My thoughts on all things motoring, press releases, reviews & techie stuff, from around the world.
Please note that the pictures of vehicles within this blog are used as examples of the specific press releases, on occasions, due to the lack of available official pictures, examples are re-produced.
ANY AND ALL PROFANITIES WILL BE REMOVED AND THE PERSON/S RESPONSIBLE WILL BE BANNED, NO EXCEPTIONS.
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.
A sled pulled by six Alaskan and Siberian huskies measures up against the Leon CUPRA, driven by racer Jordi Gené, on a frozen lake in Lapland; a fun challenge aimed at bringing out the best in each of them: the endurance of these ancestral breeds, which can run around 130 km in a day, and the 300 horsepower of the brand’s most powerful car.
Power and endurance: While the Leon CUPRA is characterised by its performance, accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds, huskies are known for their endurance, although they are considered among the 20 fastest dog breeds. They make five-day journeys, reach a maximum speed of 40 km/h and each pull their own weight of around 30 kilos.
1 metre thick ice beneath the wheels: Nearly a metre of ice blankets Lake Pikku-Nissi, one of the 188,000 there are in Finland, and enables cars and dogsleds to cross it without any problems, from the end of the year until well into April.
Leader mentality: Mamba and Mustys are the two lead dogs that guide the team while sledding. Their trainer, Susi Normand, claims that they become leaders of the pack instinctively: “They have to be mentally strong and brave”. “Just like race drivers," smiles Jordi.
On any surface: The grip of their paws enables them to run over ice or snow at the same speed. Gené also takes full advantage of the Leon CUPRA’s 4Drive and snow tyres with special studs for extreme driving on ice.
25 ºC below zero: For the huskies, the -5 ºC displayed on the thermometer is typical of a balmy day; the ideal temperature for them is between -10 and -25 degrees. The same way their fur enables them to withstand the cold, cars can also endure very low temperatures. In fact, they are tested at temperatures ranging from -40 ºC to 110 ºC to guarantee their quality remains the same no matter what the weather conditions are like.
Brakes to match their power: Just as the CUPRA features four-pot Brembo brake callipers, the sled is equipped with a clawed metal bar. Both require a brake to match their performance. In fact, the dogs pull so hard that the musher has to step on the brake with both feet to prevent an excited team from taking off before the order is given. While on the move, it stabilises the seat and prevents the sled from swinging when taking curves. “We both take bends in a similar way: we brake before the curve to position the vehicle and ride it out correctly,” says Jordi.
Purebred champions: Huskies participate in several dogsled competitions all over the world, such as the European Championship or the End of the World Race in Argentina. On the other hand, the CUPRA have also achieved impressive successes in their lifetime, especially two record times on the Nürburgring, where both the Leon ST and the 5-door Leon set a lap time of under 8 minutes.
Second vehicle from brand new facility to be a Light Commercial Van
Purpose built, range extended EV to meet needs of the commercial sector across the globe
Advanced technology to help tackle urban pollution crisis
Targeting “last mile” delivery, distribution and maintenance sectors
Incremental additional investment of around £25m bringing the total investment by parent Geely to £325m
Following today’s official opening of the London Taxi Company’s brand new R&D and manufacturing facility in Ansty, the company is delighted to announce that the second vehicle to come off the line will be a dedicated, range extended electric light commercial van (LCV).
This all new, highly flexible, commercially competitive electric vehicle will help fleet owners lower their running costs, improve air quality and support cities in tackling the pollution crisis in urban areas.
Chris Gubbey, CEO of the London Taxi Company said: “This is going to be the future proofed ’white van’ that people have been waiting for. Designed solely for the urban commercial sector, dedicated to the people who keep our cities working, it will be clean, competitive and ready for cities of the future.”
The air quality crisis in many urban environments has highlighted the scale of the opportunity and demand for zero emissions capable commercial vehicles in major cities across the world.
Electrification is a key component of the global strategy to reduce emissions and the London Taxi Company is determined to apply its expertise in advanced electric vehicle technology, and the taxi market, to urban commercial vehicles.
Carl-Peter Forster, Chairman of the London Taxi Company said:“In addition to our brand-new taxi, the manufacturing of this all new light commercial van is a transformative step for the company as we will move from a single product, single market organization to a multi-product, multi market organization.
We remain absolutely committed to designing and manufacturing dedicated, range extended EVs that build upon our deep knowledge of advanced technologies and the needs of the urban commercial sector.”
The London Taxi Company’s research and development team of around 200 people, now based in Ansty, has been working around the clock, building upon its new core EV platform architecture, to develop an outstanding LCV that is fit for the world’s cities in the 21st century.
Its ground-breaking work in developing the all new taxi underpins the LCV strategy having been created on the same range extended EV technology platform.
With this platform and manufacturing capability already in place, designed for flexible production from day one, the company can bring to market the new LCV through an incremental additional investment of around £30m taking the total investment from parent company Geely to £325 million.
The new vehicle will help to meet emissions targets in cities around the world, as well as being able to handle the toughest urban environments. Importantly for drivers, the vehicle will be city ready and lower running costs, even as electric charging infrastructure continues to develop.
Zhou Jianqan, the head of Geely’s Commercial Vehicle Division, said: “I am extremely proud to see Geely’s investment in the London Taxi Company allow it to evolve beyond the taxi market. The light commercial van sector in cities across the globe holds enormous potential and urban leaders are embracing zero emissions at an incredibly rapid pace. This vehicle is a result of the new R&D team based at Ansty and will complement Geely’s global expertise in electric vehicle technology adding to the world class talent across the group.”
Isle of Wight motorist becomes UK’s first new e-up! driver
Volkswagen e-up! has a range of up to 99 miles* per charge
Zero emissions and lots of fun: The e-up! is priced at £20,780 (RRP OTR incl. Plug-in Car Grant)
The UK’s first new e-up! owner has proudly taken delivery of their stylish and practical zero emission city car from Volkswagen e-Mobility Retailer Peter Cooper in Southampton.
The new car was handed over recently, as Volkswagen ramps up production of the new e-up! in its ongoing commitment to maintaining its status as a leader in electric and hybrid-engined cars.
The customer, John Back, said: “I’m very pleased with my new e-up!. It’s a lovely vehicle to drive. My daughter has a High up! and I was suitably impressed with its comfort and ride and that carries over to the e-up!. It suits my lifestyle and needs – it’s ideal for island use.”
Clever packaging and advanced technology make the new e-up! one of the most flexible electric cars for city and extra-urban use too. A top speed of 80 mph is achieved thanks to its advanced 60 kW electric motor, which has a range of up to 99 miles*.
The substantially revised e-up! features revised interior and exterior styling, plus an advanced new infotainment system. The first examples of this next generation of electric city car are available to order at Volkswagen Retailers nationwide, and are on sale at £25,280 (RRP OTR) before the government’s plug-in Car Grant of £4,500 is applied.
The new e-up! intelligently provides the technology to revolutionise commuting. The zero emission Volkswagen can be charged overnight and with consideration to that generous range, a lengthy commute can be completed with ease. The car’s diminutive proportions add to its suitability and ease-of-use in typically tight commuter traffic.
And the single-ratio gearbox, which is optimised for minimum friction, makes driving in traffic easy and noticeably quiet.
The e-up!’s lithium-ion battery is rated at 374 volts and 18.7 kWh. It can be fully charged from a standard household plug in nine hours, and that time that can be reduced to six hours if an optional 3.6 kWh wall box for home garage use is purchased. Two charging cables, for regular and fast charging, are included, and when connected to a fast charge point the e-up!’s battery is 80 per cent replenished in just 30 minutes.
The battery is made up of 204 cells and is located under the front and rear seats to increase boot space and to provide optimum safety in the event of an accident. For peace of mind, the battery comes with an eight-year or 99,360-mile guarantee.
And it’s that battery cell pack and electric motor that provide plenty of entertainment in the e-up! The car’s near-instant 210 Nm of torque under acceleration gives it a crisp and responsive level of performance. The 0–62 mph time is 12.4 seconds.
When the driver is behind the wheel, it’s not just the performance that excites: in line with the rest of the up! range the e-up!’s infotainment system has been thoroughly updated. Instead of docking a separate console into the dash of the e-up!, as was the case with the previous version, the revised car uses the customer’s own smartphone. The phone is simply clicked into the dashpad docking station and then, when Volkswagen’s ‘Maps + More’ app is selected, the full infotainment options become available.
‘Maps + More’ is a comprehensive app that includes satellite navigation and a whole variety of other features. The satellite navigation provides a 2D or a 3D route display. Also included in ‘Maps + More’ is a function to enable the driver to search through their phone contacts using handwriting recognition, and they can then make a hands-free call via a Bluetooth connection.
Controls for the radio and access to the smartphone’s music library are other key functions of ‘Maps + More’, and again the handwriting technology makes the interface system seamless. Information about the e-up!’s electricity consumption and remaining battery life can also be viewed with ease.
A clever element of ‘Maps + More’ is the Think Blue. Trainer. This is a system that shows the driver how they can improve their driving to make it more economical.
Building on the electric powertrain and the advanced smartphone connectivity, the e-up! is packed with other features that set it apart from its rivals. The complete up! range features big car technology as standard including, as a minimum, anti-lock braking, electric front windows, Composition radio and power steering. The e-up! goes a few steps further, starting with stylish 15-inch ‘Tezzle’ alloy wheels that are fitted with low rolling resistance tyres.
Electronic air conditioning brings comfort, while convenience is underlined thanks to the heated front windscreen and a rain sensor that operates the windscreen wipers automatically. Rear parking sensors reduce the potential for car park bumps, while cruise control makes for a relaxed drive.
The e-up! is joined by the e-Golf in Volkswagen’s all-electric line-up and both cars share bright ‘C’ signature LED daytime running lights. Both cars also have a blue and chrome strip below the bonnet lip. This echoes the red strip that has been a feature of the iconic Golf GTI since the 1970s, and the petrol-electric hybrid Golf GTE and Passat GTE models also share the blue and chrome look.
The Volkswagen e-up! is available at 25 Volkswagen e-Mobility Retailers nationwide. For more details on the Volkswagen e-up! – together with a brochure and pricing – and to use Volkswagen’s online configurator, please visit www.volkswagen.co.uk.
The Volkswagen e-up! is priced at £25,280 before the government’s electric car grant of £4,500 is applied.
Limited edition convertible celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Fiat 500
Just 250 to go on sale in the UK, with the first 60 individually numbered
Available to order now with delivery from 4 July, priced from £19,240 OTR.
Fiat is launching a special edition 500 convertible, to mark the 60th anniversary of the iconic global bestseller.
This special edition comes with a grey fabric roof and Dolcevita bi-colour paintwork, combining tri-coat white for the body of the car and pastel ivory for the bonnet and pillars. Chrome mirror covers and special 16-inch alloy wheels, with white diamond finish, complete the look and pay homage to the styling cues of the original Fiat 500.
It will be badged with vintage Fiat logos and a bespoke 500-60th icon, with the red ‘6’ and ‘0’ incorporated into the last two figures of the 500 logo.
Inside, a bordeaux vinyl dashboard and vintage Fiat logo clad steering wheel complement the retro inspired ivory leather seats, with contrasting bordeaux piping, ivory leather gear knob, bespoke floor mats and 500-60thkickplates.
While the styling pays tribute to the original 500, its standard technology remains up-to-date with a multi-function steering wheel, 7-inch HD Uconnect™ Radio Live touchscreen system with Bluetooth, satellite navigation and USB and AUX IN ports, rain and dusk sensors, cruise control, automatic climate control, fog lights and rear parking sensors.
Bringing the 500-60th bang-up-to-date, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto™ are both now available as standard. They enable access to smartphone applications directly from the 7-inch screen of the Uconnect™ system, integrated in the central console.
The 500-60th is available with a choice of three petrol engines; the 1.2-litre 69hp and the 0.9-litre TwinAir with 85hp, both available with a manual or Dualogic gearbox, and the 0.9-litre TwinAir with 105hp. The 0.9-litre TwinAir with 85hp and Dualogic gearbox, emits just 88g/km CO2, while returning 74.3mpg on the combined cycle.
Having set trends worldwide in lifestyle, fashion and art, more than six million Fiat 500s have been sold globally in the past six decades. Just 250 units of this model will make their way to the UK, and the first 60 units built will be completed with an individually numbered limited edition plate and certificate of authenticity.
The launch of the 500-60th forms part of the Fiat 500’s 60th anniversary celebrations. “Forever Young” will celebrate Fiat 500 models from the past and present.
The Fiat 500 has influenced fashion, society and behaviours and become a genuine trendsetter. Fans can get involved by taking an online tour of the era the 500 was born at www.500foreveryoung.fiatpress.com, looking back at the "500-mania", art, and advertising that helped to shape the icon.
The Fiat 500-60th is now on sale with a starting price of £19,240 OTR, with first deliveries taking place from 4th July. For more information on the new Fiat 500-60th please visit www.fiat.co.uk or to locate your nearest Fiat dealer visit www.fiat.co.uk/dealers.
The company achieves an operating profit of 143 million euros and a profit after tax before extraordinary effects of +232 million euros
Revenues reach a record volume of 8,597 million euros, 3.2% higher
SEAT allocates 862 million euros (+47%) to total investments and R&D expenses
The company generates an EBITDA of nearly 500 million euros, up by 25%
SEAT obtained the best financial results in its history in 2016. The company made progress towards sustainable profitability and concluded the year with an operating profit of 143* million euros (2015: -7 million euros), and profit after tax before extraordinary effects totalling 232 million euros (2015: 6 million euros).
SEAT closed the year in the black for both indicators for the first time since 2007, achieving as well the highest operating profit in its history.
SEAT’s profit after tax grew to 903 million euros due to the extraordinary effect of selling the subsidiary VW Finance, S.A. to Volkswagen AG.
This operation, which falls within the framework of the Volkswagen Group’s strategy to reorganise its financial subsidiaries under a single company, yielded SEAT a capital gain of 671 million euros. The sale enables the brand to improve its financial position after allocating 590 million euros to compensate losses from previous years.
“Higher levels of sales, higher mix and cost optimisation lead us to profitability. We as a team are very proud of our 143 million euros operating profit”, underlined SEAT Chairman Luca de Meo today in Barcelona during the presentation of the financial results for 2016.“SEAT has become a solid company that moved clearly from recovery to a consolidation phase. And SEAT is now preparing itself for development and growth”, explained Luca de Meo. Furthermore, he added that “2017 is a very special year for SEAT.The Ibiza and the Arona will speed up this process. We are ready to move SEAT to the next level”.
SEAT’s 2016 turnover stood at 8,597 million euros, 3.2% higher than the previous year, and again the best revenue figure in its history. The driving forces behind this figure are growing sales and a better vehicle mix, as demonstrated by the commercial success of the Ateca, the Leon and the Alhambra, three models with a higher contribution margin.
Another positive contribution was made by the integration of the SEAT Technical Centre (CTS) into the parent company, an operation that enables a more efficient response to the technological challenges of the future, as well as the increased business obtained by SEAT Componentes, which in 2019 will manufacture the Volkswagen Group’s new MQ281 gearbox.
In 2016, SEAT exported 82.4% of its production and established itself as Spain’s leading industrial exporting company, with 2.8% of the country’s total figure.
The sales kick-off of the Ateca, SEAT’s first ever SUV, together with the best sales result of the Leon and the Alhambra since their launch, led SEAT to the fourth consecutive year of sales growth (408,700 vehicles; nearly 30% increase in the last four years) and the best result since 2007.
With over 150,000 units sold in 2016, the Ibiza also contributed to boosting deliveries, as well as the evolution in Germany (+2.5%), Poland (+22.1%), Turkey (+41.5%) or Austria (+12.9%).
The biggest product offensive in the history of SEAT, with four new models from 2016 to 2017, resulted in a record figure for total investments and expenses in R&D.
SEAT allocated 47% more to these line items to reach 862 million euros, 276 million more than in 2015, in order to address, among other priorities, the new MQB A0 platform, which SEAT will be the first in the Volkswagen Group to use for the production of the fifth generation Ibiza.
This figure represents 10% of the company’s turnover. Since 2012, SEAT has invested 3 billion euros in R&D, equipment and facilities.
In 2016, SEAT also increased its capacity to generate profits through its core activity. The company improved its EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) by 25% to reach 489 million euros.
SEAT Vice-President for Finance, IT and Organisation Holger Kintscher underscored that “the 2016 results mark a turning point and reflect the effort put in in recent years. We are back in the black, for both the operating result and profit after tax. EBIDTA and our level of investment demonstrate the company’s strength from a financial point of view. We are where we are as a result of everyone’s effort”.
As defined in the collective agreement signed in 2016, SEAT employees will receive a total of 6 million euros as a benefit for the achieved results. This figure is included under the personnel costs heading.
2017: a very special year
This year SEAT will complete the biggest product offensive in its history with the sale of the fifth generation Ibiza, which is going to reach dealers starting this summer, and the launch of the Arona, the brand’s new compact crossover, in the second half of 2017.
Both models, produced in the Martorell factory, will join the Ateca, which was launched in 2016, and the Leon facelift, which has been on sale since last January.
The expansion and renewal of the range will enable SEAT to increase its market coverage from 53% to 72% in Europe and give fresh impetus to sales, as well as lower the average age of the SEAT model line-up.
In January and February of this year, SEAT’s worldwide deliveries saw a double-digit increase (+13.6%) to stand at a total of 64,000 vehicles. In addition, the brand is one of the fastest growing in Europe at the beginning of the year, with an increase of 20% in vehicle registrations.
Regarding the expansion of the brand, SEAT Chairman Luca de Meo indicated that “we are working on internationalisation projects. A good and concrete example is the decision to produce in Algeria starting in the second half of the year.
This is a Group’s project which starts with the Ibiza and the Golf, but SEAT will take the leadership role. All the Ibiza sold in Algeria will be made in Martorell and the final assembly will take place in Algeria, in the importer’s new plant”.
One of the goals SEAT has set for itself is to become a benchmark in the industry in terms of connectivity and smart mobility.
To achieve this, the company will inaugurate the Metropolis:Lab Barcelona in April, a 100% SEAT facility that will be integrated in the Volkswagen Group’s worldwide network of digital labs. The brand is also going to open a flagship store in the coming months in Barcelona to enhance its relation with customers and with the city.
(*) SEAT prepares its individual financial statements according to the Spanish General Accounting Plan, without including its subsidiaries. The Volkswagen Group applies international accounting standards (IAS/IFRS) and consolidates the SEAT brand figures.
SEAT is the only company that designs, develops, manufactures and markets cars in Spain.
A member of the Volkswagen Group, the multinational has its headquarters in Martorell (Barcelona), exporting 81% of its vehicles, and is present in over 80 countries through a network of 1,700 dealerships. In 2016, SEAT obtained an operating profit of 143 million euros, the highest in the history of the brand, and achieved worldwide sales of nearly 410,000 vehicles.
SEAT Group employs more than 14,500 professionals at its three production centres – Barcelona, El Prat de Llobregat and Martorell, where it manufactures the highly successful Ibiza and Leon. Additionally, the company produces the Ateca and the Toledo in the Czech Republic, the Alhambra in Portugal and the Mii in Slovakia.
The multinational has a Technical Centre, which operates as a knowledge hub that brings together 1,000 engineers who are focussed on developing innovation for Spain’s largest industrial investor in R&D.
SEAT already features the latest connectivity technology in its vehicle range and is currently engaged in the company’s global digitalisation process to promote the mobility of the future.