Monday, February 18, 2013

Autocar Online - News

Autocar Online - News

Major revamp for Volvo range

Posted: 18 Feb 2013 05:48 AM PST

Six of Volvo's eight current models get an overhaul, with revised looks, more kit and lower emissions

Volvo has overhauled the majority of its range in what it describes as "the most extensive development of existing models" in the firm's history.

The S60 saloon, V60 estate, XC60 SUV, V70 estate, XC70 4x4 estate and S80 saloon all get a new family look, improved equipment levels and fuel economy and reduced CO2 emissions without sacrificing performance.

Only the recently introduced V40 hatchback and the XC90 SUV, which is due to be replaced next year, continue unchanged. Production of the S40 saloon, V50 wagon, C30 hatch and C70 convertible ended last year.

The look of the new models incorporates styling references from the Volvo Concept You, a big saloon concept revealed at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show.

The more rounded and dynamic family look of the previous models is replaced by a visually widened front end, more prominent horizontal lines and slimmer lights.

A key addition to the firm's BMW 3-series-rivalling S60 and V60 models is the option of a lowered sports chassis for all variants, something previously offered on R-Design versions only.

The reduction in CO2 emissions for the S60 peaks on the 113bhp 1.6-litre turbodiesel D2 version, which now stands at just 106g/km. The economy of this model is claimed by Volvo to be 70.6mpg on the EU combined cycle. 

A new multimedia system has been introduced across the six revised models. Called Sensus Connected Touch, the system includes full internet access, internet radio, Google maps and search and internet music streaming. Internet access is obtained through 3G/4G from the driver's mobile phone. The seven-inch touchscreen can also be used while wearing gloves. 

The TFT instrument panel from the latest V40 has been rolled out across the revised Volvo range. Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters have also been added to automatic models, while a heated steering wheel can be specified on the S80, V70 and XC70. Additionally, a fast-clearing heated front windscreen has been added to Volvos that are equipped with a rain sensor.  

The overhauled Volvo range will be available in the UK from May.

Ferrari is 'world’s most powerful brand'

Posted: 17 Feb 2013 04:01 PM PST

Global survey reveals that Ferrari outperforms all rival manufacturers

The Global 500 survey, which analyses the financial and brand performance of major companies, has found that Ferrari is the world's most powerful brand.

Owned by Italian manufacturer Fiat, Ferrari achieved the highest brand rating despite being smaller and less valuable than some of its rivals.

Considered worldwide, Ferrari outperforms much larger manufacturers such as BMW, Volkswagen and Audi – as well as all the other brands.

One of the key considerations for brand value is revenue but the company's margins, revenue per customer, advertising and marketing spend are also considered.

While Ferrari can't compete with the bigger multi-nationals in terms of size, it excels in important areas such as brand affection and loyalty. 

Ferrari recorded an increase in net profits of 7.6 per cent during the first nine months of 2012, ramping its profits up to £131.4 million. Total turnover for the company was £1.52 billion.

No other manufacturers made it in to the top five results, with Google, Coca-Cola, PwC and Hermes occupying second to fifth place respectively.

Ferrari chairman, Luca di Montezemolo, said: "It is always a pleasure to top any list and still more so when the competition includes some of the world's most famous companies.

"Behind this acknowledgement are exceptional products made by equally exceptional men and women. They made it possible and for that I thank them."

New Nissan Note revealed

Posted: 17 Feb 2013 04:00 PM PST

Geneva motor show reveal for Nissan's repositioned Ford Fiesta rival

Nissan is targeting the best-selling Ford Fiesta with its all-new Nissan Note, seen here for the first time ahead of its Geneva motor show reveal next month.

The new second-generation Note has switched from a mini-MPV to a more traditional hatchback, while still retaining its interior space and raised driving position.

The Note's marketing manager Herve Genin believes the British-built Note can replicate the success of the Qashqai and Juke by "fighting against more conventional rivals with a very different proposal".

"Like the Qashqai and Juke, we're offering the best of both worlds here: something that's agile to drive but still roomy, and good to look at inside and out and still be comfortable," said Genin.

The Sunderland-built Note will reach the UK in the autumn with three engines in its line-up: two three-cylinder petrols and a four-cylinder diesel. A five-speed manual is standard, with a CVT optional on all engines.

A base 1.2-litre petrol unit gets 79bhp and 81lb ft, and 60.1mpg and 109g/km economy. The supercharged DIG-S version of the engine gets 97bhp and 105lb ft, plus economy figures of 65.7mpg and 99g/km.

The latest 89bhp, 162lb ft version of the familiar Renault-Nissan 1.5 dCi engine is the sole diesel, with economy figures of 78.5mpg and 95g/km. Performance figures will be revealed closer to the launch.

The design of the model is directly inspired from the Invitation concept from last year's Geneva motor show. Versions of the new Note have already been released for the Japanese and North American markets, but the Note for Europe gets a whole host of modifications.

These include a new grille, bonnet, extra character lines and alloy wheels for the exterior, and new seats and a new dashboard for the interior. Bespoke chassis tuning for the car has taken place, led by Nissan's technical centre in Cranfield. Further chassis tweaks take place on the DIG-S for a more involving drive.

A higher level of technology is also offered on the European Note and a range of safety tech offered under a 'Safety Shield' name. These include blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and moving object detection systems. The Around View Monitor parking aid, which displays an aerial picture of the car on the 5.8in interior colour screen, is also optional.

Interior features include a sliding rear bench and a dual-height boot floor.

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