Friday, October 19, 2012

Autocar Online - News

Autocar Online - News

Volvo appoints new CEO

Posted: 19 Oct 2012 02:21 AM PDT

Håkan Samuelsson replaces Stefan Jacoby as president and CEO of Volvo Car Group

Håkan Samuelsson has been appointed president and CEO of Volvo Car Group. He replaces Stefan Jacoby who leaves the group after an "amicable agreement" with the firm's board.

Samuelsson has been an independent member of the Volvo board since 2010. He was previously chairman and CEO of MAN SE between 2005 and 2009.

Li Shufu, majority shareholder and chairman of the board said: "I see major opportunities for Volvo Cars to improve profitability, and accelerate our growth plan in China specifically. I am convinced that Håkan Samuelsson's thorough experience and leadership will help us increase performance.

"We have a strong strategy and transformation plan in place which we will now execute. I would like to thank Stefan Jacoby for his valuable and strong contribution developing the strategy and taking the company through the first two years, following the acquisition of the Volvo Car Group by Zhejiang Geely Holding."

Samuelsson said: "My time on the Board has provided me with insight in the Volvo brand and the company. My focus will be on execution and performance, to secure profitability and meet our sales objectives. 

"No other business is as demanding, complex and full of challenges as the automotive industry. I look forward to leading Volvo Car Group in the most exciting period of its history."

Downsized engines for next-gen Corvette C7

Posted: 19 Oct 2012 02:06 AM PDT

The Corvette C7 is tipped to offer an aluminium twin-turbo V6 alongside traditional V8 powerplants

The next-generation Chevrolet Corvette will launch at the 2013 Detroit motor show. Out spy-shots show the design will be evolutionary, but will retain many of the same iconic details of the current two-seater.

It will retain its long nose, steeply raked windshield and the same flat boot lid, but Chevrolet promises some radical changes once the 2014 Corvette C7 finally hits market next year.

The headlights appear to suggest Chevrolet is opting for LED running lamps around the headlights. And there may be some subtle tweaks to the traditional, round tail-lights, which could become squared-off in production models, echoing those of the Camaro.

The basic platform for the C7 is expected to undergo some modest changes but it will remain a front-engine, rear-drive sports car. Insiders have hinted at significant weight reduction; essential for the Vette is to be regarded as a world-class driver's car. It is likely this will be achieved through use of carbonfibre panels, replacing the fibreglass parts currently used.

Insiders suggest a 5.5-litre V8 could be introduced as the entry-level engine, with the current 6.2-litre unit offered as a more upscale motor. The smaller engine is likely to feature an aluminium block, adopting higher compression and direct injection.

It is also possible Chevrolet could introduce downsized engines as part of the range. Such a move is unlikely to be adopted initially, but a twin-turbo V6 could join the latest development of the small block V8. 

The Corvette C7 will be the first to wear the latest evolution of the crossed flags logo, which are said to be more swept and angular with greater detail "showing greater depth, colour and more attention to detail".

Paul A. Eistenstein

Australian speed record team target 1000mph

Posted: 19 Oct 2012 01:41 AM PDT

Aussie Invader 5R is rivalling the British Bloodhound team to be the first to break the 1000mph barrier

An Australian team, Aussie Invader, has launched its campaign to break the world land speed record. The team, lead by Australian Speed Record holder Rosco McGlashan, hopes to beat the British Bloodhound team to reaching speeds of more than 1000mph. 

Aussie Invader 5R, currently under construction, will be powered by an oxygen and bio-kerosene rocket engine. The unit is based on that used in the Altas V spacecraft and will produce 62,000lbs of thrust - approximately 200,000 horsepower - allowing the car to reach a predicted 1000mph in 20 seconds.

The solid aluminium wheels run without tyres. McGlashan's team say they weigh 100kg each and can turn at up to 10,000rpm

Like Bloodhound, the team expect to increase their speed in stages to maximise driver safety. McGlashan hopes to set the records within Australia itself. Kimberley, Western Australia and Birdsville, Queensland are the most likely sites for an attempt.

Josh Woodcock

Cheap and new or used and interesting?

Posted: 19 Oct 2012 01:08 AM PDT

You can get a lot of metal for six grand. The question is, should you buy a bargain basement new car, or an interesting used model?

5995 is the most exciting number in the motoring world at the moment. With a pound sign in front of it, this is apparently cheaper than chips, making it the most affordable car on sale in the UK. Oh and the car in question is a Dacia something or other. 

Cheap and cheerful is a good thing. We don't need so much stuff do we? Except that we just might. The appeal of a cheap hatch is obvious, what with a warranty and the new car smell. However, I thought low spec cars meant low profits and significantly low sales. 

Apparently we like toys in the UK and presumably buyers will up spec their Dacias to Ford, Kia or Vauxhall levels.

That's Renault's worry, I don't care, all I care about is that £5995 may be better spent elsewhere. I think a lot of people getting over excited about the price are never likely to buy one. However, they might be tempted to get one for their nanny.

It would be stupid and not strictly correct to compare a new Dacia with a used M3, but hey, it's loads more fun and I've seen a 2004 for that money. Jags are everywhere so a big Home Counties XK, but with a Supercharger, is easy enough to pick up as a 2001.

I am personally warming to the Mercedes CL500 as my next set of wheels and these are now around £5000 for the four-eyed ones.

So the point is then what would you actually spend £5995 on?

Quick news: Polo BlueGT prices; Hyundai crash test score

Posted: 18 Oct 2012 08:22 AM PDT

The Volkswagen Polo BlueGT is now on sale from £17k; Hyundai i30 Tourer scores a five star Euro NCAP rating

The new Volkswagen Polo BlueGT is now on sale priced from £17,400. It gets a 138bhp 1.4 TSI engine with cylinder deactivation technology, which means economy of 61.4mpg and CO2 of 107g/km. Six-speed manual and seven-speed DSG transmissions are offered.

The Hyundai i30 Tourer has been awarded a full five star safety rating by Euro NCAP. The model scored a 90 per cent rating for both adult and child and full marks for the protection of pedestrians' legs. The model also achieved an 86 per cent score in the 'Safety Assist' category due to its ESC and front and rear seatbelt reminders.


Fiat launches Mopar in Europe

Posted: 18 Oct 2012 08:11 AM PDT

The Mopar parts and servicing operation is being rolled out in Europe, offering more customisation of Fiat and Chrysler group cars

In-car wi-fi, and an increased amount of personalisation options on models from the Fiat and Chrysler group brands sold in the UK, are to be offered following the full roll-out of the Mopar parts and servicing arm in Europe.

Mopar is responsible for all parts, servicing, aftersales, accessories, merchandise and customer care of Chrysler Group models in the US, and its operation is expanding into Europe as part of Fiat's takeover of Chrysler.

This means that at the point of sale more customisation and accessory options will be offered on Fiat and Chrysler group models to UK buyers, while Mopar technology such as on-board wifi access and wireless in-car charging of portable devices - including phones and iPods - will also be made available on models sold here from next year.

Mopar will also offer service plans, parts and extended warranties for models sold within the group. A new website is being launched that will allow customers to keep track of their car's maintenance schedules, and allow them to get involved in special owner events.

Mopar was set up in the US 75 years ago; its brand name came from combining the words motor and parts.

Order books open for Huet Brothers HB Coupé

Posted: 18 Oct 2012 06:50 AM PDT

Small European retro-design automaker is now accepting orders for the Coupé model

Huet Brothers is now taking orders for its HB Coupé, a concept of which was shown in January this year.

The Coupé's design is heavily influenced by GT and sports cars of yesteryear; the overall shape appears to be much like the 1950s Maserati A6GSC and the nose is a modern take on the Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa 'Pontoon-Fender'.

The car is available in two trims, the Coupé Classic and Coupé Road Racer. Both are produced on a built-to-order basis on a carbon monocoque chassis

Both variants feature the same retro-styling, but with a modern interior complete with heated seats and a touchscreen entertainment system. Despite the luxuries, the Coupé weighs 800kg thanks largely to its carbon monocoque

The Coupé Classic costs from €67,800 excluding taxes, and will feature a 168bhp, 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine. In Classic trim the car can achieve a 0-62mph in under 5.0sec.

Specified as a Coupé Road Racer, the HB is fitted with a Cosworth-fettled 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and costs from €78,500. The Road Racer gets a power increase to 247bhp and 19-inch modern-style alloy wheels - 2ins bigger than the Classic's retro-style wheels.

All Coupés will be specified with an integrated roll-cage and a choice of aesthetic options worth almost €2,000.

HB is also building a fully race-prepared version of the Coupé.

Dan Cogger

Lexus LF-LC "could make production"

Posted: 18 Oct 2012 02:46 AM PDT

Lexus has launched a follow up concept to the LF-LC car show for the Detroit show

Toyota bosses are close to deciding whether the acclaimed Lexus LF-LC concept car will enter into production. Toyota production planner Karl Schlicht said, "We want to make it and it's looking better that we could possibly make it".

Earlier this year Schlicht also said that the LF-LC's chances were 50/50, having been rated as zero before the car was unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show in January.

Chances of the car getting the green light seem to have been raised at the Australian International Motor Show, where Lexus has exhibited the new LF-LC Blue.

The LF-LC Blue is a development of the model shown in Detroit and has the most powerful Lexus hybrid drive system the firm has developed, producing up to 500bhp.

Borrowing technology from the LFA supercar, the LF-LC Blue uses a combination of carbonfibre and aluminium alloy materials.

Lexus has also said that the concept provides an ideal platform for the next-generation Advanced Lexus Hybrid Drive system and is "actively studying" how it can engineer a vehicle like it in the future.

Dan Cogger

Audi RS4 Avant

Posted: 17 Oct 2012 04:37 AM PDT

Audi's rapid estate returns. We know it's fast, but can it engage us? Fast RS models have propagated throughout Audi's range, but the RS4 still holds a special place in the memory of enthusiasts.The RS2 estate of 1994 was the first Audi to wear the RS badge, and it was a corking car to drive. It was succeeded by the second Audi RS model, the RS4, in 2000. That was less rewarding but incredibly usable, and really kick-started the RS spawning process. The RS4 of 2006, however, still shines brightest, and is remembered for its fluid ride, engaging handling and superb powertrain.There are some things you can predict about an RS Audi. That it will have monster performance and traction will be a given. That it will retain all the interior furnishings of its lesser siblings is taken as read, too.But just what kind of dynamic demeanour it will take on is harder to imagine. Some RS models have ridden well, some dreadfully, some have been engaging and some utterly inert, while some are a complex mix of all the aforementioned. All of which goes to make a test of the new RS4 a particularly intriguing one.Promisingly, RS Audis of late have been getting more consistent, and getting better. More promisingly still, the best of the breed has, to date, been the previous-generation RS4 – a car that many of our testers would have chosen over a BMW M3 at the time.And now it's back, in its third generation, retaining a high-revving, naturally aspirated powertrain rather than following the rest of the industry's inevitable progression towards blown motors. That was one of the high points of the most recent RS4, so it sounds promising again. Let's see if it delivers.

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