AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Driving in downtown London may be getting a little more difficult. There’s talk of banning older cars from parts of the UK capital if they don’t meet certain emissions requirements.
London’s world famous department store will have a MINI Goodwood on display from April 8 to April 22, celebrating the delivery of the first customer cars. Co-developed by the infamous Rolls-Royce design team, the car features luxurious amenities that would normally be seen in a Rolls-Royce.
Geely will make their first foray into the notoriously tough British market in 2012, hoping to emulate the success of Korean brands like Hyundai.
While Geely already helps produce the iconic London taxis, the company will face an uphill battle regarding the vehicle’s perceived quality. Their first UK offering, the EC7 compact car, will cost 10,000 GBP (roughly $15,581 USD) and feature a five-year, 100,000 mile warranty.
Geely is looking to recruit 30 to 40 dealers and sell about 1,000 cars in 2013, with a new model added for the next 4 to 5 years. Geely will be based out of Coventry, where the office of Manganese Bronze Holdings’ London Taxi Company (its partner in London Taxi production) resides, but Geely will remain separate from its subsidiary Volvo Cars.
[Source: Automotive News]
England’s News of the World has come under fire for allegedly tapping into the voicemail of a missing 13-year old girl’s cell phone, disrupting her police investigation. And Ford has been quick to react—it has pulled all of its advertising from the British tabloid.
The newspaper is facing multiple lawsuits and a police investigation of its own, under charges that it accessed the girl’s voicemail and also deleted messages while police were looking for her. The girl was later found murdered, but the cell phone activity tricked police and family members into believing that she was still alive.
Ford is one of the major advertisers to withdraw support of the newspaper; other major companies such as Renault, Virgin, and T-Mobile are also being petitioned to pull their ad campaigns. The case raises questions of ethical standards for the newspaper, and Ford cutting off its advertising funds is a blow to the paper.
[Source: Left Lane News]
Dany Bahar, the man responsible for running Lotus at the moment, has his fair share of critics. However, he is moving the brand forward through expansion, and his latest move is to give this famed British marque a brand new test track.
The new Lotus Test Track is situated in Hethel, U.K., a stone throws away from the old Lotus factory in Norfolk.
This 2.3-mile track boasts 12 pit garages, and is FIA approved, so not only can it hold races for thr FIA GT championship, but can also be used for testing F1 cars.
This $15-million circuit will also be mainly used to develop the new breed of Lotus road cars, which should hit the market in two years time.
F1 legends Jean Alesi and Nigel Mansell were at hand to open this new facility, with Mansel piloting his 1980 Type 88 car around the new track, followed by Elesi in the Lotus Type 125 Exos Experience car, as well as Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna in their Lotus Renault GP F1 cars.
GALLERY: Lotus Hethel Track Grand Opening
17th century Scottish writer William Shenstone once said, “nothing is certain in London but expense.” He should be lucky there weren’t cars back in his era, or he would have spit out his haggis: the average cost of insuring a new driver in Ol’ Blighty is around $10,000 a year.
That’s money that could go towards, well, Junior’s second car, or a year’s worth of college tuition, or a lot of gummi worms. The math breaks down like so: young drivers between the ages of 17 to 22 are charged as much as £546 per month while they have their bright red Learners tags. This converts to $891.72 per month, and multiplied over the course of a year brings the figure to $10,700.64 per year, enough to make Pops seriously angry if Junior’s out joyriding the Jaguar.
Why so pricey? While it’s no surprise that young drivers are more prone to get into accidents, insurance providers assign exorbitant premiums to beginners, leaving many drivers to go about without coverage or have their vehicle insured by their parents. Around 41% of British families do the latter; unfortunately, it’s illegal and insurance companies can forfeit an entire family’s policy if they do find out.
To bring prices down, some insurance companies are considering a plan to install automotive “black boxes” into the cars of beginning drivers, in order to measure sudden acceleration, braking, cornering, and other ne’er-do-well driving shenanigans. This would allow them to customize an insurance policy to a wide range of drivers. Some companies in America are considering the same plan.
As a bachelor, Prince William was noted for his Audi S4 sedan, equipped with a 4.2L V8 and a stealthy grey paint job. But now that William is a married man, it might be time for something a bit tamer, and the Royal Family’s relationship with Audi means that the future King of England has his pick of the Audi lineup.
William seems to have opted for a sleek A5 Sportback, finished in the same grey as his S4. While the A5 may be more stylish than the car it replaces (especially with the S-Line appearance kit), it likely lacks the performance chops to keep pace with William’s S4.
[Source: The Daily Mail]
Two intrepid travelers set out to make the run from Marlow, U.K. to Mayrhofen, Austria on just one tank of fuel, using a Volvo V50 wagon.
This particular V50 example is a European market model, which features a 1.6-liter, diesel engine. Their task was to use hypermiling techniques to cover the distance between Volvo cars U.K. headquarters to the Volvo Ice Camp in the Tirolean mountains in Austria.
While the V50 featured the new DRIVe series gadgets, which helps improve fuel consumption by having a diesel particulate filter and start/stop technology to cut down emission when idling, the travelers still had a big task on their hands, having to deal with real life obstacles such as traffic jams, and driving up a mountain, which can cause extra strain on the engine.
In the end, the pair failed to cover the full 850-miles, instead did just 753-miles. They made it to base camp by first adding 5-liters of diesel from a jerry can, and then later going to a gas station.
[Source: Tree Hugger]
The Suzuki Kizashi may have enjoyed critical acclaim (and rightly so) but it’s sales figures have never been stellar. Suzuki is planning to sell the Kizashi in the UK later in 2011, and while Suzuki only plans on selling 500 units, it’s difficult to imagine the car being anything more than a low-volume curiosity.
With only a 2.4L 4-cylinder, a CVT gearbox and all-wheel-drive, the Kizashi will go up against fully loaded players like the Vauxhall Insignia and Ford Mondeo, two established cars beloved by buyers on the other side of the pond. A lack of a diesel option will also hurt Suzuki, but the company thinks that the AWD system will allow it to attract buyers who may gravitate towards Subaru and AWD Vauxhall models. We wish them luck. They’ll need it.
Although the good Lord chose to take the Pontiac G8 from us far too early in its life, other countries can still enjoy GM’s Zeta platform superstar in all it’s Holden Commodore-based goodness.
The United Kingdom is particularly privileged, as it gets this Vauxhall VXR8, seemingly adorned in Rape Yellow, and it comes equipped with a 430 horsepower LS3 V8, capable of hitting 60 mph in just under 5 seconds. The VXR8 also gets the Magnetic Ride Control dampers from the Corvette ZR1, and a chassis tuned by Holden Special Vehicles, two items that were conspicuously missing from the Pontiac G8.
Of course, the VXR also costs an outrageous $78,060, about double the price of the top level G8 GXP. Still cheaper than an AMG or BMW M car, but a LOT of scratch for a General Motors sedan.
[Source: Top Speed]
Motorists in the UK are being hit with a one-two punch, after a shortage of winter tires left drivers scrambling to find appropriate tires for the chilly conditions.
Strong demand for winter tires due to last winter’s heavy snowfall has led to a shortage of snow tires. Even with a 400 percent increase in deliveries to the UK, supplies look to be sold out through January.
Meanwhile, drivers are reporting that some insurers are raising premiums on vehicles with winter tires, due to their install being considered a “modification”. Insurers seem to be ambivalent regarding the proven safety benefits of winter tires, and motorists are understandably outraged.
[Source: Auto Express]
Aston Martin‘s Rapide sedan is already one of the most striking luxury four-doors on the market, with a bent more towards the sporty side of the equation. But Aston’s newest Luxe packing will swing the pendulum the in the opposite direction, emphasising comfort and coddling over outright speed.
The Luxe package will give buyers a choice of exclusive paint hues (including Concours Blue or the James Bond-esque Quantum Silver), a rear seat DVD system, custom luggage outfitted to match your Rapide’s interior, and switchgear made of glass. Sounds delicate.
[Source: Aston Martin]
With yesterday’s demise of 0-60 Magazine still fresh in our minds, we have news of another magazine closing, this time out of England. It appears that legendary modified car magazine Max Power, equally famous for its souped up hatchbacks as it was for bare breasts, is closing its doors.
A tweet by British outlet Motormorph announced the magazine’s demise, and while we don’t have official word, we can bet that this announcement, combined with the British government’s historic cutbacks of its welfare program, will cause mass rioting on Britain’s council estates.
Gordon Murray is eager to stress that his firm, Gordon Murray Design, is not in the business of producing cars, especially not his new T25 city car. “We’re not a car company; our business is selling intellectual property for the production process,” Murray told Auto Express.
Murray’s proclamation comes on the heels of his announcement that he has already sold the design of the T25 to an unnamed European company and a Japanese design firm, but Murray won’t reveal their identities. With the T25, and his new iStream manufacturing process, Murray is pursuing a new business model, whereby a design is licensed to several different companies who produce their own version of the car.
After he finishes the electric version of the T25, dubbed the T27, Murray said that he will build a superlight Mazda MX5 rival as well as a supercar to compete with the McLaren MP4-12C.
As Nissan strives to sell the Leaf electric car at an affordable price point, the company is expressing concerns that the current subsidies offered by governments to encourage EV adoption will expire after three years, hurting sales and pushing the cost of electric vehicles back into unattainable territory.
“My assumption is that they won’t be cut off but they might be pared back,” Nissan Vice-President Simon Thomas said. “There’s no obligation for governments to extend those programs beyond the definitive agreement — and in some countries we don’t have a definitive agreement.”
Nissan is struggling to keep the Leaf below 30,000 euros. The car will make its debut in Portugal and the Netherlands this December, because the two countries offer a 5,000 euro credit for electric vehicles. However, the company said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the cars would turn a profit, likely around the third year of production.
[Source: Business Week]