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, 29 November 2013

Good news, SAAB starts production of the new NEVS SAAB 9-3 on Monday 2nd November

Saab's new owner, National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), will begin series production of the 9-3 mid-sized sedan at the brand's Trollhattan assembly plant in Sweden on Monday, almost two years to the day since the company was forced to file for bankruptcy.
The last cars produced by the automaker rolled off the production line in April 2011, eight months before Saab, then under the control of Spyker NV, filed for bankruptcy on December 19.

''Yes, we will start the actual production on Monday,'' Mikael Oestlund, a spokesman for NEVS, told Automotive News Europe, adding that initial output would have a ''humble'' pace with the possibility to increase the volume over time.

National Electric Vehicle Sweden, which is owned by a Chinese renewable energy investor, bought Saab out of bankruptcy last August. The production start has been achieved after NEVS was able to reach an agreement with parts suppliers, Oestlund said.

Oestlund said the production car would be powered by a gasoline turbocharged engine and would resemble pre-series models built for testing in September. These in turn closely resembled the last production 9-3s built at Trollhattan in 2011.

Oestlund said an electric variant of the 9-3, initially aimed at the Chinese market, will begin production in 2014. This will likely feature a new face-lifted exterior.

In August, Oestlund told Automotive News Europe that the 9-3 will be sold in Europe and China initially with U.S. sales possible later.

Phoenix-based cars

NEVS has previously said it plans to build cars based on the Phoenix architecture developed by Saab before the automaker's bankruptcy, after first modifying it to remove the 20 percent of parts sourced from former Saab owner General Motors.

NEVS is owned by Hong Kong National Modern Energy Holdings, which is run by Swedish-Chinese green energy entrepreneur Kai Johan Jiang. NEVS is 22 percent owned by the Chinese city of Qingdao following a deal earlier this year.



Dacia and Yamaha combine to offer 2 4x4 vehicles for one amazing price.

  • Dacia launches new ATV (All-Terrain-Vehicle) Pack for Duster. Allows any Yamaha Grizzly “quad bike” to be teamed with a trailer and towbar, fitted to the high-selling SUV, from £5,400 including VAT
  • New ATV Pack aimed largely at agricultural community requiring off-road capability. Best-selling Pack combination is expected to be mid-range Duster Ambiance dCi 110 4x4 (£13,695) with entry-level Grizzly 350 AWD, costing £21,495 on-the-road (or more aptly, off it)
  • Even more cost-conscious customers expected to opt for Access 4x4 (£11,095) with the same AWD quad bike ATV Pack for well under £20,000 (£18,895). Specifying the Grizzly 125 2WD version of the offer costs only £16,495
  • ATV Pack is also available to existing Duster owners
  • Duster with optional ATV Pack to debut at the hugely popular Royal Welsh Winter Fair in Mid Wales, 2-3 December 2013

Always fancied a quad bike, but never quite gone through with it? Then now’s your chance. On Monday, 2nd December, Dacia, the home of truly affordable 4x4s, is launching a unique off-roading duo at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair. An ATV (All-Terrain-Vehicle) Pack to go with a Duster, which includes a towbar and trailer fitted to it, plus a quad bike, from as little as £5,400.

The mud-plugging abilities of Duster are widely known, not least by the sizeable collection of 4x4 awards its racked up in less than a year on sale over here. Now Dacia’s looking to plough a new furrow with buyers in rural communities right across the UK.

Chances are a hefty proportion of buyers will end up using their new twin off-roaders for a little weekend fun. In fact, with up to 110hp on tap and weighing a relatively light 1294kg for its size, Duster’s chances against a quad bike in a muddy field drag race might not be quite as clear-cut as you might think. But, there’s a very good reason why they’ve been deliberately let loose at the show in Llanelwedd, which draws in hordes of visitors each year. Which is? The offer’s been cannily timed so that the ATV-equipped Dusters arrive bang on time to coincide with lambing season next February.

Chunky, tough and perfectly at home with the rough stuff, it was probably only a matter of time before Duster was hooked up with a quad bike. In fact, in Access trim, some could say the similarities run even deeper. No radio. Air con. Or, even alloy wheels. But it’s probably the most honest off-roader this side of a Land Rover Defender, wearing its fit-for-purpose style with pride.

Dacia’s flagship model is the perfect workhorse. Even so, just occasionally, its owners might hanker after something just as hardy, but a little more compact. Cue the ATV Pack. Available to buy through official Dacia Retailers, it comprises a Yahama Grizzly ATV, towbar and Ifor Williams P8e trailer with ramp, the offer can be tweaked perfectly to suit customer needs. Having said that, three combinations are expected to account for the bulk of orders. Firstly, the off-roading option, for both modes of transport. For £7,800 (including VAT), Duster customers, be they custodians of a 4x2 or 4x4 version, will be able to add a Yamaha ATV Grizzly 350 4WD. Teaming it with this country’s most affordable off-roader, Access 4x4 (£11,095), brings it in well under 20 grand. Or, £18,895 to be exact. The most popular option is expected to be the Ambiance dCi 110 4x4, combined with the same quad bike for £21,495.

At the other end of the price spectrum, the two-wheel-drive Yamaha Grizzly 125 can be hooked up as part of a £5,400 offer. Adding it to the entry Duster 4x4 for example, would mean a total outlay of just £16,495.

Ensuring that no owners miss out on the fun, the ATV Pack can be specified with any version of Duster, as well as both new and used. A full Yamaha dealer product handover and a free rider training course endorsed by EASI (European ATV Safety Initiative) are also thrown into the deal. Farmers, like all businessmen, will be able to claim back the VAT element of the ATV Pack. Sadly though, not on the car.

Dacia’s Duster SUV has been rigorously engineered to cope with challenging terrain and climates right across the globe. Backing up its go-anywhere ability, is Alliance partner Nissan’s 4x4 system with selectable three modes, 2WD, Auto or Lock. Allied to which is an especially short first gear that helps with hill starts, steep descents and towing.

In contrast, Yamaha’s Grizzly line-up, or quad bike to you and me, is Europe’s best-selling utility ATV range. Its 348cc engine (Grizzly 350) gives it an impressive turn of speed, plus it includes the proven On-Comand® 2WD/4WD system and a towing capacity of 500kg.

Dacia, the “smart buy” offshoot of Renault, has made an enemy of the unnecessary and makes a simple range of cleverly designed, high quality vehicles. Its jaw-dropping prices are clear and straightforward, whether you buy its cars online at the Dacia Store on www.dacia.co.uk or through your local dealer.

Christmas is coming early for one of Sheffield’s new MG dealers.

Eric Stead (Garages) is holding a special early Christmas party this weekend, complete with all the Christmas trimmings, to mark the official opening of the new MG dealership.

Trevor Stead, the firm’s Managing Director, said: “We’ve already taken orders for five MG3s and it’s a car that has really caught peoples’ imaginations. It offers such great value for money and word is now spreading fast.

“We’re now fully up and running and thought it would be a great time to celebrate, so we’ve laid on an early Christmas party.

“There will be mince pies, mulled wine and carols and we have three £100 Christmas hampers to give away in a prize draw as well as a Christmas lucky dip for the kids.

“Usually buying a new car isn’t on list of things people plan to do in the run up to Christmas, but we’ve been very busy with the new MG3.

Alongside an MG3 3STYLE demonstrator, Eric Stead also has new petrol and diesel MG6 GTs and an MG6 Magnette on show.

Eric Stead, in Ecclesfield in the north of Sheffield is one of two MG dealers in the city. Grant & McAllin in Rother Valley Way covers the south of Sheffield and is planning an opening event in January.

2014 BTCC Honda copies 90's Volvo by having an Estate as their new car

Honda Yuasa Racing will be back in the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) with the same championship-winning team and driver line-up, but this time with an eye-catching all new Honda.

Next March will see the track debut of the new Civic Tourer race car – the only estate car on the BTCC grid - with Honda Yuasa Racing drivers Matt Neal and Gordon ‘Flash’ Shedden in the hunt for yet more titles. The team have their sights set firmly on a clean sweep of titles after the Honda Civics secured both the teams’ and manufacturers’ crowns for the fourth year in a row with Matt and Flash narrowly missing out on the drivers’ crown in the 2013 season.

Gordon Shedden said: “2013 was an incredibly competitive season in the BTCC with the championship battle going right down to the wire! Of course it was disappointing not to retain the drivers title but we’re looking forward to what I’m sure will be a strong year for the team in 2014 - and more excitingly, with a new car. It might be a Tourer, but it’s still a Civic, the car that has won every championship in BTCC for the last three seasons. I’m really looking forward to the challenge of next season, and to seeing what the Tourer can do on race day.”

Matt Neal added: “We’re all confident that the car can continue the long-standing success of the Civic in the championship and very much looking forward to putting it through its paces. Although we’re racing a new model, the inherent advantages of the Civic hatchback from the past two years remain so there’s no reason why this car can’t be a winner straight out of the box! We’ll be testing the car early in the new year and I can’t wait to see it on track.”

Peter Crolla, Team Manager commented: “Racing with the Civic Tourer means no compromise over the Civic hatchback. The weight, wheelbase, layout and suspension remain the same, but naturally, the length of the car is extended due to the larger tailgate. After two competitive seasons in the BTCC with the hatchback, it will be an interesting challenge to ensure the Tourer keeps Matt, Flash and the team at the head of the championships throughout next season. We’ve worked hard over the past few months to develop the first car which will be completed as we head towards the new year, with the first run scheduled for early January.”

Phil Crossman, Managing Director, Honda (UK) concluded: “We wanted to add a new challenge to the mix and really show what Honda and the team can do. By racing the new Tourer after several years with the Civic hatchback we can really showcase our growing range and demonstrate that the versatility and practicality of a Tourer doesn’t compromise dynamic performance. We are only four months away from the start of the 2014 season and I can’t wait to see the cars out on the track. They’re going to look great and there’s no doubt in my mind that they will win races.”

Testing of the new model commences in January ahead of its race debut at Brands Hatch for the first round of the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship on 29/30 March.

You can follow the Honda Yuasa Racing Team’s exploits on Facebook and Twitter www.facebook.com/HondaYuasaRacing and www.twitter.com/hondaracingbtcc.

Designed and developed in Europe, the British-built Civic Tourer delivers distinctive styling, class-leading utility, advanced technology and an impressive balance between fuel economy and performance. Available to order from the beginning of December and arriving in dealerships in February 2014, prices start at £20,265 OTR for the entry level 1.8 i-VTEC S model.

Suzuki offers decent PCP rates on new SX4 S-Cross

Suzuki has some good news this winter for customers looking to purchase a new SX4 S-Cross, the brand’s all new Crossover model.

Launched in October, the SX4 S-Cross is available from £14,999 for the SZ3 1.6-litre petrol model with manual transmission and Suzuki is offering some very competitive PCP (Personal Contract Plan) and PCH (Personal Contract Hire) rates to help new car buyers looking for the best payment option to suit them.

Taking the SZ3 model as an example with its high standard specification of seven airbags, cruise control with speed limiter, air conditioning, 1­6-inch alloy wheels and Daytime Running Lights, Suzuki is offering a low rate PCP of 4.9 per cent APR over a 43 month period until the end of this year with payments of just £189 per month.

Move up the range to the SZ4 with Dual Zone automatic air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, front fog lamps and rear privacy glass as standard and payments are just £10 per month extra over the same term.

Retained value is positive too as established Trade publication Glass’s Guide has listed an average residual value across the S-Cross range of 41 per cent after three years and 60,000 miles. Lower mileage owners can be ensured of an even higher retained figure when it comes to replacing the car.

Personal Contract Hire is always a good option for Business Users and Suzuki Financial Services is offering a headline low rate plan of £179 per month for the SZ-T model over 42 months with a deposit of six monthly payments required. SZ-T is an ideal choice as it offers an even higher standard specification including Satellite navigation, DAB radio, rear parking camera and polished 17-inch alloy wheels.

With regards to safety, SX4 S-Cross is one of the best new cars on the market after the recent NCAP tests with five stars awarded overall and strong scores of 92 per cent for Adult occupancy protection, 80 per cent for Child occupancy protection and 72 per cent for Pedestrian protection which was the highest score amongst any current competitor Crossover.

It is an ideal choice for families as it offers seating for five, luggage capacity of 430 litres and a low cost of ownership with CO2 emissions of 127g/km 1.6-litre petrol (manual transmission) and just 110g/km for the 1.6-litre DDiS model.

Real World fuel economy has been commented as ‘exceptional’ by several of the Automotive magazines with this week’s Auto Express voting it second place in their Top Ten most efficient cars tested in 2013, the S-Cross DDiS achieved an average consumption of 59.6mpg.

The S-Cross is contributing well to the growth of the brand already at almost 1,000 sales since launch and Suzuki is currently the fastest growing top 20 car manufacturer in the UK with strong sales momentum currently 30.4 per cent up year on year. This week, Suzuki passed the 30,000 unit milestone and the projection is to close 2013 at 33,000 units, an increase of 8,000 over 2012.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

BMW i3 fails to achieve the five star Euro NCAP award !

BMW's electric i3 has scored four out of a possible five stars in a EuroNCAP safety test after faring poorly in the pedestrian protection and safety assistance systems categories.

The four-door i3 hatchback is the first model from BMW's i subbrand and the first mass-market car made largely from carbon fiber. BMW premiered the i3 on three continents in July before starting German sales of the car on Nov. 16.

EuroNCAP said the i3 scored just 57 percent in the pedestrian safety test due to a "poor" front edge to the hood and disappointing results recorded at the base of the windshield and along the "stiff" windshield pillars.

"These are shortcomings, especially because the i3 was designed as a modern car for big cities," the German motoring organization ADAC said. "Pedestrian protection should be of particularly high value."

In the safety assistance systems test, the i3 scored 55 percent, with EuroNCAP noting that the i3 met test requirements by offering electronic stability control as standard equipment, but lacked seat belt reminders in the rear of the car. The organization said a system designed to control the car's speed was not expected to reach EuroNCAP's minimum fitment rate to qualify for assessment.

BMW is placing high hopes on the 34,950 euro model, which has attracted more than 10,000 pre-orders and 100,000 requests for test drives.

The results, while not overwhelmingly negative, could cause some concern and potentially put off future buyers.

A BMW spokesman said the findings disregard steps taken by the manufacturer to enhance protection of pedestrians, citing the i3's special brakes and sensors.

BMW will study the test results before casting a final opinion, the spokesman added.

Analysts estimate BMW has spent at least 2 billion euros on developing the i subbrand, which BMW has trademarked through to a series number i9 -- hinting at the scope of its electric plans. The next model from the i subbrand is the i8 plug-in hybrid supercar, which is due to launch next spring.

Test results

In the remaining two EuroNCAP test categories, the i3 scored 86 percent for adult occupant safety and 81 percent for child occupant safety.

The i3 received praise from the safety organization for its performance in the side barrier test, with the i3 scoring maximum points with good protection of all body regions.

EuroNCAP is backed by seven European governments as well as motoring and consumer organizations in every European country. It organizes crash tests and provides consumers with a realistic and independent assessment of the safety performance of cars sold in Europe.

CHINA - Authorities break up car smuggling groups.

Chinese authorities have broken up six gangs that smuggled around $164 million worth of cars into the country over the past three years to help consumers bypass heavy taxation.

The smuggled vehicles included more than 80 high-end models such as BMWs and Rolls-Royces, the official Xinhua news agency reported today. In total, the gangs had smuggled in more than 3,000 vehicles, it added.

Smuggling of cars into China has long been a problem for the government, as Chinese consumers try to avoid paying steep taxes for coveted foreign models.

Tariffs on foreign cars brought into China are 25 percent for any type of car. In addition, there is a value-added tax of 17 percent and consumption tax, which depends on engine size.

For example, in China, Maserati's top market, a new fully equipped, V-8-powered Quattroporte starts at the equivalent of 325,000 euros after added taxes. In Europe, the same model would cost 150,000 euros.

In total, police arrested 54 gang members who had smuggled in the vehicles from the United States, Vietnam, Myanmar and Hong Kong, the agency said.

In July, Xinhua accused foreign carmakers of reaping exorbitant profits by selling imported luxury cars in China and called for them to face an anti-trust investigation


Wolverhampton plant getting ready to produce new range of Jaguar Land Rover engines.

The first engine scheduled for production in the new $750 million Jaguar Land Rover engine plant in Wolverhampton, England, next year is a four-cylinder diesel.

About 18 months later, a turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine rolls down the line.

For Jaguar Land Rover, the two new engines will mark the first time since the 1990s that each brand will manufacture an engine of its own design. The new plant is another milestone in each brand's long struggle to take charge of its destiny.

"When we manufacture our own engines ourselves, it gives us an additional degree of freedom," said Wolfgang Ziebart, 63, a 23-year BMW manufacturing and product development veteran, who took over as Jaguar Land Rover's group engineering director in August.

The company is saying little about the character and design of the new engines. But here's what has leaked out from published reports and the company: The engines will be light, powerful and, for a luxury manufacturer, surprisingly small, about 2.0 liters.

They will be loaded with the latest engine advances, such as turbocharging, direct fuel injection and variable valve timing -- and almost certainly other innovations.

Jaguar has a rich history of designing powerful engines with trend-setting combustion chambers and other features that helped establish the brand's performance image.

Land Rover's classic diesel engines, while not overly powerful, are known to be very durable.

Although Jaguar Land Rover has not confirmed any vehicles yet for the new engines, they almost certainly will be used in the new small Jaguar sedan announced at the Frankfurt auto show in September and in smaller Land Rover models, such as the LR2 and Range Rover Evoque.

The company hired powertrain manufacturing experts, Ziebart said, to help set up the new engine plant, which is being done now. "The machinery is moving in, the first machines for the block and heads are being installed. We will manufacture the first prototype engines by spring next year and first [production] engines come at end of next year."

3 cylinders?

Ziebart said the company is considering other engines for the plant, including a three-cylinder gasoline engine in the 1.5-liter range.

Ziebart said the reason to build a three-cylinder -- which would cost more than a four-cylinder -- is to reduce fuel consumption. A three-cylinder diesel is also possible, he said.

"If we could come up with similar performance as the four-cylinder, I think this could be an alternative, too," Ziebart said.

He said Jaguar Land Rover did not lose the capability to design engines as corporate parents changed over the years.

After passing through various corporate owners in the 1980s and 1990s, both brands were stripped of their engine plants.

Jaguar hasn't manufactured an engine of its own design in one of its own plants since previous owner Ford Motor Co. closed the old Radford plant in Coventry, England, in 1997.

Land Rover's last in-house engine was the Td5 diesel of 1998. For decades, Land Rover's main engine was a hand-me-down General Motors-designed aluminum V-8, and there was a series of engines bought from suppliers, such as Ford, BMW, Powertrain Ltd., and Perkins Engines Co.

Sales of both brands, now owned by India's Tata Motors, are on a tear.

Jaguar Land Rover's combined sales in the United States were up 19 percent through October on the strength of such new vehicles as the Range Rover Evoque compact SUV and the Jaguar F-Type sports car.

Last year, Jaguar Land Rover set an all-time global sales record of 357,000 units, a figure the company will easily top in 2013.

Jaguar Land Rover delivered a record 102,000 vehicles globally in the third quarter alone. The company's sales might be higher had an engine shortage in 2010 not slowed growth.

The Range Rover Evoque is likely to get the new engines.

Rare opportunity

Horsepower, torque and fuel economy ratings on the new four-cylinder engines are not yet finalized, but Ziebart said engineers are making the most of a rare opportunity to design a new family of engines.

"You can be sure if we make our own engines, they will excel in technology," he said.

"We will probably set a new benchmark in terms of engine efficiency, weight and power per liter, and so on."

Like its competitors, Jaguar and Land Rover are under pressure to increase fuel economy and reduce carbon dioxide emissions, Ziebart said.

The plan to do so involves moving to smaller, high-performing engines, transmissions with more than six speeds and lightweight bodies -- the same strategy adopted by BMW, Mercedes-Benz and other luxury brands.

"The good thing is that Jaguar and Land Rover are positioned at the high end of the market, so we can afford those technologies," Ziebart said. "Others who have to work in cost-constrained markets don't have that freedom."

Flexible manufacturing

Ziebart said that after production begins at Wolverhampton, Jaguar Land Rover will still buy some of its engines from suppliers. Its contract with Ford, for example, expires in 2020. Ford makes Jaguar Land Rover's V-8 and V-6 gasoline and diesel engines.

The new engine plant's volume is expected to reach 300,000 units a year eventually.

Ziebart confirmed that the plant will have two lines, one for gasoline and one for diesel, but that both engines will share the same architecture.

Blocks with common bore spacing, crankshafts and oil pans, for example, simplify manufacturing and reduce purchasing costs. The plant will be flexible and can change the production mix based on consumer demand.

At least one supplier, BorgWarner Inc., is building a plant nearby to manufacture turbochargers for Wolverhampton.

Jaguar Land Rover, Ziebart said, has no plans to build its own transmissions and will continue to buy them from suppliers.


Happy 20th Birthday to the Renault Twingo fun city car.

The original Twingo – “The car that didn’t exist”* – is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. At the time of its launch, the model took the world by storm thanks to its bold design, innovative concept and playful demeanour, and ultimately racked up more than two million sales.
An ambitious project
In 1989, Renault asked project director Yves Dubreil to come up with a small car that was compact, practical, economical and comfortable – but not a direct rival to its big sister, Clio. Twingo’s conception was dictated by the ‘design to cost’ philosophy and the team’s mission was to propose a compact car, with pioneering, attractive styling at a reasonable price. To achieve that, the only solution was to take a completely different approach with the aim of making life easier... Strip out the superfluous and replace it with unique innovations such as the sliding rear seat.
A simple range
Unlike the diverse model ranges marketed many of its competitors, Twingo was unique inasmuch as it was available in a single version, with just one 1.2-litre, 55hp engine and one interior trim level which featured electric windows and apple green control stalks. Twingo was presented with four different body colour choices at its launch: Outremer Blue, Corail Red, Coriandre Green and Indien Yellow. Only two options could be specified: a folding canvas roof and climate control.
Small on the outside, spacious and versatile within
Twingo featured a monobox architecture which permitted a better distribution of space between the engine compartment and cabin. The wheels were pushed right out to the four corners of the vehicle and there was just one wheel size and a single engine. These attributes enabled the interior space to be optimised. At the time of its launch, Twingo topped its class in the small city car segment in terms of height, width and knee room – most notably thanks to its innovative sliding rear seat. All four seats could in fact be folded flat to create an impromptu double bed – a unique offering in its field that immediately underscored Twingo’s smart design and versatility.
“It'sup to you to invent a lifestyle that goes with Twingo!
This advertising slogan accompanied the launch of Twingo, dubbed by some as the ‘Frog from Billancourt’. The moniker Twingo – a blend of ‘Twist’, ‘Swing’ and ‘Tango’ – was emblematic of the unusual, dynamic and aesthetically-pleasing design of this vehicle which exuded optimism and joie de vivre. Twingo saw Renault take a totally fresh stance on the automobile. The deliberate polar opposite of a status-enhancing vehicle, it inspired a new type of consumption: people bought a Twingo for themselves, not to impress others. People appropriated Twingo for their own desires and invented a lifestyle that went with it.
A unique, engaging personality
Twingo was not a downsized version of Renault Espace. It boasted its own distinct personality, with a curvy, rounded exterior design that expressed strength and beauty with an almost human face. The design of the dashboard guaranteed perfect visibility and married simplicity, functionality (with the centre console) and a touch of humour with its hazard warning lights switch shaped like a clown’s nose.
Landmark dates
March 1993: Commercial launch of Twingo, following a preview several months earlier at the Paris Motorshow.
1994: A Frenchman covered 240,000km in a Twingo across the harsh Australian outback, demonstrating the reliability of this car whose talents were not restricted merely to city motoring. At the end of the journey, the car was painted by an Aboriginal artist.
1994: Launch of Twingo Easy equipped with a manual gearbox but no clutch pedal.
1996: Launch of the limited-edition Twingo ‘Benetton’ and Twingo’Matic versions, fitted with an automatic three-speed gearbox. Moreover, the engine was boosted by 5hp to reach 60hp.
1998: First major restyling of Twingo with upgrades to the chassis, seats, dashboard, lights and front bumper. Introduction of the limited-edition ‘Elite’ version.
1999: Launch of the top-of-the-range ‘Initiale Paris’ version.
2000: Launch of the 16V, 75hp powerplant and Quickshift sequential gearbox.
2005: Appearance of the ‘Kiss Cool’ limited-edition.
June 28, 2007:Production of the last Twingo 1 in Europe following some 2,075,300 sales over a career that lasted 14 years – an exceptional lifespan by car industry standards.
2012: Twingo continued to be manufactured in Colombia until 2012. Between 1995 and 2012, Twingo achieved tremendous success in the Colombian market, notching up sales in excess of 100,000. Twingo Tatoo was Twingo 1’s final limited-edition version.
* According to Christophe MIDLER, Research Director at CNRS – the French National Centre for Scientific Research– and author of ‘The car that didn’t exist’, published in 1994.
Sadly, the original Twingo never made its way officially to UK shores in right-hand-drive form, however, the second-generation did, arriving over here in September 2007. Today, following a relatively recent facelift to bring it in line with Renault’s new brand identity, it continues to be sold in Dynamique form, the pocket-rocket Renaultsport 133 having now ceased production in anticipation of the third-generation model.

Jaguar Land Rover to build plant in Brazil ?

Jaguar Land Rover will invest about 1 billion reais ($436.9 million) to build a new manufacturing plant in Brazil's state of Rio de Janeiro, three government sources told Reuters.

Production at the factory, to be built in the city of Itatiaia, could begin as early as 2015, and an official announcement is scheduled for Dec. 3, said one of the sources, who is not authorized to speak on the record.

"Everything is very advanced with only minor details to be worked out," said Luiz Carlos Ferreira Bastos, Itatiaia's mayor. The factory could employ 500 to 700 people, he added.

The two other government sources, both with Rio de Janeiro's state government, confirmed that Land Rover plans to build in Itatiaia, although they declined to be named because they are not authorized to speak to the media.

Earlier this month, Jaguar Land Rover, owned by India's Tata Motors, said it plans to expand manufacturing and increase production in markets outside its UK home base, particularly in China and Brazil.

The decision comes after rival brands BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi all decided to build plants in Brazil, spurred by government moves to raise taxes on imported vehicles, while offering tax breaks for automakers that increase domestic investments.

"Jaguar Land Rover confirms that it is carrying out a study on the installation of a manufacturing unit in the country," a company representative told Reuters on Monday. "At this time, we can not confirm the size of the investment or other details of the study."

Negotiations started at the beginning of this year, one of the sources said, with Rio de Janeiro's state government offering tax breaks and fiscal incentives to help attract the company.

From January through October, Land Rover sold 8,920 automobiles in Brazil, trailing BMW and Mercedes-Benz, which sold 11,520 and 10,510 cars, respectively, according to local auto dealers association Fenabrave.


Last of the current generation MINI Hatch leaves Plant Oxford.

  • Over 1 million current MINI Hatch models built at Plant Oxford between 2006 – 2013
  • 1,863,289 total MINI Hatch built since 2001
  • 14% of all cars built in the UK last year were MINIs, and 14% exported were MINIs
  • The new MINI Hatch production starts, with UK launch in Spring 2014

Having put a smile on over a million drivers’ faces across the globe, the last of the outgoing MINI Hatch drove off the production line at Plant Oxford today.

With production of the new MINI Hatch underway, associates at the brand’s historic Oxfordshire home took a moment to recognise their achievements in building a car which has formed the backbone of MINI’s burgeoning global growth.

1,041,412 of the outgoing MINI Hatch model have been produced at the high-tech facility, which has built more than 2.4 million MINI vehicles since 2001. 14% of all cars built in the UK last year were MINIs, and MINIs accounted for 14% of all UK vehicle exports in 2012.

When launched in 2006, the outgoing MINI Hatch saw the introduction of turbo charged engines and suspension enhancements which cemented MINI’s reputation for enthralling driving dynamics. With the introduction of MINIMALISM technologies, customers also benefited from improved fuel economy and performance in equal measure. MINI Connected appeared for the first time, setting the standard in the segment for infotainment and connectivity. This model also furthered MINI’s exciting and unique programme of customisation and personalisation, from bespoke roof designs to interior colour worlds, which has become synonymous with the MINI brand.

The New MINI Hatch is set to receive its UK launch in Spring 2014. Distinctly familiar, yet completely fresh from the ground up and enhanced in every single way, the new MINI Hatch features significant improvements in technology, engine efficiency and power delivery, driving dynamics, quality and – of course – personalisation.

Jaguar F-Type bursts out of the walls at Castle Bromwich

A Jaguar F-TYPE Coupe can be seen bursting out of the walls of Jaguar Land Rover’s Castle Bromwich manufacturing plant, celebrating the recent reveal of the new car in Los Angeles & Tokyo.

It took a team of 25 people 9 days in total to mount the new vehicle to its eye-catching position opposite the Spitfire roundabout.

The Jaguar F-TYPE Coupe is the most dynamically capable, performance-focused production Jaguar ever. Its model line-up includes the F-TYPE R Coupe, the F-TYPE S Coupe and the F-TYPE Coupe.

The F-TYPE Coupe range complements the existing 2013 ‘World Car Design of the Year’ award-winning F-TYPE Convertible model line-up of F-TYPE, F-TYPE S and F-TYPE V8 S.

The F-TYPE Coupe will be manufactured at the 112 acre Castle Bromwich plant, joining the other five Jaguar models: the all-new F-TYPE; the XK grand tourer; and XJ, XF and XF Sportbrake.

Over 3,000 people are employed at Castle Bromwich, which became a dedicated Jaguar factory in 1980. The site is home to some of the world’s most advanced aluminium body construction facilities and almost 340 body construction robots. On site are body shops, paint and final assembly lines for all models, as well as a press shop which operates 24 hours a day.

Latest NCAP results, BMW, Ford, Nissan, Mercedes and VW fail to get 5.

 Brussels, 27 November – The latest batch of Euro NCAP results covers the following eleven vehicles in a large panel of categories. 

The Small Families Peugeot 308 and Mazda 3 achieved the 5 star overall rating while the Ford Ecosport and BMW i3 reached 4 stars. The small MPV Mercedes CITAN Kombi was reassessed and received 4 stars following the 3 stars it had been given earlier this year.
The Ford Tourneo Connect and the hybrid version of the Mitsubishi Outlander (PHEV) both received 5 stars. The Supermini Nissan Note and the Business and Family Van Volkswagen T5 made it to 4 stars.
Finally, the Executives Maserati Ghibli and Infiniti Q50 achieved the coveted five star overall rating in Euro NCAP's latest tests series of the year.
Safety is not a Luxury. Watch our new video showing the Maserati Ghibli undergoing Euro NCAP's crash tests.

For more details on the tested vehicles and to watch the crash test videos and pictures, please visit our website. For media information, please contact Marie Brasseur, Euro NCAP Communications Manager.

New Polestar versions of Volvo's S60 and V60

  • 0-62mph in just 4.9 seconds
  • Complete Polestar bespoke vehicle set-up
  • Limited Edition
The new Volvo S60 and V60 Polestar are here, set for sale on four continents around the world in 2014. The countries confirmed to take the S60 and V60 Polestar include Canada, the Netherlands, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the USA, with further markets, final production numbers and pricing to be revealed next year.
Whilst the S60 and V60 Polestar will be available globally, Volvo Car UK will continue to deliver on the call for fast estates by limiting availability to the new V60 Polestar only.
”We are proud to present the S60 and V60 Polestar. A car developed for those who share our passion at Polestar: That driving really matters and that a true driver’s car should enable you to enjoy driving all year, on all roads and in all weather conditions. This is a driver’s car for real life,” said Christian Dahl, CEO of Polestar.
World debut for a new Volvo V60 engineered by Polestar
“With the introduction of the V60 model, we are proud to continue the heritage of fast Volvo estates like the racing 850 BTCC, a tradition deeply rooted among Volvo enthusiasts,” continued Christian Dahl, CEO of Polestar.
”Our motorsport co-operation with Polestar has been going on for almost two decades and it is rewarding to see how Polestar can use their experiences from motorsport to engineer such an exciting and competent car,” said Derek Crabb, Motorsport Director at Volvo Car Group (Volvo Cars).

“It is very satisfying to see how Polestar have been able to combine this level of driving performance in their interpretation of the S60 and V60 with maintained original service program, class leading safety features and certified fuel and emission ratings. Customers buying this car will get the best from both Polestar and Volvo,” said Alain Visser, Senior Vice President Marketing, Sales & Customer Service at Volvo Cars.
All-year performance
The car is based on the latest generation Volvo S/V60 and marks the start of an extended Polestar production model range. Development of the car has been ongoing over the past years, picking up from the C30 and S60 Concept cars and the Australian S60 Polestar. Thousands of development kilometres have been driven on twisty mountain roads, on the Autobahn and test tracks from the south of Europe to the frozen north of Sweden.

”We have continued our work to create a true driver’s car which is not limited only to a few specific driving conditions, but enjoyable on everything from your favourite winding roads to taking the family for a long journey, no matter summer or winter. And in my view, we have gotten very close to our goals, something that of course is best experienced first-hand behind the wheel,” said Robert Dahlgren, Polestar racing and test driver.
Polestar performance engineering
Upgrades include modifications made to increase rigidity of the chassis to cater for the 80% stiffer springs relative to the standard S60 R-Design. These changes combined with the tailored high performance Öhlins shock absorbers and 20” Polestar wheels results in a precise, yet comfortable, driving experience.
The brake system has undergone substantial modifications. Most visible are the 371 millimetre ventilated front discs and six-piston Brembo calipers, guaranteeing a high level of braking performance.
To reflect the increased performance of the S60 and V60 Polestar, positive aerodynamic effects have been achieved through subtle, yet efficient, modifications based on data from tests in the Volvo Cars wind tunnel. The changes are visible with the front splitters, optimising the airflow underneath the car, as well as a new rear spoiler and diffusor, increasing downforce.
The six-cylinder turbo-charged T6 engine has undergone extensive development with a new twin-scroll turbo and intercooler to produce 350 HP/257 kW at 5700 rpm and 500 Nm/369 lb-ft at 2800 rpm. The engine breathes through a 2.5” stainless steel exhaust system, making for a throaty engine note.
The six-speed automatic gearbox features a new paddle shift system that together with the Polestar developed Haldex four-wheel drive system takes the car from 0-62 mph in just 4.9 seconds and to a limited top speed of 155 mph. The gearbox as well as the four-wheel drive system and traction control system has been recalibrated in order to provide an active driving experience and maximum grip in all situations.
The interior has been reworked with new details, materials and Polestar colours, such as the steering wheel, seats and more, with the sole purpose of increasing driver support and control.
”All in all we have taken a major step forward in all areas, from chassis and engine to interior and exterior details. Development work has been focused on the overall package in order to create a car that you want to use every day, both from a practical and emotional perspective,” said Henrik Fries, S/V60 Polestar Technical Project Manager.
Sales and delivery
Polestar will begin delivery of the new S60 and V60 Polestar in June 2014 to local markets.
“We are all very excited and proud over our launch of two new cars as yet another step towards a range of Polestar Engineered Volvo cars available for people like us around the world. To do it together with Volvo, one of the world’s leading car manufacturers, is greatly satisfying and we look forward to an exciting future,” said Christian Dahl, CEO of Polestar.

Citroen launches DS World Paris, a flagship showcase of the DS range.

  • DS World Paris to open on 27 November
  • DS World is a showroom, an events venue & an exhibition of DS heritage
  • Citroën unveils ultra-limited edition DS3 DS World Paris to celebrate the opening of its new flagship venue

To celebrate the iconic DS line, Citroën is opening a brand new flagship showcase - DS World Paris - on Wednesday 27 November 2013.

Located in the heart of the Parisian Golden Triangle on Rue François, just a stone’s throw from the Champs-Elysées, DS World Paris is a showroom, event space and exhibition of the DS line’s rich history, as Citroën aims to completely immerse visitors in the DS universe.

Unique in Europe, and following on from the opening of DS World Shanghai in March this year, DS World Paris is a true flagship venue for the brand. Celebrating models past and present, it showcases the line’s heritage, which dates back to 1955, with some of the finest DS examples on show, including - for the opening - a 1956 Citroën DS19.

Just as the DS line is inspired by French-style luxury, so too is DS World Paris; fronted by a listed Art Deco façade, the 600m2 interior bears the signature colours of the DS - Black, Champagne and Carmine - with an emphasis on elegance, charm and purity.

The centrepiece to this impressive space is an astonishing tailor-made chandelier, comprising 900 blown glass beads. This, along with a unique DS scent and musical signature, ensures that DS World awakens all the senses.

DS World Paris is a true jewel in the crown for the brand, offering customers exclusive and personalised services, as well as being home to the DS World boutique, where the first in the DS Lifestyle luggage range will be launched.

To celebrate the opening of DS World Paris, Citroën has produced an ultra-limited edition of the popular DS3 for the most dedicated DS fans - DS3 DS World Paris. A jewel of Parisian elegance, this exclusive model is inspired by Art Deco architecture, inside and out, with the numbered DS World badge inlaid on the dashboard insert making each of the 15 models truly unique.

The creation of DS World Paris demonstrates the success story of the DS line. With 400,000 models sold since its launch in 2010, the DS line has enjoyed worldwide commercial success. With its DS models, Citroën dared to be different and this decision has paid off.

Julien Faux, Director of DS World Paris, explained the belief behind the venue: “DS World Paris focuses on the very essence of DS, a distinctive take on luxury à la française. Every detail and every space was fully thought through and designed as you would a haute couture fashion collection.

“In our approach to personalisation, we want the DS World Paris to be on the cutting edge of the avant-garde, in tune with creative communities and breakthrough artistic experiences. We will choose and create events that echo our world and will surprise visitors with our blend of daring and know-how.”

Throughout 2014, DS World Paris will host a range of artistic and cultural events, ranging from fashion and gastronomy to art and design.