* Best in class residual value predictions
* ‘Freedom’ test drives around the UK ahead of showroom launch
Volvo Car UK announces class leading residual values for its all-new Volvo V70 and XC70 premium estate1 models, plus the opportunity to test drive the cars before they make their official showroom debut in September.
The all-new Volvo V70 and XC70 have recently been awarded ‘best in class’ future residual values by industry experts. CAP, which predicts future used values for the motor industry and Lex, the UK’s largest leasing company have both issued figures predicting that the all-new Volvo V70 and XC70 will be worth more than their closest rivals in the used car market.
After three years and 60,000 miles both CAP and Lex forecast the Volvo V70 D5 SE will be worth a class-leading 49% (£13,600) of its original OTR price of £27,995. That puts it 5% ahead of rival BMW 525dSE and 8% ahead of the Audi A6 2.7TDi SE. CAP has also put the all-new Volvo XC70 ahead of rivals predicting that it will be worth 49% (£15,100) of its value after three years and Lex forecasting a value of 48%.
“The residual value forecasts reflect the excellent used car prices the current estates have achieved, together with an increase in value because of the significant step-up in style, driving dynamics, functionality and quality evident in the all-new Volvo V70 and XC70,” commented Volvo Car UK’s corporate sales and leasing manager, John Wallace.
To satisfy customer demand for early test drives, Volvo is hosting a series of Freedom events which will be taking place every weekend throughout August at various exclusive locations throughout the country2. These free-of-charge events enable potential customers to get behind the wheel of the all-new Volvo V70 and XC70 with a series of 30 minute unaccompanied test drives. For more information and to book a place visit www.volvocars.co.uk/freedom.
Volvo is also rewarding early buyers with an exclusive opportunity to enhance specification with attractive options at a reduced rate. Customers can save up to £1,700 on RTI satellite navigation including live road traffic information, remote control and Europe DVD maps and Premium Sound Audio system complete with 12 speakers, 5 x 130W amplifier and Dolby Pro Logic II Surround Sound on orders placed before 31 August 2007.
The victor of the DARPA* Grand Challenge for autonomous vehicles goes on a world tour through the most important technical museums of the world
Wolfsburg, 26th July, 2007 - The Volkswagen Touareg Stanley has been on exhibit since the start of this month in the “i-Space” of the Science Centre in the island state of Singapore. This area is dedicated to current technological developments. Stanley immediately became a magnet for visitors. The two multimedia stations at which visitors can interactively experience details about the technology of the vehicle and the development of the Stanley project are especially popular. Singapore is the prelude to Stanley’s world-wide museum tour.
Following Singapore, Stanley will be visiting Johannesburg in September, where he can be seen at the Scibono Discovery Center from 22nd September through 31st October 2007. Stanley will next be presented in the Traffic Centre of the German Museum in Munich from 22nd December 2007 through 17th February 2008. Plans are being made for further exhibits in Europe.
This vehicle made automotive history late in 2005. During a race through the American Mojave desert, the prototype autonomously drove a distance of 212 kilometres. Stanley is the first vehicle ever to cover such a long distance without a driver and without external intervention. The name of the vehicle is derived from Stanford University, the California university which, together with Volkswagen ERL (Electronics Research Laboratory) and Volkswagen Research and Development, put Stanley on the road.
Stanley combines numerous driver-assist systems which are already available in production. These are complemented by laser detectors, stereo optical devices, radar sensors and an especially precise GPS system. The integrated technology package guided the vehicle through the Grand Challenge course safely and successfully.
The Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C., the largest technical museum in the world, honoured Stanley’s historical achievement last year with a special exhibition. Now the Grand Challenge champion is going on tour through some of the world's most important high-tech exhibit centres.
The Singapore Science Centre is one of the most successful hands-on centres for fans of technology. A million visitors are expected in the current exhibit year.
Preparations are already being made at top speed for the next DARPA Challenge. The “Urban Challenge”, in which driverless vehicles will compete against each other in finding their way through an urban environment, will begin on 3rd November. A Passat estate with the name
“Junior” will be starting for Volkswagen, the ERL and Stanford University.
*DARPA – Defence Advance Research Projects Agency, an agency of the Department of Defence of the United States of America
Building upon 70 years of four-wheel drive expertise, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) is in a privileged position to appreciate the customer benefits of this technology, in terms of on-road active safety and off-road ability, from Lancer Evolution to Pajero.
At the occasion of the 62nd Frankfurt Motor Show, MMC will combine this dynamic fluency with the first tangible demonstration in Europe of its regionalised environmental strategy, previewing the CO2-friendly next generation Euro 5 Clean Diesel family of engines co-developed with its parent company, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.
As a showcase for this dual “peace of mind”, Mitsubishi Motors will unveil Mitsubishi Concept-cX* in Frankfurt: an accessible, affordable, sustainable and realistic solution to today’s pressing issues. Sporty and flexible, Mitsubishi Concept-cX will follow the popular compact SUV route to carry this message right at the heart of the market.
Featuring the “Jet Fighter” grille already seen with Lancer Sports Sedan and using a soft-road application of the Outlander-derived Electric control four-wheel drive drivetrain, the 4.10m long Mitsubishi Concept-cX will also intend to create a link between Mitsubishi’s passenger cars and SUVs.
Sharp in design and in dynamics, Mitsubishi Concept-cX will boast an excellent environmental performance to be seen in the low fuel consumption and emission levels achieved by its next generation 1.8-litre Clean Diesel engine, mated to an automated manual transmission. A preview of a family of powertrains to be launched in the course of 2009, it features a variable geometry diffuser (VG) turbocharger – to generate optimum boost pressure for all engine loads – and DPF technologies.
Mitsubishi Concept-cX’s further green credentials include eco-friendly “Green Plastics”, MMC’s proprietary plant-based resin technology, effectively used for interior trim materials.
As a reminder, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation has adopted an all-embracing approach in addressing global environmental issues. Under its “EIP 2010” (“Environment Initiative Program 2010”) umbrella project, the Company is actively engaged in the development of a wide range of such technologies, covering:
o Powertrains suiting regional needs, driving patterns & infrastructures:
+ Clean Diesel Euro 5 family of engines for Europe
+ MiEV next-generation electric vehicle for Japan
+ Flexible fuel vehicle for Brazil
o Materials (plant-based “Green Plastic”,…)
o Processes (“Design for Environment” guiding principles,…).
o Manufacturing (pollution-prevention and recycling measures).
o Conservation (“Pajero Forest & Local Mountain Restoration Initiative” aiming to conserve and cultivate Japan’s forests and woodlands).
Note: “Pajero” is “Montero” in Spain and “Shogun” in the UK.
* ‘Compact crossover’ concept vehicle
Land Rover has won two prestigious awards in the Auto Express New Car Honours 2007, beating tough competition to win Best 4x4 Recreational and Best 4x4 Off Roader.
The all-new Land Rover Freelander 2 fought off competition from the new Honda CR-V and Hyundai Santa Fe in what is one of the most hotly contested sectors to win Best 4x4 Recreational, while the Discovery 3 beat the Mercedes M-Class and BMW X5 to the accolade of Best 4x4 Off Roader.
Auto Express road test editor, Ollie Marriage, said: “The off-road king is back. The Freelander 2 has returned to the top of its class with a neatly designed and beautifully executed second-generation car.”
Land Rover’s managing director, Phil Popham, said: “We are absolutely delighted to win these awards from Auto Express for both the Freelander 2 and the Discovery 3, in a year where we will have a third successive sales record.
“Achieving the Best 4x4 Off Roader award for the Discovery 3 – a car that continues to be an outstanding success, consistently beating new entrants from other manufacturers – is a testament to its class-leading diesel engine, its versatility and its all-round package.”
The Freelander 2 is on-sale at Land Rover dealerships throughout the UK, priced from £20,935, including the contribution to offset carbon dioxide emissions. It has already sold over 8,000 units in the UK since going on sale.
The biggest selling model in the UK is the TD4 manual with a combined fuel economy figure of 37.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 194g/km.
The Discovery 3 has sold over 34,000 units in the UK since launch in 2004, and continues to collect critical accolades the world over, with nearly 100 international awards to date.
Time to act after 10 years of Government failure 'spun' as a success
As the Commons' Transport Committee proposes yet more draconian restrictions - this time targeting young drivers - the evidence piles up that road safety is not improving.
The 20th July Metro News story said it all: `Deaths from drink, drug and dangerous driving have risen to their highest level in 30 years, Government figures reveal.'
This comes on top of a truly terrible record for young driver deaths. Deaths per 100,000 teenage licence holders almost doubled from 9.76 in 1998/2000 to 19.23 in 2004.
How much evidence does it take for the government to put saving lives before saving face? The ABD has long campaigned for a much more rounded road safety policy instead of one that focuses on speed and speed cameras, which has resulted in the decimation of the most valuable road safety tool - traffic police officers.
The government admits that injury accidents are under-reported, yet continues to use statistics based flawed on data to make absurd claims for success in reducing road traffic injuries, including `think of a number' claims for speed cameras.
Year on year results for fatality reductions continue to be disappointing. The only significant fall in fatalities due to road traffic accidents in 2006 was a 4 per cent fall for car occupants, demonstrating the fact that safer car design is saving lives.
The Commons' Transport Select Committee (TRANSCOM), Chaired by Gwyneth Dunwoody has called for a raft of draconian measures to be applied to young and inexperienced drivers, following a steady increase in the number of deaths involving motorists under 25.
The ABD argues that the overall package will fail because, as usual, there are no positive incentives built in to reward and encourage better driving standards.
"The young people Gwyneth Dunwoody wants to penalise have grown up under a road safety policy that she herself has greatly influenced," said ABD spokesman Nigel Humphries. "These young people, who have never known anything but "speed kills" brainwashing, are killing themselves and others in ever greater numbers - a terrible indictment of a policy that criminalises safe behaviour and fails to target the real causes of collisions. This is happening because blanket speed reduction policy has prevented young drivers from acquiring key survival skills whilst camera enforcement of under-posted limits has made road safety look ridiculous."
The ABD welcomes the focus on young drivers because it tries to target an actual problem rather than simply penalise everyone. However, Dunwoody's team have reverted to type and focussed 100% on blunt, inflexible restrictions and penalties. This will create resentment and a culture of "box ticking" and evasion amongst young people. Had the Commons' Committee taken evidence from the ABD (which of course they did not!), we would have suggested a much more balanced approach, with more focus on improving skills both before and after the test is passed.
The ABD has the following suggestions:
Road safety should be part of the national curriculum - pupils allowed to learn to drive around a track before they are 17 (there are already pilot schemes for this) - rather than delaying driver training - start it earlier!
Cars driven by new drivers should carry 'P' plates for 12 months
Compulsory 'Pass Plus' training to be completed during the 'P' plate period, involving motorway and night driving
Raising the driving age to 18 and a 12-month wait before being allowed to take the test is unlikely to be effective. A survey has revealed that two-thirds of young drivers already take 12 months to pass the driving test.
Age restrictions for engine size or power are unlikely to be effective because young driver insurance is already very high even for cars with small engines.
A new driver receiving 6 points in the first 2 years of driving has to retake the test - so they are under pressure not to get caught speeding. According to Lincolnshire Camera Partnership only 4% of tickets are issued to young drivers, but this is not preventing young motorists' deaths.
The DfT and TRANSCOM continue to be part of the problem, rather than the solution. They need to win back the respect of the motoring public with sensible motoring laws - especially speed limits - and properly targeted enforcement, linked to stronger incentives to raise driving standards.
Suzuki held tarmac tests for the SX4 WRC in June in southern Europe. The European tests started in April, but these were the first fully fledged tarmac tests. The SX4 WRC brought in for testing was evolved further from the earlier prototype design; in fact, its specifications are already close to what is planned to be fielded in this season’s WRC test entries.
Throughout five days of driving tests, the team confirmed the performance and reliability of the much improved car. Then in the course of a further five days they worked on refining the basic settings of each component to investigate further performance upgrades.
The course selected for the latest round of testing had a layout that included big ups and downs and successive tight corners and the SX4 WRC demonstrated stable performance without encountering any significant troubles, both through low-to-mid-speed corners and on high-speed runs.
Nobuhiro Tajima, President of Suzuki Sport, comments as follows:
“The car is shaping up to an extent that I think it’s competitive to quite a degree. But our rivals’ machines are also evolving as faster and stronger, so we need to make sure we find even more speed and performance for our car. That’s why we’ve decided to move up our schedule and try and see if we could incorporate into our test-entry 2007 model the specs originally intended for the 2008 Championship entry model.
We really need to go to such a distance to have a fighting chance in the WRC. We’ve taken time in for testing in Japan and Europe aimed at achieving further improvement and now our car is demonstrating good performance on tarmac. Corsica is just a few months away, and we’ll be working to steadily improve and bring the car to top shape so we can hope to show some fast times.”
For the team, hard at work in Europe, tests after tests will continue in the days to come, in the quest to bring out more competitive performance from the Suzuki SX4 WRC.
Raging sandstorms and waist-high water have not stopped the Long Way Down team – or its Nissan Patrols – during an expedition through Africa.
Two specially-adapted Nissan Patrols are supporting Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman during their 15,000 mile journey from John o’Groat’s to Cape Town in South Africa – which will be screened on television later this year.
The robust 4x4 vehicles have proved a lifeline according to co-directors and executive producers David Alexanian and Russ Malkin, who spoke exclusively to Nissan by satellite-phone from Tanzania.
“Travelling through the Sudan and Northern Ethiopia or Western Tanzania, where roads are really non-existent or quite horrific at best, the Patrols have just been there for us every day without fail,” said David.
“We’ve driven along miles and miles of corrugated roads from the top of Kenya down and west to Uganda. The cars were being rattled to an extent you could never imagine – so much so that it even became difficult to film.”
David and Russ, together with a medic, are part of the small support crew following Ewan and Charley on their epic journey and both paid tribute to the way the cars have tackled every eventuality they’ve faced.
“The suspension on the Patrol has been a key element for us. We have really put these shocks to the test and we're very appreciative of the fact that the cars are still going as strong as ever. We have rattled the cars beyond belief,” David continued.
“We’ve also made good use of the winches on the cars and have had to winch the vehicles across some impassable spots, one in particular in Kenya when we ran into a big old chunk of mud. They’ve also driven through a flooded river which, until recently, was a road!”
Even sucking up “a beach-worth” of sand into the engine in Libya has not stopped the Patrols.
“On the last day as we were leaving Libya a sandstorm started – we had visibility of maybe 20 metres in this driving, horizontal sand,” Russ explained.
“The Patrols have both got a special air-intake snorkel which we pointed backwards – they sucked in a lot of sand during the storm and we were worried it could mess up the fuel/air mixture. When we eventually cleared the storm we cleaned out the air filter and bashed out a beach-worth of sand.”
Russ believes Nissan has proved to be the right choice of partner for Long Way Down. “Nissan will be top of our list for anything we do in the future; we have not only been provided with reliable, robust vehicles but just as importantly we were given the parts and technical support necessary for a trip like this.”
John Parslow, Nissan 4x4 brand manager, said: “The terrain, the journey and the crew have been handing out some real punishment to our Patrols but they’re taking everything in their stride.
“We spent two months preparing the vehicles for Long Way Down to ensure they would not let down the team – and we’ve really delivered.
“The Patrols are an integral part of the journey and we’re looking forward to seeing them in the film later this year.”
Despite the extensive modifications and security training, the crew is taking no chances with the Patrols. Russ and David have put “Tikoloshe” dolls in the windscreen of the two Patrols – according to Zulu mythology, the Tikoloshe is an evil spirit. The crew hopes the dolls will ward off any superstitious locals who might otherwise take too close an interest in the vehicles overnight.
The adventure is a follow-up to the original Long Way Round trip in 2004 which saw Ewan and Charley ride over 19,000 miles, travelling eastwards through Europe and Asia, completing their journey in New York. This time the pair plan to travel 15,000 miles supported by the Nissan Patrols which will be home to the mobile editing suite used to document the pair’s adventure for a brand new BBC TV series.
RETAIL DEMAND for used 4x4s is flagging, while new figures show that depreciation has been significantly steeper than in other vehicle sectors over the past two years, according to new research by CAP.
It means that the typical ‘heavy’ off-roader registered three years ago has lost an average 33 per cent of its value over the last two years, compared with less than 25 per cent for an average medium-sized family car.
Smaller ‘lifestyle’ 4x4s - the so-called ‘soft-roaders’ - have fared even worse, with average depreciation of 35 per cent over the period, according to CAP Black Book, the benchmark used car values guide used by Britain’s top dealer groups, 48 out of the 50 biggest fleets and the major financial institutions.
Contributing to the tougher market conditions for 4x4s are increased fuel costs and taxation changes but dealers also identify the decline in demand for off-roaders this year as due to a growing image problem brought about by negative media publicity.
Every used car dealer questioned in research during July reported reduced demand for secondhand 4x4s this year, compared with 2006 and universally attributed the reduction to ‘negative publicity’. But CAP believes this is just one of a range of factors, led by high volumes which have reduced the image of exclusivity enjoyed by many off-roaders.
CAP’s figures show how large and smaller 4x4s have performed in comparison with other vehicle sectors over the past two years.
The fear of car crime is unfortunately an ever-present part of life for motorists. Sometimes you should listen to that little voice telling you to go back to the car, because car crime is a very real problem.
However, according to the figures collected for the British Crime Survey, vehicle-related thefts fell by eight per cent in 2005/6, and by three per cent according to recorded crime.
This is no reason for motorists to drop their guard though.
Mike Owen, head of technical operations for the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMIF) commented: ‘Any fall in the rate of car crime is good news, but motorists must not become complacent.’
According to Owen, security features help drivers to protect their vehicles: ‘In the last few years, vehicle manufacturers have begun to include security features as standard. Electronic central locking, alarms, and immobilizers are now commonplace in newer cars. The security element should not be overlooked when selecting a vehicle to purchase’
Useful security measures include:
* immobiliser, to prevent the car from starting
* alarm; make sure any potential thief knows your vehicle has one by displaying a sticker
* locking wheel nuts avoid the wheels being stolen
* windows, windscreens and headlamps etched with registration number or the digits of Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
* Mark all car equipment with VIN number
* security labels and marking items in the car with your post-code, using a special property marking pen, to help police return your property if it becomes lost or stolen
* security-coded, removable radio
* tracking device
According to Owen, even with every possible anti-theft device fitted, and all valuables stowed away, a car can still be at risk if the driver parks in the wrong place: ‘When we park our cars, we assume they will be there when we get back. Unfortunately, for some drivers, this is not always the case. If you own a garage, make the most of it. Park your vehicle in it and lock it, rather than leaving it on the street. If not, park in a well-lit, open place, not one hidden from view or with obvious escape routes.’
‘Drivers can avoid becoming victims of car crime in other ways as well,’ said Owen. ‘Even a few moments thought could make a difference.’
Ideas for trying to avoid crime include:
* remove all goods from display or take them with you: remember, a thief will decide what is valuable or not. This includes obvious items such as cash/chequebooks/credit cards, mobile phones, cameras, handbags, briefcases, but also less obvious ones such as CDs, sports gear, vehicle documentation etc
* always lock car doors and boot, and wind up the windows and sun-roof
* retract your ariel to stop it being vandalized
* after your car keys, and know where they are at all times
* always remove your keys when leaving your vehicle
There are measures that motorists can take to try and prevent car crime. Owen said: ‘Motorists that want to try to prevent car crime in their area should get in touch with organisations such as Neighbourhood Watch. On a more basic level, you can be a good neighbour by keeping an eye on neighbours’ cars as well as your own, reporting anything suspicious to the police.’
Drivers need to be vigilant in car parks too. Owen commented: ‘Motorists should avoid badly-lit car parks. Instead, use a car park that has been awarded Secured Car Park* status.’
There is another side to car crime. It is possible to accidentally buy a stolen car. Owen said: ‘Car crime does not just affect the victim of a car theft. Once a car is stolen, any number of things could happen. One possibility is that it could resurface and be sold on without the buyer even realising that the car was once stolen.
‘There are a number of things motorists should watch out for when looking into buying a car. If any of these things happen, reconsider your position:’
* if they ask you which car you are interested in, as they may actually be traders posing as private sellers
* if the seller specifies a time to call a certain number that may be a mobile or a phone box; they may also put the same number in a few adverts
* if the seller insists on bringing the car to you instead of you going to them
* if the car’s engine, milometer, and VIN numbers show signs of being tampered with
* if the general standard of the car’s interior does not match the mileage
* if the documentation - MOT certificates and registration documents, including the V5C registration document – do not have the relevant watermarks, or match up with the car’s numbers, or include the name of the seller
‘This could be more than just a clerical inconvenience,’ Owen commented: ‘Someone that buys a stolen car could eventually find out that they do not own the car at all, and they could lose a lot of money as a result.’
The safest way to buy a used car is from a reputable garage, such as a member of the RMI. Owen explains: ‘Businesses that belong to the RMIF are bound by the conditions of their membership to provide a good service to their customers.’
‘When having a service or any form of work carried out on your car use a reputable garage, be it the dealer who sold you the car or, a local independent garage. If the supplying garage is too far away for such jobs, a local RMIF member would be happy to support you with service.
‘A member will be able to advise you on the type of service you need, and will be able to point out potential problem areas before they arise, or become serious. In fact, whether you want to buy or sell a new or used car or motorcycle, service or repair your existing vehicle, find an auction house, or a cherished number plate dealer, the RMIF will be able to help you.
‘If you have a complaint against an RMIF member garage, the RMI’s National Conciliation Service should be able to help you get redress, if the problem cannot be solved in direct consultation with that member.’
To find a garage that is a member of the RMIF, visit www.rmif.co.uk and use the ‘Find a Service’ function, or call the RMIF Consumer Motorline - 08457 58 53 50
You will also find details of RMIF members that sell new and used cars or motorcycles, provide vehicle servicing and repair, run vehicle auctions, sell petrol, and deal in cherished number plates.
Owen concludes: ‘With a little thought motorists can help themselves. If they are successful, they could save themselves money and heartache, and help push car crime even further down. It sounds like a good idea to me.’
Gaydon, Warwickshire, 6 July 2007 – Land Rover has set a new global sales record in the first half of this year, helped by strong sales abroad.
At the end of June, sales were 108,874, up by over 8% on last year and the best half year performance in the company’s near 60 year long history. This comes after two successive full year sales records in 2005 and 2006.
The growth has been driven by strong demand for Land Rover’s award winning and environmentally improved line up of vehicles, in particular the all new Freelander 2 and TDV8 Range Rover.
The compact Freelander 2 is Land Rover’s most economical car to date and the new diesel V8 Range Rover delivers a 32% fuel benefit compared with the petrol version.
Land Rover continued to make progress in emerging markets like Russia (up by 82%) and China (up 63%) but also grew in the established European markets with June being the best sales month in the region in the company’s history.
Land Rover’s Managing Director, Phil Popham, said, “The markets where we plan to grow over the next few years are massively exceeding expectations. This year we shall sell around 40,000 cars in countries where we didn't even have a presence five years ago.
“We’re also gaining ground in established markets with great new products and fantastic new engines like the diesel V8 which delivers the performance our customers want and the environmental improvement they expect from Land Rover.”
In the USA, Land Rover’s largest market last year, sales for June were up by 8% thanks to the roll out of LR2 (Freelander 2) which has firmly established Land Rover in the compact sector.
Mr Popham added, “Land Rover is firmly in the black and is on target for a third successive record sales year.”
Gaydon, Warwickshire, 6 July 2007: The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS), which runs the world’s largest primate rescue project, is to be sponsored by Land Rover.
The announcement that Land Rover’s support will assist in the rescue and relocation of wild orangutans in Indonesian Borneo was made by TV presenter Nick Knowles at a VIP pre-screening of the BBC’s Saving Planet Earth which documents his visit to Borneo to see the work of BOS.
The sponsorship forms part of Land Rover’s sustainable development policy, which outlines the company’s commitment to developing the business responsibly and ensuring sound environmental practice for all Land Rover activities.
Land Rover’s support for BOS will be the donation of a Defender for the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Reintroduction Project in Central Kalimantan. The project, which opened in 1999, will use the Defender for the transportation and return of orangutans to safe forests secured by Lone Droscher Nielsen, the founder and manager of the project which currently has 631 orangutans in its care.
Lone Droscher Nielsen, commenting at the VIP pre-screening, said: “The Land Rover Defender will be fundamental to supporting our work in remote areas of Borneo where off-road capabilities are required. It is through such support that we are able to protect the wild orangutan from extinction as well as promoting the preservation of its natural habitat.”
Land Rover has pioneered responsible off-roading through its ‘Fragile Earth’ policy for many years and currently works with five core global conservation partners: Royal Geographical Society (RGS), China Exploration and Research Society (CERS), Born Free Foundation, Biosphere Expeditions and EarthWatch. Land Rover supplies a quarter of the global aid agency market and the vehicles are used by emergency services, police, ambulance and mountain rescue teams across the country and worldwide.
Land Rover’s sponsorship programmes form part of an integrated approach towards sustainability. Land Rover engineers are at the forefront of Ford’s £1bn programme to develop technologies that will reduce emissions and improve fuel economy. Land Rover has also introduced the world’s biggest consumer carbon dioxide off-set programme which offsets all of the CO2 generated by Land Rover’s manufacturing operations and the first 45,000 miles of vehicle use by its UK customers. It is run by Climate Care, a highly respected offset provider. The ultimate goal is CO2 neutrality with investments being made in renewable energy projects such as wind and hydro, technology change and energy efficiency.
Gaydon, Warwickshire 5 July, 2007 – Land Rover is strengthening its design team with the appointment of Phil Simmons as the company’s first-ever studio director responsible specifically for the iconic Range Rover.
Simmons, currently Chief Designer at Ford of Europe, joins the Land Rover design team on 1 August and he will be responsible for future design direction of all Range Rover products.
Land Rover’s Design Director, Gerry McGovern, said: “This new position will help Land Rover to achieve even higher levels of creativity and design leadership for this iconic model and to meet the challenges and opportunities of the luxury automotive market.”
Simmons spent the first 10 years of his career at Land Rover, culminating in exterior design of the current (third) generation Range Rover. He subsequently moved to Ford Motor Company in the US, where he was responsible for Ford’s family of medium size vehicles such as the Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and Lincoln MKZ. He was appointed Chief Designer for Ford of Europe in September 1999.
Simmons’ focus on the Range Rover allows Dave Saddington, currently Land Rover Design’s studio director, to assume overall responsibility for future design of all other Land Rover vehicles. Both Simmons and Saddington report to Gerry McGovern.
“With this move we’ll also be strengthening the design of future Land Rover models,” said McGovern. “Though Land Rover and Range Rover are part of the same family, they have subtly different values that must be reflected in their designs and by separating the two studio director jobs we are underlining the importance and distinctiveness of both nameplates.”
Julian Thomson will continue as studio director for Jaguar and Land Rover Advanced Design, reporting jointly to McGovern and Jaguar Design Director Ian Callum. He is responsible for advanced design work on all Jaguar and Land Rover brand vehicles.
Adriana Monk, former Chief Designer for Jaguar and Land Rover Advanced Design interiors, becomes Chief Designer, Land Rover Interior Design.
“Overall these changes strengthen the whole design team,” said McGovern. “Our Land Rover and Range Rover design is internationally celebrated and admired. I’m confident that our future vehicles will be even more trend setting, desirable and distinctive.”
Complete confusion exists on Britain’s roads as clueless drivers are mystified over what constitutes legal and illegal behaviour behind the wheel says Swinton.
Figures revealed by the leading high street insurance retailer highlight widespread confusion surrounding what constitutes a driving offence on today’s roads and the broker is calling for a tighter definition of the law to prevent drivers getting points on their licence or being disqualified.
Over three quarters of drivers think it’s perfectly legal to change a CD, hold a partner’s hand or light a cigarette when driving whereas nearly two thirds of people think it’s illegal to apply lipstick when behind the wheel.
The population is split over whether it’s legal to eat a sandwich at the wheel or not, with 51% of the 2,400 drivers questioned in a YouGov survey commissioned by Swinton considering this as illegal behaviour.
The truth is that any of these, or other acts including reading a map on your lap or resting your arms on the steering wheel could be considered illegal in the eyes of the law if the driver is deemed not to be in full control of the vehicle.
Swinton’s motor insurance division is concerned that this level of misunderstanding could result in drivers unwittingly breaking the law - facing a hefty fine or even disqualification for driving without due care and attention.
The Road Traffic Act 1988 states that, ‘If a person drives a motor vehicle on a road without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road, he is guilty of an offence.’ Punishments for careless and inconsiderate driving can include a maximum fine of £2,500, up to nine points on your licence or disqualification*.
Swinton’s chief executive, Patrick Smith said: “We are warning drivers to be vigilant when behind the wheel because the law is so ambiguous. Unwittingly breaking this law could result in points - again piling up the number of penalty points people already have on their licence because of speed cameras.”
Chris Collings, insurer development director at Swinton said: “Our survey reveals the extent of confusion surrounding what people can and can’t do at the wheel. Drivers need to completely understand the principal road safety laws if they are to adhere to them - not knowing whether an act is legal or illegal is an extremely dangerous position for drivers to be in.
“Nearly all drivers questioned know that it’s illegal to use a mobile phone when driving, which is good news but we need to gain this level of certainty for all the other actions undertaken.
“Whether a person is in full control of a vehicle or not remains at the discretion of a police officer and is therefore ambiguous. The confusion highlighted in our survey must be removed so that safe, law-abiding drivers aren’t unwittingly acting illegally.”
Efforts to dispel the confusion comes as the Driving Standards Authority proposes 30 new rules to add to the new edition of the highway code - including smoking at the wheel. Breaking these rules can result in drivers being handed a fixed penalty of up to £60, at the discretion of the police**.
- ENDS -
* Information according to motoring offence lawyers, http://www.lawyersmotoringlaw.co.uk
** Information according to the Driving Standards Authority http://www.dsa.gov.uk
– Available at 52p/litre including tax from 1st July 2007
Blooming Futures are pleased to announce that following a recent HMRC review it has been formally announced that users of less than 2500 litres a year of Pure Plant Oil (PPO) fuel will now no longer need to register with Customs and Excise and pay road fuel duty as of the 30th of June.
Using 2500 litres of PPO a year equates to roughly 25000 miles of driving in a family car – leading to an annual saving on fuel of over £1,100 using current prices.
PPO is a diesel fuel alternative and using it requires that a professional engine modification is fitted to the engine. Once modified, PPO users report similar mileage and power outputs to fossil diesel. Thanks to the new tax advantage, the cost of the conversion can be quickly recovered from the savings in fuel.
Previously, users of PPO were required to declare their fuel use to Customs and Excise, and pay duty accordingly. The decision from HMRC is based on the cost effectiveness of evaluating every small user and means it is now financially much more viable for domestic vehicle users to convert vehicles to use the lowest impact liquid biofuel.
The Low Impact PPO Model vs Conventional Biofuels
PPO is essentially pure rapeseed oil, carefully pressed and filtered to meet fuel standards (the DIN 51605 standard). Unlike other biofuels PPO production does not require any heavy chemical processing and is made in a very low energy fashion, which means that PPO has a far smaller energy and carbon footprint compared to other biofuels. PPO is the most environmentally sound road fuel available today.
PPO use is widespread across Europe. In Germany the PPO infrastructure is well developed and many of the environmental criticisms of biofuels do not apply to the localised PPO model. The most common criticisms of conventional biofuels are:
Use of palm oil as a feedstock can promote deforestation.
Biodiesel and especially Bioethanol are highly energy intensive.
Foreign feedstocks mean that ‘air-miles’ between plantations, processing factories and end use can negate any carbon savings from exhaust emissions.
In contrast, PPO is simply grown and pressed by local farming groups, then used in local vehicles. All that is needed is the correct professional engine modification. Users should be weary of cheap miracle technology solutions as a full and technical modification needs to be carried out in order to burn PPO in a safe and environmentally friendly way.
Conversion Technology News
In Germany there are now over 45,000 converted vehicles running on PPO. In part due to the recent announcement by HMRC, Elsbett Technologies - who command 45% of the German market - are set to establish Elsbett UK. This will bring the most developed, trialled and tested PPO technology in the world to the UK.
Elsbett will establish a series of conversion dealerships, offering engine conversions, advice , warranties and consultancy advice to enable all users of diesel fuel in the UK to both save money and help protect the environment.
This news will also be a boon to British farmers, as the establishment of a UK PPO model will enable farmers to establish profitable on-farm rapeseed presses, thus cutting out the middlemen associated with larger scale biofuel production.
Further Savings On The Horizon For Heavier Fuel Users
In April next year the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO) certificate scheme will mean a price reduction for heavier users of fuel. The certificate scheme will be in addition to the 20 pence per litre tax break that PPO already gets and should equate to an additional 15 pence per litre saving, or a total 35p per litre tax break for PPO from April 2008 for heavy fuel users.
With the price of PPO traditionally close to Derv, this tax advantage will ensure that PPO will be considerably cheaper than Derv diesel for the foreseeable future. This is strengthened by a rolling three year break that has been agreed, meaning the tax benefits will be in place for at least three years allowing considerable financial returns on investment for this green fuel technology.
Celebrity forerunners of the technology include Premiership goalkeeper David James, Ex-Formula 1 world champion Jody Scheckter and the green living gurus at River Cottage farm. They have all had vehicles converted by Blooming Futures - one of the UK’s leading PPO technology companies.
Stateside, even Arnold Schwarzenegger has been driving a PPO powered Hummer to showcase the technology.
The future for PPO looks to be Blooming.
Speed bumps are damaging vehicles. Around thirty percent of vehicles fail their annual MOT because of damage to their suspension. A new online video shows motorists how to check for a suspension fault and replace a part if required – there’s even a solution to prevent damage from speed bumps.
Leaking shock absorbers, broken coil springs and worn steering joints are common casualties of the thousands of speed bumps throughout the UK. Checking the part that has been damaged, how to replace it and avoiding the damage in the first place can be difficult. Motorists drive for months in death traps not realising they have damaged their suspension until the fault is detected on their annual MOT - in extreme cases they have an accident.
Mail order specialist, Car Parts Direct has put together a Do-It-Yourself online guide to show motorists how to check your own suspension in about 10 minutes. The short video shows drivers what to look for and how to avoid replacing the wrong part. There’s also a guide showing how to replace worn shock absorbers too.
Motorists looking to prevent damage to their suspension can fit a suspension muscle kit. The kit reduces the impact of speed bumps, pot holes and the risk of bottoming out a vehicle. The kit costs less than £40 and is a D.I.Y. fit in about 30 minutes claims the supplier. For motorists that have left it too late there is a range of over 2,000 shock absorbers that can be ordered online.
To see the D.I.Y. guide to checking your own suspension, replacing shock absorbers and how to protect against speed bumps visit www.carparts-direct.co.uk or call 0871 918 1800.
SMMT has responded with frustration to the latest piece of 4x4 'research'. '4x4s in the City' from Greenpeace, pulls together a host of inaccurate and unconnected data from a range of sources, mainly from the USA where SUV data falls within the truck category.
SMMT chief executive, Christopher Macgowan said, 'This latest paper is full of the usual misconceptions, mixing opinion with the occasional fact. To include five pages of safety data based on a different set of US vehicles, without any supporting evidence relating to either the UK or European market, is clearly irresponsible and misleading.
'Where were the facts relating to CO2 emissions, showing a fall of 10.7 per cent for the new car market? Where was the recognition that, despite the increase in sales of 4x4 vehicles, CO2 from them has fallen 17.3 per cent? Where was the fact that despite a 25 per cent overall increase in cars on the roads, the level of emissions from passenger cars has remained flat? All we ask for is a balanced and responsible discussion about the facts as they affect motorists, and our industry, in the UK.'
The following facts help to redress the balance:
* 4x4/SUV registrations in the UK rose from 121,556 in 2001 to 187,392 in 2005. In road accidents over the same period, injuries and fatalities among pedestrians fell 17.4 per cent and car users by 16.9 per cent.(1)
* Each of the three best-selling 4x4s on the market - the Land Rover Freelander, Toyota Rav 4 and Honda CR-V is shorter than a Ford Mondeo or a Vauxhall Vectra.(2)
* The Toyota Prius has the same EuroNCAP ratings as the Volvo XC90. There are many examples of models in all segments which perform less well than current 4x4/SUV models. Clearly this is an issue of individual product design and not a reflection on an 'unsafe' vehicle type.(3)
* The top 10 areas for 4x4/SUV buying in Britain in 2005 are predominantly rural. Warwickshire and Powys lead the way followed by the Scottish Borders, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. Large conurbations like London, West Midlands, Merseyside and Manchester appear towards the bottom of the list.
* Stability control systems are increasingly fitted as standard on 4x4/SUV models, such as on the Volkswagen Touareg, Volvo XC90, BMW X5 and Mercedes M Class. Anti-rollover technologies are also common, fitted to models like the new Land Rover Discovery III, Nissan X-Trail and the Jeep Cherokee. Such 'active safety systems' are designed to prevent an accident occurring in the first place.