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, 30 August 2013

Updated Jeep Compass comes with more luxury and refinement,

  • Updated exterior and more refined and comfortable interiors
  • A full line of security features including the available ParkView rear backup camera
  • A premium and fully equipped Limited top-of-the range model
  • All-new six-speed PowerTech automatic transmission mated to the 2.4-litre petrol engine
  • In UK Jeep showrooms now with a new model range offering three trim levels including Sport, Limited and the all-new North version

On the heels of the brand’s 2012 sales successes in Europe and following customers’ expectations for more refined on-road manners, increased comfort, performance, quality and high-tech content, Jeep introduces the 2014 Jeep Compass. Now available with a six-speed PowerTech automatic transmission, Jeep Compass boasts an updated exterior and a new, even more refined and comfortable cabin. Thanks to the smooth shifting allowed by the new gearbox, the 2014 Jeep Compass ensures improved driving performance and comfort in everyday driving.

Jeep Compass also offers standard front-seat-mounted side airbags and available ParkView rear backup camera (standard on Limited models) in addition to the rich array of safety features assisting drivers both in the city and on off-road trails.

An exciting new Compass North version joins the Sport and Limited trim levels already available in the Compass lineup. Thanks to a more refined exterior and premium interior features, the Limited model re-confirms its top-of the range position in the Compass lineup.

Benchmark off-road capability in its category is provided by the full-time, active Freedom Drive I four-wheel drive system with lock mode, designed situations to give drivers year-round assurance through the ability to handle poor weather situations and low-traction. Engines on the 2014 Jeep Compass include the efficient 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine delivering 161 bhp and 320 Nm of torque and two petrol World Engines: the 2.4-litre that produces power of 168 bhp and torque of 220 Nm and the 2.0-litre providing 154 bhp and 190 Nm of torque.

The 2014 Jeep Compass has been available in many European markets in the following exterior colours: Black, Bright White, Billet Silver, True Blue, Maximum Steel and Granite Chrystal (Limited only).

The exterior of the 2014 Jeep Compass has been refined with specific updates that move the design forward. On the Limited version the front grille has been enhanced with a plated upper grille trim and mold-in-colour Billet Silver grille texture. The halogen headlamps now have a black inner bezel. The Limited and North models sport chrome fog lamp bezels. The rear has also received changes and features new tail lamps with a new “smoked” inner bezel and a plated chrome insert on the tailgate trim applique. New 18-inch polished face painted pocket aluminium wheels on Limited models (later this year) and a new “Jeep” badge on the tailgate complete the refreshed exterior design of Jeep Compass.

The interior has also been tastefully upgraded with accents and trim that customers will appreciate. Improved features include a new interior trim option available on the Limited model and Dark Slate Grey perforated leather seating. The armrests and centre console lid are now wrapped in soft-touch materials. The instrument cluster overlay graphics have been updated on all trim levels. New satin chrome finish adorns the centre bezel, shifter bezel and pull cups and round out the interior design upgrades. Dark Slate Grey premium leather seats are standard on the Limited model.

6F24 six-speed PowerTech automatic transmission

Available for the first time on Jeep Compass is the 6F24 six-speed automatic transmission. Developed by PowerTech, the new automatic transmission has been refined for application to the 2014 Jeep Compass. Compact, lightweight and fully electronic, the new six-speed automatic gearbox was designed for improved performance, ensuring smooth and precise shifting and increased driving pleasure.

The new six-speed automatic transmission has been mated to the 2.0-litre and 2.4-litre engines producing respectively 154 and 168 bhp.

More Safety

The 2014 Jeep Compass adds standard front-seat-mounted side airbags and available ParkView rear backup camera (on Limited models) to the full line of standard safety systems already available for its lineup and featuring advanced multi-stage front airbags, side-curtain front and rear airbags, Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) with Brake Assist, Brake Traction Control, Electronic Roll Mitigation (ERM), anti-lock braking system (ABS) with rough-road detection and the sophisticated Hill Start Assist system.

New Jeep Compass lineup

In Europe, the 2014 Jeep Compass line-up will be offered in three different trim levels: Sport, Limited and the all-new North. Compass 14 MY is available with front-wheel drive and Freedom Drive I full-time active 4x4 system with lock mode. The Jeep Compass is also available in a two-wheel drive configuration on the 2.0-litre petrol Sport version.

Jeep Compass Sport

The Jeep Compass Sport 4x2 model is powered by the 2.0-litre petrol engine producing 154 bhp, mated to a five-speed manual transmission. Standard features include: new acoustic laminated front windshield glass, body-colour exterior door handles and tailgate brow, projector fog lamps, 17-inch alloy wheels and chrome roof side rails, front-seat-mounted side airbags, advanced multistage front driver and passenger air bags, all-row side curtain airbags, front driver and passenger active head restraints, Electronic Stability Control, Electronic Roll Mitigation, Hill-start Assist, anti-lock disc brakes, manual air conditioning, power-heated fold-away exterior mirrors, illuminated keyless entry, premium cloth seats, illuminated cup holders, rear 60/40 split folding seat, fold-flat rear seat, Cruise Control and radio with CD/DVD/MP3.

Jeep Compass North

New in the Compass range the North trim level offers the same engine choice offered on the Sport model, while adding to its standard equipment supplemental front seat side airbags, new body-colour exterior mirrors, deep-tint sunscreen glass, rear view auto dim mirror, cloth & vinyl seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, UConnect Bluetooth, USB port, and 6CD/DVD/MP3.

Jeep Compass Limited

The Limited model tops the Compass range and now receives many enhancements including more premium styling cues and more contents. New exterior design elements include chrome grille insert, body-colour exterior mirrors, chrome exhaust tip, chrome accent on the rear fascia and new 18-inch alloy wheels with polished face and painted pockets (later this year).

Leather-trimmed front and rear seats are available in Dark Slate Grey. Premium contrasting stitched leather is also found on the centre armrest and on the front and rear door armrests. A power six-way driver seat with manual lumbar adjust increases driver’s onboard comfort. Additional standard equipment includes heated front seats, Mediacentre with AM/FM/CD/DVD/MP3/HDD radio with 6.5-inch touchscreen and 40 GB hard drive, 18-inch aluminum wheels, automatic air conditioning, TPM (Tyre Pressure Monitor) and Parkview rear backup camera.

McLaren unveils latest GREAT campaign liveried car with Jenson Button

The McLaren Group has today unveiled its latest GREAT campaign liveried car, which has been designed to support and inspire British innovation.

The high-tech McLaren 12C is emblazoned with the GREAT campaign’s graphics and the message ‘Innovation is GREAT’. As well as demonstrating McLaren’s ongoing support for the campaign, it is intended to highlight the UK’s world-leading and highly innovative technology sector.

The car was launched at the McLaren Technology Centre with the support of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver, Jenson Button.

The GREAT campaign aims to reaffirm Britain’s international reputation and deliver long-term economic benefits through additional tourism, investment and education.  The McLaren 12C is the ideal vehicle to showcase the UK as a hotbed of innovation – a key theme of the GREAT campaign.

Built entirely in the UK at the McLaren Production Centre, the car incorporates ground-breaking technologies taken directly from McLaren’s 50 years of experience in Formula 1, including a one-piece carbon fibre MonoCell chassis, which forms the core structure of the car and weighs just 75kg. The GREAT 12C is powered by a British made 3.8 litre V8 twin turbo engine, one of the most efficient high-performance engines ever built, and features numerous cutting-edge technologies including Brake Steer and a Proactive Chassis Control System.

The McLaren 12C demonstrates that there is a global market for British innovation; McLaren has established a global sales network and 80% of the cars it makes are exported.

Martin Whitmarsh, CEO of McLaren Group said:“McLaren is proud to be an ambassador for British innovation and to support the GREAT campaign.  The UK has led the world in the development of technologies which have changed people’s lives, from the jet engine to the internet.  I believe that we are now seeing a resurgence of that pioneering spirit and McLaren is playing its part.  The McLaren 12C is a tangible embodiment of technological creativity and I hope with that with its GREAT livery it will help draw international attention to what the UK’s high-tech industry is capable of, and inspire young people at home.”
The ‘Innovation is GREAT’ 12C, whose union-flag livery was designed by McLaren Racing’s graphics team, will be on tour over the coming months. After making its first appearance on 3rd September at an exclusive ‘McLaren 50’ screening of Formula 1 film ‘RUSH’, it will then lead a procession of rare cars from Buckingham Palace to Marlborough House Gardens in the St James’s Palace Concours d’Elegance.

The tour will be complimented by a social media campaign on McLaren Group’s Twitter page (@McLarenGroup) where we are asking the public to tweet where they have seen the car and upload their photographs using the hashtag #GREAT12C.

This is the second GREAT car that McLaren has produced and follows the 12C GT3 which made its debut at the 2012 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The McLaren Group strives to be at the forefront of global innovation, whether in Formula 1, producing the world’s most exciting road cars or increasingly applying our expertise to support industries as diverse as pharmaceuticals, healthcare, public transport and energy.

McLaren Stockholm now officially open for business

Exclusive sports car specialists Autoropa selected to represent McLaren in the Nordics
McLaren Automotive has officially opened its doors to the Nordics, with the official opening of McLaren Stockholm. The latest retail location for McLaren, being operated by sports car specialists Autoropa, was announced last year and marks the continued expansion of the European sales network for the British brand.

Operating as McLaren Stockholm, Autoropa was selected last year to represent the brand across the Nordic region and began selling the 12C in June 2012.  The company is a fully serviced importer and seller of exclusive sports cars with showrooms and service workshops in Stockholm and Malmö. They are one of a very selective group of companies to be an authorised service partner for the McLaren F1 supercar.

David Brimson, McLaren’s Automotive Regional Director for Europe explains: “We are very pleased to officially open McLaren Stockholm, and give the opportunity to customers in the Nordic countries to experience our products and discover the brand’s philosophy. Autoropa is the obvious partner with its excellent knowledge of the market but also its target to deliver the highest service to customers.”

Fillip Larsson, Managing Director of Autoropa said: “At Autoropa we take great pride in offering our customers the very best the automotive world can offer. No doubt, McLaren fits very well into our way of working and our long-term ambitions. We are looking forward not only to present this exciting brand to our current customers, we are also excited about the new opportunities McLaren represent for us to meet with new customers that we not yet had the pleasure of getting to know.”

Toyota showcases hybrid range at Frankfurt

  • Lighter, more compact and more efficient Toyota hybrid powertrain to debut in next generation Prius
  • Toyota advances in battery, electric motor and petrol engine technology will secure better fuel economy, reduced emissions and lower costs from a small, lighter and more efficient system
  • Powertrain design will be adopted by a wide range of future Toyota and Lexus hybrids
  • Next Prius will also adopt the Toyota New Global Architecture, with a lower centre of gravity and stronger structure delivering improved dynamic performance
  • Next generation Prius Plug-in developed in parallel with standard Prius

Toyota will spearhead a new era in hybrid technology with its next generation Prius, promising further gains in fuel economy and reduced emissions. As part of its focus on its hybrid leadership and achievements at the Frankfurt motor show, Toyota has provided a sneak preview of the technical advances that will underpin future Toyota and Lexus hybrid models.

Emphasising Toyota’s continued commitment to auto industry leadership in hybrid, the next generation Prius will be the first in a broad range of Toyota and Lexus vehicles that will make use of a substantially improved family of hybrid powertrains.

These new powertrains will deliver significant improvements in fuel economy from a more compact package that is lighter in weight and lower in cost.

Their performance will reflect the significant advances Toyota is making in battery, electric motor and petrol engine development in its wider strategy to deliver electric vehicle power through hybrid, battery electric and fuel cell technologies.

In each of its three generations, Prius has delivered an average reduction of 10 per cent in its CO2emissions. Toyota’s challenge is to continue to improve at this rate.

The next Prius will feature improved batteries with higher energy density, which means greater energy storage capacity within a smaller unit. Toyota, already a leader in advanced battery technology, has stepped up its research, development and production capacity for both nickel metal-hydride and lithium-ion, and will use each technology where appropriate in it expanding focus on vehicle electrification. It has also ramped up development of new battery technologies such as solid state and lithium-air, and devoted resources to chemistries beyond lithium, such as magnesium and other low-valence materials.

The next Prius will use smaller electric motors, but with a higher power density. The motors in the current model have four times the power density of those used by the original Prius back in 1999, and the improvement will be higher still in the next generation car.

The thermal efficiency of the petrol engine will improve, too, from 38.5 per cent currently to a world-best of more than 40 per cent.

The next Prius will be constructed according to the Toyota New Global Architecture, bringing a lower centre of gravity and greater structural rigidity, contributing to greatly improved driving dynamics.

A focus on raising aerodynamic performance will deliver an all-new exterior styling, with a larger interior and refinements in design, layout and ease of use.

The next generation Prius Plug-in is being developed in parallel with the standard Prius model. Toyota has learned from current Prius Plug-in customers that they would like a greater all-electric driving range and a more convenient charging solution. In response, Toyota is working on a new wireless/inductive charging system that produces resonance between an on-floor coil and an on-board coil to transmit power to the battery – simply put, this provides charging without the fuss of connecting a cable. Verification work on this system will be carried out in Japan, the USA and Europe during 2014.

Toyota on course to launch its first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in 2015

  • Toyota on course to launch its first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in 2015
  • Technology builds on Toyota’s world-leading hybrid powertrain expertise to capture the zero-emissions potential of hydrogen-electric system
  • FCV-R concept signposts Toyota’s progress towards developing an affordable four-door saloon model for production, with no compromise in interior space and a cruising range of more than 300 miles
  • FCV-R powered by a Toyota fuel cell stack with world-leading power density of 3.0kW per litre

Toyota believes the Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle offers the best solution to the challenges of energy sources and emissions, with hydrogen as an ideal, ultra-clean fuel. At the 2013 Frankfurt motor show (from 10 September) it will demonstrate how it has overcome some of the historic barriers to developing a marketable fuel cell vehicle and how it is closing in on its goal of achieving a driving range and performance comparable to conventional petrol and diesel engines, but with no harmful tailpipe emissions.

Toyota applied its successful Hybrid Synergy Drive technology – the power system used by Prius and its other full hybrid production models – in its FCHV development, replacing the petrol engine with a fuel cell and the conventional fuel tank with high-pressure hydrogen tanks. The FCHV uses the same electrical components as a full hybrid powertrain, as well as a 21kW battery to store energy recovered by its regenerative braking system.

Having first unveiled its FCV-R concept at the 2011 Tokyo motor show, Toyota has continued to make progress towards its planned introduction of an affordable FCHV saloon model in Japan, the USA and Europe by 2015. Development of the production model has seen a focus on significant cost reduction, durability, reliability and improvements in well-to-wheel CO2 emissions.

The FCV-R concept is 4,745mm long – 35mm longer than an Avensis saloon – 1,510mm high and 1,790mm wide. Tested by Toyota (in line with official Japanese JC08 criteria) it has achieved a maximum driving range of about 420 miles, producing no CO2, NOx or particulate matter emissions. The only by-product of the hydrogen fuel cell when driving is water vapour.

Creating a car that’s a practical proposition for today’s motorists has required particular attention to the design of the fuel cell and the hydrogen fuel tank. Toyota has succeeded in downsizing the fuel cell stack by achieving the highest fuel cell power density yet – 3.0kW per litre. A marked increase in the fuel cell stack’s energy efficiency has allowed for the size of the vehicle’s fuel tank to be reduced, so that the latest design features two tanks rather than the four originally envisaged. This also allows different materials to be used, which has a positive impact on overall costs.

The twin fuel tanks and the fuel cell stack are located beneath the vehicle floor, which means there is no impact on the cabin and load space.

Toyota expects FCHVs to reach full mass-market commercialisation during the 2020s, by when it aims to be selling tens of thousands of vehicles annually. This market growth will be supported by the wider roll-out of fuel cell vehicle technology; the development of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure that will bring filling stations within easy reach of greater numbers of people; and cost reductions that go hand-in-hand with a maturing technology.

Technical evolution

Toyota’s fuel cell stack technology has consistently enjoyed performance leadership, the company having launched its R&D programme in 1992. Since then it has secured significant improvements in every aspect of FCHV operation.

As mentioned above, the fuel cell to be used in Toyota’s production FCHV currently achieves the world’s highest power output density at 3kW per litre. Compared to the fuel stack Toyota deployed in its 2008 FCHV-adv model, the new unit has twice the power density while being half the weight and half the size.

The progress made in energy efficiency is also revealed in the vehicle’s range, which, according to Toyota test data (in line with the official Japanese 10-15 test cycle), has improved from about 205 miles to more than 350 miles. At the same time, the fuel cell has a greater operating range, with the use of new materials in its construction making cold start possible at temperatures as low as -30°C.

Cost issues have also been tackled, with the current fuel cell system, including the stack and high-pressure hydrogen tank, one-tenth the cost of that used in the FCHV-adv. Toyota aims ultimately to reduce this by a further 50 per cent. Currently a vehicle price tag of less than £70,000 is thought attainable, but Toyota is working to reduce costs even further before bringing its first model to market.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

170mph in a Vauxhall Estate, yes thats right, a Vauxhall

With a top speed of 170mph and power output of 325PS, the new Insignia VXR SuperSport remains the UK’s fastest car you can buy under £30,000.

Now benefiting from a raft of design and chassis revisions which have been made across the entire Insignia range, the new Insignia VXR SuperSport will receive its world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show (September 12-22).

As before, the SuperSport is available as either a Hatch or Sports Tourer, but externally both models have received a re-styled front and rear, with signature VXR design elements such as distinctive ‘saber-tooth’ detailing at the front and the tailpipe trim integrated into the rear valence.

The SuperSport’s adaptive all-wheel-drive chassis has also been improved, with around 60 per cent of the car’s rear suspension components receiving revisions, while the car’s front HiPerStruts – which prevent geometry changes during hard cornering – remain an innovative feature in this class.

Complementing this, are modifications to the ESP software for even more precise handling and control of understeer, and upgrades to the damper software as part of the SuperSport’s FlexRide adaptive damping system.

In addition, NVH (Noise Vibration Harshness) behaviour has been fine-tuned to achieve greater refinement for occupants, enhancing the SuperSport’s credentials as one of the UK’s best-value performance saloon cars.

With six-speed manual transmission and all-wheel-drive, the new Insignia VXR SuperSport reaches 60mph from zero in just 5.9 seconds (6.1 seconds for Sports Tourer) and on to a top speed of 170mph. Its drivetrain incorporates an electronically controlled 4x4 system, operating on Haldex principles and an electronic limited-slip differential. It constantly adapts to prevailing road conditions and varies torque distribution seamlessly between the front and rear axles, as well as between the rear wheels.

Other important changes to the Insignia VXR SuperSport range include an all-new instrument panel and central console design, which incorporates optional Bluetooth-operated internet connectivity, an 8-inch touchscreen, 3D navigation and voice control. DAB is standard across the SuperSport range.

The Insignia VXR SuperSport is available to order now, and starts at £29,749 OTR for the Hatch and £31,049 for the Sports Tourer.

Latest European Concept from Kia - The Niro

Kia has confirmed that its dramatic new European concept, to be unveiled at the 65th Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (IAA) in Frankfurt, will be called the Kia Niro.

The Kia Niro hints at a possible future B-segment contender ready to take on the urban environment with style and tenacity, and will preview an innovative new powertrain when it is revealed on 10 September.  The car was designed at Kia’s Frankfurt design studio – less than a kilometre away from the IAA – under the direction of Gregory Guillaume, Chief Designer Europe.

Accepting any challenge that the assured modern motorist may throw at it, Niro combines a mischievous character in a clearly robust and substantial yet stylish bodyshape featuring a mix of contrasting materials – including stainless steel elements – in compact, purposeful dimensions.

Born out of Kia’s determination to seek new compact-car options for the individualistic and demanding driver for whom size is an issue, Niro features intriguing elements not always associated with smaller cars and has been created in Europe with European tastes and expectations very much in mind.

Niro’s unveiling in Frankfurt will be used to gauge potential customer response for future showroom models.

The Volvo Concept Coupe to stun the crowds at Frankfurt.

Inspired by contemporary, progressive Scandinavian lifestyle and design, as well as iconic elements from the past, the elegant new Volvo Concept Coupé is the first of a series of three concept cars that reveal the design possibilities created by the company’s new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA).

After more than a year of rising expectations, the first design by the new Senior Vice President of Design, Thomas Ingenlath, showcases how design builds emotion into the Volvo brand and points towards the next generation of Volvo models, starting with the forthcoming XC90 in 2014.

“The Volvo Concept Coupé is no futuristic dream car. It is designed to demonstrate the capability of our new architecture: the confident stance, the proportions and the most prominent design signatures. Even though the all-new XC90 is an entirely different type of car, you will recognise the connection instantly when it is revealed next year,” says Thomas Ingenlath.

Developed in-house for Volvo Cars only, the Scalable Product Architecture liberates Volvo’s designers and engineers from the limitations of previous cross-brand platforms.

“The new Volvo Concept Coupé reveals how we could shape our cars from now on. Free from the superficial surface excitement of other car brands, we add emotional value to the Volvo brand with the calm, confident beauty that is the hallmark of Scandinavian design,” says Thomas Ingenlath.

Powerful visual impact

The visual impact of the new proportions is most powerful when viewing the Volvo Concept Coupé from the side. The distance between the dashboard and the front axle is extended and the greenhouse has been moved slightly rearwards.

A low bonnet, roof, and the five-spoke, 21-inch wheels also contribute to the impression of an elegant Gran Tourer oozing effortless power. The confident stance is emphasised by a beltline that spans an elegant bow along the whole car.

“Think about the powerful calmness of a lion. He doesn't have to prowl to radiate respect.  Even lying down he shows very clearly what he is capable of,” smiles Thomas Ingenlath.

New T-shaped DRL lights

The face of the Volvo Concept Coupé is characterised by a new topography on the bonnet and the ‘floating’ grille, flanked by headlights featuring new T-shaped DRL light guides. Just like the rear light signature, the DRL lights are distinctive elements in the new design direction of Volvo Cars.

“The face is new, but it also carries more than 85 years of Volvo heritage with great pride. We are still working with the final interpretation of the grille and the iron mark and this will be revealed together with the XC90 next year,” says Thomas Ingenlath.

Echoes the iconic P1800

The Concept Coupé also features elements that echo the design of the Volvo P1800 from the 1960s.

“It is a car designer’s duty to reflect and incorporate design signatures that are vital parts of the company’s heritage. The P1800 is an iconic Volvo, renowned for its beautiful forms and detailing. However, using elements from the P1800 exterior and interior has nothing to do with being retro. We are using these subtle links to a glorious past to create a future where sheer beauty becomes a recognised part of Volvo’s identity. That journey starts with Concept Coupé,” says Thomas Ingenlath.

Sparkling crystal gear-lever

The blue-grey exterior is echoed on the inside of the Volvo Concept Coupé. Refined, handcrafted elements such as the leather instrument panel, inlays made of naturally aged wood and the dark blue woven carpets are blended with beautifully machined metal details.”

“To me, handcrafted crystal is one of the finest examples of high-quality Scandinavian design and I love the idea of bringing it into the car. The prominent position of the gear-lever is the perfect place for this sparkling sensation,” says Robin Page, Design Director Interior at Volvo Car Group. He adds: “The experience inside Concept Coupé is an excellent example of how we will make Volvo customers feel truly special.”

Large portrait touch-screen

The concept car also includes a totally new approach to Volvo Cars’ human-centric user experience. A large portrait touch-screen in the centre console interacts with an adaptive digital display and head-up display in front of the driver.

“This is a natural integration of user interfaces in our new car generation. Interaction with pleasure but without distraction is the key. We bring connectivity into our cars to make them both more enjoyable and safe,” explains Thomas Ingenlath.

The Scalable Product Architecture is also being prepared for completely autonomous driving. The first features with autonomous steering to avoid accidents and make driving more comfortable will be introduced in 2014 – and Volvo Cars’ aim is to have cars with fully autonomous technology out on the roads before 2020.

Petrol plug-in hybrid – powerful and efficient

The petrol plug-in hybrid driveline in the Volvo Concept Coupé reflects Volvo Cars’ strategy to use electrification to create the most powerful versions in the new four-cylinder Drive-E engine family. This will take power figures up into V8 territory.

The concept car features a two-litre high-performance Drive-E petrol engine with a supercharger and turbo. The petrol engine is teamed with an electric motor on the rear axle. This gives Volvo Concept Coupé a total output of around 400 hp and over 600 Nm of torque.

The design direction of Thomas Ingenlath: Releasing the full potential of the Volvo brand

The work of Thomas Ingenlath has been one of the best-kept secrets in the automotive industry for over a year. Until now.

“Volvo Cars was already transforming rapidly when I joined the company in 2012. My team and I have focused on creating a new interpretation of the design language. It will help taking this great brand in the desired direction,” says Thomas Ingenlath.

This is how Thomas Ingenlath expresses the new design direction for Volvo Cars.

Why Volvo Cars?

“Everyone that knows me well would agree that Volvo is a perfect match for me. I have never been an instant crowd-pleaser who likes fast and loud designs. I am thoughtful. I like to explore the intellectual elements below the surface. If you do that right, the aesthetics will come naturally.”

“Volvo is a human-centric brand with an exceptionally strong heritage. It is exciting to create a new design expression that supports the established brand values as well as the repositioning towards a more distinctive premium brand.”  

What’s your view of Scandinavian Design?

“Well, since Volvo Cars is the only remaining automotive brand in Sweden, we are by definition the only carmaker that can create original Scandinavian Design. The challenge is to create a modern, desirable interpretation.”

“To me, Scandinavian Design according to Volvo is firmly rooted in the values of the Swedish society and the way of life enabled by this unique environment. Our approach goes beyond just bringing Scandinavian design items and signatures into our cars. Our job is to understand the spirit and the confidence that make Scandinavian design so special. Then we must translate it into car design.”

What is your approach?

“It is important to recognise that Scandinavian design will only be perceived as attractive if it is crafted with precision and attention to detail. Meticulous execution and consistent quality are prerequisites to qualify for the premium league of automakers.”

Explain the new design direction.

“In my opinion, Volvo design has always had a certain authority. We aim to extend this calm, intelligent and strong side of our brand with a greater potency, modernity and expressiveness. Concept Coupé clearly expresses this direction.”

“Outdoor activities are an important part of the Swedish lifestyle. We will continue to refine Volvo’s strong connection to these activities with more emphasis on modernity. It’s about making functionality an emotional experience. Just like an exclusive goose down jacket, our cars will have a true feeling of sophistication with an underlying strength and capability.”

“Creativity is thriving in the Swedish society. This includes design and technology as well as the fashion, music and art scene. We use this as an inspiration for creating a new kind of attainable luxury. Our future cars will show that there are new, exciting ways to express the soul of Sweden.”

What opportunities does the new Scalable Product Architecture create for the designers?

“The new architecture enables us to create the great proportions that are important to achieve a premium look. The dash to axle ratio is more generous than any other architecture I have worked with before. This gives us the opportunity to be up there among the top premium brands when it comes to proportions.”

“The hip point is another example of the new opportunities. It is low enough to create a low profile on a sleek sedan without compromising headroom.”

Which are the most the most prominent new design signatures?

“Every strong brand needs a set of visual keys that makes it unique. Future Volvos will be characterised by the distinctive iron mark in the floating grille, flanked by the T-shaped DRL lights. The larger bonnet with its new topography, the beltline spanning an elegant bow along the whole car and the sharpened shoulder connecting with the new rear light are other important design signatures. They all contribute to the confident stance. The overall simplicity, both exterior and interior, has a strong connection to the Scandinavian lifestyle.”

How about the interiors?

“We will continue to build on the premium feel in the new Volvo V40. The new user interface with a large, portrait touch-screen in the centre console allows us to remove almost all buttons. This simplicity is perfectly in tune with our Scandinavian design heritage. It opens up clean surfaces that give us the opportunity to create a luxurious interior experience with new forms.”

“We will deliver on our brand promise to make Volvo customers feel special by blending classic handcrafted elements with distinctive, surprising delight details.”

New design direction injects emotion into Volvo’s transformation journey

The Volvo Concept Coupé is the first expressive interpretation of a new brand direction where design has an elevated strategic importance to deliver more emotion into the Volvo brand.

“Our transformation plan includes a commitment to create a more premium vision of Volvo Cars. Releasing the emotional power of our human-centric design heritage is one of the key elements in this strategy,” says Alain Visser, Senior Vice President Marketing, Sales and Customer Service at Volvo Car Group. He adds: “A more premium image is vital to gain momentum in our journey towards an annual sales volume of 800,000 cars. It also supports our price position versus our main competitors in the premium segments.”

Building on recent success

The introduction of the Volvo V40 in 2012 was the first step in this direction. The positive media and customer feedback emphasises that Volvo Cars is running with the best in several important areas, including design.

The upcoming introduction of the new scalable architecture enables the company to accelerate the transformation.

The Volvo Concept Coupé is the first of a series of three concept cars that demonstrate the design possibilities created by the new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA). They pave the way for the introduction of the all-new Volvo XC90 in 2014.

Technology as an enabler for emotion

The new in-house developed architecture and engine programme are the enablers for a stronger emotional expression of the brand, both when it comes to the exterior design and a new approach to the interior, user interface and connectivity.

“Volvo’s unique human-centric approach and the aim to inject more emotions into car design are perfect partners. Volvo Cars’ caring, human-centric values are an integrated part of the Scandinavian culture and lifestyle. The challenge is to express this with a bolder, more distinctive design that is an all-important customer criteria for premium cars,” says Thomas Ingenlath.

Design creates premium desirability

Truly premium brands are based on a complex mix of rational, qualitative parameters and strong emotional values that create desirability – and there are several examples of brands that have moved from mainstream to premium through a stronger focus on design.

“Case studies of brands that have made a similar journey to ours give us valuable input into the mechanisms that trigger the consumer's perception of premium. This, together with our own studies of people’s views of Volvo Cars, becomes a valuable base for our design development,” says Alain Visser.

Rational properties with added emotional value

The emotional aspect is also important when shaping the future of properties that are established Volvo territory among consumers:

  • Focus on safety has moved from offering protection in worst-case scenarios to creating features that support the driver and enhance the user experience.
  • Modern environmental care is able to combine low emissions and reduced fuel consumption with an enhanced driving experience – for instance through ingenious plug-in hybrid technology.
  • The classic functionality has moved beyond being practical. Volvo Cars’ approach is to create human-centric features that actually make today’s hectic life easier for the user.
“Reliable functionality has always been a no compromise prerequisite for Scandinavian designers. Up here, designs have to deal with a harsh reality that demands meticulous attention to detail and quality,” says Thomas Ingenlath. He concludes: “Combining this with a distinctive design language that is inspired by this unique Scandinavian environment will give us a competitive edge that none of our competitors can match. You could say that we will continue to do what Volvo always has done. We will just do it much better and make it much more emotional.”

Audi S3 teh first production ready car to handle 4G internet connectivity

New 300PS Audi S3 Sportback is notable as first ready-to-order production car equipped to handle higher-speed 4G internet connectivity

  • O2 and Vodafone set to launch 4G in London on August 29
  • Functionality debuts in the new Audi S3 Sportback, available now
  • Full A3 family integration from November

WLAN hotspot enables independent connections capable of video conferencing and high-speed streaming
From tomorrow new lightning quick 4G/Long Term Evolution (LTE) Internet connectivity is set to significantly increase speeds on London’s information superhighway, and true to its Vorsprung durch Technik philosophy Audi is the first car manufacturer to offer a ready-to-order production model capable of capitalising on this advanced new Mobile Internet standard.

Appropriately, the fastest member of the five-door A3 Sportback family - the 300PS S3 -  is the first to integrate the high-speed connection, facilitating conference calls en route to Canary Wharf, demanding downloads in Docklands or surfing alongside the Shard.

LTE technology can be ordered for the Audi S3 Sportback now, and for all other variants of the A3 family from November, ready for the wider network roll-out of the technology across the UK during 2013. The integration of 4G/LTE marks a very important step in the evolution of the Audi connect system, which networks the car with the driver and the Internet, and in the future could also provide an interface with the infrastructure and with other vehicles.

4G/LTE considerably broadens the scope of what is possible with in-car ‘infotainment’. It enables the transfer of large amounts of data, such as music and films in HD quality, via the Internet. The LTE standard is also expected to provide a strong boost to the seamless use of media stored on a server on the Internet (data in the cloud).

To use LTE, MMI Navigation Plus with Audi connect is required – available as part of the Technology Package for the S3 Sportback - and a suitable SIM card with a data flat rate simply needs to be inserted into the appropriate slot in the glovebox. When passengers connect their mobile devices to the WLAN hotspot integrated into the car, they can surf the web independently of one another. For example, one passenger can participate in a video conference while another watches a video.

In the Audi S3 Sportback, 4G/LTE technology will accelerate the delivery of many of the services of Audi connect to the driver – from navigation with Google Earth and Google Street View to Audi music stream web radio and online traffic information. The latest incarnation of Audi connect in A3 and S3 models also offers social media access, a fuel station locator which incorporates distance and pricing information, and a local parking availability and pricing function.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

2014 Cadillac CTS faces the gigantic Nurburgring, and comes away smiling.

Cadillac validated its all-new 2014 CTS midsize luxury sedan and power-packed CTS Vsport at the world’s most-demanding test track – Germany’s Nürburgring – and recorded lap times to enhance the nameplate’s reputation as a driver’s car.

Notably, the 2014 CTS Vsport, featuring Cadillac’s first  Twin-Turbo engine and eight-speed transmission, recorded a lap time of 8:14.10, almost six seconds faster than the first generation CTS-V recorded 10 years ago with a larger V-8 engine.

Nürburgring validation certified that all CTS suspension packages are capable of handling the extreme conditions and unlimited speeds of Autobahn driving. CTS development included Autobahn and track calibrations of the steering system, shock absorbers, chassis controls and powertrain cooling.

“The Nürburgring’s extreme conditions allow us to push cars to the limits of stability, steering, braking, ride and handling,” said Dave Leone, CTS executive chief engineer, Performance Luxury Vehicles. “The new CTS models had a lot to live up to considering the nameplate’s history of outstanding performance, and we were not disappointed.”

Measuring 12.9 miles (20.8 km) and including some 154 turns, the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife (“north loop”) is widely considered the world’s most-demanding course for vehicle validation. Cadillac vehicle dynamics performance engineer Kevin Zelenka and Jeff Grabowski drove full production models of CTS and CTS Vsport with no performance modifications, validating all-new 2014 CTS sedan that goes on sale this fall.

“The new CTS was an absolute riot to drive on the Ring,” said Zelenka. “It’s more athletic and refined, and the Vsport proved extremely capable. If a car performs well on the Ring, it will perform well on any road in the world.”

The CTS has been the centerpiece of Cadillac’s portfolio for more than a decade. The third-generation CTS is one inch lower, five inches longer and more than 200 pounds lighter than its predecessor. The new car also has lower curb weight, greater structural stiffness and more horsepower than its primary competitors.

The all-new CTS is engineered from the ground up to deliver a driving experience that combines sport-tuned handling with world-class comfort. Its segment-exclusive Magnetic Ride Control and electronic limited slip differential constantly monitor rear-wheel rotation to ensure optimal handling in a variety of road conditions.

The 2014 CTS standard model will start at $46,025, including $925 destination. Three collections of option packages – Luxury, Performance and Premium – will be offered with either the 2.0T turbocharged four cylinder or 3.6L naturally aspirated V6 engine in either rear- or all-wheel drive. The CTS Vsport model starts at $59,995, including $925 destination, and features the new Cadillac Twin-Turbo 3.6L V6 (420 hp) in RWD only with an eight-speed transmission.

The 2014 Toyota Corolla, still the worlds most popular compact sedan.

The all-new 2014 Corolla will offer its dramatically elevated design, efficiency and renowned Toyota quality, at an extremely attainable price. The world’s most popular compact sedan will remain a legendary value in the segment.

The 2014 Corolla is available in four distinct grades: L, LE, S, and the new LE Eco grade. The Corolla lineup offers a vehicle for broad range of customers, from the familiar value-minded to shoppers seeking a more premium compact car.

The Corolla enters the market with an MSRP of $16,800 for the L grade with a new 6-speed manual transmission. The Corolla L with 4-speed automatic is priced at just $17,400. The Corolla L includes a long list of contemporary standard features:

  • LED lowbeam headlamps with LED daytime running lights,
  • Standard Bluetooth connectivity
  • Driver and front passenger Whiplash-Injury-Lessening (WIL) seats
  • Eight airbags, including a new drivers knee airbag and passenger seat cushion airbag.

The Corolla LE targets the heart of the compact segment with a more upmarket list of features at a value price. The LE starts at $18,300, which is only $120 above last year’s Corolla LE. The LE offers a list of convenient standard features that enhance the Corolla experience:

  • Backup monitor
  • Climate control
  • Cruise control
  • Keyless entry
  • Entune Audio (including 6.1” touchscreen)
  • Improved fuel economy afforded by the new CVTi-S transmission.

The sporty-themed Corolla S is available at $19,000, which represents a $60 reduction versus the outgoing model. The Corolla S offers a more athletic look and feel. Enhancements to the Corolla S include:

  • An aggressive lower front grille with a piano black finish and chrome surround
  • Unique suspension tuning for available 17-inch wheel package
  • Available paddle shifters (with CVTi-S) to actuate sequential 7-speeds
  • Sport cluster gauge with TFT meter
  • Ornate piano black instrument panel
  • Supportive sport seats
  • Leather steering wheel cover

The all new Corolla LE Eco trim level offers enhanced fuel economy due to a 140-hp Valvematic- equipped engine, improved aerodynamics, and unique CVTi-S tuning. The LE Eco enters the market at $18,700. The Corolla LE Eco will offer an EPA rating of 42 mpg on the highway, giving it the best highway fuel economy in the class for a vehicle equipped with an automatic transmission (excluding electric vehicles, hybrids, and diesels).

New Elevated Corolla Models
The Corolla adds two new models to the LE, S, and LE Eco grades. The Plus model adds alloy wheels plus select features as standard equipment. The Premium model adds alloy wheels and Softex seats as standard equipment.

LE Plus:              16” alloy wheels and integrated fog lights
LE Premium:       16” alloy wheels, integrated fog lights, and Softex seats
S Plus:                17” alloy wheels and rear disc brakes
S Premium:         17” alloy wheels, rear disc brakes, and Softex seats
LE Eco Plus:        16” alloy wheels, integrated fog lights, chrome beltline, Eco driving mode
LE Eco Premium: 16” alloy wheels, integrated fog lights, chrome beltline, Eco driving mode, and Softex seats

Subaru USA announce pricing of the 2014 BRZ 2+2 sports car

Subaru of America, Inc. today announced pricing for the 2014 BRZ. Starting at $25,595, the BRZ lineup focuses on the fundamentals of great sports car design: low vehicle weight, an ultra-low center of gravity and precision steering.

Sales of the Subaru BRZ remain strong and were up 41 percent in June and up 200 percent year-to-date, bolstering record-setting corporate sales for the first half of the year. With sales up 27-percent overall and more than 240,000 units sold through July, Subaru of America is on target for another all-time yearly sales record.

Subaru developed the rear-wheel drive BRZ utilizing an all-new naturally aspirated 200-horsepower horizontally opposed (BOXER) engine design. The BRZ is a sports car that does not sacrifice everyday comfort and practicality, including up to manufacturer-estimated 34 mpg highway fuel economy (with 6-speed automatic transmission). With 2+2 seating and a folding rear seat, the BRZ is a practical daily driver and a powerful performer.

The 2014 Subaru BRZ also delivers impressive fuel economy, with manufacturer-estimated ratings of 22 mpg city / 30 mpg highway / 25 mpg combined with the 6-speed manual transmission, and 25 mpg city / 34 mpg highway / 28 mpg combined with the 6-speed automatic transmission.

The Subaru engineering that yields the ultra-low center of gravity in the BRZ also made it easy for designers to craft a very low-slung coupe body. A low roof height of just 50.6 inches, combined with a swept-back roofline, bulging front fenders, short overhangs and pronounced rear haunches give the BRZ a decidedly lean, athletic stance. The car’s hawkeye high intensity discharge (HID) headlights, hexagonal lower grille and six-star ornament instantly convey Subaru identity. The BRZ Limited model adds a body-color trunk spoiler, standard fog light and Alcantara trimmed interior and Keyless Access

Available in Premium or Limited trim levels, models include all performance features, such as the sport-tuned suspension with front strut brace and TORSEN limited-slip differential.

The Subaru BRZ Limited offers additional comfort and amenities. Externally, the BRZ Limited is distinguished with fog lights and a body-color trunk spoiler. Inside, the seats are upholstered with Alcantara inserts and leather bolsters. New for 2014 is Aha® infotainment smartphone integration included with the standard navigation system. The BRZ Limited has a starting price of $27,595.

The BRZ Limited substitutes a dual-zone automatic climate control for the Premium model’s manual HVAC system, and its standard All-Weather Package includes dual-mode heated front seats and heated side mirrors. A full security system augments the engine immobilizer that is standard in the Premium model. In the Limited, the dual visor vanity mirrors are illuminated, and front door courtesy lights illuminate when the doors are opened. The only factory option is the BRZ Limited model equipped with the 6-speed automatic transmission priced at $28,695.

2014 GX 460 priced at $49,085 — $4,710 less than the 2013 model year

  • 2014 GX 460 priced at $49,085 — $4,710 less than the 2013 model year
  • Redesigned GX features the Lexus spindle grille, standard LED headlamps, DRLs and available LED foglamps, and new multi-media with eight-inch touch screen display audio and complimentary HD Radio Real-Time Traffic and Weather
  • New Premium Package includes Navigation, Park Assist, Three Zone Climate control and heated rear seats at the same price as the base 2013 GX 460.
  • The new Luxury grade includes Navigation, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and an Adaptable Air Suspension at a starting price of $60,715.

The redesigned 2014 Lexus GX 460 luxury utility vehicle (LUV) will be offered in two grades when it arrives at dealerships beginning in September. The standard GX will carry a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $49,085, $4,710 or nearly nine percent less than the previous year; while the Luxury model which will be priced at $60,715. The MSRP does not include a delivery, processing and handling fee of $910.

The 2014 GX 460 redesign features a new interpretation of the Lexus spindle grille with standard LED headlamps and daytime running lights. LED fog lamps are now available.  The luxurious and spacious GX receives several interior enhancements. A new touch-screen display audio adds an eight-inch screen, backup monitor, HD Radio™, Bluetooth® audio, automatic phone book transfer, a vehicle information display and complimentary traffic and weather data provided via HD Radio.  The cabin also gets new linear espresso wood/abyss black trim. Mahogany wood trim is included on both the Premium Package and Luxury model.  For 2014 the GX offers an available Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA).

The Lexus GX continues to provide additional value to drivers who want a fully capable LUV. The new Premium Package will be at the same price as the base 2013 model year GX 460 and has the following features:

  • Navigation system with backup monitor
  • Perforated leather trimmed interior
  • Heated & ventilated front seats
  • Heated outboard rear seats
  • Intuitive Parking Assist
  • Three Zone Climate control

The new GX Luxury model includes Adaptable Air Suspension, Navigation, Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Intuitive Parking Assist, and 18-inch split six-spoke wheels with liquid graphite finish.

The Lexus GX 460 teams a 4.6-liter V8 engine with a six-speed Electronically Controlled Transmission with intelligence (ECT-i) for an output of 301horsepowerat 5,500 rpm. The GX 460 has an EPA-estimated 15 mpg city and 20 mpg highway.
The GX has a class leading standard 10 airbags and on the Luxury model available Advanced Pre Collision with Driver Monitor.

The GX 460 is one of the few premium luxury utility vehicles that can deliver genuine trail driving capability.  Combining that capability with Lexus luxury and on-road performance makes it even more exceptional.  The standard full-time four-wheel drive uses an electronically controlled transfer case and a TORSEN® torque-sensing limited slip center differential which can be electronically locked.  It also offers a low range for off-road driving.  The TORSEN differential distributes power 40:60 front/rear under most driving conditions and changes the ratio as needed based on wheel slip.

The ability to change to a 30:70 front/rear ratio during steering maneuvers helps enhance vehicle tracking through curves.  If the rear wheels spin, the center differential can change the ratio to 50:50
front/rear to help control the slippage.

By adjusting sway resistance provided by the front and rear stabilizer bars, standard Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) can help reduce maximum body-lean angle by as much as 50 percent to help enhance both on-road handling response and off-highway capability.  Trailer sway control is also added for 2014.

Chevrolet’s small and compact car sales are up 229 percent year over year

Chevrolet’s small and compact car sales are up 229 percent year over year, from the second quarter of 2010 to the same quarter this year, evidence of the brand’s continuing success in attracting buyers of all ages including millennials, whose purchase priorities include advanced technology, fuel economy, functionality and affordability.

Chevrolet’s share of buyers under 35 continues to increase year over year, led by vehicles such as the Cruze, Sonic, and, most recently, the Spark mini car. Leading the segment is the Cruze, which is among the top-selling Chevrolet vehicles to those under 25. One in four Sonic and Spark buyers are also under 25, while nearly seven in 10 buyers of those cars are new to Chevrolet.

“The opportunity this new generation represents is enormous,” said Cristi Landy, Chevrolet marketing director, Small Cars and Electrified Vehicles. “The only way for Chevrolet to deliver the products, technology and services they want most is to really listen to what is important in their lives today and help enable them to reach their full potential.”

Part of this dialogue happens online through Chevrolet’s social media channels. Successful online campaigns, including the Effie-winning Sonic “Let’s Do This” campaign, propelled the Sonic to the forefront with young buyers. Chevrolet’s newest campaign features the Cruze Diesel through lighthearted Vine videos on Twitter that last less than seven seconds each. Chevrolet is the first automotive manufacturer to use the Vine platform for an original advertising campaign.  

Research shows that younger buyers rank vehicle technology among the top features influencing purchase decisions. Both the Spark and Sonic feature Chevrolet MyLink infotainment systems powered by smartphones including apps such as BringGo Navigation, Pandora, Tune in and Siri in Eyes Free Mode, which helps them stay safely connected at a fraction of the price of in-dash navigation.

Chevrolet dealers also play an important role in helping to better understand the wants and needs of the younger buyers. By providing access to resources, such as credit, dealers are helping to make the process of purchasing a car easier.

“Nearly four in 10 millennial buyers are purchasing within the compact car segment,” said Dora Nowicki, Chevrolet Sonic marketing director. “As a brand, we recognize the importance of partnering with next-gen buyers and engaging with them before, during and after purchase.”

911 takes top honor in sports car competition

911 takes top honor in sports car competition

Motor Trend has named the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S as its Best Driver's Car for 2013. The Best Driver's Car honor is decided after a yearly competition among the top new or improved performance cars available in the U.S. market. This is the second consecutive year that a 911 variant has won the award.

"The 911 Carrera 4S has terrific balance, telepathic steering, a potent engine, and a lightning quick transmission," said Ed Loh, Editor-in-Chief of Motor Trend. "But what impressed our judges the most was the confidence and joy it delivered, on the street and at the track. Congratulations to the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, Motor Trend's Best Driver's Car for 2013."

"This is a significant honor for our brand as we celebrate the 50th birthday of our 911 sports car this year," said Detlev von Platen, President and CEO, Porsche Cars North America, Inc. "Being named Motor Trend's Best Driver's Car shows that our flagship car still has the same appeal it has had for 50 years."

Each year, Motor Trend editors choose the car that most compels them to want to drive. Each contender is run through a series of instrumented performance tests, a 500-mile road trip highlighted by aggressive canyon driving on a closed course and finally, evaluation at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The test aims to go beyond the numbers to uncover the one vehicle that offers enthusiasts the most engaging and rewarding driving experience possible.

The Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, along with its opponents, is currently being featured during Best Driver's Car Week (August 19-23) on Motor Trend's website www.motortrend.com and YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/motortrend.  Enthusiasts can follow all the track testing action that took place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and discover how each of the competitors performed throughout the competition by viewing a series of stories and videos.

All-new Mazda6 becomes the 10 millionth car made at Mazda’s Hofu, Japan, facility

  • All-new Mazda6 becomes the 10 millionth car made at Mazda’s Hofu, Japan, facility
  • Milestone achieved 30 years and 11 months after production first began
  • Line of 10 million cars would stretch from Japan to the UK and back again
Mazda has announced that total production at its Hofu facility in Japan's Yamaguchi prefecture, which builds the all-new Mazda6 and all-new Mazda3, has passed 10 million vehicles.  The 10 millionth car (a Mazda6), came off the final assembly line yesterday (27 August), 30 years and 11 months after vehicle manufacturing first began at the Hofu Plant No 1.  If placed end-to-end, a line of 10 million cars would stretch approximately 16,000 miles – all the way from Mazda’s headquarters in Hiroshima to London and back again.
To mark this milestone in Mazda’s history, a special ceremony was held at Hofu Plant No 2, attended by Masamichi Kogai, Mazda's Representative Director, President and CEO, and Nariaki Uchida, Executive Officer and General Manager of Hofu Plant, to witness the 10 millionth vehicle coming off the assembly line.
Speaking at the ceremony, Masamichi Kogai said; "The production of 10 million vehicles at Hofu Plant is a tremendous achievement, and we could not have done it without the support of our customers, our suppliers and other concerned parties, as well as that of the local community, the city of Hofu and Yamaguchi prefecture.  On behalf of Mazda, allow me to express my deepest gratitude.  We see this fantastic achievement not as a destination, but rather as a milestone on our road to further growth.  Moving forward, we are committed to continue delivering fantastic products that delight our customers."

Full-scale production at Hofu Plant No 1 started in September 1982.  The Hofu Plant No 2 began operating in February 1992 with a flexible-production capability for vehicle bodies and modular assembly systems on a mixed-model assembly line to best respond to changes in consumer demand.

Today, the two plants manufacture Mazda’s two most popular models and have a combined annual production capacity of 482,100 units.  Currently, Hofu Plant No 1 produces the all-new Mazda3 (which will go on sale in the UK in January), and Hofu Plant No 2 makes the all-new Mazda6.
History of Hofu Plant

Dec 1981: Operations begin at Nakanoseki district transmission plant.
Sep 1982: Full-scale vehicle production begins at Hofu Plant No. 1.
Apr 1986: Vehicle production at Hofu Plant reaches one million units.
Feb 1992: Vehicle production begins at Hofu Plant No. 2.
Jan 2002: Vehicle production at Hofu Plant reaches five million units.
Feb 2002: Production of first generation Mazda6 begins.
Jun 2003: Production of first generation Mazda3 begins.
Aug 2007: Production of second generation Mazda6 begins.
Nov 2008: Production of second generation Mazda3 begins.
Dec 2010: Transmission production at Hofu Plant reaches 30 million units.
Aug 2012: Production of third generation Mazda6 begins.
Jun 2013: Production of third generation Mazda3 begins.
Aug 2013: Vehicle production at Hofu Plant reaches 10 million units.