 47% and continued strong demand for Range Rover Sport.

Despite economic uncertainty, Jaguar Land Rover continued to see strong performances in Europe with sales up 11%. Both brands had record March sales in Austria and Germany. In Austria, Jaguar was up 50% and Land Rover was up 70%. In Germany, Jaguar and Land Rover were up 51% and 16% respectively. Jaguar Land Rover also experienced strong growth in Italy up 36% and Netherlands up 34%.

Strong sales were recorded in a number of other overseas and developing markets. Best ever month records were set in Brazil up 136%, Korea up 74%, India up 28% and Russia up 9%. Best March performances were recorded in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) up 60% and South Africa up 39%.

Jaguar’s top five markets in March 2013 are UK – 3,516, China Region – 1,592, North America – 1,554, Germany – 656 and MENA – 275.

Land Rover’s top five markets in March 2013 are UK – 14,268, China – 6,895, North America – 4,899, Russia –2,174 and Germany -1,912

Quarter One Sale Performance (January to March)

Jaguar Land Rover global retail sales for Q1 2013 are 115,504 up 17 % - a new record
Jaguar global retail sales for Q1 2013 are 20,210 up 31 %
Land Rover global retail sales for Q1 2013 are 95,294 up 15 %

Jaguar Top Five Markets for Quarter One:

UK – 4,989 up 25%
China Region – 4,143 up 98%
North America – 3,855 up 11%
Germany – 1,273 up 54%
MENA – 790 up 32%
Land Rover Top Five markets for Quarter One

UK – 20,714 up 17%
China Region – 17, 584 up 11%
North America – 13,758 up 17%
Germany – 4,543 up 19%
Russia – 4,500 up 4%
Jaguar Land Rover:

Jaguar Land Rover has ambitious plans for sustainable growth and profitability.
In 2012, Jaguar Land Rover sold 357,773 vehicles, up 30%
Jaguar Land Rover will invest circa £2.75bn in its products and facilities in the financial year to March 2014.
One of the UK's largest exporters by value (£8.2bn in 2011) and generates in the region of 85% of its revenue from exports.
12 months to 31 March 2012, Jaguar Land Rover generated profit before tax of £1.5bn with revenues of £13.5bn

Bentley adds to the raft of companies posting increased sales.

  • US remains Bentley’s largest market
  • Significant growth in key emerging market Russia
  • Eight new dealerships opened in Q1
  • Imminent arrival of the new Flying Spur

Bentley Motors’ growth continues as the company today announces that global deliveries to customers in the first quarter of 2013 have increased by 25.75% to 2,212 cars compared to the first three months of 2012 (1,759). Growth was led by a strong US market and outstanding sales in the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Europe, as the company opened a further eight new dealerships in the first three months of the year.

Commenting on the results, Kevin Rose, Bentley’s board member for sales, marketing and aftersales said:

“Bentley continues to sustain significant global sales growth. We are simultaneously rolling out our dealer expansion plan with eight new outlets opening their doors to customers so far this year and over thirty more to come.

“Although conditions in some markets are becoming more challenging, we are continuing to increase our market share thanks to our growing global presence and growth in key new markets such as Russia. I am confident that with the imminent arrival of the new Flying Spur we will maintain substantial growth for the rest of 2013.”

The Americas forged ahead with 632 cars delivered to customers in the region, a 35.04% increase on Q1 2012.  This performance can be attributed to the increased strength of the Bentley dealer network in the United States and the arrival of key new models in the market including the Continental GT V8 and GTC V8 and the next generation Continental GT Speed.

The Middle East region performed extremely well with deliveries up 41.07% to 237 cars. Asia Pacific also had an outstanding quarter, increasing its deliveries by 68.12% to 116 cars.  Japan saw growth of 30.56% with 47 deliveries. In China 474 cars were delivered to customers, representing a 17.99% decrease. Sales in China reflect the anticipation of the new Flying Spur, the top selling Bentley in China, which becomes available from mid-2013 onwards.

In Europe deliveries grew by 61.84% with 335 cars delivered to customers.  With an increase of 34.38% to 43 cars, growth in Russia remains strong, as Bentley shortly celebrates the first year of Bentley Russia by opening two new dealerships in Krasnodar and Yekaterinburg, doubling its presence in this key growth market.  In the UK, 371 cars were delivered to customers, representing a 59.23% increase on the first quarter of 2012.

The Great Wall brand now offers 6 year/125,000 mile warranty in the UK

  • Pick-up now features enhanced six-year / 125,000-mile warranty
  • Consolidates Steed’s position as UK’s most affordable 4x4 double-cab pick up
  • Extended warranty on new Steeds bought before June 30th 2013
  • Two special editions recently launched – Steed Chrome and Steed Tracker

Already the UK’s most affordable 4x4 double-cab pick up, the Great Wall Steed is currently the only vehicle of its kind to be offered with a six year / 125,000-mile warranty, following the introduction of a new offer* from the Chinese brand.

The extended six-year warranty comprises the 3 year/60,000 mile manufacturer warranty plus a further 3 year/125,000 mile powertrain extended warranty provided by Great Motor Distributors (UK) Limited. The six year warranty is available on all Steeds purchased between now and June 30, 2013.  

As well as the new six-year / 125,000-mile mechanical warranty, all Great Wall Steeds benefit from a six-year anti-perforation warranty, three-year paint warranty and three-year roadside assistance.

“The six-year warranty reaffirms Great Wall’s commitment to offer fantastic value and guaranteed quality to businesses and consumers in the UK,” said Haydn Davies, marketing director at Great Wall UK.  “The Steed has always represented outstanding value for money, with a low purchase price, generous equipment levels and excellent fuel economy for its class, and this extended warranty will further enhance the appeal of our vehicles.”

Great Wall’s entry-level Steed S is the most affordable 4x4 double-cab pick up, with a purchase price of just £13,998 (CVOTR).  Great Wall’s first offering to the UK market, the Steed S, has since been joined in March by two special edition models, the Steed Chrome and Steed Tracker, each offering outstanding value for money at £14,998 and generous equipment levels.

Features fitted as standard to all Steeds include 16-inch alloy wheels, daytime running lights, remote central locking, a Thatcham-approved Category 1 alarm, electric front and rear windows, an Alpine CD/radio with USB/MP3 and Bluetooth connectivity, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, air-conditioning, heated fronted seats and a full leather interior.

All Steeds feature Great Wall’s 2.0-litre 16-valve turbocharged diesel powerplant that delivers class-leading fuel economy (30.1 mpg urban; 37.7mpg extra urban; 34.0 mpg combined), as well as a low-range gearbox and an ‘on-demand’ four-wheel-drive system that can be selected by the driver when the terrain becomes challenging.

In January, the Steed’s towing capacity was uprated by 500kg to and impressive 2,500kg braked, as well as an unbraked towing capacity of 750kg. A 1,050kg maximum payload makes the Steed ideal for a range of commercial applications, with impressive performance both on- and off-road.

BMW group shows increase in Month and year to date.

  • 191,269 vehicles delivered, an increase of 3.0%
  • Year-to-date sales climb 5.3% to 448,200 vehicles
  • Solid gains in Asia and the Americas

Munich. The BMW Group sold more vehicles in March than in any other month in its history. The company sold a total of 191,269 BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce vehicles in the past month, exceeding the previous all-time high in March last year (185,741 units/+3.0%). The company also achieved a new high for the first three months: Retail volumes for the year to the end of March increased by 5.3% to 448,200 units (prev. yr. 425,543 units).

Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management, Sales and Marketing BMW: “The BMW Group achieved an all-time high in sales last month and the best first quarter in its history, despite the headwinds present in Europe. Sales of the BMW 3 Series have contributed strongly to that growth and we will soon be expanding our highly successful 3 Series range with the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo. All in all, we are aiming for further growth in BMW Group worldwide sales in 2013.”

With worldwide sales of 159,195 vehicles (prev. yr.: 153,016/+4.0%) in March, more BMW brand vehicles were sold in a single month than ever before. Sales for the year to the end of March reached a record 381,404 vehicles (prev. yr. 356,562), an increase of 7.0% over the first three months of last year. The BMW 3 Series had an excellent first quarter with 109,279 vehicles delivered (prev. yr. 91,138/+19.9%). Growth in the first quarter was also driven by the BMW X1, with sales climbing 27.6% to 37,680 vehicles (prev. yr. 29,535). Sales of the BMW X3 and BMW X5 continued to be solid through to the end of March with 36,189 (prev. yr. 35,249/+2.7%)and 27,274 (prev. yr. 26,563/+2.7%) vehicles sold respectively. Sales of the BMW 6 Series increased by 32.7% to 6,174 vehicles compared with 4,651 last year.

A total of 31,763 MINI brand vehicles were delivered worldwide to customers in March (prev. yr. 32,422/-2.0%) and 66,154 (prev. yr. 68,211/-3.0%) vehicles were sold in the first quarter of 2013. The slight decrease in the first quarter is attributed to the four-week closure of the MINI Oxford plant for renovations at the beginning of the year. The all-new MINI Paceman, which was launched last month, is expected to boost momentum in global sales for the brand.

Rolls-Royce: Following record figures in 2012, Rolls-Royce motor cars delivered to customers in the first quarter were -16.6% (642) compared to the previous year. This is within the company’s planning cycle, as the manufacturing plant underwent rebalancing and preparations for the start of production of the new Rolls-Royce Wraith. Sales in March showed an increase of 2.6% (311) compared to the same period in 2012, underlining the company’s cautious optimism for another strong year in 2013.

BMW Motorrad exceeded the previous year’s figures in the first three months of the year, thus achieving the best first quarter result in its history. Sales rose 1.5% to 24,732 vehicles (prev. yr. 24,373). A total of 13,067 BMW motorcycles were delivered in March – an increase of 6.3% on the previous year (12,295).

The BMW Group made gains in many markets in the first three months. Solid first quarters in both the U.S. and China contributed to the increase in BMW Group worldwide sales. In the U.S., a record 78,957 vehicles were delivered, an increase of 4.3% over the same period in 2012 (75,729). From January to the end of March a record total of 86,070 vehicles were delivered to customers in Mainland China, an increase of 7.6% compared with the same period last year (prev. yr. 80,014). Other Asian markets, such as Japan (14,990/+7.2%) and South Korea (8,900/+16.9%) also reported solid gains in the first three months of the year. Strong growth was also reported by the Middle East markets, with 6,303 vehicles delivered (prev. yr. 4,936/+27.7%).

In the company’s home market of Germany, a total of 63,675 BMW Group vehicles were registered (prev. yr. 66,214/-3.8%) in the first quarter. Despite the headwinds in the market, the company managed to gain segment share and now leads the premium segment in Germany. In Russia, sales jumped by 21.1% in the first three months to a total of 9,377 vehicles (prev. yr. 7,743). In the whole region of Europe, the company reported a slight increase, with 207,128 vehicles sold in the period (prev. yr. 200,954/+3.1%).