Wednesday, December 16, 2009
COLOGNE, Germany – Ford of Europe will unveil new versions of its top-selling S-MAX and Galaxy at the 2010 Brussels Show on January 13.
With fresh designs and the latest evolution of Ford's kinetic design cues, they feature new interior materials and features, a range of more efficient powertrains and a host of driver-focused technologies aimed at safety and comfort.
"We've given both models a fresh new look and more premium appeal, but it is beneath the skin that the major changes have been made," said John Fleming, chairman and CEO, Ford of Europe.
"S-MAX and Galaxy are the first European Ford models to benefit from our global EcoBoost family of direct-injection, turbocharged, petrol engines delivering more power and performance from a lower displacement powerplant, yet with impressive fuel economy and low CO2 emissions. And that is just the start of the 2010 S-MAX and Galaxy story."
These are the first cars to be available with Ford's all-new, high efficiency, 2.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine. Producing 203 PS (149 kW) it joins a significantly improved 2.0-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel, with 140 PS (103 kW), plus a new 163 PS (120 kW) variant. Additionally, the smooth and effortless Ford PowerShift double wet-clutch transmission system is available for the first time on Ford's large car range; it will be standard equipment with the EcoBoost petrol engine and optional for both Duratorq diesels.
A range of innovative new safety and convenience features debut in the Ford range on versions of the new S-MAX and Galaxy, including a Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®), and new Rear Door Power Child Lock facility.
The S-MAX has been updated with significant detail changes to the exterior including a strongly sculptured bonnet and all-new front fascia, emphasised by the bolder graphic of the gloss black lower front trapezoidal grille.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Stuttgart/Leipzig. Today, just three months after the new Panamera went on sale the 10,000th car rolled off the production line at the Leipzig plant of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart. The 500 HP platinum silver metallic Panamera Turbo will be delivered to a customer in Singapore.
Michael Macht, Chairman of the Board of Porsche AG: “Sales of the Panamera have really taken off: we have already secured over 9,000 orders. Shortly after it was launched our Gran Turismo won the coveted “Goldenes Lenkrad” [“Golden steering wheel”] and “Auto Trophy” awards in Germany. It has also won many international prizes.” The Panamera 4S is proving particularly popular and has a share of 44 per cent - putting it ahead of the Turbo (36 per cent) and the Panamera S (20 per cent).
The company plans to build 20,000 Panamera per year across the whole product cycle. The fourth Porsche model series is being manufactured at the Leipzig plant in the so-called model mix, sharing a production line with the Cayenne SUV. The innovative, highly streamlined production is seen as a model of technological and economic excellence for the automobile industry worldwide.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Combining classic proportions with modern sportiness, the new BMW Z4 has reached the top of its market segment almost overnight. And now this charismatic roadster is entering a new dimension in driving dynamics, the new BMW Z4 sDrive35is offering an even higher standard of performance ensured both by the modified straight-six power unit with BMW Twin Turbo Technology and High Precision Injection, on the one hand, and by BMW’s seven-speed Sport Automatic with double clutch operation and the M Sports Package including the adaptive M Suspension likewise featured as standard, on the other.
Appropriate optimisation in engine technology increases maximum output of the 3.0-litre power unit to 250 kW/340 hp. Peak torque is 450 Newton-metres/332 lb-ft, increasing briefly with the Overboost function to 500 Newton-metres/369 lb-ft. The outstanding power and performance of the BMW Z4 sDrive35is is expressed in particular by the significant increase in pulling power and muscle to be clearly experienced in all situations. In conjunction with seven-speed Sport Automatic featuring double clutch operation, this new top-of-the-range
Roadster accelerates from a standstill to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 4.8 seconds.
At 9.0 litres/100 kilometres (equal to 26.1 mpg US) and 210 grams in the EU test cycle, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are the same as on the BMW Z4 sDrive35i with Sport Automatic.
The BMW Z4 sDrive35is is making its world debut at the 2010 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. And parallel to the market launch of this high-performance roadster in spring 2010, the M Sports Package is being introduced for all further versions of the BMW Z4.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Further Milestone Reached on the Way Toward the Integrated Automotive Group With Porsche
Wolfsburg, Germany -- December 7, 2009 -- Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft has today taken a 49.9 percent stake in Porsche AG. The next important step on the way towards the integrated automotive group with Porsche has therefore been completed, as announced, before the end of the year. The price for the stake is €3.9 billion and is based on the enterprise value for Porsche AG calculated under a careful due diligence and valuation procedure.
Following the Comprehensive Agreement concluded in August, the implementation agreements signed in November and the Volkswagen Extraordinary General Meeting held last week, the stake in Porsche AG represents the next milestone on the way towards the integrated automotive group with Porsche under the leadership of Volkswagen. The acquisition of the trading business of Porsche Holding Salzburg is planned for 2011. The creation of the integrated automotive group is then to conclude with the merger of Volkswagen AG and Porsche SE during the course of the same year.
The combination of the two companies follows a compelling strategic, industrial and financial logic. For the Volkswagen Group, Porsche ideally complements the brand portfolio. The Stuttgart-based car maker will allow Volkswagen to further expand its position in the premium business, which offers particularly strong earnings. In turn, as an independent brand under the roof of the Volkswagen Group, Porsche will have the potential for significant additional growth.
The transaction will have a sustained positive effect on the earnings situation of the Volkswagen Group. With a return on sales of 10.3 percent, Porsche AG is the world’s most profitable automobile manufacturer. Volkswagen will in future participate in this business success through its stake. In addition, the planned integration of Porsche in the Volkswagen Group and the associated closer cooperation will realize significant synergies on both the income and the cost side. As a result, the annual operating profit of the Volkswagen Group is expected to increase by some €700 million in the long term.
Monday, December 7, 2009
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger visits Audi e-tron at the Los Angeles Auto Show to see the future of electric mobility
LOS ANGELES, Ca., Dec 4, 2009 - Today at the LA Auto Show, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger paid a special visit to the Audi booth to review firsthand the Audi e-tron fully electric concept study model firsthand. Earlier this week at the LA Auto Show, Schwarzenegger had expressed his support for automakers raising the bar on environmental responsibility and acted upon that enthusiasm today by visiting the Audi booth to learn more about e-tron.
A longtime auto enthusiast, Governor Schwarzenegger received a detailed explanation of the e-tron, which runs on four electronic motors and a lithium ion battery pack, from Peter Schwarzenbauer, Audi AG board member in charge of global sales and marketing. Governor Schwarzenegger joins the ranks of a very select few individuals globally who have sat inside the e-tron to date.
“It was a great pleasure meeting with Governor Schwarzenegger and I’m thrilled that he shares our excitement about the e-tron,” said Peter Schwarzenbauer, Audi AG board member in charge of global sales and marketing. “We believe the e-tron will become a lasting icon of electronic vehicle design so it’s great fun to share it with a green design supporter like Governor Schwarzenegger in these early stages.”
Beyond its powerful electronic engine system, the striking visual design of the e-tron affirms its spot among the major leagues of sports cars. Its performance alone renders its independence from gasoline a compelling afterthought.
Friday, December 4, 2009
2nd December 2009
During November 2009 a total of 22 929 new passenger cars were sold in South Africa. Total new passenger car sales in November decreased by -6.7 percent when compared to October 2009, but were 4.6 percent up on November 2008.
This is the first time since January 2007 that the monthly total new car market has been larger that the corresponding month of the previous year. The January to November 2009 new passenger car market recorded sales of -22.5 percent below the same period for 2008.
“New passenger car sales in November continued the more positive trend of the past number of months. However, the car rental industry purchases in November were largely responsible for this growth. Sales recorded in the consumer retail segment remain muted. The new passenger car sales cycle does, however, appear to have bottomed out and is currently beginning to reflect some slow growth,” said Mike Glendinning, Director of Sales and Marketing at VW of SA.
“From a VW of SA perspective, the new 6th generation Golf, with sales consistently over 500 units per month, vindicates its SA Car of the Year finalist status,” continued Glendinning.
“The Audi Brand sold 812 units into the premium segment last month, thereby recording its second most successful month in 2009,” said Glendinning.
“The export of the all New Polo to Right Hand Drive markets around the world is now gaining momentum, with 6 927 units exported in November. We look forward to bringing New Polo to the South African market early in 2010,” said Glendinning.
Returning to the state of the market in South Africa, Glendinning remains cautiously optimistic.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
The Volvo XC60 was named 2010 International Truck of the Year by the International Car of the Year (ICOTY) jury on December 2. The award was given to Doug Speck, President and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, LLC at the Volvo display at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show. The XC60 was chosen over 10 new crossovers, SUVs and trucks by a distinguished panel of top automotive journalists.
"This ties a very pretty bow around what's been a truly amazing year for Volvo," commented Speck. "The XC60 has not only been recognized by the media but it's been extremely well received by our customers."
The 2010 XC60 has helped VCNA earn six consecutive months of year-over-year sales increases since June.
The XC60 was chosen the winner from a panel of 19 automotive media from around the U.S. and Canada representing top newspapers, magazines and websites. The jurors must consider the ICOTY mission of "honoring vehicles that reflect an emotional connection between car and consumer lifestyles" when making their nominations.
"The ICOTY awards are not centered on power and performance," said Courtney Caldwell, ICOTY's creator and executive producer. "It's about how cars reflect our personalities, lifestyles and self image, an attitude most consumers identify with."
"This is one of the most prestigious car awards in the world and we feel very proud to receive it for our best-selling XC60", said Stephen Odell, President and CEO Volvo Car Corporation.
Once approved by the ICOTY nominating committee, the awards jury then bases their decision on a number of important criteria: The vehicle must be new or substantially revised, it must be offered for sale to the general public by the judging deadline of November 16, 2009, and may not have been previously considered for the ICOTY Awards.
The International Truck of the Year award marks the 20th accolade the Volvo XC60 has received since sales began in Europe in late 2008. The XC60 is the first vehicle to offer City Safety as standard equipment. This unique Volvo technology can help the driver avoid frontal collisions at low speed. If the driver is about to drive into the rear of a vehicle and does not react in time, the XC60 will apply the brakes by itself.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Fascinating sportiness, innovative technology and superior comfort: Audi is bringing the next generation of the A8 to the starting line. The new flagship demonstrates the brand’s proverbial Vorsprung durch Technik with its light aluminum body, its powerful and highly efficient engines, the further improved MMI operating system, new driver assistance systems, the full LED headlights and an elegant interior with a craftsman’s level of workmanship.
With all this technology the new Audi A8 offers the perfect synthesis of dynamics, perfection in design, workmanship and pioneering efficiency.
“The new Audi A8 is the sportiest sedan in its segment,” says Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG. “It combines numerous functions in a new and intelligent way. And it’s unmatched in the stylistic elements and impression of the interior.”
The new luxury sedan, to arrive at U.S. dealerships in late 2010, is a technical work of art. Its elegant and forceful body is an aluminum Audi Space Frame (ASF), weighing about 40 percent less than a comparable steel structure. The interior is captivating, with its new and spacious design and uncompromisingly high-quality workmanship full of attention to the smallest detail. The comfort on board is first class – from new, emotionally charged ambient lighting to the luxurious, power adjustable seats in the rear.
Superior power and high efficiency – the new A8 makes its debut on the market with a strong V8 engine. With 372 hp, they never fail to impress with their superior power and mighty but discreet propulsion. All engines feature direct fuel injection, and consume 15 percent less fuel than their respective predecessors.
The engine in the A8 has intelligent elements from Audi’s modular efficiency system on board. During deceleration the recuperation system converts the kinetic energy to electric power, which is buffered in the battery. In the innovative thermal management a computer monitors numerous actuators for the ideal distribution of the heat flows between the engine, transmission and interior in any situation. After the cold start the engine is temporarily fully uncoupled from the cooling circuit, considerably shortening the warm-up phase with its high loss of friction.
The 4.2 FSI draws 273 kW (372 hp) of power from 4,163 cm3 displacement, generating its maximum of 445 Nm (328.22 lb-ft) torque at 3,500 rpm. It accelerates the A8 from zero to 100 km/h in 5.7 seconds, with the propulsion ending (as in all engine variants) at the electronically controlled speed of 250 km/h (155.34 mph).
The most important reason for this enhanced power is the reduction of internal friction, especially in the chain drive for the camshafts and auxiliaries. The controlled oil pump with changeover between two pressure stages operates with high efficiency. Like all gasoline engines from Audi, the V8 has FSI direct injection. It allows a high compression of 12.5:1, for increased power and efficiency.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
HIROSHIMA, Japan—Mazda Motor Corporation today delivered one Mazda Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid vehicle to the Yamaguchi prefectural government in western Japan. Mazda’s Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid features a unique hybrid system and a hydrogen rotary engine (RE) that burns hydrogen as a fuel.
Mazda has now delivered four hydrogen hybrid vehicles to fleet customers. One unit was leased to Iwatani Corporation in May 2009, followed by one unit each leased to the City of Hiroshima and Hiroshima Prefecture in September 2009. The Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid leased to Yamaguchi Prefecture will be used at environmental events and in daily operations.
The Mazda Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid uses a unique hybrid system with power delivered to the vehicle’s wheels by an electric motor. This powertrain substantially enhances the driving performance and boosts the hydrogen fuel driving range to 200 kilometers, twice the range of Mazda’s previous hydrogen vehicle, the RX-8 Hydrogen RE. The Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid can run on gasoline as well as hydrogen thanks to a dual-fuel system that was developed for the RX-8 Hydrogen RE.
Based on its long-term vision for technology development, Sustainable Zoom-Zoom, Mazda is committed to pursuing harmony between driving pleasure and environmental and safety features. Mazda constantly strives to offer vehicles that “look inviting to drive, are fun to drive, and make you want to drive them again.”
Friday, November 27, 2009
Munich/Hinwil. Yesterday (Thursday), BMW AG reached an agreement with Peter Sauber regarding the sale of the BMW Sauber F1 Team. The contract is subject to the condition that the team has a starting place for the 2010 Formula 1 season.
Dr Klaus Draeger, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG with responsibility for Development, stated this morning: “We are very happy with this solution. This fulfils the most important requirement for a successful future for the team. Our relationship with Peter Sauber has always been excellent and marked by absolute respect. We would like to express our thanks to Peter Sauber and the whole team for the excellent cooperation during the recent four years.”
Peter Sauber added: “"I am very relieved that we have found this solution. It means we can keep the Hinwil location and the majority of workplaces. I am convinced that the new team has a very good future in Formula One, whose current transformation with new framework conditions will benefit the private teams. Our staff here are highly competent and motivated, and I look forward to taking on this new challenge together with them. I would like to thank BMW for four shared years that have in the main been very successful."
Thursday, November 26, 2009
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Nov. 24, 2009) - Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA) today announced the lease of an X-TRAIL Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) to Sacramento Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Inc. Nissan, which began development of fuel cell vehicle technology in 1996, has previously used FCVs in demonstration fleets in Japan and in California through the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP), but this is Nissan's first commercial FCV lease in North America. The Sacramento Coca-Cola lease is for one year, with an option for two additional years.
"Sacramento already has the beginning of a hydrogen infrastructure in place, and Sacramento Coca-Cola has a track record of utilizing low emissions cars, so the two companies share a green philosophy as well as a common love of things 'zero'," said Eric Noziere, vice president, Corporate Planning, NNA
The zero emissions X-TRAIL FCV is being used by the bottler for sales calls and public events in the Sacramento area in promotion of its Coca-Cola Zero® soft drink. "This is a big step in furthering our commitment to environmental sustainability," said Bob Brown, executive vice president of Sacramento Coca-Cola. "We are really excited about the promise of fuel cell technology."
Nissan's comprehensive fuel cell research and development program is part of a range of eco-friendly technologies - including FCVs, electric vehicles, hybrid and improved internal combustion engines - being pursued under the Nissan Green Program 2010, a plan focused on developing new technologies, products and services leading to real-world reductions in CO2 emissions, cleaner emissions and expanded recycling of resources.
The Nissan X-TRAIL FCV is based on the X-TRAIL SUV, which is available in Mexico, Japan and Europe. It is fitted with a Nissan-developed compact fuel cell stack, a compact Lithium-ion battery and a high-pressure hydrogen storage cylinder. Performance is close to that of a similarly sized internal combustion engine-based vehicle. Versions of this generation X-TRAIL FCV are capable of speeds in excess of 95 miles per hour, with a cruising range of up to 300 miles.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Munich. The world debut of the new BMW 5 Series Sedan once again marks the epitome of aesthetic design and supreme driving pleasure in the upper midrange segment. Through its sporting and elegant looks, driving dynamics typical of the brand, outstanding efficiency as well as innovative comfort and safety features, the sixth generation of BMW’s executive express convincingly reflects the supreme standard of the world’s most successful manufacturer of premium cars throughout the entire process of development.
With the longest wheelbase in the segment, a long and sleek engine compartment lid, short overhangs front and rear and a coupé-like, graceful roofline, the new BMW 5 Series Sedan stands out clearly from the competition.
Overall, the aesthetic looks of the car are clearly determined by perfectly balanced proportions. Design features typical of the brand are to be found both at the front with its BMW kidney grille inclined slightly forward and on the strikingly chiselled engine compartment lid, in the stylish and elegant side view of the car, and on the muscular rear end.
Within the interior modern function and a superior ambience come together in perfect harmony, unmistakable style and clear orientation to the driver in the cockpit guaranteeing a truly unique driving and travelling experience.
The new BMW 5 Series Sedan is making its debut with one eight-cylinder and three six-cylinder petrol engines as well as two six-cylinder diesels.
The range is rounded off by a four-cylinder turbodiesel with an aluminium crankcase and common-rail direct injection. Maximum output in this case of 135 kW/184 hp makes the BMW 520d fitted as standard with Auto Start Stop the new efficiency benchmark in its segment. Average fuel consumption in the EU5 test cycle is just 5.0 litres/100 kilometres (equal to 56.5 mpg imp), the CO2 emission rating is 132 g/km (provisional figures).
The top-of-the-range BMW 550i comes with an eight-cylinder boasting BMW TwinPower Turbo Technology and High Precision Injection for maximum output of 300 kW/407 hp.
Innovative driver assistance systems with BMW ConnectedDrive.
The driver assistance systems offered for the first time in the context of BMW ConnectedDrive include a Parking Assistant, Surround View, collision warning with application of the brakes in conjunction with Active Cruise Control plus Stop & Go, and a new Speed Limit Device. Further features also available are Lane Change Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Speed Limit Info, a Head-Up Display, BMW Night Vision with detection of individual persons, and a back-up camera.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Much lower fuel consumption and increased output in the gasoline engine line-up
The Opel Corsa boasts a new gasoline engine line-up that fully complies with Euro 5 standards. All engines have been re-worked to offer more torque while featuring up to 13 per cent lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Both the 1.2- and 1.4-liter Twinport variants are each available in two versions with different outputs. Every country selects and offers customers the variants that suit the needs of their region. Some may decide to go for optimal fuel efficiency; other may want to balance it with more performance.
The most popular gasoline powertrains (the 1.0 to 1.4 liter with manual and Easytronic transmissions) now have fuel consumptions between 5.0 and 5.5 liter/100 km, with maximum CO2 emissions of only 129 g/km
Steering Opel has optimized the steering on all Corsa models.
The software controls for the Electronic Power Steering (EPS) have been re-tuned and the engineers have installed a new yoke liner in the steering gear for reduced friction. Overall, these measures provide improved feedback and precision with increased on-center feel and stronger return to the middle position after a curve or any input given to the steering for lane changes. Corrective maneuvers result in improved straight-ahead stability.
Monday, November 23, 2009
To roaring cheers from the audience, the new Figo emerged amidst a flurry of lights, smoke and music. All participants were then invited to the stage for a closer look.
"This car looks smart and will be successful," said fleet customer Sanjeev Prasa, CEO of LeasePlan India.
Capt. Kamal Bajaj, another Ford fleet customer, and vice president of HR at Axis Bank, agreed, "I'm sure the Figo will do well in India."
Ford India holds a yearly President's Dinner to thank fleet customers for their continuing business. This year's dinner took place in Mumbai on October 30, and was attended by Ford India's management team and about 50 valued fleet customers from all over India.
During the dinner, Michael Boneham, president and managing director of Ford India, and Nigel Wark, executive director, Marketing, Sales and Service, outlined how the Ford business in India is changing, with Ford Figo driving this transformation. They also discussed how initiatives such as Cost of Ownership are benefiting Indian consumers.
''This annual gathering provides us with a chance to really get to know our fleet customers better, and gain a greater understanding of their needs,'' said Boneham. ''With our exciting new Figo joining us this year, we have a lot to talk about!''
Friday, November 20, 2009
Stuttgart. Following the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, is entering yet another racing car in the 2010 motorsport season: The 911 GT3 R will be raced in series based on the international FIA GT3 regulations, thus succeeding the 911 GT3 Cup S. The main focus in developing this new model was on even better drivability and even easier handling.
The 911 GT3 R is powered by a four-litre six-cylinder boxer engine delivering maximum output of 480 bhp (353 kW) transmitted to the rear axle by a sequential six-speed dog gearbox.
The starting point in developing the 911 GT3 R weighing just 1,200 kg or 2,646 lb was the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup presented in September for one-make cup racing. Thanks to its increase in engine size by 0.2 litres, the GT3 R offers 30 bhp more than the Cup model. Both cars are based on the extra-wide body of the 911 GT3 RS street-legal sports car.
An anti-lock brake system (ABS), traction control and an e-gas with “throttle-blip” function make it much easier to get used to this new GT3 racing car than its predecessor, meaning that the new model is also more appropriate for the ambitious amateur racing driver.
Flared wheel arches added on to the body both front and rear bear clear testimony to the wider track than on the former model. And like all second-generation versions of the 911, the new 911 GT3 R also comes with striking LED rear light clusters.
The Porsche 911 GT3 R is making its world debut on 14 January 2010 at the Birmingham Motor Show. The car is built by Porsche’s Motorsport Department at the Weissach Development Centre and will be delivered to Customer Teams the world over as of spring 2010. The base price of the Porsche 911 GT3 R is 279,000 euros plus local sales tax/VAT.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Munich. Temperatures below freezing, wind, snow or rain. November to April are the worst months of the year for around 575,000 German golfers. The vast majority of the 693 courses in these parts are unplayable and the greens are often closed. To fill the time, you could try a golfing holiday in southern Europe or a Christmas gift from the BMW Golfsport Collection.
A great deal to discover.
The white BMW golf cart bag has been developed together with bag specialist OGIO and has an impressive number of elaborate details: eleven special pockets, a roomy club compartment with seven separate sections, a strap for securing a golf club towel/umbrella, two isolated drinks compartments and much more. By the time you’ve discovered all the little extras, there will only be a few weeks to go until the beginning of the golfing season …
Armed for the rain.
With the BMW golf cart bag the season can begin even if the weather is not yet exactly spring-like. The bag’s rain cover can be attached in seconds, which means that an unexpected downpour is no longer a problem for the hardened golfer at least, because the equipment is protected.
The BMW golf cart bag is available from selected BMW dealers and online at www.bmw-shop.de.
Price: 189 Euros
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
General Motors South Africa’s (GMSA) Corsa Utility has once again taken top honours in the Synovate Quality Awards for 2009 in the half ton light commercial vehicle (LCV) segment.
In addition, the Corsa Utility won the accolade for best overall LCV brand in the 2009 survey.
Locally manufactured at the Struandale plant in Port Elizabeth, this popular half ton has been South Africa’s market leader for 55 months in a row, breaking its own sales record in October 2009. Its previous best was between April 1998 and September 2002 when the Corsa Utility enjoyed an unbeaten 54-month record.
According to Malcolm Gauld, GMSA vice president of sales and marketing, the success of the Corsa Utility is ascribed to its superior built-in quality and superb after sales support its owners enjoy. “This feisty half ton has surpassed its competitors in the Synovate Quality Survey since 2005,” said Gauld.
The Synovate survey measures the number of problems new car owners experience with their vehicles in the first few months of ownership and includes interviews with 55 000 new vehicle owners.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Munich. The BMW Group increased its global sales in October. A total of 115,252 BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brand automobiles were delivered to customers – a 2.0% increase over the same month last year (113,011). During the period from January to October, 1,054,811 (prev.yr. 1,226,844 / -14.0%) vehicles were sold. The company remained on its growth track in the emerging markets of China (9.558 / +81.0%), India (343 / +55.9%) and Brazil (838 / +224.8%) in October. In these markets the BMW Group was able to exceed the sales volume achieved for the whole of 2008 after just ten months.
Besides China, India and Brazil, the company was also able to increase sales volumes in a series of other markets. In the high-volume markets of the U.K. (12,991 / +34.8%) and Spain (4,693/ +4.0%), for instance, deliveries rose substantially in some cases.
The BMW Group also reported strong growth in many smaller markets, including Austria (1,414 / +16.8%), South Africa (1,750 / +15.8%), South Korea (1,100 / +24.3%), Thailand (243 / +18.0%), Argentina (321 / +34.3%) and the Netherlands (1,915 / +6.5%).
Friday, November 13, 2009
Here are the first official pictures of the all-new Volvo S60 - sportier and more dynamic than any previous Volvo model.
"The all-new Volvo S60 is sculpted to move you. It looks and drives like no other Volvo before and the car's technology will help you to be safer and more confident behind the wheel," says Stephen Odell, President and CEO of Volvo Cars.
The Volvo S60 can be equipped with Pedestrian Detection - a groundbreaking safety feature that can detect pedestrians in front of the car and brake automatically if the driver does not react in time.
The all-new Volvo S60 is being unveiled to the public for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show in early March next year. Production of the sporty sedan model will start in early summer 2010 at the Volvo Cars plant in Ghent, Belgium.
"Customers in this segment want emotional appeal, sporty design and dynamic driving properties. The S60 has it all. We are convinced that it will be one of the strongest contenders around," says Stephen Odell.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced today that its all-new sixth generation GTI has been named the 2010 AUTOMOBILE Magazine Automobile of the Year. This marks the second time in its history that the GTI has won this prestigious award. In AUTOMOBILE Magazine's twenty year history of awarding their top honor, the Volkswagen GTI is the only make and model to ever win it twice.
"At a time when the world's economy is in shambles and fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are on everyone's minds, there remains only one car that ticks all the enthusiast boxes without setting off a single wretched-excess alarm. That's the Volkswagen GTI, and that's why it is, once again, Automobile Magazine's Automobile of the Year," said Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor, Automobile Magazine.
"Having our GTI named AUTOMOBILE Magazine's Automobile of the Year once again is a tremendous honor for our brand," said Mark Barnes, Chief Operating Officer, Volkswagen of America, Inc. "We're thrilled that the staff of AUTOMOBILE Magazine acknowledged that today's sport's car consumers are looking beyond horsepower and going fast, rather they are looking for vehicles that are practical, fuel efficient, and fast. The GTI truly embodies what the Volkswagen brand is all about--affordable, efficient, and fun-to-drive German Engineering," Barnes added.
As a Breeker, your arms can never come to a point where they are completely next to the sides of your body. The correct Breeker-stance requires that the arms are at least as far apart from the body to facilitate the carrying of a watermelon. The original pioneering Breekers really had no choice with this option, as they arms were just so huge it was the only way they were, however modern day Breekers are not as committed to the cause and often don’t work out at all and therefore need to force themselves into Breeker stance.
6. Sound system
This used to be a lot more of a consistent Breeker ‘tell’, however these days massive and expensive sound systems blaring music so loud that the windows shake are a very common occurrence. The breaker test comes through in that it is still a requirement to have Eiffel 65 blue playing in the car or any remixed version of a song, any song in its original form and the driver is no longer eligible for Breeker status.
7. Breekers don’t walk
Whether it be loitering in a parking lot or wheel-spinning outside of a club, it’s quite clear that you cannot be a Breeker without a car. Breekers don’t walk, or catch the bus or get lifts with friends, to be a Breeker you have to be driving a car, and not just any car, there are Breeker-specific cars.
With just enough seating for a ‘poppie’ in the front seat and an angle-grinder in the back, the Ford Bantam has all the necessities covered without any excess. With its ability to mount curbs and park just about anywhere, the Bantam has no problem leaving an impression.
There might never be a car as classically Breeker as the BMW M3. With ultra aggressive looks and an impossibly gangster feel, the M3 is THE Breeker car. It’s a far too common sight to see a Breeker in a M3 dicing someone at a robot in Benoni at 3AM on his way to a 24 hour Wimpy, and then standing next to his car at the Wimpy, either having an extremely loud conversation with his ‘china’ either on the phone or right next to him or simply just standing next to the car looking like a Breeker.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Nissan South Africa (Nissan SA) is looking to ramp up vehicle production at its Rosslyn manufacturing plant to 45, 000 units this financial year, after falling short of meeting this target in 2008 because of the global economic crisis which had a serious impact on total industry volume (TIV). This optimistic outlook is on the strength of new opportunities that have opened up in the export market and demand for the NP200 as well as demand for the Renault Sandero which is built at the Nissan factory under the Renault Nissan Alliance.
“If you look at this financial year, I think we are one of the few manufacturers in the South African market that is actually forecasting a higher volume than we did last year because of these opportunities,” says Neil Craddock, Nissan SA’s manufacturing plant general manager, who points out that even with lower volumes of around 33, 000 last year, the company still maintained its 8% market share.
A key challenge is materials management both of overseas and local suppliers. Now that the company is sourcing from a variety of countries, and not just Japan as previously, production is often hampered by long lead times and packing configurations which are at odds with the production line’s requirements. Operational challenges closer to home also spill over into the manufacturing arena. “When it comes to local suppliers, one of the things we are really battling with is some of the suppliers’ inability to meet the delivery expectations,” explains Craddock. Ensuring the optimum ‘cost per unit’ is an ever-present challenge. NSA is, therefore, always mindful of these cost elements and continues to strive to contain cost through cross functional activity and ongoing benchmarking.
Challenges aside, Craddock is confident that Nissan is on track to maintaining, if not exceeding, the company’s forecasted volumes for 2009 and beyond
How to spot a Breeker
In the Breekers natural habitat (a car), there are a few tell-tale signs that separate a potential Breeker from any other person or driver on the road. And while any of these signs on their own is not enough to label the driver a Breeker, the combination of the lot is what truly does it.
1. Luminous under car lighting
This car addition does seem to be quite rare these days compared to how popular it was a few years back. It is however quite a consistent tell that the driver of said ‘luminous lit’ car is a Breeker.
2. Head half way out the window
A Breeker will drive with his head almost completely out of the window. This is done in order for his chirps to be sufficiently audible to passers-by that have no doubt done something wrong, are wearing something wrong or are simply just wrong and are in need of informing of their “wrongness” courtesy of said Breeker
3. Tiny racing steering wheel
It’s quite possible to get this one wrong by being just slightly wrong with the wheel size. A medium sized racing steering wheel simply won’t do. The Breeker-determing factor is all in the car size to steering wheel ratio, the bigger the car, the smaller the steering wheel. You can pick up this one from Autostyle
4. Driver seat tilt
A true Breeker will position the driver seat tilted so far back that it can sometimes look like there is no driver in the car at all. This feature can sometimes look like a contradiction to point 2, but a true Breeker will transition effortlessly from fully reclined into head out the window when the situation calls for such action.
* Continues in Part 2
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
PRETORIA, South Africa – As a world-class rugby team, the South African Springboks work together as one unit to win. This approach is not unique to the pitch, and in fact happens everyday across our organisation, driven by the ONE Ford strategy.
PRETORIA, South Africa – As a world-class rugby team, the South African Springboks work together as one unit to win. This approach is not unique to the pitch, and in fact happens everyday across our organisation, driven by the ONE Ford strategy.
To learn more about Ford's approach to business and to share the team's vision of success, Springboks Assistant Coach Gary Gold, along with players JP Pietersen, Bismarck Du Plessis, Bakkies Botha and Tendai Mtawarira, visited Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) on November 4.
Impressed by how FMCSA was driving its operations forward despite trying industry conditions, Gold noted similarities between Ford's business approach and his own vision of teamwork. He pointed out that our ONE Ford strategy – which is based on the three pillars of One Team, One Plan, One Goal – closely resembles the tactics the Springboks use to win games, time and time again.
FMCSA President and CEO Hal Feder agreed, and explained how ONE Ford has revolutionalised the business: “Ford has brought its employees together to create a lean, global enterprise for automotive leadership, as measured by our customers and, importantly, by our employees, dealers, investors and suppliers. Our plan has been to aggressively restructure in order to operate profitably within the current demand, create products that the market wants and work together effectively as One Team to create an exciting Ford for the future.”
The Springboks share Ford's One Team approach, and work together with One Goal in mind every time they take to the pitch. The results speak for themselves, with the Springboks consistently ranking among the top teams in the international rugby circuit.
As a proud South African pastime, rugby provides inspiration for many and instils a sense of national pride. During their visit to Ford’s Silverton Assembly Plant, Gold and the Springboks signed autographs and memorabilia for Ford employees who gathered to meet them.
“Gold's passion for the Springboks is remarkably similar to our company’s passion for the Ford brand,” said Feder. ''Shared vision certainly leads to shared success.''
Ford is an associate sponsor of the South African Rugby League, and has supplied 34 Ford Bantams to rugby development officers throughout South Africa.
Monday, November 9, 2009
During October 2009 a total of 24 592 new passenger cars were sold in South Africa. Total new passenger car sales in October, including sales not reported in detail to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa, increased by 3.3 percent when compared to September 2009 and were only -3.7 percent down on October 2008. The January to October 2009 new passenger car market therefore recorded sales -24.5 percent below the same period for 2008.
“The October result clearly enjoyed the support of seasonally strong sales to rental car companies. However, the overall performance of the new passenger car market in October once again proved encouraging and supportive of the view that the decline in the new car sales cycle that began in June 2006 has probably bottomed out,” said Mike Glendinning, Director of Sales and Marketing, VW of SA.
“The month of October yielded the highest number of monthly new passenger cars sold since October 2008, but the selling rate of new cars per day declined by 4.3 percent when compared to September. Prior to that it was the highest since March of this year and before that, October 2008,” said Glendinning.
“The VW Passenger car Brand has continued its domination of this segment through 2009. In October the Citi Golf sold 989 units proving that this iconic South African Brand will remain a favourite of the South African consumer right to the end of its illustrious 25 year innings. Both the Polo range with sales of 1 396 units and the new generation Golf VI with sales of 590 units, helped secure our leadership position,” continued Glendinning.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Stuttgart. The Porsche Panamera has been awarded the Golden Steering Wheel as the Best New Car of the Year in the Luxury Performance Class. With its combination of supreme comfort and outstanding sportiness, and through its unique design, Porsche’s Gran Turismo convinced the 50-man jury made up of racing drivers, engineers, celebrities and the senior editors of the Auto Bild Magazine Group trying out the candidates on thorough test drives.
Before receiving this outstanding award, the Panamera had already been chosen by readers as one of the five best models in the luxury performance class with experts putting the car through its paces in the final contest on a test track in Italy for two enduring days.
This year this special prize presented for the first time by publisher Axel Springer in 1976 was awarded not “just” by the German Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag, but rather by a group of publications including the Auto Bild Motoring Journal and its European sister publications, making this coveted award even more significant than ever.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
LAS VEGAS - With the launch of the all-new 2010 MAZDA3 and MAZDASPEED3, a small team of designers and engineers at Mazda R&D in Irvine, Calif., decided to celebrate with a pair of special projects, debuting for the first time at the 2009 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show.
Both cars are painted to mimic the new MAZDA3 World Challenge race car, but in a more subdued Crystal White Pearl base coat with soft gray tone graphics. The scheme is a modern twist on the famous Renown graphics used on the Mazda 787B that won Le Mans in 1991.
The sedan was sent to Tri-Point Engineering for a boost in power. Between World Challenge races, Tri-Point installed their turbo kit, utilizing a rugged cast iron turbo manifold feeding a high-efficiency Garrett GT2871R ball bearing turbo. At a mild 10 psi of boost, the 2.5-liter MZR engine is making well over 250 horsepower at the wheels (final tuning is still being finished).
To handle this extra power, the front brakes were replaced with rotors and calipers from a MAZDASPEED3, while the rear rotors and calipers were sourced from a MAZDA5. Double-adjustable coil-overs from KW Suspension, paired with a Tri-Point adjustable rear stabilizer bar bring the handling back into harmony with the engine's higher output.
Monday, November 2, 2009
INGOLSTADT, Germany, Oct 30, 2009 - Audi has shrugged off the effects of the global economic crisis and again posted a clear operating profit of EUR 348 million in the third quarter of the current fiscal year (2008: EUR 760 million). Over the first three quarters of the current fiscal year, Audi has thus achieved an operating return of 5.4 percent (2008: 8.0 percent), making it one of the top performers in the industry.
Despite the continuing global economic crisis, Audi succeeded in yet again reporting a clear operating profit for the third quarter of the year. The Audi Group generated revenues of EUR 7.2 billion between July and September (2008: EUR 8.4 billion), down 14.9 percent on the record figure of the previous year. The operating profit for the period amounted to EUR 348 million, a fall of 54.2 percent on the record figure of the previous year (2008: EUR 760 million).
“The figure was diminished not just by the general economic situation but also by expenditure necessitated by product launches such as the A8 and A1, as well as by the three-week summer production break in August”, remarked Axel Strotbek, Board Member for Finance and Organization at AUDI AG. He declared that the company was nevertheless very satisfied with the result, which further strengthened its liquidity position.
“This demonstrates how prudently Audi is steering a course through the crisis”, continued Strotbek. He was also bullish about the fourth quarter: “We expect our profitability to be even better than in the third quarter.”