Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Autocar Online - News

Autocar Online - News

Dacia will stick to 'no discounts' policy

Posted: 31 Dec 2012 10:46 PM PST

Renault's budget arm will not pander to UK tradition of heavily discounting new car sales

Dacia will robustly defend its 'no discounts' sales policy when the brand launches in the UK from today, and has threatened to even pull out of the market should buyers not agree with its principles.

The £5995 Dacia Sandero and £8995 Dacia Duster models make up Dacia's launch line-up in the UK, and they will be sold through parent firm Renault's dealerships. They will be marketed and sold at low list prices – but absolutely no lower.

It's a strategy that runs contrary to the way that many volume-brand cars are sold in Britain – through either dealer- or manufacturer-funded list price offers. "It's a key part of the Dacia brand: transparent value-for-money," said Renault UK managing director Thierry Sybord. "And we won't kill the brand for Britain. I believe that buyers in the UK will respond to the simplicity of buying a Dacia – but if I'm wrong, we will just pull out."

Dacias will not be kept in stock in the UK - every one will be the product of an individual customer order, with lead times of between three- and six months expected. For that reason, and because Dacia orders will not count towards dealer sales bonuses, the kind of deals sometimes seen with other brands – often struck to deliver volume-related sales rewards or to manage supply – won't be necessary.

Sources admit that it is not up to Renault to dictate dealers on how to sell cars, but margins on entry-level Access models were very low, a deliberate tactic to get dealers to up-sell where there is a little more bargaining room.

Renault is aiming for one per cent of the UK market with Dacia in 2013, with around 20,000 sales through around 150 dealers. It has had 1700 Duster orders so far.

2013, the future looks, well, not too bad actually

Posted: 31 Dec 2012 10:00 PM PST

Some of the big French manufacturers probably won't agree, but the omens look quite good for 2013 generally

So here's what I'm looking forward to in 2013

1 Watching how Lewis Hamilton progresses at the Mercedes F1 GP team. Will he take care of Nico Rosberg for instance? Probably. Will he help lift the team from the relative doldrums of the mid-field to the higher echelons of the F1 grid? Maybe. Will he get so fed up of watching his old cars disappear into the distance that, come mid-season, he'll start sniffing around at Red Bull, trying to find out if Mark Webber might fancy retiring, thereby proving him with A Quick Car again? Who knows, just have to wait and see.

2 Talking of McLaren, I'm quite excited about the P1. And when I say "quite" I mean shaky hands, exploding pupils excited. The McLaren P1 will define whether McLaren Automotive is here to stay or not ultimately. Trouble is, it'll need to take care of the rather tasty looking new Ferrari Enzo in the process, which will of course be no easy feat. If we do actually manage to put them together on the same piece of road in 2013, I think I'll retire gracefully soon afterwards, comfortable in the knowledge that the perfect comparison taken place.

3 The BMW i8 fascinates me, not merely because it looks quite mad but also because, in a way, it really does represent the future for the motoring enthusiast. If it's as good as certain BMW insiders say it is, it could prove one of the most influential cars of the current era – the sort of car that, in 25 years time, we look back at and say "that car changed things forever." Or it could just be an expensive folly. In 2013 we will find out which it is.

4 Can't wait to pitch the Audi RS6 against the Nissan GT-R in 2013. We will put all sorts of test equipment on them to find out which is fastest, which one generates the most grip and which of them accelerates quickest. But what I really want to know is which one makes takes your breath away the most when it is driven hard over a deserted Welsh mountain road. The obvious money would go for the GT-R every time, but given the progress made by Audi's RS division of late, it won't necessarily be a forgone conclusion. That's what I'll try to convince myself is the case before setting off, at any rate.

5 Similarly, comparing the Tesla Models S with a conventionally iconic fast saloon such as the BMW M5 is something that I'm very much looking forward to doing – so long as Tesla can be persuaded to provide us with a test car in the UK...

6 The Maserati Ghibli. Sources at Maserati say this car is "much more aggressive" than any saloon they've ever produced, and that it will be seriously entertaining to drive as a result. I'll be at the front of the queue of people waiting to verify the claims.

7 Watching what happens to electric car sales in 2013. It feels a bit like a now or never moment for EVs, does 2013, and if the take up by the general public continues to be glacial, you do wonder how much more time and money companies such as Renault will continue to aim at the cause.

8 Road testing the Ferrari F12 and, if the Scuderia's PR machine will allow us to do so, comparing it with some rivals on epic roads. The numbers it will generate will be spectacular, no question, but I want to know how the F12 makes you feel when you let rip in it on a quiet, winding, hopefully empty UK road. Will it make the hairs on your neck go stiff? Will it scare you? Will it make you think that enough is already too much, and that cars like this have simply become too quick for the public road? It will be exciting in the extreme finding out.

9 Seeing what new cars Aston Martin comes up with the celebrate its 100th anniversary. Dr Bez has promised to deliver two, if not three "new" Astons in 2013. If one of them is a Cygnet with a V12 engine in it, we will road test it. And there will be tears, mostly of joy it must be said.

10 Looking back at this time next year and seeing how many of these wishes, predictions, wild guesses – call them what you will – have come true.

Happy New year folks, I think it's (mostly) going to be a good one, isn't it...?

New Ferrari California could receive turbo power

Posted: 31 Dec 2012 10:00 PM PST

Coupé-cabriolet could switch to a forced induction engine in its second generation

This lightly disguised Ferrari California mule is said to be testing powertrains and running gear for the next-gen model, likely to be on sale around 2014/15.

A key detail is the engine in this test car, which on-lookers reported to sound like a turbocharged unit and is likely to be a version of a new V8 family now in production at Maranello.

The raised bonnet line and extra cooling vents could also be a sign that the turbo engine has a taller package height that needs more under-bonnet space and heat management.

However, insiders say that the unusual exhaust arrangement on this mule is purely a test-car requirement, needed to clampdown on noise output at the Fiorano test circuit, where strict operating regulations are in force to pacify local residents.

The new V8 family is Ferrari-designed and already in production having has just appeared in the Maserati Qattroporte in a twin-turbo 3.8-litre version, although there's no word yet on whether Ferrari will use the same capacity.

Despite appearing first in a Maserati, Ferrari is insistent that the unit is thoroughly theirs, having been designed and built in Maranello at a new £40 million facility.

Ferrari has previously confirmed that it is working on downsized engines to meet tougher exhaust and emissions tests, with speculation suggesting that could even include the first road car V6 since the 1968 Dino.

However, sources suggest that might be a step too far for the next California. Instead a lightly blown 3.8 V8 could easily match the 453bhp output of the current California's naturally aspirated 4.3, while performing well in exhaust and emissions tests.

The twin-turbo version in the Quattroporte, for example, already makes 523bhp, although Ferrari will want to ensure the engine delivers its power in the direct manner that owners are accustomed to.

A date for the California replacement is also the source of some speculation. Ferrari's mid-engined cars are on a five-year replacement cycle, its V12 models seven-years.

Some commentators have suggested a six-year cycle for the California, suggesting a late 2014 reveal and early 2015 sale for a car that was first seen late in 2008 and launched early in 2009.

No comments:

Post a Comment