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, 17 July 2015

Congrats to NISSAN, for becoming the #1 Asian brand in Europe, well deserved.

  • Nissan ends first half of the year as best-selling Asian brand in Europe
  • 384,726 vehicles sold in first six months of 2015, up 4.3 percent on this time last year
  • Success driven by Nissan's most cohesive and powerful line-up in its history
Nissan today announced record sales in the first six months of 2015, making it the top-selling Asian brand in Europe. A total of 384,726 units were sold in the first six months of 2015, representing an increase of 4.3 percent versus this time last year.

New car registrations also jumped ahead in the first half of 2015 in a number of high volume markets including the UK (+34%), Spain (+18%) and Germany (+11%)* where numbers were up versus Nissan's main competitor. Powered by consistently high sales volume of the Nissan Qashqai as well as the 100-percent electric Nissan LEAF, Nissan's market share in Europe now stands at 4.2 percent.
This success follows a record-breaking CY2014, a year in which Nissan Europe recorded the highest volume and market share in its history, with sales growing for five consecutive years. Growth looks set to continue into 2015. Only this month, Nissan's St Petersburg facility, home of the new X-Trail, celebrated the production of its 200,000th vehicle, making it the fastest growing plant in Russia. In Italy, passenger car sales increased by more than 23 percent in the first half of the year, with 32,611 units sold.
Nissan Europe senior vice president of Sales and Marketing, Guillaume Cartier welcomed the news, commenting: "What we are doing with our brand, our products and our customer service promise is clearly working. We're delighted customers have continued to put their trust in Nissan to make us the number one selling Asian brand in Europe. We will continue to challenge ourselves to bring more to our customers – more choice, more value and more innovative and exciting products."
He went on to add: "These results really are proof of our commitment to quality, performance and bringing the latest technology to the most – first. This year we are proud to be celebrating the fifth birthday of the Nissan LEAF. With 184,000 units sold globally and over 93 percent customer satisfaction rate, the LEAF remains the best-selling electric car. We couldn't have achieved this remarkable success without the support of our employees, customers, dealers, partners and suppliers, so this really is a historic moment for everyone connected to the Nissan business."
Sales of the Nissan Qashqai also continue to break records with 2.5 million units sold. The UK, which is home to European production of the award-winning Qashqai, also had a strong year having sold 88,000 vehicles in the first six months of the year – securing the highest ever passenger car market share in the brand's history. This was mirrored in France, where Nissan recorded its best ever market share of 3.7 percent for the first six months of 2015.
Nissan invests significantly in R&D and has a proven track record of delivering bold design, great quality and accessible technology to everyone, reinforcing Nissan's values of innovation and excitement. This investment is proven in our crossover leadership with the launch of the X-Trail and Juke.
Jan to Jun
Jan to Jun
Number of Nissan Units Sold368,314384,726

USA - Scions top seller the tC Sports Coupe adds better Sound, More Smart tech and "Swishes" (what's that ?)

Scion’s top seller, the tC sports coupe, adds new sound, smarts and swishes as it enters the 2016 model year. A new standard audio system, a host of upgraded interior features including a Smart Key with push-button start, and the addition of a standard rear windshield wiper add to the fun and functionality of the tC.

The 2016 tC retains its thrill-to-value proposition with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $19,385 for the six-speed manual transmission and $20,535 for the six-speed automatic with paddle shifters and Dynamic Rev Management®. This price excludes a delivery, processing and handling (DPH) fee of $795.
The new standard audio system features a large 7-inch Pioneer® touchscreen Display Audio system with AM/FM/HD radio™, voice recognition, Bluetooth® hands-free and streaming audio, and the Aha™ app which provides access to 100,000 Internet radio options.

Also new to the interior of the tC are new silver interior door handles, a new center console tray cover and a leather-wrapped shift knob.

The 2016 tC will be available in dealerships starting in August. 

USA RECALL - HONDA - 2016 Pilot SUV recalled to check third row seatbelts for possible incorrect fitment.

  • Only twenty 2016 Pilot vehicles in customer hands require inspection at the time of this announcement
  • Third row seatbelts will be inspected and, if needed, repositioned
  • No related crashes or injuries have been reported
Honda will voluntarily recall fewer than 1,700 model-year 2016 Pilot vehicles in the United States to inspect, and, if needed, reposition the third row seatbelts, free of charge. However, because only 269 of these new vehicles actually had been delivered to owners before Honda notified NHTSA and an inspection and repair process was available to dealers.

Honda was able to quickly contact affected owners to schedule an inspection, and only 20 customer vehicles still require an inspection as of the date of this statement. Any vehicles in transit from the factory or in inventory at a Honda dealer have been or will be inspected and, if needed, repaired prior to sale.
During assembly of the third row seat and seatbelt, it is possible that the rear (third row) seatbelts could be trapped between the rear seat and the interior side panel. If a rear seatbelt is trapped, any occupant using the seatbelt may not be properly restrained in the event of a crash, increasing the risk of injury. No crashes or injuries have been reported related to this issue, which was discovered during factory quality inspections.
Honda is announcing this recall to encourage the owners of the 20 remaining affected vehicles to take them to an authorized dealer as soon as possible for inspection and, if needed, repair. All affected vehicles are eligible for inspection now, and owners of a 2016 Pilot can determine if their vehicles require inspection by going to www.recalls.honda.com or by calling (800) 999-1009, and selecting option 4. Mailed notification to owners of any remaining uninspected vehicles will occur within 60 days.

USA - The 2016 Mazda CX-3 get pricing and specification announced, what a great price, well specced too.

Latest evolution of Mazda's signature KODO design comes embodied in crossover available with premium, class-exclusive features and class-leading fuel economy.

New vehicle segments don't come around often. So when Mazda had the opportunity to create its very own subcompact crossover to tackle the urban sprawl, as well as the road less-traveled, it did so the only way it would – with the fun-to-drive, stylish and upscale 2016 Mazda CX-3.

Nearing its mid-August expected on-sale date, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) has released full pricing for its entry-level CUV offering, starting at an MSRP2 of $19,960 for the entry-level CX-3 Sport with front-wheel drive. As a $1,250 upgrade, buyers can select CX-3 Sport with Mazda's predictive i-ACTIV all-wheel drive that takes temperature, road conditions, steering-angle and weather into account, among other factors, to help optimize to which wheels engine power is routed for maximum performance and stability.
"We wanted to send a strong statement that new buyers, early adopters, empty-nesters and right-sizers can get everything they want in a crossover that fits their needs," said Jim O'Sullivan, president and CEO, MNAO. "CX-3 offers the same technologies and thrilling driving experience seen across the rest of Mazda's award-winning lineup that we believe will be a great gateway to the Mazda brand."
CX-3 comes standard with a SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter engine producing 146 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 146 lb-ft of torque at 2,800 rpm, with all trim levels equipped with a quick-shifting SKYACTIV-DRIVE six-speed automatic transmission. In front-wheel-drive configuration, it nets a class-leading3 EPA-estimated fuel economy4 of 29 mpg city/35 mpg highway/31 mpg combined (27 mpg city/32 mpg highway/29 mpg combined with i-ACTIV AWD).
All CX-3 models also come with MAZDA CONNECT, a seven-inch, full-color touchscreen infotainment suite that is integrated with a commander control knob and Bluetooth hands-free phone pairing and audio streaming. MAZDA CONNECT helps drivers and passengers safely keep connected while on the go, integrating phone controls, radio, internet radio services like Pandora and Aha by Harmon, and available navigation into a single system.
All 2016 CX-3s also have backup camera and push-button starter as well as power windows, power door locks and remote keyless entry.
Stepping up from CX-3 Sport to the mid-level CX-3 Touring yields additional niceties like leatherette seating surfaces with cloth inserts, heated seats, Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM), Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA), Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry, heated door mirrors, a center armrest and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter. The available Touring Technology Package adds a one-touch power moonroof, SiriusXM and HD radio and a rear cargo cover.
CX-3 Grand Touring ups the ante with a one-touch power moonroof, navigation, Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS), Active Driving Display pop-up head-up display, leather and Lux Suede two-toned seats, a seven-speaker Bose® premium audio system with SiriusXM satellite and HD radio, a rear cargo cover, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters and LED headlights, fog lights, daytime running lights and tail lights.
When equipped with the Grand Touring i-ACTIVSENSE package, CX-3 packs features unavailable in rival vehicles like Mazda Radar Cruise Control, Smart City Brake Support, Smart Brake Support, High Beam Control System, Lane Departure Warning System, rain-sensing wipers and auto on/off headlights.
MSRP5 for each CX-3 trim level is as follows (add $1,250 to each model for i-ACTIV all-wheel drive):
  • CX-3 Sport: $19,960
  • CX-3 Touring: $21,960
  • Touring Technology Package: $1,410
  • CX-3 Grand Touring: $24,990
  • i-ACTIVSENSE safety package: $1,920
Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers.  Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.

USA RECALL - TOYOTA - The 2012-2014 Prius V recalled for ECU issues, with a shut down possible.

Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. today announced that it is conducting a safety recall of approximately 109,000 Model Year 2012-2014 Prius v hybrid vehicles. 

In the involved vehicles, the current software settings for the motor/generator control ECU and hybrid control ECU could result in higher thermal stress in certain transistors, potentially causing them to become damaged. 

If this happens, various warning lights will illuminate and the vehicle can enter a failsafe mode. In rare circumstances, the hybrid system might shut down while the vehicle is being driven, resulting in the loss of power and the vehicle coming to a stop.

Owners of the involved vehicles will be notified by first class mail.  Toyota dealers will update the software for both the motor/generator control ECU and hybrid control ECU in the involved vehicles.

Information about automotive recalls, including but not limited to the list of involved vehicles, is subject to change over time.  For the most up-do-date Safety Recall information on Toyota, Lexus or Scion vehicles, customers should check their vehicle’s status by visiting toyota.com/recall and entering the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).  Safety Recall inquiry by individual VIN is also available at the NHTSA site:safercar.gov/vin.  For any additional questions, customer support is also available by calling Toyota Customer Service at 1-800-331-4331, or Lexus Customer Service at 1-800-255-3987.

USA - Ford launches new Apollo edition Mustang to celebrate innovation and technology of the Apollo missions.

  •  U.S. Apollo spaceflight program inspires one-of-a-kind 2015 Ford Mustang to be donated and sold at charity auction July 23 at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin
  • Donation and sale will benefit EAA youth aviation education programs, including Young Eagles
  • Unique Ford vehicles have raised nearly $3 million for EAA youth aviation programs, including Young Eagles
As far as special edition Mustangs go, this one is out of this world.
For the eighth straight year, Ford Motor Company has created a unique, aviation-inspired Ford Mustang to benefit Experimental Aircraft Association youth education programs, including the Young Eagles. The Apollo Edition Mustang will be donated and sold via auction at the Gathering of Eagles charity event, July 23, at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 – the World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration.

All proceeds from the sale of the car will benefit EAA youth education programs, including the Young Eagles, which has provided free introductory flights to more than 1.9 million young people since 1992, helping grow the next generation of aviators.
Ford serves as exclusive automotive sponsor of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015, held July 20-26 this year at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
“The Apollo program delivered astonishing innovations in technology and achieved a national goal of landing the first human on the moon,” said Edsel B. Ford II, a member of the Ford board of directors. “The entire program was extraordinary – one of our nation’s greatest technological achievements. With this year’s stunning Apollo Edition Mustang, we salute that spirit of American ingenuity with the quintessential American automobile – Ford Mustang.”
Based on a 2015 fastback Ford Mustang GT, Ford design and engineering teams transformed the 5.0-liter pony car into the Apollo Edition Mustang – a truly unique and highly valued vehicle that will excite enthusiasts and collectors alike.
Led by Ford Design Manager Melvin Betancourt, the exterior features a one-of-a-kind glossy pure white and pure black non-production paint scheme that delivers a creative connection with the NASA Apollo program. The Apollo Edition Mustang features a carbon fiber front splitter, rear diffuser, rocker moldings and accent treatments, along with unique LED underbody lighting to symbolize atmospheric re-entry.
Performance enhancements include a performance package, Ford Performance supercharger and shifter, X-pipe with side and rear exhaust, sport-tuned suspension, six-piston Brembo brakes and custom Forgiato 21-inch performance wheels. This Mustang will deliver a heart-pounding 627 horsepower and 540 lb.-ft. of torque to provide an exhilarating, controlled launch for its new owner.
The theme carries into the cabin with exclusive interior details, including performance gauges, modified instrument cluster, unique sill plates and embroidered elements in seats, trim panels and floor mats.
The auction of the Apollo Edition Mustang will be the pinnacle of the EAA Gathering of Eagles gala. The event annually draws more than 1,000 aviation enthusiasts in support of EAA youth education programs, which inspire young people to become engineers, aviators, astronauts, scientists and innovators – the aviation pioneers of tomorrow.
“Ford has been a committed sponsor of EAA and AirVenture for more than 15 years – bringing incredible value to those who make Oshkosh the highlight of their aviation year,” said Jack Pelton, EAA chairman of the board. “With its eighth Mustang donation, Ford continues to excite with its specialty vehicles, which reflect the depth of the company’s commitment and which allow EAA to provide support to its valuable programs and dedicated members in helping us grow the next generation of aviators.”
The Apollo Edition Mustang joins seven other one-of-a-kind Mustangs created by the Ford design and engineering teams for the auction in support of EAA youth education. Ford vehicles donated at EAA AirVenture events have collectively raised nearly $3 million.
The unique vehicles that support EAA youth education programs including Young Eagles, are:
  • 2008 – Mustang AV8R, with cues from F-22 Raptor, which helped introduce the glass-roof canopy and delivered an auction contribution of $500,000
  • 2009 – AV-X10 “Dearborn Doll” Mustang, crafted in honor of the World War II aircraft
  • 2010 – Two automotive icons – the late Carroll Shelby, former U.S. Air Force flight instructor, and Jack Roush, longtime P-51 pilot – collaborated for the first time to create the SR-71 Blackbird Mustang inspired by legendary reconnaissance jet
  • 2011 – Blue Angels Mustang, created to celebrate 100 years of U.S. naval aviation
  • 2012 – Red Tails Mustang, to pay homage to Tuskegee Airmen – courageous squadron of P-51 Mustang pilots who were the United States’ first African American military airmen
  •  2013 – U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Edition Mustang, built to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team
  • 2014 – F-35 Lightning Edition II Mustang, which featured design cues from the world’s most advanced multirole fighter jet – the F-35 Lightning
The Apollo Edition Mustang will proudly be on display all week in the Ford hangar at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015. To participate in the auction, interested parties must prequalify by contacting the EAA development office, (800) 236-1025 or donor@eaa.org.
The Apollo Edition Mustang was modified by MAD Industries, led by Chris Mangum. Interior enhancements were designed by Ford’s Betancourt and Nicole Rush, and created in-house by Ford’s design fabrication team. Additional contributors to the project include Ford Performance, Eibach Springs, Carbon 2 Carbon, BASF automotive refinish, Gibson performance exhaust, Pirelli tires, Forgiato wheels, Rigid Industries LED lighting, SourceSE by sPod, 3M window film, PIAA Corporation, Brembo, APR performance, FOCAL/The Source AV and Odyssey battery.

Hyundai grows sales in Europe with a host of all new models launched and more to come.

  • Sales record: 237,221 registrations in Europe during first six months of 2015
  • Customer demand driven by several new model launches
  • All-New Tucson to further boost demand and enhance brand perceptions
Hyundai Motor has posted a record first-half year in Europe, with registrations hitting 237,221 units between January and June – an all-time high for the brand. The growth in Hyundai Motor’s sales is driven by the introduction of new models, including New Generation i20, New i30 and New i40. 

Significant further demand is expected with the launch of the All-New Tucson, arriving on the European market during the coming months.
The record sales total represents an 8.1% increase over the 219,373 registrations delivered in the same period last year. And it exceeds the previous first-half best, achieved in 2012.
Ramping up its Product Momentum initiative, the company will renew or replace 80% of its model line-up in Europe during 2015. Among the newcomers, the New Generation i20 range now includes the Coupe version, and the New i30 family has its Turbo model for the first time. New i40 Saloon and Tourer have also brought increased interest from customers in Europe.
Under this comprehensive product renewal strategy, the i10 will soon be the oldest model in the Hyundai range, even though it was only launched at the start of 2014.
Expected to further enhance sales as well as brand perceptions among customers in Europe, the All-New Tucson is coming to the C-SUV segment–the company’s best-selling segment last year.
Thomas A. Schmid, Chief Operating Officer at Hyundai Motor Europe, commented: “We are committed to making cars that meet customer demands, by focusing on the specific needs of European buyers. This approach is helping to deliver our sales growth in a competitive market. We have arguably the youngest range of cars, soon to be boosted with the introduction of All-New Tucson, which will help to further shift perceptions of our brand and attract more new customers to choose Hyundai.”
Hyundai Motor accounted for 3.2% of all cars registered in Europe during the first half of 2015, matching its share of the market achieved during the same period last year.
More than 90% of the vehicles Hyundai sells in the region are designed, engineered and tested in Europe to meet the needs of European customers. And 90% are built at its two local factories in the Czech Republic and Turkey.

Kia continues to break records in Europe with better sales, and the UK is still it's best market in the region.

  • UK continues to be Kia’s biggest European market
  • Record 200,038 Kia cars registered in Europe over first half of 2015
  • Highest ever quarterly sales with 103,946 units registered in Q2
  • Best-selling Sportage and cee’d top the brand’s sales charts
Kia Motors Europe has recorded its best ever quarterly and half-year sales in the company’s history, as the brand’s year-on-year growth accelerated to 7.6%, according to the latest data from ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association).

During the first half of 2015, Kia posted sales of 200,038, representing the best-ever six month period recorded by the Korean brand in Europe. Compared to the first half of 2014, this represents growth of 7.6%. At the same time, the second quarter of 2015 was the brand’s best-ever quarterly sales total, with 103,946 units registered – the first time Kia has broken through the 100,000 barrier in any one quarter.
Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer, Kia Motors Europe, commented: “2015 to date has been a great period for Kia in Europe, with sales records tumbling and new highs reached. We’re delighted that Kia continues to grow, consistently and sustainably, and that an increasing number of motorists are drawn to our range of high quality, high value cars.”
Cole added: “Kia is focused on developing an unrivalled level of quality in its products, and an industry-leading level of service at every customer touchpoint. We want customers to enjoy buying and owning their Kia cars, and our record sales demonstrate that our approach is working.
The biggest market in Europe remains to be the UK where national sales hit an all-time high of 40,849 in the first half of 2015, resulting in a 20% overall profit contribution to Europe’s total sales.
New and updated models drive 7.6% sales growth
Kia’s first quarter growth has been driven by rising sales of the all-new Kia Soul, which went on-sale across Europe at the start of the year (first half sales up 112% year-on-year, to 7,042 units), as well as the all-new Sorento, with 5,670 units sold so far this year.
Two recently upgraded models, the Venga and Rio, also performed strongly through Q2 and the first half, with 15,386 (+11.8% year-on-year) and 33,059 (+6.1%) units sold respectively.
Sportage and cee’d top Kia sales charts
The Kia Sportage and cee’d model family retain their position as the two top-selling models from the Korean brand. Now in its fourth full year of production, the Kia Sportage boasted its best-ever sales quarter in Q2, with 28,208 vehicles sold across Europe from April to June and 56,002 year-to-date (+12.0% over the same period in 2014). The current version of the Sportage was updated in 2014 with a range of visual and dynamic enhancements.
The cee’d (40,090 units in the first half of the year) remains the brand’s second best-selling model in Europe behind the Sportage, and continues to appeal to customers thanks to its classy design, high quality interior, efficient range of engines and practical nature.
Having started production in 2006, the 1,000,000th Kia cee’d was recently manufactured by Kia Motors in Europe, a major milestone for a car that has played a significant role in Kia’s sustained growth and success since its introduction nine years ago. The 1,000,000th cee’d to roll off Kia’s European production line was a high-powered Kia cee’d GT five-door hatchback in ‘White Pearl’. The car and its 204 ps 1.6-litre T-GDI (turbo gasoline direct injection) engine were both produced in Slovakia – the car was produced for a buyer in the Netherlands.