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, 13 March 2015

Porsche continues to grow at an incredible rate.

Sports car maker now has more than 22,000 employees – annual press conference in Stuttgart

Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG has set new records in terms of deliveries, revenue and profit in the 2014 fiscal year. With 189,849 vehicles, deliveries were 17 per cent above the figure of the previous year. Revenue rose by one-fifth to 17.2 billion euros. 

The operating profit grew by just over five per cent to 2.7 billion euros. With 22,401 employees, the number of people working for Porsche reached a new peak at the end of the year. A year earlier, the figure was 19,456 employees: an increase of 15 per cent.

At the annual press conference of Porsche AG in Stuttgart on Friday, Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Executive Board, stressed that the sports car manufacturer has reached essential objectives of the "Strategy 2018" ahead of schedule.

"Porsche has developed very successfully and is now better positioned than ever," said Matthias Müller. "A crucial cornerstone for this success is the Macan. Until the end of the year, we had delivered our new five-door sports car nearly 45,000 times."

With the Macan, Porsche has also won over many new customers: worldwide, three out of four Macan customers have opted for a vehicle of the Porsche brand for the first time.

The Porsche Chairman took special pride in the success of the plug-in hybrid models. With this, Matthias Müller did not only refer to the 918 Spyder super sports car, which was sold out just a few months after start of delivery in March 2014; Müller especially emphasised that, in the 2014 fiscal year, Porsche was the only brand in the world that could offer its customers no fewer than three plug-in models in the premium segment: in addition to the 918 Spyder, these include the Cayenne S E-Hybrid and the Panamera S E-Hybrid.

Lutz Meschke, Member of the Executive Board Finance and IT at Porsche AG, emphasised in Stuttgart that the excellent performance of Porsche is also reflected in the financial situation of the company. "In 2014 we were able to completely reduce our net debt while simultaneously financing our growth – two years before the originally envisaged target date."

In tangible terms, the net liquidity of the automotive business area – i.e. the gross liquidity less financial liabilities and excluding the financial services business in each case – improved from minus 899 million euros as of 31 December 2013 to plus 195 million euros as of 31 December 2014.

Matthias Müller and Lutz Meschke were optimistic in terms of the current fiscal year. "We assume that sales and deliveries in the ongoing year will continue to rise," stated the Chief Financial Officer. They also want to safeguard the profitability through continuous productivity and process improvements as well as through stringent cost management.

Ford Motor Company has been named to Ethisphere Institute’s 2015 list of World’s Most Ethical Companies®

  • Ford named to Ethisphere Institute’s 2015 list of World’s Most Ethical Companies® – the only automaker to earn the recognition
  • Ethisphere honours companies for leading in ethics and compliance; corporate citizenship and responsibility; culture of ethics, governance and leadership; innovation; and reputation
  • A company’s reputation for ethics and trust plays a role in customer purchase decisions, research finds
Ford Motor Company has been named to Ethisphere Institute’s 2015 list of World’s Most Ethical Companies®The honour comes at a time in which the way a company conducts its business is viewed as every bit as important as the products and services it provides, new research shows.

“This award celebrates doing business the right way, and making the right choices every day,” said Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman, Bill Ford. “Ethics and corporate citizenship are important factors that affect a company’s reputation and success, and we are proud Ford is the only automaker to have received this honour for six consecutive years.”

The World’s Most Ethical Company assessment is based on a framework developed by the Ethisphere Institute to assess an organisation’s performance in an objective, consistent and standardised manner. The honour is given based on top ratings in five categories – ethics and compliance; corporate citizenship and responsibility; culture of ethics, governance and leadership; innovation; and reputation.

“The World’s Most Ethical Companies embrace the correlation between ethical business practice and improved company performance,” said Timothy Erblich, Ethisphere chief executive officer. “Earning this recognition involves the collective action of a global work force from the top down. We congratulate everyone at Ford for this extraordinary achievement.”

The honour correlates with research showing a reputation for ethics and trust plays a role in consumers’ purchase decisions. Last year, according to the 2015 Harris Poll Reputation Quotient, 53 per cent of the U.S. public learned more about a company before doing business with the organisation. More than one third of the respondents decided not to do business with a company based on the perception of a negative reputation.

Ford sees this trend shaping consumers of all ages – especially younger customers. Generation Z members born after 1993 are 54 per cent more likely than their millennial counterparts to say they want to have an impact on the world, and these consumers do business with companies that share their values, according to a study from research firm Sparks & Honey.

For more information about the methodology and to view the complete list of the 2015 World’s Most Ethical Companies, visit http://ethisphere.com/worlds-most-ethical/wme-honorees/.

SEAT takes title in 2015 Experteye Awards’ ‘Best fleet dealer network

  • SEAT takes title in 2015 Experteye Awards’ ‘Best fleet dealer network (sales)’ category
  • Result based on the real-world experiences of around 40,000 business and fleet vehicle drivers
SEAT has been rated the best in the business by company car drivers, earning it the honour of top fleet dealer network for new vehicle sales in the 2015 Experteye awards.

What makes this trophy particularly special is the fact it reflects the opinions of fleet and business vehicle drivers themselves. Judging is based on data gathered through Touchpoint, Experteye’s driver satisfaction survey.

SEAT emerged the winner in its category, based on responses from around 40,000 lease vehicle drivers canvassed in 2014. The sporty Spanish marque was also the only non-premium brand to receive an award for excellence in fleet customer service.

Rick Yarrow, Managing Director of Experteye, said: “This is a tough category to win because it is based purely on drivers’ direct feedback, taken immediately after delivery of their new vehicle when the service experience is fresh in their minds.

“All the results are produced from the independent views we receive from company car drivers, making SEAT deserved winners of the best fleet dealer network for new vehicle sales.”

Peter McDonald, SEAT UK Head of Fleet and Business Sales, said: “The opinions of the men and women who drive our cars are crucial to our success in the business and fleet market. 

SEAT has made great strides in this sector in recent years and this is further proof that we are delivering satisfaction daily in both the quality of our models and our service. Our thanks go to them and to Experteye for the excellent way in which it monitors performance and customer satisfaction.”

Experteye’s driver data is not only important to motor manufacturers and dealerships, it also acts as a valuable tool for contract hire and fleet management providers to measure and manage their service levels, and those of their supplier network.

SEAT was also recognised for the first time in the top 10 for Dealer networks by major leasing companies in Fleet News’ FN50 in 2014.

Ford Invests a further £1.8 million in their Driving Skills For Life Scheme in Europe.

  • Ford invests £1.8 million to train 5,000 more young Europeans in 2015, increases Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) investment to £4.7 million since launching in 2013
  • The Ford DSFL program will be extended to 11 countries this year, with training taking place for the first time in Denmark, the Netherlands, and Turkey
  • In Europe, car crashes are the leading cause of death in 18 to 24 year olds. Ford has so far trained more than 6,100 young drivers in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Romania, Russia, Spain, and the U.K.
  • Ford DSFL offers free-of-charge, hands-on training that covers hazard recognition, vehicle handling, speed/space management, and distraction awareness
  • The Ford training also highlights phone and social media distraction and drinking and driving; special “Drink Driving Suit” shows students how alcohol impairs abilities
  • Ford DSFL has provided training to more than half a million people globally through hands-on and online tuition since first being launched 11 years ago in the U.S.
Ford Motor Company today announced it will invest another £1.7 million in 2015 to provide free driver training to a further 5,000 18-24 year olds from across Europe. Ford of Europe has now committed a total of £4.7 million in training through its acclaimed Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) program since 2013. 

This year, Ford will offer free training for the first time in Denmark, the Netherlands, and Turkey as well as continue successful training programs in the U.K., Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Romania, Russia, and Spain. Ford of Europe has now committed a total of £4.7 million for DSFL training in Europe since 2013.

Ford has received a highly positive response from the more than 6,100 18 to 24 year olds across Europe who have already completed the Ford DSFL driver training. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for Europeans in that age group*. 

Ford’s free, hands-on training covers skills including hazard recognition, vehicle handling, and speed and space management. The program also highlights the risks of distractions such as texting and taking selfies at the wheel, as well as the dangers of drinking and driving.

“Too many young adults are dying in car crashes caused by a combination of inexperience and poor decision making,” said Jim Graham, manager, Ford DSFL. “With this new £1.7m investment in young driver training for 2015, we can provide a further 5,000 young people with the skills and knowledge that could save their lives.”

Ford was the first car manufacturer to introduce free comprehensive advanced hands-on driver training for newly licensed drivers. In the 11 years since it was launched in the U.S., Ford DSFL has provided training to more than half a million people globally.

For DSFL, Ford has teamed with leading safety organisations including the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, the charity for road safety - BRAKE and the AA Driving School in the U.K., Association Prévention Routière in France, Deutscher Verkehrssicherheitsrat in Germany, the ACI in Italy, Road Safety Russia in Russia and Dirección General de Tràfico in Spain.

Training is designed to address some of the leading factors in young driver crashes. This includes showing students how they might recover from a slide, emergency braking techniques, and how to scan the road ahead for trouble. 

Attempting slow speed manoeuvres in a closed environment while using a mobile phone shows how distraction affects driving performance.

Last year, Ford introduced training to specifically highlight the dangers of taking selfies and other social media activity at the wheel, and employed a special “Drink Driving Suit” to show the degree to which consuming alcohol impairs abilities.

Consisting of tunnel-vision glasses; ear muffs, wrist and ankle weights; and padding to elbows, neck, and knees; the “Drink Driving Suit” makes even simple tasks – such as walking in a straight line – much harder; and demonstrates how much more difficult a more complex activity like driving becomes under the influence of alcohol.

In 2014, Ford also published the results of two surveys that showed more than one in four young people have taken a selfie while driving,** and that most young drivers in Europe report either have driven while drunk, or have seen friends drink and drive.***

Nearly all who attended 133 Ford DSFL training sessions in 27 venues across eight countries said afterwards that they felt more confident as a result of the training and would recommend the program to a friend.

“Newly qualified drivers still have so much to learn about safety on the road so we strongly urge young drivers to take advantage of Ford DSFL training,” Graham said. “It’s fun, free, informative, and because we constantly re-evaluate what we teach, it’s always relevant.”

Further details about the Ford DSFL program in the U.K. and to register interest in future training please see:https://forddsfl.co.uk/dsfl-contact

IRELAND - latests Awards ceremony from Motorcheck.ie names nominations.

Determining the best fleet cars in the market is no easy task, but that’s exactly the challenge facing the judging panel for the 2015 motorcheck.ie Fleet Car Awards. Having whittled down a long-list of well over one hundred eligible vehicles into a short-list of contenders comprising thirty five cars, the judges’ next challenge is to individually assess each contender before voting to determine the eight category winners to be announced at an eagerly anticipated Awards ceremony in Clontarf Castle on April 21st.

Eighteen manufacturers are represented on the short-list of contenders for the 2015 motorcheck.ie Fleet Car Awards. Toyota lead the way with four nominations, followed by Audi, BMW, Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen with three apiece. 

The judges, comprising motoring professionals from the motor and fleet sectors, including fleet buyers, motor assessors, safety experts and motoring journalists will determine winners in categories that include the popular C and D segments, premium and executive offerings, estates, and the burgeoning Crossover category. 

New for 2015 are Irish Green Fleet Car categories for hybrid and electric cars, reflecting the growing importance of these eco-friendly vehicles for companies with environmentally friendly policies.

IRELAND - New 2015 Great Wall Steed, gets improved dynamics and better kit.

  • Full spec. revamp for Ireland’s best value 4x4 double cab pick-up
  • Industry leading enhanced six-year / 200,000 km. warranty
  • Towing capacity 2,500kg. braked
Great Wall, the Manufacturer reputed for highly specified trucks that represent uncompromising value for money, has announced a full equipment upgrade for New Steed. Already Ireland’s best value 4x4 double-cab pick up, the Great Wall Steed gains an array of upgrades, including the following:
  • Improved galvanisation and additional rust proofing
  • Introduction of a Diesel Particulate Filter and a new exhaust system (Euro 5)
  • Introduction of a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, with display integrated into the new Multifunction rear view mirror, which also includes auto-dimming
  • Repeater indicators incorporated into the door mirrors
  • New instrument cluster, with clearer layout and premium feel
  • New foldable key, with remote central locking function incorporated into the key fob
  • Rear disc brakes replacing previous drum brakes
  • Newly refined transmission
  • Upgraded Sound System: Alpine Double DIN stereo with Bluetooth, CD/USB/RDS and MP3 capability
  • Improved leather upholstery - softer and more durable 
As well as all of the foregoing, Steed SE gains further additional benefits:
  • Improved canopy, more stylish and aerodynamic
  • Side steps, more substantial and modern in appearance
  • Chrome trim to rear lights, to match the front daytime running lights

Steed’s class-leading extended six-year warranty comprises the 3 year/100,000 km. manufacturer warranty plus a further 3 year/100,000 km. powertrain extended warranty provided by Great Wall Ireland.  
As well as the new six-year / 200,000 km. extended warranty, all Great Wall Steeds benefit from a six-year anti-perforation warranty, three-year paint warranty and three-year roadside assistance.
Great Wall’s entry-level Steed S is the most affordable 4x4 double-cab pick up, with a purchase price of just €23,666 (excl. VAT, delivery and related charges.). Features standard to all Steeds include 5 16-inch alloy wheels, daytime running lights, remote central locking, a Thatcham-approved Category 1 alarm, electric front and rear windows, an Alpine CD/radio with USB/MP3 and Bluetooth connectivity, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, air-conditioning, heated fronted seats and a full leather interior.
The SE Accessory Pack, (hard-top canopy with roof-rails, loadliner, sidesteps, and reversing sensors), adds €2,506, plus VAT. (€3,000 inc. VAT & VRT)
All Steeds feature Great Wall’s 2.0-litre 16-valve turbocharged diesel powerplant that delivers class-leading fuel economy (30.1 mpg urban; 37.7mpg extra urban; 34.0 mpg combined), as well as a low-range gearbox and an ‘on-demand’ four-wheel-drive system that can be selected by the driver when the terrain becomes challenging. Generously equipped, keenly priced, the Steed S simply gives you more pick-up for your money.

WORLDWIDE SALES FEBRUARY - PORSCHE - huge growth continues for the legendary sports car maker.

The 911 GT3 RS and Cayman GT4 high performance sports cars arouse huge interest in Geneva

The sports car manufacturer Porsche has handed over more than 14,800 new cars to customers worldwide in February 2015. In the first two months of the ongoing year, Porsche AG has sold around 30,900 cars – a growth of one-third in comparison to the same period of the prior year.

“Porsche was again successful in February, throughout the world, with figures higher than last year’s”, said Bernhard Maier, Member of the Executive Board Sales and Marketing of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG. “For 2015, we expect further momentum through the systematic expansion of our product range – at the moment, this refers to the two sportiest derivatives of the model range: the Cayman GT4 and the 911 GT3 RS.” Both vehicles celebrated their world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show last week.

On the German home market, Porsche made more than 2,000 deliveries in February 2015, an increase of nearly 40 per cent compared to the same month last year. In Europe, last year’s figure was surpassed by almost one-half: the sports car maker delivered exactly 4,848 vehicles to customers there. Deliveries in Finland, Sweden, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy have more than doubled in each of these countries. The share of the new Cayenne S E-hybrid is very high all across Europe: just fewer than 15 per cent of the Cayenne models are equipped with plug-in-hybrid technology. In the United States, the monthly result was slowed slightly on account of strikes in several harbours and the inclement weather. For the first two months of the ongoing year, by contrast, the American market showed a growth of 13 per cent.

PORSCHE AG DeliveriesFebruaryJanuary - February
20152014Variance (%)20152014Variance (%)
Asia Pacific, Africa and Mideast6,2834,04955.313,3759,84635.9

Porsche model range 911: combined fuel consumption 12,4–8,2 l/100 km; CO2 emissions 289–191 g/km; efficiency class: G–F

Porsche model range Boxster/Cayman: combined fuel consumption 9,0–7,9 l/100 km; CO2 emissions 211–183 g/km; efficiency class: G–F

Porsche model range Cayenne: combined fuel consumption 11,5–6,6 l/100 km; CO2 emissions 267–173 g/km; efficiency class: F–B

Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid: combined fuel consumption 3,4 l/100 km, combined energy consumption 20,8 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emis-sions 79 g/km; efficiency class: A+

Porsche model range Panamera: combined fuel consumption 10,7–6,4 l/100 km; CO2 emissions 249–169 g/km; efficiency class: F–B

Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid: combined fuel consumption 3,1 l/100 km, combined energy consumption 16,2 kWh/100 km; combined CO2
emissions 71 g/km; efficiency class: A+

Porsche model range Macan: combined fuel consumption 9,2–6,1 l/100 km; CO2 emissions 216–159 g/km; efficiency class: E–B

Porsche 918 Spyder: combined fuel consumption 3,1–3,0 l/100 km, combined energy consumption 12,7 kWh/100 km; CO2 emissions 72–70 g/km; efficiency class: A+