The petition against road pricing, set up by Shropshire ABD member Peter Roberts on the Prime Minister's website (1), has now been signed by over 600,000 people, dwarfing all other petitions.
Prime Minister Tony Blair has previously stated that "Doing nothing is not an option. Doing nothing means that in 10 years, congestion will be 25 per cent worse." (2)
Whilst the ABD disputes the figure of 25% which Mr Blair seems to have conjured up out of thin air, we wholeheartedly agree that doing nothing is not an option.
Let us first examine what Mr Blair's government have done in the past to "reduce" congestion:
* Cancelled bypass schemes --- forcing traffic through towns.
* Cancelled major road upgrades like the A40 into London even after land and property has been purchased and demolished
* Installed bus lanes --- halving the capacity of dual carriageways, so doubling the length of the traffic jam.
* Closed side roads --- preventing traffic dispersion.
* Removed parking spaces --- forcing people to drive round and round looking for one.
* Splashed red, green, and white paint everywhere --- narrowing roads and thus reducing capacity.
* Increasing parking charges everywhere, including those car parks associated with public transport facilities.
* Closed subways and replaced them with surface crossings, increasing hazards for pedestrians and obstructing traffic
* Massively increased the proliferation of traffic lights in urban areas and on roundabouts leading to stop start motoring and traffic being halted when there is nobody to give way to.
So, Mr Blair intentionally makes congestion worse, then tells us we have to have a road pricing scheme 'to solve the problem'. He obviously thinks the British public is stupid. So far, over 600,000 people have pointed out to him that they are not.
The ABD has many proposals for constructive ways of reducing congestion, including:
* Completing the motorway and bypass network that was planned 40 years ago.
* Stopping the practice of building inadequate roads such as the A14, and the A42 between Tamworth and Nottingham, both of which should clearly have been built as 3 lane motorways in the first place.
* Improving existing roads, for example by completing the flyovers and underpasses for which space was left when roads were constructed.
* Removing all bus lanes on dual carriageways.
* Forcing councils to reopen side roads that have been closed off at one end, or have had access restricted in some other way.
* Providing more parking spaces rather than legislating for less.
* A return to the policy of separating pedestrians/cyclists from heavy traffic where possible by construction of proper facilities for both groups, rather than using vulnerable road users as cannon fodder to justify the obstruction of motorised traffic.
* Free parking at all park and ride schemes for bus users.
* Free parking at all rail and tube stations for train users, and a big reduction in restrictions on parking in side streets nearby.
* Better marketing of bus and train services. The train advertising hoardings on the M1 approaching London are a good example of this.
* Better facilities for carriage of bicycles on public transport -it couldn`t be much worse.
* Secure well-lit parking for bicycles at all railway stations. People are not going to cycle to stations if their bike keeps getting stolen.
* Incentives to encourage bicycle hire companies to operate at railway stations.
* Co-ordination of development to ensure that people can live close to their place of work and have proper transport links instead of the piecemeal approach that takes the road network for granted.
* Incentives to encourage or oblige companies to adopt homeworking practices. Technology now means that many office staff simply do not need to commute into a city centre every day. If all such staff worked from home just one day per week, their commuting needs would be reduced by 20%.
* Incentives for moving closer to places of work. For example, reduction of stamp duty on houses for employment relocation purposes. This could relate to the distance moved, for example someone moving 60% nearer to their place of work would get a 60% reduction on stamp duty.
* Large scale studies into people`s transport needs and habits, done with the intention of facilitating people`s lives rather than justifying anti-car anti-transport policies.
The ABD's Director of Policy, Mark McArthur-Christie, said "The issue of road pricing and vehicle tracking is clearly one of the most important to the British public, and they seem to be vehemently opposed to the idea. The petition runs until the 20th of February, and continues to grow by thousands of signatures each day. If the prime minister decides to ignore the wishes of such a large number of people, he will regret it at the ballot box."
The Nissan Navara has been voted the ‘Pick-Up of the Year’ for the second year running in 4x4 magazine's 2007 awards, beating off stiff competition from nine other Pick-Ups including the likes of the Mitsubishi L200 and the Toyota Hilux.
John Carroll, 4x4’s editor, commented: “The Navara is simply the best.
“The reasons are simple: Nissan’s Navara provides the best combination of working truck practicality with everyday driving involvement. A strong, torquey turbodiesel, bold but not outlandish styling and a comfy interior scored higher than its rivals can match.”
The Navara was the best-selling pickup in Europe in 2006.
GAYDON, 29 January 2007 – Jaguar and Land Rover today announced the appointment of Simon Warr as Board Director responsible for Communications and Public Affairs, effective February 1.
In this role, Warr will take charge of the existing communications organisation for Jaguar and Land Rover. Paul Chadderton Jaguar Director Global Product and Brand Communications and Andrew Roberts Land Rover Director Global Product and Brand Communications will continue running dedicated brand communications teams. Also supporting Warr, Don Hume will continue in his present role as Jaguar and Land Rover Director Corporate and Government Communications.
“Simon brings considerable breadth of experience to our communications team,” said Geoff Polites, CEO of Jaguar and Land Rover. “He has worked with all Ford Motor Company's brands outside North America and in a number of locations around the world. In recent years, he has driven a much more strategic communications approach across our luxury division, Premier Automotive Group. He is a great addition to our team and I look forward to working with him.”
Warr will also report to Ian Slater who takes over as Vice President Communications and Public Affairs, Ford of Europe and Premier Automotive Group. In this role Slater will oversee the communications of all Ford Motor Company brands based in Europe, in addition to his current duties leading the Ford of Europe communications team.
After starting his career in journalism and Government press relations in the early 1990s, Warr joined Ford of Europe in Cologne in 1999. After positions in both corporate and product communications he took up a global product PR role at Ford’s partner Mazda Motor Corporation in Hiroshima. He has since been Director of Communications at Ford’s Premier Automotive Group, based in London, which includes Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo.
Born 1967, Warr studied Arabic and German at Leeds University and journalism at London’s City University.
* 100,000th NAVARA JUST PRODUCED IN BARCELONA PLANT
Nissan’s Navara was the best-selling pick-up in Europe in 2006, its first full year of sales, with a total of 45,200 units registered*. It commanded an incredible 25% of the European market for pick-ups.
And when combined with the 13,000 registrations of the Pickup in 2006, Nissan’s entry-level pick-up, Nissan’s market share in this rapidly expanding segment of the market increases to 32%.
The Navara is the best-selling pick up in markets such as Spain – its home market, as it is manufactured in Nissan’s Zona Franca factory in Barcelona – France, Holland, Austria, Belgium, Poland, Sweden and Ireland.
Since its launch in June 2005 over 60,000 European customers have found in Navara the perfect tool to work hard and play hard. By offering SUV levels of comfort, space and on-road dynamic performance for civilised weekend motoring, combined with super-tough characteristics for a hard-working, Monday-Friday lifestyle, the Navara has given customers the option of owning a pick up which doesn’t compromise their daily lives.
Furthermore on Tuesday 23rd January, the Navara reached another milestone. The 100,000th unit was produced at Nissan Motor Iberica SA, from where it is also exported to countries such as South Africa, Australia and Gulf coast countries.
“This is a great reward for Barcelona plant. Navara project was a big challenge for all employees of Zona Franca and this performance recognises the confidence that Nissan management has placed in the people of Nissan’s Spanish Industrial Operations over the last few years," said José Vicente de los Mozos, Vice President, Nissan Spanish Industrial Operations.
”The success of Navara demonstrates Nissan’s leadership in the pick up segment in Europe. The combination of SUV qualities and pick up utility offered by the Navara has raised the stakes in this competitive segment,” said Brian Carolin, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Nissan Europe
The Navara is available in double and king cab configuration and is powered by a 2.5-litre diesel engine giving 171PS of power and 403Nm of torque, segment leading figures and 3 tonne towing capacity, the most capable pick up in the segment. Just over 80% of Navaras are ordered in double cab form. Features include a fully switchable all-wheel drive system, the unique C-Channel cargo anchorage system, Nissan’s DVD-based Birdview satellite navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity, automatic transmission and six-CD audio system.
*All figures are taken from TOP30, an independent research organisation providing data and analysis to the automotive sector. The countries whose registration data has been used: UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Holland, Switzerland, Austria, Portugal, Belgium, Greece, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Ireland, Iceland, Croatia, Slovenia, Turkey, French Overseas Territories, Israel, Romania and Serbia.
Nissan’s new UK designed, engineered and built QASHQAI crossover is now available for test drive and ordering at the company’s dealers with deliveries due to start March 1. Business should be brisk if early interest from press and customers is anything to go by.
Talking of press, the QASHQAI has already picked up its first commendation: ‘Best Small Family Car Buy’ in the £13,000 – £14,500 category of the What Car? Car of the Year 2007 awards. Not surprising, considering the vehicle combines the best attributes of an SUV – a high driving position and solid build – with those of a conventional hatchback – great driving dynamics, good fuel economy and low insurance ratings.
Nissan’s website, www.nissan.co.uk, has already had more than 150,000 hits and 5500 leads requesting further information about the QASHQAI. And that’s before Nissan has even started advertising the car.
The entry level Visia 1.6 at £13,499 compares favourably with the lowliest Golf. With standard Bluetooth phone integration, air conditioning, 16” alloy wheels and front / rear electric windows along with ESP on the 2.0-litre engines only, it’s a serious competitor. There’s a choice of 1.6 and 2.0-litre petrols engines, as well as new 1.5-litre and
2.0-litre dCi units. Unusually the buyer can team the Visia trim with any of the available engine and transmission options.
Moving up a step and a further £1500 the Acenta adds a choice of two different upgraded trim designs with a leather bound steering wheel, rear parking sensor, dual zone climate controlled air conditioning, front fog lamps, rain sensing wipers, body coloured electric folding door mirrors, auto lighting cruise control, ultrasonic alarm system and an in-dash 6 CD auto changer with steering wheel controls.
Another £1500 gets you the top Tekna grade and for that you get a choice of two leather trim patterns with heated front seats, a panoramic glass roof, 17” alloy wheels, xenon headlamps and Nissan’s Intelligent Key system.
To tackle any potentially hazardous driving conditions that may come your way then a four-wheel drive option is available. This switchable ALL-MODE 4x4 system, first experienced on the X-TRAIL, can be added for £1600, 2.0-litre engines only but the petrol version can also have CVT automatic transmission or for the diesel version a conventional 6 speed auto.
Anyone choosing the optional Birdview DVD satellite navigation system on the Acenta and Tekna grades for £1350 also get rear view camera which clearly shows a colour image of the view behind when reversing, aiding that perfect parking manoeuvre. This is in place of the standard ultrasonic reversing sensors fitted to Acenta and Tekna versions.
Nissan dealers now have demonstrators available for test drives but if you just want to join the traffic, visit www.nissan-qashqai.co.uk
Losing control on the slopes can be a scary experience but not as scary as losing control of a vehicle when you are behind the wheel on a snowy mountain road. As more British snowsports enthusiasts choose to rent a vehicle for their ski holidays, Avis offers advice on driving in winter conditions and how to look after your car in extreme weather. The tips may also come in handy as winter weather sweeps the UK this week!
Renting a car on arrival in Europe, the US or Canada means skiers have a greater chance to explore the variety of slopes on offer. A car provides extra space for luggage and equipment and the additional freedom to move from resort to resort. However, skiers need to be prepared to ensure safety when driving on unknown roads, in an unfamiliar vehicle.
Avis’ Top Tips on winter driving
1. Always park your vehicle downhill and in the direction you want to travel the next morning
2. Request snow chains for your rental vehicle from your pick up Avis location, find out how to fit them before you travel
3. Always accelerate gently when starting the vehicle and with a manual car use the highest gear at which you can move without stalling (usually 2nd gear)
4. Always engage the clutch before starting the engine of your vehicle
5. Ensure that the engine on your vehicle has warmed up before setting off.
6. If possible do not use the handbrake when your vehicle is stationary or parked. If this is not possible do not pull the handbrake up fully in case it freezes in position
7. If your vehicle starts to skid DO NOT hit the brakes. Ease off the accelerator and steer into the direction of the skid until you gain control
8. When your vehicle is parked ensure the front and back windscreen wipers are away from the windscreen.
9. Be prepared - always plan your journey and check weather forecasts
10. Always have a good amount of petrol in the vehicle and ensure you have an emergency pack with warm clothing and refreshments
“We are expecting our key European ski locations to be busy this season as driving is becoming a more popular option than traditional ski transfers,” says Daniel McCarthy, Commercial Director, Avis UK. “Car hire is so convenient and is a great option if you really want to explore the region you are visiting. We are hoping our tips will help drivers feel safer and more comfortable on their journeys.”
Avis recommends customers book early and pay when booking for the best deals. Bookings can be made online at www.avis.co.uk or by calling Avis Worldwide Reservations on 08445 818181.
* The new 4x4 Octavia Scout is stylish and surefooted
* Choice of two modern engines: petrol and diesel
* Chunky protective body mouldings add to rugged character
Škoda is delighted to announce a new addition to the highly-acclaimed Octavia estate range – the four-wheel drive Scout.
Scout features a robust, muscular appearance combined with a sure-footed 4x4 system that allows it tackle a multitude of different surfaces. It will be offered with two powerful engines, the 2.0-litre FSI 150bhp petrol and the 2.0-litre TDI PD 140bhp diesel. Both come with the second generation of the Haldex clutch that allows up to 98% of power to be transferred between the front and rear wheels.
Pricing for the Škoda Octavia Scout starts at £17,585 for the 2.0-litre FSI 150bhp and increases to £19,490 for the 2.0-litre TDI PD 140bhp. Standard equipment includes twin chrome exhausts, 17 inch ‘Proteus’ alloy wheels, a net programme in the boot, sunset glass, dual zone air con, ESP, headlight washers, rear acoustic parking sensors, cruise control and aluminium pedals.
The Scout’s rugged personality is accentuated by increased ground clearance (17mm higher than the existing 4x4 model), aluminium protective under trays front and rear, chunky protective body mouldings and ESP with Hill Hold Control.
Customers can place their orders for the new Škoda Octavia Scout from the middle of March, with the first deliveries expected at the start of April.
The launch of Scout this year will doubtless help the Octavia repeat the sales success it experienced in 2006. Nearly 17,900 were sold in the UK last year – a figure that contributed greatly to Škoda’s overall record-breaking UK sales of 39,000 vehicles.
This bonanza saw our UK market share increase to 1.7%. Overall sales were up 8% on the previous year, despite the wider British new car market seeing a downturn of 5%. International production rocketed to over 500,000 units. This is an incredible achievement given that in 1995 Škoda built around 208,000 cars – meaning in little more than a decade output has risen by 140%.
The current-generation Octavia model was launched in July 2004 in hatchback guise. Estate, 4x4 and performance vRS models followed shortly afterwards. UK sales for all Octavia models have totalled over 107,000 since the first-generation model hit these shores back in 1998.
· French duo of Peterhansel and Cottret clinch third Dakar victory in four years
· Defending champions Alphand and Picard settle for second place
· Masuoka and Maimon finish fifth; Spaniards Roma and Cruz in 13th place
DAKAR, Sénégal - Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart rewrote the history books by claiming a seventh successive victory in the punishing 2007 Dakar Rally after the final 16km special stage, near Dakar, in Sénégal on Sunday.
The success was a record-breaking 12th win in the team's 25-year history of competing in the world's toughest and most famous off-road rally. The French crew of Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret won the event for the third time in four years in their Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution and beat their team mates and defending champions Luc Alphand and Gilles Picard by a margin of just seven minutes 26 seconds, after 15 days of bruising competition across Portugal, Morocco, Mauritania, Mali and Sénégal.
"I was very nervous on the last big African special stage yesterday and I just drove very slowly on the beach this morning," said Peterhansel. "It was not necessary to do the show for the crowd and the television on the last stage. When I won my first motorcycle race in Tunisia, I did not win a special stage, so in my head it was never a problem not to win a special stage on this Dakar. It is not that important.
"Taking the overall victory on the Dakar is the important thing. It is the best feeling. Our new MPR13 is very good and very fast, but I am sure that we can make even more improvements this year before we come back to try and win the Dakar again in 2008."
The Japanese manufacturer hit the front on the ninth special stage between Tichit and Néma in the Mauritanian Sahel, when long-time leader Giniel de Villiers suffered turbocharger problems and lost his place in the top 10.
For the last six days of the rally, Mitsubishi controlled proceedings through careful team management, a professional approach by each of the drivers and thorough car preparation to record victory without the need to take a single stage win.
Mitsubishi also failed to clinch a stage win in 2001 when Jutta Kleinschmidt and Andreas Schulz clinched overall victory for the Japanese manufacturer.
The statistic proved that individual stage wins on an event of the punishing nature of the Dakar are largely irrelevant.
"I won the race last year, but the important thing was to give the team victory again this time," said runner-up Alphand. "This morning it was like a party on the beach, with friends, the ocean and the victory. We proved that we have great team spirit, real determination and the best group of people."
Japan's Hiroshi Masuoka and Pascal Maimon lost their chance of taking a podium finish with two time-consuming clutch problems and a series of flat tires, but the twice former winner reached Lac Rose in fifth position after a late time penalty cost rival Nasser Al-Attiyah his place in the top five.
"This is my first Dakar finish for three years and it was a nice feeling to reach the end," said Masuoka. "But I had some problems in the early stages and this cost me my chance of a win. The team has again proved that experience is crucial on an event like the Dakar. Now we can look forward to the future and our continued success in this rally."
Spaniards Joan 'Nani' Roma and Lucas Cruz finished their first Dakar Rally together in 13th position, after clutch problems and a low-speed roll in the Mauritanian sand dunes pushed them out of contention. They were ninth fastest on the final stage, near Dakar, on Sunday, despite the fact that Roma was competing with a broken thumb after the incident with a tree stump on Saturday en route to Dakar.
"It was not my turn to win the Dakar this year, but it has been another great learning curve for me," said Roma. "It was my first event with Lucas and we have worked well together. I had some problems, but it is great to see the team continuing its winning streak. I can look forward to another season with Mitsubishi and planning ahead for the next Dakar, when it could be my turn to take the victory."
Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart management dedicated the Dakar win to the memory of co-driver Henri Magne, who lost his life in a tragic accident during last June's Rally of Morocco. His wife and adopted child joined the team for the podium at Lac Rose. Magne won the Dakar Rally on two occasions and was third overall last year with Joan 'Nani' Roma.
"I am very proud that we have managed to record the seventh win in seven years," said MMSP's Managing and Sporting Director Dominique Serieys. "The new car won out of the box with a couple of minor problems with some external components and this bodes well for the ongoing development throughout 2007 and into 2008. I don't think that this was a difficult Dakar. For sure, our strategy was different this time, but you can see from the number of finishers that it was maybe an easier race than previous years. We had many more difficult battles with Citroën in previous Dakars.
"Last summer we suffered the tragic loss of Henri Magne and he is always in our thoughts. But life has to go on. For that reason we have dedicated this victory to his honour and to his wife Lucette and baby Louis, who have joined us in Dakar to share this special and emotional occasion."
"I am very happy for the entire team that we have achieved this victory,"
said Osama Nakayama, General Manager, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation Okazaki R&D Motor Sports Team. "But it was very difficult this year. Volkswagen made great progress with their cars and it was a super fight for many days. We had some problems with the clutch, but the new MPR13 has won its first Dakar outing. For the future we will look to improve our chances of retaining the Dakar title and begin to develop environmentally-friendly technologies through our Cross-Country motor sport program."
Out of a capacity entry of 185 cars, 247 bikes and quads and 85 trucks, only
109 cars, 132 bikes and quads and 60 trucks reached the finish in Dakar after a shortened route of 7,915km, of which 4,309km were competitive.
Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart will concentrate on further developing the Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution over the coming months and will embark upon a new FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup program this season.
Positions on SS15 -
1. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Dirk Von Zitzewitz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 7m 42s
2. Carlos Sainz (E)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Touareg 7m 44s
3. Robby Gordon (USA)/Andy Grider (USA) Hummer 8m 08s
4. Carlos Sousa (P)/Andreas Schulz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 8m 24s
5. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Arnaud Debron (F) Schlesser-Ford 8m 25s
9. Joan 'Nani' Roma (E)/Lucas Cruz (E) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 8m 59s
2007 Dakar Rally - final overall positions (provisional)
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (F)/Jean-Paul Cottret (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 45h 53m 37s
2. Luc Alphand (F)/Gilles Picard (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 46h 01m 03s
3. Jean-Louis Schlesser (F)/Arnaud Debron (F) Schlesser-Ford 47h 27m 34s
4. Mark Miller (USA)/Ralph Pitchford (ZA) Volkswagen Touareg 48h 03m 53s
5. Hiroshi Masuoka (J)/Pascal Maimon (F) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 48h 38m 08s
6. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QA)/Alain Guehennec (F) BMW X3CC 49h 25m 36s
7. Carlos Sousa (P)/Andreas Schulz (D) Volkswagen Touareg 51h 04m 31s
8. Robby Gordon (USA)/Andy Grider (USA) Hummer 52h 57m 44s
9. Carlos Sainz (E)/Michel Périn (F) Volkswagen Touareg 53h 19m 22s
10. Stéphane Henrard (B)Brigette Beceu (B) Volkswagen Buggy 54h 22m 06s
13. Joan 'Nani' Roma (E)/Lucas Cruz (E) Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 55h 30m 06s
An icy winter is set to put the brakes on a third of the nation’s motorists, according to new research by car care company Comma.
With the Met Office predicting an increase in the frequency of freezing cold snaps this winter* (defined as December, January and February), Comma’s survey found that the forecast did not bode well for the majority of UK motorists.
Icy conditions came top of the poll, registering 32 percent of votes and proving that drivers feel most at risk when control of their vehicle is inhibited by a lack of grip.
Almost as many drivers (29 percent) cited impaired visibility during fog as the most unpopular driving condition, while slightly less (18 percent) admitted their unease at driving through snow.
Comparatively, few motorists have concerns about driving through sleet (5 percent), rain (5 percent) and thunder and lightning (7 percent), while fewer still are troubled by high winds (2 percent) and glaring sunshine (2 percent).
Department for Transport figures** support drivers’ fears, as over 1,750 incidents were recorded during snowy and foggy weather.
Comma is urging drivers to be safe on Britain’s roads, and ensure they embark on journeys only when confident of their ability to control the vehicle in the conditions surrounding them. Follow Comma’s winter driving tips to ensure a safe journey:
· Is the journey necessary? The best way to stay safe is to stay put!
· Consider your route. Some roads are more susceptible to adverse conditions, while others can pose more danger.
· Slow down! The safest way to drive through bad weather is with a heightened sense of caution, maintaining a safe gap to the vehicle in front.
· Maintain control. Avoid harsh braking and acceleration and manoeuvre with care.
· Maintain your car! Always perform the correct vehicle checks before setting off, making sure fluid levels are at acceptable levels, bulbs are functional, and tyre pressures are correct.
Off-road specialist, Jeep, has come bottom in arguably the world’s largest ever study into car reliability, just ahead of another 4x4-maker, Land Rover.
Almost one in every two (46 percent) of the American 4x4 giant’s models recorded a mechanical failure during a given twelve-month period. That figure was nearly six times worse than Mazda, which topped the table with a frequency of failure of just 8.04 percent.
The study by independent automotive warranty specialist, Warranty Direct, looked at more than 450,000 vehicles, across 33 manufacturers, from the UK and the USA.
Only two non-Far East manufacturers made it into the top ten – the BMW-owned, but Oxfordshire-built, MINI, and French player, Citroen, scoring ninth and tenth places respectively.
The unique Warranty Direct reliability league table was based on the number of failures reported for every 100 policies sold to owners of vehicles aged 3-9 years old. Vehicles analysed were available in both UK and US markets.
Korean manufacturer, Kia, proved that budget does not necessarily mean corner cutting when it comes to reliability. The rising star of world motoring was fifth in the table with an incidence rate of 17.4 percent.
BMW (18th) was placed at the head of Germany’s ‘Big Three’ of Mercedes (20th) and Audi, which was languishing in 27th spot.
“The performance of some of the worlds largest manufacturers in terms of reliability is there for all to see,” said Duncan McClure Fisher, managing director, Warranty Direct. “Off-road may mean rugged, but the data suggests that it may not always stand for reliability if you consider the specialists.”
“This is unique data based on real cars, driving real miles, over the past five years. It is the kind of information manufacturers would probably rather you didn’t see.”
The reliability of the UK’s top five selling makes does not necessarily reflect their status amongst the car buying populace. The nation’s number one choice, Ford, was 14th, followed by Vauxhall in 19th, Volkswagen in 23rd, Renault in 29th and Peugeot the best of the bunch in 13th.
For further information visit www.reliabilityindex.co.uk
Hyundai is celebrating receiving a major accolade for its highly praised Santa Fe SUV. The 2.2 CRTD GSi 7-seat was named ‘Best Buy Large 4x4 under £30,000’ at the prestigious What Car? 2007 awards.
Commenting on the Awards, What Car? said: “The Santa Fe is priced to rival Land Rover’s Freelander, but its size puts it up against some far meatier opposition – which makes its value all the more remarkable.”
Available with seven seats and a high level of standard equipment, the Santa Fe is priced from £20,020 on the road (5-seat 2.2 CRTD GSi). And, as What Car?’s recognition confirms, competes squarely with the very best in the large SUV market.
With seven seats, the Santa Fe also represents a stylish and highly practical alternative to a people carrier or MPV, offering equal space and flexibility but with the added benefit of four-wheel drive when required.
Commenting further about the Santa Fe in its current awards issue, What Car? states: “One extra feather in its cap is a five year warranty. Off-Roaders tend not to have the greatest reputation for reliability. A Santa Fe shouldn’t give you any problems, but that warranty is superb peace of mind.”
What Car?’s other ‘Best Buy Large 4x4’s’ were Land Rover’s Discovery in the
£30-40,000 price range and Range Rover for over £40,000.
Gaydon, Warwickshire, 19 January 2007 – Land Rover was awarded two prestigious accolades at the What Car? Car of the Year Awards ceremony in London last night, beating tough competition to win Best Compact 4x4 and Best Large 4x4.
The all-new Land Rover Freelander 2 2.2 TD4 GS fought off opposition from the new Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Nissan X-Trail in what is one of the most hotly contested sectors to win Best Compact 4x4, while the Discovery 3 TDV6 SE auto beat its rivals again to be named Best Large 4x4 for an impressive third year running.
What Car? group editor, Steve Fowler, said: “Land Rover really has got the 4x4 market sewn up. The new Freelander brings new levels of ability, comfort, refinement and cool to the compact 4x4 segment, just as the Discovery has done in the large 4x4 market. Both are worthy What Car? Award winners.”
Land Rover’s managing director, Phil Popham, said: “We are absolutely delighted to win these prestigious awards from What Car? for both the Freelander 2 and the Discovery 3, off the back of our second successive record sales year.”
Popham continued: “The Freelander 2 is our most fuel-efficient model to date and has been launched to widespread acclaim from both the media and customers –
who now offset the carbon dioxide for the first 45,000 miles’ use through our industry leading programme with Climate Care. This award is recognition of Freelander 2’s outstanding breadth of capability and gives us a good start as we look forward to the year ahead.
“Achieving the Best Large 4x4 award for three consecutive years for the
Discovery 3 TDV6 is a testament to its class-leading diesel engine, its versatility and its all-round package.”
The Freelander 2 is on-sale now at Land Rover dealerships throughout the UK, priced from £20,935 to £33,990, including the contribution to offset carbon dioxide emissions. It has already sold nearly 1,500 units in the UK, since going on sale in December.
The biggest selling model in the UK and in Europe is expected to be the TD4 manual with a combined fuel economy figure of 37.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 194g/km.
The Discovery 3 has sold nearly 30,000 units in the UK and 115,000 units globally since launch in 2004, and continues to collect critical accolades the world over with 94 international awards to date.
* On sale in the UK 1st March 2007
* Distinctively styled five-door crossover vehicle combining estate car versatility, rugged off-road styling, safety-oriented all-wheel drive ability and athletic dynamics
* Priced from £19,449 to £24,749
* Powered initially by a new 138bhp 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine, with a 154bhp 2.2 turbo diesel and all-new 168bhp 2.4-litre petrol engine arriving at the end of the year
* One-step fold-and-tumble second row seats
* Innovative 'Hide and Seat' third row of seats for occasional 5+2 seating
* Familiar Equippe, Warrior and Elegance line-up that combine high specification with wallet-friendly pricing
* Anticipated 5,600 sales in first 12 months
When Mitsubishi's all-new Outlander arrives in showrooms on 1st March it will enter the UK's fiercely competitive mid-sized SUV sector armed with fresh new styling, all-new chassis architecture, Euro IV-compliant turbo diesel power, electronically controlled all-wheel drive, seven-seat versatility, generous levels of standard safety and luxury specification and a low £19,449 start-off price.
With styling clearly inspired by the 2002 Pajero Evo 2+2 concept, the new Outlander is instantly identifiable as a member of Mitsubishi Motors' rejuvenated line-up of new models. Key design points are its bold grille flanked by a set of piercing headlamps, that create a strong visual link with the new Shogun and L200 pick-up, the distinctively slashed back third side window, boldly flared wheel arches and split tailgate.
The Outlander sits on a new platform frame, Mitsubishi's first-ever global platform, developed in conjunction with DaimlerChrysler. Light and stiff, the chassis along with the MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension and rack and pinion steering, has been tuned to deliver an engaging and sure-footed driving experience. For example, the Outlander's roof is made of lightweight aluminium to lower the car's centre of gravity, and in turn reduce roll and boost cornering agility.
Key to this driver-orientation is Mitsubishi Motors' rally-inspired AWC All Wheel Control four-wheel drivetrain. With a simple twist of a dial mounted on the cabin's centre console, the Outlander driver can electronically select three driving modes: 2WD front-wheel drive for economy-biased every day driving, 4WD Auto which instantly and effectively transfers torque to the wheels with the most grip up to a 70:30 split, and 4WD Lock which splits torque up to a 50:50 split between front and rear axle as and when required when driving in more difficult conditions. The AWC system has been designed with enhanced on-road stability and safety in mind, as well as allowing the Outlander to tackle wet, snowy or muddy tracks and undertake towing duties.
Like the Grandis, the Outlander is powered by a Volkswagen-sourced 1968cc intercooled turbo diesel four-cylinder engine. Featuring an advanced common rail injection system and a variable geometry turbo charger, it produces 138bhp at 4000rpm and a healthy 310Nm of torque at 1750rpm. Naturally, it meets demanding Euro IV emission regulations. Hooked up to a six-speed manual transmission with ratios developed to tap into the engine's deep torque reservoir, the Outlander sprints to 62mph in 10.8seconds and has a maximum speed of 116mph. It's fitted with 294mm ventilated disc brakes up front and 302mm disc brakes at the rear, backed up by ABS anti-lock and EBD electronic brakeforce distribution systems.
In the Equippe model, the engine returns 42.8mpg on the combined cycle (40.9mpg in the Warrior and Elegance models) and posts a tax-effective CO2 figure of 174g/km (183g/km for the Warrior and Elegance models). Towards the end of the year, the powertrain line-up will be bolstered by the arrival of a more powerful 154bhp 2.2 turbo diesel four-cylinder engine as well as the first iteration of Mitsubishi's 'World Engine', an all-new 168bhp 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine developed in collaboration with DaimlerChrysler and Hyundai Motor Company. It will come with a six-speed CVT constantly variable transmission as standard.
The Outlander's cabin design reflects its sporting aspirations, with a number of motorcycle motifs like its deeply cowled instruments and the arching centre console that's reminiscent of a motorbike's fuel tank. Particular attention has been paid to the quality of the plastics, leathers and fabrics used, and their fit and finish.
Outlander will offer an outstanding degree of packaging flexibility. At 4640mm long, 1800mm wide and 1680mm high (1720mm with roof rails) Outlander casts a smaller shadow than many traditional family estates, while still offering a spacious and well proportioned five-seater cabin with generous head, leg and shoulder room. A split tailgate, capable of supporting 200kg, provides easy access to the large and regularly shaped 541-litre boot, which can be extended to a vast 1691-litres with the second row of seats folded away.
Outlander owners won't have to follow any complicated routines to fold down the seats – by holding down a small button secreted in the side of the boot for three seconds, the second row seats electrically flip forward to create a flat load bay for accommodating larger objects. This feature is standard on all derivatives. This versatility is further boosted on Warrior and Elegance models by Mitsubishi's innovative 'Hide&Seat' third row of seats, which lies beneath the floor of the boot. When two further seats are needed, they simply fold out from the boot floor to create a third row of seats, complete with integrated head rests, turning the five-seater Outlander into an occasional seven-seater as and when needed.
As with all Mitsubishi vehicles, the new Outlander will combine generous levels of standard luxury and safety specifications with an aggressive pricing policy. The model line-up starts with the £19,449 Equippe, which comes with twin front airbags, air conditioning, keyless entry, six-speaker CD/MP3 player, ASTC Active Stability and Traction Control safety system, electric windows and mirrors, and rear spoiler as standard.
To this, the £21,999 Warrior adds, among other features, 18inch alloy wheels, 'Hide&Seat' folding third row seats, side and curtain airbags, a striking body kit, cruise control, Bluetooth handsfree telephone kit and a leather-covered steering wheel and gearlever. The flagship Elegance model adds heated leather seats, sunroof, satellite navigation complete with its own 30GB music server and hard disc drive for high speed data access, DVD player and a nine-speaker 650W Rockford FosgateTM Premium Sound System, as well as numerous other standard features.
Mitsubishi expects to sell around 5,600 Outlanders in the UK within the first 12 months of sales – some 10% of the annual UK mid-sized SUV market. At 60%, the Warrior range will account for the bulk of sales, with the Elegance model appealing to 30% of buyers and the remainder opting for the budget-conscious Equippe.
Tokyo and Paris, January 17, 2007 - Mitsubishi Motors Corporation and PSA Peugeot Citroën announced today that they have signed an agreement under which Mitsubishi Motors will be supplied with diesel engines by PSA Peugeot Citroën in a new collaborative agreement.
Under this agreement PSA Peugeot Citroën will start supplying Mitsubishi Motors with its state-of-the-art 2.2l common-rail, direct-injection diesel engine from mid 2007. This engine will also be fitted with a PSA Peugeot Citroën patented particulate filter to deliver outstanding environmental performance.
Mitsubishi Motors is to introduce its new SUV model, the Outlander in Europe this month, and towards the end of 2007, will add a new diesel version powered by the 2.2l PSA Peugeot Citroën diesel engine.
The Peugeot 4007 and Citroën C-Crosser will benefit from this 2.2l engine upon their commercial launch, i.e. mid- 2007.
In July 2005, the two companies decided to join forces and work on an SUV-type 4WD vehicle for PSA Peugeot Citroën based on a new platform already under development at MMC. This new agreement, which was not in the original scheme of the partnership, means that the two companies extend their operational ties into the field of component supply. This highlights the good relationship of the two groups.
Mitsubishi Motors and PSA Peugeot Citroën will pursue their cooperation strategy in "win-win" areas.
Pressure washers can damage tyre sidewalls in only 5 seconds says TyreSafe
Hand car wash teams have mushroomed dramatically in the UK in the past few years. Estimates suggest that there are between 5,000 to 10,000 two or three man teams up and down the country offering this service to motorists. However, TyreSafe – formerly the Tyre Industry Council, the UK’s leading tyre safety organisation – has issued a warning of a potential safety risk involving the equipment used by these groups that could lead to potential tyre failure.
There is growing evidence that pressure washers used by hand car wash providers can cause tyre damage unknown to most motorists and that they could be putting their own lives and that of their passengers and other road users at risk.
Heavy-duty pressure washer machines are capable of dispensing water at extremely high pressure and if aimed directly at the tyre, the jet can cause sidewall damage and degradation particularly if the water is heated or if the pressurised water is applied for an extended period.
According to a recent survey by TyreSafe, it was revealed that over 80% of drivers were unaware of the impact that pressure washing can have on their tyres and the danger posed.
In fact, German safety group DEKRA has discovered that if a washer nozzle is held close to a tyre at very high pressure, serious damage can occur in just five seconds! Even tyres that appear normal after being subjected to a pressure washer may have microscopic perforations, which can weaken the sidewall and cause a possible blow-out.
Other contributory factors to sidewall damage are the width of the water jet and the strength of any soaps or detergents used. Strong soap can remove protective chemicals that are embedded in the sidewall – usually resulting in the visual indication of brown watermarks – which can result in a significant reduction in durability.
For worry-free washing, TyreSafe has the following tips for motorists:
* Ideally, a light-to-medium duty pressure washer should be used (110 bar or less)
* The washer jet nozzle should be kept at least 20 cm from the tyre surface
* Always use a fan nozzle to clean tyres, rather than a circular nozzle
* Prevent prolonged exposure to a specific area of the tyre
* Avoid aiming the water jet directly at the join between the tyre and the wheel rim
For further information please contact Chris Wakley, TyreSafe, 21-25 St Anne’s Court, London W1F 0BJ Tel: 020 734 6363 mobile 07970 674612 email: email@example.com
In this video clip, learn how Jeep mounted their new Wrangler vertically to the wall. Internally, it’s known as the “Wall Jeep.” The new, four-door Wrangler had to be modified and lightened in order to hang on the wall safely. The engine and transmission are removed and the suspension is locked in place. Music lovers will notice the odd use of Wesley Willis at the end of the clip.
Toyota’s powerful presence in the UK pick-up market is set to become even stronger with the launch this week of its new 3.0-litre D-4D 170 and higher-output 2.5-litre D-4D 120 engines.
These new, Euro IV-compliant powertrains give the legendary Hilux more power, more torque, cleaner emissions and more refined performance, whether travelling on road or in the rough. They also strengthen Hilux’s profile as a vehicle that ticks all the right boxes, whether it’s being driven for work or for pleasure.
The new 3.0-litre D-4D 170 engine produces 169bhp (171 DIN hp) with 343Nm of torque available from 1,400 all the way up to 3,400rpm. Available in the Hilux Double Cab in HL3 and Invincible trim, it can be specified with five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. For improved off-road handling, the 3.0-litre D-4D Hilux is fitted as standard with a limited slip differential.
The revised 2.5-litre D-4D 120 engine sees power up by 17 per cent to 118bhp (120 DIN hp) and torque boosted from 260Nm to 325Nm, with more than 300Nm produced between 1,600 and 2,600rpm. This gives the Hilux an excellent balance of flexible driving performance and low fuel consumption.
The 2007 Single, Extra and Double Cab Hilux range is available from £12,170 (CV on-the-road price, excluding VAT) for the 2.5 D-4D 120 Single Cab HL2 2WD. All versions come as standard with air conditioning, electric windows, remote central locking, driver and front passenger airbags and ABS.
A Subaru Outback 2.5 has come to the rescue of a crack military ski team currently competing in top European skiing championships.
The symmetrical all-wheel drive Outback has been put through its paces in the snows of Norway as a back-up vehicle during the intense training carried out by the 26th Regiment Royal Artillery Nordic Ski Team.
The six-man team comprises: Capt Tom Palmer, Bdr Adam Swinscoe, LBdr Richard McGarry, Gns Dean Rathbone, Alex Barber and George Harris.
They have recently completed biathlon training, roller ski practice and one month’s training in Skeikampen, Norway. This was followed by Christmas in Austria for the RA/RAC Championships.
Their final show-down is at the end of January in the Div Championships in Les Contamines, France.
The Subaru Outback has been provided by Subaru (UK) Limited and Griffin Tax Free Sales
* New Captiva from only £16,995 on-the-road
* Available to order now
* In retailers June 2007
* On show at dealers around the country this month
The order books have opened for Chevrolet’s most exciting new model yet, and it builds on the brand’s reputation for incredible value for money.
With an impressive equipment list, stylish good looks, up to seven seats and brilliant all-round flexibility, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Captiva would cost a lot more than it does – yet prices start at just £16,995 on-the-road.
What’s more, even the entry-level model is superbly equipped – the front-wheel drive 2.4-litre LS 5-speed manual comes with air conditioning, a six-speaker radio-CD with MP3 capability and remote controls, electrically-adjustable mirrors, tailgate with separate opening rear window, front, side and roof airbags, 16-inch alloy wheels, five full-size three-point seatbelts, charcoal-coloured roof rails, remote two-stage central locking and a Thatcham-approved security system with deadlocks.
All diesel versions of Captiva are equipped with a sophisticated four-wheel drive system, incorporating Descent Control, 4WD traction control and ESP as standard.
In LT specification, the car can be ordered with a choice of five or seven seats, priced at £19,995 and £21,095 respectively.
As well as the four-wheel drive system, LT trim adds 17-inch alloy wheels, front fog lamps, a leather steering wheel and gearknob, an eight-speaker radio-CD player with MP3 capability, a glovebox cooling system and a passenger side under-seat storage drawer, while seven-seat models also get reverse parking sensors as standard. As well as the standard five-speed manual model, a five-speed automatic version of the seven-seat LT is available, priced at £22,195.
At the top of the range, the LTX model costs £23,695 as a manual, or £24,795 with automatic transmission. Standard equipment above the LT includes full leather trim with heated front seats, 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic lighting control and rain-sensing wipers, cruise control, a multi-function display panel, a radio with six-CD changer and MP3 capability, climate control with air quality system, silver-coloured front and rear skid plates, stainless steel sill plates, power-folding heated door mirrors with integrated turn signals and a visible twin-pipe exhaust system with chrome detailing. All LTX models come with seven seats.
In readiness for its delivery to the first customers in the summer, Captiva is currently touring the UK, visiting Chevrolet retailers across the network with special winter-themed open nights. Invited guests will be able to take refreshments and canapés while being given the chance to preview Captiva close-up, while special winter-themed craft activities will be laid on for the children.
All versions of Captiva are available to order now, with the first cars set to be delivered to customers in June.
Massive Public Opposition to Road Tolls - and a Revolution in the Political Process. Let's make it a Million!
The petition against road pricing, set up by Shropshire ABD member Peter Roberts on the Prime Minister's website (1), today passed ¼ million signatures. It is more than ten times larger than any of the other 1700 petitions submitted to the site since it opened in November 2006, and is now being mentioned on over 1100 websites, according to search engine "Alltheweb" (2)!
Peter's petition states: "We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to scrap the planned vehicle tracking and road pricing policy." It can be readily found via a link on the ABD website www.abd.org.uk.
"This level of support for a petition against road pricing shows that the public are massively against the whole concept," said the ABD's Nigel Humphries. "We believe it will quickly grow towards the 1 million mark as media coverage increases."
Peter Roberts, an account manager from Telford, Shropshire, began the petition in November, shortly after joining the ABD, and e-mailed the link to about 30 friends and colleagues. He did this entirely on his own initiative - the ABD does not have full time staff and relies on its members to drive forward campaigns on issues that motivate them. This is how the organisation works.
When the ABD discovered the petition and realised it had been started by a member, a banner was placed on the ABD website, which is visited by tens of thousands of people interested in transport and road safety issues. The petition passed 50,000 at Christmas, and 100,000 in the first week of 2007, as people felt strongly enough about the issue to encourage others to sign. The speed with which the 250,000 mark has been passed shows this growth is accelerating.
"I have always reacted strongly against the idea of paying per mile to use the roads," said Peter. "It is going to be unfair, and will limit our personal freedom and economic activity. It will be colossally expensive to implement and time consuming for drivers as they work out how to minimise the cost of their journeys - or even whether they can afford to travel at all. Road pricing has nothing to recommend it, especially when fuel duty already charges people according to how far they drive. This all seems blindingly obvious to me - so starting the petition seemed the logical thing to do."
Unlike traditional motoring organisations, the ABD has always taken a resolute stance against road pricing in all its forms. This position has now been fully vindicated by the scale of support for this petition amongst computer literate people.
"We think this petition will radically change the political scene," continued Nigel Humphries. "Hardworking people have become alienated from politics because they don't have the time or inclination to struggle with its complexities. When they do try to put their view across, rational, well argued points are fobbed off with nonsense - spin, platitudes and stonewalling. So they give up, believing the world to have gone mad. Their silence clears the way for a small number of extremists to dominate policy making with their own agendas. The 'e - petition' initiative gives the people a new way to make their point, and to know they are not alone. We welcome this new political era."
UK MOTORSPORT INDUSTRY’S FINEST
Drivers tend to dominate the motorsport headlines, but their efforts would be meaningless without the many businesses that combine to bring competitive cars to the startline. To recognise the UK motorsport industry’s high achievers from the past year, the Motorsport Industry Association (MIA) last night (Thursday, January 11) announced the winners of its coveted Business Excellence Awards during its annual Awards Dinner at the Autosport International Show, NEC, Birmingham.
All motorsport companies are eligible to win one of these sought-after awards, nominations for which are made by the MIA membership. This demonstrates that the winners have earned the respect and support of their industry peers, and makes the awards particularly meaningful to their recipients.
Taking place on the evening of the first day of the Show (NEC, Birmingham, January 11-14), the sell-out dinner was attended by an audience of over 500 representatives of the international motorsport community. It was hosted by Autosport International with major support from Carter & Carter plc and additional backing from the individual award sponsors, Shangri-La Hotels and Scottish Development International.
The 2006 award winners in the seven key categories were as follows:
The Business of the Year Award (sponsored by Xtrac)
The Teamwork Award (sponsored by TAC Europe)
Winner: JCB Dieselmax and Visioneering team
The Small Business of the Year Award (sponsored by Performance Racing Industry)
Winner: Lifeline Fire & Safety Systems
The Export Achievement Award (sponsored by Autosport International)
The Rally Business of the Year Award (sponsored by MIRA)
Winner: Wales Rally GB
The Technology and Innovation Award (sponsored by Ricardo UK)
Winner: Pi Research
The Service to the Industry Award (sponsored by Advanced Manufacturing Park)
First presented in 1995, these MIA Awards were created to recognise excellence at all levels within the motorsport and high performance industry.
Trafficmaster’s Trackstar TM100 stolen vehicle tracking product is among the first to receive the new Thatcham approval, Thatcham Quality Accreditation (TQA).
TQA is as a robust new assessment, giving customers greater assurance of excellence by evaluating manufacturing processes as well as product quality.
Thatcham’s TQA standard replaces its existing Q Class listing from 12th January 2007. Trackstar TM100, formerly known as Trackstar Plus, will be listed under the new accreditation from this date and will complement Trafficmaster’s Trackstar5, which already holds Thatcham Category 5 accreditation.
Trackstar TM100 is appropriate for cars and light commercial vehicles and is recognised by all leading insurance companies, offering some drivers a reduced insurance premium.
Philip Hale at Trafficmaster, said: “With Trackstar5 already Thatcham Cat5-accredited, this additional TQA endorsement for Trackstar TM100 recognises the quality of the wider Trackstar range.”
DETROIT (Jan. 7, 2007) – Following a record setting sales trend and the successful launch of the all-new G sedan, Infiniti is keeping the momentum going with today's unveiling of the 2008 Infiniti QX full-size luxury sport utility vehicle at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
With a new interior and refined exterior, Infiniti is enhancing and improving what customers already love about the QX – styling, technology, comfort – without compromising its towing capacity and interior roominess.
"Like the all-new G Sedan, the 2008 QX demonstrates Infiniti's philosophy of constantly evolving in the competitive luxury segment," said Mark Igo, vice president and general manager of Infiniti. "Despite being voted by consumers as top in its class in the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, we've given the new QX significant upgrades in the areas of interior design, performance, luxury features, and technology."
The new QX, which goes on sale at Infiniti retailers nationwide in April 2007, is the first major revision since it joined the luxury SUV scene in 2004 with a number of class-leading standard features. The exterior enhancements to the new QX include new front and rear fascias, new front fog lamps, new roof rack, standard 20-inch chromed aluminum-alloy wheels, and two new exterior colors – Lakeshore Slate and Serengeti Sand.
The QX's new interior is highlighted by a new instrument panel cluster design with Fine Vision electroluminescent instrumentation and a new genuine wood grain interior trim. Comfort and convenience is enhanced with a new 3rd-row power folding seat, standard heated steering wheel on the 4WD model, and a new stone interior.
Technological advancements include a new standard Premium Audio System with Bose® Speakers, Burr-Brown Digital Audio Converter and 9.5-gigabyte Music Box hard drive and compact flash slot for playing MP3 files, Infiniti Navigation system and Intelligent Key.
Also available is an Infiniti Mobile Entertainment System with a larger screen (8.0 inches versus the previous 7.0), and a standard XM® NavTraffic™ system with real-time traffic information (requires active XM® satellite radio subscription) – which allows drivers to chose the most efficient route to get to their destination.
The QX maintains its class-leading 2nd row roominess, go-anywhere ruggedness and the abundant power and up to 9,000-pound towing capability (when properly equipped) of the standard 320-horsepower DOHC 5.6-liter V8 engine.
Infiniti is keeping to its promise of delivering three new cars in thirteen months by introducing the next-generation Infiniti G Coupe and a new crossover sport utility concept at the 2007 New York International Auto Show in April.
Vintage Tyre Supplies has announced that original equipment replacement Land Rover tyres are now available.
In keeping with the company’s aims to reintroduce discontinued tyres for motoring enthusiasts, they are now supplying the Avon Traction Mileage cross-ply tyre in 600-16C 8 ply at £129.50, and 700-16C 8 ply at £135.50 (plus VAT).
The tyre was developed for serious off-road work and features rugged shoulder buttresses for even traction.
Motorists due to replace their brakes can now upgrade to a Performance Brake Disc at the lowest price ever offered in the UK. The brake supplier describes the deal as unbeatable and is prepared to guarantee its claim.
For a limited time, Car Parts Direct will supply a set of brake pads at half their price when purchased with a pair of its Rossini performance brake discs. Rossini discs don’t come cheap compared to standard discs, however motorists are not only guaranteed improved performance and half price pads, they are also guaranteed the lowest price in the UK for the performance brake discs too.
Mark Cornwall of Car Parts Direct said, “If any motorist can buy this brake upgrade package better we will be pleased to refund them double the difference – our increased buying power with this promotion will bring huge savings from the manufacturers, which we will now pass on to our customers.”
Rossini’s special multi-drilled and grooved signature performance brake discs don’t only look terrific, they are designed to provide improved stopping power too. Grooves in the brake disc reduce brake pad glazing and repel brake dust. Drilling cools the discs quicker and helps improve brake grip – instantly.
Titanium in the discs provides added strength to prevent warping – the main cause of brake judder. Rossini performance brake discs can improve the stopping distance by as much as 40%.
The unique brake disc design has the manufacturer’s logo embedded into the disc face. So any sign of uneven wear is quickly detected. When the logo eventually disappears you know that the thickness is down to the legal safety limit.
The Rossini performance discs are available online, priced from around a £100 a pair. The half priced brake pad promotion ends March 30th 2007 or while stocks last. Visit www.carparts-direct.co.uk or call 0870 977 9666.
Volvo's adding some truckish cues to the XC70's exterior in celebration of its move to the EUCD platform. The shiny accents around the fog lamps, along the rockers, and in the rear fascia recall some ambulance conversions we've seen. The Tupperware theme of the current XC is carried over to the new wagon: we wish they'd stop. It looks okay when the car's new, but once a couple of years have passed the plastic looks chalky and takes on a mackerel pattern. The V70 wagon is handsome, the XC has always looked like its buck-toothed cousin; this trend continues. For 2008, Volvo's added a retainer-esque piece of shinyness to the chin spoiler, and the grille has grown significantly.
Once again, the Land Rover-backed category in the international Travel Photographer of the Year competition has attracted some outstanding images, with the 2006 winning shots presenting a variety of definitions of the category theme – ‘Wild’.
‘Wild’ was won by André Lichtenberg, a Brazilian-born photographer now based in Hove. His stark black and white images of Brazilian beaches caught the judges’ eye, winning him – ironically - a trip back to his homeland. His prize is an adventurous journey for two to Brazil, courtesy of Land Rover and Audley Travel, plus a custom-built website from Iridius, and Adobe Photoshop CS2 software.
North American based Swiss photographer Peter Dettling came second in this category, with a beautiful group of wildlife and landscapes images, while amateur photographer Amber Maitland from Poole in Dorset was Highly Commended for her black and white portfolio of Antarctica. Christian Aslund (Sweden) was Commended for his energetic portfolio of ski jumpers.
Peter Dettling won a Hewlett Packard Photosmart Pro B9180 A3+ Photo Printer, designed specifically for professional photographers, plus a superb Intuos3 A5 Wide graphics tablet, ideal for use with widescreen displays, HDTV monitors or multi-monitor set-ups. Amber Maitland receives a Lee Filters Starter Kit plus Fujifilm Multijet Inkjet paper, while Christian Aslund wins a hardback copy of Travel Photographer of the Year - Journey Two - plus Fujifilm Multijet Inkjet Paper.
The winning images appear on www.tpoty.com. In addition, all the winning and other highly-placed images from TPOTY 2006, plus those from the 2005 competition, are also showcased in Journey Two, the second portfolio book from TPOTY. Priced at £27.50 (plus P&P), this beautiful 164-page hardback book is available now from www.tpoty.com. Featuring over 230 glorious photographs, it would make a perfect present for a photographer or travel lover.
The winning images will be on display at Focus on Imaging, Europe’s largest imaging show, at the NEC, Birmingham, from February 25th-28th.
More about Travel Photographer of the Year
Photographers from 46 countries submitted over 10,000 images for TPOTY 2006.This is the third year that Land Rover has supported the competition, which is open to amateur and professional photographers alike. TPOTY features four portfolio categories and one single image competition, and there is a special category for the under-17s. Each year the UK’s leading 4x4 manufacturer has sponsored a TPOTY category that reflects the qualities of adventure and excellence that are synonymous with Land Rover itself.
The 2006 judging panel comprised: Guardian travel writer, Ben Mallalieu; Brigitte Lardinois, special projects director, Magnum Photos; Melissa de Witt, editor of Hotshoe International magazine; Mark Bannister, digital and film retouching expert; Debbie Ireland, picture editor and former head of AA World Picture Library; Colin Findlay, head of World Illustrated at photoshot.com; photographers Jeremy Hoare, Nick Meers and Chris Weston, and TPOTY founder, the photographer Chris Coe.
After several years in the shadows, British photographers dominated this year’s Travel Photographer of the Year competition, taking four out of the six awards, including that of Overall Winner. That honour fell to Julian Love, a professional photographer from London, whose crisp images of London, Nepal, Egypt and Namibia won over the panel of judges, securing him the title of Travel Photographer of the Year, 2006.
TPOTY 2007 launches in March – full details will be available on www.tpoty.com at that time. Budding travel photographers can hone their own skills at the TPOTY travel photography courses in the UK and overseas – again, full details can be found on www.tpoty.com.
As a prime example of how the motorsport industry can help manufacturers build more environmentally friendly road cars, Xtrac, the specialist transmission technology company, will showcase the world's first commercially viable diesel-electric powertrain developed for a small family car at the Autosport International Show being staged at the NEC this week.
Xtrac’s experience of designing high-performance motorsport transmissions has resulted in a compact, mechanically efficient, fully integrated gearbox for the Zytek developed powertrain, which meets the programme’s low cost requirement for high volume series production.
The powertrain will form the centrepiece for a significant display of new transmission developments from Xtrac including its brand new 529 gearbox for sportscar racing, 516 gearbox for touring cars, and the transmission system developed for the JCB DIESELMAX land speed record. The show runs from 11-12 January at the NEC, where the company will be exhibiting in Hall 19 on stand number E351.
The Zytek Xtrac hybrid showpiece fully meets the requirements of the Ultra Low Carbon Car Challenge. This £10m UK government initiative is aimed at producing an energy-efficient small family car with exceptionally low CO2 emissions of under 100g/km, equivalent to a fuel consumption of at least 75mpg (3.8l/100km).
Zytek’s novel solution is a dual-mode system which combines the high efficiency of series hybrids at low vehicle speeds with the high efficiency of parallel hybrids at high vehicle speeds. It eliminates the compromises of other dual-mode hybrids by using sophisticated control strategies to replace clutches and complex epicyclic gearsets. The gearbox design and electronic controls allow the diesel engine and electric motors to be fully optimised for their function within the drivetrain.
Xtrac managing director Peter Digby commented: “This new and innovative hybrid driveline really does drive home the technological capabilities of the motorsport industry and its ability to deliver energy-efficient solutions to the mainstream automotive sector.”
Another highlight of the Xtrac display is the transmission system developed for the 350mph record breaking performance of the JCB DIESELMAX project, which smashed the diesel land speed record at Bonneville in August last year. Xtrac supplied both gearboxes and differentials specified for the vehicle, which features two complete powertrain systems, one driving the front wheels and another driving the rear wheels.
“Within the demanding timescale for this project we took a derivative of our existing 427 sportscar transmission, packaged the automated clutch system from the JCB Fastrac vehicle and designed a bespoke differential assembly,” said technical director Adrian Moore. “It was true concurrent engineering between Xtrac, Visioneering and JCB utilising our Unigraphics NX4 CAD system, without our motorsport approach I doubt the project could have been completed to schedule.
“As you can imagine, there was significant development work involved in synchronising the automated clutch and gear changes, which clearly had to occur simultaneously and with absolute precision,” said Moore. “Any error whatsoever could have resulted in the gearboxes being in different gears, with potentially catastrophic consequences. Our laboratory test rigs were fully deployed beforehand running both transmissions and control systems simultaneously to prove the system’s integrity before venturing onto the airfield and subsequently the salt flats, thereby ensuring the safest possible passage for driver Andy Green.”
Also on display is Xtrac’s new 529 series gearbox, which is suitable for LMP1, LMP2 and GT1 class vehicles, and recently entered production at the company’s UK facility at Thatcham in Berkshire in readiness for the 2007 race season.
“Our new gearbox for endurance sports car racing is based on our Le Mans winning 229 transverse design, which has been one of the most reliable and successful gearboxes to be produced by Xtrac,” said development director Cliff Hawkins. “In developing the new 529 gearbox, we deliberately specified a significant number of well proven carryover parts for optimum reliability, combined with technical improvements in a number of key areas.”
The 529 gearbox is 3.4kg (7.5lb) lighter than its predecessor and its development has led to a narrower lightweight cluster, a revised gear-change rack & pneumatic actuator, improved oil feed galleries and, for ease of maintenance, a side mounted alternator and rear mounted starter. The new gearbox can fit inside the minimum diffuser size permitted by the latest Le Mans Prototype regulations without any modifications, and the narrow viscous-coupling plate differential permits longer driveshafts. Options include a low loss bevel bearing for increased mechanical efficiency.
Another state-of-the-art racecar transmission being shown is Xtrac’s ‘516’ front wheel drive gearbox developed for the World Touring Car Championship and other worldwide touring car championships. Presented as a resin mock-up last year, the new transmission makes it to this year’s show as a fully finished production gearbox, which has already been delivered to the launch customer.
The new gearbox makes use of reduced centre distance F1 derived gear ratios to minimise its mass, size and inertia, and the complete transmission weighs just 30.5kg. The gear-change system incorporates the latest polynomial barrel track design and a low inertia rack to improve gear-change response and driver feel. The low positioning of the gear cluster lowers the centre of gravity and enables easy removal from the car under the chassis rail. The gear cluster is fully exposed when removed from the gearbox allowing quick inspection and ease of access for ratio changes.
Xtrac will also display its 6-speed synchromesh gearbox developed specifically for high performance supercars. Intended for road use, such vehicles demand high levels of refinement and shift quality, which can be difficult to achieve with a bespoke design that may lack adequate engineering development because of ultra low volume budgetary constraints. Xtrac’s solution is a highly refined ‘one size fits all’ transverse transaxle system, which can be specified for virtually any supercar, and is the result of a major engineering development programme. Its first application is the Brammo Rogue GT; the first 1,000 Nm V12 supercar designed and built in the USA.
Further demonstrating that the motorsport industry can work to very short timescales, Xtrac has already responded to feedback from customers attending the recent Professional Motorsport World exhibition in Cologne, with a new production ready endurance kit for its 406 gearbox. Designed primarily for use in front wheel drive touring car applications, this transverse six-speed sequential racing gearbox is being used increasingly for longer races such as the VLN series in Germany. The endurance kit upgrade helps preserve the 406 transmission’s renowned durability for these longer races, while maintaining its ease of servicing; ratio changes are accomplished on the bench after the ratio cluster has been removed as one unit on its cluster plate. Value engineered to meet strict cost constraints, this gearbox offers the highest quality at a cost effective price.
Xtrac has also introduced recently a new range of specially developed lubricants. Working closely with the Neo Synthetic Oil Company, Xtrac has helped develop specific oils and greases from this American supplier tailored to meet the requirements of Xtrac’s high performance transmissions, limited slip differentials, driveshaft assemblies and hypoid axles.
The new XL1 synthetic oil is rated SAE 75W-90 and includes a newly developed additive 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 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.
Other products on display at the show underscore the breadth and depth of Xtrac’s experience in designing axles, differentials, gearboxes, steering rack-and-pinion components and systems, as well as other driveline components not only for the motorsport industry but increasingly for high performance applications in the aerospace, automotive, defence and marine sectors.
Kia Motors America (KMA) has unveiled the all-new Kia Kue crossover concept vehicle at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, USA. The V8-powered, all-wheel drive, high performance Kue is designed to deliver an exhilarating drive, in and out of town, on- and off-road.
“In recent years Kia has instilled growing confidence and integrity in our customers’ minds with vehicles that provide quality, value and safety,” said Len Hunt, executive vice president and COO of KMA. “Now the Kia Kue embodies the next phase of our brand evolution, which will inspire pride and passion in our customers through its great design.”
The 4.7-metre long Kia Kue employs a different approach to the crossover utility vehicle segment by taking elements of what makes a great Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV) to a new level, namely performance. Kue is designed first and foremost as a driver’s vehicle. While possessing many SUV characteristics and capabilities, the Kia Kue focuses more on giving the driver an exhilarating driving experience – on the open road and on the way to the DIY centre – rather than on how much it can carry.
The Kia Kue has a monocoque platform that sits on giant 22-inch diameter wheels with a 2,900 mm wheelbase, packaged into an overall length of 4,724 mm. Though purely a concept, the Kia Kue does, however, hint at future styling directions for Kia Motors.
“Good design shouldn’t look like you are trying too hard,” said Tom Kearns, KMA chief designer. “The future Kia direction will incorporate the ‘less is more’ philosophy but still include a heavy dose of boldness to be distinct.”
On the inside, Kue continues the clean, athletic theme with bold understated simplicity. With a four-seater interior arrangement and individual custom-built bucket seats, Kue is a vehicle both driver and passengers can enjoy. A technology-driven interface designed to adjust to driver and passenger preference is the focus of the interior functions. Touch pad and motion-sensing controls are used to adjust systems such as audio and climate control. The entire touch-pad set up is programmable so that one surface may activate the stereo for one driver and temperature for another. Rear passengers have their own, separate interface.
The generation-next functionality of the interior is complemented by the use of sophisticated seat and surface materials and a modern colour palette. Carefully selected materials and textures are vital elements of the interior design of Kue and they create a luxury feel that is both modern and inviting. A mid-dark interior theme with highlights was chosen in place of the typical light interior common to many concept cars. Overall, the Kue interior presents a new perspective with an emphasis on comfortable, user-friendly interaction.
Just as inviting is Kue’s appeal to be driven in a sporty fashion. Fitted with a 400 bhp DOHC, supercharged 4.6-litre V8 petrol engine that manages 400 lb ft (542 Nm) of torque, Kue is a true high performance vehicle. Helping the driver harness all that power is a full-time all-wheel drive system yielding predictable driving characteristics both on- and off-road.
Developed by the KMA design team as an expression of Kia’s global design language, the Kia Kue is a true reflection of the Kia brand and the passion it embraces.
Veracruz Unites Space, Powerful Performance, Interior Elegance and Safety Satisfying the Most Demanding Customer
Veracruz Unites Space, Powerful Performance, Interior Elegance and Safety Satisfying the Most Demanding Customer
DETROIT, Mich., January 8, 2007 – The new Veracruz midsize crossover made its North American debut today at the 2007 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). Just as the Hyundai Azera is altering perceptions about premium sedans, Veracruz breaks new ground in premium crossovers. Hyundai has once again made luxury and performance attainable in previously unthinkable ways: with standard Electronic Stability Control (ESC), upscale amenities and more cargo volume than the full-size Mercedes-Benz GL, Veracruz uniquely blends substance with style.
Veracruz takes on the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander and beats them in terms of powertrain performance and standard safety features while adding sophisticated design, high-quality craftsmanship and seating for seven adults.
"Veracruz is an exceptional vehicle at the right time for this developing segment," said Steve Wilhite, chief operating officer of Hyundai Motor America. "The vehicle's designers recognized that the needs and desires of traditional SUV buyers weren't being met and focused on meeting those needs in an elegant and ingenious way. The result is a spacious crossover that delivers both refined style and first-rate performance."
BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL
The Veracruz continues Hyundai's product expansion and global design evolution through the continued use of fluid and organic forms to create a refined, and luxurious exterior appearance.
"We are very proud of Veracruz and feel this design will not only reinforce our design direction as a company, but also greatly enhance our escalating brand image on a global basis," said Joel Piaskowski, chief designer at the Hyundai Design Center in Irvine, Calif. "Fluid lines combined with the integrated headlights and taillights envelop Veracruz to create a unified aesthetic."
Up front, the sculpted bumper creates the appearance of additional height. Three-tiered headlights complement the design. The grille combines a flat-lined upper chrome bezel and a curved lower bezel which houses the Hyundai flying-H logo. Distinctive character lines and a fast profile enhance the stylish yet functional imagery. The vehicle's seductive beltline ascends from the wraparound headlights and follows the tapering greenhouse to include the prominent taillights. Chrome trim is strategically applied to highlight some of its design features while giving Veracruz an elegant, luxurious presence. The prominent wheel arches house 17- or 18-inch wheels and tires.
Smooth and solid in its stance, the Veracruz even impresses as it departs. The integrated rear fascia has a sculpted section that blends seamlessly into the sides of the taillights. The taillights decisively angle towards the character line highlighting the rounded back glass. Dual chrome exhaust tips, a Hyundai design trademark, allow Veracruz's 3.8-liter V6 engine to breathe freely. A rear spoiler enhances the sporty profile.
Inside, passengers are coddled in a rich, sophisticated environment that was inspired by boutique hotels. The result is an interior that could be found in the finest luxury sedans thanks to Hyundai's intelligent ergonomic engineering, intuitive design, and superior craftsmanship. Hyundai has combined space with elegance including conveniences that exceed expectations. For example, although the Veracruz is 9.7 inches shorter than the Mercedes Benz GL, it has more cargo volume.
Every major component of Veracruz has been designed to reduce cabin noise below the whisper-quiet Lexus RX350. To isolate outside noise, Hyundai applies acoustic dampening sheets to the doors and unibody, a steel plate beneath the engine and four layers of carpet padding. Engine noise is reduced through electronically controlled engine mounts, a multi-curvature dash, custom hood insulation and a pillow tripod joint which lessens vibrations from the driveshaft at idle.
Seating for seven adults is made possible thanks to the standard Hyundai Hideaway™ third-row seat. Access to the third row is just a step away with the flip of a lever to slide the second row forward. Available dual-zone climate controls for driver and front-seat passenger further enhance the Veracruz's luxury credentials. Second- and third-row passengers will enjoy a new level of comfort, thanks to B pillar-mounted adjustable vents, rear HVAC controls and roof-mounted vents.
Brushed metal accents and blue backlighting for all interior gauges, switches and buttons highlight the modern, integrated interior design. Even the front cupholders are ringed with blue light to aid nighttime driving, while a soft blue spotlight in the overhead console provides subdued task lighting. Hyundai's focused attention to detail can be seen throughout the interior – console bins and the glovebox are lined with soft flocking material. Powerpoint caps, seatbelt buckles and cupholder inserts are color-keyed for design harmony. Soft-touch, high-quality materials, low-gloss surfaces and zero-tolerance net-fits are used throughout the interior.
An AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 audio system that includes an internal amplifier and six speakers comes standard in the Veracruz GLS and SE. The 315-watt Infinity® AM/FM/XM/CD-changer/MP3 audio system with subwoofer and external amplifier is standard on the Limited trim and optional in the SE. Audiophiles with even more demanding tastes will be impressed by the available Infinity AM/FM/XM/CD-changer audio system that includes a 605-watt external amplifer, 10 speakers and Logic 7® surround sound available on the SE and Limited trim levels.
Other thoughtful convenience features include a proximity key, rain-sensing wipers, auto dimming exterior mirrors, mirror-mounted approach lights, adjustable pedals, memory settings for the power mirrors, driver seat and steering wheel, backup warning system, power liftgate, and a rear-seat entertainment system that includes a DVD player and eight-inch overhead screen.
On the street, the new Veracruz has thrilling performance courtesy of the same 3.8-liter DOHC V6 engine that powers the Azera. It delivers an estimated 260 horsepower and 257 lb-ft. of torque. To maximize the power spread, the engine utilizes Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) on the intake valves and a Variable Intake System which helps cylinders breathe efficiently at both low and high RPM. The engine uses an aluminum block and cylinder heads for light weight and thermal efficiency, and features timing chains with no scheduled maintenance.
To reduce vibration, the engine rides on newly developed semi-active engine mounts, which consist of three passive mounts integrated with a controllable element, rpm sensor and solenoid valve. The mounts harness engine vacuum to create a dynamic response which offsets engine vibrations. In fact, Veracruz has less idling vibration and noise than the Lexus RX350.
To help put the power to use, the engine is mated to an Aisin six-speed gearbox with SHIFTRONIC® manual control. The transmission offers silky smooth shifts and a wide spread of ratios that ideally suit the engine's capabilities. Drivers can access the SHIFTRONIC® feature by moving the gear selector into a separate gate. Pushing the selector forward or pulling it rearward will shift the transmission up or down sequentially, adding to driver control. A clear LCD readout on the instrument panel shows the gear that's in use. The transmission uses an integrated transmission control unit and low noise gears which reduce friction.
All of this powertrain technology is put to efficient use in the Veracruz, with an EPA highway fuel economy estimate of 25 miles per gallon, exceeding the smaller, less powerful Honda Pilot. Veracruz also delivers clean air, with an anticipated Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV) classification.
Hyundai engineers benchmarked the best crossovers in the world before designing Veracruz's unibody and four-wheel independent suspension system. The rigid chassis and suspension geometry were specifically designed to deliver a supple, confident ride and help isolate the passenger cabin from imperfection in the road. The underpinnings are governed by a MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear suspension system.
Upfront, reverse L-shaped lower control arms and high caster angles provide superior steering feel and excellent straight-line stability. Large subframe bushings improve the ride and isolate unwanted noise, vibration and harshness. All four wheels are controlled by coil springs, fade-resistant, gas-charged dampers and front and rear stabilizer bars. The Veracruz GLS uses 17-inch, five split-spoke aluminum wheels and 245/65R17 tires, while the SE and Limited trims ride on 18-inch, five-spoke aluminum wheels and 245/60R18 tires. Add in rack-and-pinion power steering, with a tighter minimum turning radius than the shorter Lexus RX350 and Nissan Murano, and the end result is a vehicle with precise steering and handling, and a well-controlled yet comfortable ride.
ELECTRONIC ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
Hyundai has added an Intelligent Torque Controlled Coupling All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system to propel Veracruz through the elements. Using wheel speed sensors to monitor the road and the driver, this electronic system can sense when and where more torque is required and route it there automatically. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels through a multi-plate clutch without any extra effort from the driver. An AWD lock mode can be engaged with the touch of a button providing a 50:50 torque ratio when needed.
SOPHISTICATED SAFETY SYSTEMS
"The 2007 Veracruz embraces both active and passive safety with a host of leading-edge technologies," said John Krafcik, vice president of Strategic Planning and Product Development, Hyundai Motor America. "Electronic Stability Control, six airbags including side curtain airbags protecting all three rows, and active front head restraints are found standard in Veracruz and are some of the industry's most effective technologies."
Veracruz's advanced engineering provides a high level of precision during all aspects of driving, and is anchored by standard Electronic Stability Control (ESC), the industry's most important new safety technology. By continually analyzing road speed, steering input, throttle position, lateral yaw rate and other factors, an onboard microprocessor determines if the vehicle is starting to understeer or oversteer, and automatically engages one or more brakes. The system also reduces engine output to help the driver maintain the intended path.
In addition, Veracruz adds large four-wheel disc brakes with a 10-inch tandem brake booster and Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) for impressive stopping distance for a vehicle of its size. Brake Assist maximizes braking force when an emergency stop is detected.
Veracruz's passive safety features are equally impressive, beginning with six total airbags, including advanced dual front airbags, front seat-mounted side-impact airbags and roof-mounted side curtain airbags for all three rows of seating. In addition, active front head restraints help prevent whiplash. All seating positions feature three-point seatbelts, while the second and third row also have adjustable head restraints. Security is further provided through the standard alarm system and available engine immobilizer.
To absorb impacts to the passenger cabin, Hyundai engineers optimize crumple zones and reinforce the architecture's rails, side sill frame, floor cross-members and center pillars. These reinforcements have been tested thoroughly in laboratory and computer simulations. Veracruz has been designed and tested to receive the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) top five-star crash test rating for front and side impacts.
Convenient Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) points allow child seats to be secured in the second-row seats. Additional standard safety equipment includes a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), which alerts drivers if one or more tires are under inflated. An illuminated readout on the dash lets drivers know the exact tire needing inflation so corrective action can be taken.
THE DIFFERENCE IS IN THE DETAILS
As with all Hyundai vehicles, Hyundai put a great deal of thought and attention to detail into every aspect of Veracruz. One touch opens and closes the available power tailgate, and the proximity key means no more fishing for keys with groceries in hand. Puddle lamps save your best pair of shoes. An integrated memory system returns the driver's seat to a default setting. Lining the rear bumper with rear distance warning sensors makes parallel parking a snap. Aerodynamic wiper blades improve visibility, and two-way nozzles, each with four streams of fluid, provide for remarkably clean windshields.
The Hyundai Veracruz comes in three distinct trim levels: The well-equipped GLS, sporty SE and premium Limited.
Veracruz GLS comes well-equipped with a 3.8-liter V6 engine, six-speed automatic transmission, ESC, ABS, rear spoiler, 17-inch alloy wheels and seating for seven. Also standard is an AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 audio system (including three months of complementary XM service), air conditioning with cabin filter, steering wheel audio/cruise controls, heated power side mirrors with puddle lights and side turn signal repeaters, front solar glass and rear privacy glass, remote keyless entry, and power windows and door locks. Inside are active front head restraints, dual front airbags, front seat side-impact airbags plus side-curtain airbags. Other useful features include a tire pressure monitoring system, a trip computer and a tilt and telescoping steering wheel. The Hyundai Hideaway third-row seat folds flat into the floor and is split 50/50, and the third row includes its own roof-mounted vents. The optional Premium Package adds a power tilt/slide glass sunroof, power driver seat, heated front seats, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and backup warning system.
VERACRUZ SE – A SPORTIER FLAVOR OF VERACRUZ
The SE features the GLS equipment plus standard 18-inch alloy wheels, power driver seat, electrochromic auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass and HomeLink®, and front fog lights. A streamlined roof rack, center storage console with Cool Box functionality, auto-dimming exterior mirrors and automatic headlights are also standard equipment. An optional Premium & Leather Package adds a power tilt/slide glass sunroof, leather seating surfaces, heated front seats and a 315-watt Infinity™ audio system with CD changer and backup warning system. The available Entertainment Package (requires Premium and Leather Package) features a rear-seat entertainment system with an eight-inch LCD monitor, 605-watt Infinity AM/FM/XM/CD-changer/MP3 audio system with Logic 7 surround sound, 115-volt power outlet and conversation mirror.
VERACRUZ LIMITED – PREMIUM FEATURES, OUTSTANDING VALUE
Veracruz Limited comes standard with all of the equipment found standard on the SE and adds leather seating surfaces, heated front seats, power front passenger seat, automatic temperature control, a 315-watt Infinity™ audio system with CD changer, power tilt & slide glass sunroof, power tailgate, chrome door handles, brushed metal door sill scuff plates, conversation mirror, windshield wiper deicer and backup warning system. For even greater luxury, the available Ultimate Package includes power-adjustable pedals, integrated memory system, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, blue backlit sill scuff plates, 605-watt Infinity AM/FM/XM/CD-changer/MP3 audio system with Logic 7 surround sound, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with an eight-inch LCD monitor, 115-volt power outlet, proximity key and rain sensing wipers.
The Chinese invasion of the US car market was widely predicted – but so far it hasn’t materialised, with manufacturers such as Chery and Geely backing off from plans announced by their US distributors.
Neither showed up at Detroit this year, and nor did Landwind or Great Wall, two other Chinese firms that had a strong presence at last year’s Paris show.
But one Chinese manufacturer did make an appearance – Changfeng Motor drew a big crowd to announce its intention to begin exports to the US within the next couple of years, together with a number of new models, mainly SUVs and pick-ups.
In a slightly comical presentation, the attendant media was treated to a “propaganda film” entitled “Developing through innovations in pursuit of the great”. Eat your heart out, Borat!
This gave details of the company’s history and impressive manufacturing capabilities, which have been built since 1996, when the company switched from the defence sector to car manufacture, though its presentation raised a few smiles as the voiceover man barked “Dragons are taking off! Cheetahs are leaping forward!” over a stirring oriental soundtrack of ‘Jerusalem’.
Changfeng’s chairman Li Jianxin said the company was the largest maker of SUVs in China. Most of its sales are of cars derived from Mitsubishi Shogun models, built under licence from Mitsubishi, though the company has sin e 2004 been building cars it designed itself as well. It’s a small company by Chinese standards, claiming to have a capacity to build 100,000 cars a year at three plants.
Its most significant launch at Detroit was a large SUV called the Liebao CS6, which was unveiled along with a small pick-up called the Feibao CT5. A much weirder concept was the Rhombus, which looks like two Reliant Robins joined together. This odd-ball car is a design study by a Chinese university which works closely with Changfeng.
The company already exports to other emerging markets in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa, and while Li did not specify when US sales would start, he said one of the main reasons for coming to the Detroit Show was to forge links with suppliers and potential partners.
Gaydon, Warwickshire 5th January, 2006
Land Rover has achieved a global sales record for the second year running. In 2006, the 4x4 manufacturer sold 192,500 vehicles around the world, an increase of 4 per cent (8,500 vehicles) on the previous year.
The year saw the USA become Land Rover's largest single market with a sales increase of 3.5 per cent. Sales in the highly competitive US market were driven by the phenomenal success of the Range Rover Sport, which saw an 80 per cent growth. There was also significant progress in emerging markets like Russia, which saw its sixth successive year of growth, and the Middle East and North Africa region where sales increased by 54 per cent and 43 per cent respectively.
In the UK, sales of Range Rover Sport and Range Rover increased by 52 per cent and 12.5 per cent respectively in a year which saw the run out of Freelander, which ceased production in July. The all new Freelander 2 only went on sale in the UK in December, but still notched up nearly 900 sales in this traditionally short sales month.
Phil Popham, Land Rover's Global Managing Director, said, "This is a fantastic achievement given we were without our volume product for most of the year and provides a firm foundation for the launch of the all new Freelander 2, a vehicle designed for a global market. We need to maintain this momentum in 2007 and continue to make progress in new markets."
Land Rover's modern, clean and efficient diesel engines are now dominating the UK market, accounting for 92 per cent of sales. Demand for the new TDV8 Range Rover saw diesel derivatives of the model surge by 145 per cent in the final quarter of last year.
John Edwards, Land Rover's UK Managing Director, said, "The Range Rover is the UK's best selling luxury car and with this new engine customers can get petrol levels of performance with a 32 per cent improvement in fuel economy."
Sales of Range Rover Sport have exceeded 75,000 since its launch to become Land Rover's best selling model. Discovery 3 continues to collect critical accolades with 85 international awards to date.
About Land Rover
Since 1948 Land Rover has been manufacturing authentic 4x4s that represent true 'breadth of capability' across the model range. Defender, Freelander 2, Discovery 3, Range Rover Sport and Range Rover each define the world's 4x4 sectors, with 78% of this model range exported to over 140 countries. Land Rover employs 9,500 people and supports a further 40,000 jobs supported in the supply chain. Land Rover is committed to addressing the challenges of climate change and since September 2006 carbon dioxide generated by Land Rover manufacturing activities and UK customer vehicle use has been balanced through an industry leading offset programme run by Climate Care.
The Jeep Trailhawk combines the core off-road features of the new four-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited with the refined sophistication of an all-new on-road open-air concept vehicle. The designers of this model wanted to create a refined highway cruiser without sacrificing any of Jeep’s legendary off-road capabilities.
CONCEPT DEBUT AT 2007 NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW
DETROIT (Jan. 7, 2007) – Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA) today unveiled two new vehicles at a press conference at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit – Nissan’s first entry into the small crossover SUV market, the 2008 Rogue, and an advanced design study, the Nissan Bevel Concept.
“We’re proud to present two vehicles that exemplify Nissan’s synergies between design and production, between being current and staying current,” said Brad Bradshaw, senior vice president, sales and marketing, NNA. “Our production model Rogue and our advanced Bevel Concept are built for the same active, enthused drivers, just at different stages of their lives.”
The all-new Nissan Rogue, with its balance of sleek functionality, aggressive styling and sporty performance, appeals to an untapped segment of the crossover SUV market, providing a vehicle that fulfills the functional needs of young, active drivers while still indulging in the emotional aspects of style and performance that allow these drivers to fully enjoy the driving experience.
The dramatic Bevel Concept was conceived at Nissan Design America, Inc. (NDA) in La Jolla, Calif. for the same driver, but at a different stage of life. With its driver-centric interior that is more a workshop-on-wheels than a traditional SUV, the Bevel was created for “empty-nesters” who spend their new-found free time on hobbies, recreation and community service.
Brief overviews of the 2008 Nissan Rogue and Bevel concept follow.
2008 Nissan Rogue
The 2008 Nissan Rogue is built on Nissan’s “C” platform and mates Nissan’s QR25DE 2.5-litre DOHC 16-valve inline 4-cylinder (rated at 170 horsepower and 175 lb-ft torque) to a standard Xtronic CVTä (Continuously Variable Transmission) with available paddle shifters for sporty, efficient performance. An all-new all-wheel drive system with yaw rate control is also available.
Every Rogue comes standard with Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with Traction Control System (TCS), a responsive Electric Power-assisted Steering (EPS) system and 4-wheel disc brakes that feature an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA).
Inside, Rogue offers a balance of sleek surface continuity and ultra-functionality, offering available leather-appointed seating, front heated seats and mirrors and steering wheel-mounted Bluetoothâ Hands-Free Phone System and audio controls. Standard convenience features include a fold-flat front passenger seat, 60/40 split fold-down rear bench and oversized glove box with partition, while available features like a dual-level centre console storage with hidden functionality features, a hidden one-touch pop-up cargo organiser and removable easy-clean cargo tray add to the diverse utility of the new Rogue.
Among the advanced technology available on Rogue are an Intelligent Key, a powerful Bose®-developed audio system with 7 speakers and subwoofer with MP3 capability and satellite radio, a Bluetooth® Hands-Free Phone System, HomeLink® Universal Transceiver garage door opener and Xenon headlights.
Standard safety features for the new Rogue include Zone Body Construction, Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) with dual stage front airbags and occupant classification system for the front passenger seat, and front seat Active Head Restraints.
Front seat-mounted side-impact supplemental airbags and roof-mounted curtain supplemental airbags (for front and rear outboard occupant head protection) with rollover detection are also standard.
The 2008 Rogue is expected to be priced starting around $20,000 when it goes on sale in autumn 2007.
Nissan Bevel Concept
The Nissan Bevel Concept is a dynamic, multi-purpose vehicle that, unlike currently available sport utility vehicles or minivans that emphasise passenger needs and comfort, places its focus strictly on the primary user – male empty-nesters actively engaged in hobbies, recreation and community service. Bevel offers unique, function-inspired asymmetrical styling, a high-utility three-zone interior and technology ranging from glass roof-mounted solar panels to drive-by-wire steering, throttle and braking.
Bevel’s exterior design begins with the two passenger-side doors, featuring a rear door hinged at the rear to provide an exceptionally wide door opening of nearly five-and-a-half feet. Bevel’s tall one-piece rear hatch features a special horizontal hinge arrangement, with a height when raised of 6’2” from the ground. With the hatch open, a special tailgate-like work platform folds down and snaps into place, creating a sturdy workbench-like area.
Bevel features a pair of power outlets – a traditional 12V outlet and a 110V power tool recharging outlet, which is powered by Bevel’s integrated solar cells mounted beneath the large glass roof panels. Bevel also utilises a unique roof cargo system designed to carry loads up to 250 pound and featuring six hexagon-shaped “pucks” with pop-up hooks.
Bevel’s interior combines comfort, utility and technology. The driver’s area includes a comfortable, rich leather-appointed fixed seat and Bevel’s unique “ribbon” instrument panel, which moves four inches forward and back when the driver’s door is opened or closed.
The “command central” information/technology zone features a series of screens that
display images from the sideview mirror cameras and five information menus – Vehicle
Information, HVAC, Navigation, Entertainment and Home – through use of the ribbon-mounted controller.
The “Entertainment” control centre allows the driver to access phone settings, weather and traffic reports, Internet and personal e-mail accounts, and music, while also allowing the driver to access a home network and monitor locks and security system, heat and air conditioning, appliance, room lighting and garage door status.
Bevel’s utility/pet zone provides maximum cargo space through the use of fold-flat front passenger and rear bench seating that creates a smooth, continuous cargo floor/work area. The flooring itself is constructed from laminated recycled walnut, creating an extremely hard, workbench-like surface.
Bevel provides unique accommodation for pets, including a 360-degree pet leash swivel connection point and a large, removable “doggie hutch” pet carrier designed to fit securely in the rear cargo area.
Conceptually, Bevel would feature a small, efficient 2.5-litre V6 with HEV, combining driving pleasure with environmentally friendly design.
In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at www.nissannews.com or by contacting the corporate media line at 615/725-5631.
Volvo unveiled its compact XC60 SUV, and bosses of Ford’s Swedish luxury brand said the car signalled the start of a more “pumped-up” look for the company’s cars.
Volvo Cars design director Steve Mattin said the car contained “the DNA of future Volvos”. He added: “We’re about to elevate Volvo’s DNA to new levels by pumping up the volume.” This involves a bolder interpretation of the Volvo grille, with a large logo across the diagonal band, plus a more distinctive rear end with VOLVO spelled out in large letters and an innovative split tailgate that refines the one fitted to the C30 hatchback.
“If you can recognise a Volvo from 50 metres today, I want to get to the point where people will be able to spot one from twice the distance in the future,” Mattin added.
Indeed, Volvo Car president Fredrik Arp added that the XC60 would likely be “the C30 owner’s next car”. Production versions will externally be very similar to the concept, though it remains to be seen whether the radical interior – most of the dashboard is a white “wall of ice” screen which conceals warning lights and driver information until the ignition is switched on. Mattin said it was designed to be like “a giant iPod”.
Arp stressed that traditional Volvo safety aspects would not be overlooked on the car – a low-speed adaptive braking system called City Safety is fitted, which prevents the XC60 from running into the car in front at low speeds. Volvo’s 3.-litre 6-cylinder flex-fuel engine, which allows ethanol to be used instead of petrol, will also be fitted, cutting emissions by up to 80%, Arp added.
The XC60 enters one of the fastest-growing sectors of the market, the compact premium SUV sector. In the next two years, this segment’s global sales volume is expected to grow by 75% to 443,000 cars, Arp said.
Maybe just mabe the new Landrover Freelander Sport
28 Years of Dakar
The adventure began in 1977. Thierry Sabine got lost on his motorcycle in the Libyan desert during the Abidjan-Nice rally. "Rescued from the sands" in extremis, he returned to France defeated by these dreamlike landscapes. He then promised himself that he would share this discovery with as many as possible and lived for a single goal: take a maximum number of people into the immensity of this sand.
This led him to imagine an extraordinary journey originating in Europe. The route would then continue to Algiers before crossing
Agadez and ultimately leading to Dakar. The plan quickly became a reality.
The Paris-Dakar rally opened up an unknown world, one in which its creator, Thierry Sabine, was seen as a true pioneer. His motto then would be: "A challenge for those who go. A dream for those who stay behind.” Africa, a multi-faceted continent, in fact offered the perfect elixir, combining dreams with the world of competition. On 26 December 1978, the first Paris-Dakar took off from the Place du Trocadéro. That was over a quarter of a century ago...