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, 5 July 2013

Historic 24 hours at Vauxhall plants

  • Quarter of a million Astra Sports Tourers built at Ellesmere Port…
  • 900,000 Vivaro-type vans made at Vauxhall’s plant in Luton, Bedfordshire
  • Landmark Vivaro handed over to AA patrol of the year Tony Rich
  • Vauxhall is UK’s number one estate car maker and van manufacturer

In a monumental 24 hours, Vauxhall’s two UK manufacturing plants both reached production milestones with the 250,000th Astra Sports Tourer rolling off the production line at Ellesmere Port and the Luton facility building its 900,000th Vivaro-type van.

Ecstasy at Ellesmere

Yesterday workers at Ellesmere Port, Britain’s number one manufacturer of estate cars, held a celebration at the end of the production line as the quarter of a millionth Astra Sports Tourer, the UK’s best-selling estate car, was driven off the production line. The Astra is consistently one of the UK’s best-selling cars with over 2.8 million sold since it went on sale in 1980 and 30,000 sold alone this year.

Illustrating the depth of Vauxhall’s engineering and manufacturing excellence in the UK, the Sports Tourer is assembled solely at Ellesmere Port for export across Europe, while its upper-body structure was 100 per cent engineered by Vauxhall engineers based at Millbrook, Bedfordshire with key dynamic elements tuned for UK roads by the same team. Production of the current model started in 2010.

Vauxhall call the AA

Then, less than 24 hours later, the Luton plant’s 900,000th Vivaro was handed over to the AA, one of Vauxhall’s biggest customers.  AA patrol of the year Tony Rich, who will have the honour of driving the milestone van, received the keys on behalf of the AA.

Vauxhall is the UK’s number one commercial vehicle maker, a position the manufacturer has held for eleven years since Vivaro production started. The lynchpin of Vauxhall’s top-selling van range, over 150,000 Vivaros have been sold in the UK including 9,000 so far this year.

“We are very proud to celebrate these milestones at our UK production facilities in our 110th anniversary year,” said Duncan Aldred, Vauxhall’s Chairman and Managing Director. “Our hardworking and dedicated workforce at Luton and Ellesmere Port produce vehicles of exceptional quality so it is no surprise these UK-built models are so successful in the marketplace.”

“We are honoured that this landmark Vivaro is going in to service with the AA,” said Edmund King, AA President.  “Tony is very much looking forward to driving his new van and I’m sure his visit to the plant is one call-out he’ll never forget!”

Both Vauxhall plants have been allocated new products securing production into the next decade. Ellesmere Port was awarded the accolade of lead European manufacturing plant for the next generation Astra, securing jobs and investment well into the next decade.

The Luton van facility will build the next generation Vivaro with production starting next year. Facility changes have begun with important upgrades already installed in the body shop. Significant investment has been made in the project including €95 million in the specific plant changes, €112 million in vendor tooling of which €34 million is in the UK and €12 million on facilities.  The plant will source 40 per cent of its content locally for the new vehicle.

Vauxhall Monza Concept shows it's self, what a stunner

New Vauxhall Monza Concept hints at BMW 4 Series and Audi A5 rival

Vauxhall's push upmarket shows no signs of letting up with this Vauxhall Monza Concept - a BMW 4 Series and Audi A5 rival - which will debut at the Frankfurt motor show 2013 in September.

It has been 16 years since the death of Vauxhall’s last big coupe, the Calibra, yet this concept will wear a name more usually associated with the company’s sister brand Opel – Monza.

Reports from our sister title Auto Bild in Germany suggest the concept will be a rear-wheel drive GT like the Monza from the 1970s and 1908s, which rules out using any GM Europe platforms. Instead, it could be based on the Cadillac ATS, which also hints at engines ranging from 2.0-litre four cylinder units up to 3.6-litre V6. Diesels would undoubtedly feature in Europe, but the concept will feature an advanced eco-friendly powertrain.

With any production car likely to be badged as a Buick in crucial Chinese and US markets, that points to a similar plug-in hybrid system to the Buick Riviera concept shown at this year’s Shanghai motor show. That car featured a W-PHEV plug-in hybrid powertrain, the W standing for wireless - the battery pack can be charged via a plug-in chord, or by parking it over an induction panel.

The Monza will also showcase the use of lightweight materials to highlight the car’s sporting credentials, while the interior will also boost Vauxhall’s hi-tech credentials, moving the game on from the likes of Apple’s Siri Eyes Free connectivity, which is already beginning to feature in the latest Vauxhalls.

The Monza also features an evolution of Vauxhall’s current design themes with a low, athletic stance, slim headlights with oversized air intakes underneath and a large grille featuring a large Vauxhall badge on a chrome bar with upturned winglets at either edge.

Although the Monza will initially be a concept, the global business case for a large coupe is strong, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see a production car launched by 2016


Original report here

SEAT records best ever half year sales.

  • SEAT registers 22,752 cars during the first half of 2013 – a new company record
  • Record-breaking figure is 18.6% higher than SEAT’s previous UK half-year best, in 2012, and beats market growth
  • SEAT second quarter sales (April – June) are up by 35% compared to 2012
  • Company on course for a fifth consecutive annual sales rise
  • SEAT has now exceeded 600,000 UK registrations since entering the market in 1985
  • SEAT is celebrating an astonishing first half of 2013, with half-year UK sales figures that put the company well on course to smash its yearly sales record.

The 22,752 SEAT cars registered between January and June 2013, according to SMMT figures just published, are a half-year company record. The number eclipses SEAT’s previous half-year record, set in 2012, by 18.6%.

In addition, the 4,428 SEAT cars registered in June is a 29% sales jump compared to the company’s previous record June, also in 2012.

According to SMMT figures the UK market is buoyant, with June sales up 13.3% and half year sales up 10.2% compared to 2012 – yet SEAT’s figures trump both of those.

The sales spike can be attributed in part to the model offensive that SEAT has undertaken since the start of 2012, comprising the introduction of three brand new models – Mii, Toledo and Leon – and significant revisions to the Ibiza, including a new flagship Ibiza Cupra.

SEAT UK Director Neil Williamson said: “Within the last few days we’ve picked up the coveted Auto Express Car of the Year award for the Leon five-door, launched the stunning Leon SC in the UK, and broken our half-year sales record… we’ve had worse weeks.

“Between the Mii city car, the staggeringly spacious Toledo, and the all-new Leon family, SEAT now has a model range that’s broader and higher quality than ever. That fact, along with an ever-strengthening dealer network, is starting to show in our sales figures.

“And with further expansion of the Leon family due before the year is out, SEAT UK is on course for the best year in its history.”

SEAT’s 2013 sales to date are spearheaded by the Ibiza family, with 10,198 sold. The new Leon follows it in the sales charts, with 5,096 five-door models sold so far. The remainder of 2013 will see Leon sales augmented with the addition of the three-door SC; once the Leon family is complete, SEAT expects the SC to account for 17% of overall annual Leon sales.

Since 2008, SEAT UK has achieved consistent sales and market share increases, culminating in enjoying its best ever tallies in 2012: 38,978 and 1.9% respectively. In 2012 the company sold around 10,000 more cars than it did in 2008.

TMW - Its that time of the month - June UK sales figures


JUNE 2012 1156 sales - JUNE 2013 1341 sales +16.00%
YTD 2012 7107 sales - YTD 2013 8658 sales +21.82%


JUNE 2012 3772 sales - JUNE 2013 4046 sales +7.26%
YTD 2012 26075 sales - YTD 2013 30120 sales +15.51%



JUNE 2012 14302 sales - JUNE 2013 14290 sales -0.08%
YTD 2012 64514 sales - YTD 2013 65214 sales +1.09%


JUNE 2012 8211 sales - JUNE 2013 9613 sales +17.07%
YTD 2012 47790 sales - YTD 2013 54637 sales +14.33%


JUNE 2012 813 sales - JUNE 2013 738 sales -9.23%
YTD 2012 4751 sales - YTD 2013 4114 sales -13.41%


JUNE 2012 10936 sales - JUNE 2013 12417 sales +13.54%
YTD 2012 66005 sales - YTD 2013 73767 sales +11.76%


ABARTH +17.13%
CITROEN +14.61%
DACIA +100.00%
FIAT +15.45%
FORD +8.66%
HONDA +9.87%
HYUNDAI +11.28%
KIA +11.05%
LOTUS +18.29%
MAZDA +4.04%
MINI +2.87% 
NISSAN +14.24%
PEUGEOT +7.19%
RENAULT +2.35%
SEAT +18.59%
SKODA +15.34% 
SMART +8.97% 
SUZUKI +34.09%
TOYOTA +4.55%
VAUXHALL +14.41%


ALFA ROMEO -32.97%
BENTLEY -10.11%
CHRYSLER -14.13%
INFINITI -19.59%
JEEP -18.88%
MG -75.66%
PERODUA -37.96%
PORSCHE -0.96%
PROTON -90.32%
SAAB -98.30%
SUBARU -10.86%
VOLVO -2.99%

June has been yet another bumper month for supposed cash strapped Britain, with record sales for numerous manufacturers, and a few have even turned around losses from the first few months to increases from June, Renault is one such company, with a 34+% increase in June alone, Suzuki also sees high 30's % increase, Lotus get back on track with a 466% increase in the month, yes nearly 500% but that equates to just 17 cars against 3 last June.

MG has a better June 13, against 2012, they sold 22 cars against 19, but with the MG3 about to come on stream this number will surely increase, and the MG3 is a great little car, read the Motoring Words visual review (HERE) It is increasing looking dire for Perodua and Proton, with only a few sales for each manufacturer for the entire year.

Jaguar and Land Rover continue to shine, with new and revised products in both brands the sales are flowing in, and with the F-Type on stream now, Jaguars sales will fly for at least another 12 months, by which time, we will be more fully aware of the new X-Type and SUV model, along with the new XK, revised XJ and hopefully by the year end 2014 the new XF, Jaguar are not holding back, and neither is Land Rover, with the new Rangie out, new Sport, and reasonably young Evoque, the Range Rover brand is steady, but the Freelander and Defender are both due replacements along with enlarged versions of the Freelander, possibly to remove the need for a Disco 5 (LR5).

Dacia is the darling of the car world this year, there are currently 44 recognised brands under the SMMT sales list, and Dacia outsold 21 of them with 1829 sold in June and 6994 for the year to date it is making other brands stand up and take note, and they need to, FIAT UK are having a good time in the UK, but elsewhere in Europe it is being hit very hard, the same with Citroen and Peugeot who both show significant gains, The US brands are also not doing well, all have decent products to sell, and some of them very new, but very few want to invest their hard earned in American cars, personally I dont blame them, they are too over priced compared to the same product in the US.

Ford again hold the top two spots for June and year to date, with the Fiesta and Focus, with the Corsa in third, surprisingly BMW take two spots in June with the 3 series and the truly ugly 1 Series, and a welcome return to the chart for Peugeot with the 208 just popping in at number ten, Vauxhall continues its resurgence up 14.41% for the year, and with teh New Mokka, Cascada and ADAM, revised and reduced Insignia, and new Corsa in the pipeline, the future is looking good for the Luton based brand.

Ford celebrates increased market share and sales for June

Ford’s UK market leadership was boosted further in June as total vehicle sales and share increased, compared with June 2012.  Ford car sales in June beat the market and outpaced its rivals by a significant margin - up 31.9 per cent versus June 2012.

According to the official sales figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT):

  • Ford extends market lead with increased total vehicle sales and share
  • Ford Fiesta and Focus top the sales charts in June and for first half of 2013
  • Ford total vehicle retail sales and share up in June and for first half of 2013
  • Ford Fiesta leads retail sales, outselling nearest rival by more than two to one
  • Ford CV sales and share up in June and for first half of 2013

Mark Ovenden, Ford of Britain chairman and managing director, said:  "June vehicle sales continued the positive UK market trend with Ford sales beating overall market growth and private customers driving up our share of more profitable retail sales.  There are sales and share increases across most of Ford’s best ever model range with the new Ford Kuga, for example, more than doubling its sales in June, compared with June 2012."

The official figures released by the SMMT yesterday show that total car sales in June were up 13.4 per cent to 214,957, compared with June 2012. Ford car sales of 31,197 were up 31.9 per cent from 23,654 in June 2012.  For the first half of 2013 total UK car sales were 1,163,623 up 10.0 per cent compared with 2012, while Ford car sales for this period were 163,396, up from 150,378 in the first half of 2012.

Ford’s share of car sales increased by 2.0 percentage points to 14.5 per cent in June, compared with June 2012, and its retail car sales share for the month was up 1.4 percentage points at 13.1 per cent.

With a total of 11,332 registrations, the Ford Fiesta was the UK best-seller in June and the Ford Focus secured the number two slot with 9,128 sales.  Sales success across the Ford model range saw the Ford Ka, Fiesta, B-MAX, Focus, C-MAX and Kuga all increase sales and share in June and for the first half of 2013, compared with the same periods in 2012.

UK CV sales in June were up 1.2 per cent, compared with June 2012, and CV sales for the year to date were up 5.2 per cent.  Total sales of Ford CVs in June were up from 6,362 to 6,450 and for the first half of 2013 were up from 34,168 to 36,478, compared with the same periods last year.

Ford medium commercial sales for June and for the first half of 2013, headed by the industry-leading Ford Transit, were up from 5,258 to 5,521 and from 28,249 to 30,934, respectively.  Ford’s share of MCV sales for the month was 32.7 per cent up from 30.6 per cent, compared with June 2012, and up from 31.2 to 31.8 per cent for the first half of 2013.

Ford Transit leads the One Tonne, Two Tonne and 3.5-6.0 tonne CV segments, its share of the one tonne segment boosted by the introduction of the Transit Custom and the Tourneo Custom.  Ford Fiesta van also leads its segment by a clear margin, taking a 58.9 per cent share for the first half of 2013.  Ford Ranger sales for the first half of 2013 have more than doubled, from 988 to 2,236, compared with the same period in 2012.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Jaguar Land Rover announce significant increases in sales for the month of June

  • Jaguar Land Rover North America sales increase 10 percent for June 2013: best combined June sales since 2007
  • Jaguar U.S.  boasts sales increase of 59 percent for the month of June
  • Full month of Jaguar F-TYPE sales adds 417 units; best Jaguar June sales performance since 2006
  • Land Rover U.S. sales increase 9 percent YTD
  • Land Rover's Range Rover up 23 percent; best sales month for Range Rover since June 2011

Jaguar Land Rover North America today reported June 2013 U.S. sales: Jaguar sales were 1,637 units, 59 percent up from 1,030 units in June 2012; Land Rover sales were 3,468 units, 4 percent down from 3,602 units in June 2012. Jaguar Land Rover North America June U.S. sales for both brands hit 5,105 units, a 10 percent increase from 4,632 in June 2012.

Year to date through June, Jaguar Land Rover North America is up 12 percent, with Jaguar up 20 percent and Land Rover up 9 percent.

"June has proven to be a remarkable month for the Jaguar brand and its new product lineup featuring the F-TYPE," said Andy Goss, President, Jaguar Land Rover North America.  "Both brands are in an ideal position for growth as the all-new Range Rover Sport is arriving in showrooms this fall and Jaguar will continue to expand its product offering with the XJR and XKRS-GT."


Land Rover

For the month of June, the volume leader was the all-new Range Rover with 902 sales, an increase of 23 percent from 734 sales in June 2012. Range Rover Evoque continues to grow, with an increase of 19 percent to 790 units from 663 units in June, 2012.  Range Rover Sport is down 28 percent for the month of June. The all new Range Rover Sport goes on sale this fall.

For Land Rover, 2013 YTD sales of 22,984 are the highest first six months in the history of the brand in the United States.

Land Rover's 2013 model year line-up features five models: The 240-hp 2.0 liter powered LR2 and Range Rover Evoque; the LR4 powered by the 375-hp 5.0 liter V8; the Range Rover Sport and Range Rover, both available with the Naturally-aspirated 375-hp V8 and 510-hp supercharged 5.0 liter V8 powertrains. For MY14 both the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport will come equipped with a choice of supercharged 340-hp 3.0 liter V6 or 510-hp supercharged 5.0 liter V8 powertrains.


For the month of June, the Jaguar XF continues to be the volume and growth leader with 634 units sold, up 30 percent from 489 sales in June 2012. Year to date, Jaguar sales are 7,798, up 20 percent from 6,506 sales, with the XF sales increasing on the appeal of new powertrains and All Wheel Drive.

After its first full month of retail, the new Jaguar F-TYPE two seat convertible sports car adds sales of 417 units.

At the 2013 New York International Auto Show, Jaguar debuted two new models, the 550-hp Jaguar XJR and Jaguar XKR-S GT, expanding its R performance lineup to six models.

For MY13 the transformed Jaguar U.S. lineup includes:

  • Instinctive All Wheel Drive™ - Available on both the XF and XJ
  • Supercharged 340hp V6 engines in the XF and XJ
  • Turbocharged 240hp four cylinder engine available in the XF
  • Eight Speed ZF® Automatic Transmissions on all XF and XJ models
  • Auto Engine Stop/Start on select XF and XJ models

Jaguar's 2013 model year line-up features four models: The Jaguar XJ luxury sedan, powered by either the supercharged 3.0 liter V6 in rear wheel or all wheel drive configuration, naturally-aspirated 385-hp 5.0 liter V8, the 470-hp supercharged 5.0 liter V8 or the 510-hp supercharged 5.0 liter V8; the Jaguar XF sports sedan powered by the 240-hp 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder,  supercharged 340-hp 3.0 liter V6 in rear wheel or all wheel drive configuration, the naturally-aspirated 385-hp 5.0 liter V8, the 470-hp supercharged 5.0 liter V8 or, in the XFR, the 510-hp supercharged 5.0 liter V8 powertrains; and the XK coupe and convertible sports cars powered by either the naturally-aspirated 385-hp V8, or for the XKR, the 510-hp supercharged 5.0 liter V8 powertrains. Jaguar also offers its highest performance models ever, the 2013 Jaguar XKR-S coupe and convertible with a 550-hp supercharged 5.0 liter V8 powertrain.  The 2014 MY Jaguar F-TYPE convertible comes in three variants, 340-hp F-TYPE, 380-hp F-TYPE S and 495-hp F-TYPE V8 S.

Volvo announces poor year to date and June sales.

Volvo Car Group reports global retail sales of 40,939 cars for the month of June. China grew by no less than 74 per cent to 5,798 cars - a new sales record - and by 34.3 per cent for the first six months. Also, the Volvo XC60 model had its best sales month ever with 10,961 sold cars. For the first half of 2013, global sales amounted to 209,118 cars, down 5.5 per cent versus last year.

The United States became Volvo Cars' number one market in June with 6,678 retail sold cars, where the Volvo S60 and XC60 models represented the majority of sales. For the first half year, Volvo sales in the US were down by 5.9 per cent. In Sweden, Volvo outperformed the market and grew by 6.3 per cent in June to retail sales of 4,607 cars. The Volvo V70 was the best-selling model in Sweden.

A new all-time sales record was recorded in China with 5,798 sold cars, up 74 per cent versus the same month last year. Sales were driven by the '60-series models with the Volvo S60 being the top seller with 2,288 sold cars - another record for a single month. So far this year, sales in China are up 34.3 per cent.

Both France and Spain gained sales in June while Europe as a whole is still down versus 2012. Japan is a growth market for Volvo with a 16.3 per cent increase in June driven by demand for the V-line cars with the Volvo V40 being the most sold model. Japan is up 11.3 per cent for the first half of 2013.

Nissan continues commitment to the UK for the addition of the Note

Nissan's ongoing commitment to European design, engineering and production takes another bold step forward with the launch of the new Note.

The innovative B-segment challenger - which goes on sale throughout Europe from the autumn - starts yet another chapter in Nissan's European success story.

Like Nissan's best-selling Juke and Qashqai models, the European Note was engineered at Nissan Technical Centre Europe (NTCE) in Cranfield, UK. Many aspects of the new model were developed with European buyers in mind, with the engineering team conducting extensive testing on European roads.

Building on the new Note's European credentials, the new model will be built at the award-winning Nissan Manufacturing UK (NMUK) plant in Sunderland, UK.

A significant €147.5m investment has been made at the plant to further extend capacity and integrate Note assembly alongside the Juke production line. In addition to final assembly, NMUK is also producing axles, cylinder heads, camshafts and petrol engines for the new car. The introduction of Note production to Europe has created around 2,000 new jobs at Nissan and throughout its UK supplier network.

The integration of Note production into what is one of the world's most productive and efficient car plants further highlights Nissan's engineering skills. To incorporate production and assembly of the Note's new features, numerous changes have been made to the plant layout. Among these are a new sunroof glazing facility and a new Around View Monitor testing facility that allows production engineers to fully calibrate the Note's innovative rear view camera.

The success story for Nissan's European production base doesn't end with the Note. Along with ongoing production of the Qashqai at NMUK, a new premium compact model under the Infiniti brand has also been confirmed.

Prius celebrates three million sales.

  • Cumulative sales of the Toyota Prius passed three million in June
  • Milestone achieved 16 years after debut of first generation model
  • UK sales top 61,000 since market introduction in 2000
  • Toyota investing more than £5 billion in R&D in hybrid and cleaner vehicle technologies

The Toyota Prius has reached three million global sales, confirming its status as one of the world’s best-selling cars. Since it first appeared as a quirky saloon in Japan back in 1997, it has progressed to become the undisputed standard-bearer for the high fuel and emissions efficiency of Toyota hybrid power technology.

In its progress through three generations, Prius has benefited from significant improvements and innovations that have made it kinder to the environment, cheaper to run and more practical to live with. Its official CO2 emissions figures have fallen from 114 to 89g/km and the cost of its hybrid powertrain has been reduced by two thirds. In its development of the current, third generation model, Toyota filed more than 1,200 patents, demonstrating its continued commitment to technology leadership.

In the past two years Prius has grown from being a single model to embrace a family of vehicles designed and engineered to meet the needs of a wider customer base. In Europe these include Prius+, the world’s first full hybrid seven-seat MPV, and Prius Plug-in, the first Toyota to embrace rechargeable lithium-ion battery technology for extended zero-emissions electric power capability. In North America and other world markets, the smaller Prius c/Toyota Aqua has also been launched – bringing hybrid to a market segment that’s covered in Europe by Yaris Hybrid.

Toyota has made hybrid a core technology for the developing more environmentally efficient vehicles and it continues to make significant investments that will help secure sustainable global growth. In the financial year ending in March 2014, it is expected to spend more than £5 billion (790 billion Yen) on research and development and facilities for developing hybrid and other cutting edge technologies, as well as strengthening development of new platforms and components.

Projects include a new 651-hectare R&D facility and a new 12-storey powertrain Development and Engineering building in Toyota City.

Kia celebrates record half year and June figures

  • Record June sales of 6,742 new cars
  • Half-year sales of 37,178 surpass 2010 record
  • Sportage, cee’d and Picanto lead the way

Kia set two new sales records at the end of June pointing towards continued growth across the UK new car market for the brand.

During June Kia dealers delivered 6,742 cars to customers – a new record for sales in June and almost 13 per cent up on last June’s total of 5,962. That brought Kia’s half-year sales to 37,178 up 11 per cent over 2012’s total of 33,396. It also surpassed Kia’s previous record half year performance in 2010 at the height of scrappage when the brand attracted 34,204 customers during the January to June period.

Kia’s performance was led by the Sportage compact SUV with 10,725 sales, followed by the all-new cee’d range, the ever-popular Picanto city car and the Rio hatchback. Sales were split almost evenly between retail and business customers.

That performance – in an overall market up 13 per cent in the month and 10 per cent year to date – gave Kia a market share in June of 3.14 per cent and a 3.2 per cent share for the first half of the year.

Paul Philpott, President and Chief Executive of Kia Motors (UK) Limited said: “June has been excellent for our dealers with very strong retail demand and I believe this shows that confidence is returning to the UK new car market. With our sales 12 per cent up over the same month last year, a first half performance that surpassed the height of scrappage and Sportage, cee’d and Picanto leading our sales charts we can see that private motorists are happy to buy if they feel they are getting a quality package that suits their needs at a fair price and with our outstanding styling and remarkable seven year warranty on top.

“We are quietly confident that with the continued appeal of the brand, the new Carens and just-launched pro_cee’d GT as well as the hard work of our dealers we can reach our stated target of a 70,000 sales this year,” he added.

STUNNING low mileage Jaguar XK150 'S' Roadster up for auction

A concours standard 1958 Jaguar XK150 ‘S’ Roadster with a fascinating history and just 500 miles on the clock will be offered for sale by Silverstone Auctions at its Classic Sale on Saturday 27th July.

Estimated at between £175,000 to £195,000, this particular model has benefited from a restoration project lasting nine years which was only completed in 2009.

The main reason for the incredibly low mileage is that its first owner, a Mr JJ Dolce of Salt Lake City, Utah, who was a speed enthusiast, barrel rolled the car at the Bonneville Speed Trial in 1959, not long after he took ownership. Following the spectacular crash, the car’s remains were bought in 1960 where it sat in dry storage for the next 40 years.

Nick Whale, managing director, Silverstone Auctions, said: “This is the most amazing XK150 that Silverstone Auctions has ever seen. Not only is it in a superb condition thanks to a painstaking restoration project, but it also has a fantastic and fascinating story to tell.

“Also, with just 500 miles on the clock, this has surely got to be one of the lowest mileage cars of its type in existence, and we’re delighted to offer it at the Silverstone Classic Sale.”

When the XK 150 ‘S’ 3.4 Roadster was produced it was the fastest production car available.

After its long period of dry storage, this car saw the light of day again in 2000 when renowned UK classic car restorer Mike Ball of Beacon Garage and bodywork guru Ray Miles, of DMR repair centre, commenced their intricate restoration project.

There is a photographic record of the entire restoration process in the history file and it is detailed in a Jaguar World magazine article.

“Nine years of hard work and meticulous attention to detail has been spent on this XK, but what time well spent that was. The end result is what you see today….a concours standard car which in turn has become a magnificent piece of Jaguar history,” added Nick.

Other Jaguars confirmed for the sale at the home of British motorsport include a 1969 E-Type Fixedhead Coupé Series II, estimated at between £30,000 to £35,000, a 1970 E-Type Series II Roadster, estimated at between £50,000 to £60,000, and a 1973 E-Type V12 Roadster, estimated at between £40,000 to £45,000.

Meanwhile, for more information about the 1958 XK150 ‘S’ Roadster, or any of the lots on offer at the Silverstone Classic Sale, then visit www.silverstoneauctions.com.

At last MG reduces the price of the MG6 range, but only for a short period so be quick!

MG has launched a 0% VAT offer across the entire MG6 range, resulting in big cash savings for customers with no hidden catches.

The MG “0% VAT – No Exclusions” deal will be offered throughout July and August giving customers some hot summer savings of up to £3,601.

From today an award-wining MG6 GT petrol model in S trim, which had a recommended on-the-road price of £15,455.00, will cost just £12,968.58 – a saving of £2,486.42.

The top-of-the-range petrol model MG6 Magnette, which had a recommended on-the-road price of £20,350, will now cost £16,981.92 – a saving of £3,368.08.

On DTi-TECH diesel models the cash savings are even greater. The MG6 DTi-TECH GT in S trim had a recommended on-the-road price of £16,995. It will now cost £13,808.58 – a saving of £3,186.42.

The top-of-the-range MG6 DTi-TECH Magnette, including metallic paint, offers a saving of £3,601.42. The effective price of the car is reduced from £21,590 to £17,988.58.

Guy Jones, MG’s Sales & Marketing Director, said: “This is a great offer and, unlike some Zero VAT promotions, there are no exclusions or hidden catches with our offer.

“Our dealers will also be able to give customers some very competitive finance deals, so together with the great value-for-money package that the MG6 range already has, this really is a sizzling summer offer.”

MINI releases press release complaining about latest spy shots

Paparazzi attack on British small car top model. Impatient photographers unable to wait for official presentation. Leads to distorted pictures at dawn.

Aggressive and relentless papping is something British celebrities have had to learn to live with. Members of the Royal Family, as well as actors, footballers and top models are all familiar with the sensation of being caught in uncompromising situations, and now MINI is the latest victim.  Absolutely unaware and without make-up, the youngest member of our family was caught by sensationalist photographers in a highly private moment. The young one was yellow and completely defenceless. We understand the worldwide interest in our family but it is not the British way to send such unfavourable pictures around the globe.

But like a good stiff-upper-lipped Brit, MINI shall not complain, although we would like to officially state that we are not flattered. The published pictures do not reflect our good looks any way. As every celebrity knows, those extra long telephoto lenses have the devastating ability to negatively distort all surfaces, lines and angles. Therefore our advice: next time come closer to the object of desire. If that doesn’t work, don’t worry,  shortly you will have the opportunity to experience the MINI up close and personal, and to take pictures from all angles.

Double delight for Skoda

  • City Car crown for a second year
  • New Octavia Estate awarded Best Estate car title
  • Yeti, Octavia hatch and Superb commended
  • ŠKODA has won 11 Auto Express awards in the last three years
The new Octavia and Citigo have driven off with two prestigious titles in the 2013 Auto Express New Car Awards. ŠKODA continued its incredible run of Auto Express victories by clinching the Best Family Estate award for the all-new Octavia, and the Best City Car award for the Citigo. The latest additions to the ŠKODA trophy cabinet mean that the brand has won 11 Auto Express awards in the past three years.

The awards were presented to ŠKODA by Auto Express Editor-in-Chief Steve Fowler, who said: “When it comes to practical estate cars, ŠKODA has the market covered. The Superb has been a favourite for years, but now it’s been usurped by its little brother – although little is something you can hardly say about the interior of the Octavia Estate. It’s truly cavernous, but easy to use, too, with loads of clever features. And up front, you get the same space, quality and fabulous drive as you do in the Octavia hatch. How does ŠKODA do it for the money? We don’t know, but we’re glad it does!”

Handing over the Citigo award, he added: “Last year’s Car of the Year is a winner once again. In fact, we’ve grown to love it even more. It’s the sort of car that makes you pinch yourself – can a car this small and so affordable offer such style, quality, comfort, refinement and practicality? Yes it can, and it’s called the ŠKODA Citigo.”

The Auto Express judging panel also commended the new Octavia hatchback in the Compact Family Car category, the Yeti in the Crossover category and shortlisted the Superb in the Family Car category.

Commenting on the awards, Alasdair Stewart, Brand Director of ŠKODA UK said: “We are thrilled to receive these two awards for Octavia and Citigo. To gain this level of recognition from such a respected title proves again that we are making great cars. These awards mean a great deal to everyone at ŠKODA and we’re confident that the exciting new cars we have in the pipeline will continue our success story in future years.”

The latest Auto Express New Car Awards for Octavia and Citigo add to ŠKODA’s impressive list of titles won in 2013. These include the award of Best Car Manufacturer in the Which? Awards, and Best Car for the Yeti in the Auto Express Driver Power survey.

New rugged Insignia added to range

  • Top-of-the-range Sports Tourer with SUV characteristics
  • Higher ground clearance and distinct protective body elements
  • Advanced all-wheel drive with variable torque delivery
  • Two powerful turbo-diesel engines with up to 400Nm torque

Vauxhall is set to add a rugged SUV-inspired all-purpose estate to its New Insignia range later this year.

Known as the Insignia Country Tourer, and based on the Sports Tourer model, but with all-wheel drive, higher ground clearance and tougher styling, the new car will be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September.


With its signature griffin grille, now wider and deeper, the front styling is distinctively Vauxhall. The grille’s horizontal chrome bar carries the central brand emblem and is sculpted in a wing form, with its outer tips turned upwards alongside the headlamps. A protective panel, in a gleaming silver finish, sweeps out from under the engine compartment; a prominent design theme echoed at the rear.

Another feature is the anthracite-coloured protective cladding on the side sills and lower body sections, which gives the wheel-arches a more pronounced, flared look.

A final visual flourish is provided by distinctive front and rear light units. The headlamps, with embedded chrome accents, incorporate wing-style LED daytime running lights. This theme is repeated at the rear, with LED brake and taillights.


State-of-the-art all-wheel drive is combined with two powerful turbo-diesel engines: a 2.0-litre BiTurbo CDTi, producing 195PS and 400Nm of torque, and a 2.0-litre CDTi with 165PS and up to 380Nm torque available. A choice of six-speed manual or a low-friction, six-speed automatic transmission is available on the 2.0-litre (165PS) diesel engine.  The 2.0-litre (195PS) BiTurbo diesel engine is available in automatic only.


The electronically controlled 4x4 drivetrain incorporates a high-quality clutch, operating on Haldex principles, and an electronic limited-slip differential to ensure superb traction on both paved and unpaved surfaces. It constantly adapts to the prevailing road conditions, and can vary torque distribution seamlessly between the front and rear axles, as well as between the rear wheels, even before a wheel begins to slip.

When necessary, the clutch controlling drive distribution immediately sends more torque to the rear axle. The 4x4 system’s sensors constantly feed individual control modules with information on yaw rate, acceleration, steering angle, wheel speed, throttle pedal position, engine speed and torque. The front/rear power distribution is constantly adapted to the driving situation based on this information.

Ultimate stability and higher dynamics are ensured by the electronically-controlled rear-axle Limited Slip Differential (eLSD). The eLSD controls the distribution of torque between the rear wheels, transferring drive torque to the wheel that has the most grip. While offering better traction in slippery conditions, the sophisticated operation of this adaptive 4x4 drive system guarantees the highest levels of driver control and active safety in all situations. The Insignia Country Tourer can even provide propulsion when three wheels are on loose or slippery ground and only one rear wheel has traction.

The adaptive all-wheel system also supports drivers in non-critical situations. To reduce frictional losses and save fuel, the system automatically reverts to front-wheel drive whenever it senses that no adaptive interventions are required.

Off road, the new Insignia Country Tourer also benefits from larger tyres and a raised ride height, in addition to its four-wheel drive traction. Ground clearance is 20mm higher than on a standard model, a major advantage when encountering loose, uneven terrain.

“The Insignia Country Tourer is perfect for a winter holiday, on snowy roads, or simply when the going gets tough,” said Stuart Harris, Vauxhall’s Head of Carline Brand.  “Even on urban roads its robust looks give it strong stand-out appeal.”

Jaguar Land Rover has been named Responsible Business of the Year

Jaguar Land Rover has been named Responsible Business of the Year by Business in the Community (BITC). The UK's leading premier automotive manufacturer collected the accolade at the BITC’s Responsible Business Awards yesterday.

Jaguar Land Rover received the award in recognition of its significant investment in UK jobs and facilities, improving its environmental performance and increasing the skills and education opportunities for young people and existing employees.

Jaguar Land Rover has created 9,000 new jobs since 2011 and will invest £2.75 billion this year, making it the largest UK automotive investor. This investment supports technology innovation and the company’s CO2 reduction strategy.

Over the past few years, Jaguar Land Rover has reduced tailpipe CO2, lowered operational carbon emissions per vehicle, waste to landfill and water use. Carbon emissions from inbound logistics and emissions for outbound logistics have also been reduced. Jaguar Land Rover’s CO2 offset programme has compensated 5 million tonnes of CO2 over the last five years by funding 50 sustainable development projects which have positively impacted the lives of more than 1.2 million people.

Dr. Ralf Speth, CEO, Jaguar Land Rover, said: "We are delighted to receive the Responsible Business of the Year Award, which recognises the achievements of our employees, suppliers, stakeholders and academic partnerships to deliver sustainability improvements across our business. Sustainability is integral to Jaguar Land Rover’s business plan and we are committed to achieving a sustainable future.

“Jaguar Land Rover has been investing in researching and developing the latest technologies and creating new and updated engineering and manufacturing facilities to help grow and develop our business in a sustainable way. We have ambitious plans for sustainable growth and developing sustainable products that meet the needs of customers now and in the future is vital to that goal.”

Marc Bolland, Chief Executive of Marks & Spencer Plc and Responsible Business of the Year 2012, who presented the award, said: “Jaguar Land Rover is addressing sustainability at every stage of the life cycle of its products and at all levels of its business. It is a potential pioneering force in bringing about transformative change to the luxury goods industry and a key driver in educating and influencing the client base and wider consumers on behaviour change.”

Stephen Howard, Chief Executive of Business in the Community, said: “Jaguar Land Rover perfectly embodies the mutuality of responsible business - an understanding that by transforming business you can transform communities. It is an inspirational example of a large business combining profitability with responsibility.  Through improving environmental performance, investing in communities and proactively developing its future workforce Jaguar Land Rover has become a powerful example for this movement.  We are delighted to name them our 2013 Responsible Business of the Year and look forward to working with them and sharing their story with many more businesses over the coming year.”  

The company also won the 'Education Award' which recognises businesses that are building sustainable partnerships with schools to raise aspirations of young people to enable them to build successful working lives. Jaguar Land Rover's Inspiring Tomorrow's Engineers national school education programme has been developed to increase young people's engagement of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) and promote engineering careers. The programme includes partnerships with various schools and academic organisations. In 2012, more than 200,000 young people were engaged in the programme.

SEAT Leon takes the coveted Car of the Year 2013 prize at the Auto Express New Car Awards

  • SEAT Leon takes the coveted Car of the Year 2013 prize at the Auto Express New Car Awards
  • Leon also wins the Best Compact Family Car award
  • Five-door hatchback acclaimed for its style, quality, equipment levels and low running costs 
  • SEAT Alhambra wins Best MPV for the third year in a row – the 13th UK award for this outstanding people carrier
  • The SEAT Leon has won the prestigious Car of the Year 2013 prize at the annual Auto Express New Car Awards. 

During a ceremony in London’s Grand Connaught Rooms last night (2 July 2013), Auto Express Editor-in-Chief Steve Fowler handed the coveted award to new SEAT Chairman Jürgen Stackmann.

The Leon scooped a double win, also picking up the Best Compact Family Car award, while there was yet more cause for celebration at the SEAT table as the Alhambra won the Best MPV award – for the third year in a row.

But it was the Leon’s night overall, with the Auto Express judging panel giving it the nod for Car of the Year ahead of some very strong competition.

Explaining why the Leon was crowned the year’s best car by the UK’s best-selling motoring weekly, Auto Express Editor-in-Chief Steve Fowler said: “We love its style, the way it drives, the quality and the kit. Best of all, you get all that at a bargain price, while running costs will be ultra-low, too.

“The SEAT Leon has beaten some superb cars to be crowned Car of the Year – it’s that good,” he concluded.

Jürgen Stackmann thanked the Auto Express jury for choosing the Leon as Car of the Year. “The new Leon is the best vehicle in SEAT’s history. It is a perfect embodiment of SEAT’s transformation and shows the direction we will be taking over the next few years. We are very pleased with the reception customers have given the Leon. Since its launch we have sold 45,000 units of the five-door Leon, and this is just the beginning. The Leon SC was launched just a few weeks ago, and we will present the estate version at the Frankfurt Motor Show,” said the SEAT Chairman.

SEAT UK Director Neil Williamson said: “It’s wonderful to receive an award like this, and it’s confirmation of what we suspected from the day we first unveiled the Leon – here is a car that’s truly top of the pile.

“Credit has to go to the team in Martorell, who’ve created a family hatchback that’s appealing whichever way you view it: the Leon is outstanding to drive, beautiful to look at, as practical as could be, and it doesn’t cost the earth to buy and run. That’s engineering at its very best, and we hope that this is the first of many accolades for this wonderful car.”

The new SEAT Leon was unveiled at the 2012 Paris Motor Show and hit UK showrooms in March 2013. Priced from just £15,670, it offers truly class-leading technology; at launch the Leon became the first family hatchback in the world to offer full-LED headlights, and remains the only one to do so.

This week sees the showroom introduction of the Leon SC (7 July 2013), the first ever three-door Leon and the second member of a model family that will shortly also include the Leon ST estate.

Prices for the Leon SC – Sport Coupé – begin at £15,370, rising to £22,075 for an FR-specification car with a powerful 184 PS 2.0 TDI engine.

Three in a row for the Alhambra

While the Leon will justifiably grab the headlines in the aftermath of the Auto Express Awards 2013, it was a night in which the Alhambra cemented its place as the most highly decorated car in SEAT’s history. This latest Best MPV prize is its third in a row from Auto Express, and its 13th award overall, having taken prizes from other motoring media heavyweights including What Car?, Fleet News, Fleet World, Diesel Car and Car Buyer.

“When it comes to moving large families around, nothing does it better than the SEAT Alhambra. It’s built for an easy life with loads of space and clever features that make every family outing a joy. And unlike so many other MPVs, it offers executive levels of quality and refinement, and it’s great to drive, too,” said Steve Fowler.

The Alhambra is priced from £25,040, with every version including alloy wheels, three-zone climate control, sliding rear doors, front- and rear parking sensors, Bluetooth hands-free system with voice control, and a tiredness recognition system. Two engine choices are available, both 2.0 TDI units but with either 140 PS or 177 PS power outputs and both with Start/Stop and Energy Recovery as standard, to help keep running costs low.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Range Rover duo win at Auto Express annual awards

  • All-new Range Rover voted Best Luxury Car
  • Range Rover wins Design Award
  • Range Rover Evoque scoops Best Compact SUV

 Land Rover vehicles have again proved they can do battle with the best, scooping three top prizes at the annual Auto Express Awards. The all-new Range Rover was voted ‘Best Luxury Car’ by the judging panel, which consists of the magazine’s road testers and other senior staff members.

Steve Fowler, Auto Express Editor-in-Chief commented: “The new Range Rover is an awesome achievement, combining the highest standards of luxury with a hitherto impossible blend of on-road comfort and off-road ability. To do all that with such style and efficiency makes it a worthy winner.”

The Range Rover also won ‘Auto Express Design Award’, voted for by magazine readers and website visitors. More than 80 production cars and concept vehicles were eligible, yet the Range Rover came out on top.

Steve Fowler added: “It’s testimony to the work Land Rover Design Director Gerry McGovern and his team have done in reinventing this motoring icon, especially when you see the long list of beautiful cars the Range Rover beat.”

Land Rover Design Director and Chief Creative Officer, Gerry McGovern said: "Designing the All-New Range Rover for a new era was always going to be a significant challenge; particularly finding the right balance between maintaining its iconic form while giving it greater relevance and modernity.  It also had to sit comfortably as the flagship of a whole new generation of Range Rovers.  This award is particularly significant to us at Land Rover as it is voted for by the Auto Express readers themselves and reflects the efforts of everyone in the Land Rover Design Team."

The all-new Range Rover is the most capable and most luxurious Land Rover yet. Up to 420 kilogrammes lighter with new levels of refinement, the Range Rover reinforces its position as the world's finest luxury SUV.

Not to be left out was the Range Rover Evoque, which was awarded the honour of ‘Best Compact SUV’. It’s the magazine’s former Car of the Year and is receiving an Auto Express trophy for the third year in a row.

Steve Fowler commented:  “Its star is showing no sign of dimming. We love its style, quality and ability on and off-road. It remains one of the most desirable cars on sale in the UK today.”

With more than 130 global awards under its belt, the Evoque has gained critical acclaim from customers and media alike. The Evoque continues to receive plaudits for its concept car looks, dynamic driving performance, class leading off-road skills and excellent cost of ownership. Most recently, a Special Edition Evoque was launched in the UK which is available in coupé and 5-door, customers can choose from two exterior colour schemes, each one unique to the Special Edition model and based on a new Black Design Pack. Choices include a Sicilian Yellow exterior body finish with a Santorini Black contrast roof, or a Santorini Black exterior body finish with a Sicilian Yellow contrast roof and door mirrors. Unique interior finishes include yellow contrast stitching on seats, central storage area, door trims and fascia mid-section, plus an anodised yellow horizontal finisher.

The awards were announced at a gala event at the Grand Connaught Rooms, in London’s Covent Garden.

Jeremy Hicks, Managing Director for Jaguar Land Rover UK commented: “Three trophies in one night is a fantastic achievement, but what’s especially pleasing is they each recognise distinct aspects of our business. The Range Rover has set new standards in luxury, the Evoque continues to be the benchmark car for compact SUVs, and industry leading design will always be at the heart of everything we do.”

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

AUTOCAR scoops third generation Mini

The third-generation ‘new’ Mini produced under BMW has been photographed undisguised, months ahead of its expected debut towards the tail-end of the year.

The look of the new Mini is greater removed from its predecessor than had been expected, with a few notable design changes at the front giving it greater visual distinction in the switch from second-gen model to third than first to second.

The circular LED rings in the more prominent headlights are perhaps the most significant change, these having been previewed on the 2011 Rocketman concept.

The front-end design is softer than before but much more distinctive with it; the front grille taller and narrower, and with more rounded edges and a 3D effect. The lower grille is also more pronounced, and is flanked by more prominent fog lights.

In profile, the new Mini looks slightly longer with a longer wheelbase and increased front overhang. The glasshouse has been narrowed slightly and the roofline angled more towards the rear tailgate.

At the rear, there is more of a nip and tuck than a change in philosophy, with the light graphic of the current car carrying over in larger rear lights. The lower bumper has been reprofiled, and the twin central exhausts of the Cooper S model (both Cooper and Cooper S variants have been snapped undisguised) made more prominent.

Previous spy pictures of the interior have revealed an adoption of a BMW iDrive-style controller for the infotainment functions, and more conventional dials under the large circular screen in the centre console. Insiders have reported a big leap in quality for the new interior.

The new three-door Mini hatchback scooped here is the first of 11 Minis and up to 12 BMWs that will be spun off a new front-wheel-drive platform known internally as UKL1. The platform, thanks to its longer wheelbase, is said to greatly improve the ride quality of the Mini and also further sharpen up the handling.

The new Mini will be offered with a choice of a petrol or diesel three-cylinder 1.5-litre engines from a new family to be shared with BMW in the UKL1 range. Higher performance 1.6-litre turbos are expected to continue in the Cooper S and eventual JCW versions.

A six-speed manual gearbox will be available as the standard transmission, with an eight-speed automatic transmission optional. More Mini models may also receive four-wheel drive in the future as demand grows, with the technology an integral part of the UKL1 strategy.