Yes, even more stuff comes down the pike from the guys and gals of DaimlerChrysler. This time, it's in the form of the Jeep Patriot, as envisioned by the good folks at the Chrysler Design Center.
In the meantime, we'll call it the Partly Pragmatic Patriot and give you the quick and dirty on what's been done. The modifications made were centered on making this mild-mannered people mover into a true off-roader. The majority of the focus came by way of jacking up the suspension two-and-a-half inches and throwing on 16" wheels with BFG Mud Terrain tires. That combination of tire and custom-suspension gives the PPP over 11-inches of ground clearance, which will make it easier to avoid smashing that new, metal front-bumper into large, immovable objects.
Beyond that, the team threw on a new roof rack and lighting system, and did their best to make the PPP as purposeful as it looks.
The Wrangler Rubicon King gets a healthy splattering of pupil skrinking orange and then is hoisted into the air with a four-inch lift, provided by Superlift Suspension. The standard rolling stock is ditched in favor of Mopar/Hutchinson beadlock wheels, wrapped in TA Krawler rubber.
Some of the more trick features include a 9.0 RC winch, fender flares, military-grade tow shackles and a re-trimmed grill. A radio delete gets rid of the tunes, but since the rear seats have been dispatched to make room for the spare, complaining from passengers will be kept at a minimum.
The Volkswagen factory team will next week (5-10 Nov) undertake a vital dress rehearsal for January’s Dakar Rally by mounting an assault on the UAE Desert Challenge, final round of the FIA Cross Country Rally Championship.
Two works TDI-powered Race Touareg 2 prototypes will be at the Abu Dhabi startline, one for double World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz and his co-driver Michel Périn and another for Volkswagen’s latest signing, four-time Dakar victor Ari Vatanen, who will be co-driven by Fabrizia Pons. A third, privately entered Touareg will be in the hands of Carlos Sousa and Andreas Schulz.
‘The UAE Desert Challenge is the traditional dress rehearsal for the Dakar Rally,’ said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. ‘We will be up against the Mitsubishi factory team, so it is a real performance check. It is also an opportunity for Carlos Sainz to get another opportunity to drive on sand, and for Ari Vatanen to drive the Race Touareg 2 in a competitive environment.’
Spaniard Sainz and Finland’s Vatanen are this week completing a major test programme in Tunisia with their Volkswagen Dakar team-mates Giniel de Villiers and Mark Miller.
Vatanen, 54, is relishing his new challenge: ‘Volkswagen has been pursuing the Dakar project with great ambition and a high level of motivation – I wanted to be part of that. I have got to know both the car and the team and I am convinced that we will have a chance of victory.’ Vatanen was World Rally Champion in 1981 and won the Dakar in 1987, ’89, ’90 and ’91.
The Volkswagen team has enjoyed a remarkably successful 2006 season. In January South African de Villiers claimed second place – a diesel record – on the Dakar and followed that up with victories in May’s Rally Transiberico and June’s Morocco Rally.
The UAE Desert Challenge gets underway with a Super Special stage in Dubai on Sunday 5 November, with the rally’s first proper leg, from Abu Dhabi to Moreeb, taking place the following day. There are five legs and 1520 km of special stages facing the competitors ahead of the Dubai finish on Friday 10 Novemb
Isuzu (UK) Limited will be tempting visitors at this year’s Caravan & Outdoor Show on 16 – 19 November 2006 with its biggest promotion ever.
Expected to attract nearly 40,000 visitors, Isuzu staff will be on hand on Stand 2030 during the show at London’s ExCeL in Docklands to provide information on all the Isuzu models and the best deals on the market.
Customer offers include the Isuzu Denver Max 3.0 at only £15,990 on-the-road excluding VAT. This compares to the same time last year when it was priced at £18,480.69. When you add free Smartnav, this represents a massive £3,340 saving.
The Rodeo Denver has won praise for its car-like driving characteristics along with its class leading 3,000 kg towing limit. Available in six colours, the Denver range now starts at just £13,990 OTR (on-the-road excluding VAT) for the 2.5 Denver Max.
The promotion at the show; ‘The Big Pick-up’ includes free Prodrive Performance packs on all 2.5 Denver Max models worth £760.00. The PPP on the 2.5 boosts power from 100 PS at 3,800 rpm to 128 PS – a 28 per cent increase with the torque rising by 33 percent from 166.7 lb.ft to a substantial 220.0 lb.ft.
Isuzu will also be offering free automatic upgrades worth £1,000 and free Smartnav satellite navigation worth £850 on all 3.0 Denver Max models, including the much acclaimed Denver Max LE.
All Isuzu models are fitted with 16” alloy wheels, air-conditioning, CD-tuner and tinted electric windows as standard.
Meanwhile, the Rodeo continues to win accolades including, ‘Best Double Cab Pickup’ from Used Car Buyer magazine and ‘Lifestyle Pickup Winner’ from 4x4 magazine. Other awards include one from The Caravan Club and another from What Van? magazine.
SsangYong has introduced the Rexton II, a stylish and robust diesel 4x4 which takes the highly acclaimed concept a significant stage further whilst retaining the key elements of the groundbreaking “parent” model.
Subtle changes to the external styling see a new front end with new bumpers and lights. Inside there are enhancements to the dashboard design and functionality, an electrically adjusted driver’s seat is standard equipment in SX models, and rear cabin ventilation has been improved with new individual air-conditioning vents. Suspension has been fine tuned to deliver greater comfort, and the Mercedes-Benz five-speed Tiptronic-type transmission now provides a manual shift facility by use of a thumb switch on the gear lever or buttons mounted on the steering wheel.
The Rexton II is a five-door SUV which is equally as happy cruising urban streets and motorways as it is mud-plugging as a work-horse or leisure vehicle. Depending on the model it will seat up to seven passengers. The engine is a 163bhp, 2.7 litre XDi turbo-diesel with third generation common rail fuel injection. Power output is rated as one of the best-in-class and, with maximum torque delivered over virtually the entire rpm range, this engine is notable for its quick response and outstanding acceleration.
The suspension in the front has double wishbones with a multi-link rear layout, promoting nimble handling and cornering.
The Rexton II is available in two standard versions, the SE and SX, both of which are offered with manual or automatic transmission, and five or seven seats. Standard equipment in both models includes: HDC (hill descent control), Hi & Low ratio gears for off-road performance, cruise control (auto only), auto-tilt mirrors, roof rails, dual airbags with front side-airbags, speed-sensing door locks, air conditioning and leather upholstery. The SX version has a flip-up rear window, rear spoiler, side steps, privacy glass, rain sensing wipers, heated seats, electronically adjusted driver’s seat with three memory settings, and permanent torque-on-demand (TOD) four-wheel drive.
Ken Forbes, Managing Director of SsangYong UK, said: “The refinements to Rexton II, which are very much part of our response to customer feedback, add up to a big difference. The model now has even greater appeal - it looks even better, and it has the performance to match.”
Citroën has announced first details of its exciting new Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), that is set to add an extra dimension to the French manufacturer’s range when it goes on sale in Europe from summer 2007. The versatile Citroën C-Crosser boasts four-wheel drive capability, exceptional levels of space and comfort, as well as an advanced, fuel efficient HDi diesel engine equipped with environmentally-friendly Diesel Particulate Filter System.
Taking its name from the four-wheel drive concept car that Citroën first displayed at the 2001 Frankfurt Motor Show, the new C-Crosser’s elegant proportions (4.64m long, 1.81m wide and 1.73m high including roof bars) and powerfully sculpted design lines envelop sufficient interior space to seat up to seven passengers.
Immediately catching the eye, the C-Crosser’s robust good looks are fronted by the dominant chevrons that stretch across the bonnet into the streamlined front headlamps, ensuring that it is instantly recognisable as a Citroën. A multiple-ribbed bonnet, chunky wheel arches, the smart use of chrome detailing and the sleek window lines further enhance the C-Crosser’s dynamic styling.
The C-Crosser will be available with Citroën’s impressive, new generation 156bhp 2.2HDi engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. Capable of producing 380Nm of torque this dieselpowerplant also boasts impressive green credentials, offering low fuel consumption, the ability to run on 30% bio-diesel and a Diesel Particulate Filter System that reduces particle emissions to virtually immeasurable levels.
With the C-Crosser’s integral transmission, drivers have a choice of three settings, dependent on road conditions and driving style: two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive and a lock setting designed for low-grip conditions. Ensuring an optimum blend of comfort, road holding and off-road capability, Citroën’s new SUV is equipped with MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension, combined with 18-inch Michelin tyres for added grip.
Occupants will also benefit from the easily reconfigured second and third row of seats, which can be folded away quickly and effortlessly to provide a flat floor and vast load space. The rear two seats can be completely hidden away under the floor, while the second row of seating, which slides to offer greater leg room or boot space, features a 60:40 split/fold function that is operated via electric controls in the boot.
Making it easier to load bulky objects, the tailgate opens in two sections. The lower part is able to support up to 200kg, allowing it to double up as an al fresco seat, perfect for owners with an SUV lifestyle based around a love of outdoor pursuits.
The new C-Crosser rounds off Citroën’s range of mid- and top-end cars, ensuring there is a vehicle to suit all needs, whether it be for an SUV, a versatile people carrier (C4 Picasso or C8), an executive saloon (C6) or a comfortable family car (C4 or C5). The Xsara Picasso and Berlingo Multispace MPVs dominate their respective sectors, while at the same time the Company is continuing to pursue its strategy of offering a range of individual yet complementary small cars, with the C1, C2, C3 and C3 Pluriel.
* New Peugeot 4x4 SUV brings new levels of environmental performance
* Attractive and distinctive design style sets it apart from the rest
* Uses double-zero to identify a new vehicle concept
Peugeot is entering into the 4x4 SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) market with a new model that is 4.64 metres long and fitted with one of its accomplished HDi diesel engines, with DPFS (Diesel Particulate Filter System).
Its name – 4007 – uses the double-zero identity as it represents another new concept in the development of Peugeot’s model range. The ‘4’ represents its size within the Peugeot range and the ‘7’ specifies its generation.
The vehicle is the result of the co-operation between PSA Peugeot Citroën and the Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, and this new 4x4 SUV will be on sale during the second half of 2007.
4007: Peugeot’s stylish image in the 4x4 world
The 4007 is completely true to Peugeot’s marque values, being dynamic, with assured value, distinctively styled and innovative.
Styled at Peugeot’s design centre, based at Vélizy in France, the distinctive and feline design style of the 4007, with its tapered headlights and open front grille, are the first signs that identify it is a Peugeot vehicle, consistent in style with other models in the range. The chrome structure that makes up the large air inlet strengthens the vehicle’s elegance and creates an air of authority.
Framing the air intake in the front bumper is a chrome surround that portrays a feeling of refinement and strength. The aerodynamic design of the roof, with its ribbed detailing creates an impression of strength and style, combined with a more contemporary design style at the rear of the vehicle.
At the back, a brushed aluminium trim sits between the translucent jewel-like lights, emphasising the chrome Peugeot emblem mounted above the rear number plate.
The generously proportioned wheel arches and ground clearance provide the 4007 with a capability and security for its driver and passengers, no matter what the driving conditions.
The interior of 4007 has been designed to extend the marque’s appeal and values in this sector by being functional and stylish with plenty of storage capability.
4007 is powered by a class-leading environmental diesel engine
Always aware of the impact of vehicles on the environment, Peugeot has equipped the 4007 with its latest 2.2-litre diesel engine, featuring its technologically advanced Diesel Particulate Filter System (DPFS) for the best combination of performance, economy and environmental protection.
The 2.2-litre HDi diesel engine features direct common-rail injection and is the result of the partnership with the Ford Motor Group. It develops 156 bhp
(115 kW) and 280 lb ft (380 Nm) of torque, and is capable of using a 30% mixture of diesel biofuel, without any modifications.
Producing a driving experience that is both dynamic and pleasurable, this engine boasts impressive fuel economy and emissions performance, among the best in the SUV sector. The engine is combined with a 6-speed manual gearbox to make the best use of the high-torque characteristics of the 2.2-litre HDi diesel engine.
Safe and sure footed
The 4007 is equipped with electronic control management on all four driven wheels. The system has been designed to increase both the driver’s confidence and the vehicle dynamics for on-road driving behaviour.
The steering, suspension, four-wheel-drive system, brakes and tyres have all been developed to achieve maximum efficiency. The 4007 continues Peugeot’s reputation for producing engaging cars with dynamic and safe road characteristics.
4007: An extension of the Peugeot range
With this new SUV model, Peugeot is continuing its strategy of extending the available choice of products in response to the diverse demands of its customers.
The 4007 brings together many strong product attributes of the Peugeot marque within a growing sector of the car market.
What Car? Reliability Supertest 2006
What Car? in association with Warranty Direct have today revealed that British workers are still tops for long term reliability and affordability– half of the cars in the top-10 are British built.
Steve Fowler, What Car? editor, said: “The annual reliability survey is a thorough and helpful guide that should be a key part of the decision-making process for any car buyer, whatever their budget and it’s great to see so many British built cars doing so well.”
The survey of 111 models revealed that Japanese manufacturers top the charts again with Honda keeping hold of its number one position, closely followed by Lexus, the luxury arm of Toyota.
Congratulations are also due to the thousands of British workers responsible for building some of the most reliable cars on our roads today. The Honda Accord, which was top, was built here until 2002 and the Honda Civic, which finished runner up, was also constructed in the UK.
Other British-built cars in the top ten are the Nissan Micra in 5th and the Jaguar X-type in 7th. The Oxfordshire-built Mini is ranked 8th in the survey and with the new Mini appearing in showrooms shortly, the used Mini is a great buy.
The now defunct Rover would have been proud to see a couple of their vehicles fare well: the 45 finished 11th and the 25 was a couple of places down in 13th place overall.
“It is possible to improve the reliability of your car, simply by being kind to it – follow the service schedule and keep on top of routine maintenance. Be suspicious of any strange noises or unusual handling and get them investigated – they could be the start of something expensive,” commented Steve Fowler.
38,000 vehicles were surveyed with an average age of 4.9 years.
Top 10 Vehicles
1 Honda Accord 99-03
2 Honda Civic 96-01
3 Lexus IS 99-05
4 Volvo S40 96-04
5 Nissan Micra 98-02
6 Volvo V40 96-04
7 Jaguar X-Type 01
8 Mini 01
9 Peugeot 106 96-04
10 BMW 3-Series 94-01
Bottom 10 Vehicles
102 Fiat Coupe 95-01
103 Saab 95 97-01
104 Range Rover 95-02
105 Jaguar XK8 96-06
106 Land Rover Freelander 00-06
107 Land Rover Freelander 97-00
108 Audi TT 99-06
109 Fiat Multipla 99-04
110 Renault Laguna 00
111 Renault Espace 97-02
Manufacturer Rankings 2005 Position (out of 30)
1 Honda 1
2 Lexus 5
3 Mini n/a
4 Nissan 4
5 Toyota 3
6 Citroen 24
7 BMW 17
8 Peugeot 16
9 Vauxhall 19
10 Ford 20
11 Mercedes-Benz 10
12 Rover 27
13 MG 22
14 Porsche 14
15 Jaguar 23
16 Volvo 13
17 Volkswagen 15
18 Skoda 9
19 Alfa Romeo 26
20 Fiat 18
21 Seat 12
22 Audi 28
23 Saab 29
24 Jeep n/a
25 Renault 25
26 Landrover 30
Antonov, a European automotive technology company, is presenting its innovative 2-speed supercharger drive system at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show running Tuesday 31 October to Friday 3 November 2006 at the Las Vegas Convention Centre.
A Hummer H3 incorporating the patented technology will be presented at the show on stand 11976 by Antonov’s US distributor Wheel to Wheel Powertrain and the system’s performance enhancing characteristics will be demonstrated at the show proving grounds in a Ford Mustang GT.
“We have yet to put the Hummer on our chassis dynamometer, but given our experience with the Mustang, we anticipate the 2-speed supercharger drive system will similarly give a massive boost to power and torque up to the mid range engine speed,” says Brad Shantry, Wheel to Wheel performance product development manager.
“The enhanced engine performance and increased power and torque will be particularly useful on a medium size 4-wheel drive sport utility vehicle. I think the system would also benefit other SUVs, because of their often less than favourable power to weight ratios. Also the ability of the Antonov shift mechanism to operate as a self-contained passive device, without the need for additional external controls, offers the benefit of high mechanical efficiency.”
The performance enhancing characteristics of Antonov’s 2-speed drive system will be dramatically verified at the show’s proving grounds through its AR500 Ford Mustang GT demonstrator on the afternoon of Thursday 2 November. Road test editors and automotive journalists are being invited to take a ride with SCCA national road racing licence holder Gautam Pathak, who will put the high performance rear wheel drive car through its paces. Pathak has extensive driving experience gained at numerous test tracks all over the world and developed his skills as a vehicle dynamics engineer with Ford and Visteon. He is currently director of product development with the exhaust specialist company Corsa, whose equipment is also featured on the car,
“The Antonov Mustang is a must see for power enthusiasts because it is the first example of this interesting new performance technology,” said Pathak. “It reduces the elapsed time and the extra acceleration increases the standing quarter mile terminal speed from 101mph to 112mph.”
In the Mustang, Wheel to Wheel Powertrain has neatly installed the 2-speed drive and the Rotrex supercharger beneath the intake manifold, so that the system nestles neatly into the valley of the V8 engine. Wheel to Wheel also custom fabricated the cold air induction system, which features an aluminium intake manifold with five internally mounted liquid-to-air intercoolers. In the Hummer, the 2-speed supercharger drive system has been installed to share the power steering bracket of the I5 engine.
“In the Mustang, Antonov’s planetary gearset automatically engages a 1.36-to-1 step-up ratio in the first half of the engine rev band during hard acceleration,” said Shantry. “The higher speed of the supercharger impellor increases power and torque to the rear wheels by an impressive 58 per cent at engine speeds up to 4,200rpm. We have the same step-up ratio in the Hummer and anticipate a similar percentage increase in performance.”
Antonov chief executive John Moore, who will fly out to the show from the company’s new UK headquarters at Thetford in Norfolk, commented: “The performance boost in the Mustang at low engine revs is significant and the way it’s been calibrated for this high performance application is appropriate and easily felt by the driver. The Antonov drive system literally does feel like another gearbox. It just happens to be located where you least expect it; as part of the front end engine breathing system. We are confident of a similar performance boost for the Hummer.”
The series production of a 2-speed Antonov drive aimed at the US tuner market is already proving the capability of the system as a compact and effective solution for a number of powertrain applications.
“The experience we’re gaining from these high performance installations is proving invaluable,” said Moore. “It’s a tough market and our drive system needs to be pretty robust to survive. For the US tuner market the 2-speed supercharger drive simply does a phenomenal job of boosting vehicle performance … but there are additional mainstream powertrain applications we’re actively pursuing, where the primary aim is to calibrate the system to enhance efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.”
Antonov is already investigating the potential for its compact 2-speed supercharger drive system to replace a much larger positive displacement compressor in a high volume production engine, where very tight packaging and close matching of the supercharger to the engine is the primary motive. Further applications to improve powertrain efficiency are also being investigated through research into front end accessory drives. This enables the vehicle alternator and air conditioning to be run more efficiently, whilst providing the output needed by modern cars when the engine is idling.
The mainstream automotive trend towards fuel cell and hybrid electric vehicles, as well as smaller displacement internal combustion engines, similarly implies a need for more forced induction systems and hence centrifugal superchargers … again another opportunity to better match the characteristics of the blower to the engine with 2-speed drive systems. There is also growing interest in the use of 2-speed drives in conjunction with alternating current electric motors as a lower cost alternative to permanent magnet motors in electric vehicles.
The Antonov Mechanical Module (AMM) is patented technology and provides a small stand-alone, self-controlling multi-speed drive system which can be designed and manufactured for 2, 3 or even 4-speed applications. The mechanism is entirely self-changing with no electronic, hydraulic or pneumatic control systems and during the design stage the shift points can be set to any desired engine speed. The benefits of a fully automatic mechanical system applied to a supercharger include high transmission efficiency, compact size and moderate cost. The Antonov drive can be fully integrated with the latest Rotrex C30 and C38 superchargers with no power consumption other than minimal gear losses.
“These US applications are strategically important for the company as they address one of the world’s largest markets for tuner products,” said Moore. “It enables Antonov’s drive system to be released into the marketplace as a proven technology and underpins our discussions with carmakers interested in high volume global applications for addressing more fundamental carbon emission issues.”
Back in the UK, Antonov has upgraded its Chevrolet Lacetti demonstrator with a fully-integrated series production unit produced by its manufacturing partner Neue ZWL Zahnradwerk Leipzig GmbH. The UK demonstrator will shortly be made available for European motoring journalists to evaluate alongside a Mercedes demonstrator also under preparation
Thanks to a local business which wishes to remain anonymous the charity fund has received a significant boost.
A big thank you from all at 4x4 UK and the Macmillan Nurses who will be ultimate recipients of the donations
I received a telephone call this evening asking for assistance in marshalling helping out with the Lombard Rally next weekend in and around the york area. The details I have are listed below
If anyone is interested in helping or thinks they can help please contact the Chief Marshal whos contact details are listed below
Following our telephone conversation tonight we would be really grateful if
you could put a post on your website forum our need of help over next
Thursday pm, Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the Lombard 2006 rally which
comes through your area.
If anyone (with or without 4x4) can help out over this weekend we would be
really grateful. The best person to contact to find out where, when and
what help is needed, is the Chief Marshall - Roy Whitney who can be
contacted on: firstname.lastname@example.org or his landline is: 01639636045.
I received a telephone call this evening asking for assistance in marshalling helping out with the Lombard Rally next weekend in and around the york area. The details I have are listed below
If anyone is interested in helping or thinks they can help please contact the Chief Marshal whos contact details are listed below
Following our telephone conversation tonight we would be really grateful if
you could put a post on your website forum our need of help over next
Thursday pm, Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the Lombard 2006 rally which
comes through your area.
If anyone (with or without 4x4) can help out over this weekend we would be
really grateful. The best person to contact to find out where, when and
what help is needed, is the Chief Marshall - Roy Whitney who can be
contacted on: email@example.com or his landline is: 01639636045.
Ultra-low sulfur diesel engine complies with new emission standards in all 50 states; particulate filter further reduces emissions
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – The 2006 Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI® – the first turbo-diesel light-duty vehicle in the U.S. market with a particulate filter – is now available in showrooms. The Touareg V10 TDI is a high-performance, ten-cylinder diesel version of Volkswagen's popular luxury SUV. With an engine that takes ultra low-sulfur fuel, it meets the stricter emission requirements in all 50 states. A particulate filter further reduces emissions, making this Touareg one of the cleanest diesels ever.
The Touareg's powerful five-liter, ten-cylinder engine boasts 310 horsepower at 3,750 revolutions per minute and offers impressive pulling power with 553 lbs-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm. The diesel engine consumes up to 30 percent less fuel than traditional gasoline engines.
Standard equipment includes six-disc CD changer, navigation system, Park Distance Control, keyless access, power height-adjustable telescoping steering column with memory, power height-adjustable front seat belts with memory, four-zone climate control (Climatronic), heatable rear seats and silver roof rack and rails.
The Touareg comes with Volkswagen's 4XMotion™ all-wheel drive system, providing superior traction control. Standard equipment includes Anti-lock Brake System, Anti-slip regulation, Electronic Differential Lock, Engine Braking Assist, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stabilization Program with brake assist, Hill Descent Assist and Hill Climb Assist.
The Touareg V10 TDI is available starting at $67,750.
All new Volkswagen automobiles come with 24-hour Roadside Assistance for four years with unlimited mileage, and new vehicle warranties, including:
* Five-year/60,000 mile (whichever occurs first) Powertrain Limited Warranty
* Four-year/50,000 mile (whichever occurs first) New Vehicle Limited Warranty with wear and tear items and adjustments excluded after the initial 12 months/12,000 miles
* 12 year unlimited distance Limited Warranty against corrosion perforation.
Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen is one of the world's largest producers of passenger cars and Europe's largest automaker. Volkswagen sells the Rabbit, New Beetle, New Beetle convertible, GTI, Jetta, GLI, Passat, Passat wagon, Eos, Touareg and Phaeton through more than 600 independent U.S. dealers.
Road accidents involving cars skidding will almost double from this month, as the Indian summer gives way to a somewhat soggier climate, says Cooper Tire & Rubber Company Europe.
Stopping distances are at least doubled in wet weather as opposed to dry, with the driver of a car travelling at 50mph needing to increase their stopping distance from 53m (175 feet) to 106m (350 feet).
“Unfortunately, too few of us change our driving style to accommodate the more treacherous conditions under the tyre at this time of year,” explains Malcolm Jones, Product Planning Manager for Cooper Europe.
October traditionally signals the start of a distinctively autumnal turn in the UK’s weather, with rainfall records dating back to 1903* showing that the winter half-year (October-March) marks a dramatic increase in precipitation, which makes road surfaces unpredictable.
Of cars involved in accidents in wet conditions, 18.7 percent slew across the road, as opposed to 10.5 percent in fine weather. The figure is even higher for motorcyclists, with 27.2 percent sliding under locked brakes in rainy conditions.**
With too many motorists still unaware of how they can reduce the risks of having an accident, Cooper Europe has come up with the top five safety tips for driving in the rain.
* Check your tyre pressures – underinflated tyres sustain excessive wear, causing aquaplaning and unpredictable handling
* Check your tyre tread. Legally, tread must be at least 1.6mm deep but stopping distances increase significantly when the tyre is worn down to 3mm***
* Keep speeds down and remain well back from the vehicle in front. This will allow you to see further and plan ahead
* If steering becomes unresponsive, it probably means you are going too fast for the tyre to grip. Ease off the accelerator and slow gradually
* Make sure you have plenty of windscreen washer, as spray from vehicles in front of you will smear your windscreen, impairing your view
* Source: National Office of Statistics, Winter and summer rainfall, 1903 to 1996: Social Trends 30
** Source: Department for Transport Road Casualties Great Britain 2001
*** Source: tests MIRA 2003, 2004
Estimated £320m bill for British motorists annually
The condition of British roads may not be getting any worse, but they’re not getting any better either, says a new report.
Analysis by independent automotive warranty provider, Warranty Direct, claims that potholes account for as many as 1 in 5 of all car failures across Scotland, a figure that falls to just over 8 percent of the total in the West Midlands.
Based on the firm’s database of over 60,000 vehicles, suspension and axle damage that can be traced back to poor road surfaces are now the most common failures for a shocking 60 percent of all vehicles.
On average, Warranty Direct reports repair bills of £328.60, but as high as £975.84* in some instances – that’s the equivalent of £320m every year for the British motorist.
Either continuous driving over cracked or uneven road surfaces, or the sudden jolting of a deep pothole, can cause damage to shock absorbers, springs, upper and lower arms and stabiliser bars.
Table showing percentage of all suspension & axle failures
Percent of claims recording pothole related suspension failure
1 Scotland 22.82 percent
2 North East 12.66 percent
3 Anglia 12.50 percent
4 North West 11.57 percent
5 Greater London 11.03 percent
6 Wales 10.77 percent
7 East Midlands 9.39 percent
8 South East 8.33 percent
9 West Midlands 8.04 percent
The latest ALARM report (Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance) says that engineers are simply ‘patching up’ roads rather than investing for the long term. It highlights a staggering £1.6bn shortfall in funding which has left them with a 10-year backlog.
Yet, despite the astonishing rates of failure recorded by Warranty Direct, year-on-year, the national average for suspension failures has recorded a marginal fall from 12.43 to 11.38 percent.
“Suspension failure is now a real problem for the motorist,” says Duncan McClure Fisher of Warranty Direct. “It seems unfair that the public should be financially penalised once again for choosing to drive on our roads.
Given the thousands of things that can go wrong with a modern car, suspension failure is almost reaching critical levels. Unfortunately, you really do risk the health of your car on certain roads.”
Regionally, the North East of England, at nearly 13 percent, recorded the second largest share of all claims attributable to a road defect or persistent poor conditions. In Greater London, suspension failures accounts for more than 1 in 10 vehicle failures with more than £16m paid out in insurance claims by the Local Authorities last year alone.
As Volkswagen's new compact SUV inches closer to its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in December, Hans Lehmann's photogs have grabbed a new set of spy shots of the Touareg's baby brother undergoing testing in the California desert.
Based on the Golf platform, the new 4x4 will slot into the market alongside Toyota's RAV 4, Honda's CR-V, the BMW X3 and the Land Rover Freelander.
For 2008, the Liberty is moving to a “baby Commander” look, gaining some length and mainly getting the squared-off, Land Rover/Hummer look. The headlights and turn signals are, as with the Commander, separate units behind a rectangular plastic housing. The glass has been trimmed, and it appears that the roof has been lowered; seats seem to be the more comfortable yet thinner new design from the Compass; and the fancy new stereos/nav systems should be available. The cargo area has been expanded. It appears that only the 3.7 liter V6 will be available, and that the four speed automatic will carry forward, so the four cylinder and stick-shift may have been dropped; a diesel is expected to return for late availability.
Overall, the Liberty will incorporate a number of changes and improvements engineered into the Dodge Nitro, while increasing its off-road worthiness. Expected features including an Electronic Stability Program with Electronic Roll Mitigation, hill descent control, the Load ’n Go rear cargo slide out system (also seen in the Nitro), rear DVD video, and remote start installed at the factory.
Obscene, you have a new ride: the HUMMER GT. German tuning house GeigerCars.de GmbH has managed to take the most outlandish and vulgar vehicle on the market and make it even more so with a host of visual and performance enhancements that altogether manage to scream "look at me" louder than a sorority girl at Mardis Gras.
First the good stuff: GeigerCars has upgraded the 6.0L V8 with a supercharger, added a new ECU and piped in a new stainless steel exhaust system, bringing the magic numbers up to 556 horsepower and 564 lb-ft of torque.
GeigerCars also upgraded the suspension, dropping the ride height by 100 millimeters and adding new anti-roll bars. The most obvious addition, though, are the rims. Forget about dinner plates, this sick puppy rides on freakin' flying saucers: giant chrome 30-inch rims, 10 inches wide at all four corners. The mammoth wheels are shod with 315/30R 30 Pirelli Scorpion Zero tires. The wheel and tire package alone costs €28,000, but GeigerCars also offers packages with 20, 22, 24, 26 and 28-inch rims. (Remember when 18 inches were considered big?) Bringing all that heft to a stop, GeigerCars have outfitted the HUMMER GT with a €10,000 brake system with 15-inch cross-drilled discs with 8-pot calipers up front.
Inside the cabin, GeigerCars outfitted the truck with faux carbon trim and a full multimedia sytem with sat-nav, DVD player and television receiver showing on twin LCDs. Finally, outside, the HUMMER GT was painted in the baby blue and orange livery of the classic Porsche 917 of McQueen LeMans fame, complete with Gulf logos above the rear fender. The party piece, though (as if the blingtastic sport-ute needed more), are the front doors that can be opened normally or upwards, scissor-style.
With all the do-dads and bolt-ons listed here, the HUMMER GT sells for a jaw-dropping €133,900, and will propel itself to sixty in 7.9 second flat. This HUMMER really is "like nothing else", and if all that flash won't get you noticed, nothing will.
The head of JCB has abandoned his pursuit of Ford's Jaguar division, the company said today.
Sir Anthony Bamford, chairman of the privately owned company, had signalled his interest in August. "Sir Anthony had always expressed an interest in Jaguar alone and it appears that it is not for sale," said JCB spokesman Daniel Ward, confirming a report in Monday's Financial Times.
The newspaper quoted Bamford as saying that Ford was only interested in selling Jaguar together with the profitable Land Rover operation. "I am not interested in buying the two together and am therefore not getting involved," the newspaper quoted him as saying.
Ford put Aston Martin, the luxury sports car maker, up for sale in August. Last week, Ford also put Automobile Protection Corp., an extended warranty service, on the block. Ford lost US$1.4 billion (€943 million) in the first half of the year and is undergoing a major restructuring.
Hopefully the potential dispersal of the Ford Premier Group won't affect this wonderful Jaguar/Land Rover collaboration that is being rumored. By borrowing aluminum (aluminium?) expertise from Jaguar, future Land Rovers could be as much as 1,000 pounds lighter than current models. Utilizing Jaguar's rivet-bonded aluminum monocoque body design, Land Rover could continue to build large luxury SUVs that are lighter and return even better fuel economy.
According to What Car's inside source, the new Range Rover will be the first all-alloy, monocoque-bodied 4x4 when it debuts in 2010. "There's no decision yet, and we don't have to decide for a couple of years, but it seems a logical step to investigate," said their source.
As they further point out, the Discovery and Range Rover Sport are both due for replacement a couple of years after the Range Rover, and it would make economic sense to share the technology across as many models as possible to exact the best economies of scale for L-R. It was expected that the new RR might switch to Land Rover's semi-monocoque steel T5 platform, which underpins the Discovery and the Range Rover Sport, but this makes a whole lot more sense.
Curb weight for the current Range Rover is about 6,000 pounds, but with a similar 15% weight savings as Jag has witnessed, Land Rover could get that down to less than 5,000 while maintaining the off-road toughness for which its vehicles are known. The boost in fuel economy and performance wouldn't hurt either.
Source [ autoblog.com ]
Gaydon, Warwickshire, 16 October 2006 – The Land Rover Discovery 3 2007 model year is on sale now, and is the first of the company’s model range to be offered with a state-of-the-art Land Rover Watch stolen vehicle tracking device.
The Discovery 3 2007 comes complete with the following enhancements:
* EU4 emissions compliance achieved across the Discovery 3 TDV6 range, thanks to a small improvement in fuel consumption and a reduction in CO2 emissions by up to 5g/km
* The addition of rear park distance control to the entry level 7 seat TDV6 (GS)
* The option of Tyre Pressure Monitoring System for the first time on the Discovery 3, priced at £385.00
* Introduction of electric power lumbar support to the driver’s seat where ‘memory seats’ are specified
* Introduction of one-touch opening passenger window
* ‘Destination input on the move’ function now available on the navigation system
* Premium navigation system now with the option of hybrid television, capable of receiving both analogue and digital TV signals, priced at £500.00
In addition, the Discovery 3 2007 model year is now available with Land Rover Watch, which, from the 2007 model year, is available across the company’s model range as a cost option from £999.00.
Land Rover Watch is an authorised pan-European stolen vehicle tracking system that achieves Thatcham Category 5 accreditation – the highest standard in the industry. Whilst car crime has fallen in recent years, statistics show an increase in car-jacking and home burglaries to obtain vehicle keys – which means vehicles are now most likely to be stolen using their original keys, and bypassing alarm and immobiliser devices. Latest figures suggest more than 50%* of stolen cars are not recovered, which highlights the usefulness of tracking systems such as Land Rover Watch. The system is also available with an Automatic Driver Recognition Card that must be present when the vehicle is driven.
Any unauthorised movements of a vehicle are sensed by Land Rover Watch and reported directly to the system’s monitoring service, which then contacts the owner to confirm whether a theft has taken place. If confirmed, tracking starts immediately using GPS and GSM technologies and the police are informed to activate retrieval. The system has its own power source, so will work even if the battery is disconnected.
Currently, only Category 5 accredited systems meet the stringent requirements of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO)** Policy on Police Response to Security Systems. Land Rover Watch also complies with the advice of The Home Office Scientific Development Branch (HOSDB). As such a Category 5 system like Land Rover Watch helps the police to respond more immediately to a theft. Technical features of the system include remote immobilisation (under Police supervision) and very low quiescent current.
The all-inclusive price of a fitted Category 5 system of £999.00 includes one year’s subscription for pan-European cover and an international SIM card (including roaming across UK domestic networks).
Land Rover Watch is the only stolen vehicle tracking system approved by Land Rover for fitment to Land Rover vehicles. It is available immediately for the 2007
Discovery 3, Range Rover Sport and Range Rover, and will be introduced to the Defender in October and the Freelander 2 from launch.
The website for the new Nissan QASHQAI has now been launched with interactive features. Let your imagination flow by not just designing your own QASHQAI but also the scene around it. From security cameras to mail boxes and dumpsters to pigeons, you can make the cityscape unique so it’s not just the QASHQAI that can call the street its own but you as well.
Customising the QASHQAI and its urban space is just one of the website’s features. Called My QASHQAI, you can choose the colour, the wheels of the car and then your own number plate. Once the car is finished, the urban space that the QASHQAI finds itself in can also be made unique by creating its own ‘spot’. The website allows you to change the surroundings, the road surface and even the backdrop that the QASHQAI is parked in front of by choosing from a range of wall art designs to make the spot truly urban.
The website is also a place to explore what this compact cross-over has to offer. The ‘urban proof experience’ allows you to go round city streets and watch an animated demonstration to discover design features of the car. You can continue the experience by discovering what’s in the cockpit style cabin by taking a look at the panoramic roof, the interior space and the centre console to see what it’s like to be in a QASHQAI.
To drive round the urban streets and discover the QASHQAI log on to www.nissan-qashqai.co.uk. In addition to the interactive features, information can be obtained on the UK launch and a brochure can be ordered.
The Nissan QASHQAI was designed and engineered in the UK and will also be produced at the company’s plant in Sunderland. Described as a new take on the family hatchback, the QASHQAI goes on sale early next spring with a choice of four freshly designed engines and front- or, unusually, four-wheel drive.
By RICHARD TRUETT | AUTOMOTIVE NEWS
DETROIT - Ford Motor Co. will launch its F-150 pickup with a diesel engine in 2008 or 2009, a former top executive confirmed.
If it arrives on time, the F-150 probably will be the first light-duty pickup with a diesel in North America.
Dave Szczupak, who retired last week as Ford's vice president of manufacturing for the Americas, said the F-150 will get a version of the 3.6-liter V-8 diesel used in the Land Rover Range Rover SUV sold in Europe.
Ford will be the first with the product unless Toyota or Nissan pulls off a surprise.
Gary Convis, Toyota's executive vice president of engineering and manufacturing for North America, said last month that Toyota had not yet sourced a diesel engine for the Toyota Tundra and might even buy one from a supplier. Nissan is negotiating with International Truck & Engine Corp. for a V-8 diesel for the Nissan Titan, but neither company has announced a deal.
GM eyes diesel engine
General Motors has announced plans for a small V-8 diesel truck engine after 2010. Dodge is expected to get new V-6 and V-8 diesels from longtime supplier Cummins in 2010.
Ford, GM and Dodge currently offer diesels only in their heavy-duty pickups.
The Range Rover's new diesel engine, developed with PSA/Peugeot-Citroen SA, was launched this year in Europe and looks like an ideal engine for a light-duty truck. The 267-hp V-8 develops 472 pounds-feet of torque - plenty of pulling power for consumers who might use a diesel F-150 to haul small trailers. The British market Range Rover gets 25 mpg.
Szczupak said a version of that engine would be used in the F-150. But engineers have to rework the engine to get it to conform to U.S. federal emissions standards.
"We haven't specified a Job 1 date, but we'll be pretty close by the end of 2008," Szczupak said of the 3.6-liter diesel.
Two major tasks
He said to get the engine U.S.-certified, Ford's diesel team has two tasks: First, it has to redesign some of the components to make the engine produce lower emissions in the cylinder. Then, team members have to choose a robust, reliable and affordable emissions system.
"There's a huge challenge for diesels in the under-8,500 (pounds gross vehicle weight) pickups in terms of meeting emission standards," Szczupak said.
Ford's diesel team has not made a final decision about the diesel F-150's emissions system, he said. Ford could go with urea injection to clean up harmful oxides of nitrogen, or NOx. The other option is a lean NOx trap. Both would be used with a diesel particulate filter.
"We will need a significantly more complex emission treatment and aftertreatment," Szczupak said. "We are looking at every option, whether it is a (urea) additive system or nonadditive."
Ford is determined to maintain sales leadership in full-sized trucks. The company has flirted with a light-duty diesel in the past but dropped plans when costs and reliability issues couldn't be reconciled.
Some of us have bemoaned the new styling of the Honda CR-V, which is why it's no surprise that the aftermarket has already stepped up to address our concerns. When you think of Honda tuning, you should think of Mugen (if you play Gran Turismo at all), and it's no surprise this Japanese tuning house is the first one to try and beat the ugly out of the new CR-V. Mugen today announced a whole catalogue of aftermarket appearance parts for the new CR-V that includes a front spoiler with integrated day/night lamps, a sports grille, a lower rear spoiler that integrates dual, center-mounted exhaust tips (!), a wing spoiler (pass, too much) and Mugen 19-inch TT wheels. The total effect is shocking and surely even more polarizing than an unadorned CR-V, but the consensus around the Autoblog office is positive. Now if Mugen could just fix that D-pillar we'd be happy.
More pictures can be found by following the link.
[Source: Mugen via CarScoop ]
New Extra Cab model and more powerful engines for Toyota’s mighty pick-up
· Extra Cab model added to new Hilux range
· Equipped with more powerful, Euro IV-compliant 2.5-litre D-4D 120 engine
· On sale from 1 November, basic price £14,195
· Revised 2.5-litre D-4D 120 (Single and Double Cab) and new 3.0-litre D-4D 170 (Double Cab) engines available from 16 January 2007
· Prices announced for 2007 model year
These days the onset of autumn is defined as much by the start of another season of The X Factor on television as by the prevalence of any mists or feelings of mellow fruitfulness. This year Toyota is following the popular trend by presenting a new star model of its own for the nation to enjoy, but without the chore of having to phone in any votes.
The new arrival is the Extra Cab, which completes the line-up of Toyota’s new generation Hilux pick-up range alongside the Single and Double Cab models. Extra Cab, offered exclusively with four-wheel drive, becomes the first Hilux to adopt Toyota’s new 2.5-litre D-4D 120 engine. This unit gives more power and torque and is cleaner than the previous Hilux engine and will be available, together with a new, high-power 3.0-litre D-4D 170, in high grade Double Cab versions in the New Year.
EXTRA CAB, EXTRA APPEAL
The Extra Cab focuses firmly on practicality and is aimed principally at the business user who needs the flexibility of additional passenger space with maximum load area. It’s a two-door model, but features two occasional rear seats, equipped with three point seatbelts. These are incorporated into the design allowing a rear deck length of 1805mm compared to a Double Cab with 1520mm.
It benefits from the same bold and stylish design of its Single and Double Cab stablemates and adopts the new-look bonnet with intercooler bulge that forms part of the Hilux range enhancements for the 2007 model year.
A single version is offered, in HL2 specification with four-wheel drive. Standard features include air conditioning, electric windows, remote central locking ABS and driver and passenger front airbags, demonstrating Toyota’s commitment to offering both tough performance for work and high levels of comfort, convenience and safety.
The new generation Hilux achieves significant improvements in noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) performance and better handling thanks to its new double wishbone front suspension, improved aerodynamics and ladder frame construction that is 45 per cent stiffer.
On sale date for the new Extra Cab is 1 November, with a basic price of £14,195 (full range prices and Extra Cab technical specifications are given below).
NEW D-4D ENGINES
The new 2.5-litre D-4D 120 engine which makes its debut in the new Hilux Extra Cab will also be available in Single and Double Cab models from 16 January next year. At the same time, a new 3.0-litre D-4D 170 engine will be available in the higher grade Double Cabs.
The D-4D 120 delivers all-round improvements, with eight per cent more power and 25 per cent more torque than the engine it replaces: maximum power is 118bhp (120 DIN hp) and maximum torque is 325Nm.
The D-4D 170 will increase Hilux’s appeal across both work and leisure markets, offering high power (169bhp/171 DIN hp) and high torque (between 1400-3400 rpm) ensuring responsive and refined acceleration in all gears whatever the cargo. There are two transmission options of five-speed manual or four-speed automatic, the auto versions coming with cruise control as standard. Emissions from both new engines comply with Euro IV standards.
MP's to vote on new Road Safety Bill containing graduated fixed speeding penalties despite thresholds being undecided.
The final reading of the Road Safety Bill takes place on Monday 9th October.
Astonishingly, MP's will be asked to vote on a bill that includes graduated fixed penalties for speeding without any knowledge of what the speed thresholds will be. Police speed measurement equipment is only required to be accurate to within plus or minus 2 mph and vehicle speedometers are required by law to be accurate within 10 per cent. Current ACPO guidelines allow for a speed measurement margin of error of 10 per cent plus 2 mph for prosecution.
ABD Chairman Brian Gregory said, "Originally, the proposal was that 45 mph in a 30 mph limit would result in 3 penalty points, with 6 points for 46 mph or higher. Clearly speed measurement is not accurate enough to implement a 1 mph difference between thresholds. It is absurd that MP's are being asked to vote for a bill without knowing what the threshold for 6 penalty points will be."
OK folks following the poll we ran on the site and various discussions at the pub meeting All monies collected will be donated to the Macmillan Nurses for the express purpose of purchasing equipment.
So you can see how we are doing with regards to the fundraising, I have added a progress meter to the homepage
Shots of the once shrouded Hyundai Veracruz have leaked onto the internet. The face we saw hiding under all that covering looks pretty much like we expected, though we're fast becoming of the mind that if you've seen one SUV-shaped CUV, you've seen them all. The Veracruz will benefit from a standard 3.8-liter V6 probably putting out at least 263 horsepower like in the Azera, though probably tuned a bit for more low end torque. The ute's also large enough for a Hideaway third-row seat, though don't expect to be too comfortable back there or have a decent view out thanks to those large D-pillars. All-wheel drive will also be standard, and since it is a Hyundai the Veracruz will come stocked with electronic stability control, side air bags, and side-curtain airbags for all three rows. Pricing will be important, as the Hyundai Veracruz will stack up well against the Lambda trio of large CUVs from General Motors in terms of content, but will likely be priced closer to the Ford Edge, which lacks a third-row of seating. Hyundai claims its going after the marketshare of vehicles like the Honda Pilot, Nissan Murano, Subaru B9 Tribeca and the Lexus RX350, which, as CarScoop point out, is evident in the vehicle's interior design.
The latest news out of Detroit is that automakers might run into some tire shortages should the recent walkout by Goodyear workers continue for more than a few weeks. Adding to that problem was yesterday's news of an additional 300 hourly workers being laid off at a North Carolina plant, because of the strike. This plant was not one of those on strike, but they produce wire used in the manufacturing of tires at other affected plants. Goodyear plans to bring these workers back when the strikers return.
As we told you last week, 15,000 Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. union workers went on strike after their contract was terminated. The strike has affected 16 North American plants, but Chrysler and GM have both said they had stockpiled a supply in anticipation of the strike. Non-union plants and salaried workers are being used to maintain at least some production. GM has said that it has a 30-day supply of tires on hand, but to put that in perspective, they go through 8 million Goodyear tires every year. Every North American automaker currently uses Goodyear tires.
No new talks are scheduled in this ongoing saga. Goodyear had proposed contract changes that would make the tire manufacturer more competitive by lowering its costs, particularly the costs related to maintaining such a large workforce. Recent notable sore spots like health care and pension funding were at the top of the list of proposed cuts. Worker productivity was sighted in the contract proposals, and the union countered that substantial cuts were already made to wages and other worker's benefits in 2003, and that further reductions were just plain unacceptable. We'll keep you updated on who blinks first.
We've almost grown accustomed to seeing HUMMERS rolling into third-world countries on the news – Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq again...but now HUMMERS will be rolling out of South Africa.
The first H3s have begun rolling off the line at GM's Struandale plant in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, marking the debut of HUMMER production outside the US and a big step for the brand's global expansion (in true HUMMER style). We'll have a post updating HUMMER's progress on global expansion later in the day.
The South African-made H3s will be sold locally and exported to Europe, the Middle East and Asia, including the right-hand drive versions for those backwards markets. The Struandale plant in Port Elizabeth also makes the Opel Corsa.
The Chrysler Group has gotten tons of PR mileage out of the popularity of the Dodge Caliber, to the point where dealers haven't been able to keep them in stock and consumers have to beg for a test drive (new Calibers net more profit than demos, after all). Unfortunately for the automaker, the Caliber's stablemate, the Jeep Compass, isn't enjoying the same successes. As the first car-based Jeep to hit the streets, the Caliber's sales have been lower than projected despite the vehicle's distinctive styling and sharp interior. The problem seems to be the 2006 models glutting dealer lots, giving potential Compass buyers food for thought -- a 2007 Compass doesn't represent the same kind of deal as, say, a loaded up 2006 Jeep Liberty.
Here's a case where fewer sales can actually be a good thing. Audi just announced that the Q7 is a much bigger hit in Europe than it had expected. The problem is that it hasn't quite caught on as the company had hoped in the US. Because of sluggish sales, the US is only accounting for 30% of Q7 SUV sales. Audi had expected it to gobble up half of the units produced. But this actually represents good news for Audi, in a weird roundabout way.
With rising fuel costs, luxury SUV sales have been on a sharp decline Stateside. This had led Audi to keep an artificially low sticker price on Q7s in the States to keep them competitive and attractive to potential customers. Coupled with the weak dollar, this has meant American Q7s were barely breaking even. Sticker prices in Europe have been higher and are unaffected by the exchange rate. The unexpectedly high demand in Europe, however, means that the European-built model is actually making it profitable for them overall. As a result, Audi has even increased production 50% from 200 to 300 units a day. If this trend continues it will be easy for Audi to shift production capacity for the North American model back to the Euro version to meet demand in the old country.
Posted Oct 9th 2006 5:03PM by Frank Filipponio
Gaydon, Warwickshire, 9 October 2006 – The world's most complete luxury 4x4 just got smarter, with the 2007 model year Range Rover TDV8, on sale this week, pioneering an innovative world-first technical solution – the petrol fuel guard system.
The petrol fuel guard system helps prevent drivers filling their diesel vehicle with petrol – an increasingly common error in this age of the ultra-refined diesel engine. Land Rover's innovative new system is incorporated into the vehicle's diesel filler head and automatically activates the intervention of a mechanical shutter if a petrol nozzle is inserted, preventing petrol being dispensed into the diesel tank.
The system distinguishes between petrol and diesel nozzles because thinner unleaded petrol dispensers go deeper down the neck of the vehicle's fuel tank, activating the shutter.
Chief programme engineer for the 2007 model year Range Rover, Paul Walker, says: "The new TDV8 engine in the Range Rover is so powerful and refined we feel that there is a danger, more so with this vehicle than with any we have sold in the past, of the driver mistaking the vehicle for a petrol-powered derivative – especially if the driver isn't the vehicle's regular user. Mis-fuelling is an expensive and complex problem to fix, and we are delighted to be first to the market with this innovative solution."
The AA reports that in 2005, over 100,000 cases of mis-fuelling were reported, with diesel vehicles being filled with petrol in error. The associated costs are significant, often amounting to several thousand pounds if the incorrect fuel enters the engine upon starting the vehicle.
The Range Rover for 2007 comes with a host of other significant enhancements, on both the TDV8 diesel and V8 petrol derivatives, including the all-new V8 diesel engine, revised cabin design and new technologies including Terrain Response and the fuel protection system as standard. It is on sale now with prices ranging from £53,995 to £74,795
* New Club Cab model introduced
* Versatile tipper added to range
* New upgrade pack gives Double Cab Elegance model even more ‘bling’
* 4x4 Commercial Vehicle Week to take place at all UK dealerships 4-12 November
This month (October) sees Mitsubishi’s award-winning and market-leading range of L200 pick-ups extended to include two important new variants in the shape of the Club Cab and the Single Cab Tipper. With four body-styles launched and a wide range of specifications available to suit all business needs, Mitsubishi now boasts the most comprehensive range of pick-ups on the market.
To promote this fact, every Mitsubishi dealership in the UK will take part in a dedicated 4x4 commercial vehicle week between the dates of 4-12 November. During this week dealers will display a range of commercial vehicles on their forecourts and will have a whole host of contract hire and finance deals on offer to customers.
L200 Club Cab
The Club Cab is the latest addition to Mitsubishi’s already extensive line-up of L200 pick-ups. Initially launched in March 2006, the new L200 featured single and double cab versions and, with the introduction of the Club Cab, the options and versatility of the L200 range increases yet again.
The Club Cab’s two-door with rear bench seat configuration provides the flexibility of either being able to carry four adults or providing additional space for secure stowage of tools and equipment. It also boasts a load bed 1.8 m long – 48 cm longer than that of the double cab. These features, combined with the L200’s car-like ride, handling and manoeuvrability, make it a perfect choice as a day-to-day working partner.
Available in 4Work, 4Life and Warrior variations, all Club Cabs feature a 2.5-litre turbo-diesel engine and come with easy-select four-wheel-drive plus rear diff-lock across the range, ensuring they’re competent performers, whatever the road surface.
Whilst the 4Work Club Cab includes EBS with EBD, driver and passenger airbags and even a CD player with MP3 player facility, the 4Life sees the addition of air-conditioning, electric front windows and central locking.
In keeping with other Mitsubishis that carry the Warrior identity, the top of the range Club Cab features everything the 4Life offers, as well as leather seats, 16” alloy wheels, front fog lamps and rear stainless steel bar with step. It’s also fitted with a host of external styling additions, which means it looks as purposeful as it performs.
Prices start at £12,797 CVOTR (£15,010.58 OTR) for the 4Work, £14,179 CVOTR (£16,655.58 OTR) for the 4Life and rise to £16,249 CVOTR (£19,066.68 OTR) for the Warrior.
A major addition to Mitsubishi’s already extensive range of L200 pick-ups is the brand new tipper-bodied model. Available from this month it’s destined to be a hit with the business and fleet markets, with over 70 orders already placed – even before it’s officially launched.
The L200 Tipper has been created in conjunction with one of the UK’s most respected conversion companies, Southampton-based VFS. Using a standard L200 Single Cab as their starting point, VFS’s expert engineers remove the flatbed and replace it with their own high quality version
The combination of the L200’s driver-friendly cockpit together with the practicality of a flat-bed tipper at the rear creates a vehicle which is as competent on the road as it is on a construction site. Added to this is the real benefit of its easy-select four-wheel-drive system, enabling access and driving safety when the going gets tough. This outstanding on/off road performance coupled with its 903 kg payload carrying and off-loading capabilities make the new L200 tipper a consummate work-horse, with attributes that suit a host of industrial applications.
The powder-coated steel tipper deck is powered by a chrome-plated, electro-hydraulic under-floor ram, which is activated by hand-held controls connected by a ‘wander’ lead.
The flat 2405 x 1650 cm tipper bed is supported by a powder-coated sub-frame and surrounded by aluminium side and tail boards with six load-lashing points. The conversion also includes thermoplastic mudguards and a tubular rear-cab protector with infill panels and ladder stops, plus locking toolboxes located either side of the sub-frame.
Initially offered in two versions, 4Work and 4Life, both are fitted with the 2.5 litre 134bhp turbo-charged engine which powers other models in the L200 range. A drop-side version is also being considered for a later launch.
The 4Work tipper goes on sale at £17,147 CVOTR, with the 4Life priced at £18,397 CVOTR and features the addition of air conditioning, electric windows, central locking and a number of other trim modifications. Both models are available in three colours: black (pearlescent), white (solid) and silver (metallic).
L200 Elegance gets the ‘bling’ treatment
Due to the L200’s status as the ultimate business/leisure crossover vehicle, demand for the high-specification models continues to increase. Underlining this, feedback has shown that customers purchasing the top-of-the-range Elegance models have requested more of the external accessories, as can be found on the Warrior and Animal variants.
The Elegance was originally created to appeal to more traditional SUV purchasers who require an equipment-packed interior but prefer a more low-key exterior style. However, customer demand has shown that there are a growing number of people who want to drive away in the ‘ultimate’ L200 i.e. with maximum interior and exterior equipment and accessories. To cater for this, Mitsubishi has now introduced an upgrade pack for the Elegance which includes a front guard, lower sports grille, rear stainless steel bar with step and chrome accessories – door handles, fuel filler cap, headlamp bezels and rear lamp guards. Also included is the Rallitronic power upgrade, which increases engine output from x134 to 165 bhp @ 3800 rpm and torque from 231 to 348 lb.ft @ 2000 rpm.
The complete upgrade pack is available for £2,000 - fully fitted.
The L200 is still king of the pick-up segment taking 37% overall market share and a massive 52% of the retail sector. Sales so far this year (September YTD) total 11,983 units a 22% increase on 2005 within a growing sector which has increased by 17% over last year.
The military wants a better Humvee; better as in lighter (30% to 40% less weight), more fuel efficient (currently around 4 mpg in urban usage), and more protective of its occupants.
The current Humvee was put into production 20 years or so ago, and it's now rather outdated in terms of technology. In that 20-year time frame there have been tremendous advances on all fronts of vehicular engineering, and the Humvee could benefit greatly from that.
Many armored Humvees weigh 5 tons. "It's what we must do," John Young, director of the department's defense research and engineering, said last week outside a congressional hearing. "We're looking at a design with lighter materials—titanium and carbon deposits—while still having armor protection," he said.
Volkswagen has revealed a striking off-road vehicle based on the recently-launched Crafter van. Named Atacama, after the desert in South America, the four-wheel drive concept is the product of the Design Centre in Wolfsburg, Germany, and could become a limited production vehicle.
‘The Atacama concept is a fresh and modern interpretation of a four-wheel drive Crafter, combining function and individuality,’ says the team leader and exterior designer, Ralf Dekena. The design study gains its striking presence through its proportions. The front end, with slight modifications and the aluminium components such as the radiator, headlights or air vents, also add to the Atacama’s powerful appearance. The side air inlets in the wings lend the Atacama a sporty finish.
For protection during off-road use, the vehicle has been equipped with robust panelling and powerfully modelled wheel arches. Aluminium inserts further emphasise its off-road appeal and give the Atacama a more exclusive appearance. Offsets and stamps are repeated thematically on the wheel arches. The unique side window design demonstrates the integration of exterior and interior.
The designer responsible, Romain Chareyre, explains: ‘The design study shows further potential for the Crafter in the leisure and fun segment.’
The roof railing formed in a U-shape with integrated box is a modern interpretation of a carrier system. To match this element, the team designed the rear ladder which frames the brand logo in its shape and also has the door handle integrated in it.
The member of the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles board of management with responsibility for sales, Harald Schomburg, is very enthusiastic: ‘The absolute highlight of the Crafter presentation is the concept vehicle Atacama with four-wheel drive application by Achleitner.
‘It emphasises the strikingly masculine features of the vehicle and is our idea of a Crafter off-road vehicle. I'm very curious about the customer reaction – if it is positive we will build a series of up to 100 vehicles.’
Drivers are now being offered a £50 GPS black box, which will produce a monthly insurance bill based on miles travelled, time of day, type of road, location, and possibly the speed of the vehicle. Young drivers will be charged £1 per mile if they drive between 11pm and 6pm. Aside from the obvious implications for privacy and civil liberties, the ABD warns drivers that this information can also be used for the Government's planned road charging scheme.
An ABD spokesman who participated in the initial 5000-vehicle trial explains, "Insurance premiums are already based on a driver's accident/conviction history, age, the number of miles travelled annually, and the vehicle's insurance group. Why do we need to attempt a micro-managed premium calculation? We don't. The Government's own research shows that they are not trusted with an individual's personal journey details by the majority of the British public. The use of 'service providers,' such as insurance companies, is seen as a way around the problem."
but GPS-based camera detectors are in the clear
Under new proposed laws, which are having their third reading in Parliament on Monday 9 October, speeding motorists will incur fines and penalty points that more closely reflect the severity of their offence – the greater the speed over the limit, the bigger the penalty. The good news for motorists is that the Road Safety Act 2005 also officially endorses the use of GPS-based speed camera locators such as those pioneered by RoadPilot. The clarification in the law is expected to boost demand for the latest generation of GPS-enabled units, including the new RoadPilot microGo, the world’s smallest camera locator with an LCD information screen.
According to the new Road Safety Act, GPS-based systems will remain fully legal, as they “…compliment the Government’s policy to ensure that camera sites are visible and conspicuous to drivers, and so help deter excessive and inappropriate speeds on the roads.”
“The number of speed cameras on UK roads is set to rise further still in 2006, and this change to the law will mean motorists can now incur severe penalties for excess speed,” comments James Flynn OBE, CEO of RoadPilot. “Our products are designed to aid road safety and protect the user’s licence by making them more aware of their speed, by reminding them of prevailing speed limits and by giving advanced warning of potential changes to the traffic flow at speed camera locations. The data is refreshed frequently and even includes temporary speed restrictions, for example at roadworks.”
RoadPilot pioneered the development of affordable speed camera detection devices and is the leading provider of speed camera and safety data to the automotive navigation industry in the UK. The diminutive microGo unit offers coverage for much of Europe as well as the UK.
Posted Oct 5th 2006 1:58PM by Noah Joseph
Some feared that anti-motoring opportunists would use Richard Hammond's crash as a pretext to have the show shut down, but the BBC is making good on its pledge not to cancel Top Gear.
While Richard recovers from his injuries at a hospital in Bristol, England, fellow host Jeremy Clarkson test drove the latest Lotus Europa on camera, as filming resumes for the new series only on segments that don't require Hammond's presence. They don't yet know when the new series will air, because that depends on when Richard is recovered and able to return to the set.
We can speculate that the positive news will help Richard recover faster, knowing that he's got a show to return to when he's up to it. And we just can't wait.
Posted Oct 6th 2006 9:06AM by Damon Lavrinc
GM has recognized that dealers are suffering from a severe glut of H2s on their lots and has determined that the best way to avoid adding to the over-supply problem is to cease production at its Mishawaka, Indiana plant.
This is not the first time that GM has made course corrections in the production of the Tahoe-based Hummer. Back in January of this year, the automaker transferred 170 employees off the line and into another plant to make up for shortfalls in H2 sales. Currently, the Mishawaka plant only has 600 employees, down from the 1,000 that it normally utilizes at full tilt boogie.
Daihatsu’s dealer-friendly policy is paying off, with 15 new appointments so far this year and another 10 more in the pipeline.
Operations Director, Paul Hegarty, said: “Dealers dislike car companies who behave like dictators and we are proud of our refreshingly open approach which allows us to work in partnership with them.
“In fact, Daihatsu consistently scores as one of the least interfering manufacturers in the Retail Motor Industry Federation Dealer Attitude Survey. This is helping us recruit new customer-focussed appointments in key locations.”
And now the Japanese compact car specialist has appointed Honda’s former Head Of Network Development, John Kennedy, as a consultant to further strengthen its recruitment drive.
John is well known in the motor industry, with 28 years in the business, the last 16 being with Honda.
He said: “I am looking forward to exploiting Daihatsu’s tremendous potential for network expansion. The start-up costs are reasonable and being a niche-player means dealers are spared the pressure some manufacturers place on them for forced registrations. Daihatsu is perfect for local franchises looking after local customers.”
Currently, Daihatsu has 125 dealers comprising either sales, repair or a full franchise operation. The eventual target is 145 outlets.
New dealer appointments so far this year cover the length and breadth of the UK such as M and R Gair in the Shetland Isles, Tremont Garage in Llandrindod Wells and Claude Holman Cars Limited of Truro, Cornwall.
Meanwhile, off-road journalists recently voted the totally new Terios sport utility a ‘4x4 Of The Year 2007’ winner following their gruelling annual event.
The 1.5 litre, five-door, five-seat Daihatsu now holds the title of: ‘Compact/Affordable Category Winner’, awarded by 4x4 Magazine.
Launched in May, the new Daihatsu Terios is available in three trim levels starting with the Terios 1.5 S which costs £12,995 on-the-road.
This is despite a high standard specification including air-conditioning, power-steering, ABS with EBD, full-time four-wheel drive with electronic centre diff-lock, driver, passenger and side airbags, radio/CD player, four electric windows and even reverse parking sensors.
Yes, we know it’s only October, but it’s never too early to start planning for the festive period. Most department stores already have Christmas decorations on sale and before you know it, the Queen will be on the telly and you’ll be pulling crackers and stuffing down mince pies.
While Honda can’t yet promise to entertain Granny or liven up the TV schedule this Christmas, we can help with some of the financial drama – by offering customers a present of £2,000 when they buy a CR-V before the end of December.
So how does this un-Scrooge-like offer work? Well, the On-the-Road price for every CR-V model – diesel or petrol – is £2,000 lower than normal. Just like that. There are no catches or difficult-to-understand clauses. It’s simply £2,000 that stays in the customer’s pocket.
Jeff Dodds, Head of Marketing for Honda (UK), says: “This is a superb chance for customers to get their hands on a CR-V for a lot less. It’s a car that’s dominated the petrol SUV market for years and continues to pick up awards for its impeccable road manners – and remember, it’s built in Britain!”
The ‘£2,000 off a CR-V’ offer started at the beginning of October and finishes on 31 December, 2006.
Tokyo, October 4, 2006 — Mitsubishi Motors Corporation announced that it is taking the launch of new Pajero (also known as Shogun and Montero in other regions) as an opportunity to start an initiative; "Pajero Forest & Local Mountain Restoration Initiative", which aims at conserving and cultivating Japan's forests and woodlands the condition of which is deteriorating on a wide scale. The Initiative will be based in the town of Hayakawa-cho that lies in the foothills of the Southern Japanese Alps in Yamanashi Prefecture.
Mitsubishi Motors, Hayakawa-cho and the Suzurishima District have reached agreement on promoting the Initiative with the cooperation of the OISCA Japan Foundation* and Yamanashi Prefecture. The Prefecture is currently calling for companies' participation in "Corporate Forestry Promotion Venture". The parties will name the three-hectare area of mountain forest "The Pajero Forest". The project will extend for a period of at last seven years, during which time the parties will plant trees, clear undergrowth, thin out trees and otherwise maintain and care for the forest. Mitsubishi Motors will provide human support in the form of volunteer employee groups and will also invite owners of Mitsubishi cars to participate in the activity as it plans and holds events that make "The Pajero Forest" a centre for education and learning about environmental protection.
Mitsubishi Motors has been active in proposing "Lifestyles that bring us closer to and help us coexist with nature" to the owners of Pajeros and other Mitsubishi SUV models through its GRAN OFF ("Big day off") campaign as introduced on the company website. The "Pajero Forest & Local Mountain Restoration Initiative" is a practical example of the lifestyles.
Mitsubishi Motors will continue to contribute toward the realization of an eco-friendly society as it continues to make environmental preservation and conservation a major theme in the running of the company.
Gaydon, Warwickshire, 3 October 2006 – The 2007 model year Range Rover Sport will start from £35,665 for the entry-level, 2.7-litre TDV6 S, and will be available from 1 November at Land Rover dealerships throughout the UK.
Following its world debut at the Paris Motor Show last month, the 2007 model year sees the introduction of a powerful, state-of-the-art TDV8 diesel fourth engine to the Range Rover Sport, with prices for this derivative starting at £53,120 for the HSE specification when it goes on sale in January 2007.
The TDV8 Range Rover Sport offers power and torque over 40% greater than the TDV6 turbocharged diesel engine, and achieves 25.5mpg (combined cycle) while class-leading refinement helps emphasise the V8 acoustics. Prices rise to £63,225 for the petrol V8 Supercharged Range Rover Sport HST.
Fiat Auto’s Sedici 4x4 compact SUV, (Sport Utility Vehicle), has secured a major award in this year’s Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2007 Competition.
During an awards ceremony held at the RAC Club in London last week, The Caravan Club named the Fiat Sedici 1.9 MultiJet Eleganza as its £13,501-£16,500 class winner. In so doing, it beat off strong competition from the Daihatsu Terios 1.5 SX, Kia Magentis 2.0 CRDi GS Manual, Nissan Note 1.6 SVE and Vauxhall Meriva Active 1.3 CDTi.
Commenting on the Sedici, The Caravan Club’s magazine says: “One of the great surprises in this year’s Competition, the Sedici’s one of those cars you want to drive enthusiastically, and it pays off. The Fiat stormed up the test track’s long 14% gradient in the third of its six gears, braked nicely and handled a 17% stop and restart with no problem.”
The magazine continues: “Rear end styling makes the Sedici a useful load carrier – the test car took the whole of our typical load with all seats available. Operating costs are reasonable given the added complication of 4x4 transmission.”
Elena Bernardelli, marketing director, Fiat Auto UK, says: “We are delighted to receive this award from The Caravan Club. The award represents recognition of Sedici’s genuine off-road ability, versatility and practicality. These attributes, together with Fiat’s widely acclaimed 120 bhp 1.9 MultiJet diesel engine, offer customers great value and formidable performance, making the vehicle an ideal towcar.”
Forty-two cars were put rigorously through their paces over an intensive four-day period at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire. An independent panel of six driving judges assessed handling, stability, the cars’ attitude when hitched, acceleration and braking. ‘Caravanability’ judges also appraised the cars on their ability to accommodate large, bulky loads such as water carriers and awning bags, and checked for ease of access to electrics sockets.
Test vehicles were divided into six price classes and two All-Wheel Drive categories: Under 1800kg and Over 1800kg. Vehicles were split into classes to enable The Caravan Club’s 900,000 members, and consumers in general, to make an informed choice regarding their car purchase depending upon their ideal spending figure. These results are not only important to caravanners, but to any car driver who tows; boat and horsebox owners have an equally keen interest in these awards.
Fiat Auto’s Sedici, priced from £12,495 on-the-road, went on sale in April this year and was initially available in two trim levels – Dynamic and Eleganza – and powered by a spirited 107 bhp 1.6 litre, 16 valve petrol engine mated to a five speed manual transmission. The range was extended recently with the arrival of a second powerplant – Fiat’s widely acclaimed 120 bhp 1.9 MultiJet turbodiesel, allied to a six-speed manual gearbox.
The Nissan X-TRAIL has been What Car’s? ‘best compact 4x4’ for the past two years. To add to that accolade in What Car’s? latest praise of cars, used ones this time, it awarded Nissan’s compact SUV the coveted title of ‘Best 4x4 2006’ over-coming the Kia Sorento.
What Car’s? judges, said: “The X-TRAIL is simply a great family 4x4. There is plenty of space for five people and luggage, and the interior is full of handy little touches; unless you need to carry seven, it makes you question the need for an MPV.
“The 2.2 litre turbodiesel engine is admirably quiet and has enough muscle for brisk overtaking, yet still averages around 40mpg. It also rides serenely over bumps and offers a fine drive on Tarmac, which is where it matters.”
The X-TRAIL comes with a choice of three engines: 140PS 2.0-litre and 165PS 2.5-litre petrol, and a 136PS 2.2-litre common-rail diesel. Last year a 4x2 version was introduced, sharing the same 2.0-petrol and 2.2-lire dCi engines with the award winning 4x4 range.
The best way to locate any used Nissan vehicle is to first visit www.nissanusedcars.co.uk where there is a list of nearly new cars available under the ‘select’ banner. Alternatively there is a dealer search facility to enable you to check what is in stock at your local dealership.
All vehicles that are certified within the Nissan Approved assurance scheme, which is designed to take the worry out of buying a used vehicle, come with – verified mileage and history checks, 30 day exchange promise, a minimum of 12 months’ comprehensive warranty and a minimum of 12 months’ RAC motoring assistance (including Roadside Assistance, Recovery and Relay and At Home cover). Additional benefits include a wash for your vehicle each time your supplying dealer sees it for a service, and a courtesy car provided every time your vehicle is serviced (subject to availability).
Full details of the scheme can be found at www.nissanusedcars.co.uk
The Kia Sorento wowed the most demanding users in Britain for the second year in a row when it captured the title of Caravan Club Towcar of the Year in the over-1800kgs segment.
Having captured the same title last year – in the face of stiff competition from some of the biggest names in the 4x4 world – Sorento returned to The Caravan Club’s exhaustive and challenging test and again won out for its combination of flexibility, load-lugging ability and comfort and convenience.
Awarding the Sorento 2.5 CRDi XE Manual model the top honour the judges praised the car’s excellent value along with its uncompromising ability to deal with the varied conditions Britain’s most-adventurous campers and caravaners might face.
President of Kia Motors (UK) Ltd, Mr B. K. Jang said: “When Sorento captured this title last year we were delighted – to win it for a second year in a row shows just how good Sorento is. Its traditional strengths of security on and off road, go-anywhere ability and the combination of comfort, flexibility and load-carrying, and pulling capacity, along with its excellent value provides exactly what caravaners want.
“Modern caravanning is not just about low-cost family holidays and many dedicated caravan and mobile home owners want luxury and flexibility from their cars even
when they are not towing. Sorento has already won many awards and considerable praise for its off-road capability and its excellent value, but to win this award for the second year in a row clearly sets Sorento apart in a market often populated by 4x4s that are little more than beefed-up road cars,” he added.
Kia also captured another Caravan Club Towcar of the Year Award with its Rio 1.5 CRDi, this time in the Under £13,000 price category. Praised for its flexibility and modern comforts in a package still capable of easily towing trailers, Rio pipped last year’s winner – the Kia Cerato – to take first place. In fact judges said the two Kias considerably outshone their rivals from other manufacturers in that segment.