Honda has announced official pricing for its cleaner, smaller, safer new CR-V. Prices start at £18,700 for a 2.0-litre i-VTEC S model. All CR-Vs in the range have also achieved a very competitive insurance rating of Group 12.
Meanwhile, customers are enjoying Honda’s impressive offer of £2,000 off all current CR-Vs, which continues until 31 December. There are no catches in the deal – it’s simply £2,000 off any CR-V in the range.
The staff, who were taken on to help launch the Range Rover Sport, will have their contracts terminated following delays to engine deliveries from the Ford factory in Dagenham. In order to cope with the downturn in V8 turbo diesel engines – which has been triggered by problems with a supplier – the company has decided to prioritise production of the Range Rover at Lode Lane and reduce the line rate for the Range Rover Sport. The workers, who were due to leave in March, will have their contracts terminated in January.
The move is in addition to the loss of 1,300 voluntary redundancies at Lode Lane which were announced earlier this year and followed the move of Freelander production to the Halewood factory in Merseyside and the end of engine production for the Defender vehicles at Solihull.
Land Rover is also aiming to reduce the number of temporary staff among the 7,000 employed at Lode Lane as part of its moves to increase quality levels. Many of the staff were taken on to ramp up production when the Range Rover Sport and new model year Range Rover were launched last year, but are no longer needed now manufacturing is up and running. The other 100 staff on short term contracts are expected to leave the company at the beginning of April next year.
A spokesman for Land Rover said: "We regret we have to take this action but it has been forced upon us by the lack of V8 diesel engines and demand for these vehicles. It is something which is out of our hands and out of the hands of Ford at Dagenham. It is an issue with the component supplier. There is massive demand for these engines but Dagenham cannot get enough components to make enough engines. We have had to prioritise supply of the V8 diesel engines into the Range Rover line because we have customers waiting for this vehicle. As a result we have had to reduce the line rate of the Range Rover Sport. Therefore we have decided to end temporary contracts sooner than expected or planned for."
The numbers affected would be between 100 people working in all parts of the production line for the Range Rover Sport. The spokesman would not specify by how much production levels had been reduced, but said production of the Range Rover Sport with the Turbo Diesel V8 would continue - albeit at a lower rate. The car with the new engine will go on sale in January, although petrol models and current V6 diesels – which are being phased out – would not be affected.
The spokesman said it was impossible to source the components from another supplier in the short time frame available. He added that he did not think the delays to the Range Rover Sport production would lead to a loss of customers. "We think people will wait for these vehicles. They can still get the V6 diesel engines, or they can wait for the V8 diesel."
The engine was part of the refinements to the Land Rover to replace the six-cylinder BMW diesel engine. In the Range Rover Sport the new engine was introduced to replace the Jaguar-produced V6 engine which is used on XJ and S-Type diesel cars.
LOS ANGELES, November 29, 2006 – The Hyundai Design and Technical Center and Hyundai Motor America presented the world debut of the HCD10 Hyundai Hellion concept during a press conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show today. Hellion is a compact three-door sport crossover designed with attitude and independence creating its unmistakable character.
"The HCD10 Hyundai Hellion was designed to appeal to a diverse individualist customer," said Joel Piaskowski, chief designer at the Hyundai Design Center. "Mindset and attitude are becoming the modern way to define new market segments and we feel the Hellion concept will do that. Hellion brings a new attitude to the Hyundai family. It's the sibling who's a bit mischievous and always outspoken."
Hellion's architecture was inspired by a tough, hardshell backpack that uses ribs to provide structural and visual strength. To support this, Hyundai used three ultra-lightweight structural ribs to create Hellion's safety cage. These ribs connect to a suspended surfboard-shaped spine. Hellion's ribcage not only provides protection for its occupants, but also adds visual rigidity and shape. By stretching the sheet metal skin away from the common body surface, the ribs give Hellion a new kind of organic ruggedness.
"The proportions of the HCD10 Hyundai Hellion make it look and feel tough," said Marc Mainville, senior designer at the Hyundai Design Center. "Short overhangs allow for excellent attack angles for off-roading and the skid plates, muscular wheel flares and tow hooks convey Hellion's strength."
The Hyundai Hellion's front design explores how new organic structural forms could look on future Hyundai trucks. Hellion's stance is wide and its face is assertive, with piercing headlights angled towards its dominant grille. A prominent hood scoop enhances Hellion's rally car demeanor while the clamshell hood utilizes exposed latches for easy access to the engine bay. The windshield's fast rake provides a very sporty character to an otherwise stout profile. Front and rear bumpers are distinguished from the organic body shape with a darker, durable wrinkle-finish paint supported by functional aluminum skid plates that wrap underneath the vehicle.
The rear of the Hellion continues the bold design theme. Hellion's taillights emphasize the tapering of the greenhouse and the wide sculpture of the wheel flares by being cantilevered off the rear quarter glass. Dual chrome exhaust tips are fitted between the bumper and skid plate to complete the integrated appearance.
A removable canvas soft-top roof adds to the independent spirit of the Hyundai Hellion. The roof's fabric has a subtle abstracted camouflage pattern, but any pattern can be requested by the customer to personalize their vehicle. The exterior is finished in a Dakar Gold paint scheme recognizing the famous Rally Race and its influence on the design. The 20-inch aluminum wheels are constructed in two pieces and are Teflon®-coated to resist build-up of the elements.
Hellion's efficient, two-box design and three-door package gives the driver and passengers a tidy, functional environment from which to navigate.
"The HCD10 Hyundai Hellion has a consistent design theme unifying the interior and exterior resulting in a very cohesive concept car," said Martin Frost, senior designer at the Hyundai Design Center. "The exterior is reflected throughout the interior with stretched surfaces creating interesting negative forms contributing to the perception of space."
The ribs on the exterior are evident on the interior as they grow from the side panels to encapsulate the occupants and suspend an overhead console running the length of the interior. The console houses integrated interior lighting and a drop-down LCD monitor for rear-seat entertainment.
The customizable camouflage pattern used on the exterior of the removable roof has been scaled down and trimmed as accent panels on the four race-inspired bucket seats. The interior is composed of glossy white accents and matte aluminum details contrasting with the black Desert Night interior giving Hellion a crisp, modern look.
The HCD10 Hyundai Hellion's compact exterior appearance belies its abundant interior space. Inventive cargo and storage spaces make the Hellion gear-ready. The seat-mounted gear packs transform into fully functional backpacks via push-button releases, allowing drivers and passengers to continue their adventures on foot. In addition, convenient hideaway drawers push out from the front of each seat. Storage is also found along the center console and there are two lids with translucent strips for easy access to belongings.
The Hyundai Hellion includes extras that will help drivers take on rugged driving conditions while providing necessary amenities to keep the driver and passengers nestled in relative comfort. As an example, the bucket seats are equipped with a unique hydration system. A removable, refillable reservoir inside each seat replaces the common cupholder. The fluids are accessed by a pump-assisted flow tube that is attached to each seat allowing the individual to hydrate with ease. This hands-free hydration system allows the driver and passengers to focus on the road and scenery.
The instrument panel-mounted information display indicates the status of all in- car systems. Immediate control over climate and audio functions are facilitated via the control panel directly below the monitor. Navigation and more involved instructions are directed through the console-mounted mouse.
Performance had to equal the outspoken styling, so the Hyundai Hellion has been outfitted with an eco-friendly 3.0-liter V6 Common-rail Diesel engine (CRDi) with 236 horsepower and 332 lb.-ft. torque. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission to fit Hellion's performance demands. The Hellion also comes with 4WD, further underscoring the capability aspects of this CUV.
The HCD10 Hyundai Hellion is equipped with next-generation technology including:
• Electronic Stability Control
• Shift-by-Wire Transmission
• Wireless Internet
• Adaptive Cruise Control
Ford Escape Hybrid continues to be a "full" hybrid. This means that, unlike other "mild" hybrid vehicles, Escape Hybrid can run on 100 percent electric power up to about 30 mph, maximizing in-city fuel economy.
At low speeds, power is delivered by a permanent magnet AC synchronous electric motor, producing 70 kw @ 5,000 rpm and 330V maximum voltage. When additional power is required, the Escape Hybrid's 2.3-liter DOHC 16-valve Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine seamlessly engages, contributing 133 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 124 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,250 rpm. The net result is 155 horsepower with 0-60 times comparable to a 200 horsepower V-6 engine and a boost in city-driving fuel economy of nearly 75 percent. Escape Hybrids are equipped with a smooth-shifting, electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). .
For 2008, Escape Hybrid engineers made revisions to software in the control system to improve transparency, or the transition between gasoline and electric operation. The transition from all-electric to gasoline power to a combination of the two is now even more seamless and virtually imperceptible to the driver.
November 28, 2006 – Torrance, CA - Lexus today announced pricing for the 2007 LX 470 Limited Edition luxury sport utility vehicle (SUV). The LX 470 Limited Edition will be available as a special option package containing unique exterior and interior features that will be priced at $410. The base manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of the 2007 LX 470 will remain unchanged at $67,395.
Every LX 470 Limited Edition will receive Black Onyx exterior and color-coded scuff plates. Exterior features will include 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels with a Liquid Graphite finish, and chrome door handles, beltline accent and exhaust tip. Finally, chrome Limited Edition exterior badges will be displayed on the front driver and passenger doors.
On the inside, all LX 470 Limited Editions will come equipped with a Stone leather interior. Features will include a Black Bird's-Eye Maple wood trim, and Black floor mats and a cargo mat, each with a Gray Limited Edition logo.
Only 400 of these special LX 470s will be produced for the entire U.S. market. The LX 470 Limited Edition will make its public debut on December 1 at the 2006 Los Angeles Auto Show and will reach Lexus dealer showrooms in early December.
DISASTROUS, SAYS RETAIL MOTOR INDUSTRY FEDERATION
‘Gordon Brown’s recent suggestion that the annual MOT test is little more than “red tape”, and may be changed to once every two years, is seriously misguided, and would be disastrous for MOT testing stations,’ said Ray Holloway, Director of the Independent Garage Association (IGA), part of the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMIF), commenting on proposals contained in a CBI speech delivered by the Chancellor on 28 November.
In the UK cars must be tested at the end of their third year, then yearly after that.
Holloway continued: ‘So-called “red tape” aside, the case for change does not stack up in several crucial areas, namely safety, environmental and cost.
‘The UK has one of the best road safety records in Europe, thanks to the annual MOT test for older vehicles. Newer vehicles require similar attention in order to maintain safe standards: in fact, Government figures state that around 18 per cent of them fail their first MOT test after three years. With the current annual test comfortably in place, the MOT failure rate is over 30 per cent: that’s almost eight million defective vehicles detected because they must go through this rigorous procedure. Imagine, around 50 per cent of all vehicles could be unfit for road use if only tested every two years!
‘Another negative outcome will be a detrimental effect on environmental targets. Around 15 per cent of vehicles tested now fail a MOT because they do not meet emissions requirements: testing every two years can only lead to more seriously polluting vehicles staying longer on UK roads before being detected.
‘Also, the Chancellor’s words seem worryingly premature - the Department for Transport (DFT) is to consult all interested parties during 2007 on whether roadworthiness-testing of our vehicles should be done less frequently, with an assumption that this would save motorists money. We very much doubt this in the long-term - if older vehicles are not annually checked over, this may lead to more expensive long-standing problems for owners.’
He ended: ‘The Treasury may even pick up a sizeable cost as this two-year proposal would be utterly disastrous for technicians employed as MOT testers. The business owners at the sharp end - many of them SMEs in rural areas - would lose vital income and may not survive. What supportive message is this sending out to a UK economy already groaning under Government interference?
‘The IGA is in discussion with both the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) and the DFT on the appalling implications for the vehicle owners - as well as the MOT testing sector - should the Government’s unrealistic plan be seriously considered.’
Los Angeles – On the eve of the Los Angeles Motor Show DaimlerChrysler, AUDI and Volkswagen announced that they intend to establish the BLUETEC brand name as the designation for particularly clean, highly fuel-efficient passenger cars and SUVs with diesel engines. Under the shared concept of BLUETEC, each of the manufacturers involved will be working on their own technical systems for meeting the world’s most stringent emission regulations.
The latest J.D. Power study, “Global Outlook For Diesel”, predicts that the share of diesels among first-time registrations in North America will rise to over 15 percent by 2015. It is in the light of this development that Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Volkswagen will be systematically expanding their ranges of diesel vehicles.
All three companies are convinced that up-to-date diesel propulsion systems play a major part in efficient and clean mobility. With their high torque, agility, economy and robustness they display all the qualities which American customers, especially, appreciate.
With their outstandingly efficient fuel consumption, which lies some 20 to 40 percent lower than that of comparable petrol engines, these particularly clean diesel engines now have the potential to comply with the toughest emission limits in the world. They combine ecology and economy with driving pleasure for the customer.
What is BLUETEC?
The name BLUETEC covers diesel engines with exhaust emission treatment systems which meet even the strictest emission regulations on the US market. The systems employed by BLUETEC serve in particular to reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) ‑ the only constituent part of the exhaust gases which, due to the design of the diesel, inherently lies above the value for petrol engines. In this way it will in future also be possible to meet the strict limits imposed by the State of California.
Depending on the vehicle class concerned, various NOx treatment systems can be used. In one version, for instance, an oxidising catalytic converter and a particulate filter are combined with a further improved, particularly long-life NOx storage converter. Another way of cutting NOx emissions is even more effective. In this case for example AdBlue, a water-based additive, is injected into the exhaust gas. This causes ammonia to be released, which in turn reduces the nitrogen oxides almost completely to harmless nitrogen and water in a downstream SCR catalytic converter.
BLUETEC is a brand of DaimlerChrysler which is already being used by the corporation’s Mercedes-Benz cars and commercial vehicles. In future the name BLUETEC will also stand for clean diesel engines from Audi, Volkswagen and Jeep® in the United States.
AS PART OF CONTINUED COMMITMENT TO ROAD SAFETY
With the Government’s new Road Safety Act gaining Royal Ascent, motorists now face three penalty points if caught using a mobile phone whilst being at the wheel of a vehicle. This follows the on-the-spot penalty fines of £60 which were introduced in December 2003.
Following the announcement of the new road safety laws, Motorpoint, one of the largest car supermarkets in the UK, has cut the price of its professional Hands Free Kits by £55 to just £199+VAT (including installation) on a purchase of a new or used car, making it an ideal gift for friends, colleagues and family this Christmas. This reinforces the continued commitment by Motorpoint to improving both motorist and pedestrian road safety, after also becoming the first retail motor group in the UK to support the RoadSafe initiative, the road safety partnership of leading companies in the motor and transport industries.
Depending on the user’s phone, the kits use either dash mounted cradles which can also be used to recharge the phone, or Bluetooth wireless technology for those phones which are compatible. A superior level of sound quality is achieved via a discreet user microphone which utilises the front speaker to transmit the conversation. All equipment is professionally fitted by an approved automotive electronics specialist prior to customer collection at any of the four UK Motorpoint sites in Derby, Burnley, Glasgow, and Newport, South Wales. Furthermore, the kits do not interfere with the ventilation system or any of the vehicle’s controls.
For further information on the Hands Free Kits or on any other accessories from Motorpoint, visit www.motorpoint.co.uk
Gaydon, Warwickshire, 29 November 2006 – The Association of Publishing Agencies (APA) has named Land Rover OneLife the ‘Customer Magazine of the Year’ – regarded as the biggest award in the industry – at the Customer Publishing Awards 2006, held at The Brewery, London.
The prestigious award was hotly contested by other shortlisted titles such as British Airways Business Life, Army Magazine and Waitrose Food Illustrated. At the same awards OneLife also secured the ‘Most Effective Automotive Title’ beating off competition from Freedom (Chrysler Jeep), Mazda Magazine, Eureka (Kia Motors), Rapport (Peugeot) and If (Toyota).
The panel of senior APA judges made up of UK marketing directors and media professionals believe that OneLife, published by Redwood, has succeeded not only in promoting core brand values such as ‘Go Beyond’ and ‘adventurous’ through the pages of the magazine but has demonstrated that customer publishing is moving beyond the confines of the customer magazine and into the world of digital media. OneLife was described as “a thoughtful magazine expressing the spirit of the brand in a very special way. The integration of the magazine into the overall marketing strategy is outstanding.”
Andy Griffiths, marketing director for Land Rover UK added, “We are thrilled with this outstanding result. To not only win the Most Effective Automotive title but also to take the big one as Customer Magazine of the Year is a great result and reflects the experience and passion of everyone involved.”
Four full days of judging saw the 90 strong panel of judges whittle down 222 entries to a shortlist of 119. From this, 17 category winners were picked before OneLife was awarded the overall title ‘Customer Magazine of the Year’.
OneLife has been established since 1999 and is distributed to over 418,000 customers in 67 countries worldwide.
Volkswagen has unveiled its compact 4x4, the Concept Tiguan, at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and has announced that the first examples of the SUV will be delivered to customers by the end of next year.
The first news of the Tiguan’s development came with the debut of Concept A in Berlin earlier this year. This was followed by the naming of the model in July, the result of a poll of more than 350,000 readers of magazines of the AutoBild group. This latest development in Los Angeles takes the Tiguan one step closer to production and hints strongly at how the final version could look.
Maintaining the ‘baby Touareg’ appearance of the Concept A, Concept Tiguan makes a bold styling statement. At 4.4 metres long, 1.85 m wide and 1.69 m high, it is very similar in size to the Touran compact MPV (4.4 m, 1.8 m, 1.6 m). Klaus Bischoff, who was responsible for the exterior design of the car said: ‘It was very important for us to have the car appear powerful and muscular. For us that was a higher priority than anything else. An off-roader needs a long hood and an upright position. That lends the vehicle self-assuredness and power.’
The Concept Tiguan’s ‘face’ and side profile are immediately recognisable as those of a Volkswagen, and yet they are different from all existing models in the range. The dark-anodised metallic tone of the front grille contrasts with the body colour, while a grid pattern and two dominant cross fins to the left and right of the Volkswagen roundel complete the look.
Another feature is the Concept Tiguan’s tyre design. These 19-inch prototypes, developed by Continental, have an orange radial stripe beneath the tyre profile which matches the car’s paint colour. This colour is not simply painted on: it penetrates the rubber layer as a ‘baked in’ component of the tyre’s casing. The eye-catching anthracite-coloured alloy rims are likely to feature in the production vehicle.
At the rear, the lights are integrated into the shoulder section similar to those on the Eos and Passat, while the steeply sloping tailgate extends right down to the bumpers, giving the Tiguan an unmistakably SUV design.
Inside the Concept Tiguan, the black, silver and orange colour theme continues. The vintage style black leather seats are trimmed with an orange pattern which mirrors that of the tyre tread. A panoramic sunroof adds light to the spacious interior which can seat up to five occupants, while to add versatility, the rear bench seat can slide fore and aft and be folded down to increase loadspace.
Under the bonnet, the concept car features a completely new type of diesel engine, called BLUETEC. Developed in partnership with Audi and Mercedes-Benz and presented for the first time at the LA show, BLUETEC employs a modular concept of different systems to reduce emissions significantly. One of these systems is the NOx storage catalytic converter which cuts nitrogen oxides by up to 90 per cent over current diesel units. This ‘Clean TDI’ will comply with the strictest emissions standards in the world and is one of the first components of the BLUETEC offensive.
More details on the Tiguan will be revealed in the first quarter of 2007. The car will go on sale in the UK early in 2008.
Whether you drive an older car or a current model with the latest technology, statistics prove that your car battery must still be in good order if you want to look forward to trouble-free motoring this winter.
The number of breakdowns caused by electronic malfunction has increased by over
20 per cent in the last 20 years. Evaluation of 1.9 million breakdowns handled by the German ADAC motoring organisation in 2004 showed that electronics-derived breakdowns now account for 36 per cent of all call outs.
Over the same period breakdowns due to other causes have decreased. In 1985 the causes were much easier to diagnose – the starter motor packed up or the carburettor failed. Nowadays electronic control units are able to detect mechanical problems early before you grind to a halt.
However, with electronics now controlling so many automotive components, it is much more difficult for the average driver to locate the reason if the car does break down at the roadside. Matters will only get more complex in the future. In 2004 electronics accounted for 25 per cent of all the parts in a car. By 2010 VARTA, the company supplying batteries for more than 60 per cent of all new cars sold in Europe, expects this to rise to 35 per cent.
Although there can be no doubt that today’s cars are so much more reliable than their forebears, the control units that contain diagnostic tools can be temperamental and function incorrectly if, for example, the power supply is inconsistent, such as when charging the battery.
Whatever the cause of the problem, it always impacts adversely on the battery. ADAC statistics show that the number of battery failures since 1996 has doubled from eight to 16 per cent.
An extensive ADAC comparison test of car batteries in 2004 showed clear differences in quality and battery performance, but even the strongest batteries fail if the electronic control units forget they should ‘sleep’ – in other words not consume energy – during extended periods of idling.
The consequences can be equally detrimental if something as simple as touching the door handle activates other functions in the car, such as comfort and driver aids. The electronics are activated and the battery, sooner or later, is drained of the energy it needs to start the engine and power all the ancillary equipment.
Winter driving and cold starts on the way to work place even greater stress on the battery’s ability to cope with the conditions. In recent years more powerful calcium-silver car batteries have displaced traditional lead-acid designs to cope with major advances in automotive technology.
Many of these sealed, no maintenance batteries have a condition monitor like VARTA’s magic eye to help drivers tell at a glance whether it is healthy, needs charging or is about to fail. But if you are not sure, VARTA specialists displaying free battery test signs can check it for you. You can locate your nearest stockist online at www.varta-automotive.co.uk, just click on the dealer search feature.
VARTA, which is able to meet 99 per cent of all replacement requirements with its Blue Dynamic batteries for European and ASIA Dynamic batteries for Far Eastern models, has recently completed the loop with the launch of a range of Ultra Dynamic car batteries using the latest AGM (absorbent glass mat) technology to meet replacement demand for these high tech OE fitments.
Two sizes with 70 amp hour and 95 Ah ratings provide 92 per cent market coverage for models from such car makers as Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen fitted with AGM batteries as original equipment.
The Volvo XC90 achieved the highest ‘Top Safety Pick’ rating in the 2007 safety awards from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the USA. This award recognises vehicles offering the best protection in front, side, and rear crashes based on ratings in extensive crash tests by the IIHS.
“Our crash tests cover the most common kinds of real-world collisions,” says IIHS president, Adrian Lund. “Designating ‘Top Safety Pick’ winners based on our tests makes it easier for consumers to identify vehicles that afford the best overall protection without sifting through multiple sets of comparative test results,” he continued.
For its 2007 awards the IIHS has added a new requirement that winning vehicles must have electronic stability control fitted which it says significantly reduces the risk of a crash by helping drivers maintain control of their vehicles during emergency manoeuvres. It is notable that the Volvo XC90’s Roll Stability Control (RSC) was an industry first and it also has DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control) as standard.
“Integrated safety technology is part of the Volvo DNA to focus on real-world safety,” says Ingrid Skogsmo, director of the Volvo safety centre. “An award like this validates Volvo’s commitment to safety and explains why the XC90 is the best-selling European SUV in the United States.”
The IIHS rates vehicles as good, acceptable, marginal, or poor based on their performance in high-speed front and side crash tests plus evaluations of seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts. To achieve a ‘Top Safety Pick’ rating a car must earn good ratings in all three IIHS tests.
Geoff Upex worked with Land Rover for 23 years to help create and re-create the company's iconic boxy Range Rover line and in August, he relinquished the helm to Gerry McGovern. This week, Upex took his retirement on step further, saying that after his last day on Dec. 25, never again will he design another car. Not for Land Rover, not for Ford. Not for any automaker ever again.
Gaydon, Warwickshire, 27 November 2006 – The Land Rover File, by Eric Dymock has been released by Dove Publishing and is available now to buy online and through selected retailers, priced at £25.00.
The book includes, in one volume, everything there is to know about Land Rovers and Range Rovers, from the first prototypes of 1947, right up to the all-new Freelander 2 which goes on sale in December.
There are hundreds of books available on Land Rover, but none to date have the wealth of readily accessible, accurate and up-to-date information of the Land Rover File.
All of the company’s five model lines are described model by model, each one with a descriptive entry and specification, and there is a history of Land Rover’s evolution as a company from stop-gap transport solution during wartime Britain to its position now as a company exporting vehicles to more than 140 countries around the world and with four best-sellers in its product range.
Also covered in detail by the Land Rover File is the significant array of military Land Rovers, ‘knock-down’ assembled models from overseas, fire engines, ambulances, emergency vehicles, cross-country off-roaders and safari adventurers manufactured by the company over the years.
The Land Rover File is an Eric Dymock Motor Book, the seventh in the ‘File’ series, with additional research by Land Rover experts James Taylor, Roger Crathorne, Graham Robson and Mike Gould. It includes hitherto unacknowledged and even secret prototypes (complete with colour photography where available), known only to Land Rover insiders, and is a good read as well as a comprehensive reference book.
Subaru is ‘giving away’ almost 100 new B9 Tribecas plus Bluetooth hands-free ’phone kits – to its dealers.
The cars will be kept by Subaru dealers for six months and loaned for up to seven days to key potential customers.
Target prospects include business owners and professionals – especially owners of the BMW X5, Volvo XC90, Porsche Cayenne and VW Touareg.
Harvey France, Subaru National Fleet and Used Car Sales Manager, said: “We are putting our money where our mouth is as we believe the best way of establishing Tribeca is to allow people to drive it to appreciate its outstanding chassis dynamics and refinement.”
Meanwhile, the Tribeca – which entered dealer showrooms this November – was recently awarded a top-scoring crash test rating.
The Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) gave the premium SUV a maximum 5-stars in its rigorous independent accident assessment programme.
ANCAP’s 5-star overall evaluation comprised frontal and side-impact crash tests and follows a similar top rating by America’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In the latest ANCAP tests, the Tribeca scored 33.07 out of a maximum 37 points. For example, the Subaru’s performance in side-impact tests was outstanding with a maximum 4-stars for head, chest, abdomen and pelvis.
Priced from a highly competitive £28,995 on-the-road, the new Tribeca features a
3.0 litre 245 PS six-cylinder horizontally-opposed engine, five-speed automatic gearbox and full-time symmetrical all-wheel drive and Subaru Vehicle Dynamics Control (SVDC).
UK Tribecas are available in two 5-seat trim levels comprising 3.0 S5 and 3.0 SE5 and one 7-seat luxury-spec version, the 3.0SE7.
Standard equipment for all models includes dual-zone air-conditioning, eight-way powered front seats, front, side and curtain airbags, six-disc CD autochanger with nine speakers and MP3 playback and a leather-covered steering wheel with remote audio controls.
The 4x4 UK Club shop is now up and running and online.
A big thanks to Jayne for all the hard work she has put in to getting this set up
A Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI has succeeded in towing a Boeing 747-200 weighing approximately 155 tonnes. Watched by engineers, Volkswagen personnel and bemused passers-by, the Touareg V10 TDI completed seven complete runs on the auxiliary runway at Dunsfold Aerodrome, 40 miles south west of London.
The vehicle was a standard production Touareg fitted with a special towing adaptor to connect it with the aircraft towing link and loaded with 4.3 tonnes of metal ballast to bring its total weight to just over seven tonnes (7,030 kg) including the driver, an engineer from the technical department at the company’s headquarters in Germany.
The car’s engine, self-levelling air suspension, wheels, tyres and structure were all standard. One precaution that turned out to be unnecessary was the fitment of the 4.56 axle ratio from the Touareg V8 model in place of the 3.27 gearing of the V10. This was established as the demonstration was conducted in the second of the Touareg’s 12 forward gears rather than first. The final modification was to change the outer body panels for photographic purposes so that this example was visually the same as the next generation Touareg which is due to be launched next year.
The attempt was designed to demonstrate the reserves of strength and durability of the Touareg V10 TDI. This model won The Caravan Club Towcar of the Year Awards full-size 4x4 category in 2004 and 2005 and has established itself as the benchmark diesel SUV, offering an extraordinary combination of performance and fuel efficiency since it was launched in 2003.
A theoretical towing capability in excess of 200 tonnes was calculated by multiplying the 553 lbs ft of torque generated by the V10 TDI engine through the standard transmission’s lowest ratio and without taking into account the torque multiplication benefits of the torque converter. This however assumed a dry surface and loading the Touareg’s body and suspension well in excess of its rated limits.
An initial trial was carried out successfully in Germany with an operational Boeing 747-400 weighing 190 tonnes but it subsequently became difficult to obtain an aircraft for the length of time and in an appropriate location to conduct a press demonstration. Colleagues therefore requested Volkswagen UK to obtain a suitable aircraft and location.
The result was an ex-British Airways Boeing 747-200 weighing 155 tonnes. The aircraft, first flown in 1980 and retired last year retains its full complement of 500 seats, 11 toilets and complete landing gear, albeit without an operating braking system. The original engines were removed last year to make way for dummy items used in the filming of a recent motion picture. Despite this, the aircraft still weighs 155 tonnes, due in part to the 28 tonnes of water held on board in the fuel and nose tanks.
The changes to the Touareg are more modest. Modifications extend to the addition of 4,345 kg of ballast in the form of steel plates set behind the front bumper and beneath the engine. The balance of the ballast was made up by bags of steel balls weighing 25 kg each. The result is a split of 2,755 kg over the front axle and 4,275 kg over the rear to bring the total to 7,030 kg which includes Uwe Krieghoff, the nervous driver. He was not prepared to say how much his body contributed to the 7,030 kg total.
Conditions for the attempt were far from perfect. A strong headwind combined with torrential rain and resulting standing water prompted concerns over traction on the wet surface. Despite the scale of the attempt the vehicle needed little preparation. The engine was warmed up before a brief visual inspection of the tyres prior to the attempt being given the green light.
The Touareg’s standard towbar (fitted with an adapted towing bracket) was hooked up to the nose wheel collar of a Boeing 747 and the chocks were removed. At the wheel Uwe selected ‘drive’ and the low ratio, second gear setting on the Touareg’s six-speed gearbox. The required tractive effort is at its highest during the initial pull to overcome the static friction of the aircraft tyres on the runway. Flatspots form on the aircraft’s 18 tyres under the 155 tonnes of weight and additional resistance must be overcome to get the aircraft rolling.
Uwe pressed the accelerator around halfway down in second gear before easing off as the aircraft gained momentum. With no visible loss of traction the Touareg began dragging the 231 ft airframe of the 747 along the runway, maintaining an even five mph in the process. Having covered an estimated 150 metres the driver eased back on the throttle before slowly engaging the Touareg’s brakes to slow both the vehicle and the aircraft to a stop.
After the attempt Uwe commented: ‘I was a bit disappointed we couldn’t find something heavier to tow as it was a bit too easy! If anyone could lend us a heavier aircraft then please let us know.’
The vehicle was checked after the repeated runs and no side effects of the demands made on the engine and transmission could be found. The engine temperature remained normal, as did the transmission and the tyres survived without a hint of the forces passed through them.
Among the many showstoppers General Motors has planned for the North American International Auto Show in January, its military-inspired off-road brand HUMMER will be unveiling an H4 concept. The oft rumored H4 will be smaller than the successful H3 SUV that's currently driving HUMMER sales and will be slated to compete with the Jeep Wrangler. While the H3 is built on the same platform as the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickups, we don't yet know what will underpin the H3. AutoWeek sources confirm, however, that it will not be built on a front-wheel drive platform. With the success of the H3 worldwide continuing unabated despite the fluctuation of fuel prices, the decision to produce the H4 concept should be an easy one for General Motors. Expect a version suitable for mass market consumption around 2010. HUMMER will also have a pickup version of the H3 on display at the Detroit show. With two new potential vehicles on deck, HUMMER appears ready to carve as large a niche for itself as possible out of the remaining pool of off-road warriors.
The 2007 Volvo XC90 range is now complete with the arrival of the dynamic SE Sport and range-topping Executive models.
The Volvo XC90 SE Sport, with sports chassis and firmer shock absorbers, thicker anti-roll bars and sports tuned speed dependent steering, which was first seen at the British International Motor Show in July, has now started production. As well as providing a more dynamic driving experience than the standard Volvo XC90 it also looks sportier with distinctive 19in five-spoke alloy wheels, silver matt exterior trim and twin exhaust pipes, while inside the driver also enjoys chronograph instrument dials, a chunkier sports steering wheel, unique black leather upholstery with white inlays and Sports front seats with additional lateral support.
All three engines from the Volvo XC90 range are available: the 2.4-litre D5 (185PS) turbodiesel with 400Nm of torque available from 2,000rpm providing 0-60mph in 10.3 seconds, or two new high-performance petrol engines – an in-line, 3.2-litre, six cylinder offering 238PS, 320Nm of torque from 3,200rpm and 0-60mph in 8.9 seconds, plus the 4.4-litre V8 with 315PS, 440Nm of torque making 0-60mph possible in 6.9 seconds. Both petrol engines have Volvo’s six-speed Geartronic transmission fitted as standard.
The SE Sport joins the Volvo XC90 range between the SE and SE Lux models, with on the road prices of £37,270 for the D5, £38,278 for the 3.2 and £45,950 for the V8.
The top of the range Volvo XC90 Executive is also now available and distinguished by unique 19in alloy wheels, matt chrome door mirrors and C-pillar, active Bi-Xenon headlights and extended front skidplate.
The interior offers the ultimate in luxury with extra cushioning for the exclusive Executive soft leather upholstery and door armrests, plus a fridge in the front centre armrest, walnut wood trim for the centre console, door panels and gear knob, plus an integrated hands-free phone system, satellite navigation and Volvo’s Dynaudio Premium Sound audio system, 5 x 130W amplifier, aux input, Dolby Pro Logic II Surround Sound and 12 speakers.
The D5, 3.2 and V8 engines are all available for the Executive trim level, with on the road prices of £46,330 (D5), £46,068 (3.2) and £53,965 (V8).
A message from Richard Green, publisher of Land Rover enthusiast magazine and organizer of The Land Rover enthusiast show at Kelmarsh Hall (previously at Billing Aquadrome).
I have for the last 16 years helped organise the Land Rover Show at Billing Aquadrome, with the help of about 100 managers, friends and marshals.
After the 2006 show, we decided that there was no future for a big Land Rover show at Billing. Since the first show in 1991, the space available for the show has been reduced by about half, as Billing put in more and more residential units, and now they are putting in log cabins as well. This made camping very difficult for late comers even though we only booked in the number we had agreed with Billing.
In recent years very little investment has been made in the touring area that we used for the show and the facilities and the ground have been neglected, and very little maintenance work appears to have been done, including to the trees. In spite of repeated promised improvements from Billing, nothing much was ever done and the level of service in 2006 was worse than usual especially toilets, general cleaning and security.
Billing appear to have planning permission to develop the funfair area which will probably mean its demolition and rebuilding and possibly restriction of car parking places, causing disruption over a long period.
We were unable to obtain any commitment from Billing on any improvements that we thought necessary for 2007.
We were also asked to move the show forward a week to the second week in July when all the children would have been at school, causing reduced visitor numbers.
We were asked to move the trade stand area to the events field, which we though was unnecessary.
We were asked to pay a substantially increased rent and money was demanded also from the farmer who’s off road course we used.
We were offered a “take it or leave it” agreement which we could not accept. It appeared that Billing’s attitude was “why bother with the aggravation that goes with a big show when we can make as much money selling a few caravans over the weekend”.
We thought there would be insufficient space for a show in 2007 and it would probably be much worse in 2008 when Land Rover celebrates its 60th anniversary – remember the bumper turnout for 1998, the 50th Anniversary. You cannot get a quart into a pint pot.
For all these reasons we decided, reluctantly, that we had to move the show we had organised so successfully for 16 years and we chose Kelmarsh Hall, about 15 miles north of Billing. The staff there has made us most welcome and is helping us set up what is still likely to be the biggest Land Rover Show of the year.
There is space for expansion, unlike Billing, and already Kelmarsh Hall has staged Game Fairs, Country Fairs, English Heritage events, the Rolls Royce Club show and many others, including some that have moved from Billing. Some of these events have had many more visitors than ever attended the Land Rover Show at Billing.
We believe that we made the right choice and already have taken bookings from most of the biggest trade stands. We expect many more to book over the next few weeks. We also expect most of the major clubs to attend.
Nobody likes change, but sometimes there is no choice. We look forward to organising the biggest Land Rover Show in the world, now at Kelmarsh Hall next July. The entire team that has organised the Land Rover show at Billing for the last 16 years will be there, as will most of the trade stands and clubs. We hope to see you there.
Cooper Tires has been confirmed as the sole supplier of rubber for Western Power Distribution’s fleet of Ford Ranger 4x4 vehicles.
The fleet of 80 vehicles will be fitted with Cooper’s trusted Discoverer ST tyres, helping WPD to service its 2.5 million customers in South West England and Wales. The contract is Cooper’s first with a major UK utility company.
The ST will be perfect for WPD’s fleet, which operates in some of the most diverse and beautiful terrain in the UK, from the highly-populated cities of Bristol and Cardiff, to rugged coastlines in Cornwall and the Gower peninsula and remote, rural areas like Dartmoor and the Brecon Beacons.
Designed with the adventurous pursuits of rock-climbing and mud-eating in mind, the ST offers enhanced durability and increased puncture resistance off the road, whilst retaining outstanding grip and handling characteristics on the road.
Cooper Tire’s Senior National Account Manager, Simon Michael, said: “WPD already fits our Avon products to its car and van fleets, and trusting their 4x4s with us is testimony to the quality of our products. WPD’s tyre expenditure will be significantly reduced, whilst ensuring the fleet is kept fully mobile 24 hours a day. We will continue to work very closely with ATS Euromaster Ltd to ensure that WPD is serviced to a very high standard.”
WPD fleet manager John Brooks said: “We need to be prompt and reliable. The vehicles and equipment WPD operate must be robust and of sufficient quality to meet our customer's needs, and that was the business driver to adopt the Cooper ST, following a sucessful trial.
“The Cooper ST meets the needs of our diverse driving conditions and, importantly, has a footprint that reduces land damage, which is a significant factor through the winter period.”
If you thought the mayor of London's latest proposal to increase the congestion charge from £8 to £25 would just hit 4x4 drivers, think again. SMMT has today put together examples of 10 of the family cars – people carriers, estates and family saloons – that will also be liable for this 212 per cent hike in the central London motoring tax.
1. Vauxhall Zafira people carrier (2.0 litre petrol)
2. Renault Espace people carrier (2.0 litre petrol)
3. SEAT Alhambra people carrier (2.0 litre petrol)
4. Jaguar X-Type estate (2.5 litre petrol)
5. Peugeot 407 estate (2.2 litre petrol)
6. Honda Accord estate (2.4 litre petrol)
7. Ford Mondeo estate (2.0 litre petrol)
8. Saab 9-3 estate (2.3 litre petrol)
9. VW Passat saloon (1.8 litre petrol turbo tiptronic)
10. Citroën C5 saloon (3.0 litre petrol)
'You might have read that Ken's latest wheeze is all about taxing 4x4s, but the truth is very different', said SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan. 'Families that need people carriers and estate cars, but who already pay the penalty through higher road tax and fuel costs, are set to be hit by the mayor's triple whammy. In his war against the affluent, he seems content to ignore this collateral damage to families.
KAP Suzuki are pleased to announce that Protection & Performance Ltd have won the contract for supplying the chassis and spaceframes for KAP Suzuki's 2007 racer, based on the new Suzuki Swift. Darren Wilson, MD of KAP Suzuki, hopes to build on his previous successes with the Jimny derived “KAP Bandit”. Protection & Performance were chosen because of their extensive motorsport background, and the high quality of their roll cages. The new Swift-based racer will be ready in January 2007, and orders are now being taken.
For more details of the range of Suzuki products which KAP can supply, please contact 01535 610840 or visit www.kapsuzuki4x4.co.uk
RENAULT AND MAHINDRA SIGN A MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING TO ESTABLISH A GREENFIELD PLANT
Renault and Mahindra have signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a long-term strategic partnership in India. Under the agreement, Renault and Mahindra would create a greenfield site with capacity of 500,000 units per year within 5 years, offering innovative products to their customers in India.
Capitalising on the existing joint venture with Mahindra to commercialise the Dacia Logan in India from first half of 2007, this strategic partnership would present a win-win situation for both companies and of course for Indian customers.
Mr. Carlos Ghosn, President & CEO of Renault said: “I am delighted to announce the deepening and enlarging of our partnership with Mahindra in what I see as a great opportunity for Renault’s development in India. This gearing up of our presence in one of the fastest growing markets in the world is key to our commitment to international growth.”
Mr. Anand Mahindra, Vice-Chairman & Managing Director, M&M, said, “The success of this partnership is scripted within the India growth story and Mahindra & Renault’s shared vision for its customers. It is a chemistry that we discovered when the Mahindra-Renault joint venture was born. Besides, the strengths of Mahindra and Renault will go a long way in making India a key global automotive market.”
A range of Mahindra as well as Mahindra-Renault products suited to the requirements of Indian customers (a right-hand drive market) will be manufactured at the new ‘greenfield’ production site under the direction of Renault and Mahindra. The production site will include a vehicle assembly plant, shared between the two partners. Renault also plans a powertrain factory. Production is expected to begin mid-2009, with an initial installed production capacity of 300,000 vehicles per year. The manufacturing site will be announced shortly.
The product range will be marketed by Mahindra-Renault and sold through the extensive and well-established Mahindra channel network throughout India.
Partners will optimise production costs through economies of scale thanks to joint investment in plant and infrastructure, as well as purchasing synergies.
* Renault will contribute its expertise in engineering, manufacturing and adaptation to meet customer requirements, and
* Mahindra will contribute its in-depth understanding of the Indian market and supplier base through years of market leadership.
Both companies have the same focus on product innovation and strategy; both strive for customer service excellence and global competitiveness.
“Mahindra & Renault’s joint vision is defined, however, by more than just these factors. It is centred on our common wish for growth that will only come with making products to suit the customer’s needs around the world,” added Mr. Mahindra.
“I’m confident in our balanced and fruitful cooperation to offer the best of Renault and Mahindra to Indian customers,” concluded Mr.Ghosn.
About The Renault Group
A group with industrial and commercial presence in 118 countries, Renault designs, develops, manufactures and sells innovative, design-led, safe and environmentally-friendly vehicles worldwide. In 2005 Renault sold 2,533,428 vehicles worldwide for revenues of €41.3 billion. Renault is the only vehicle manufacturer to have eight cars with the maximum five-star Euro NCAP rating, and is the winner of the 2005 and 2006 Formula 1 Constructors and Drivers World Championships. The Group is accelerating its international development with the new Logan project and pursuing its Alliance with Nissan. Its 126,436 employees contribute to a strategy of profitable growth to achieve Renault Commitment 2009, a growth plan outlining Renault's strategy for the next four years. The aim is to make and sustain Renault as the most profitable European volume car company. Renault Commitment 2009 has three major commitments:
* Quality: Position the next Laguna, which will be launched in 2007, among the top three models in its segment in terms of product and service quality;
* Profitability: Achieve an operating profit margin of 6% in 2009;
* Growth: Sell an additional 800,000 units in 2009 as compared to 2005.
The pursuit of international growth is one of the key requirements of Renault Commitment 2009.
About The Mahindra Group
The US $3 billion Mahindra Group is among the top 10 industrial houses in India. Mahindra & Mahindra is the market leader in multi-utility vehicles in India and is the only Indian company among the top five tractor manufacturers in the world. It has a leading presence in key sectors of the Indian economy, including trade and financial services (Mahindra Intertrade, Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services Ltd.), automotive components, information technology & telecom (Tech Mahindra, Bristlecone), and infrastructure development (Mahindra GESCO, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd., Mahindra World City). With over 60 years of manufacturing experience, the Mahindra Group has built a strong base in technology, engineering, marketing and distribution.
The Group employs over 30,000 people and has several state-of-the-art facilities in India and overseas. The Mahindra Group has ambitious global aspirations and has a presence in five continents. Mahindra products are today available in every continent except Antarctica. M&M has made strategic acquisitions of plants in China and the United Kingdom & Europe, and has 3 tractor assembly plants in the USA. Its global subsidiaries include Mahindra Europe Srl. based in Italy, Mahindra USA Inc. and Mahindra South Africa. M&M has entered into partnerships with international companies like Renault SA, France, and International Truck and Engine Corporation, USA. www.mahindra.com.
Press enquiries: contact Graeme Holt at the Renault UK Press office on 01923 697592
For the first time ever, Suzuki is running in third place in the Japanese domestic market behind Toyota and Nissan, outselling Honda in the process.
The figures, issued by the respected financial daily newspaper Nikkei Shimbun, show that between January and October 2006, Suzuki notched up 587,874 sales of passenger cars and commercial vehicles. The newspaper also predicts that the company will maintain this position for the full year.
Suzuki’s popularity in the home market is mirrored by rising exports as the demand for its compact cars increases worldwide. The exceptionstyley strong sales of Swift, Grand Vitara and SX4 in Europe, North and South America and Oceania have meant manufacturing plants operating flat out and has prompted Suzuki to announce substantial new investments in production capacity worldwide.
The new Sagara facility in Japan will commence operation in late 2008 and will have a capacity of 240,000 compact vehicles, while expansion at its plants in Hungary, India and Pakistan announced earlier this year will add a further 530,000 units (see table below).
Sales are set to receive a further boost with the launch during 2007 of a compact MPV based on the Splash concept revealed at September’s Paris Motor Show.
Suzuki Motor Corporation aims to achieve consolidated net sales of 3 trillion yen (approximately Euro 20 billion) in the current financial year, ending March 2007.
It is currently the fourth-largest Japanese carmaker by market capitalisation and has also seen operating profits rise by almost 20 per cent in the six months to the end of September.
Automotive News is reporting that a "new Hummer truck" will be launched sometime in 2009. HUMMER's general manager Martin Walsh claims the vehicle will have "unparalleled off-road capabilities" and be "recognizable from a distance." AN is a bit ambiguous referring to the new product as a "Hummer truck" in that we're not entirely sure whether the outlet is talking about a traditional pickup with a bed or referring to the new product as a truck in general though it could have a traditional SUV shape. We expect it will be called either the H3T or H4. Either way, HUMMER has learned with the H3 that downsizing its military-inspired macho looks and maintaining above average off-road prowess can equal big sales. The H3 (shown above disconnected from terra firma) is selling like gangbusters all over the world and has led to a 54-percent rise in sales globally despite the larger H2 waning in popularity.
Martin Walsh also mentioned that a hybrid HUMMER is not in the product pipeline, saying, "it does not allow the vehicle to demonstrate true off-road capability." Since off-roading usually occurs at speeds less than 35 mph, a true hybrid rock-crawler would likely need to run off of its batteries while bounding boulders. We have to imagine some clever software programming to create just the right throttle response would make for a compelling off-roader propelled by electrons. Either way, HUMMER does have plans for flex-fuel versions of its vehicles.
[Source: Automotive News, Autoblog]
The brakes on a third of all cars could fail without notice, a new report warns.
Tests carried out by independent service garages on behalf of car care company, Comma, found 1 in 2 motorists had defective braking systems, with 29 percent of them so poor they were unintentionally risking their lives every day.
The firm checked the quality of the brake fluid - the liquid which allows the braking system to work - of nearly 700 vehicles, many of them family cars, across the country.
Over time brake fluid absorbs water from the atmosphere, which reduces its effectiveness by lowering the boiling point.
Brake fluid testing experts, Alba Diagnostics, recommend replacing defective fluid when it begins to boil at 200 degrees Celsius. Anything below 180 degrees Celsius is potentially lethal but, shockingly, some of the cars tested by Comma were as low as 100 degrees – the same as water.
Table Illustrating Boiling Points of Braking Fluid
Temperature °C Percentage of Vehicles
At one of the testing stations an alarming 70 percent of vehicles were defective with 44 percent of them unroadworthy.
Researchers found that the problem is not necessarily linked to the age and mileage of the vehicle, with 1 in 5 vehicles with 120,000 miles or more on the clock showing boiling temperatures of below 180 degrees.
The problem has been labelled the ‘silent killer’ by commentators given its phantom characteristics of sudden, unexpected brake failure.
“One minute your brakes are working, the next they aren’t,” explains Mike Bewsey of Comma. “Once your brake fluid is contaminated, there is a much greater risk that it will boil. This can happen under stop-start conditions, heavy braking or towing. There is no warning, and once the brake fluid has cooled down again braking function appears normal.”
Comma believes the research, the most comprehensive to date on the issue, supports the theory that poor brake fluid could be responsible for thousands of serious accidents every year.
Bewsey adds: “There is a real lack of knowledge amongst drivers of the importance of brake fluid, and how it works. Brake fluid is a safety critical item and it’s important that this is recognised and its boiling point tested on a regular basis.”
The ‘phantom’ brake failures are tricky for the police to pinpoint, because if the brakes are tested mechanically after an accident, when the fluid has cooled down, braking function will appear normal. Only by testing the boiling point can the real cause be identified.
Acting Chief Inspector Mick Turner, of the Collision Investigation Unit at the Metropolitan Police, said: "We see too many victims of road accidents every year who have suffered a crash simply as a result of not maintaining their car properly. It's important that motorists remember to maintain every part of their car's safe running, that is after all why car manufacturers recommend set regular service intervals.
“Clearly, the onus is on the driver to make sure their car is safe, and that includes aspects of their car that they might not normally think to check, such as brake fluid."
The murder of motorsports legend Mickey Thompson and his wife in 1988 was one of the most brutal crimes to hit the automotive world. Nearly two decades later, prosecutors in Pasadena, CA hope to bring the alleged perpetrator to justice. The trial against Michael Goodwin opened on Monday with claims that two yet-unidentified hitmen fatally shot Trudy Thompson before killing Mickey outside the couple's home.
The motive for the mob-style execution is claimed to be a failed deal between Thompson and Goodwin involving stadium racing in SoCal. When things went sour, Thompson successfully sued for around $750,000, forcing Goodwin into bankruptcy. Prior to the killings, Goodwin was overheard making verbal threats against Thompson. Goodwin's lawyer claims that no connection exists between the defendant and the two hitmen.
Mickey Thompson is probably best-known nowadays for the products that carry his name, but he established his reputation by being one of the most innovative racers on the track, in the dirt, and at the salt flats. The "Christmas tree" lights used at nearly every dragstrip owe their existence to Thompson, and he also developed the frightening - and fast - "slingshot" dragster chassis. The crowning achievement of his career, however, was piloting the first piston-powered wheeled vehicle beyond the 400 MPH mark in 1960. Thompson's many accomplishments earned him a posthumous induction into the Motorsports International Hall of Fame in 1990.
Toyota announced today that it will spend $373 million on a deal with Isuzu that will transfer 5.9% of the truck- and diesel-maker to the giant Japanese automaker. Toyota's goal in purchasing a stake in Isuzu is to bolster its diesel portfolio, which apparently lags behind other major automakers like cross-town rival Honda who announced in September it would have diesel-powered passenger cars for sale in the U.S. within three years.
We always expected that Toyota would rely on its own Hino Motors commercial truck subsidiary for a diesel engine to power a heavy-duty version of its new Tundra pickup, but Hino is not prepared to make smaller diesel engines for passenger cars and potentially diesel hybrids. Isuzu offers Toyota the know-how and production capacity for diesel engines that are smaller than 2.5-liters, which makes the purchase seem like a perfect fit.
Mitsubishi will now become the largest single shareholder in Isuzu with 9.7% of the stock, followed by trading house Itochu Corp. with 7.2% and Toyota with 5.9%. GM sold all of its stock in Isuzu back in April, which amounted to 7.9%. Today's announcement marks the second time Toyota has swooped in and picked up shares in a company that GM has cast off, the first being Fuji Heavy Industries, the parent company of Subaru.
Red tape and ‘disjointed rulebook’ stalls car crime policing
Motor insurance premiums could be cut by a fifth if insurers widened access to a database of all the policyholders in the UK, a leading expert said today.
The latest research estimates that fraudulent claims and uninsured drivers cost the British motorist £1bn every year – or £60-70 for every car on the road.
Three months ago, the Insurance Fraud Bureau, was formed to tackle the problem by linking the industry’s three main databases – the Claims and Underwriting Exchange, Motor Insurance Anti-Fraud & Theft Register, and the Motor Insurance Database.
Yet, despite these proactive steps, insurers are actually hindering the process of identification, according to accident management specialists, Accident Exchange.
The firm, which handles over 100,000 accidents every year, says it is prohibited from sharing vital information with insurers at present, even though its front line intelligence is being used by Police Forces nationwide to help tackle the growing problems of fraud and uninsured motorists.
The Motor Insurance Database, which was launched in 2001 to help combat the growing plague of uninsured drivers, contains personal details of every motorist on the road. Under current rules, only insurers are able to update or review the database.
Even the Insurance Fraud Bureau, which is tasked with detecting and investigating organised fraud, excludes input and cooperation from the likes of Accident Exchange.
Despite the hurdles, the firm has played a pivotal role in assisting Police Forces smash criminal gangs operating in Birmingham and Luton in recent months.
With a proven track record, Steve Evans, chief executive of Accident Exchange, argues that businesses legitimately connected with the industry, like itself, should be able to add, or search for, information on these databases. “This would help us identify bogus claims and track trends before the crime has been committed,” he says.
The company, which counts Audi UK and the majority of the BMW dealer network amongst its clients, says the problem will not go away until insurers realise they need to re-write a “disjointed” rulebook.
Evans explains: “If we could view, and post details of suspicious claims, postcodes, streets and even mobile phone numbers at the time of the reported accident, the loophole currently being exploited will be dramatically closed.”
“At the moment, intelligence is far too restricted to proactively dent the criminal activity.”
Xtrac, the leading supplier of gearboxes to motorsport teams the world over, will launch its first ever oil and grease lubricants at the inaugural Professional Motorsport World Expo in Cologne, where the company is exhibiting on stand 4023. Xtrac has also been nominated at the show for the ‘Testing Technology of the Year’ award for its new Quasi Transient Differential Test Rig.
Working closely with the Neo Synthetic Oil Company, Xtrac has further improved Neo’s range of oil and grease lubricants for Xtrac’s high performance transmission systems, limited slip differentials, driveshaft assemblies and hypoid axles. The new lubricants will be branded and sold as Xtrac products.
“We tightly control the specification of everything we design and manufacture so it made sense to offer our customers lubricants tailored specifically to the requirements of our gearboxes and other components,” said Xtrac managing director Peter Digby.
The new Xtrac XL1 synthetic oil is rated SAE 75W-90 and includes a recently developed additive system to extend gear life and improve gearbox efficiency by reducing sliding friction, oil temperature and the impact of shock loads. The oil’s characteristics include excellent low temperature viscosity and high temperature stability.
The new Xtrac XG1 synthetic grease similarly minimises the impact of high shock loads typified by the high torque reversals and large speed variations generated by constant velocity and tripod joints in motorsport applications. The grease also has bearing applications and is specified for uses involving high rolling contact.
Xtrac has been nominated for the ‘Testing Technology of the Year’ award for its new Quasi Transient Differential Test Rig. The inaugural Professional MotorSport Expo Awards will take place at a gala dinner following the opening of the show on Wednesday 8 November 2006.
“We’re delighted to have been short-listed for this new award,” said Xtrac development director Cliff Hawkins. “We believe our new differential test rig is the first ever to be able to characterise passive mechanical type limited-slip differentials. This has obvious benefits in motorsport but also broader safety implications for car handling generally.”
Xtrac’s new test rig is an all-new facility designed specifically to provide automotive clients with accurate test data on passive limited-slip differentials, which despite being simpler than active differentials have until now proved almost impossible to measure because of their transient behaviour. The new rig can characterise both speed and torque sensing differentials and complements Xtrac’s longstanding ability to characterise electronically-controlled active differentials, thereby providing the company with the ability to evaluate any type of differential system.
“This can even include open differentials,” said Xtrac technical director Adrian Moore. “In fact there is no such thing as a truly open differential in as much as gear friction alone generates some locking torque, which we can now measure together with temperature and oil flows.
“We designed and commissioned the test rig to support our differential design and predictive modelling capabilities,” he added. “It represents a significant investment and will help increase our understanding and calibration of mechanical plate and viscous coupling differentials. The new rig is already being used for research into new materials and for confidential client projects.”
At the show, Xtrac will also be displaying its ultra high specification 6-speed transverse synchromesh transaxle transmission developed specifically for high performance supercars. The new gearbox represents an important commercial development for the company; building on its expertise in specialist race car transmissions, the road-going variant extends Xtrac’s business into low volume driveline projects for the car industry.
Designed to meet the needs of vehicle manufacturers producing high performance vehicles, the transmission can handle an impressive 1,100 Nm of torque. The key benefit to makers of exclusive supercars requiring such transmissions is access to an affordable ‘off-the-shelf’ system, thereby avoiding the need for expensive upfront engineering development of a bespoke design.
Other products on display at the show underscore the breadth and depth of Xtrac’s experience in designing transmissions for the motorsport industry. The line-up includes the new ‘516’ front wheel drive touring car gearbox. This transmission system is a high performance gearbox developed for the World Touring Car Championship. In addition, the company recently received its third three-year contract to supply the British Touring Car Championship series, which means Xtrac will have supplied the transmission from 2001 through to 2009.
Other products on display include the ‘247’ heavy duty differential. This independent unit is designed for either front and/or rear drive applications, typically for cross country Rally Raid vehicles and sports cars. Universal mountings allow the unit to be mounted for all shaft rotations and front and rear positions. The oil system has been designed to operate in all possible orientations. These features combined with the unit’s high quality, low cost attributes make this product ideal for a wide variety of endurance type events, and it is well proven in the Dakar Rally and Le Mans 24 Hour race.
Professional MotorSport World Expo 2006 is a brand new international trade show designed specifically for motor sport professionals, teams, drivers, support crews, sponsors and managers as well as motor sport licence holders, engineers and team principals, equipment suppliers and race car support companies. The show runs from Wednesday 8 November to Friday 10 November 2006 at the Kőlnmesse exhibition centre in Cologne, Germany. Xtrac is exhibiting on stand 4023.
Suspension specialist, KYB is ensuring Isuzu Rodeo drivers experience a smooth journey, whether driving on or off road.
This robust 4x4 vehicle is fitted with KYB shock absorbers as original equipment (OE) front and rear, to give a compliant suspension system with high levels of comfort, driver control and handling.
The Rodeo features the latest in technical innovations, ranging from galvanized steel damping components to cutting-edge direct injection diesel technology, and offers superb durability and power on any type of terrain.
KYB Corporation supplies numerous original equipment vehicle manufacturers (OEMs) including Audi, DaimlerChrysler, Ford, General Motors, Mitsubishi, Nissan, PSA Peugeot Citroёn, Renault and Toyota.
In addition to OE products, KYB also supplies a wide range of branded automotive aftermarket components, including replacement shock absorbers, coil springs, suspension mounting kits and protection kits.
KYB is the world’s largest supplier of shock absorbers to vehicle manufacturers, with one in four cars leaving the production line fitted with KYB shocks as original equipment.
Subaru’s new B9 Tribeca – which enters dealer showrooms this month – has been awarded another top-scoring crash test rating.
The Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) has given the premium SUV a maximum 5-stars in its rigorous independent accident assessment programme.
ANCAP’s 5-star overall evaluation comprised frontal and side-impact crash tests and follows a similar top rating by America’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In addition, Subaru’s new flagship also performed with distinction in the NHTSA’s tough roll-over tests, earning 4-stars.
The BMW X5-sized Tribeca was given a low 16 per cent chance of rolling over and a ‘No-tip’ dynamic test result.
This compares with an average 30 per cent chance of overturning among all US-market SUVs and a range between 12 and 19 per cent for passenger cars.
In the latest ANCAP tests, the Tribeca scored 33.07 out of a maximum 37 points. For example, the Subaru’s performance in side-impact tests was outstanding with a maximum 4-stars for head, chest, abdomen and pelvis.
ANCAP is an independent programme supported by Australian and New Zealand automobile clubs, the state government road and transport authorities of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia and the Australian Federal and New Zealand governments.
Priced from a highly competitive £28,995 on-the-road, the new Tribeca features a 3.0 litre 245 PS six-cylinder horizontally-opposed engine, five-speed automatic gearbox and full-time symmetrical all-wheel drive and Subaru Vehicle Dynamics Control (SVDC).
UK Tribecas are available in two 5-seat trim levels comprising 3.0 S5 and 3.0 SE5 and one 7-seat luxury-spec version, the 3.0SE7.
Standard equipment for all models includes dual-zone air-conditioning, eight-way powered front seats, front, side and curtain airbags, six-disc CD autochanger with nine speakers and MP3 playback and a leather-covered steering wheel with remote audio controls.
This is the third Subaru safety award this year as the 2006 Model Year Legacy saloon and Sports Tourer were given the first-ever ‘Top Safety Pick Gold’ award.
America’s Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) scored the Legacy ‘Good’ in every category – a first for a midsize-class car.
LEAN THINKING INSPIRES QASHQAI DESIGN
When a car company thinks lean, it’s usually about manufacturing – how to make more for less. But when car designers think lean, they’re thinking of something entirely different – a muscled surface, an athletic form, some tensioned panelwork. Which is how Nissan Design Europe’s Design Director Stephane Schwarz happened on a striking sculptural flourish for the company’s new QASHQAI crossover.
He was at home in his London flat, musing over the meaning of ‘lean’, prompting thoughts of the tensioned limbs of athletes. And that was the inspiration that produced the ‘bone-line’ that’s such a distinctive styling feature of the new QASHQAI compact crossover, creating a graphic signature that’s echoed by the twin bulges in the bonnet.
Schwarz humbly offered his domestic doodle to his fellow QASHQAI creatives. They liked it, and chose to start the crease from just behind the front wheel-arches, from where it gently rises along the QASHQAI’s flanks to flow in to the rear lamp clusters. It may only be a fold in some metal, but it plays an important part in defining the QASHQAI as a crossover, reckons Schwarz, by providing the ‘shapeliness and sportiness that makes the car’s dual function clear.’ So there you have it – a defining line.
Schwarz’s flat might have been an incubator for the occasional idea – ‘a non-professional environment can be inspirational because you’re uninterrupted and can get to the essence more quickly’ – but much of the QASHQAI was crafted in a one-time British Rail maintenance depot in Paddington. It’s the home of Nissan’s European design studio, an ideal birthplace, reckons Schwarz, for a car he describes as an ‘urban nomad.’ ‘It is a car of contrasts for a world of contrasts,’ he says, ‘tough and compact for the city but sleek and agile for journeys away from the town. It reflects our personalities, our imagination.’ In other words, the QASHQAI has drawn on multi-cultural London for its inspiration – it is, after all, a European car, created for European buyers.
London’s melting pot also makes an ideal location for crafting a car that’s a vibrant blend in itself. The QASHQAI mixes the agility and comfort of a hatchback with the practicality of an SUV, and all in a fashionable wrapping. So the QASHQAI is taller than your average hatch, takes up no more road space than a Ford Focus and looks distinctly sporty to boot. ‘It doesn’t shout at you the way SUVs do,’ says designer Schwarz. ‘It isn’t as aggressive, but it’s assertive in the way it sits on the road.’ How did his team achieve that trick? By fusing a light, elegant and sporty upper body to a tough, planted lower body.
The QASHQAI provides the high seating position that owners of 4x4s like. In fact, the cabin will impress not only for the view it provides, but also its satisfyingly high standard of finish. Stand-outs include the high quality surfaces of the dashboard and the high-precision finish of the aluminium that highlights the wheel, instrument pack, air-vents and centre console. ‘We’ve taken a lot of trouble with perceived quality,’ says Schwarz. ‘I like the fact that there is craftsmanship in it, even though we use so much technology.’
It’s a craftsmanship you’ll also find in the QASHQAI’s seats. Their panelling and stitching make them a more dramatic feature of the interior, besides underlining the car’s dynamic character with their sporty bolstering. That same sportiness is echoed in the driver’s environment, the clustering of instruments and controls providing ‘a cockpit feel,’ he says.
Schwarz’s brief for the QASHQAI was to ‘Design a car for people who are tired and bored with traditional functionality.’ It’s a brief that clearly inspired him – even at home in his London flat.
Background fact: The QASHQAI (say it as Cash-Kai) are a nomadic desert tribe living near the Zagros mountains in south western Iran.
The QASHQAI is a striking new five-door crossover from Nissan combining the advantages of a compact SUV with the agility and comfort of a hatchback. As such its main rivals will be cars like the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus.
The QASHQAI goes on sale 1 March 2007. Its range includes 2.0 and 1.6 litre petrol engines as well as 2.0 and 1.5 litre turbodiesels – the 2.0 litre models can be equipped with ALL-MODE four-wheel drive. The QASHQAI has been engineered for an agile on-road drive across all versions, while the optional ALL-MODE four-wheel drive system of the 2.0 litre models increases their security in wet weather conditions. Conceived, designed and developed in Europe, the QASHQAI is manufactured solely at Nissan’s award-winning UK plant at Sunderland from where it will be exported to markets as far away as Japan.
Stand-out features include high seating positions, a sophisticated interior, advanced air-conditioning, available panoramic glass sunroof, and advanced ESP. Also available are a reverse-park camera, satellite navigation, automatic headlights and wipers and Bluetooth connectivity.
For all the crazy rides on display at the SEMA show in Las Vegas, it seems every year a pair of rims manages to attract the most attention. A few years ago it was the arrival of 30-inch rims. Last year it was the $1,000,000 rims from Asanti. This year all we've heard about are these clear wheels that we just have to go check out, so check them out we did before the show closed last night. The D'Vinci Forgiato Radurra wheels are made from polycarbonate and are totally transparent where one would expect to see spokes. The wheel on display featured 1.5-inch think polycarbonate, while the set installed on the Mercedes-Benz CLS had 2-inch thick polycarobonate. Each wheel costs $2,000, which is a bargain compared to the $250k you need to cough up roll on just one Asanti rim. You'll need the extra dough, though, to keep these clear wheels clean of brake dust.
‘USING A SLEDGEHAMMER TO CRACK A NUT,’ SAYS MRA
‘A *proposal for all motorcycles to carry a number plate, whether used on-road or not – to help address concerns surrounding the illegal use of mini and toy bikes on public roads – is an over-the-top solution to a problem that police already have powers to deal with,’ said Mike Owen, head of the RMI Motorcycle Retailers Association (MRA), part of the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMIF).
He continued: ‘Every motorcycle can already be identified by its own unique Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Since 1994, following consultation with the police and industry bodies – including the RMI Motorcycle Retailers Association (MRA) - the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has introduced a voluntary scheme to register off-road motorcycles. In 1996, this was extended to all mechanically propelled off-road vehicles not built for road use. The existence of this scheme is ample reassurance for the motorcycle industry in its fight against illegal riding, as well as for those wanting to buy and sell off-road vehicles legitimately.
‘Calling for the introduction of compulsory registration - with actual number plates - is an over-reaction to an age-old problem: we believe it is simply not necessary.’
Owen ended: ‘Legitimate off-road sport, whether two or four wheel - as this proposal would have to embrace both - would be subjected to unwelcome intervention, as well as an extra layer of costly bureaucracy. The solution lies in the industry continuing to raise the profile of the voluntary scheme - which the MRA will certainly do via its members - and working with the police to identify those riders who continue to flout the law, by increased education and the introduction of properly controlled off-road riding sites.’
The ABD is deeply concerned that today's Transport Select Committee report has missed the signs showing that speed cameras simply do not work. More than that, the policy behind them is deeply flawed.
The Committee missed the sign of the BMJ report on serious road traffic injuries showing virtually no change from 1996 to 2004 for hospital admissions, despite government claims of a substantial reduction.
The Committee missed the sign of the DfT's publication of contributory factors showing that exceeding the speed limit is a contributory factor in just 5% of road traffic accidents.
The Committee missed the sign of the 'bucketfuls of cash' admission by the former head of the Warwickshire Speed Camera Partnership, who was caught on camera by an undercover sting which exposed speed camera policy as a cash-raiser.
The Committee missed the sign of the serious error of 'regression to the mean' which flatters camera statistics, and led to the following comment by Paul Garvin when Chief Constable of Durham "Statistics adopted by certain forces show a woolly area regarding the proximity of speed cameras, some statistics are taken from an area 20 metres from a camera and others from a two-kilometre radius. The speed camera issue is not a point of principle, it is a fact that they are pointless."
ABD Director of Policy, Mark McArthur-Christie remarked: "There is a literally fatal flaw in camera policy, and it is the simplistic flaw that equates legality with safety. This is equivalent to closing every hospital down and replacing it with a machine on the high street that just dispenses aspirin, no matter what the illness."
In spite of this overwhelming evidence showing that speed cameras are failing to improve road safety, the Committee have released the Report 'Roads Policing and Technology: Getting the Right Balance' calling for more speed cameras with relaxed placement rules, as well as more traffic police officers.
McArthur-Christie: "Yes, we need more traffic police, but we need to balance that with putting an end to speed cameras. Not only have they given no safety benefits, but we do not know what dangerous side-effects they have.
The government badly needs to get the nation's road safety strategy back on track in terms of lives saved. That means recognising that hard-line enforcement of speed limits is not - and never has been - a useful road safety policy."
* Sunday 18th February 2007
* Donington Exhibition Centre (Just off M1, Junction 24)
* Gates Open at 9.30am
A firm fixture in the 4x4 calendar the British Indoor 4x4 show is a prime opportunity for off-roaders to get together, talk vehicle and shop for parts and accessories.
The show promises unmatched off-road shopping opportunities, with over 80 4x4 related stands including: spares & accessories, off-road motorsport and adventure travel. Also on-site you will find a fully licensed bar and restaurant.
And there’s more…
This year we’re working on some new attractions to make the show a better experience than ever, including a display of modded vehicles.
So make sure 18th February 2007 is marked in your diary well in advance!
Book your tickets early - you’ll pay only £7 and you’ll beat the queue!
Tickets on the door will be £10.
To book you tickets visit www.britishindoor4x4show.com or call
Forester Sports 2.5 XT Adds VDC Stability Control
Unique, Sporty Styling and Exclusive Interior Features
Enhanced Audio with Available Satellite Radio
LAS VEGAS, Oct. 31, 2006 – Subaru of America, Inc. is showcasing two new versions of its All-Wheel Drive 2007 Forester compact SUV at the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show. The 2007 Forester Sports models combine new, more powerful styling with exclusive interior features and enhanced standard equipment. The Forester Sports 2.5 XT adds to that the 224-horsepower intercooled turbocharged Boxer engine from the 2.5 XT Limited model.
With more aggressive styling, the new Forester Sports models are distinguished from their siblings by a new front bumper and unique black mesh grille. For a sleeker profile, the standard roof rail crossbars have been deleted on the Forester Sports models, but remain available as an accessory. The Forester Sports 2.5 XT in addition features standard 17-inch alloy wheels.
Inside, the Forester Sports models feature exclusive anthracite black fabric upholstery. An automatic climate control system replaces the manual climate control system that is standard on the regular Forester 2.5 X model. The Sports models' 120-watt AM/FM stereo with 6-disc in-dash CD changer will play MP3/WMA CDs. Also an upgrade over the regular 2.5 X model, this audio system also features SIRIUS® Satellite Radio Capability and a new auxiliary audio jack to connect iPods and similar music players.
All Subaru models come standard with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, a significant all-road, all-weather traction advantage over competitors that offer front-wheel drive as standard and make All-Wheel Drive an extra-cost option. Four-wheel independent suspension and variable-ratio, variable-power assisted rack-and-pinion steering help make Forester models equally adept at managing twisty back roads and absorbing off-pavement ruts and bumps.
All Forester models feature as standard equipment front seat head/chest side-impact airbags, four-wheel ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), cabin air filtration system, power windows, mirrors and door locks, and a remote keyless entry system. Versatility is ensured by 30.7 cubic feet of carrying space behind the rear seat, which expands to 68.6 cu. ft. when both rear seatbacks are folded.
Legendary Subaru Performance
The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Subaru Boxer engine that powers the Forester Sports 2.5 X is among the most powerful in its displacement category, with 173 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 166 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,400 rpm. The i-Active Valve Lift system helps to ensure responsive performance at all engine speeds.
The turbocharged/intercooled 2.5-liter engine in the Forester Sports 2.5 XT produces 224 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 226 lb.-ft. of peak torque at just 3,600 rpm. The functional hood scoop, a telltale sign of every turbo Subaru model, provides a stream of fresh air to the engine-mounted intercooler. The Active Valve Control System variable valve timing technology optimizes the engine's volumetric efficiency and performance at all engine speeds. When equipped with the standard 5-speed manual transmission, the Forester Sports 2.5 XT can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in under six seconds. The turbo engine meets the strict Tier 2 Bin 5 Low Emissions Vehicle II (LEV II) certification for 2007.
Three Different Types of Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive
In all Forester models equipped with the 5-speed manual transmission, a viscous coupling locking center differential built into the transmission case divides engine power 50:50. Wheel slippage at one set of wheels causes more power to shift to the opposite set, ensuring that the wheels with the best traction receive more power.
In the Forester Sports 2.5 X equipped with the 4-speed electronic direct control automatic transmission, an electronically managed continuously variable transfer clutch actively manages power distribution based on acceleration, deceleration and available traction.
The Forester Sports 2.5 XT with the optional 4-speed direct control automatic transmission is the first Forester model to use the advanced Variable Torque Distribution (VTD) version of Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. The VTD system is also used in the Impreza® WRX® Limited model equipped with the optional automatic transmission. The VTD system uses a planetary gear-type center differential that splits the power 45:55, with the rear-wheel bias enhancing handling agility and the performance-driving feel. An electronically controlled continuously variable hydraulic transfer clutch controls power distribution between the front and rear wheels in response to driver input and driving conditions.
The Forester Sports 2.5 XT with automatic transmission is also the first Forester model equipped with Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), an advanced stability system that controls VTD All-Wheel Drive operation and integrates an electronic 4-wheel traction control system (TCS). A viscous limited-slip rear differential directs power to the rear wheel with the best traction.
About Subaru of America, Inc.
Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes All-Wheel Drive Subaru vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of nearly 600 dealers across the United States. Subaru is the only car company that offers Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive as standard equipment on every vehicle in its product line
Three years after its launch, the award-winning Volvo XC90 is now showing its success and strength as a used car with reports of strong demand and high residual values.
According to the car buying guide Parker’s, the Volvo XC90’s versatile seven seat layout and car-like driving characteristics have ensured its popularity on the used car market. The more popular, five-cylinder D5 turbodiesel engine model is particularly in demand and usually commands a premium over the faster, six-cylinder T6 petrol engine variant.
As a result, the Volvo XC90 has held its value exceptionally well. For example, Parker’s gives a 2003, 53-registration Volvo XC90 D5 SE, with the optional Geartronic transmission, a part exchange value of £21,215 after three years and 30,000 miles which represents 65.5 per cent of its original cost.
“The Volvo XC90 appeals to drivers who want the security of a vehicle with a higher driving position, all-wheel drive and unrivalled safety that Volvo has,” explained Simon Harris, Parker’s consumer editor. “It has proved it has the premium badge appeal to compete with other prestigious brands in the sector. Long waiting lists when the car was launched ensured a level of pent-up demand and we are seeing a high demand for the Volvo XC90 as the first three year old examples arrive on the used market,” he added.
Volvo’s Product Manager for used cars, Anne Woodward confirmed the XC90’s popularity, commenting: “The XC90’s clever design compared to other SUVs has made it a great success. We’ve seen a big increase in people looking online for an XC90 on the Volvo Selected Used Car locator on the Volvo Cars website and are delighted more customers will enjoy the XC90 – and the benefits of owning a used Volvo bought through our Selected Used Car Programme.”
Not all 4x4s are big, dirty and dangerous, claims a campaign launched by Honda (UK).
A special window sticker and letter will be sent to owners of Honda’s new CR-V, to help them defend themselves from 4x4 detractors. This is a direct response to concerned Honda customers asking for help.
The stickers and letter both carry the message ‘Not all 4x4s are the same’, highlighting the fact that the Honda CR-V is cleaner, safer and smaller than most.
It addresses the major concerns of the Anti 4x4 lobby with the following facts:
Too dirty? The new Honda CR-V is not only cleaner than other SUVs – its exhaust emissions* are lower than some large estates, hatchbacks, MPVs and even a Mini Cooper S!
Too big? The CR-V has a footprint that’s a similar size to a Ford Mondeo (and smaller than a BMW 523iE).
Too dangerous? The current CR-V achieves a 3-star rating for pedestrian safety - which, according to industry experts Euro NCAP, puts it in the top 10 per cent of pedestrian-friendly cars on the road. Also, the current model gets 4-stars for occupant safety. As for the all new CR-V, we are aiming for yet another high level result.
This is the first time a car manufacturer has taken direct customer action on this debate.
Honda’s view was reinforced by an announcement made by the council in Richmond last week, regarding parking permit pricing linked to car emissions. The council’s plan to penalise the dirtiest, thirstiest vehicles highlights the favourable position of the new CR-V in the automotive ‘green hierarchy’.
Under the proposed scheme, the diesel-engined CR-V (with CO2 emissions of 173g/km) would fall into Band E. Although this results in a 30 per cent increase in parking charges, the less efficient 4x4s on the market (i.e. most of CR-V’s competitors) would receive a 200 per cent hike in permit costs – up to £450 per year.
John Kingston, Environment Manager at Honda (UK), said: “The ‘one size fits all’ approach of Anti 4x4 protesters is confusing. Some customers have expressed their concerns and frustration about being criticised for driving a CR-V – no surprise when you consider this Honda is incredibly clean, not a gas-guzzler, smaller than most 4x4s and is remarkably safe for both passengers and pedestrians.”
* CO2 emissions: CR-V 2.0-litre petrol – 194g/km, Mini Cooper S 16v – 207g/km
Autocar, the world’s oldest car magazine, has put the new Land Rover Freelander through its paces in the Falkland Islands, one of the most rugged and demanding environments for any 4x4 on earth.
A team of three intrepid Autocar journalists travelled 7871 miles to discover everything there is to know about this important new British-built Land Rover and have producing a 68-page colour book with their findings alongside stunning images taken by Autocar chief photographer Stan Papior.
The stunning book will be given away free with every copy of the November 1 2006 issue of Autocar, and Land Rover has taken delivery of 25,000 copies.
Speaking about the adventure, Autocar news editor Dan Stevens said, “We chose the Falklands for all the obvious reasons. The islands are wild, rugged and have very few asphalt roads, so a 4x4 is an absolute necessity. The scenery is wonderful and it was a great opportunity to find out what makes the islands tick. We are convinced our readers are going to thoroughly enjoy learning more about the Falkland Islands as well as the new Freelander.”
The 68-page book tells the story of the new Freelander, from the design process to testing it off-road in Morocco. “We’ve gone from driving it on the streets of the UK capital to the streets of the Falklands capital, Stanley,” said Dan Stevens.
The Autocar trip to the Falklands was a joint venture organised by Autocar, Land Rover and the Falkland Islands Tourist Board, as well as the Falkland Islands Company Ltd, the official Land Rover dealer.