Saturday, 7 June 2014
The world’s first BMW i8s (fuel consumption combined: 2.1–0.0 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 49–0 g/km) were handed over to customers today at BMW Welt in Munich: The first eight customers from Germany received their BMW i8s as part of an official ceremony in which Roland Krüger, Head of Sales and Marketing Germany for the BMW Group, and Dr. Helmut Schramm, Head of Production Electric Vehicles at Plant Leipzig, presented them with the keys to their new cars.
The first BMW i8 cars also feature the ground-breaking BMW laser light.
An exclusive evening reception to mark the BMW i8 market launch, with celebrity guests, such as TV presenter Thomas Gottschalk and actor Thomas Kretschmann, rounded off the official vehicle presentation.
BMW Laser Light in series production
With its BMW i8, BMW is the first manufacturer worldwide to offer totally new laser-powered headlights in a production vehicle. The BMW i8 will make automotive history with its laser lights, as the first series-produced vehicle to feature this completely new lighting technology.
While high-intensity, energy-efficient full LED headlights are standard in the BMW i8, the optional laser-boost feature extends its high-beam range to up to 600 metres, doubling the already impressive illumination range of the latest LED high-beam headlights.
The new technology uses 30 per cent less energy than ultra-power-saving LED lights, takes up less installation space inside the headlight and weighs less.
The outstanding range of BMW laser headlights offers even greater illumination and visibility for driving in the dark, ensuring a more relaxed and comfortable driving experience with enhanced road safety. Dazzling of oncoming traffic or vehicles ahead is reliably eliminated in conjunction with the camera-aided digital high-beam assistant.
BMW i in Germany
“In November of last year, we welcomed the first BMW i3 customers here at BMW Welt. Today, we are continuing the BMW i success story with the first eight BMW i8 customers worldwide. As ‘the first of a new era’, the BMW i8 combines the sustainable design of a carbon-fibre body with a powerful plug-in hybrid,” stated Roland Krüger. “This success would not be possible without our retail partners. We are delighted that our BMW i agents are accompanying us on the road to the future of mobility.”
The BMW i8 is the BMW Group’s first plug-in hybrid vehicle. It combines the driving performance of a high-performance sports car with the fuel consumption and emissions of a small car. BMW i8 deliveries will begin in all main international BMW Group markets in June.
Presentation with familiar faces
Following the vehicle handover, the new BMW i8 was presented to a select audience in a special multimedia show, featuring actor Thomas Kretschmann. “The car looks fantastic. It’s a technical revolution. I’m really looking forward to working with BMW,” said Kretschmann.
Roland Krüger was joined by Dr. Carsten Breitfeld, BMW i8 Project Manager; Benoit Jacob, Head of Design BMW i; and Dr. Helmut Schramm, Head of Production for BMW i vehicles at Plant Leipzig to answer questions in a BMW i8 roundtable chaired by Thomas Gottschalk. “I just experienced driving the BMW i8 for myself: It’s a lot of fun. I would never have thought pure electric driving could be so sporty,” remarked Gottschalk.
Later, guests celebrated the market launch of the BMW i8 with renowned Austrian DJ and producer Parov Stelar.
Volkswagen Group will build a Seat SUV at a plant run by Czech brand Skoda, using lower labor costs to accelerate a turnaround at its only unprofitable division.
"There was capacity available in Kvasiny [Skoda's Czech plant] and we're glad we can use it. It's a very cost-efficient factory," Jurgen Stackmann, Seat's CEO, said.
The decision confirms a report from Automotive News Europe sister publication Automobilwoche in March that quoted company sources as saying the SUV would be built in Kvasiny.
Seat plans to add the compact SUV to its lineup in 2016 to tap growth in a market segment the division estimates has increased more than 40 percent in the last five years in Europe. "It's an extremely important step for us to be present in the compact SUV segment," Stackmann said.
With the SUV design complete, the unit is now focusing on engineering preparations for production in the north-central Czech town of Kvasiny, where Skoda builds its Yeti compact SUV.
"Next to labor costs, capacity utilization is a significant factor," Daniel Schwarz, an analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt, said. "Volkswagen's modular production technology gives it the flexibility to optimize capacity use more than at other carmakers. They can produce Audi models at Seat factories and now, it seems, Seat vehicles at Skoda."
Expanding sales across Europe and abroad is vital to restoring Seat's earnings. The carmaker, which hasn't been profitable since 2007, narrowed its annual loss to 152 million euros ($207 million) in 2013 from 156 million euros a year earlier as deliveries rose 11 percent to 355,000 cars, driven by demand in Germany and the UK.
The Kvasiny plant also builds Skoda's Superb sedan and station wagon, and the Roomster minivan. Labor costs in the Czech auto industry were 11.50 euros an hour in 2013, according to data from German industry association VDA. That compares with 26.66 euros in Spain and 48.40 euros in Germany.
A Skoda spokesman declined to comment on the number of jobs to be added in Kvasiny or provide an investment figure related to the Seat SUV.
The SUV is expected to be based on VW's MQB platform that underpins the Seat Leon, along with other group models such as the VW Golf, Audi A3 and Skoda Octavia.
Stackmann, who succeeded James Muir as head of Seat in May 2013, is betting on the revamped compact Leon vehicle line to increase sales further in 2014 and establish a second pillar for the marque in addition to the Ibiza subcompact. Seat added a Leon station wagon variant, dubbed the ST, at the end of 2013, and is rolling out a sporty Cupra version this quarter.
"We just added a third shift for production of the Leon family to keep up with rising demand," Stackmann said. "Customer response for the ST is exceeding expectations."
Seat also makes the Toledo sedan, the Altea compact minivan and the larger Alhambra minivan, and it's considering additional vehicles.
"It's important that our sales growth be sustainable," Stackmann said. "We're looking at both options -- developing more variants of existing models and bringing out new ones -- to broaden Seat's product line further."
The division is weighing whether to begin producing cars in China, the world's largest car market, in an expansion outside Europe. Seat is also planning to add to its presence in countries including Mexico, Turkey and Algeria to reduce dependence on western Europe, its main sales region. Even so, increasing Seat's presence in major European markets such as Germany, the UK and Spain will remain key for Seat's turnaround efforts.
The division estimates Europe's current SUV market at about 1 million vehicles annually.
"The brand is on a very good path, but a lot more hard work will be needed," Stackmann said.
Parent Volkswagen reiterated its support for Seat last month, dismissing doubts over the brand's future. "Spain and Seat are and remain cornerstones of our global growth strategy," VW CEO Martin Winterkorn said in a statement on May 22.
Russia's largest carmaker, AvtoVAZ, said on Friday it expects to cut about 13,000 workers -- up from a previously announced 7,500 -- at its Togliatti plant due to falling sales of its Lada brand.
CEO Bo Andersson said earlier in the year that the situation at AvtoVAZ was extremely bad and people needed a "wake-up call."
AvtoVAZ slumped to a loss last year, and Andersson is battling to revive the company in a touch economic environment amid the crisis over Ukraine.
Through April, Lada's sales in Russia were down 15 percent to 128,633 vehicles in an overall market that dipped 4 percent.
Andersson took over at AvtoVAZ last November after helping turn around Russian bus and truck maker GAZ. Prior to that he was purchasing boss at General Motors.
The latest forecasts by AvtoVAZ, in which French-Japanese alliance Renault-Nissan holds a controlling majority stake, indicate the cuts in Togliatti will be deeper than the 7,500 layoffs the company initially planned.
"The total number of workers at the [Togliatti] plant [in late 2014] will be about 53,000 people," AvtoVAZ said in a response to questions from Reuters.
The company said that at the end of last year, 65,891 people worked at the Togliatti site, which is AvtoVAZ's main base.
Friday, 6 June 2014
With the introduction of the all-new 2015 BMW X6, the company celebrates the second generation of the world’s first-ever Sports Activity Coupe. When the company took the bold step of combining the performance of a BMW Sports Activity Vehicle with the emotional design character of a traditional coupe, BMW created a vehicle concept that the market had not yet even conceived of. With global sales of 250,000 X6s to date, it is clearly a concept that the marketplace has embraced. In additional to an updated and even more extroverted design, the new X6 introduces the first rear-wheel drive model in the line-up with the X6 sDrive35i, powered by BMW’s award-winning 300 horsepower TwinPower Turbo inline six. It joins models with xDrive, BMW’s intelligent all-wheel drive system – the BMW X6 xDrive35i and the X6 xDrive50i featuring BMW’s updated 445 horsepower TwinPower Turbo 4.4-liter V8. All models are equipped with BMW’s 8-speed Steptronic sport automatic transmission. The new 2015 BMW X6 will again be produced exclusively at the company’s production facility in Spartanburg, South Carolina and will arrive in US showrooms in late 2014. Pricing will be announced closer to launch.
Exterior design: dynamic proportions, fluid lines, striking accents.
The design of the new BMW X6 body combines the robust presence of a BMW Sports Activity Vehicle with the hallmark sporting elegance of the brand’s Coupes to create an unmistakably athletic appearance. The long hood, long wheelbase, short front overhang and set-back passenger compartment are characteristic design features of a BMW. Its high window sill and large wheel arches highlight the Sports Activity Coupe’s ties to the BMW SAV family.
Interior: sporting elegance, modern luxury, advanced functionality.
Boasting generous levels of spaciousness, the high seating position typical of a BMW SAV and high-quality, beautifully finished materials, the interior of the new BMW X6 creates the perfect environment for a driving experience cloaked in an air of luxury. The three-dimensional design and horizontal structure of the layered surfaces underline the broad sweep of the instrument panel, which – along with the upper-arm trim panels – features a high-quality Softskin surface with black decorative stitching. The interior trim elements in Poplar Wood now sit atop a high-gloss black surface, which is bordered on its lower edge by an accent strip in Pearl Gloss Chrome. Interior trim strips in Brushed Aluminum, Fineline Oak Wood, Fineline Striped Wood and Fineline Pure Wood can also be specified as a no-cost option.
xLine, M Sport and options: Tailoring the BMW X6 to individual tastes
An extensive selection of options, the new xLine and M Sport all create additional scope for tailoring the new BMW X6 precisely to individual tastes in terms of luxury and dynamics.
Optimized functionality: variable-use load compartment, hands-free tailgate opening and closing.
The variability of the interior has also been raised another notch. The rear seat backrests can now be split/folded 40 : 20 : 40, allowing the capacity of the load compartment to be increased in stages from 20.5 cu.ft. to a maximum of 53.9 cu.ft. Numerous storage compartments, plus door pockets which can accommodate 1.5-liter bottles at the front and one-liter bottles in the rear, also contribute to impressive levels of functionality in everyday and touring use.
xLine: lending the exterior and interior an exclusive aura.
Customers keen to experience the new BMW X6 beyond its standard form may well be attracted by the xLine which provides a particularly vivid showcase for the assured presence and exclusive aura of the exterior. In addition, the Interior Design Packages bring additional luxury to the interior.
Making the case for maximum dynamics: M Sport for the new BMW X6.
M Sport can also be ordered for all models of the new BMW X6. The dynamic character of the Sports Activity Coupe is accentuated by aerodynamically optimized body elements with large air intakes at the front end, strikingly contoured side skirts, a diffuser insert for the rear apron, as well as a bespoke BMW kidney grille design with bars in matte aluminum and high-gloss chrome exhaust tailpipe embellishers in the trapezoidal geometry that is standard on the X6 xDrive50i. The lower borders of the wheel arches along with the side skirts are painted in body color. M Sport also includes BMW Individual High-gloss Shadow Line trim, 19-inch or optional 20 inch M light-alloy wheels, as well as the option to upgrade to the specially tuned Adaptive M suspension.
Multi-award winning 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline six powers new
X6 sDrive35i and X6 xDrive35i
The new X6 sDrive35i and X6 xDrive35i will be powered by BMW’s 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline-6 engine (internally known as N55). It develops maximum output of 300 hp at 5,800 rpm, with peak torque of 300 lb-ft available all the way from 1,200–5,000 rpm. The N55 engine was the first BMW inline-6 to combine turbocharging, High Precision direct fuel injection, and Valvetronic variable intake technology. It features a single, mid-sized turbocharger with a “twin-scroll” housing to boost performance and minimize response lag. Using Valvetronic for the first time on a turbocharged inline-6 allows the engine to “inhale” air more efficiently for combustion with virtually no delay and with reduced pumping losses. The X6 sDrive35i and X6 xDrive35i will accelerate from 0 – 60 mph in six seconds flat. That is 0.3 seconds quicker than the previous generation X6 xDrive35i. Thanks to a lower curb weight and other EfficientDynamics measures it is also expected to be more efficient (EPA mileage estimates will be available closer to launch).
BMW X6 xDrive 50i features the latest TwinPower Turbo V8
The 4.4-liter V-8 engine (N63) that powers the outgoing X6 xDrive50i receives an upgrade from its successor. The unique “reverse-flow” engine, whose two turbochargers are positioned in the V-area between the cylinder banks is well known for producing an instantaneous and sustained wave of power, making it a delight for the enthusiast driver. This new version of the engine adds BMW’s Valvetronic variable valve timing to the list of specifications. As a result, the new version of the engine (N63TÜ) develops a maximum 445 hp between 5,500 and 6,000 rpm (a 45 hp increase), and makes peak torque of 480 lb-ft between 2,000 and 4,500 rpm (a 30 lb-ft increase). This newest TwinPower Turbo V8 powers the new X6 xDrive50i from 0-60 mph in just 4.8 seconds, 0.4 seconds quicker than its predecessor. Thanks to the addition of Valvetronic, lower curb weight and other EfficientDynamics measures, the new X6 xDrive50i will also see significant efficiency gains (EPA mileage estimates will be available closer to launch).
BMW xDrive and Dynamic Performance Control: intelligent all-wheel drive and torque vectoring.
By constantly shifting drive between the front and rear wheels as required, BMW xDrive provides a very special take on the driving pleasure for which BMW is renowned. In its latest version, the transfer case of the intelligent all-wheel drive displays enhanced efficiency and a three pound reduction in weight. The link-up between the all-wheel-drive system and DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) even allows the drive split to be adjusted in advance. As a result, all-wheel-drive performance is on hand even before slip can occur – not only on snow and loose gravel, but also through dynamically taken corners – and the engine’s full power is transmitted to the road.
Chassis packages tailor sporting responses and comfort levels to customer requirements.
Individual requirements in terms of ride comfort and sports performance can be fulfilled with the chassis options and packages available for the new BMW X6. Dynamic Damper Control and air suspension with automatic self-leveling for the rear suspension is available as a stand-alone option. The electronic control system adapts the car’s damping to the road conditions and driving situation at hand. Adaptive M suspension, which is an optional upgrade with M Sport, offers the same functionality. Activating SPORT or SPORT+ mode delivers particularly firm spring and damper characteristics.
Intelligent lightweight design: increased body rigidity, reduced weight.
The success of the intelligent lightweight design techniques applied in the development of the body structure for the new BMW X6 can be seen in the vehicle’s fuel consumption as well as its agility in the hands of a sporty driver. Measures such as the considered use of high and ultra-high tensile as well as hot-stamped steels lend the body of the X6 improved torsional stiffness compared with its predecessor and increase the strength of the safety passenger cell.
Active Driving Assistant available on the new BMW X6.
In addition to cruise control with braking function, the new BMW X6 also is available with Active Driving Assistant. This camera-based driver assistance system includes Lane Departure Warning, which can be used whenever the vehicle is travelling at a speed of more than 44 mph. Lane Departure Warning alerts drivers with a visible signal in the instrument cluster and a vibration of the steering wheel if they have inadvertently drifted out of their lane. The option, which is included in the Driver Assistance Plus Package, also includes a Pedestrian and Collision Warning system with Braking function.
ACC Stop & GO + Active Driving Assistant.
The optional ACC Stop & GO + Active Driving Assistant option provides even more extensive support. In addition to the Driving Assistant functions, this system also includes the Active Cruise Control system with Stop & Go function which primarily enhances comfort and safety in slow-moving and stop-go traffic. The task of maintaining a safe following distance can be delegated to this system at any speed up to 130 mph. A combination of a front camera and full-range radar sensors registers preceding traffic and stationary vehicles. If the driver fails to react to a warning of an imminent frontal collision, Driving Assistant Plus automatically brakes the vehicle, if necessary using maximum deceleration.
Parallel parking made easy with the Parking Assistant.
Additional convenience when driving in town is provided by the optional Parking Assistant. This system helps the driver identify and drive into parallel parking spaces. When the parking button is pressed, the new BMW X6 parks itself automatically in the selected parking space. While performing this precisely controlled maneuver, the system provides the necessary steering input, while the driver operates the accelerator and brake pedal, and selects the correct gear.
At-a-glance monitoring: multifunction display, BMW Head-Up Display, LED fog lights, BMW Selective Beam, BMW Night Vision.
The new BMW X6 includes a freely programmable Dynamic Digital Instrument Cluster. This 10.2-inch display changes its appearance depending on the selected Driving Dynamics Control mode. Clear differentiation between the various modes is provided by different-style graphics and different color schemes. In COMFORT mode, the display shows a classic array of four circular dials. In ECO PRO mode, the rev counter is transformed into an EfficientDynamics display. In SPORT mode, the speed is displayed digitally in the form of a large figure in the center of the speedometer, while the currently engaged gear is displayed in the center of the rev counter.
BMW Assist eCall and TeleService.
The new BMW X6 is equipped with the BMW Assist eCall system and TeleService including a 10 year subscription. The system relays important information to the BMW Call Center in the event of a crash, such as vehicle position (accurate to within feet), chassis number, vehicle model, vehicle color and data from the onboard sensors. The system also detects how many people are travelling in the vehicle, which airbags were activated and the intensity of the impact. Thanks to the company’s ground-breaking Urgency Algorithm, the system also uses data from the vehicle’s crash sensors to assess and transmit the likelihood of severe injury. This makes it easier to supply first responders with critical information in a timely fashion.
Perfect connectivity with BMW ConnectedDrive Services available at all times.
BMW Assist in the new X6 includes Remote Services such as vehicle unlocking and stolen vehicle recovery. Also available is the optional Concierge Service – a telephone information service which BMW ConnectedDrive customers can use, say, to make hotel or restaurant reservations, look for addresses and telephone numbers or check opening times. BMW Online is also available.