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

Saturday, 11 January 2014

USA - New packaging options and enhanced technology make 2015 Sorento an even better deal

  • Kia’s latest version of UVO telematics included in hot-selling CUV 
  • 3.3-liter V6 and 2.4-liter 4-cylinder GDI engines offer fun-to-drive performance and fuel efficiency

A little more than a year ago, Kia Motors America (KMA) debuted a significantly redesigned Sorento CUV at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show.  No mere refresh or facelift, the Sorento benefitted from an all-new chassis, a powerful new Gasoline Direct Injected (GDI) V6 engine, a restyled interior, a next-generation infotainment system and Kia’s first-ever Blind Spot Detection system.  Carrying over into the 2015 model year, the Sorento success story continues.  The 2015 Sorento remains a formidable competitor in the CUV segment, offering equal measures of value and sophistication.

Available in four trims – LX, EX, SX and SX Limited – the 2015 Sorento is offered with an all-aluminum 3.3-liter GDI V6, which produces a smooth 290 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and a stout 252 lb.-ft. of torque at 5,200 rpm, and a fuel-sipping 2.4-liter GDI four-cylinder engine – enhanced for 2015 to provide greater fuel efficiency – producing 191 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 181 lb.-ft. of torque at a low 4,250 rpm.

Power is routed to either the front wheels or, optionally, to all four using an enhanced Torque On Demand all-wheel drive system that seamlessly directs power to the tire with the most traction and now includes Torque Vectoring Cornering Control (TVCC) for added stability under certain driving conditions.

Regardless of engine or driveline choice, the 2015 Sorento comes standard with a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission.  Also standard is Electric Motor Driven Power Steering for improved efficiency, and it’s quicker with 2.95 turns of the steering wheel, lock-to-lock.  The steering also features an available Flex Steer™ system that offers drivers a choice of three steering modes: Comfort, Normal and Sport.

The 2015 Sorento sports dynamic and sophisticated design elements, inside and out.  Aggressively styled front and rear fascias enhance the Sorento’s road presence with a lower, broader appearance up front and a visually wider stance at the rear.  For 2015, the signature Kia grille is enhanced with an anodized silver metal or black mesh appearance, and the lower valance has been opened to expose an aggressive cross-hatched intake.  Front LED positioning lamps create dramatic eyebrows while projector-style headlights peer from behind tapered clear lenses.  Available fog lights on all trim models are upended and pushed to the far corners of the front bumper for better forward and side visibility.  Horizontally positioned rear LED combination lamps embrace the turn signal and back-up lights, emitting a warm corona that makes the 2015 Sorento instantly recognizable from behind.  The Sorento rides on handsomely designed 17-, 18- and available 19-inch wheels.

Inside, the instrument panel deftly combines technology with proven ergonomics.  Standard on EX and available on the LX trim, the large center gauge cluster features a 7-inch TFT LCD that projects a digital speedometer flanked by easy-to-read analog instruments for the tachometer, fuel level and engine temperature. The TFT LCD readout also displays trip and vehicle information, along with navigation updates (optional).  The center stack’s appearance and layout convey a modern feel, and button positions are arranged for a more user-friendly experience.

The 2015 Sorento is designed with a large, vibrant touch screen.  Diagonally spanning eight inches, the optional screen integrates navigation, SiriusXM Traffic1 with real-time road information updates, a premium Infinity®2 audio system, SiruisXM Satellite Radios, Bluetooth® hands-free connectivity3, vehicle settings and UVO eServices4, Kia’s next generation of infotainment and telematics.  For 2015, navigation can be uncoupled from UVO and the Infinity sound system, delivering an added option for superior voice-recognition technology and premium sound quality. Carry-over options in the 2015 Sorento include a programmable power liftgate, panoramic sunroof with a one-piece, power-operated shade, integrated 2nd row sliding sunshades, available dual ventilated air-cooled front seats, a 115-volt power inverter, and illuminated door handle pockets.

Redesigned 2015 AUDI A8 makes debut at NAIAS

• Audi A8 and S8 models redesigned for more sportiness, performance and luxury.
• More powerful 4.0T engine increases from 420 to 435 horsepower
• New front fascia and rear design including newly designed lights give Audi A8 model line an even more dynamic stance

The Audi A8 sedan receives an even more dynamic look for the 2015 model year. New LED headlamp design and powerful creases in the hood as well as newly designed grille, bumper, and splitter combine to give the A8 model line fascia a wider stance and a more dynamic presence. The rear of the A8 and S8 receive a new tail lamp and a new tailpipe design that further support the sportier exterior. The S8 also receives an available sport exhaust that allows passengers to audibly experience its powerful drive train.

“The Audi A8 sedan represents the pinnacle of Audi progressive luxury,” said Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America. “Our flagship model was chosen by more customers every year since its introduction and the new 2015 A8 model line will continue to build upon that success.”

The new 2015 Audi A8 and S8 will arrive in the U.S. in the summer of 2014. Highlights include:

Design and Body
For 2015, the Audi A8 and S8 receive new front and rear designs that give all of the models a wider, more dynamic stance. The ASF® aluminum construction of the A8/S8 continues to provide exceptional rigidity and performance characteristics.
• Dynamic new front fascia including standard new LED headlights, hood,
Audi Singleframe® grille, bumper and splitter design combine for greater presence on the road
• New tail lamp and trapezoidal tailpipe design (oval quad tailpipes on S8)
• New selection of 20” wheels and five new exterior colors

Technology and Driver Assistance System Features
Audi continues to offer industry leading technology that improves the driving experience for drivers and passengers alike including Audi Side assist and Audi pre sense® plus. The Audi MMI® navigation plus system that includes Google Earth mapping, Google Voice local search functionality and a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to eight devices continues to be a benchmark for the segment. New driver assistance systems for the 2015 A8 model line are:

Active lane assist helps keep the A8 between the lane markings through active steering adjustments should the vehicle drift across the lane markings
Secondary collision assist automatically applies the brakes following a collision to help avoid possible secondary collisions
Night vision assistant already offers pedestrian detection. Now animal detection is able to highlight larger animals such as deer and help provide a warning to the driver if the animal is in danger of entering the path of travel
Head-up display for ease of viewing vehicle speed, navigation, automatic cruise control, Active lane assist and Night vision warning information projected onto windscreen
Audi park assist (late availability) which will help steer the car into a parking space

Improved Performance
All of the A8 model line engines offer excellent efficiency and performance.

The A8 TDI in particular continues to offer a great alternative for those wanting impressive efficiency without compromise, while the S8 impresses with its 520 horsepower. The A8 3.0 TFSI continues to be the entry into the A8 model range and the W12 represents the pinnacle of luxury. The new electromechanical power steering provides greater comfort and agility, while improving fuel efficiency. Changes to the 2015 engine offering include:

• A8 4.0T V8 increases horsepower from 420hp to 435hp
• W12 6.3 liter engine now with Cylinder On Demand technology

Higher Level of Luxury
Luxury equipment such as available 22-way front and rear comfort seats with 5 different massage functions as well as heating and ventilation capabilities are just some of the elements that make the A8 interior the benchmark in the segment. New optimized elements that add to its luxury feel include:

• Significant acoustic measures for a quieter cabin and driving comfort
• Optimized trunk packaging for improved space and usability

The Audi S8 – Design and Body
The updated Audi S8 becomes even sportier with its new exterior design that further complements its exceptional performance characteristics.

• New interior design selection: Vermont brown leather interior paired with Carbon twill copper inlays combine the sporty character of the S8 with stunning elegance and craftsmanship
• Updated front fascia design with larger air intakes in the lower bumper and reduced use of chrome accents give a sportier look. New sport exhaust with wider oval quad tailpipes, rear diffusor and side sills in addition to the front and rear tail lamp changes round out the dynamic design of the Audi S8

Vauxhall celebrates becoming number one brand in Northern Ireland

  • Vauxhall is Northern Ireland’s number one car maker for private buyers
  • Market share up to 12 per cent in 110th Birthday year
  • Innovative Flexible Finance and Lifetime Warranty drive growth

Vauxhall was the number one car manufacturer for private buyers in Northern Ireland for the second year running, with over 3,500 cars sold.

Innovative programmes such as Flexible Finance, a zero per cent APR offer, and Lifetime Warranty helped drive retail sales and boost market share to 12 per cent.

“We are delighted to be Northern Ireland’s number one manufacturer to private buyers, for the second year running,” said Gordon Hannen, Vauxhall’s Regional Operations Manager for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

“With market share up and strong sales to private buyers it was the perfect way to round off Vauxhall’s 110th anniversary year.

“It’s exciting times for Vauxhall with three new models launched in 2013 and more to follow this year.

“We’re also in the middle of a raft of new engine launches, which will continue for the next two years, making our products more refined, efficient and desirable for customers. One way or another, it’s clear that Vauxhall will be a force to be reckoned with in 2014.”

Kia brings in the new year with some great retail offers.

  • Up to £2,000 off selected models
  • Care-3 for just £99 on new VR7 range
  • Existing cee’d owners eligible for up to £3,000 loyalty offer
  • New 2014 Sportage available to pre-order

Kia Motors (UK) Ltd is starting the New Year with a range of customer offers across the entire line-up including newly introduced models.

All customers can save up to £2,000 on selected models across the range. The pocket sized Picanto is available with up to £1,250 off the retail price, meaning the entry level ‘1’ three-door starts from just £7,795. The Rio hatchback has up to £1,000 customer saving and the Venga B-MPV has a £1,600 saving on the entry level ‘1’ and ‘1 Air’. All other Venga’s have a £1,000 saving. The Soul is also available with a £1,000 customer saving across the line-up meaning the entry level 1.6 GDi ‘1’ starts from just £12,800.

Kia’s large SUV, the Sorento, starts at just £24,695 with a £2,000 saving (this £2,000 is available on all models). A top-level ‘KX-4’ 2.2 CRDi 194bhp six-speed auto seven-seat model has been added to the popular SUV line-up. With 19-inch alloy wheels, Parallel Park Assist, driver’s memory seat, two rear sun blinds and a silver front grille as standard, this standout model is also available with a £2,000 customer saving and starts from £34,495.

Savings on the cee’d family are equally generous with an up to £1,000 saving for new customers on the cee’d five-door, pro_cee’d and Sportswagon, whilst existing Kia customers are entitled to a loyalty offer of up to £3,000 in lieu of all other offers. The cee’d line is eligible for a £1,000 deposit contribution with the 4.9 per cent PCP deal from Kia Access. All these offers exclude the GT and GT Tech models.

Special edition VR7 models are now available on the Picanto, Rio and cee’d family line-ups. Standard features across all models include air conditioning, alloy wheels, reversing sensors, Bluetooth connectivity and leather trimmed steering wheel and gear shift as well as electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, USB and AUX ports and front and rear electric windows (except on 3-door models). All models across the VR7 range are available in white, silver, black and red.

Not only do these models offer a great level of specification but also a great deal – with prices starting from just £8,795 for the Picanto 3-door, with a £750 customer saving. To top it off all VR7 models are available with Kia’s Care-3 all-inclusive servicing package that includes the first three services for just £99.

The new 2014 Sportage is available to pre-order from January with vehicles arriving in dealerships from February. They feature a revised grille design and a rear combination light restyling that offers enhanced illumination and therefore better visibility. New-style alloy wheels and a shark-fin antenna finish off the exterior changes.

Inside, the model benefits from a new soft ‘nano’ paint finish on the dash and centre console as well as new-style instrumentation and a premium Infinity audio system fitted to high-end models.

New technical features have also been added to the 2014 Sportage – Trailer Stability Control is fitted as standard and Kia’s Flex Steer system and Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is fitted to selected models.

The Carens 7-seat MPV is available with a range of customer offers. All derivatives are available with 4.9 per cent Kia Access PCP and Conditional Sale finance offers. A £750 deposit contribution is available to new customers whilst all petrol models get £1,500 off the list price and diesels get £1,000. Current Kia owners benefit from an up to £3,000 loyalty offer.

To make getting into a new Kia even easier there’s 4.9 per cent PCP from Kia Access, as well as 4.9 per cent Conditional Sale finance across the entire range and even zero per cent finance available on Venga and Soul models. Picanto and Rio ‘1’ models are eligible for a £250 and £350 Kia Access deposit contribution respectively.

Skoda finishes 2013 below 2012 figures, but 2014 will be better.

  • ŠKODA delivers 920,800 vehicles to customers in 2013 (2012: 939,200)
  • Powerful final sprint with the best December in corporate history: 70,000 deliveries (December 2012: 66,200 deliveries, up 5.8%)
  • ŠKODA model campaign proves its strength
  • For the first time ŠKODA’s European market share grows to over 4%
  • China is once again ŠKODA’s strongest individual market in 2013 with 227,000 sales
  • Product campaign continues: a new model every six months on average

ŠKODA AUTO has successfully implemented its international growth strategy in 2013 again, selling 920,800 vehicles worldwide (2012: 939,200). Following the model launches in the first six months, ŠKODA saw significant growth later in the year, and recently achieved the best ever December for ŠKODA.

In the last month of the year, the company delivered 70,000 vehicles to customers, which is an increase of 5.8% over the previous December-record, set in 2012. In the years ahead, ŠKODA plans to grow further. To achieve this continued growth, the manufacturer will be introducing a new or revised model on average every six months until 2016.

“ŠKODA has demonstrated its strength this year. Despite the above-average number of production start-ups and fierce headwinds from some markets, we achieved the second-best sales year in corporate history - This is an excellent result,” says ŠKODA CEO Prof. Dr. h.c. Winfried Vahland. “2013 was a record year with more new ŠKODA models than ever before. Eight new or completely revised models show the power of the ŠKODA brand. The winged arrow is shining, and our new cars are being very well received. Our attractrive model range, good flow of incoming orders and increasingly bright future on the European automotive markets make us confident for 2014.”

2013 - the third year of the ŠKODA growth strategy - was both a successful and an intense year for the Czech carmaker. Eight new or revised models, twelve international production start-ups, expansion of capacity in the Czech Republic, as well as in the growth markets of China and Russia, added to this the crisis in some markets: “2013 was really quite a year!” says Dr. Vahland. After the first half of the year had been characterized by the difficult market situation in Europe, as well as the production start-ups and the associated lower production volumes, ŠKODA was back on track in the second half of the year. With the full availability of the new models, sales increased significantly each month from September onwards. “Our model campaign is now showing its full strength. We are growing strongly and expanding our market shares continuously,” says Werner Eichhorn, ŠKODA Board Member for Sales and Marketing.
The new models have been very well received - especially the new ŠKODA Octavia, which is once again proving to be a great hit. In December, ŠKODA Octavia grew once again in Western Europe with high double-digit growth rates: up 52.3% compared to December 2012. In Europe as a whole, the Octavia recorded an increase of 19.1% in December.

In Western Europe, ŠKODA performed significantly better than the overall declining market in 2013. 369,600 vehicles sold represents an increase of 3.1% compared to 2012 (358,400). In December, Western European sales even rose by 17.8% to 31,300 vehicles (December 2012: 26,600). The ŠKODA market share in Western Europe increased for the year as a whole to 3.2% (2012: 3.0%). In the second largest market, Germany, ŠKODA grew to 136,400 deliveries in 2013, which is an increase over the previous year of 2.9% (132,600). The market share rose to 4.6% and ŠKODA continues to build its position as the strongest import brand in Germany.

In the UK, the manufacturer increased deliveries to customers over the past year by 24% to a new record high of 66,000 vehicles (2012: 53,200). The Czech brand also achieved double-digit growth in Denmark, up 40.7 % to 14,600 vehicles (2012: 10,400). Sales in Spain have also seen a positive increase (13,400 vehicles; +3.0%), Italy (12,100 vehicles; +2.0%), Norway (6,800 vehicles; +2.1%) and Sweden (12,300 vehicles, +1.4%).

In Eastern Europe, including Russia, ŠKODA delivered 125,400 vehicles to customers last year (2012: 137,100; -8.5%). ŠKODA’s market share reached 4%. In ŠKODA’s third-largest market, Russia, the manufacturer achieved 87,500 deliveries (2012: 99,100; -11.7%). The new Octavia was introduced there in the second half of the year. The Rapid is to follow in the first six months of 2014. Considerable growth was also seen in Kazakhstan in 2013, where 4,700 customers decided on a new ŠKODA, which is an increase of 145.7% over the previous year (1,900). ŠKODA achieved growth in the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), where the brand grew by 3.4% to 4,600 vehicles sold in 2013 (2012: 4,500). In Serbia ŠKODA increased deliveries by 12.4% to 4,200 units (2012: 3,700).

ŠKODA grew once again in Central Europe in 2013. Deliveries to customers rose by 2.0% to 126,500 vehicles (2012: 124,000). ŠKODA’s market share rose to 19.2%. In December, brand deliveries in Central Europe grew by 13.5% to 11,300 (December 2012: 9,900). In the domestic market - the Czech Republic, ŠKODA sold a total of 60,000 vehicles in 2013, an increase of 0.6% (2012: 59,700). ŠKODA is defending its top position also in Poland. With 38,700 vehicles sold (2012: 36,300), representing an increase of 6.6% over the same period last year, the Czech carmaker remains the undisputed market leader for 2013.

Once again, China was ŠKODA’s strongest individual market in 2013, where the manufacturer delivered a total of 227,000 vehicles to customers (2012: 235,700 units; -3.7 %). The market launch of the new Octavia is on the cards only for the start of 2014. In India ŠKODA achieved a total of 22,600 deliveries in 2013 (2012: 34,300; -34.2%). In 2013 ŠKODA was also particularly successful in Israel (14,400; +11.7%), Turkey (12,800; +23.2%) and Algeria (9,100, +85.3%).

ŠKODA deliveries to customers in 2013 (in units, rounded off, according to model; +/- in % over 2012):

ŠKODA Octavia (359,600; -12.2 %)
ŠKODA Fabia (202,000; -16.0 %)
ŠKODA Superb (94,400; -13.4 %)
ŠKODA Yeti (82,400; -5.7 %)
ŠKODA Roomster (33,300; -12.3 %)
ŠKODA Rapid (103,800; +320.3 %)
ŠKODA Citigo (Only sold in Europe: 45,200; +51.0 %)

ŠKODA deliveries to customers in December 2013 (in units, rounded off, according to model; +/- in % over the same month in 2012):

ŠKODA Octavia (25,400; +3.5 %)
ŠKODA Fabia (14,400; -18.5 %)
ŠKODA Superb (5,100; -18.9 %)
ŠKODA Yeti (6,700; -5.6 %)
ŠKODA Roomster (2,900; +2.1 %)
ŠKODA Rapid (12,400; +312.4 %)
ŠKODA Citigo (only sold in Europe: 3,100; -34.3 %)

SEAT announces worldwide increases to better 2012 by 10.6%

  • Following stunning result for SEAT UK, SEAT S.A. announces 10.6% global sales increase for 2013
  • 355,000 vehicles delivered is SEAT’s highest for five years
  • SEAT is one of the fastest growing brands in Europe
  • Double digit increases for Leon (44%) and Mii (43%)

SEAT sales jumped up by 10.6% in 2013, as the Spanish brand delivered 355,000 vehicles worldwide – its highest number for five years, and 34,000 more than 2012’s figure.

In its main area of Western Europe, SEAT’s 9.4% increase puts it among the fastest growing brands in Europe, despite operating in a sector that’s contracted overall. SEAT sold 273,200 vehicles in Western Europe in 2013, 23,500 more than in 2012.

SEAT Chairman Jürgen Stackmann underscores that “the company is having sales momentum, particularly in Europe, where SEAT is growing faster than the competition in a contracting market.”

European success

In its biggest market, Germany, SEAT delivered 76,600 vehicles, a 20.3% increase over the previous year. SEAT was the fastest-growing brand in Germany, and has placed itself amongst the top ten selling brands. In Spain, SEAT returned to positive performance figures and increased sales by 6.0% (58,900 cars), above the market average. In the United Kingdom, its third-largest market, the Spanish brand enjoyed its fifth successive year of growth (16.8%), with more than 45,300 sales the highest that SEAT UK has ever achieved in a year.

SEAT also closed 2013 with record sales in other markets like Switzerland (8,300 units; up 5.2%) and Denmark (6,300; up 37.6%), alongside other European markets.

The key to SEAT’s positive performance in Europe is the Leon, of which more than 102,000 units have been sold worldwide, a 44.4% increase. The new five-door Leon is the best-selling SEAT model in many countries (Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Turkey, among others). SEAT Sales and Marketing Vice President Dr. Andreas Offermann asserts that “full availability of the Leon family should sustain growth in 2014.”

Growth in North Africa, Middle East and Mexico

SEAT also seized opportunities outside Europe; thanks to 13.0% growth, almost one of every five vehicles SEAT built in 2013 was sold outside of Europe (64,600 units). So, for the first time, SEAT has three non-European countries amongst its top ten: Mexico (5th), Algeria (6th) and Turkey (8th).

In Algeria, where SEAT already quadrupled its sales in 2012, it continued to grow last year, by 26.9%, and concluded 2013 with 20,500 units sold. The big novelty for 2013 was Turkey, where sales almost doubled (90.4%) with the brand marketing 11,100 units. SEAT ended 2013 with the highest sales figures in its history for both these countries. In Mexico SEAT grew for the fourth successive year (0.4%), sales totalling 21,200 units.

“In 2014, in spite of the still-persisting difficulties in the economic environment, we intend to continue working hard to make constant progress. We have a fantastic product range which will continue to grow around the Leon family, the heart of the SEAT brand,”declares Chairman Jürgen Stackmann.

Deliveries to customers in 2013 (by models, in units and percentage annual growth)

SEAT Mii (28,900; +43.2%)
SEAT Ibiza (154,100; -7.7%)
SEAT Toledo (19,000; launched in November 2012)
SEAT Leon (102,800; +44.4%)
SEAT Altea (23,700; -19.7%)
SEAT Alhambra (20,000; +4.0%)
SEAT Exeo (6,500; production discontinued in July 2013)

Ford produces one millionth 1.0 litre EcoBoost Focus

  • Ford recently produced the one-millionth current generation Focus in Europe; Ford builds a new Focus every 90 seconds on average in Europe
  • The one millionth Focus – a Candy Red five-door equipped with the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine – rolled off the production line in Saarlouis, Germany.
  • Since the first generation Focus was introduced in 1998, Ford has sold 1.63 million of the popular family cars in the UK, 6.9 million in Europe and more than 12 million worldwide.

Ford has recently produced the one-millionth current generation Ford Focus – the popular family-size car that has become the world’s best-selling vehicle – for the European market. The one-millionth Focus, a 1.0-litre EcoBoost hatchback, was manufactured in Saarlouis, Germany.

Ford has sold 1,632,700 Focus models in Britain since the first generation was introduced in 1998. It was the best-selling vehicle in the UK from 1999 to 2008, when it was superseded by the new Ford Fiesta, which has been the best-selling car since, with Focus in second place.

“The Focus is a great-to-drive family car with the versatility to suit the needs of a huge range of customers,” said Barb Samardzich, chief operating officer, Ford of Europe. “Last year, we launched the zero-emission Focus Electric to complete a full line-up that includes the 250PS Focus ST.”

Launched in Europe in 2010, the new Ford Focus is the best-selling nameplate globally, based on a Ford analysis of the latest Polk global vehicle registration data for the first half of 2013.

Ford is set to introduce a new version of the Focus this month, powered by the 2012 and 2013 International Engine of the Year, the 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine. This new Ford Focus model will be the first petrol-powered family car in Europe to offer just 99g/km CO2 emissions.*

The Focus is available with technologies including Active Park Assist that uses ultra-sonic sensors to identify suitable parking spots and automatically steers the vehicle while the driver controls the gears, throttle and clutch; and Active City Stop, which scans the road ahead 50 times per second to help prevent collisions at speeds up to 15km/h, and helps reduce the severity of impacts at speeds at speeds of up to 30km/h.

If the vehicle is involved in an accident, Ford SYNC with Emergency Assistance will directly connect the occupants to local emergency services. “Focus customers tell us they really value Ford’s smart technologies and appreciate the car’s safety, sportiness, styling, and comfort,” Samardzich said.

Ford introduced the Focus in 1998, since when the company has in total sold almost 6.9 million cars in Europe and 12 million worldwide.

Vauxhall celebrates being number one brand in Scotland in 2013.

  • Vauxhall is Scotland’s number one car maker for sixth year running
  • Over 27,000 Vauxhalls sold in Scotland in 2013
  • Corsa is Scotland’s best-selling car for sixth consecutive year

Hitting rivals for six, Vauxhall was the biggest-selling manufacturer in Scotland last year, for the sixth year running, with 27,739 cars sold.

It was also the joy of six for the Corsa supermini, Scotland’s top-selling car for the sixth consecutive year. The ever-popular Astra was Scotland’s number five with 6,545 vehicles sold. Innovative programmes such as Vauxhall Flexible Finance and Lifetime Warranty helped drive sales.

“We are delighted to again be Scotland’s biggest-selling car manufacturer with the region’s best-selling car, the Corsa, for the sixth year running,” said Gordon Hannen, Vauxhall’s Regional Operations Manager for Scotland.

“It’s the perfect way to round off Vauxhall’s 110th year of building and selling vehicles in the UK.  The Corsa also celebrated its 20th Birthday last year and after two decades as a top-seller it shows no sign of going out of fashion with Scottish buyers.

“Vauxhall’s excellent performance in Scotland is a huge part of our overall UK success story with sales and market share both up last year.

“It’s exciting times for Vauxhall with three new models launched in 2013 and more to follow this year.

“We’re also in the middle of a raft of new engine launches, which will continue for the next two years, making our products more refined, efficient and desirable for customers. One way or another, it’s clear that Vauxhall will be a force to be reckoned with in 2014.”

Volkswagen Dune Concept to début in Detroit

In the midst of a ferociously cold Michigan winter, the new Volkswagen Beetle Dune concept is all set to bring a hint of summer sunshine when it makes its debut at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit next week.
The Beetle Dune is based on the latest version of the iconic Volkswagen, and adds a cool, rugged off-road look. The body has been raised by 50 mm compared with a standard Beetle, while 19-inch wheels with large tyres lend an all-terrain look.  A rear-mounted ski-rack is reminiscent of those fitted to classic Beetles, and makes a perfect accessory for the season.  In the summer, it could hold a sandboard – the ideal accessory for surfing the sand dunes from which the Beetle Dune takes its name.

The latest Beetle Dune concept also revisits an idea from January 2000, when Volkswagen showed the New Beetle Dune concept in Los Angeles.  But while that vehicle was far from a production possibility, the Beetle Dune is very much based on the current production model, using the same 210 PS turbocharged petrol engine and six-speed DSG gearbox, providing power to the front wheels.

Further information on and images of the Beetle Dune concept will be available after the car makes its debut at the NAIAS on 13 January.

EURO NCAP releases 2013 best in class winners.

Each year, Euro NCAP identifies the models tested that have achieved the highest scores in their respective class. In 2013, a total of 33 cars were tested in 7 different categories. The top achievers gained the highest overall scores, calculated from the results achieved in adult, child, pedestrian protection and safety assist tests.

The 2013 best in class cars are:
  • Renault ZOE - Supermini
  • Qoros 3 Sedan - Small Family
  • Lexus IS 300h - Large Family
  • Kia Carens and Ford Tourneo Connect - Small MPV
  • Jeep Cherokee - Small off-road 4X4
  • Maserati Ghibli - Executive
The Qoros 3 Sedan becomes the best performer of any car subjected to Euro NCAP's crash tests in 2013 and is the first vehicle developed in China to achieve the highest five star rating under the overall rating scheme. The Supermini electric car Renault ZOE and the Large Family car Lexus IS 300h were the all round performers of the electric/hybrid cars tested by Euro NCAP in 2013. This year, the best in class honour in the Small MPV category is shared by the Kia Carens and Ford Tourneo Connect. Finally, the Jeep Cherokee and the Maserati Ghibli also receive the coveted designation from Euro NCAP in the Small Off-Road 4X4 and Executive categories respectively.

In 2013, Euro NCAP updated its assessment of child occupant protection, giving credit to manufacturers that allow for easy installation of most popular types of child seats and which comply with the most recent revised child safety standards. Furthermore, the organization has started to test voluntary-set intelligent speed assistant systems as part of the rating.

Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP Secretary General, says: 'Euro NCAP is continuously evolving in response to industry innovation and consumer expectation. It is very positive that the number of 4 and 5 stars is still significant despite of the ever increasing requirements. In 2014, another big step forward is taken by adding crash avoidance systems such as Autonomous Emergency Braking and Lane Keep Assist/Lane Departure Warning tests to the overall star rating.' Michiel van Ratingen to add: 'The decision to reward collision avoidance technologies on new cars will encourage more widespread fitment and further improve the safety of all road users in Europe. We hope that this, together with very high levels of occupant protection, will allow consumers to choose the very safest vehicles in 2014 and after.'

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Vauxhall breaks or set 18 world/UK records with its Astra hatchback.

  • FIA & MSA confirm that Vauxhall has set/broken 18 World and UK records
  • Astra covered over 3,000 miles in 24 hours on tortuous banked circuit
  • Exceptional reliability: zero down-time for lead record car, despite 125+mph average

Vauxhall flew into the record books today, after motorsport’s governing bodies confirmed that a recent attempt by two standard Ellesmere Port-built Astras to set and break 18 World and UK Speed Endurance Records had been successful.

The lead Astra 2.0 CDTi 165PS in the attempt covered a total of 3002.44 miles at an average 125.101mph, only stopping for fuel and a single, cautionary change of its Michelin tyres.

In partnership with sister company, Opel, Vauxhall attempted two sets of speed endurance records at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire, UK: 12 in the FIA’s* 1600-2000cc forced-induction diesel production car class, and a further six in the MSA’s* 1500-2000cc forced-induction diesel production car class.

All 18 records (see table below) were achieved, with key records such as the World 1-, 6-, and 12-hour broken conclusively, and the long-standing UK 24-hour smashed by 25mph.

Vauxhall invited a team of twelve drivers to complete the challenge, comprising nine motoring journalists and three Vauxhall/Opel staff. Each drove a total of four hours, split between the two cars.

Despite circulating the two-mile banked circuit 1,500 times, both Astras proved hugely reliable and consistently quick, with the fastest two-mile lap achieved in 55.453 seconds at an average speed of 131.852mph, just 2.148mph below the car’s official top speed - no mean feat, given the steep banking on Millbrook High Speed Bowl’s fifth lane.

‘We’re over the moon with today’s news,’ said Simon Hucknall, Vauxhall’s PR Manager. ‘This was an important test for the Astra, and it proved that a car with the qualities that most motorists are after – exceptional reliability, a good performance/economy blend and long-distance comfort – can be found at their nearest Vauxhall showroom.

‘But the attempt was also a success thanks to the stamina and skill of our driving team, who performed faultlessly through the attempt. The team’s ruthless adherence to FIA rules, sponsors’, Michelin and Corbeau’s great support and Millbrook’s efficiency and experience with speed attempts completed the picture and turned an audacious attempt into an unqualified success.’

A presentation by Alan Gow, Chairman of the MSA, was made today at the Autosport International Racing Car Show at the NEC. Receiving the trophy and certificates for the 18 records were Duncan Aldred, Vauxhall’s Chairman and Managing Director and Volker Strycek, Head of OPC and Opel Motorsport. (http://www.autosportinternational.com/).

A short video of the attempt can be found at: http://media.vauxhall.co.uk/content/media/gb/en/vauxhall/videos.html

2013 FIA Land Speed Records
Category B Class 9 (over 1,500cc to 2,000cc): Diesel cycle engine with forced induction


2013 British Land Speed Records
Class E (over 1,500cc to 2,000cc) – Group III: Diesel cycle engine with forced induction


New FIA/MSA record holders:

The drivers listed below achieved all the above records collectively

*FIA – Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile; MSA – Motor Sports Association

Kia GT4 Stinger Concept to be launched at Detroit

Kia’s GT4 Stinger concept will be unveiled at the 2014 North American International Auto Show next week.

Beneath the low wedge of the sculpted bonnet resides a tuned version of Kia’s proven 2.0-litre turbocharged gasoline direct injection (T-GDI) four-cylinder engine pumping out an impressive 315 horsepower.

A close-ratio six-speed manual transmission directs power to the rear wheels where 275/35R20 Pirelli P-Zero performance tyres meet the asphalt.  Custom 20-inch aluminium centre-lock wheels feature carbon fibre inserts for strength and weight reduction.

Tucked inside the massive wheels and bringing the GT4 to a halt are Brembo Gran Tourismo two-piece cross-drilled rotors with four-piston callipers. And underpinning the GT4 Stinger’s sculpted ‘Ignition Yellow’ covered body is a custom chassis with an independent double wishbone suspension.

Full details are to be revealed at the Detroit Motor Show next week.

The Best Euro car but Chinese, Is this the start of the Chinese revolution ?

  • Qoros 3 Sedan ranked safest ‘Small Family’ car of 2013 by Euro NCAP
  • Highest scorer in 2013 Euro NCAP programme in any class
  • One of the best cars tested by Euro NCAP in its history
  • First car developed in China to achieve five star rating

After achieving a maximum five-star rating in the Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) crash tests last September, the compact Qoros 3 Sedan has been confirmed by the safety organisation as the best ‘Small Family’ car of 2013.

The Qoros 3 Sedan is the first car developed in China to be awarded five stars by Euro NCAP. The first production car from Qoros, the new international car brand headquartered in China, scored highly in all four areas of the Euro NCAP tests and its overall score (88%) was the highest achieved by any vehicle tested during 2013 – placing it amongst the very safest cars ever tested by Euro NCAP.

Volker Steinwascher, Vice Chairman of Qoros, said: “The Euro NCAP result demonstrates the high level of design, engineering and production quality that we have achieved with the Qoros 3 Sedan. Reaching these very challenging world-class standards – not just in safety, but in every attribute of the car – was an objective from the very beginning and it is very satisfying to gain recognition for our endeavours.”

Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP Secretary General, commented: “The Qoros 3 Sedan has received the official 2013 best-in-class honour and is the best performer of all the Small Family cars subjected to Euro NCAP’s crash tests in 2013. We congratulate Qoros for having achieved the highest safety record with the Qoros 3 Sedan, which becomes the first car developed in China to achieve the highest five stars at Euro NCAP’s tough crash test programme.”

The Qoros 3 Sedan scored the best result for Adult Occupant protection (95%) in Euro NCAP’s 2013 programme. The passenger safety cell proved to be extremely robust in front-end, side impact and pole impact collisions – minimising exposure of passengers to collision forces by diverting impact loads along predefined paths to dissipate their effect.

Equipped in the rear with ISOFIX child seat anchorages with top tether hooks, and a front passenger airbag disconnect switch, the Qoros 3 Sedan also scored maximum points for Child Occupant protection (87%) in the front and side crash tests, while proving compatible with all the Euro NCAP approved child seats.

It also achieved an impressive result in Pedestrian protection (77%) thanks to a development programme that included meticulous work with Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE). Qoros’ expert safety team developed one of the best pedestrian protection systems ever assessed by Euro NCAP.

The comprehensive suite of standard ‘passive’ safety equipment (designed to keep occupants safe during an accident) fitted to the Qoros 3 Sedan includes front and side airbags, full length curtain airbags, three-point automatic seat belts on all seats and dual belt tensioners for front passengers. The front seat head restraints are designed to reduce whiplash injuries in a rear-end collision.

The latest Euro NCAP test criteria includes an assessment of a vehicle’s ‘active’ Safety Assistance Systems (those designed to help prevent accidents) and here, the Qoros 3 Sedan also recorded an excellent result (81%). Standard equipment includes: ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), BA (Brake Assist) and ESC (Electronic Stability Control), plus seat belt reminders for all occupants and a driver-set speed limiting device.

Euro NCAP is an independent consortium with eleven members made up of government representatives, automobile clubs and consumer protection organisations.  The transport ministries of Sweden, France, the UK, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Catalonia and Germany are involved, alongside the FIA, the German Automobile Club (ADAC), International Consumer Research and Testing (ICRT) organisation, and the Thatcham Research Centre run by British motor insurers. It continually adapts its assessment protocols, challenging manufacturers to deliver ever safer vehicles. The 2013 assessment was the most challenging so far, with the Pedestrian protection procedures being even more comprehensive than 2012, along with tougher scoring criteria in the Safety Assistance Systems assessments.

The four Euro NCAP test criteria are given different weighting when calculating the vehicle’s overall score. Adult Occupant protection has a 50 per cent weighting, Child Occupant and Pedestrian protection categories each have a 20 per cent weighting, and Safety Assistance Systems has a 10 per cent weighting.

Rolls Royce finished 2013 with record sales for 4th consecutive year.

  • 3,630 cars delivered to customers in 2013, the fourth consecutive record year and the highest in the marque’s history.
  • Rolls-Royce confirms leadership of super-luxury segment over Euros 200,000 net.
  • Rolls-Royce remains the world’s leading super-luxury automobile.
  • Bespoke content at highest-ever levels.
  • Rolls-Royce motor cars are now sold in more than 40 countries worldwide.
  • China and United States in top two regional positions.
  • 100 new jobs to be created at the Goodwood-based manufacturing plant in 2014.
  • Rolls-Royce reaffirms position at pinnacle of British luxury goods manufacturing.
  • Highest annual sales are announced in the marque’s 110th year.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars today revealed record sales results for 2013. 3,630 cars were sold globally during the year, which represents the company’s fourth consecutive record. The result is announced in the 110th year of the marque.

These results confirm Rolls-Royce’s clear position as the world’s leading super-luxury brand.  Strong sales growth was reported across the globe, with notable results seen in the Middle East (up 17%) and China (up 11%). Several countries recorded strong sales performances, including Germany, Japan, Qatar and Canada. China and the United States remained the most significant individual markets for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars followed by the Middle East. Rolls-Royce sold motor cars in more than 40 countries worldwide, building on success in emerging markets such as Istanbul, Beirut, Lagos, Hanoi, Perth, Taichung, Queensland
and Perth.

As part of the company’s commitment to long-term sustainable growth, there was significant dealer development during the year. 15 new dealerships opened across the world, taking the total to 120 for the first time in the company’s history. Further dealership expansion is planned for 2014.

The Company also announced a 2014 recruitment programme for 100 new permanent jobs based at the Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood, primarily in the manufacturing areas. This is in addition to the 100 new jobs announced in July 2013. More than 1300 people are now employed by Rolls-Royce worldwide.

“I stated at the beginning of last year that I wished to see further sustainable growth, I am therefore delighted with this fourth successive record year, a result that reaffirms our leadership of the super-luxury segment,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “This is an extraordinary British manufacturing success story borne out of a commitment to delivering only the very finest super-luxury goods. I am particularly satisfied to report that this result is based on a balanced global sales picture, with continued success in emerging markets paving the way for future sustainable growth.”

Business Secretary Vince Cable said, “Rolls-Royce’s impressive sales record and the new jobs they have created shows the strength of this iconic brand and reflects the rising success of the British car industry. Last year, car exports generated over £30 billion for our economy – a rise of around 7%. The Government's industrial strategy is giving businesses like Rolls-Royce the confidence to invest – delivering skilled jobs and driving growth.”

Andrew Tyrie, Member of Parliament for Chichester, said, “This is very good news for Britain and for my constituents. I’m delighted for Rolls-Royce and for all those who work there. It’s great to have such a centre of excellence near Chichester.”

2013 also marked another record for the Rolls-Royce Bespoke personalisation programme, a service unmatched in the automotive world. Nearly every Phantom family model, and three out of every four Ghosts, left the Home of Rolls-Royce with bespoke personalisation.

Wraith was offered with Bespoke capability from the start of production and many customers have already taken the opportunity to personalise their new motor cars. Sales were also enhanced by several exceptional bespoke collections in 2013, including Home of Rolls-Royce and Alpine Trial Centenary, and a number of unique creations, including the Celestial Phantom and Ghost Golden Sunbird.

The company’s portfolio includes the pinnacle Phantom family products – Phantom, Phantom Extended Wheelbase, Phantom Drophead Coupé and Phantom Coupé – and the Ghost family – Ghost and Ghost Extended Wheelbase. Demand for all variants was strong. The company’s new model, Wraith, was unveiled in March at the Geneva Motor Show to worldwide acclaim and the first customer cars were delivered during the fourth quarter. Wraith already has a strong order book.

Rolls‑Royce has successfully retained its position at the very pinnacle of the super-luxury market, maintaining segment leadership for motor cars selling above Euros 200,000 net. No other luxury brand sells as many cars in this segment as Rolls-Royce.

Heritage: 110th Year Anniversary

The company founders, the Hon. Charles Stewart Rolls and Frederick Henry Royce (later Sir Henry Royce) first met in May 1904 at the Midland Hotel in Manchester. Both parties knew each other by repute and they were introduced by Henry Edmunds, a business associate, fellow pioneer motorist and Director of Royce Limited. Rolls agreed to take Royce's entire production and the cars were to be marketed as Rolls‑Royces from late 1904. Here was the start of a legend where the two names became synonymous with superlative quality in so many spheres and which continues to this day.

refreshed Peugeot 5008 gets new corporate look, enhanced spec and small increase in price.

  • Seven-seater PEUGEOT 5008 benefits from contemporary new look and additional equipment
  • Versatile family vehicle with adjustable seating that folds, slides or can be hidden in the boot floor
  • Higher-specification combines high-driving position with high comfort levels for all occupants  

The versatile PEUGEOT 5008 Compact MPV is the latest model in the brand’s extensive line-up of passenger cars to benefit from a comprehensive makeover, bringing it into line with the rest of the range of recent models that includes the 208, 2008, New 308 and 3008 Crossover.

The mid-life, re-styled update features significant external changes to enhance the visual appeal of the practical seven-seater. It includes external and internal upgrades, a higher specification, new equipment and revised pricing.

Key to the 5008’s appeal will be the latest PEUGEOT family ‘face’ with the striking ‘floating’ front grille that’s already proved such a hit with buyers choosing the recently-launched Peugeot 208 and 2008. It’s flanked by redesigned headlamps with a bold new LED signature built into the lower portion. On each side of the lower air intake, chromed trim emphasises the fog lamps with its C-shape design.

Nine colours are available among which are the new Rich Oak and Artense Grey, enhanced with extra chrome trim around the windows. Alloy wheels are available from 16” to 18” with a new 17” diamond Anthra Grey alloy wheel design.

Enhanced specification is now available at every level and though there is a small increase to price, £200 on Access, £300 on Active and £350 on Allure, the value of the new specification, when combined with the re-styled exterior, easily outweighs the cost.

Starting from £18,800 with the ACCESS 1.6-litre VTi 120bhp petrol, the entry level diesel model is the 1.6-litre HDi FAP 115bhp at £20,495, with the e-HDi FAP EGC (Electronic Gearbox Control) version having the lowest CO2 emissions of 113g/km and priced at £21,345.

Reversing camera

To go a step further, the front and rear parking assistance can be supplemented by a reversing camera. Installed on the tailgate, its image is reproduced on the dashboard screen and indicates the outline of the vehicle in its surroundings using coloured markings. Reversing becomes easier, as does looking for a parking space! The available space measurement system informs the driver when the size of a parking space is suitable.

Head up display

Without taking your eyes off the road, a single glance at this equipment is all it takes to know the speed of the vehicle and the distance from the vehicle in front, thanks to the Distance Alert. The angle and brightness of the polycarbonate strip are controlled by means of switches arranged within easy reach on the centre console. Close-by, on the dashboard, the screen for the audio-navigation and the trip computer is retractable. Now covered with an attractive laser etching effect, the centre console groups together all of the controls.


CO2 emissions start from 113g/km and the range consists of six engines/transmission combinations, two petrol and four diesels, with manual, automatic or ETG gearboxes:

Diesel range:

  • 1.6-litre e-HDi FAP 115bhp, ETG6 (Efficient Tronic Gearbox), 65.7mpg and CO2 at 113g/km
  • 1.6-litre HDi FAP 115bhp, 6-speed manual gearbox, 56.4mpg and CO2 at 128g/km
  • 2.0-litre HDi FAP 150bhp, 6-speed manual gearbox, 53.3mpg and CO2 at 138g/km
  • 2.0-litre HDi FAP 163bhp, 6-speed automatic gearbox, 44.8mpg and CO2 at 164g/km

Petrol range:

  • 1.6-litre VTi 120bhp, 5-speed manual gearbox, 40.9mpg and CO2 159g/km
  • 1.6-litre THP 156bhp, 6-speed manual gearbox, 40.4mpg and CO2 163g/km

Within a compact size, the 5008 is one of the UK’s most practical and comfortable family cars. With an elevated seating position, the driver has a clear view in every direction. Behind, the interior takes versatility to a new level. Five individually retractable seats – three in the second row and another two behind – fold to create a flat floor. It means the modular cabin can be adapted to take any load shape, and the folding front passenger seat means longer cargo isn’t an issue.

The PEUGEOT 5008 has won numerous awards notably in the UK it was DieselCar ‘Best MPV’ and Overall ‘Car of the Year’, What Car? ‘Best MPV’ and ‘Green Car’ and Scottish Motoring Writers ‘Best MPV’.

Limited Edition Rolls Royce Ghost -

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is delighted to announce the launch of Ghost V-Specification; a limited series of Ghost and Ghost Extended Wheelbase motor cars that will be available for customers to commission from January to June 2014.

“This limited series celebrates one of Ghost’s defining characteristics; the exquisite 6.6 litre Rolls-Royce V12 engine,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “Since its introduction in 2009, an extraordinary marriage of assured presence and remarkable driving dynamics has endeared Ghost to a new generation of highly discerning businessmen and women, ensuring the car’s position as the statement of choice for a growing band of successful entrepreneurs around the world.”

At the heart of the Ghost’s driving experience is its hallmark V12 engine. Acceleration is delivered with a characteristic immediacy and smoothness, propelling occupants from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds with 80% of power available from idle. This unique powertrain is celebrated with a 30bhp / 22kw power increase on all Ghost V-Specification motor cars.

Elegantly applied design touches hint at Ghost V-Specification’s inherent dynamism. V-Specification motif coachlines finish the exterior paint-scheme whilst customers can either choose from five specially selected exterior colours, or from Rolls-Royce’s 44,000 hue palette. Optional visible chrome exhausts and 21” part-polished wheels add further expression to the car’s dynamic promise.

The V-Specification motif is echoed around the car’s handcrafted interior through engraving to the treadplates, embroidery to the rear armrest and hand-applied steel inlays to the front multimedia screen lid. The interior is completed with an exclusively designed clock with a black crown surrounding the face.

CES previews AUDI TT cockpit and dashboard - very futuristic.

  • New, slimline instrument panel with driver-focused display
  • Audi virtual cockpit and new MMI focus on intuitive use
  • Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg: “Enabling the driver to experience technology”

Puristic, intuitive and fully focused on the driver – for the new TT, Audi is significantly advancing its interior design. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas (January 6 to 10, 2014) the brand with the four rings will, for the first time, be offering a preview of the interior of the compact sports car, which will be launched on the market in the course of the year.

As Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG for Technical Development says, “The first Audi TT was the design icon per se, the second generation was even sportier, right through to the TT RS plus with its five-cylinder TFSI and 360PS. And with the new Audi TT, the driver will be able to experience the technology to an even greater extent – just as would be expected from a genuine sports car. And it comes with a new generation of electronics and connectivity features.”

For this reason, the Audi virtual cockpit is the focus of attention for the first time in one of the brand’s production models. The fully digital instrument cluster displays all the information directly in front of the driver, meaning that there is no need for a central MMI monitor. This solution gave the designers the freedom to slim down the instrument panel architecture such that it visually conveys the Audi lightweight construction principle.

With its clear lines and innovative operation, the interior of the next TT generation has been redesigned from the ground up. From above, the instrument panel resembles an airplane wing; set low and with a turbine look about them, the round air nozzles, a classic TT feature, are reminiscent of jet engines. The controls for the air conditioning are also housed in the vents – the adjustment functions for seat heating, and for the temperature, direction and strength of the flow of air are located in their axes, with small displays indicating the chosen setting. Located beneath the central air nozzles, the switches for the hazard warning light and the secondary functions are centrally positioned and easily accessible.

With its brilliant graphics with a 3D impression and highly-detailed effects, the Audi virtual cockpit with its 12.3-inch TFT monitor sets new standards. Drivers can switch between two display modes. In the classic view, the speedometer and rev counter are in the foreground, while in “infotainment” mode, the virtual instruments are smaller. The space that is then created offers ample display space for functions such as the navigation map.

All elements of the new Audi TT operating concept are focused on the driver. The compact sports car’s new multifunction steering wheel features a flat-bottomed rim, with aluminium-look clips framing its spokes. The buttons and controls on the spokes allow you to control almost all functions, including the ultra-modern infotainment system. The menu is structured to reflect that of a smartphone and includes a full-text search function (MMI search). All the main functions are just a few clicks away. The MMI terminal on the centre tunnel console, the second control unit alongside the steering wheel, has also been exhaustively redeveloped. Thanks to the MMI touch, the driver can scroll and zoom in lists and on maps. Accessing other options has been simplified; in future this will be possible using just two rather than four buttons in the area surrounding the rotary pushbutton.

The innovations in the Audi TT interior include the S sport seats with their significantly curved side bolsters, the integrated headrests and the low seating position typical of a sports car. The slender character of the seats is emphasised by bezels on the flanks of the backrest and a cover on the back; the backrest is adjusted using a loop. The side bolsters of the S sport seats can be adjusted pneumatically.

With its clear, sharp lines, the interior as a whole perfectly expresses the sporty nature of the new Audi TT. The centre tunnel console, that supports the lower leg when driving fast through a bend, and the door panels boast flowing mutually-reinforcing contours. All the details highlight Audi’s attention to quality – from the design of the gear knob and the precise functioning of the rotary pushbutton to the Audi virtual cockpit.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Bentley finished 2013 flying high

  • 10,120 cars delivered in 2013
  • Results confirm Bentley’s position as world’s most sought after luxury car brand
  • Flying start for Flying Spur
  • Dealer expansion continues, now includes 54 territories

Bentley Motors has firmly reinforced its position as the leading manufacturer of luxury vehicles in the world after announcing a 19% increase in global deliveries in 2013. 10,120 cars were delivered, the highest figure in Bentley’s 95-year history, against 8,510 in 2012.

The Americas region continued its impressive performance and number one market position, while Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Europe, particularly Germany and the UK, posted substantial gains over the previous year. The global sales network also increased by 11%, to 193 showrooms.

Commenting on the results, Bentley’s Chairman and Chief Executive, Dr Wolfgang Schreiber, said:

“2013 marks our fourth consecutive year of double-digit growth, establishing ourselves as the most sought after luxury car brand in the world. We continue to win new customers and we are confident that 2014 will be another successful year for Bentley. People all over the world love the unique combination of luxury and performance of our cars.”

New models were critical to this success. In 2013 Bentley launched the new Flying Spur, the fastest and most powerful Bentley four-door model ever. In the final four months of 2013, with full availability of the new model, Bentley delivered 2,005 Flying Spurs to customers - a phenomenal reception, considering the average yearly sales of 2,700 cars of its predecessor, the Continental Flying Spur, during its seven year tenure.

Deliveries also commenced for Bentley’s open-top performance flagship, the Continental GT Speed Convertible. The Continental family now has four distinct models, with the recently unveiled GT V8 S added to the range. This gives V8 customers a choice for the first time.

According to the latest figures, Bentley’s full year market share performance in the luxury segment rose by three percentage points, taking it to 25%, a market leading position in a segment that decreased by 6%.  

Bentley’s number one market throughout 2013 was the Americas region, finishing the year delivering 28% (3,140 cars) more cars than 2012 (2,457 cars), and 31% of the total deliveries. China remained the second biggest market, with 2,191 cars delivered in total over the year, against the previous year (2,253 cars).

In Europe, deliveries were up by 11%, with 1,480 cars delivered to customers. Bentley’s home market, the UK, also saw impressive gains, delivering 1,381 cars, a 25% increase on 2012 (1,104 cars). Overall, this means that 86% of Bentley’s cars were shipped abroad.

Bentley’s growing presence in the Middle East and Asia Pacific resulted in deliveries hitting a record high in both markets.

Performance was strengthened in the Middle East by Bentley’s flagship model, the Mulsanne, with model sales up by 38%, and total deliveries increasing by 45% (1,185 cars) on 2012 (815 cars).

In Asia Pacific, deliveries rose by 26% (452 cars) on the previous year (358 cars), driven by success of the two-door Continental GT model line. Finally, Japan saw growth of 53%, delivering 291 cars against a total of 190 cars in 2012.

Bentley’s success was driven by increases across all model lines.

JLR launches recruitment drive for new Power plant facility in Wolverhampton.

  • Jaguar Land Rover launches campaign to recruit world-class manufacturing team at its new Engine Manufacturing Centre
  • Phased campaign to recruit circa 600 people in the next four years
  • Working in close partnership with local councils, colleges and Jobcentre Plus, a bespoke skills development programme for the unemployed has been created

Jaguar Land Rover has launched the first significant campaign to recruit 1,400 employees at its new state-of-the-art Engine Manufacturing Centre based at the i54 South Staffordshire business park near Wolverhampton. The first phase will see the creation of in the region of 600 manufacturing roles at the plant in the next four years.

Jaguar Land Rover is investing more than £500 million in its new Engine Manufacturing Centre bringing engine supply back to its production doorstep providing significant new resource to support continued innovation. These roles will be required to support the manufacture of Jaguar Land Rover’s new family of high technology, low emission engines. The team will be responsible for the assembly of engine components, operation of the plant’s world class manufacturing equipment, supporting tool changes and material line feed.

Trevor Leeks, the Engine Manufacturing Centre’s new Operations Director said, “Our new Engine Manufacturing Centre is a significant strand of Jaguar Land Rover’s global growth ambitions and it is critical that we have a world-class manufacturing team at the heart of our new plant.

“We are entering the next phase of the programme with our small team moving onsite just last week. Today, we are starting to build our operational team for the future with the launch of our recruitment campaign.

“We are looking for dedicated, committed and passionate people to join the Jaguar Land Rover team at the Engine Manufacturing Centre.”

Jaguar Land Rover has worked in partnership with Wolverhampton City Council, Staffordshire County Council and South Staffordshire Council to create a tailored training programme for local unemployed people to develop the skills required at the plant. The six-week training programme will cover topics such as enhanced literacy & numeracy skills, how to approach competency based interviews, team exercises and interview preparation. The programme will be managed and co-ordinated by JobCentre Plus across Wolverhampton and Staffordshire.

The Engine Manufacturing Centre’s team currently stands at around 100 people including 18 apprentices and 6 graduates. In addition to the manufacturing roles at the plant, there are also additional opportunities available in a range of engineering and supervisory roles.

To apply for a position at the Engine Manufacturing Centre, please visit: www.jaguarlandrovercareers.com.

Volvo'c latests XC concept the way forward for the XC90?

The second of Volvo’s three concept cars is the new Volvo Concept XC Coupé. Inspired by the design of modern sports equipment and demonstrating the safety capabilities of Volvo’s new Scalable Product Architecture, it is a sophisticated and capable car for people with an active lifestyle.

“Those who love extreme sports freely seek new thrills and challenges. To ensure that they make it back in one piece, they prefer high-performance equipment that offers the ultimate sense of freedom and protection,” says Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President Design of Volvo Car Group.

“The Volvo Concept XC Coupé is perfectly in tune with this active lifestyle. Its capability and protection is cleverly integrated into the sophisticated looks. Concept XC Coupé is ready and willing to bring you into the adventure zone and back,” he adds.

Sleeker and safer at the same time

The three concept cars are designed to demonstrate vital elements of the company’s new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA): the confident stance, the proportions and the most prominent design signatures.

“Concept XC Coupé also shows how clever engineering makes it possible for us to reinforce our world-leading safety without compromising design, size or weight. Thanks to the extensive use of high-strength boron steel and structures with new, ingenious decoupling, we can make SPA cars more compact and safer at the same time,” says Thomas Ingenlath.

The two-door, four-seater Volvo Concept XC Coupé has a strong connection with its sibling, the Volvo Concept Coupé. However, the larger 21-inch wheels, the more accentuated wheel-arches and the taller roofline all contribute to a more robust impression and a fuller, capable look.

The extended distance between the dashboard and the front axle is still a very powerful visual element. The capable stance is emphasised by details such as the new bonnet and a beltline that spans an elegant bow along the length of the car.

High-tech sport gear

The connection with modern, high-tech sports gear is highly present in the concept car. Among the sources of inspiration for the design team is the Swedish company POC, which develops high-tech protective gear for extreme sports athletes.

“Several orange details and exterior graphics in combination with bold use of matte rubber mouldings, which cover the rear end of the car, add to the highly functional expression of the design,” says Thomas Ingenlath.

To strike the right balance between aesthetics and functionality, the design team has also given traditional SUV elements, such as side mouldings and skid plates, a modern interpretation. They are more integrated into the sleek design, flush with the surrounding body areas.

T-shaped DRL lights

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

“Both concept cars show how we can shape our cars from now on. We add emotional value to the Volvo brand with the calm, confident beauty that is the hallmark of Scandinavian design,” says Thomas Ingenlath.

Building on a proud XC heritage

Volvo Cars paved the way for a completely new segment by introducing the V70 Cross Country in 1997. The range has been continuously developed and extended since then. Presently, it spans from the Volvo V40 Cross Country, via the XC60 and XC70, to the XC90.

“With the Volvo Concept XC Coupé, we take this unique blend of capable ruggedness and expressive elegance up to a new, sportier attitude,” says Thomas Ingenlath.