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.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Scion launches the 2016 Model Year FR-S, New colours, New tech and a new price.

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

Lotus Cars aims for new SUV to be launched in 2018, along with profits and US re-entry.

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.
Supplier squeeze
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.
Nick Gibbs

Renault Group announces full year results, with lots of new metal coming it can only get better.

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. 


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. 

MG, Well, what can you say, they have tried with the new advert, shame it has not worked for the MG6.


I am not sure what MG UK are trying to achieve here with the new MG6, the car is not in the same class as the MG3, which they are pushing as the "fun" model of the range, and for them to then, re-hash the old MG3 advert and superimpose a few MG6 pictures on that, confuses the car.

The MG6 is not a fun car, not in the same vein as the MG3, so why are they trying to make it look like it is, perhaps they cant afford to produce a proper advert for the new MG6, so this effort will have to do, the way the MG3 is marketed looks like it is a toy car, with lots of bright colours and stickers, and a price to tempt the kids out of the Clio's and Fiesta's, why then tarnish the MG6 with this brush.

They want the car to be a fleet model, but who would want to be seen in this car, why the brand it's self market it this way, MG in the UK, still have not gotten it, go back to the old MG-Rover days, and look at the way they did the MG range of Zeds, that worked really really well, stop with the kiddy colour scheme, that's so last year, get with the modern gentleman, and advertise your products with class and panache, then you might sell a few more MG6 cars.
The latest MG advert, launching the new MG6, will be popping up on TV screens across the country throughout May as part of the latest marketing campaign. The new commercial features the newest addition to the growing marque; the MG6, and incorporates the popular MG3. 

The advert will appear on channels from tomorrow and will run until the end of May. The new MG6 offers market leading specification from only £13,995 on the road.

Those tuning into channels including ITV Central, Channel 4 Midlands, as well as a range of national satellite channels including GOLD, Film4, More4 and Dave, will find the new, vibrant advert appearing in the breaks of popular programmes.

Highlights this weekend include Britain’s Got Talent, Sunday Brunch and the revised 1970’s game show Celebrity Squares. 

Throughout the rest of the month the advert will feature throughout the day appearing between programmes such as This Morning, Emmerdale, Coronation Street, Countdown, Deal or No Deal, Homes Under the Hammer, re-runs of Top Gear and Escape to the Country.

The new model, which launched earlier this month, is available in three trim levels, the S, TS and TL. Even for the base level, customers will find they are getting more for their money with heated seated, front LED daytime running lamps and an electronic parking brake. Prices start from £13,995 and go up to £17,995 for the top level TL.

Skoda Apprentices produce another stunning one off for the Worthersee GTi Meeting.

  • 23 ŠKODA trainees build pickup based on the ŠKODA Fabia
  • Vehicle project in close cooperation with the ŠKODA Design department
    and ŠKODA Production
  • Premiere at the 34th GTI Meeting at Wörthersee in mid-May
The new dream car of 23 trainees from the ŠKODA AUTO Vocational School: the ŠKODA FUNstar pickup. The fun vehicle concept, based on the new ŠKODA Fabia, is the result of ŠKODA’s ‘trainee car’ project, which was run for the first time last year. 

The ŠKODA FUNstar will be making its public debut at the 34th GTI Meeting at Wörthersee from 13 to 16 May 2015.

The two young women and 21 young men have been tinkering on their own vehicle project since November 2014.  Developing ideas and discussing possible solutions, drawing, designing and they have built a very special, unique car. Inventiveness and flexibility are just as important as pragmatism and implementation skills.

The trainees have been supported in their work by ŠKODA chief designer Jozef Kabaň and ŠKODA AUTO Production Director Michael Oeljeklaus. The new ‘Trainee Car’ is almost ready; the premiere takes place at the legendary GTI Meeting at Wörthersee in Austria in mid-May.

This is the second year in a row that the Czech manufacturer has given selected trainees the opportunity to create their dream car. The company’s goal with this programme is to promote and strengthen the vocational students’ creativity and expertise. 

“After the excellent results of the ŠKODA Trainee Car premiere last year, it was clear that we would continue the project,” said ŠKODA HR Director Bohdan Wojnar. 

“We are once again delighted with our students’ creative ideas and their goal-oriented implementation. We would like to thank everyone who has supported the project, especially the teachers at the ŠKODA AUTO Vocational School. The ŠKODA FUNstar is a great concept car that is going to surprise and inspire visitors at the GTI Meeting.”

The ŠKODA FUNstar is a funky pickup based on the new ŠKODA Fabia – cheeky, fresh and surprising. This is a bright, sharp pickup with a real fun factor, not only in name. The ŠKODA FUNstar stands out with its metallic colours steel-grey and moon-white. 

The sills, grille surround and the rear spoiler form a striking contrast in reflex-green. One special feature is the LED lights mounted below the sidebars. The dual-lens headlights also feature LED technology, with green LED light strips serving as daytime running lights. LEDs are also used in the rear lights.

“Through this project, our apprentices have really shown what they are capable of,” said ŠKODA Production Board member Michael Oeljeklaus whose department has taken the junior employees under their wing in production technology. “The project has been great fun. The students have really got on board with the task, showing great zeal and developing their expertise.”

The ŠKODA FUNstar drives up on 18-inch ‘Gemini’ alloys from the Octavia RS. The engine is a 1.2 TSI petrol with 90 kW. The transmission features a modern seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. 

The sporty look continues in the interior. Individual elements are also finished in steel-grey and moon-white. It goes without saying that the students used one of the best sports steering wheels ŠKODA has to offer, and the 1400-Watt sound system offers a fantastic music experience. 

The ‘Trainee Car’ project once again demonstrates the high quality of ŠKODA’s vocational training, and the importance of combining theoretical education with practical experience. The ŠKODA Vocational School offers young adults three- or four-year training programmes in technical subjects. 

The students graduate with an apprenticeship diploma or NVQ level 3 respectively. There are currently 13 training courses, on which 880 full-time trainees are enrolled. Some 12.5 per cent of these apprentices are young women. In addition, 65 current employees are supplementing their qualifications at a post-graduate level. 

The ŠKODA Vocational School in Mladá Boleslav was established in 1927. Since then, almost 22,000 students have completed their training there.

Training young people is a key part of the Czech car manufacturer’s social responsibility. The training is free; moreover, students are paid for their work during their apprentices. After successfully completing the training, ŠKODA offers all graduates a permanent job.

Aston Martin gets a further £200 million investment for new products including the DBX luxury Crossover.

  • Investindustrial and Tejara Capital led a further £200 million in investment capital in the form of preference shares
  • Enables production of DBX luxury crossover, building on range of iconic luxury sports cars
  • FY 2014 revenues of £468 million and adjusted EBITDA of £66 million announced
Aston Martin Lagonda today announced that with the leadership of its major shareholders, it has arranged additional committed funding of £200 million, enabling the 102-year old luxury sports car manufacturer to develop significant new luxury models that will drive the future of the company under its strategic business plan.

The additional capital investment comes in the form of £200 million of preference shares; £100 million of which were issued on 29 April 2015 with the remaining £100 million – already subscribed for – to be issued in the next twelve months, and will further expand the previously announced investment plan.

This major investment in new luxury models is at the core of Aston Martin’s strategic vision. Under the plan, the company will expand into the luxury GT crossover market with the introduction of a new vehicle based on the DBX concept shown at the recent Geneva and Shanghai motor shows.

With the addition of new model lines, the company’s strategy will help drive future growth, always ensuring that Aston Martin builds the world’s most beautiful cars that deliver true sporting ability with passion and refined luxury.

Aston Martin Lagonda CEO Dr Andy Palmer commented: “This additional long-term funding, will enable us to add extra model lines and broaden our presence in the luxury market segment by the end of the decade.

The DBX concept, has generated interest far beyond our expectations. The additional investment announced today will allow us to realise the DBX and other new luxury vehicles that will form the strongest and most diverse portfolio in our history.”

“Our shareholders have shown their strong commitment and confidence in the management team to execute the strategic plan,” continued Palmer.

Separately, Aston Martin Holdings (UK) Limited today announces results for the 12 months ended 31 December 2014. 

In 2014 the company delivered full year revenues of £468 million and adjusted EBITDA of £66 million whilst simultaneously increasing its product development spend by 45%. 

In 2015, the company expects global demand for its luxury sports cars to remain high, whilst it continues to develop and expand its current range starting with first customer deliveries of the limited edition track-only Aston Martin Vulcan and the race inspired, Vantage GT12.

Jaguar celebrates the 80th Anniversary of the Mille Miglia with a field of Seven classic Jags'.

  • Jaguar Heritage to field nine of the marque’s most famous 1950s models in the 2015 Mille Miglia
  • Event runs from 14-17 May with drivers piloting three C-types, three D-types, an XK120, an XK140 and a MK VII
  • Star line-up of drivers come from motorsport, music and entertainment to drive historic Jaguars on the Mille Miglia
  • Live updates from event will be available through Jaguar’s official social media channels, as well as Twitter profiles of drivers using hashtag: #JaguarMille
Jaguar is celebrating its 80th anniversary by once again taking on the legendary challenge that is the Mille Miglia. Held from 14-17 May in Italy, Jaguar Heritage Racing will be fielding a team of drivers who will cover more than 1,000 miles from Brescia-Rome-Brescia in nine of the marque’s most celebrated models.

Famous faces from the world of motorsport, TV and music will put their historic Jaguars through their paces on the gruelling route which takes place over four punishing but unforgettable days starting in Brescia, heading to Rimini, Rome, Parma and then back to Brescia. 

Crowds lining the route will get to see examples of historically-significant Jaguar XKs, C-types and D-types hurtling past them with famous faces in the cockpits.

Five-time winner of the Le Mans 24hr, three-time Daytona 24hr winner and world sportscar veteran, Derek Bell, will make his Mille Miglia debut driving a Jaguar C-type.  Derek is driving as a guest of art collector and classic car enthusiast Adam Lindemann.

Piloting the second C-type, ‘NDU 289’, will be Jaguar Vehicle Integrity Chief Engineer Mike Cross, while the final C-type, ‘PUG 676’, will be driven by Royal Automobile Club Motoring Committee Chairman, Ben Cussons.

Driving ‘RSF 303’, a priceless Jaguar D-type ‘Long Nose’ Ecurie Ecosse racer, which finished second at Le Mans in 1957, will be Jaguar Design Director, Ian Callum. A veteran of the Mille Miglia, Ian drove with US chat show host Jay Leno in the 2014 event - this year he will be partnering up with businessman and classic car enthusiast, Clive Beecham.

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.

Making for a very glamorous cockpit is ‘OOF 748’ - the XK120 roadster of model, TV presenter and current host of Channel 5’s The Classic Car Show, Jodie Kidd, whose co-driver will be male supermodel, GQ columnist and classic car enthusiast, David Gandy.

Host of the hugely popular BBC One show, Saturday Kitchen and well-known TV chef, James Martin, will be partnered by Bremont co-founder Nick English, brother of Giles. They will share the penultimate ‘Long Nose’ Jaguar D-type ever built, registered ‘393 RW’. Completing the trio of D-types will be one of the classic car world’s most respected experts, Simon Kidston.

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.