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, 13 September 2014

Porsche show significant gains across the world, with Panamera showing strongest growth.

Panamera sport sedan shows strongest sales growth
The Stuttgart-based sports car manufacturer has delivered 120,000 new vehicles to customers worldwide from January to August 2014, thus achieving an increase of 12 percent in comparison to the same period last year. In August 2014, Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG delivered around 15,000 vehicles – a jump of 30 percent in comparison to the same month last year.
"Over the course of this year, we have achieved quite a strong growth worldwide,” Bernhard Maier, Member of the Executive Board Sales and Marketing of Porsche AG, stated. “We posted two-digit growth in Europe as well – despite existing uncertainties in several markets. The new Cayenne will provide further stimulus for growth during the next few months and support our qualitative growth strategy."

So far this year, Porsche has recorded similar growth rates in its three biggest sales regions. The sports car maker has announced an increase of 16 percent in Europe, with a little less than 39,000 new cars delivered to customers. In China, more than 28,000 vehicles were handed over in the period from January to August 2014, surpassing the figure of the previous year by 15 percent. In the U.S. market, the deliveries rose 12 percent, to reach a sales figure of nearly 32,000 units sold.
With an increase of 23 percent, the Panamera posted the highest growth in the on-going year: 16,700 sport sedans were delivered to customers all over the world. The second generation of the Cayman mid-engine sports car coupé was also very popular and outdid last year's figure by 16 percent, with 7,200 vehicle deliveries.
AugustJanuary - August
20142013Variance (%)20142013Variance (%)




Asia Pacific, Africa and Mideast

USA - Subaru revises upwards sales for 2014 to half a million.

  • Brand predicted to exceed half a million U.S. sales for the first time by year end.
  • 2014 sales expected to beat 2013 prior record year by more than 17 percent
  • Sales driven by strong performance across all model lines
Subaru of America, Inc. today revised its 2014 full-year sales forecast from 460,000 to 500,000 vehicles with sales expected to exceed the previous best selling year of 2013 by more than 17 percent.

Subaru of America set its fifth consecutive sales record in 2013, as sales jumped to 424,683 vehicles, 26 percent more than the record sales of 2012. The impressive results were supported by the launch of the acclaimed 2014 Forester and a new-segment entry; XV Crosstrek, a small crossover. This impressive sales pace has continued in 2014 with the introduction of the 2015 Outback crossover and Legacy sedan, causing Subaru to revise upward its 2014 sales forecast, beyond its initial record-setting target.

Subaru of America has now seen 33 consecutive months of year-over-year growth and over the past five years has successfully moved its AWD products from being niche entries in their segments to providing widespread appeal.

“Our strong market performance has caused us to increase our year-end sales forecast beyond the notable 500,000 sales mark,” said Thomas J. Doll, president and chief operating officer, Subaru of America, Inc. “The market is telling us that we are delivering products that consumers want at the right prices. When this compelling product is then reinforced by strong retailer representation and backed by a brand that consumers identify with, we can be positive on our future results.”

Maserati nears culmination of centennial celebration with an international gathering.

Three-day drive from Modena to Turin celebrates Maserati’s first Centenary and starts with a prologue in Bologna, by the Fountain of Neptune that inspired the Maserati Trident Badge.
The most eagerly anticipated Maserati event in a year of celebrations is just days away. The unique Maserati Centennial International Gathering marks the culmination of the company’s official Centenary celebrations.
After the prologue in Bologna on Wednesday, 17 September the event will officially start in Modena on Thursday, 18 and conclude in Turin on Saturday 20 September. The three-day event includes an exciting combination of exhibitions and parades, a regularity competition, track practice session, guided tours of the two Maserati factories and a Concours d’Elegance, with cars and collectors from all over the world taking part.
More than 200 Maseratis of all periods, both classic and modern, will be the stars of an unforgettable celebration as they parade through Italian towns along the route. A full complement of road models from the Trident marque’s history will take part including the A6GCS/53, 3500 GT, 5000 GT, Sebring, Mistral, Mexico, examples of the original Ghibli and, Quattroporte, Bora, Indy and Khamsin. The stunning Boomerang prototype will also be in attendance, along with cars from the current model range.

The Gathering will feature cars from across the globe. Current Maserati owners will come from  the United States, China, Korea, Russia, the Arab Emirates and Azerbaijan. When it comes to classic cars, there will be representatives from countries as far afield as Australia and, closer to home, Norway, Sweden, Great Britain, France, Germany and Greece, highlighting the international affection for the Maserati brand.
Among the cars participating in the International Centennial Gathering, are vehicles forming a special convoy of Maseratis from China.  After a month-long tour that began in Beijing in mid-August, crossed the whole of Asia, entered Russia at Ekaterinburg, touched Moscow and passed through Minsk, Warsaw, Prague and Munich, the convoy will arrive in Milan on Sunday and then travel on to Modena.
Wednesday, 17 September
The prologue of the Centennial Gathering on Wednesday, 17 September, in Bologna offers participants the chance to visit Maserati’s first premises at Via de’ Pepoli, where Alfieri, Ettore and Ernesto Maserati opened their first workshop. It is a stone’s throw from Piazza del Nettuno, where they will have a photo-opportunity with their cars by the statue of the god of the seas that inspired the famous choice of badge – the Trident, in red white and blue, the Bologna colours, that went on to become unmistakable on the international motorsports scene. The inspiration to use the iconic emblem came to the only brother not involved in the engineering business, Mario, who was a painter by profession.
Thursday, 18 September
On Thursday the world’s finest Maseratis will officially start the International Gathering by meeting in the centre of Modena, in Piazza Grande, Piazza Mazzini and Via Emilia, before parading in the late afternoon to the factory on Viale Ciro Menotti. It still occupies the historic red brick complex the company moved to in 1939 after the take-over by the Orsi family in 1937, a move made on the understanding that the Maserati brothers would continue to work there for another 10 years.
At the historic headquarters, which for the last decade has also included a modern office building and a futuristic showroom, event participants will take part in a very unusual dinner in the striking setting of the production lines that manufacture Maserati GranTurismo and GranCabrio and Alfa Romeo 4C. This represents a unique opportunity for participants to dine in the surroundings of a state-of-the-art production facility, which also works in harmony with the manual skills of Maserati’s highly specialised workforce.
The dinner, during which tenors of the Luciano Pavarotti Foundation will perform, will offer a unique sensory experience, where the senses of sight, taste and hearing will combine to provide an unforgettable event. It is well known that the bond between the great Modena-born tenor and Maserati was always very strong.
Before this, in the afternoon, participants will visit the outstanding “MASERATI 100 – A Century of Pure Italian Luxury Sports Cars,” exhibition which retraces the brand’s history with some of the most important cars from its past. Housed in the futuristic Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari, a few metres from Viale Ciro Menotti, the exhibition will remain open to the public until January 2015. In terms of the historic value of the items on show, this is the biggest international exhibition of Maserati cars ever held and is an opportunity not to be missed for participants in the exclusive Centennial Gathering.
Friday, 19 September
The destination of the gathering’s second stage is linked to the creation of a racing car that was to set a world speed record. On Friday morning participants will drive towards Turin with a break at the San Martino del Lago circuit near Cremona, where the track practice sessions and regularity competition will take place. This is certain to bring out the racing spirit found in every Maserati’s genes, while their familiar comfort will come to the fore during the journey itself.
This leg of the journey pays homage to Baconin Borzacchini and his 16-cylinder Maserati V4, in which the Italian driver set the world record for the flying 10 kilometres, at an average speed of 246.069 km/h, on 28 September 1929 in Cremona. The record was set on a partially unpaved section of straight normal road temporarily closed to the meagre traffic of the time. It is now part of the ordinary road network and open to traffic so Gathering participants will actually get the chance to drive along the route used to set the original record.
Once the activities on the track have been completed, the procession of fine Maseratis will provide a beauty pageant along the streets of Cremona before setting off for Turin, home of the “Avv. Giovanni Agnelli” plant at Grugliasco that produces the new Quattroporte and Ghibli models.
In Turin, the Maseratis will be parked on show in Piazza Castello. In the evening, a gala dinner will be held in the splendid, majestic setting of the Reggia di Venaria palace: a real event within the event!
Saturday, 20 September
The third and final act of the Centennial Gathering will take place on Saturday 20 September; in the morning, the final section of the regularity competition will be held on the climb to the Basilica of Superga. This will be followed by a guided tour of the Grugliasco plant.
The concluding stage of the event, the Concours d’Elegance, will be held in the afternoon. The cars, divided into 10 classes on the basis of year of construction and type, will be showcased in Piazza San Carlo, in the real heart of Turin.
The Concours and regularity competition awards ceremony will mark the event’s farewell to the large number of fans who are certain to attend. Amongst the prizes, some of which will be kept secret until the time of presentation, Maserati has chosen to reward winners with two “Master Maserati” driving courses and an exclusive “Master Italian Lifestyle Experience.”

New Toyota U2 Concept car debuts at the World Maker Faire in New York.

Calty design studio creates a vehicle inspired by America’s new urban DIY movement
Do-it-yourself is enjoying a big revival in American cities, where a new breed of entrepreneur is taking a can-do approach to urban regeneration. Toyota’s Calty design studio in California has researched the movement by speaking to people attending the hugely popular Maker Faires across the country and has used their views to help create a new small SUV, the Urban Utility concept car – U2.
The U2 concept has an open architecture and is made from robust materials that reflect a no-nonsense urban style. It has practicality built-in, with a roll-back roof and a tailgate that can be folded down to create a ramp. A rail system makes it easy for owners to customise the interior just the way they want it.
Kevin Hunter, Calty President, said: “Toyota saw an opportunity for a new approach to an urban vehicle, based on the increasing re-urbanisation of our cities, and on urban drivers’ desire for flexibility, fun and manoeuvrability.

“Calty keeps a number of projects concealed while it explores ideas and projects. Revealing something like the U2 gives people a window onto the constant innovation that is happening inside Toyota and our studios, and a possible future vision for urban mobility.”
Customisable interior
The Calty team conceived U2 as a flexible, functional gadget, drawing their inspiration from modern entrepreneurship and Americans’ traditional love of adventure and outdoor pursuits that involve plenty of gear and equipment. It needed to be easily adaptable for individual on-the-go needs, witnessed in details such as a retractable utility bar that can do anything from hold a desk to provide hooks for shopping bags. The side windows flip up, so it’s easy to reach in from the roadside.
Other highlights include: -
  • Folding, removable front passenger seat
  • Fold-up rear seats
  • New shift design with an intuitive switch for park, drive and reverse
  • New colour and trim material choices
Toyota research found the fast-growing market for small SUVs seeks greater usefulness, but a smaller vehicle footprint. U2is the size of a compact car, but has the functionality of a traditional pick-up and the spaciousness of a cargo van. It also answers other urban driver priorities in delivering good fuel economy and being easy to manoeuvre, load and unload.
Exterior designed for city life
City streets call for a vehicle that can deal with bumper-to-traffic, potholes and tight turns. Toyota’s U2 concept tackles these demands with a highly durable underbody and bodywork that’s tough as a handtool and which comes with customisable side panels. The look is modern and characterful, too, evident in details such as the slightly chunky proportions and circular doorhandles.
Exterior highlights include: -
  • Retracting roof panels
  • Opening rear glass that slides into the tailgate
  • Drop-down tailgate that forms a load ramp
  • Replaceable protective ridges on the tailgate
Appropriately U2 will make its public debut at the World Maker Faire in New York on 20 – 21 September.

Friday, 12 September 2014

USA RECALL #12 - Mercedes recalls certain S-Class models for possible TPMS failure.

Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC (Mercedes Benz) is recalling certain model year 2011-2012 S550, S550 CGI, S63, S600 Bi-Turbo, S65 AMG, S550 4-Matic, and S550 CGI 4-Matic and S400 Hybrid vehicles manufactured from March 3, 2011, through July 30, 2011, for failing to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 138, "Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)." The tire pressure monitoring system indicators may only illuminate for a portion of the time required by the standard and under certain conditions may not re-illuminate immediately after the vehicle is restarted as required.
If all four wheel sensors in the subject vehicles are simultaneously malfunctioning or missing, the TPMS will provide an initial warning, but this warning will not automatically repeat on subsequent ignition cycles, failing to remind the driver that the system is offline. Driving unknowingly with incorrectly inflated tires may result in sudden tire failure, increasing the risk of a crash.
Mercedes Benz will notify owners, and dealers will reprogram the tire pressure monitoring unit, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in September 2014. Owners may contact Mercedes Benz at 1-800-367-6372.
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Ssangyong to debut two new concepts at Paris.

  • Global debut of XIV-Air and XIV-Adventure, the final development concepts of X100
  • B-segment SUV offers style and practicality
SsangYong Motor Company (CEO Yoo-il Lee; www.smotor.com) will unveil two development concepts, XIV-Air and XIV-Adventure at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, Paris Expo, Porte de Versailles, 2nd (press day) to 19thOctober.

XIV-Air and XIV-Adventure are powered by either a 1.6 litre petrol or 1.6 litre diesel engine that meet Euro 6 emission standards, and measure 4,195mm in length and with a 2,600mm wheelbase.  These two new concepts offer style, practicality and convenience for the smart user, and the new car will go on sale next year.

The XIV-Air and XIV-Adventure are near production ready concepts of the soon to be launched X100.  

Based on the brand’s development philosophy of ‘Robust, Specialty and Premium’ and design theme of ‘Nature born - 3 Motion’, the XIV (eXciting user-Interface Vehicle) is a B-segment SUV series that has been shown at previous international motor shows over the past four years, the first time beginning at the IAA Frankfurt in 2011.

Vauxhall continues new engine roll out with brand new 2.0L Diesel

  • New generation 2.0 CDTi (170PS) premiers in Insignia and Zafira Tourer
  • Power density increased: fuel consumption and CO2 emissions reduced
  • Outstanding running refinement with low noise, vibration and harshness
  • Selective Catalytic Reduction enables Euro 6 compliance
With 170PS and 400Nm, Vauxhall’s all-new 2.0-litre CDTi diesel engine will debut at next month’s 2014 Paris Motor Show (4th – 19th October).
The new state-of-the-art unit will be revealed in the Insignia and Zafria Tourer as Vauxhall continues the roll out of its new powertrain portfolio. The new engine replaces the current 2.0 CDTi (163PS) engine at the top of Vauxhall’s diesel range.
This highly efficient, Euro 6-compliant engine delivers almost five per cent more power and 14 per cent more torque while reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
The engine is also impressively quiet and smooth as a result of Vauxhall’s unwavering focus on ‘sound engineering’ measures to minimise NVH (noise, vibration, harshness). Engine noise has been reduced by five decibels.

The new engine’s power density is 85PS per litre, the same as Vauxhall’s much-lauded 1.6 CDTi ‘Whisper Diesel’ unit. Impressive torque of 400Nm is available from 1,750 to 2,500rpm, and maximum power of 170PS is accessed at just 3,750rpm.
The new 2.0 CDTi runs as clean as a petrol engine thanks to Vauxhall’s BlueInjection Selective Catalytic Reduction system. BlueInjection is an after-treatment which removes NOx from the engine’s exhaust gases.
“This sophisticated engine makes a perfect partner for our top models including Insignia and Zafira Tourer,” said Stuart Harris, Vauxhall’s Head of Carline Brand. “Its high power density, refinement and frugality place it among the very best diesels in its class.”
Available next year, the new 2.0 CDTi is the first in a new family of large diesel engines developed in-house by a global team of engineers in Turin and Rüsselsheim supported by engineers in North America. It will be manufactured at Opel/Vauxhall’s Kaiserslautern engine plant in Germany.
“This excellent new powertrain is part of the company’s €4 billion investment in product and powertrain development, which is helping to bring 23 new products and 13 new engines to market” said Tim Tozer, Vauxhall’s Chairman and Managing Director. “This new large diesel engine is extremely important to Vauxhall as a sizable amount of customers chose a 2.0-litre CDTi engine.”
This 2.0-litre CDTi unit is the latest step in Vauxhall’s powertrain offensive, following the introduction of all-new 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines and a 1.0-litre three cylinder petrol powertrain. 
Key to the engine’s enhanced performance are the newly-designed combustion chamber, the re-profiled intake ports and the new fuel injection system with 2,000 bar and up to 10 injections per cylinder cycle. This ensures high power, improved fuel atomisation and also contributes to quieter running. The definition of the combustion chamber alone was the subject of more than 80 computer design simulations, before the best five were finally selected for hardware development.
The VGT (variable geometry turbocharger) features an electrical actuator for the variable aspect turbine, giving a 20 per cent faster boost response than a vacuum actuator. Exceptionally compact packaging of the VGT and intercooler also minimises the air volume between the turbocharger and engine, further contributing to a fast boost pressure build up. For durability, the turbocharger is water-cooled and has an oil filter fitted at the oil inlet point to help further reduce wear in the bearing system.
The VGT and exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) module have been designed as a single system for optimal efficiency. The EGR module is based around a new stainless steel radiator concept which provides a near 90 per cent cooling efficiency. An integrated, water-cooled EGR bypass valve minimises pressure drop and its closed loop control offers a significant improvement in NOx/PM trade-off under transient driving conditions, while improving the management of HC and CO emissions.
Improved NVH
A consistent improvement in NVH characteristics under all operating conditions was a key requirement for the new engine right from the outset of its design. Several CAE acoustic optimisation loops were executed on each component and sub-system even before the first prototype engines were built.
Architectural improvements focused on two high noise emitting areas at the top and bottom of the engine. A new aluminium cylinder head design, including the addition of a decoupled, plastic cam cover with isolated fixings and a sealing gasket, improves noise attenuation. And the intake manifold is also wrapped in a single shell cover made of sound-absorbing material.
At the bottom of the engine, a new balancer shaft module is fitted, made of high pressure die-cast aluminium. It houses two counter-rotating shafts which offset up to 83 per cent of secondary order engine vibrations. A helical gear on the crankshaft drives one of the balancer shafts, which is geared to drive the other shaft. Scissor gear control ensures smooth gear teeth meshing, and the elimination of a drive chain removes the risk of rattle noise. After detailed analysis, plain instead of roller bearings were preferred for the balancer shafts to further reduce NVH, as well as weight.
The design of the oil pan is also new. The previous single piece solution is now replaced by a two piece design, with a lower sheet metal pan fixed to an upper section in high pressure, die-cast aluminium. NVH performance was further improved by several analysis loops to acoustically optimise the internal and external ribs of both sections.
Other detailed sound engineering measures to reduce operating noise include:
  • Optimised fuel injection patterns for reduced combustion noise without compromising fuel economy; acoustically-designed ribs in the cast iron cylinder block; individual balancing of the VGT compressor and turbine wheels; improved teeth-meshing on the timing belt and decoupled mounting points for its cover.
  • As a result of all these design features, the new engine emits less noise than its predecessor throughout its operating range, and is five decibels quieter at idle.  
Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR)
The new 2.0 CDTi with Vauxhall’s BlueInjection SCR system assures compliance with Euro 6 emissions standards effective September 2015. 
BlueInjection is an after-treatment which removes NOx from the engine’s exhaust gases. Tiny quantities of AdBlue, a harmless fluid consisting of urea and water, are injected into the exhaust gas flow ahead of the SCR catalyst and downstream of the diesel particulate filter. The solution is immediately converted into ammonia, which is absorbed by the SCR catalyst. Nitrogen oxide in the passing exhaust gas is then selectively reduced to harmless nitrogen and water vapor in a chemical reaction with the ammonia.
The AdBlue solution, available at filling stations and Vauxhall dealerships, is stored in a tank, which can be topped up as required via a nozzle adjacent to the vehicle’s fuel filler cap.