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.
Hybrid technology isn’t just a Japanese specialty anymore, everyone is jumping on the electric bandwagon from the Detroit three to German automakers. Even the British are investing in cutting-edge batteries and motors.
General Motors’ advertising strategy made headlines several times already this year, but the latest revelation just might be the strangest yet.
You may think America has its fair share of uninsured motorists on the road, but out in the United Kingdom one out of every 25 drivers do not carry insurance. That equates to an astonishing 1.4-million people that law enforcement has had a tough time cracking down on.
The UK government has decided to step in hoping to curb the problem by installing cameras at gas stations and parking lots. Thanks to their automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) system working in conjunction with CCTV cameras, the government will be able to track down all the uninsured motorists in their country.
The hope is that the cameras with the ANPR system will be able to quickly check whether or not a car getting gas is insured or taxed. If either of those are missing, the system will automatically shut down the pump – possibly leaving the vehicle’s owner stranded. What happens after that though would be an interesting scenario, especially if it happened in America.
The UK government plans to meet with representatives from major fuel companies to discuss whether or not this is a good idea. So far the idea has been met with criticism and skepticism; fuel companies fear that gas station cashiers could be in danger from angered motorists while insurance companies are playing devil’s advocate in the scenario where the system doesn’t instantly update that a motorist had renewed their insurance.
[Source: Mirror News]
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]
The facility, which will be located in Pune, close to existing Tata operations, will produce modular four-cylinder engines and is said to be a virtual ‘carbon copy’ of the company’s new engine plant being set up in the West Midlands, UK.
Both facilities have been conceived so that Jaguar Land Rover can replace, as quickly as possible the four-cylinder gasoline and turbo diesel engines it currently sources from Ford Motor Company, which have proven to be relatively expensive.
Jaguar says that work on the new Indian plant won’t begin until the West Midlands operation is fully up and running, but said that once operations are in full swing; both plants together will have capacity to produce as many as 500,000 engines per year, which will help satisfy growing demand; particularly in China where Jaguar Land Rover already has a local assembly operation.
As for Jaguar’s other engines, namely it’s V-6 and V-8 gas and diesel units, these will continue to be sourced from Ford at Dagenham, Essex, UK, at least for the time being.
This year marks the golden anniversary of one of the most iconic cars of all time; the E-Type Jaguar or XK-E. Exactly 50 years ago in March, the original Series 1 car made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show; most men and boys haven’t been the same since.
Now, as part of the car’s birthday celebrations, the Royal Mail service in Britain, is a special sheet of commemorative stamps.
The sheet, which becomes available from March 30 in the UK, incorporates 10 close up pictures of E-Types, along with 10 fittingly British, 1st Class Union Jack Stamps.
Recently, the E.U. (European Union) announced plans to ban petrol and diesel powered vehicles from city centers by 2050 in the interest to improve air quality, while also reducing dependence on fossil fueled vehicles. However, U.K. (United Kingdom) is not on board with this idea.
U.K’s Transport minister Norman Baker says these choices should be made by individual cities, based on their needs and agenda, and not as a collective agreement. He added by saying, “We will not be banning cars from city centers anymore than we will be having rectangular bananas.”
The E.U. wants to reduce traffic and smog in city centers and are even looking to expand their plans to encourage rail travel over distances over 186-miles and hopes to cut emissions by 60% by 2050.
The U.K. wants to do things their own way by “decarbonising road transport by, for example, investing more than £400m over the next four years to support electric vehicles and promoting alternatives to car travel like walking and cycling,” said Baker.
If you think gas prices are bad over here; spare a thought for our British cousins across the pond. Currently, fuel at the pumps is approaching almost $10 per imperial gallon (approximately 1.2009 US gals) in England.
As a result motorists in the UK are looking every which way they can to save fuel. The Institute for Advanced Motorists (IAM) has come up with some tips that could save drivers up to 10 percent in fuel each month. Simon Green, the IAM’s Chief Executive, said recently in the organization’s newsletter, that if the “monthly price of filling up is typically £70 ($112) each, an experienced or advanced driver can save up to £14 per month or £168 a year,” simply by changing their driving habits.
Tips offered by the institute include anticipating the flow of traffic around you, reducing the need for hard acceleration or braking; using cruise control where possible to regulate speed; switching off the engine at railroad crossings and long traffic lights; removing excess baggage from the trunk or roof rack; checking your tire pressures regularly (at least once a month) and obeying the posted speed limit signs.
Although some European countries are taking more drastic measures to save fuel consumption, notably Spain, which reduced it’s national speed limit recently; the IAM maintains the best option is to be light with your right foot.
Besides the tips mentioned above the institute is also offering an Eco-Driving designed to help maximize fuel efficiency while driving in a safe and responsible manner.
[Source: Institute for Advanced Motorists]
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.
The Noble M600 has been a long time coming. So long in fact that one might think the car has already been on sale for years. However, the final production version has just been unveiled by Noble and the first customer units should be delivered by April 2011.
The specs look incredible. The M600 weighs just 2,640 lbs. yet it develops 650-hp from a 4.4-liter, twin-turbo, V8 (originally a Volvo unit). That means it has a better power-to-weight ratio than a Bugatti Veyron.
Launch this 6-speed manual gearboxed, mid-engined, rear-wheel drive supercar properly and you can sprint from 0-60 mph in just under 3.0 seconds, and it will keep accelerating until it maxes out at 225 mph. Astonishingly, it can sprint from 0-120 mph in just 8.9 seconds, which should be enough to annoy most of the established supercar marques.
So on the track, it will be a monster, but to make it more docile for street use, Noble has fitted the M600 with a power control switch, so you can dial in 450-hp, 550-hp or 650-hp at the turn of a knob. Noble says this is to help make the car more usable, especially in wet weather. To further help with keeping the car on the road, the M600 does come with a traction control system. The brave-hearted ones can turn the traction control off completely by pressing a button under a flap – the same flap that hides the missile launch button in a Tornado jet fighter. Maybe Noble is hinting that their car is more like a weapon!
Mechanically, the production M600 is identical to its prototype sibling, but there have been changes along the way. For instance, now the entire body is made from carbon-fiber, which makes the car lighter and stronger than before. Other changes include red accents on the grilles and vents, and new sill kick plates which carry names of everybody working at Noble, including the receptionist.
While Noble has not announced any pricing yet, they did mention that they have 52 firm orders for this car already. Since they are also building left-hand drive examples, let’s hope some M600′s will make their way into the U.S.A.
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]
“Boys and their cars.” You’ve may have heard the following statement muttered between groups of women knowingly. But a recent study by researchers at City University in the United Kingdom suggests it’s just something they naturally gravitate towards from the moment they can crawl.
For this study, the researchers gathered a group of boys and girls, from 9 to 36 months old, along with a range of toys, and recorded which each gender played with and for how long. The information gathered found that the boys spent more time playing with cars and balls, while girls spent more time playing with the dolls and teddy bears. This, in the researchers’ conclusion, suggests that there is an “intrinsic bias” in children towards gender-typical toys.
According to City University researchers, this study is the first of its kind to find consistent and stable differences regarding the toy choices girls and boys younger than 18 months make. One researcher, Dr Brenda Todd, states, “Children of this age are already subject to a great deal of socialization, but these findings are consistent with the idea of an intrinsic bias in children to show interest in particular kinds of toys.”
So ladies, the next time your man is in the garage tinkering with his latest toy, stop before you admonish him for spending so much time with toy and not with you. It’s not his fault – he was born that way.
[Source: Kicking Tires via BBC News]