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.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Living legend former Jaguar test driver and works racer Norman Dewis receives an OBE.

  • Living legend former Jaguar test driver and works racer Norman Dewis receives an OBE in Her Majesty’s New Year Honours List
  • Norman Dewis OBE enjoyed a 33-year career at Jaguar and is widely regarded as Britain’s greatest test driver
  • Dewis developed many of Jaguar’s most famous models, including the Le Mans-winning D-type and influential E-type
  • Dewis also set a land speed record for Jaguar and competed in many races for the marque during the 1950s
  • At 94 years old, Dewis still retains a close relationship with Jaguar, acting as a global ambassador and a familiar face at many key motoring events around the world today
In a career spanning 33 years of testing and developing many seminal and celebrated Jaguar cars, the exceptional achievements of legendary 94-year-old former test driver Norman Dewis have been recognised and rewarded in Her Majesty’s New Year Honours List, with Norman receiving the award of an Order of the British Empire (OBE).

Norman Dewis OBE developed no less than 25 significant Jaguar cars and is widely regarded as Britain’s greatest test driver. His automotive CV is remarkable: he developed the multiple Le Mans-winning C-type and D-type racing cars, the pioneering XK 140 and 150 sports cars, the classic 2.4/3.4 and Mk II saloons, plus the Mk VII and Mk VIIM models, the legendary E-type (including the Lightweight E-type), the XJ13 mid-engined prototype, the world-class XJ saloons, the XJ-S and the ‘XJ40’ models.

Dewis was also co-driver to the British racing hero Sir Stirling Moss in a C-type in the 1952 Mille Miglia and, in 1953, set a 172.412 mph production car speed record in a modified Jaguar XK 120 on a closed section of the Jabbeke highway, Belgium. He also drove a 190 mph works D-type in the dramatic 1955 Le Mans 24hr race and competed in the famous Goodwood Nine Hours in the 1950s.
At 94 years old, Dewis is one of the last living links to the golden era of the British motor Industry; those post-World War II years when Jaguar rebuilt itself into a champion sports car maker. 
During his 33 year career, Dewis completed more than a million test miles at an average speed of 100 mph-plus and survived high-speed crashes in the days before seatbelts, without ever breaking a single bone. He also played a vital role in developing the revolutionary Dunlop disc brake.
During 2014, Dewis spearheaded Jaguar’s 60th anniversary celebrations for the race-winning D-type. Wherever Jaguar was during the year, Norman was present too, chatting with fans and friends, wearing his distinctive bootlace tie and cowboy boots. At the 2014 Goodwood Revival, Dewis drove one of the D-types, his speed illustrating that he hadn’t lost his touch behind the wheel. 
Of all the cars he worked on, Dewis considers the D-type to be the best. “I got that car up to 192 mph on the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans,” he says. “Well, I had to pass [Karl] Kling in the Mercedes.” Jaguar’s star driver at the time, Mike Hawthorn, had such faith in Dewis that when he was asked to attend a test session and saw that Dewis was already there, asked the team manager: “Why am I here? If Norman’s satisfied with it, I’m satisfied.”
Dewis is working with Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations’ newly established Jaguar Heritage Business organisation to help showcase its capabilities and vision.  He is supporting the opening of the new Heritage workshop at Browns Lane, the extensive classic Jaguar parts offering, the launch of the new Jaguar Heritage Driving Experience in Warwickshire, and the brand-new Lightweight E-type, which he helped develop originally in the early 1960s.
John Edwards, Managing Director, Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations, and Chairman of the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust, said: “Jaguar owes a huge debt to Norman Dewis. His incredible skills have resulted in some of the finest cars this company has ever made – whether they were designed for the road or the racing circuit. The Norman Dewis of today is the same quietly confident and modest man of the 1950s – he remains a world-class Jaguar ambassador. It is fantastic to see his contribution to Jaguar, and to British engineering, recognised in Her Majesty’s New Year Honours List, with the award of an OBE.”  

DAY SEVEN - AUDI celebrates the Twelve days of Christmas.

Audi reveals a series of stunning light-painted images of its range – one for each of the twelve days of Christmas
Audi is marking the 12 days of Christmas with a collection of images which show its range in an entirely different light.
Day seven – The Audi RS 4 Avant

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

CHINA - SAIC launches new MG GTS SUV, UK sales need to be sooner than 2016 though.

China’s MG has released the first official images of the new MG GTS SUV, formerly known as the MG CS SUV. The orange car on the official images stands on super large tires nicely filling the wheel arches. The real thing however won’t look so good. The MG GTS will be launched on the Chinese car market in the first half of 2015. Price will start around 120.000 yuan and end around 160.000 yuan.

The MG GTS SUV is based on the third generation (2010) SsangYong Korando. The Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC), owner of the MG brand, owned a controlling stake in SsangYong Motor from late 2004 until 2009. Interestingly, new reports have surfaced saying the rear suspension of the MG GTS is based on the suspension of the Volkswagen Tiguan SUV, which is manufactured in Shanghai at the Shanghai-Volkswagen joint venture.  MG calls the platform ‘SSA’.

Exhaust pipes are tiny but otherwise a fine ass. Very usable roof rails and a subtle roof wing.
At launch, the MG GTS will be available with only one engine: a turbocharged 2.0 liter four-cylinder petrol with 220hp and 350nm, mated to a six-speed DCT. Later on a 1.5 turbo four with 167hp and 250nm will joint the line-up, mated to a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.
Black roof on orange body very smooth, with chromed roof rails at the border.

AUDI to invest more than 24 billion Euro's over the next four years

Audi expands its investment program: €24 billion from 2015 through 2019 

  • Audi CEO Rupert Stadler: “We are strengthening our innovative areas and expanding the global production network”
  • Axel Strotbek, CFO: “70 percent of all investments flow into new models and innovative technologies”
  • Audi Chief Technical Officer Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg: “Focus on digitalization and alternative drive systems”

Audi is further expanding the biggest investment program in its history. From 2015 through 2019, the Ingolstadt-based company plans to invest €24 billion, which is €2 billion more than in the previous planning period. 70 percent of the investment will flow into the development of new models and technologies. Audi aims to meet stringent CO2 limits worldwide with a new generation of extremely economical combustion engines and alternative efficiency technologies. Furthermore, new features in the areas of connectivity and driver assistance are designed to extend the “Vorsprung durch Technik” of the brand with the four rings. At the same time, the company is expanding its worldwide production network. More than half of the planned investment will take place at the German sites in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm.

Audi plans to develop new cutting-edge technologies and to create additional production capacities worldwide in the next five years through large-scale investment. “We place top priority on sustainable growth. That’s why we are making large investments in the innovative areas of electric mobility, connectivity and lightweight construction,” stated Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management (CEO) of AUDI AG. The company is also pushing ahead with the expansion of its global production network.
The total investment volume of €24 billion comprises approximately

€17 billion of investment in property, plant and equipment and €7 billion of capitalized development costs. “70 percent of all our investment in the next five years will flow into new models and innovative technologies,” explained Board of Management Member for Finance (CFO) Axel Strotbek.

“Despite the growth in total investment, we will keep a watchful eye on the upcoming challenges and exercise the required cost discipline,” stated the CFO. Top priority is being placed on progressing as efficiently as possible. The expansion of international manufacturing structure and higher advance expenditure for new models and technologies, in particular to meet stricter CO2 limits worldwide, require enormous efforts from the entire workforce.
In order to fulfill the ambitious CO2 limits, the company is working not only on the next generation of fuel-efficient gasoline and diesel engines, but also on plug‑in hybrids such as the Audi A3 Sportback e‑tron*, which became available in the first markets at the end the year. “We are constantly further developing alternative drive systems and focusing above all on connecting the car with its digital environment,” explained Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi’s Board of Management Member for Technical Development. “The car will communicate with the driver, the Internet, the infrastructure and other vehicles, while moving in an environmentally friendly manner.” The new Audi TT* is a pacemaker in terms of seamless connectivity. Its integrated Audi virtual cockpit, which merges a combination of instruments and an MMI screen into a central digital unit, sets new standards.
A few weeks ago, Audi presented the A7 Sportback h‑tron quattro concept car at the Los Angeles Motor Show, demonstrating that the premium manufacturer has also mastered fuel‑cell technology. “We can move into the series-production stage as soon as justified by the market and infrastructure,” stated Hackenberg. By the end of the year 2020, the Ingolstadt-based company intends to expand its model portfolio from 50 to 60 models. A main focus will be on new models in the C and D segments. Audi also intends to expand the successful Q family*. As of 2016, for example, the new Audi Q1 will be produced in Ingolstadt.
Another important element of the biggest investment program in the company’s history is the expansion of manufacturing structures in Germany and abroad: “The sites in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm are the basis for our international success. We therefore plan to make more than half of the total investment in Germany,” emphasized Strotbek. The production plant in Ingolstadt is already being prepared for new models. Extensive rebuilding work will start also in Neckarsulm in 2015, in order to prepare the plant for the next generation of the Audi A8 luxury sedan.
The workforce will also grow in the context of the investment in the main plants in Germany. In the past twelve months, Audi has recruited approximately 3,000 new employees in Germany alone. “We will continue to recruit in 2015, thus underpinning our course of sustainable growth,” said Audi’s Board of Management Member for Human Resources, Thomas Sigi. In addition, Audi will promote its own young talent and will once again provide specialist training to 700 young people. “We want to strengthen our core competencies, especially in key technologies, with a strong team in the domestic plants,” continued Sigi.
Worldwide, the Audi Group’s workforce has now grown to the record size of 80,000 employees. In Mexico and Brazil, the company is investing in new plants so that it can fully utilize the growth potential of the American continent. In this way, the premium producer from Ingolstadt will make sure it is even more independent of exchange‑rate fluctuations in the future.
Audi opened a training center to provide qualifications to new employees in San José Chiapa in October. As well as the 1,200 people who have already been recruited, the company plans to take on board another 850 employees in Mexico alone next year. As of 2016, the Audi Q5* will drive off the assembly lines there.
The ongoing high investment in the development of new models and technologies will become tangible for customers already next year in the form of numerous products. In addition to the new generation of the A6 family * in the large‑car segment, deliveries of which started in the fall of 2014, the new Audi Q3* and Audi RS Q3* will go into production with many innovative technologies in the New Year. And the new Audi A1* and A1 Sportback* will be launched in 2015, also with innovative three‑cylinder engines.
Audi will reach the mark of 1.7 million cars delivered in 2014. By 2020, the company aims to be the premium brand number one on a sustainable basis.
*Fuel consumption of the models named above:
Audi A1:

Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 7,2 – 3,4;
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 166 – 89

Audi A1 Sportback:

Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 7,3 – 3,4; 
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 168 – 91

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron: 

Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 1,7 – 1,5;
Combined electric power consumption in Wh/km: 124 – 114; 
Combined CO2 emission in g/km: 39 – 35

Audi A6 family:

Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 9,6 – 4,2;
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 224 – 109

Audi Q3:

Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 8,6 – 4,4;
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 203 – 114

Audi RS Q3:

Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 8,6 – 4,4;
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 203 – 198

Audi Q5:

Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 8,5 – 4,9; 
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 199 – 129

Audi Q7: 

Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 8,3 – 5,7; 
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 193 – 149

Audi TT:

Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 7,5 – 4,2; 
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 174 – 110 

USA - SAAB continues to as if nothing has changed at this US dealership.

Nearly all Saab dealers reached a dead end after the Swedish brand's bankruptcy in 2011. But not Park Ave Saab in Maywood, N.J.
The dealership, about 10 miles from Manhattan, bought the customer lists of several defunct Saab dealerships in the New York City area.
Then it moved into a closed Suzuki store and started courting Saab drivers in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. With ads, service coupons and emails, it offers readily available parts, service and a selection of low-mileage used Saabs.

Park Ave's website is a portal for all things Saab, such as the latest news and rumors from Sweden, updates on parts and alerts when a used Saab is for sale.
The store's ultimate goal, explained General Manager Jeremy Morrissey, is to keep Saab customers happy. And when they are ready to quit their quirky Swedish cars, ease them into one of the company's other brands. The Park Avenue Auto Group handles Acura, BMW and Lotus at other stores nearby.

Die-hard loyalists

There are more than 10,000 Saab owners in the New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania area, according to the customer lists, giving Park Ave a solid customer base.
The store's used-car and parts-and-service business has been strong, said Morrissey. In 2014, the store has:
• Averaged monthly sales of between 30 and 50 mostly high-end used cars.
• Billed between 600 and 700 hours per month in the service department. Park Ave employs two full-time technicians and a service writer.
• Boosted its parts business by targeting Saab owners and independent repair shops.
The store is posting a monthly operating profit of between $20,000 and $50,000 after all the bills, rent and wages are paid, said Morrissey, who has sold Saabs since the late 1980s.
"The Saab customer is very interesting," Morrissey said. "They are very emotional about Saab, and it amazes me the loyalty customers have to that brand. They'd rather pay top dollar for a used 2011 than buy a new 2014 Volvo."
So far, few die-hard Saab fans have quit the brand at his store. But that will change as the cars age and wear out, said Morrissey. He said customers often trade high-mileage Saabs from the 1980s and 1990s for newer models, such as the 9-5 from 2008-11.
About 450,000 Saabs are still in daily use in the United States, according to an estimate by Saab Automobile Parts North America, the Swedish-government owned business unit that distributes original equipment Saab service parts to 200 factory-authorized service centers in the United States.
"When [Saab] customers have had issues with their cars and are at the end of their ropes, they know this is the best place to trade their car because of our affinity to the brand," said Morrissey. "We give them top dollar for their car. We treat them and the car as if the brand is still in the United States."

Clock is ticking

Morrissey said he can sell all the Saabs he can get that were built in 2008 and later. He scours the Internet daily, goes to auctions and buys late-model Saabs from other dealers. He buys Saabs from all over the country and ships them to New Jersey. He also ships used Saabs to other states and to Europe.
Morrissey said the plan to service Saab customers is working well. But he realizes that the clock is ticking. Eventually, even the last Saabs built in 2011 will become too old to recondition and sell at a sufficient profit, Morrissey said.
"I expect the business to decline. Everything has a time limit," said Morrissey. "I think there will be a time period when we can ride the wave, maybe another two years at the best. Then you have to figure something else out."
Richard Truett

USA - Subaru celebrates selling its half millionth car in the US for the very first time.

- Subaru sales in U.S. top 500,000 for the first time in a calendar year
- Subaru sales in U.S. top 500,000 for the first time in a calendar year
- 500,000th vehicle sold on December 29
Subaru of America, Inc. has reached a significant milestone in its history, by retailing 500,000 vehicles in a single calendar year. The milestone caps a remarkable seven year growth period for the brand in the U.S. in which the company has grown from 187,699 vehicle sales in 2008 to what will total over 500,000 sales in 2014, once the sales year closes on January 2.

The growth in Subaru sales can be attributed to a combination of improved vehicle offerings, targeted and award-winning marketing and an improved retailer body. The current generation of Subaru vehicles grew in size compared to the previous generation in order to better suit the needs of the American buyer while also delivering improved interiors, technology and safety features such as the award-wining EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology. Furthermore, the company’s retail outlets have embraced process and amenity improvements as sales volume increased, while the total number of outlets has remained steady.
All of the company’s current models have contributed to its sales success; the current Impreza (four and five-door) is enjoying its best-ever generation and the Outback and the Forester mid-size CUV now retail 300,000 units per year, combined. The new small CUV entrant, XV Crosstrek, has also added over 60,000 sales to the year-total, while the all-new Legacy sedan is enjoying its best sales ever; more than doubling its year-over-year monthly sales since the launch of the 2015 model. On the performance side, sales of the company’s sporty models, the WRX and STI, are at their highest levels ever following the debut of the all-new 2015 models.
Thomas J. Doll, president and chief operating officer, Subaru of America, Inc. said; “We are delighted to have reached this historic milestone and our results show we are delivering vehicles that people want to buy. That we have grown so steeply and also so steadily over the last seven years is a testament to our products and to the commitment of our retailers who have had to manage this increase in capacity. There a positive air around our business and we have no plans to stop our growth; we expect 2015 to also be another record year for Subaru.”

DAY SIX - AUDI celebrates the Twelve days of Christmas.

Audi reveals a series of stunning light-painted images of its range – one for each of the twelve days of Christmas
Audi is marking the 12 days of Christmas with a collection of images which show its range in an entirely different light.
Day six – The Audi A3 Cabriolet

Monday, 29 December 2014

What to expect at the Performance Car Show at Birmingham’s NEC

Breaking up the cold spell of winter and the long F1 and BTCC off-seasons, enthusiasts can start 2015 in style at the Performance Car Show at Birmingham’s NEC, where a host of the latest road-going supercars, classic icons and World Championship winners will be displayed on 8-11* January.
Attended by 82,000 people in 2014, the Performance Car Show presented by Landsail Tyres in association with Autocar and PistonHeads is held alongside Europe’s largest dedicated motorsport show, Autosport International.
With a host of special collections spanning the best of four-wheeled performance, fans will see amazing machinery at every turn. Some, though, simply can’t be missed.
With only 499 in production, the LaFerrari is a statement of intent from the legendary Italian manufacturer. Packed with F1-derived technology, the 950bhp hypercar combines a V12 engine with a Kinetic Energy Recovery System.

Mercedes F1
Driven by Lewis Hamilton to win the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, the dominant Silver Arrows won 16 of the 19 races in 2014 and will lead a showcase displaying the pinnacle of motorsport on the F1 Racing Grid.

Ferrari 458 Speciale
Named by motoring bible Autocar as Britain’s Best Driver’s Car of 2014, the 458 Speciale features Ferrari’s most-powerful, naturally-aspirated V8 engine and active aerodynamics.

McLaren 650S
Another sensational supercar as McLaren puts its Formula 1 expertise on the road, the 650S covers 0-60mph in under three seconds and hits a top speed of 207mph.

Lamborghini Huracán
The 602bhp Huracán accelerates from 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds, befitting of Lamborghini’s description as the new benchmark for luxury super sports cars.

Ferrari F40
One of the greatest supercars ever created and the first production car to break the 200mph barrier, the legendary F40 was built to celebrate Ferrari’s 40th anniversary.

Mercedes C11
One of the best from the Group C era of the 80s and early 90s, the 950bhp C11 was driven by the likes of Michael Schumacher and won eight of its nine races in the 1990 World Sportscar Championship.

Ariel Atom 3.5R
Top of the locals in Britain’s Best Driver’s Cars, finishing second to the 458 Speciale, the latest instalment from Ariel is a 350bhp, 550kg rocket.

Radical SR8 RSX
Another homegrown success story, Radical is unveiling its most-powerful and advanced racer yet, the 440bhp SR8 RSX.

Subaru Impreza
Colin McRae created motorsport history in the era-defining Subaru, becoming Britain’s first World Rally Champion in 1995.

Jaguar XJR15
Launched at the very first Autosport International in 1991 and with only 50 ever produced, the V12-powered XJR15 was the first fully carbon-fibre road-car.

Citroën DS3 World RX Supercar
Not your average Citroën, this is the flame-spitting, 600bhp monster Petter Solberg drove to win the 2014 FIA World Rallycross Championship.

Zenos E10 S
The very first sportscar from Zenos Cars, the lightweight E10 was launched at the 2014 show and Zenos is back this January with the new, 250bhp E10 S.

BMW i8
Representing the future of motoring, as a revolutionary yet accessible hybrid supercar, a three-cylinder turbo engine combines with an electric motor to produce 357bhp.

Vauxhall VXR8 GTS
Displayed in the UK for the first time at the show in 2014, this ‘thunder from down under’ packs a 576bhp V8.

Exclusive Performance Car Show features include the Autocar Supercar Display, Pie and Piston Pub by PistonHeads.com and the opportunity to see a selection of winners from the prestigious What Car? Awards 2015, just hours after the winners are named. A group of category victors will be on display and appear in the Live Action Arena, the UK’s largest indoor racetrack, along with finalists from Autocar’s Britain’s Best Driver’s Cars.
Every level of motorsport will be in the spotlight within Autosport International, led by the F1 Racing Grid, Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship showcase and a new Track Icons and Wild Road Cars feature in association with Classic & Sports Car Magazine and Silverstone Classic.