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Monday, April 22, 2013

AUDI TO BUILD BIGGER Q8?


According to Autocar, Audi is very much interested in building a new SUV that’s bigger than the Q7. We aren’t too sure if the car is actually bigger, or is just pitchedhigher than the Q7, but really the point is that there is another big SUV being touted at Ingolstadt. The car may be called the Q8.


Technical head Wolfgang Dürheimer is quoted as saying that “I pushed for the Bentley SUV and I'm pushing for Audi to make something in this segment also. I could see Bentley and Audi both making SUVs, and Lamborghini also; in my job I'm trying to encourage the Lamborghini SUV project to progress.” Audi “owns” Lamborghini within the Volkswagen Group.

He is said to have said that SUVs are a top priority for Audi, probably because in China, the company’s fastest-growing region, SUVs are going like hot soup at a homeless kitchen. Another SUV that’s a possibility is a Q2, which of course would be smaller than the Q3. The Q2 would really be an indirect competitor of the MINI Countryman.

PORSCHE PANAMERA BRINGS HYBRID, NEW V6 BITURBO






Porsche has unveiled the facelifted Panamera. The car was lifted out of its covers in China at the 2013 Auto Shanghai. Several changes were made, especially under the skin and one of these has been the introduction of the Panamera S E-Hybridwith an incredible claimed fuel consumption figure.


Let’s start with the S E-Hybrid. The base unit is a 3.0-litre petrol engine that’s mated to an 8-speed automatic gearbox. Electricity comes from a pack of lithium-ion batteries that can be recharged in a matter of hours. In total the system puts out 306kW and 590Nm of torque between 1250rpm and 4000rpm. Now here are some really unbelievable number: Porsche claims the S E-Hybrid can average 3.1 litres per 100km from its 80 litre fuel tank! That’s incredible. C02 emissions are 71 g/km. The car will be able to go from 0 – 100km/h in 5.5 seconds and top off at 270km/h.

The other new models are the V6 biturbo units that replace the “old” 4.8-litre V8. Powering the Panamera S and Panamera 4S, the engine pulls out 309kW at 6000rpm and 520Nmbetween 1750rpm and 5000rpm. The cars are rated at 5.1 and 4.8 secondsrespectively in terms of the 0 – 100km/h sprint.

Lastly Porsche has paid tribute to the fact that China is now its second-most important market after the USA, and that Panamera specifically has had about a third of its sales go to China since it was launched. In order to thank that market and supply a model that’s high in demand, the Panamera Executive range was announced. It’s just like the other models, except its wheelbase has grown by 15cm, making it a sort of limousine.

Porsche South Africa will release the new Panamera within the next few months. 

FORD RANGER SINGLE CAB GETS MORE OOMPH




The new Ford Rangersingle cab is now available with the company 3.2-litre turbo diesel powertrain. Ever since Ford launched the car it’s been a great seller, regularly sitting on the top 3 of best-selling bakkies (pickups) each month.


The new derivatives are available in either 4x2 or 4x4, both mated to a 6-speed manualtransmission. Maximum power is 147kWand peak torque is 470Nm. Very good figures for towing, and Ford says both will be able to tow up to 3 350kg and achieve wading depths of 800mm. Bloody good for an everyday single cab. The other useful feature is the load box volume of 1.82 cubic metres.

MASERATI GHIBLI BREAKS COVER IN CHINA





The Maserati Ghiblicame out at the 2013 Shanghai Motor Showand is the Italian marque’s answer to the likes of Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. But of course, this being a Maser means it will be light years more expensive. Or maybe not, we’ll see.


Ghibli measures some 4.97 metres in length, which is about 29cm shorter than the larger Quattroporte. The car features something called Maserati Active Sound system which basically emulates the “Maserati” exhaust tailpipe sound and makes it sound awesome. It’s also apparently the only car in its class to use a standard mechanical limited slip differential that helps with grip.

Staying with performance, the Ghibli is being launched with two engine derivatives of the same motor, which is a 3.0-litre V6 with two turbochargers. The lesser of the two delivers 243kW and 500Nm of torque, is said to return 9.6 litres per 100km and can run from 0 - 100km/h in just 5.6 seconds. I suppose this would be the BMW 540i/ Merc E350/ A6 3.0 T rival.

More potent is the 301kWversion with its 550Nm of torque and a 0 – 100km/h in 4.8 seconds. Two powertrains, a Ghibli S (rear-wheel-drive) and S Q4 (all-wheel-drive), are available. Both models can supposedly reach 285km/h, so there’s no so-called “gentlemen’s agreement” on 250km/h here.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

TOYOTA YARIS TAKES PODIUM



The new Toyota Yaris rally car claimed its first podium finish in only its second outing when Toyota Motorsport’s Leeroy Poulter and Elvéne Coetzee finished third in a Castrol-backed example in the Sasol Rally in Mpumalanga on Saturday. In the process they moved up to second place in the championship.

Team-mates Johnny Gemmell and Carolyn Swan were fifth in a second Castrol Team Toyota Yaris in the two-day event, which ended in Nelspruit after 13 special stages run in extremely wet and misty conditions.

Poulter, winner of the 2011 Sasol Rally with Coetzee in a Castrol Toyota Auris, was enthusiastic about his new rally car. “We have made great progress with the new Yaris, but this was no place to push the car to the limit. The weather conditions were atrocious and I’m surprised more people didn’t go off the road and damage their cars. We managed to complete the rally relatively unscathed, although we lost some time on a couple of occasions when we wrong-slotted in the mist. At times you couldn’t see much further than the car’s bonnet. The Yaris has a lot of potential.”

Gemmell, who hit a tree stump after going off the road in the misty and slippery conditions on special stage two, pushing the sump guard into the radiator, used all his skills to nurse the overheating Toyota through the rest of the stage and the next stage before he could reach the designated service park. The service crew performed a near miracle to repair the car in just 30 minutes. The entire radiator support structure had to be cut out and was replaced with a makeshift frame welded into place before a new radiator could be installed.

“We were able to do a little bit of testing between the first two events and the changes and improvements we made worked well. I’m impressed with the Yaris at this early stage in its development,” said the twice former Sasol Rally winner, who repaid the service crew for their efforts by winning the first stage on Saturday.

Giniel de Villiers and Greg Godrich hit a roadside rock in heavy mist on day one, terminally damaging a third new Toyota Motorsport Yaris that was only completed the day before the rally started and was making its debut in Imperial Toyota colours.

“I misjudged a tight corner in the mist eight kilometres into special stage two and we hit a large rock half hidden in the grass on the side of the road and spun into a bank,” explained De Villiers. “It took out the left-hand front lower wishbone and steering arm. The technical team performed their usual magic and had the car ready for us by the early start on Saturday morning so that we could compete in the Super Rally and test and feel the potential of the new Yaris.

Team principal Glyn Hall commented: “Overall I am happy with the weekend’s performance. We did some good testing in dry conditions the day before the event and it was clear we had made good progress. We changed the set-up on the car during the rally, adapting the car to the muddy conditions.

“It’s about confidence for the drivers when the roads are so slippery. Johnny was unfortunate, the mist was very thick on the exit of a fourth gear corner and he had to commit to his line, which was a bit wider than the road, the car proved its strength surviving a massive impact.”


STORY BY TOYOTA

Friday, April 19, 2013

GINIEL DE VILLIERS UNVEILS NEW RALLY YARIS


Imperial Toyota unveiled its brand new South African Rally Championship challenger at a function in Nelspruit on Thursday evening.  The Imperial Toyota Yaris, which was built and prepared by Toyota Motorsport, will be in action on Friday and Saturday in the Sasol Rally with Giniel de Villiers behind the steering wheel and Greg Godrich reading the route notes.

The new two-door, four-wheel drive Yaris replaces the Imperial Toyota Auris in which De Villiers has been contesting the premier S2000 class alongside Toyota Motorsport team-mates Johnny Gemmell and Leeroy Poulter since the middle of last year. Gemmell and co-driver Carolyn Swan and Poulter and co-driver Elvene Coetzee will be making their second appearance in their Castrol Team Toyota Yaris rally cars this weekend after the latest in a long line of successful rally Toyotas made its debut in the Total Rally in March.

“We’re delighted to be able to put Giniel and Greg into the latest Toyota rally car,” said Imperial Toyota CEO Andrew Miller. “Giniel has been flying the Imperial flag high in this exciting and popular form of motorsport, just as he has done for the past two years in the Dakar Rally.  We wish him and Greg every success in this weekend’s Sasol Rally and in the remaining events this season.”

The rally Yaris is a first for South Africa and Toyota Motorsport, who helped pioneer the introduction of the S2000 class in South Africa in 2006 with the uniquely South African Corolla-based RunX rally car and its successor in 2008, the Auris. It is the first Yaris to contest a national rally championship anywhere in the world.



STORY BY TOYOTA

Thursday, April 18, 2013

DEZZI RACEWAY CHALLENGE REPLACES KNYSNA HILLCLIMB



After the Knysna Hillclimb was unexpectedly cancelled for 2013 due to late sponsor withdrawal, South Africa’s fastest and greatest drivers will be converging  at an all-new venue for an all-new motorsport event, and one which has the potential to capture the hearts and minds of South African motoring fans all over the country. 

Created initially as a replacement event for the 2013 Knysna Hillclimb, the new event, which will run independently to any future Knysna Hillclimb events, has the potential to become an annual spectacle and a huge attraction on the South African motorsport calendar.

Inaugural Dezzi Raceway Invitational Challenge to set KZN alight

Set to take place on 18 and 19 May 2013 in Port Shepstone, Kwa-Zulu Natal, the inaugural Dezzi Raceway Invitational Challenge – the brainchild of Dez Gutzeit who built the world-class racing facility originally for personal enjoyment – will see some of South Africa’s best drivers and fastest cars compete head-to-head in a flying start, time attack scenario. The 2.9-kilometre track, which is based on a runway and features numerous technical corners, has been built to FIA standards and boasts a full pit complex, club house and safe spectator viewing points.

Together with support from other Hillclimb favourites like Wilhelm Baard of Global GT-R in Hatfield, Pretoria, the new racing event has massive potential and hopes to appeal to the high concentration of racing fans in KZN, providing a massive opportunity for motorsport in the region.  There has also been keen interest from the wider motorsport community and like the Knysna Hillclimb, this has potential to become a national event.

Baard, who won the Knysna Hillclimb in 2011, says he was pleasantly surprised by the track and has high hopes for the inaugural challenge. “Not only has Dez created a fantastic new location for motorsport in South Africa and Kwa-Zulu Natal specifically – where motorsport has dwindled in years of late – but the concept is a brilliant idea for all parties involved. We decided to run the event at the same time as what the 2013 Knysna Hillclimb would have taken place as the competitors had already prepared their cars for Knysna and had already made plans to travel and take off work in most cases. Motorsport is well known as being an expensive hobby to undertake and this way our friends and rivals are still able to exploit their hard work and well-prepared machines in an all-new and very exciting environment.”

Dez Gutzeit, whose son Jade won the Knysna Hillclimb in 2012, comments: “Running on an invitational basis at first, we have selected the top 25 cars and drivers in the country, largely pooled from the Knysna Hillclimb fraternity, to battle it out on the track at a professional and safe racing event.”

Gutzeit goes on to say that the new racing environment also opens the playing field for a host of other cars and drivers. Where the Knysna Hillclimb’s environment tended to favour the Nissan GT-Rs thanks to its twisty track where the Japanese supercar’s superior grip levels worked in its favour, the new event evens things out for other cars as well, specifically for the low-slung bona fide race cars which couldn’t compete on the rough and uneven surface in Knysna. This makes the competition even fiercer and more exciting for the spectators.

“We wanted to do something great for South African motorsport and the Dezzi Raceway Invitational Challenge is sure to create a stir. It will be the quintessential petrolhead event of 2013 and we hope it goes on to become an annual highlight going forward. The Challenge has very humble beginnings with massive potential,” concludes Gutzeit.

RIVALS FORD AND GENERAL MOTORS COLLABORATE

Ford Focus interior


Chevrolet Cruze interior
Two of America’smost iconic car companies are teaming up and pushing things up a gear, so to speak. General Motors and Ford will be developing a new gearbox together, one that will work with front and rear-wheel-drive vehicles, as well as AWD.


So what makes this one special? Well, it will feature not 6, not 7, not 8 cogs, but 9 and 10! Yes, these will be 9-speed and 10-speed and will beat ZF’s current highest of 8-speed. The reason the two companies have given for developing these systems is better fuel economy.

More details will be released closer to the time of launch.

MERCEDES-BENZ GLA CONCEPT IS OUT






Auto Shanghai in China is coming up this weekend, and some car makers are already releasing some pics and details of cars that will be shown there. Mercedes-Benz is one of them, with this GLA Conceptcrossover. The vehicle is the A-Classequivalent of Audi’s Q3, BMW’s X1 and Volvo’s V40 Cross Country.


The concept is based on a 4.38 metre long (just 0.02m short of the MINI Countryman), 1.97m wide and 1.57m tall structure. It will probably share most of its powertrains with existing A-Class models, including turbocharged 1.6-litre petrols and 2.2-litrediesels. If we are all lucky and meditate hard enough, there may even be a GLA 45 AMG in the works, pushing out 265kW from a 4-cylinder 2.0-litre turbo engine. Wouldn’t that be grand?

The GLA is expected to also get unveiled at the 2013 Johannesburg International Motor Show (JIMS) happening at NASREC near Soweto this October.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

VOLVO S60 POLESTAR OFFICIAL







Volvo’s new S60 Polestar is about to enter the Australian market. Feverish with performance desire and dressed up in war garments, the S60 Polestar is huffingand puffing, taking the small premium performancesedan fight to the Germans. Straight targets? Audi S4 and BMW 335i.


Pushed on by a 3.0-litre T6 engine, the motor has been wickedly tweaked via Polestar software to produce a lovely set of numbers that look very tantalising, at least on paper. The car galvanises 257kW of power at 5700rpm, and about 500Nm of torque set between 2800rpm and 4750rpm. Driving all four wheels through a Haldex AWD system is a 6-speed automatic gearbox. Volvo says the car will sprint from 0 – 100km/h in just 4.9 seconds before hitting its electronically limited top speed of 250km/h at some point later.

Running gear includes a set of 19-inch wheels with Michelin Pilot Super Sport 235/ 40 R19 tyres matching the sporty front splitter, Polestar side sills, a lovely rear spoiler and a diffuser that’s flanked by two 3.5-inch tailpipes.

Volvo South Africa is keeping mum about the car, but we remain hopeful, given that Australia is also a right-hand-drive (RHD) market, and the fact that we’ve been given Polestar Volvos previously.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

TOYOTA'S NEW RACING YARIS READY TO RUMBLE




The Sasol Rally, round two of the 2013 SA Rally Championship, is one that Castrol Team Toyota has won seven times since the first event 21 years ago in 1992, three times with the Conquest, twice with the RunX and twice with the Auris.

This year the factory team will tackle the longest and toughest rally of the year, in Mpumalanga on April 19 and 20, with the brand new Yaris.

The latest in a long line of successful Toyota rally machines has been designed and built by Toyota Motorsport at the team’s Kyalami workshop.  It made its national rally championship debut in the season-opening Total Rally in KwaZulu-Natal and despite a lack of testing Leeroy Poulter and Elvene Coetzee finished fourth after running third until the final special stage.  Johnny Gemmell and Carolyn Swan scored the Yaris’s maiden special stage victory and, between them, the two Castrol Team Toyota crews compiled an impressive 10 top-three stage finishes.

Both Gemmell and Poulter have tasted victory in the Sasol Rally, Gemmell in 2007 in a Castrol RunX and again in 2009 in a Castrol Auris and Poulter in 2011 in his first year in S2000 in a Castrol Auris.

A third Yaris, in the colours of Imperial Toyota, has been built since the Total Rally for Giniel de Villiers and new co-driver Greg Godrich, who finished sixth in the season-opener in an Auris.

“Building a brand new rally car from scratch is a major undertaking, but we had a good data base on which to create the rally version of the two-door Yaris, even if we were a bit pressed for time after the end of the 2012 season,” said team principal Glyn Hall, national rally champion in 1990. 

“We’ve incorporated everything we’ve learnt from its predecessors, who won their fair share of rallies; now it’s a case of getting the kilometres under the belt, testing and evaluating the options. 

“To be honest, our initial testing took place during the Total Rally and we were more than happy with the results.  We had some issues and we’ve addressed these.  We’ve also managed to fit in quite a bit of testing with the two Castrol cars in the six weeks between rallies, but I have to admit I wish we’d been able to do more.

“Giniel’s new car will only be ready the day before the Sasol Rally, so unfortunately he’ll be going into this event without any testing.  However, we’re confident we have a competitive package and that all three crews will give a good account of themselves.”

The Sasol Rally starts in the Sabie market square in Mpumalanga at 10.00 on Friday (April 19) and ends in Nelspruit on Saturday (April 20).  The route covers some 600 kilometres of which 210 are 15 timed special stages – three on tarmac (in the towns of Sabie, White River and Nelspruit), 11 on gravel in the York Timber forests near Sabie, Graskop, White River and Hendriksdal and a final, short stage on grass in the Lowveld Showgrounds.


STORY BY TOYOTA

Monday, April 15, 2013

SEBASTIAN VETTEL IS INFINITI'S DIRECTOR OF PERFORMANCE


On the opening day of the New York International Auto Show, Infiniti announced Sebastian Vettel, Infiniti Red Bull Racing driver and triple Formula One World Champion, as Director of Performance for the premium automotive brand.

This latest announcement extends and enhances Vettel’s relationship with Infiniti which formally began in 2011. In this capacity, Vettel already has played a crucial role in developing Infiniti’s vehicle line-up, starting with the exclusive Infiniti FX Vettel Edition and most recently with the all-new Infiniti Q50.

Making the announcement, Infiniti President Johan de Nysschen said: “Sebastian’s talent and ability behind the wheel is unquestionable and his role in developing Infiniti vehicles has already proven invaluable. How many premium automotive brands can honestly say its vehicles have been developed alongside a triple World Champion? As our technical collaboration with Infiniti Red Bull Racing continues to deepen, so does our relationship with Sebastian who will be crucial to the development of our future vehicle line-up, ensuring Infiniti stands for passion and performance in a brand that challenges the status quo.”

Vettel has been central to the development of the new Infiniti Q50 from its early stages. He spent time with Infiniti engineers in Japan, providing them with his world-class chassis dynamics, performance and handling feedback. He was then involved in testing early models alongside Infiniti Red Bull Racing Test and Reserve driver Sebastien Buemi in Japan, around the famed Nürburgring in Germany, and at the Formula One pre-season test at the Spanish Circuit de Catalunya in early March.

As Title and Vehicle Performance Partner of Infiniti Red Bull Racing from the start of the 2013 Formula One season, Infiniti has deepened its technical relationship with the Team. This announcement ensures that Vettel will become involved in the development of more future Infiniti vehicles.


“I am really happy to extend my relationship with Infiniti and become their Director of Performance,” said Sebastian Vettel. “Helping to develop the Infiniti Q50 was a very different type of driving duty for me but I approached it in exactly the same way as I do my Formula One car. I am looking forward to working closely with Infiniti in developing more of their road cars into the future.”

STORY BY INFINITI

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

FOUR NEW AUDI RS MODELS FOR 2013





Audi’s quest to overtake BMW as the number one premium car maker in the world took a slight knock last quarter as it delivered 11 904 fewer cars globally than Bavaria. Nevertheless that will not keep the good four rings down as it plans to accelerate its mission by bringing out four new hi-performance RS models in 2013.


Said cars are the RS Q3, RS 6 Avant, RS 7 Sportback and the RS 5 Cabriolet. We are very excited about the first three, but while the RS 6 Avant looks to be a very useful performance tool, it may not reach Mzansi at all, due to our natural aversion to station wagons.

Audi executives in Europe said that RS models, which traditionally were brought out about two years before a model range was due for complete replacement, would not be launchedmuch sooner. You’ll now get our RS version no later than 2.5 years into a new model’s life cycle, or just before the facelift.

This is excellentnews, because it means that the all-new A4, due out in 2014, will show off its new RS 5 and RS 4 versions at the very latest in 2016, instead of what would previously have been 2019. It also means the next RS 3, with about 270kW, can now be expected before the middle of 2015.

GM INJECTING LIFE-SAVING CASH INTO OPEL


Opel and its UK twin Vauxhall are to receive a massive €4 billion (about R46.5 billion) cash injection from parent General Motors over the next four years in order to help the struggling European brands crawl out of their current bad situation.


The money will be used, among others, to develop and eventually deliver about 23 new models to the market by 2016. Even in the Mzansi market, the once-respected Opel brand has taken a serious dip in sales, despite really good products like the Astraand Meriva ranges. It has been left far behind by its chief rivals from Ford, Toyota and Volkswagen, and to a certain extent, its own cousins at Chevrolet.

SMALLER PORSCHE BOXER ENGINE COMING?


There is news doing the rounds on the internet that Porsche is working on a smaller, 4-cylinder boxer engine. At the moment the German premium car maker is only offering the boxer option in 6-cylinderformat. Word online is that it will displace 2.5-litres, like Audi’s TT RS and previous-generation RS 3 Avant motor.


No one is saying much though in terms of official confirmation, but it is understood that the motor will deliver about 260kW and over 450Nm of torque, and come both naturally aspirated as well as turbocharged. The most likely recipients are the Cayman and Boxster, with the Macan a dark horse.

In any event, this rumoured little firecracker is supposedly only scheduled to appear inside a car for the first time in 2015.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

PEUGEOT SOUTH AFRICA SHOWS GROWTH


Despite softening demand for new vehicles, sales of Peugeot passenger and light commercial vehicles continue to show positive strides. The French auto maker recorded a total tally of 411 units in March 2013, representing an increase of 17 percent on February levels.
 

The trend is mirrored when comparing year-on-year sales, with Peugeot SA’s year-to-date sales for 2013 showing an increase of 17.7 percent on the same period last year.

The achievement is all the more significant against a backdrop of slowing industry sales. Overall demand for new vehicles in South Africa rose by a modest 3.3 percent in March, compared to February this year, and was actually down 2.8 percent on March 2012 levels. Year to date, industry sales were up 4.1 percent compared to 2012.

Driving Peugeot’s sparkling sales performance was the growing demand for the compact 208 –  among the first of a new-generation of B-segment hatchbacks to reach local shores. Already enjoying a reputation for frugal running costs, strong dynamic traits and tactile quality, the 208 is offered in 1.2-litre and 1.6-litre variants.

The newcomer’s arrival in the latter part of 2012 coincided with increasing interest in more compact and more economical cars that still provide high levels of sophistication and a satisfying array of standard features. As a result, market acceptance of the 208 has been positive, both in SA and globally.

Internationally, February sales (with 20 700 registrations) confirmed the Peugeot 208 as leader in the hotly contested European (29 countries) B segment hatchback category, which it had conquered in December 2012.

The range is due for further expansion with the release of the high-tech 208 GTI variant, launching in South Africa during July, which is expected to add further momentum to demand for the hatchback.

The improvement in the French brand’s sales locally has also been positively influenced by Peugeot’s unwavering commitment to the SA market, with a particular emphasis being placed on upping sales and after-sales service levels.

The Peugeot Premium Plan, a five-year full maintenance offering on all new Peugeot models, not only underscores that commitment, but also offers buyers additional value and ownership peace of mind.

A revamped dealer network has played an important part in the substantial improvement of customer satisfaction levels, while also attracting new local investment, with the opening of new dealerships in Nelspruit and Cape Town.

“The March sales are heartening, and a welcome sign that our consistent efforts on the customer car front are paying dividends,” comments Francis Harnie, managing director of Peugeot SA. “Market conditions are not easy at present, and to show strong growth at this juncture is particularly gratifying.”

Harnie is convinced that Peugeot’s consistent focus on improving service levels are at the core of the growing demand for the brand’s products.

“We’ve been an underrated brand for too long, and our drive to meet the requirements of our customers by offering excellent service is a core part of the strategy to put Peugeot in the limelight. Those efforts are now paying dividends,” he concluded.


STORY BY PEUGEOT

MASERATI GHIBLI OFFICIAL, HEADING TO CHINA




Maserati has released the first official images of its upcoming four-door sports executive sedan in advance of its debut at the Shanghai Motor Show later this month. The all-new Ghibli is set to break new ground for Maserati.

The Ghibli will have a sportier character compared to the larger Quattroporte, launched at the beginning of this year.

The Ghibli will be available with two turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engines, an eight-speed automatic transmission and both rear-wheel drive and the new “Q4” all-wheel drive system.

The Ghibli will also become the first Maserati production car in history to be powered by a diesel engine, with a 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel.

It is Maserati’s first sedan in this segment and reflects the company’s belief that a growing number of premium executive car buyers are looking to make an individual statement through a car that is distinctive, elegant and luxurious.

The Ghibli will play a significant role in Maserati’s growth plan to sell 50 000 cars per year.


STORY BY MASERATI

Friday, April 5, 2013

SUZUKI AUTHENTICS CONCEPT ANNOUNCED



A new Suzuki C-segment sedan concept dubbed Authentics will make its world debut at the 15th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition, which opens its door on 20th April.

The Authentics is a C-segment sedan concept, which is particularly relevant in the Chinese market, where C-segment sedans account for the largest sales volumes in the passenger car market.

According to Suzuki, the concept fuses the themes of sportiness and elegance, thanks to its long wheelbase and an unconstrained shape. The overall height has been kept low, while a powerful shoulder line and finely executed curve surfaces emphasise the sedan’s aerodynamic profile.

Also making its first global appearance in Shanghai will be Suzuki’s new GW250S motorcycle, a new version of the GW250 road bike produced by Suzuki’s joint venture in China, Changzhou Haojue Suzuki Motorcycle Company.

By equipping the motorcycle with a half-fairing, the new GW250S exudes a sportier image while increasing wind protection at greater speeds, such as when riding on highways.

Other exhibits at the Shanghai expo will include the new Suzuki SX4 first unveiled at last month’s Geneva Motor Show, as well as the Alto, Swift, Kizashi, Jimny, and Grand Vitara.

Motorcycle fans will be able to feast their eyes on the latest Hayabusa and Boulevard M109R models.


STORY BY SUZUKI

SUZUKI REACHES GREAT 50 MILLION MILESTONE




Suzuki Motor Corporation has achieved a major milestone with the news that the company reached accumulated worldwide automobile sales of 50 million units in March 2013.

The 50 million sales total is made up of 21.95 million units sold in Japan (20.28 million ultracompact vehicles, together with 1.66 million standard and compact vehicles), and 28.05 million unit sales in overseas markets.

The percentage breakdown of the sales by area sees Japan responsible for
44 percent of sales, followed by India on 23 percent, Europe on 11 percent , Asia (8 percent), China (6 percent), North America (3 percent), Central/South America (2 percent), and Others, including Oceania, the Middle East and Africa (3 percent).

Ever since the launch of the Suzulight ultracompact vehicle in October 1955, Suzuki has been delivering creative products of superior value to customers. These include the Jimny in 1970, the Alto in 1979, the WagonR in 1993, and the Spacia in March 2013.

The company has been constantly innovating and developing its line-up of compact and ultracompact vehicles. In September 2012, Suzuki has achieved accumulated Japanese domestic mini vehicle sales of 20 million units.

As for standard and compact vehicles, Suzuki has consistently launched new products in these segments, starting with the Fronte 800 in 1965, and including the Jimy 1000, Cultus, Escudo, WagonR+, Swift, and Solio, all of which have earned high praise for their innovation.

As far as overseas sales are concerned, Suzuki started exporting the Suzulight in 1959, and had sold 28.05 million accumulated units to export markets by March 2013.

Suzuki has also actively expanded its overseas production bases. To date, the company has 12 automobile production bases in 11 countries, including in India, Hungary, and Indonesia. Suzuki vehicles are offered for sale in 179 countries and regions worldwide.

In overseas markets, models such as the Swift, Splash, Alto/Celerio, SX4, Jimny, Kizashi, Grand Vitara, and Carry are sold to meet the specific needs of each market.

Suzuki remains intent on improving its various products, while continuing to focus on providing products of superior value to customers worldwide.

Accumulated sales timeline
10 million units: June 1989
20 million units: June 1998
30 million units: October 2004
40 million units: June 2009
50 million units: March 2013

Thursday, April 4, 2013

BMW X4 COUPE CONCEPT REVEALED






BMW X4 Conceptpictures have emerged all around the web. Luckily for you, we also have a few. The X4 is essentially a “coupe SUV” in the mould of the X6, but smaller at about 4.6 metres in length. It will be based on the existing X3 but will feature a different design that’s more athleticand sportier.


X4 follows BMW’s new badge naming philosophy that says sedans can retain odd-numbers while coupes go with even ones. Hence the new 4 Series Coupefor example.

So in terms of engines, we’ll be seeing the same sort of thing as you find in the X3, meaning 2.0-litre turbo pulling out 135kW and 180kW, the 3.0-litre turbo worth 225kW or a bit more and some diesels in the mix. Word is also rife of an X4 M, which will topple 300kW.

The car will be unveiled later this month at the 2013 Auto China in Shanghai. We’ll probably see the real thing deal at the 2013 Johannesburg International Motor Show (JIMS) in October as well.
//PART 2