Saturday, 2 May 2015
Scion’s FR-S performance sports coupe is getting its style on for the 2016 model year. With interior improvements, two new colors, a new standard audio system and a rear-view back up camera, the next FR-S also sports a new price.
The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the six-speed manual transmission FR-S is $25,305 while the six-speed sequential automatic transmission with paddle shifters and Dynamic Rev Management technology is $26,405. This price excludes the destination, processing and handling (DPH) fee of $770.
The 2016 FR-S has a new premium feel with bright silver interior accents on the steering wheel bezel, shift bezel, door grip, and along the sides of the center console. Also inside the FR-S is a new standard audio system with a large 7-inch touch-screen display and voice recognition technology.
For added safety, comfort and convenience, a rear-view backup camera has been integrated into the FR-S, as well.
Adding to the new look, two new colors will be available with a new red called Ablaze and a new blue called Oceanic.
The 2016 FR-S will be available in dealerships beginning in June
British sports car maker Lotus Cars will be profitable again by 2017 after years of losing money, CEO Jean-Marc Gales said. The former PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and Daimler executive has implemented measures to cut costs while improving the automaker’s product lineup since he took over Lotus in May 2014.
But Gales said the company will not launch all-new cars until its new China-built SUV debuts in 2018/19 as he focuses on boosting sales and cashflow.
Lotus will increase sales in the short term by making changes to the current three-car line-up, Gales said. The company has added an automatic transmission to its track-focused Exige two-seater, which is close to passing the entry-level Elise as the company’s top-seller.
Gales expects 40 percent of Exige sales to be models with the automatic transmission.
The company also unveiled a facelifted version of the flagship Evora coupe at the Geneva auto show in March that will spearhead the brand’s return to the U.S. market. The Evora was the only Lotus model sold in the U.S. but was dropped for the 2015 model year because it no longer met federal crash standards.
Lotus has redesigned the Evora to meet U.S. standards and moved the mid-engine coupe further upmarket to better compete with the likes of the Porsche 911 and Audi R8. A convertible version is due next year. Gales expects the U.S. to be the Evora's biggest market.
Gales said Lotus has stripped 10 percent from the costs out of producing cars and he plans further cut costs by switching suppliers. “We are going through our whole supply chain, gradually replacing smaller suppliers with larger ones, reducing costs and improving quality,” he said.
Last September Lotus said it was cutting 225 jobs from the 1,250 workforce at its headquarters here. The final figure was 260, Gales said.
Gales has also scaled back the work of the company’s consultancy, Lotus Engineering, a separate arm of Group Lotus that contracts engineering services to automakers and suppliers. “It used to account for half of Lotus revenue 10-15 years ago. Now it’s 10 percent,” he said. “It was a conscious decision to focus the engineers flat out on the development of our road cars.”
Gales said he does not expect the engineering side of the business to grow again until after three to four years.
Lotus said that its wholesale vehicle sales were up 55 percent to 2,015 in the financial year to the end of March 2015, from 1,403 the year before. Gales said he is targeting annual sales of 3,500 by 2016.
Lotus’s sales growth has been boosted by an expansion of dealerships. Gales aims to increase Lotus dealerships to 200 by the end of this year from 174 by the end of March.
He said that losses have been “massively reduced” in the year to the end of March compared to a loss of 65.6 million pounds ($100 million) for the year ending March 31, 2014. The year before Lotus lost 159.4 million pounds, according to figures released by the company.
Gales says that the company will show a profit in the financial year ending March 2017. “It’s something we haven’t done consistently from the car side in over 20 years,” he said.
Gales’s ambitions for Lotus are more modest than those of his predecessor, former Ferrari executive Dany Bahar, who had planned to boost Lotus's annual vehicle sales to 10,000, a similar volume to Ferrari. Bahar was fired in 2012.
Renault meets its full-year guidance
- New registrations up 3.2% to 2.7 million units • Group revenues: €41,055 million (+0.3%). Excluding foreign exchange rate effect, +3.1%
- Group operating profit: €1,609 million, or 3.9% of revenues, compared to €1,242 million and 3.0% in 2013
- Automotive operating profit: €858 million, compared to €495 million in 2013 (2.2% vs 1.3%)
- Group operating income: €1,105 million versus minus €34 million
- Net income: €1,998 million versus €695 million in 2013 • Positive Automotive operational free cash flow: €1,083 million
“We met all the objectives announced for 2014. This milestone positions us on track to achieve our strategic plan, "Renault Drive the Change". 2015 should allow us to take a new step forward, thanks to an unprecedented product offensive in the history of Renault”, said Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Renault.
In 2014, Group revenues came to €41,055 million, an increase of 0.3% compared to 2013. At constant exchange rates, revenues grew by 3.1%. The contribution of the Automotive division to revenues amounted to €38,874 million, up 0.3% vs 2013.
The Group offset negative currency variations by increasing prices outside Europe and by the strong growth of sales to partners. The Group's operating profit reached €1,609 million, compared to €1,242 million in 2013 (3.9% of revenues vs 3.0% in 2013). The Automotive operating profit rose by €363 million to €858 million, representing 2.2% of revenues.
This performance results from cost reductions and from growth in sales while unfavorable foreign exchange rates and the enrichment of some end-of-life models impacted negatively. Sales Financing contributed to €751 million to Group operating profit compared to €747 million in 2013. The drop in net banking income was offset by an increase in average loans outstanding and by growth in services.
The cost of risk remained stable at 0.43%. Other operating income and expense items were negative by €504 million, mostly due to restructuring costs of €305 million and the impairment of assets for €153 million. Group operating income came to €1,105 million compared to -€34 million in 2013. This improvement results from the increase in operating profit and the reduction in other operating expenses of €772 million.
The contribution of associated companies, mainly Nissan, was €1,362 million, compared to €1,444 million in 2013, including the negative contribution of AVTOVAZ for -€182 million. Net income came to €1,998 million and net income, Group share, to €1,890 million (€6.92 per share compared to €2.15 per share in 2013).
Automotive operational free cash flow was positive at €1,083 million, due to the increase in profitability, as well as a positive change of €596 million in the working capital requirement over the period. A dividend of €1.90 per share, vs €1.72 last year, will be submitted for approval at the next Shareholders’ Annual General Meeting.
In spite of the uncertainties surrounding numerous economies, global car demand should continue to grow this year (+2 %). The European market should also show a slight positive growth (+2 %) while we continue to expect high volatility in our main emerging markets:
In this context, Renault Group aims to:
- increase further its registrations and revenues (at constant exchange rates),
- continue to improve the Group’s operating margin and that of the Automotive division,
- generate positive Automotive operating free cash flow.
RENAULT CONSOLIDATED RESULTS
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION The consolidated financial statements of the Renault group at December 31, 2014 were approved by the Board of Directors on February 11, 2015. The Group’s statutory auditors have conducted a limited review of these financial statements and their report will be issued shortly. The earnings report, with a complete analysis of the financial results in 2014, is available at www.renault.com in the Finance section.
Aston Martin gets a further £200 million investment for new products including the DBX luxury Crossover.
At the wheel of a Jaguar MK VII will be a man who’s no stranger to speed and sleep deprivation – Charley Boorman. More used to two wheels than four thanks to his many motorbike adventures, Charley will be partnered by Bremont co-founder Giles English. The fastest saloon car of its day, a Jaguar MK VII was famously piloted to victory in the 1956 Monte Carlo Rally by Ronnie Adams with co-drivers Frank Biggar and Derek Johnstone.
Completing the Jaguar Heritage team line-up is successful British singer/song-writer Elliot Gleave, otherwise known as Example. Elliot will be driving a XK140 with his father, Michael, as co-pilot. The XK140, registered ‘TAC 743’, was once owned by successful British racing driver David Hobbs.
On the Mille Miglia, a number of new Jaguar XEs will also support the Jaguar Heritage Racing team, following the full route through Italy with broadcast crews and VIP guests.