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, 21 February 2014

Volvo says The next time you feel lazy for ordering food to your house, don't.

The next time you feel lazy for ordering food to your house, don't.

Volvo announced what it calls "the world's first delivery of food to the car," a new service available via the automaker's new digital key technology. In a nutshell, buyers can order goods online, and once the goods are ready for delivery, buyers will be informed on their smartphone or tablet. In the process, they authorize a delivery person to open the car via a digital key. Once the pickup or drop-off is complete, the digital key no longer works.

This is all well and good, but it begs the question, "Why?" This feature helps demonstrate the capabilities of the Volvo On Call telematics app, which offers a range of services designed to help drivers stay connected to their cars when they are away from their cars. One popular feature is remotely heating or cooling the car so that it reaches the perfect temperature once the driver is ready to get in.

As for the food delivery service itself, while it may seem ridiculous, there are some key advantages. In a pilot program, 92 percent of people surveyed found it more convenient to receive deliveries to the car than to the home.

“By turning the car into a pickup and drop-off zone through digital keys, we solved a lot of problems delivering goods to people, not places," said Klas Bendrik, Group CIO at Volvo Car Group, in a recent statement. "The test customers also indicated that the service clearly saved time. And there are benefits for delivery companies as well because failed first-time deliveries generate significant costs for companies." He said the company will continue to investigate the future of digital key technology.


USA - 30th Birthday for the Toyota 4Runner brings some large discounts

The Toyota 4Runner turns 30 this year, and to commemorate the special occasion, Toyota is offering some steep discounts on the SUV.

Buyers can snag a $500 discount on the 2014 4Runner SR5, which is the base model. This price cut brings costs down to an MSRP of $33,180, including a destination fee. A $500 discount is also available on SR5 4x4 and Trail 4x4 models.

Those opting for higher trim levels can see bigger savings. Toyota is offering a $750 discount on the SR5 Premium 4x2 and 4x4 models as well as the Trail Premium 4x4. On all Limited models, Toyota is giving discounts of $1,000. With the hefty discount, the Limited model now starts at just over $41,000. All 30th anniversary Toyota 4Runner discounts are available at Toyota dealerships now.

While 30 is still young in people-years, this is not the case for SUV-years. The 4Runner is one of the few remaining body-on-frame SUVs on the market. Although it received a redesign for the 2014 model year, it still looks as bit dated. Sales were down almost 12 percent in January, so hopefully the discount will bring in more takers for this SUV.


Peugeot 2008 tops 100,000 sales in less than one year, and sales are increasing.

  • Peugeot 2008 reaches manufacturing milestone in under 12 months
  • More than 5,000 already sold in the UK - demand is 35% above target
  • Strong January means Dealers on target to sell 18,000 this year
  • Peugeot 2008 on sale from only £12,995

There’s no arguing with the success of the Peugeot 2008. Less than a year after its launch, the urban crossover has passed the magic 100,000 barrier in production.

The car in question was taken direct from the plant in Mulhouse, France, where it’s built, and handed over to its delighted new owner. The ceremony was witnessed by Corinne Spilios, Director of the Mulhouse production centre, and Xavier Duchemin, Director of Peugeot France.

Another measure of the Peugeot 2008’s success is the awards it has won. Prestigious honours have come from numerous markets, including Ireland, Italy, Spain, France, Poland and Turkey. Evidence of the Brand’s move up-market in the B-segment is illustrated by the fact that 68% of sales are for the two highest trim levels, Allure and Feline.

Built exclusively at the Mulhouse site for all countries except China and those in Latin America, the impressive level of customer demand has already led to three increases in production. Output currently stands at 680 vehicles per day, double the rate at launch.

In the UK, more than 5,000 examples of the 2008 have been sold, with an astonishing level of conquest sales – currently 70%. Dealers have been asked to sell another 18,000 during 2014 and 1,194 registrations in January means that ambition is achievable.

2008 is the only vehicle in its category to offer Grip Control technology, a system that improves traction, and received the maximum five stars in the independent Euro NCAP safety tests. Priced from only £12,995 and also available via Peugeot’s innovative and unique Just Add Fuel™ personal lease scheme, the 2008 Urban Crossover is like no other.

TMW - QOROS, a New brand for a new era.

Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Saab, Rover, and more, all once huge brands that took the world by storm, each gave its own special mark on the motoring world, each had sales in the millions, had factories/workers around the globe, and millions of workers over the years, yet what these and more have in common is they are no longer around, all either closed by parent companies or bankrupt, and with it, the loss of great companies, workers and some stunning cars.
Since 2008 the world has been in free fall, mass redundancies, closures, cut backs and pay freezes, the world over, nowhere has been exempt from the financial meltdown that occurred 6 years ago, so I ask, why launch a brand new car company now, as nearly all manufacturers are cutting back, and saving money, but then i think why not, maybe it is a genius stroke, wait until the worst is over and then slowly but surely ease your way in, as people were wary of spending large sums, the purse strings are now starting to loosen, and with it the chance to try something new.

But it is still a massive gamble, Lexus has still to make a profit, Infiniti is draining profits from parent company Nissan, Mazda dumped its sister brand Xedos some years ago, Smart has not been a success for Daimler, so what can QOROS bring to the table that all these others have not, well, not much, the first model launched for sale the QOROS 3 Sedan is a decent first attempt, along with the hatch and wagon to come, the hatch is being launched at Geneva shortly, and NCAP awarded the car its highest possible recognition as "best in class 2013", you cant get better than that.
QOROS 3 Sedan
But is it enough, not bad looks, great Safety, interiors that look the part, decent power-trains and the back up of one of China's biggest automotive car makers (Chery) and, a somewhat weird partner in Israel Corporation, an Israeli government part owned private corporation that has, at first glance NO commercial interest in any automotive building process, either now or in the past, so apart from money what can they offer, well, they offer an easy access to that part of the world when QOROS goes global, and little else at this point, unless i can be shown an alternative.

QOROS 3 Interior
Chery on the other hand was introduced to the world in 1997 by the Chinese Government and is still state owned, a number of their products, like other Chinese Auto-makers have benefited from "looking" very similar to other brands cars, one such, being the Chery QQ, which GM had issue with, as it was nearly identical to its own Chevy Matiz, but time has moved on, Chery has now a number of partnerships, most notably Jaguar Land Rover, which is due to come on stream shortly, and the push for QOROS carries on.

At the outset, when the company was set up in 2007, the work started and only 4 years later, October 2011, the first prototype was produced, not bad for a ground up corporation, and two months later, first official images were issued, it was from here that the work really begun, because once you release the images, you then have something that's available for people to query and question, so it was no surprise that in March 2013, at the 83rd Geneva Motor Show, the first production based car was on display, The QOROS 3 Sedan, but it did not stop there, they also had the "3" Estate Concept and "3" Cross hybrid Concept all on display too.
QOROS 3 Cross Hybrid Concept

QOROS, are not playing, they are deadly serious, they have the talent, they have selected some of the best talent around, starting with Gert Hilderbrand, head of design, who had a glowing career at BMW and MINI as well as Mitusbishi Design Europe, head designer at SEAT, and also major wok on the Golf MK3, amongst many other very talents key personnel there is Klaus Schmidt, the former chief engineer of vehicle performance at BMW, the former chief engineer at Jaguar Land Rover, Peter Matkin and Roger Malkusson, a former chief engineer at SAAB, so you can clearly see they have the talent, all they need is the product.

QOROS Flagship Concept
The designs and specs were signed off and the QOROS 3 Sedan made production with the first car being sold to the general public in China at the back end of last year, not bad considering at the start of 2007 the company did not exist, so with the hard work done, where to next, well, that's obvious, carry on building and selling in China, pushing the brand with great marketing and pricing, and once the Chinese market has been satisfied, the push into other Asian markets and onto Europe, with its great safety reputation the European market will be more willing to accept this Chinese car in a way they have avoided the MG brand that has failed to achieve anything near poor sales, let alone good.

Can the brand be sold in the US, for now, I don't think so, the US market is very fickle, and the opinionated buyer will assume that the QOROS brand will be like other brands, with less than good records of safety and reliability, but they will be wrong, for first look, the QOROS brand seems to be well sorted, and it can be ring fenced from the Chinese reputation, but that will be hard, because at the end of the day, it will either be known as the Chinese brand or the Israeli brand, neither of which will go down well in the good ole US of A, so to get to Europe first and get a reputation for good quality, reasonable priced cars, that offer a little more than the norm is how they should be advertised, once Europe has been conquered, if that's the right word, then who knows, the world.

When the brand comes to the UK, and no date or confirmation has been made, but there is a QOROS UK company already set up, it will be a welcome breath of fresh air to shake up a stodgy market, I for one cant wait to see the QOROS brand here, and the sooner the better.


Nissan has packed stand at Geneva with many new products.

Completely refreshed crossover line-up shown together for the first time
  • All-new X-Trail sets new standards in the C-SUV segment thanks to crossover DNA
  • All-new Qashqai introduces a new era of crossover design
  • Plus, next member of Nissan's rejuvenated crossover family to debut at the Geneva Motor Show
Nissan showcases its model diversity and engineering passion
  • Striking BladeGlider concept makes European show debut
  • Zero-emissions e-NV200 debuts in full production form
  • GT-R Nismo - fastest ever Nissan production car - makes European debut
Nissan continues towards goal of being number one Asian brand in the region
  • Strong demand for European built, class-leading models
  • Production ramping up at Nissan plants in both UK and Spain
Nissan's command of the crossover segment is further reinforced at the 84th Geneva Motor Show with the brand's unrivalled crossover family taking centre stage. The all-new X-Trail and all-new Qashqai highlight Nissan's ongoing crossover development, which will be strengthened by the arrival of another next generation model in Geneva.
The 2014 Geneva Motor Show also showcases Nissan's diverse innovation. From the world debut of the zero-emissions e-NV200 to the European premiere of the GT-R Nismo, Nissan is demonstrating its unrivalled passion for design, engineering and innovation.
Corporate update
Record levels of demand for its advanced and technologically innovative products, plus a raft of new or revised vehicles, means that Nissan will build more cars, crossovers and light commercial vehicles than ever at its European plants in 2014. Existing high levels of demand for class-leading vehicles such as the Nissan Qashqai and the all-electric Nissan LEAF, and a significant second all-electric vehicle, e-NV200, means that Nissan will be using even more of the production capacity at its plants in the UK, Spain and Russia. And there's more to come.  The significance of Nissan's European manufacturing plants cannot be underestimated: last year, some 80 percent of all Nissan vehicles sold in Europe were built in Europe. In the 30 years since manufacturing began in the region, Europe has built more than 10 million Nissan vehicles.
New X-Trail
Now fully integrated into Nissan's crossover range, the all-new X-Trail combines advanced 4x4 capabilities with a host of design and engineering features that have become hallmarks of Nissan crossovers. The new model also introduces a number of innovative new-to-sector technologies such as bi-LED headlamps, Nissan Safety Shield and a fully-integrated third-generation NissanConnect navigation and infotainment system.
Built on the Renault-Nissan Alliance Common Module Family platform, the all-new X-Trail also offers significantly improved practicality, with a new ‘theatre-style' seating layout, sliding second row of seats and fully-integrated third row of seats with improved leg and headroom.
As a result of this complete redesign and re-engineering process, the new X-Trail completes what is the most comprehensive and capable SUV crossover line-ups in the industry.
e-NV200 production premiere 
Nissan is set to continue its dominance of the electric vehicle sector with the introduction of the e-NV200 which brings unprecedented refinement, with zero emissions and ultra-low running costs. Combining the best elements of two multi-award winning vehicles - Nissan LEAF and Nissan NV200, past World Car of the Year and International Van of the Year respectively - e-NV200 is ready to change the face of the city.
The e-NV200's high performance pure electric drivetrain, based on that used in the acclaimed Nissan LEAF, is allied to the class-leading cargo volume of the NV200 to create a practical and versatile vehicle capable of carrying people or goods while producing neither exhaust emissions nor noise pollution. When sales start in May, e-NV200 will be available as a van or as a five-seat people carrier in Combi or more luxurious Evalia guises. Although mainly targeted at businesses, e-NV200 will also appeal to private users with large families.
GT-R Nismo
Making its European debut in production form, the mighty Nissan GT-R Nismo is the fastest and most advanced Nissan performance production car ever. Honed to perfection on the legendary Nürburgring Norsdschleife - where it holds the lap record for a volume production car - the new GT-R Nismo perfectly embodies the spirit of the Nismo brand, delivering breathtaking performance.
The new GT-R Nismo is powered by a 600PS, 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine that has been extensively modified by Nismo engineers. Combined with a revised aerodynamic package that generates an additional 100kg of downforce and a bespoke suspension set-up fine-tuned in Europe, it makes the latest GT-R the most remarkable to date.
Nissan BladeGlider concept 
Shown to a European audience for the first time at Geneva, the bold new BladeGlider concept challenges conventional thinking on performance car design. Inspired by Nissan's innovative ZEOD RC Zero Emission on Demand race car - set to take part in the 2014 Le Mans 24hr race under the event's ‘Garage 56' rules - the BladeGlider features radical narrow front-track design layout that creates a distinctive swept-wing shape when viewed from above. Featuring perfect weight distribution thanks to the placement of the lithium ion batteries and in-board motors between the rear wheels, the BladeGlider optimises power delivery with significantly reduced stresses at the front of the vehicle.
New Qashqai
Celebrating one of the most successful launches in Nissan history, the all-new Qashqai is set to be a major draw at the Geneva Motor Show. Ushering in a new era in crossover design, the second-generation model has attracted unprecedented interest from motorists and the world's press. With production now fully underway at Nissan's record-breaking Sunderland (UK) plant, the new Qashqai demonstrates Nissan's leadership in the crossover sector with numerous sector-first technologies and a host of innovative and practical design features. These include Nissan Safety Shield - a suite of safety systems that combine to deliver one of the most comprehensive protection packages in the industry - and the latest NissanConnect system with full smartphone integration.

Mazda previews new Mazda2 at Geneva, this concept is called HAZUMI

  • Company’s dynamic new subcompact concept points the way to the future
  • Mazda is unveiling the Mazda HAZUMI at the 84th Geneva International Motor Show
  • Geneva also hosting premiere of small-displacement SKYACTIV-D clean diesel

Mazda is unveiling the Mazda HAZUMI, a next-generation subcompact concept, at the 84th Geneva International Motor Show. In another world premiere at the upcoming event, the convention-challenging Japanese carmaker will also exhibit its new clean diesel engine: the SKYACTIV-D 1.5.

The name HAZUMI, which means “bound” or “spring up” in Japanese, is particularly well-suited to a small car that appears to be bursting with energy. Built with no compromises to Mazda’s engineering principles, the HAZUMI expresses the ideal form for the company’s next-generation subcompact.

Mazda will also present the SKYACTIV-D 1.5, a newly developed small-displacement clean diesel. Another Geneva exhibit, meanwhile, commemorates the 25th anniversary of the iconic Mazda MX-5, the all-time bestselling roadster.

Main exhibits:
Reference exhibitsMazda HAZUMI (world premiere)
Mazda MX-5 (past models, press days only)
Vehicles currently availableMazda3, Mazda6, Mazda CX-5, Mazda5, Mazda2,
Mazda MX-5 (current models)
Technology exhibitsSKYACTIV-D 1.5 clean diesel (world premiere)
SKYACTIV-G 2.0 petrol engine
SKYACTIV-D 2.2 clean diesel

Volkswagen to début the new GOLF GTE plug in hybrid at Geneva

Volkswagen has unveiled the first pictures of the Golf GTE – a new plug-in hybrid version of the multi-award-winning Golf hatchback that combines the benefits of electric mobility with the dynamics of a Golf GTI.

The Golf GTE is due to make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month.  It provides the fifth variety of drive type for the Golf, which is now available with petrol, diesel, natural gas (not in the UK), electric and hybrid power.  The name of the Golf GTE reflects its position in the line-up alongside the iconic petrol-powered GTI and the diesel GTD.  Where ‘GT’ stands for ‘Gran Tourismo’, ‘I’ stands for ‘Injection’, ‘D’ for Diesel and ‘E’ for Electricity.

The Golf GTE is driven by two engines: a 1.4-litre 150 PS TSI direct-injection petrol engine and a 102 PS electric motor.  Together, they combine to produce power of 204 PS and a theoretical range of around 580 miles.  Using the electric motor alone, the GTE is capable of speeds of 81 mph.  With the TSI engine as well, the Golf GTE can sprint from zero to 62 mph in 7.6 seconds and on to 135 mph.  Torque is a remarkable 350 Nm (258 lbs ft).  Alongside this impressive performance, the Golf GTE offers impressive fuel efficiency, with a combined cycle figure of 188 mpg* and CO2 emissions of 35 g/km* (*provisional data).
In pure electric mode (activated at the press of a button), the Golf GTE can travel up to 31 miles, depending on conditions, and the electric power can also be saved – for example when driving to a zero-emissions zone.  The 8.8 kWh lithium-ion battery can be charged in around three and a half hours from a domestic mains outlet, or two and a half hours from a domestic wallbox.  The battery weighs 120 kg, giving the GTE a total kerbweight of 1,520 kg.

The Golf GTE uses a six-speed DSG gearbox with a triple-clutch system specially developed for hybrid vehicles.  The electric motor is integrated into the gearbox housing, while further hybrid components include power electronics and a charger.  An electro-mechanical brake servo and an electric air conditioning compressor make for energy-efficient braking and air conditioning.

Visually, the Golf GTE combines elements of the look of the e-Golf and the GTI.  The front bumper features C-shaped LED daytime running lights, like those on the e-Golf, as well as aerodynamic horizontal ‘fins’, like those on the GTI.  Where the GTI features red, the GTE has blue accents, including across the radiator grille and into the headlights.  The headlights, along with all lights on the GTE, are LED.  In the UK, 18-inch ‘Serron’ alloy wheels will be standard.  The Golf GTE is available in five-door bodystyle only.

Inside as on the outside, the Golf GTE features blue highlights where the GTI has red.  This includes stitching on the steering wheel, gear lever gaiter and seats, and a blue stripe in the tartan pattern on the sports seats.  The 8-inch Discover Pro satellite navigation system with DAB radio and Bluetooth is standard, and includes bespoke functions for electric vehicles, including the ability to identify potential destinations on electric range, and electric charging points.

The GTE will also feature an e-manager which allows the driver to preset vehicle charging, as well as interior cooling or heating.  These functions can also be operated remotely using the Volkswagen Car-Net app on a smartphone: a three-year subscription will be included in the UK.

The vehicle speedometer and tachometer are familiar, and the latter is supplemented by a power meter in the central display, which shows the status of the battery, whether or not power is being used and the intensity of any regeneration.

Full details including pricing will be available when the new Golf GTE opens for ordering in the UK in late August.  First deliveries are expected before the end of the year.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

USA - First Orders of 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Sell Out Within 3 Days.

Chrysler has sold out of its first batch of 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel pickups, currently the only half-ton trucks available on the market with a diesel engine. Production of these vehicles had only just started this month, and within three days, Chrysler received 8,000 orders.

This was enough to fill up the first round of orders, which accounts for more than 50 percent of its total order mix. The flood of orders for the 2014 Ram EcoDiesel suggests a heavy interest in fuel economy among pickup buyers. Currently, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel achieves 20/28 mpg city/highway, with the best highway rating ever for a full-size half-ton pickup.

Its highway fuel economy also exceeds even the top-rated small pickup. The EcoDiesel model manages to achieve this position through a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 engine good for 240 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. The engine is paired with an advanced eight-speed automatic transmission.

We have to assume that fuel economy is the primary reason for the 1500 EcoDiesel's success, considering buyers haven't had the chance to actually test-drive the vehicle yet. But we have, and we loved it.The first EcoDiesel models will be shipped in March. Also next month, customers will have another chance to get their hands on the new Ram EcoDiesel in a second round of orders.


GM knew of ignition defect a decade ago, report says

General Motors knew a decade ago about the ignition problems that triggered last week's recall of compact cars, according to a newspaper report that cites documents in a civil lawsuit against GM.

GM said last week that it's recalling more than 778,000 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 cars in North America after several deaths were linked to faulty ignition switches that may have caused engines to stall and air bags to malfunction.

USA Today reported Wednesday that GM knew about the defects in 2004.

GM acknowledged the problem in a 2005 technical service bulletin that advised dealers to install a snap-on key cover for customers who complained, but didn't require the dealers to install the part on new Cobalts before they were sold, the newspaper said.

GM said it knows of 22 related crashes and at least six deaths involving frontal-impact accidents in which air bags didn't deploy.

USA Today reported that according to documents it obtained from a lawsuit against GM over a Georgia crash that killed pediatric nurse Brooke Melton, at least one GM engineer encountered a problem while testing the new car, which arrived on the market in 2004 as a 2005 model.

Gary Altman, program engineering manager for the Cobalt during its development, said in a deposition last June that while the modification listed in the bulletins was an "improvement, it was not a fix to the issue," the paper said.

Lance Cooper, lawyer for Melton's estate, told USA Today that Melton had taken her vehicle to the dealership for ignition switch problems, but did not receive the modification.

GM settled the lawsuit by Melton's estate, but wouldn't comment further because of litigation still pending against the dealer, spokesman Alan Adler said.

The recall covers 619,122 cars from the 2005 to 2007 model years in the U.S., along with 153,310 in Canada and 6,130 in Mexico. Dealers will replace ignition switches on affected cars, GM said.


Rugged Citroen C4 Cactus Aventure concept is set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show

This is the Citroen C4 Cactus Aventure concept. It’s a striking, off-road-inspired interpretation of the recently revealed C4 Cactus, and will be showcased at the Geneva Motor Show next month alongside the standard model.

Changes for this new concept include raised suspension and extended wheel arches, which will help accommodate the bulkier off-road tyres. Citroen has also given the Aventure concept a metal bullbar at the front, covered in protective padding. A bespoke roofbox complete with built-in spotlights has also been added.
If the addition of all the off-road goodies weren’t enough, Citroen has also decorated the Aventure concept in a striking white and yellow paintjob, with matching camouflage decals.

However, the concept is likely to remain just that - there is no indication that the Aventure concept will be put into production.

The standard C4 Cactus will make it to showrooms, however. The model has set the template for future C-line Citroens, which will offer increased space and practicality but with significantly reduced running costs thanks to clever packaging and weight reduction. Further details about the Aventure concept will to be announced in March at the Geneva show.

Honda launches two new Limited Edition CR-V for the UK, The Black Edition and the White Edition, What will you chose ?

Honda (UK) has unveiled two eye-catching, Special Edition variants of the popular CR-V, the Black Edition and White Edition. Both share a range of bold exterior enhancements that give the car even greater road presence. The CR-V Special Edition models represent a saving of £770 compared to the CR-V SE-T combined with the relevant optional equipment.

With both the Black Edition and White Edition, the CR-V’s distinctive styling is enhanced with the addition of bold 19-inch Orion alloy wheels, exhaust finisher and privacy glass. A new patterned front grille gives a more powerful expression of performance, while a tailgate spoiler extends the flowing lines of the roof over the rear window to give a sleek, dynamic look. Smoothly integrated running boards add practicality and visual impact, while front and rear skid plates top the styling upgrades while protecting the underside of the car.

The Special Editions also benefit from the generous specification offered with the CR-V
SE-T, which features dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth HFT, front and rear parking sensors and power-folding door mirrors, plus metallic paint and satellite navigation all as standard.

The CR-V Special Editions will be supported online at www.honda.co.uk/headturner with a campaign which dubs the new model ‘The new head-turner from Honda’. The site invites users to choose ‘Which one turns your head?’, with an interactive graphic showing the percentage split between those favouring black against those opting for white. Users can also tweet their preference with the hashtag #CRVWHITE or #CRVBLACK, or share their choice on Facebook.

Leon Brannan, Head of Cars for Honda (UK) comments: “The CR-V is already a very popular choice thanks to its combination of distinctive and refined styling and excellent versatility. The new Special Edition Black and White enhance the range even further, offering real stand-out appeal and a bold new look. Now the only decision for customers is which colour most turns their head!”

The new models are available now in manual or automatic, with either the 2.0 i-VTEC petrol or 2.2 i-DTEC diesel engine. On the road prices start from £28,400 for the petrol manual version. Honda (UK) is currently offering competitive low monthly PCP payments from just £309 on the CR-V Special Edition. This new variant also benefits from a £500 deposit contribution and the 5 year Honda care package which includes five years warranty, servicing and roadside assist for £500.

The 3rd Generation AUDI TT to shine at Geneva.

A new take on one of the most iconic Audi models in recent years will be unveiled next month.

  • Debut at Salon de L’Automobile Geneva, March 6-16 2014
  • Audi Press Conference on Press Day, March 4 at 9am CET
  • Design line reminiscent of the first model generation
  • Audi virtual cockpit and Matrix LED headlights are the technical highlights
  • Interior design with focused, minimalist styling

At next month’s Geneva Motor Show Audi will pull the wraps from a completely new iteration of the compact sports car that tore up the rulebook and changed the course of design in its class at its 1998 launch. For the third generation of the iconic TT, the designers have reinterpreted a host of ideas from that first, game-changing template.
The front end of the new Audi TT has dominant horizontals. The Singleframe grille is broad and flat. Two contours form a V-pattern over the bonnet. The position of the four rings is also new - they now sit centrally on the hood, echoing the R8.
Struts divide up the large air inlets. The headlights repeat this motif – they are structured with divider struts acting as reflectors for the daytime running light. Audi can supply the headlights as an option with LED technology or its pioneering Matrix LED technology, where controllable individual light-emitting diodes generate the main beam.

Many details of the new Coupé’s profile are reminiscent of the first generation’s classic design. The sill contour forms a powerful light edge and the wide wheel arches constitute distinct geometrical entities. At the front, the wheel arch intersects the bonnet join, which continues over the door as the tornado line and extends all the way to the rear. The flat greenhouse looks like an entity in its own right. The shape of the C-pillar, with a slight kink, gives the TT a powerful, athletic look and enhances the impression of tension.

At the rear, too, horizontal lines reinforce the wide and focused impression. The struts in the rear lights pick up on the headlights’ motif. They remain permanently on – another Audi innovation. The third brake light with a flat strip shape links the two units on either side. All engine versions have two large, round exhaust tailpipes in the diffuser. Like all Audi S models, the TTS features four tailpipes.

Inside, too, the styling is so light it almost seems to float, evoking the clean sports car character of the new Audi TT. The centre console and door trims have flowing, matching shapes. Seen from above, the dashboard resembles the wing of an aircraft. The round air vents, a classic TT feature, have a turbine-like look and incorporate the air conditioning controls. This solution – and the elimination of the central MMI monitor, now replaced by the Audi virtual cockpit – paves the way for the dashboard’s remarkably slim architecture.

Sharper lines and a more dramatic interplay between surfaces will be particularly notable features of the third generation of the Audi TT, but they only scratch the surface  of a pedigree sports car that has been systematically refined in every department, both inside and out.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Renault's Russian outpost posts loss for 2013, after large profit in 2012

Russia's largest carmaker, AvtoVAZ, reported a loss of 6.9 billion rubles ($196 million) for 2013 due to a slump in the country's auto market.

AvtoVAZ is owner of the country's best-selling brand, Lada. The loss compared to a profit of 211 million the previous year. Revenue fell 4 percent to 175 billion rubles, the company said, with sales of Ladas down 19 percent to 481,000 cars.

New AvtoVAZ CEO Bo Andersson announced plans recently to cut 2,500 jobs to help the company back to profit in a contracting market.

AvtoVAZ is due to come under the control of Renault-Nissan this year, with its new owners planning to win market share by taking the boxy Lada upmarket.

Russian auto sales have faltered as economic growth slowed, causing people to put off making large purchases. New-car sales fell by 6 percent in 2013, according to the Moscow-based Association of European Businesses (AEB), which expects deliveries to decline by 2 percent this year.


Porsche halts GT3 deliveries after two catch fire

Porsche has stopped deliveries of the most expensive version of its overhauled 911 sports car after two of them caught fire, the automaker said.

Engineers at Porsche's headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, are examining the remains of the gutted vehicles from Switzerland and Italy to determine the cause of the fires, a spokesman said on Tuesday, confirming a report from German news agency dpa.

The Volkswagen Group unit expects to conclude the investigation this week, the spokesman said, adding that Porsche had this year delivered 322 of the GT3 models, which start at 137,000 euros ($187,700).

Porsche expects to hit a target of selling more than 200,000 sports cars and SUVs in 2015, three years earlier than first scheduled, CEO Matthias Mueller said last week.

PSA, the French government, Santander and Dongfeng agree terms to bail out the loss making company.

Carlos Tavares, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen's incoming CEO, laid out aggressive plans to remake the unprofitable automaker's model lineup.

Tavares, the former Renault executive who will take over as CEO next month, said PSA needs to increase research and development funding and narrow its offerings to focus on the most profitable vehicles.

"This company has the potential to become a global car company," Tavares told analysts on a conference call today. He said his plan is to focus on fewer models and to "scare" competitors with the new vehicles in the coming years.

Underscoring the long development times in the auto industry, where creating a new model from scratch takes years, Tavares said remaking the Citroen DS subbrand into a full-fledged marque that can compete with the likes of Audi and other luxury automakers may take two decades.

The money for new models will come in part from a 3 billion-euro capital increase, in which Dongfeng Motor Corp. and the French state will contribute about half the money in exchange for stakes of 14 percent apiece. Banco Santander will also contribute funds through a partnership with PSA's lending arm.

Tavares's strategy also includes narrowing PSA's offerings in countries such as Russia, where the automaker currently sells 27 models and is losing money.

PSA has been forced to slash costs as Europe's auto market declined for six straight years and currently spends 1-to-2 percentage points less on r&d than the industry average.

VW competition

Tavares said he'll detail in mid-April his "Back in the Race" turnaround plan for PSA, which in the last decade has steadily fallen further behind regional leader Volkswagen Group.

VW last year controlled 24.8 percent of the car market in western Europe, more than double PSA's 11.1 percent share. Ten years ago, the region's two biggest carmakers were much closer, with VW's share at 18.2 percent compared with PSA's 14.8 percent, according to data from industry trade group ACEA.

PSA has largely stayed focused on mid-market cars in Europe, while VW has expanded the luxury Audi brand and invested abroad, especially in China. Since 2003, VW's global deliveries have surged 94 percent to 9.73 million vehicles, while Peugeot's have declined 14 percent to 2.82 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

China expansion

PSA is aiming to remake its fortunes by teaming up with Dongfeng to expand in China, the world's largest auto market. Dongfeng, established in 1969 and based in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, already operates three factories in the country with PSA. The companies plan to raise joint production by two-thirds to 750,000 vehicles by the end of 2015.

Dongfeng said today it's targeting 1.5 million in annual vehicle sales under its own nameplate and the PSA brands by 2020. "It's a good deal for both Dongfeng and PSA," said Han Weiqi, a Shanghai-based analyst at CSC International Holdings. "Dongfeng can tap PSA's core technologies and overseas network for expansion. For PSA, the investment helps them coming out of an imminent crisis."

Global products

"We need to redefine a winning strategy in Latin America and Russia, which will require global products and low-cost platforms that will be localized in these countries," Chief Financial Officer Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon said on a conference call. The investment and debt-reduction packages will let PSA "invest in research and development and deal with our product plans" through 2019.

PSA said Tavares will succeed Varin as CEO on March 31 after taking responsibility for group operations on Thursday.

Tavares, 55, joined PSA in January in preparation for the appointment. Because of the automaker's current state, "there is humility in this company, and that is a strength because humility is a characteristic of champions," Tavares said.