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, 1 August 2014

Skoda posts significant gains in profits, income and revenues.

  • Record half year: 522,500 deliveries; up 12.5%
  • Sales up 20.3% to six billion euros by the end of June
  • Operating profit increases 74.9% to 425 million euros
  • The most comprehensive model campaign in ŠKODA’s history continues
ŠKODA has significantly increased deliveries, sales revenue and operating profit in the first half of 2014. Selling 522,500 vehicles, this was the first time that the Czech carmaker has delivered more than half a million vehicles worldwide in the first half of a year (January to June 2013: 464,600; up 12.5%). Sales revenue also increased in the same period, setting a new record for the first half of a year of six billion euros (5.974 billion euros). This is an increase of 20.3% over the first half of 2013 (4.966 billion euros). Operating profit increased compared to the same period last year by 74.9% to 425 million euros.

“ŠKODA did very well in the first half of the year and continues on a stable path of growth,” says ŠKODA CEO Prof. Dr. h.c. Winfried Vahland. “The brand’s strength has been demonstrated through the best first-half sales year in corporate history and the significant increases in sales and revenue. Our model campaign is now showing its full power, and we are even conquering new consumer groups. The new Octavia, the heart of the brand, has been a great hit in every respect, and has exceeded our expectations. We plan to continue along this path of growth and energetically continue the most comprehensive product campaign in our corporate history.”
ŠKODA’s sales revenue reached 5.974 billion euros in the first half of the year – 20.3% higher than the first six months of 2013 (4.966 billion euros). Over the same period, operating profit increased 74.9% to 425 million euros (first half of 2013: 243 million euros). The operating margin, at 7.1%, was above the previous year's figure of 4.9%. The increased profit was due in part to the higher number of deliveries and also to the enhanced model line-up and more favourable product costs. Net liquidity rose by 41.9% to 1.855 billion euros. Investments amounted to 149 million euros (January to June 2013: 265 million euros).
“ŠKODA has grown profitably in the first half of the year,” says ŠKODA CFO Winfried Krause. “The investments we made into the new models are paying off. Besides the higher profit, the increase in net liquidity also demonstrates the company's financial strength. ŠKODA also expects increases in sales, sales revenue and profit for the full year. In light of the fiercely competitive environment, strict cost discipline remains our central concern.”
ŠKODA AUTO Group – Sales figures in the first half of 2014/2013
  Units 20142013Change in %
Deliveries to customers (DTC) Cars 522,500464,600+12.5
DTC without China Cars 391,800344,400+13.8
Production Cars 397,400322,000+23.4
Sales Cars 425,500362,200+17.5
Sales revenue Million EUR 5,9744,966+20.3
Operating profit Million EUR 425243+74.9
Operating profit as % of sales Percent 7.14.9-
Investments (w/o capitalised development costs) Million EUR 149265-43.8
Net liquidity Million EUR 1,8551,307+41.9

Hyundai i10 wins Car of the Year from Car Dealers Power awards.

  • Hyundai i10 is voted Car of the Year by UK Dealers
  • Dealers praise its looks, build quality, refinement and warranty
  • Prices for the New Generation i10 start from £8,595 OTR
The New Generation i10 has been awarded ‘Car of the Year’ at the 2014 Car Dealer Power awards.
Voted for entirely by UK car dealers, the i10 triumphed over some tough competition from the likes of the popular Ford Fiesta ST and the Skoda Octavia.  The dealers praised its looks, build quality, value for money, refinement and industry-leading five-year unlimited mileage warranty - that is helping to encourage repeat  business.
James Batchelor, editor of Car Dealer magazine, said: “I am absolutely delighted to name the outstanding Hyundai i10 as Car of the Year in our annual Car Dealer Power awards. 

Hundreds of UK dealers took part in this year’s survey which makes it the most comprehensive of its kind in the industry. Hyundai should take great comfort in knowing that this award has been voted for by dealer partners right across the UK - regardless of which franchise they represent.”
Tony Whitehorn commented: The New Generation i10 is a hugely significant model for our business and it plays a substantial role in the hotly contested city car segment in the UK. i10 has been Hyundai UK’s best-seller since 2009, and New Generation i10 continues this trend.  We have sold 12,170 units of the New Generation i10 since launch in January of this year and we are delighted that it, not only appeals to existing customers, but is also bringing some new customers to our brand.  We can only thank our fantastic dealer network for getting behind the new model and for helping us to live up to our customers’ expectations.”
The New Generation i10 is available from £8,595 OTR.  For more information, please log on to www.hyundai.co.uk.

Hyundai gives strong hints at next generation i20.

  • Inspired by ‘Fluidic Sculpture 2.0’ design philosophy
  • Styled at Hyundai Motor’s Design Centre Europe
  • Packaging and dimensions create generous proportions
Hyundai Motor has revealed design renderings of the New Generation i20.
The new version of Hyundai’s popular B-segment model features the brand’s ‘Fluidic Sculpture 2.0’ design philosophy, in a sophisticated and distinctive design.
The long hood and generous shape create a powerful stance for New Generation i20. The body sides are sculpted yet the overall architecture is clear and simple, with the cabin sitting cleanly on the body. In profile, the dark treatment of the C-pillar visually accentuates the car’s length.

The front presents a bold new interpretation of the well-established Hyundai hexagonal grille and a new thin horizontal strip connecting the headlamps. At the back, the wrap-around rear window and unique treatment for the lamp clusters combine with the car’s hatchback proportions to create a distinctive design.
The New Generation i20 was designed at Hyundai Motor’s Design Centre Europe in Rüsselsheim, Germany.
More details about New Generation i20 will be released ahead of its world premiere at the Mondial de l'Automobile 2014 in Paris in October.

The Jaguar D-Type - 60 years old and an icon of motoring.

1955 XKD523 – International Concours debut and not seen publically in 40 years!

A true icon of race engineering – the streamlined structure and breathtaking looks of the D-Type make it one of the most beautiful competition cars ever produced and Salon Privé are thrilled to be celebrating the 60th anniversary of this spectacular car with a specially dedicated class within the Chubb Insurance Concours d’Elégance.
All of the cars entered are steeped in history and provenance but one stands out for its particularly colourful early life and that is XKD523 which makes its international Concours debut after 40 years!
One third of all Jaguar D-Types were sold to buyers in the USA – including XKD523.  First purchased in New York, it was sold by its first owner to drag racer Joe Grimaldi after a disgruntled individual at a race in Nassau put sand into the dry sump tank! Grimaldi raced it successfully at circuits like Bridgehampton, Watkins Glen and Lime Rock.  However, an ill-fated speed record attempt at Daytona damaged the engine beyond repair, leading Grimaldi to install a Chevy V8, citing it as ‘the worst mistake of my life’.

The next owner decided to discard the original chassis frame for a new factory version, with the newly rebuilt car retaining the ‘523’ identity.  Meanwhile, the discarded frame and many other components were sold separately to the UK, creating another ‘523’ – effectively a dual identity car.  Quite wonderfully, the UK owner acquired the US ‘523’ in 2008 and set about having the original components reunited, allowing the car to stand complete again after a 40 year wait!
The colossal D-Type succeeded Jaguar’s C-Type with a marvellous debut at the 1954 Le Mans, where it thundered to a 2nd overall finish. Even though it featured the C-Type’s successful 3.4-litre XK competition engine, the D-Type varied from its forerunner completely as it had a very different construction, featuring two chassis sub-frames bolted to a monocoque. The coachwork was an attractive study of aerodynamics and when you looked closely, suggestions of the forthcoming E-Type with its iconic oval-mouth grille became clear to see.  

Few cars could match the D-Type on the endurance circuits of the period, with many dominating performances at Nürburgring, Reims, Sebring and three consecutive victories at Le Mans (1955 – 1957). The D-Type is a visual tour de force that rubber-stamped Jaguar’s position in post-war racing folklore, and it will always be considered one of the era’s most important and captivating racing cars.  Little wonder that D-Types can be worth millions today!

“Jaguar enjoys a magnificent road and race heritage and the D-Type was pivotal in cementing this during the 1950s -showcasing the engine power and design capabilities of the works’ engineers and mechanics’
D-Types are very rare; there were only 71 originally made and a large number of these were lost in the factory fire of ’57 so to see a class of them at Salon Privé is a real treat and their recognition of the ‘D’ in its 60th year bears testament to Jaguar and the designers of this iconic car.
We were very keen to have our development car, #401, feature as we are always proud for it to be seen, especially at an event like Salon Privé where it will be alongside a selection of other fantastic and equally rare examples.”
TONY O’KEEFFE – Heritage Communications Officer, Jaguar UK
Salon Privé is a boutique event which opens on Wednesday 3rd September with the crème de la crème of classic cars from around the world competing in the internationally-renowned Chubb Insurance Concours d’Elégance.
Tickets to Salon Privé 2014 are available now and can be purchased either by calling the Ticket Hotline on 0808 100 2205 or by going online www.salonprivelondon.com/product-category/full-hospitality/. Entry is fully inclusive of Pommery champagne, BBQ lobster luncheon, English afternoon tea and full access to all areas.

Ford tests auto braking in paris at rush hour, now thats a real test.

  • Ford tests automatic braking technology on some of Europe’s toughest commuting roads at the worst possible time – Paris during rush hour traffic
  • Paris is among 10 most congested cities in Europe with notorious junctions like the Place de l’Etoile at the Arc de Triomphe, where 12 major avenues converge
  •  Ford’s Active City Stop helps reduce severity of rear-end collisions and helps to prevent an accident entirely. Testing found that automatic braking system activated when there was a risk of rear-end collisions
  • Advanced version of Active City Stop, which operates at speeds of up to 30 mph, debuts on the new Ford Focus that goes on sale in Europe later this year
  • New Focus also will debut new Perpendicular Parking that helps drivers reverse into spaces alongside other vehicles, and Park-Out Assist that helps drivers exit parallel spaces
Ford has put its automatic braking technology, Active City Stop, to the test in some of Europe’s toughest driving conditions. The streets of Paris provided the ultimate challenge, with the French capital carrying a reputation as one of the most stressful places to drive in Europe.
Having conducted a comprehensive closed track development and testing process, engineers turned to a challenging real-world environment to test the system. Bumper-to-bumper traffic, dangerous junctions and drivers pushing through the narrowest gaps made Paris the ideal location to put it to the test.
“Paris streets are not for the faint-hearted, with multiple lanes of fast-moving traffic competing for space, and busy junctions testing the nerves of even skilled drivers,” said Nils Gerber, technical expert, Electrical and Electronic Systems Engineering, Ford of Europe. “We knew these streets would be perfect to help test Active City Stop in conditions that are simply not possible to replicate on the test track.”

An advanced version of Active City Stop, which operates at speeds of up to 30 mph, debuts on the new Ford Focus that goes on sale in Europe later this year.
Active City Stop’s light detecting and ranging sensor scans the road ahead 50 times every second, enabling the system to help reduce the severity of rear-end collisions, and in some cases even prevent an accident entirely.
If the driver does not react in time to traffic that is slowing or stopped ahead the system brakes, reduces engine torque, and activates the rear hazard lights.
For the test, professional drivers with local knowledge drove vehicles along busy Paris streets – ranked among the 10 most congested in Europe* – and through notorious junctions like the Place de l’Etoile at Arc de Triomphe, where 12 major avenues converge.
For the purposes of safety the automatic braking function was disabled during the tests, however engineers were able to monitor the system to see when it would have deployed, and to ensure the brakes were only triggered when there was a risk of rear-end collisions. They then examined specific events in more detail using real-time video of the traffic conditions.
“Paris is a very good place for this kind of test – you encounter all kinds of driving situations,” said Pascal Houssais, a professional chauffeur, who took part in the test. “Drivers can be very unpredictable, changing lanes without any warning, and people are always in a hurry.”
The latest Paris testing allowed Ford engineers to cover almost 2,500 miles in five days with Mondeo and Tourneo Connect prototypes during peak traffic conditions. The real-world tests enabled the team to sign off the system as production ready for each model.
Active City Stop has proved a success with European drivers after first being introduced on the Ford Focus in 2011. More than 170,000 Ford vehicles across Europe are now equipped with the technology that has since been extended to the Fiesta, B-MAX, C-MAX, Grand C-MAX, Kuga, Transit Connect and Tourneo Connect.
The new Ford Focus also will introduce advanced technology for safer and less stressful parking. Perpendicular Parking will help drivers reverse hands-free into spaces alongside other cars; Cross Traffic Alert will warn drivers reversing out of a parking space of vehicles that may soon be crossing behind them; and Park-Out Assist will helps drivers exit a parallel parking space.
Looking ahead, Ford researchers are developing a Fully Assisted Parking Aid that could enable drivers to park with only the push of a button from inside or outside of their car.Ford also is investigating advanced systems to help improve road safety based on car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communications. This includes an Electronic Emergency Brake Light that could alert drivers even around corners and through traffic.

Porsche celebrates further improvements in revenues and profits in the first half of 2014.

Sports car manufacturer is keeping solidly to its course of value-creating growth
Porsche AG can look back on a very successful first half of 2014. Deliveries covering the period from the beginning of January to the end of June rose by eight per cent compared with the same period last year to 87,803 vehicles. Revenue went up in the first six months by 16 per cent to 8.2 billion euros. Operating profit grew by eight per cent to 1.4 billion euros, which is equivalent to a return on sales of 17 per cent.
As at 30 June 2014, staff levels reached the record number of 21,326 employees. This is 18 per cent, or 3,178, more than a year ago.
Lutz Meschke, Member of the Executive Board Finance and IT at Porsche AG, emphasised the efficient organisation and the high cost awareness within the company. This is the only way to sustainably achieve a return on sales of at least 15 per cent. In his outlook, Meschke pointed out the rising pressure caused by the ambitious investment program which Porsche is implementing in its Strategy 2018. "The resulting depreciation and rising labour costs pose an ever increasing burden on our results. Add to this the very high expenditure for research and development, in particular in connection with reducing fleet carbon emissions."

Despite this, Meschke confirmed that Porsche intends to achieve at least the same level of results in fiscal year 2014 as in the previous year.
The extensive investment program was visible at all locations in the first half of 2014. In February, the sports car manufacturer opened a comprehensive factory in Leipzig with its own paint shop and body assembly line for production of the Macan.
Porsche invested over 500 million euros here. Two weeks ago, the opening ceremony of a new design studio and high-tech wind tunnel took place at the Research and Development Centre in Weissach. Together with the new electronics integration centre, investment at the Weissach location totals about 150 million euros.
Early this year, work started in Zuffenhausen in Stuttgart on the first construction phase of a new training centre, an engine factory and office and service buildings. Total investments at the main Porsche plant, which includes a new body assembly line, will amount to over 700 million euros in the coming years.
Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG, Matthias Müller, emphasised that the sports car manufacturer is keeping solidly to its course of value-creating growth. "We are investing in ground-breaking future technologies such as plug-in hybrid drive, and in promising market segments." As an example, the Macan has been launched in the high-growth SUV segment.
Müller is convinced that Porsche is "absolutely on the right path with its enormous efforts". As proof, the Chairman of the Executive Board highlighted the top quality of the company’s sports cars. In a quality study presented by US market research institute J.D. Power in June 2014, Porsche rates number one in the overall assessment, as in the previous year. The Panamera is also the best rated car in the entire study. The 911 leads the "Mid-size Premium Sports Car" segment. The Boxster reached first place in the "Compact Premium Sports Car" segment. "These ratings are our affirmation but also our incentive," said Müller.
One result of this quality strategy, added CFO Meschke, also becomes obvious in the continuing success in international sales markets. In financial year 2014, Porsche will increase its sales in its key single markets of the USA, China and Germany, and raise its overall sales figures worldwide.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

USA - Volkswagen recalls certain 2015 Golf models for possible steering issues.

Volkswagen considers the safety and satisfaction of its consumers and passengers a top priority. As such, Volkswagen of America today notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that it will be issuing a voluntary safety recall affecting the front stabiliser rods on certain 2015 model year Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf vehicles.
The recall affects approximately 2,001 Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf vehicles from model year 2015. The fasteners that secure the front stabiliser rods can work loose over time. If this happens, there will be considerable noise coming from the front of the vehicle. In rare cases, this can lead to the rod detaching and interfering with the vehicle’s steering, leading to increased steering effort. Potentially, this could lead to a crash.

To fix the issue, Volkswagen will replace the front stabiliser rods on all affected vehicles.
No accidents or injuries related to this issue have been reported.  Volkswagen will notify all owners of affected vehicles and will instruct them to arrange for an appointment with an authorised Volkswagen dealer.