Monthly Archives: May 2016

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has revealed the first images of its new Amarok on the move, as well as the interior which offers customers a number of new features. These include an attractive cockpit, with a colour multi-function display for the Aventura launch model and state-of-the-art radio/navigation systems. For the driver and front-seat passenger, the Amarok also provides 14-way adjustable ergoComfort seats, which have already won awards for their back-friendliness.

Superior and robust: at home both on and off the road, the Amarok, with its new 3.0-litre V6 TDI engine achieves 550 Newton metres of torque and 165 kW / 224 PS at his highest power output level. It can reach a top speed of 193 kilometres per hour (120 mph) and accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.9 seconds.

The pick-up is an attractive alternative thanks to its high seat position, good all-round visibility and high-quality interior, making for a comfortable ride both on- and off-road. And, despite its impressive size, getting into the Amarok is easy, with doors that swing open wide and – depending on the design variant – grab handles on the A and B-pillars to help you climb into the cab.

Prices for the new Amarok in Germany start at €25,720 net for the rear-wheel drive Trendline version with double cab, the V6 TDI and 120 kW (EU6, available from the second quarter of 2017), making them just €940 more expensive than the previous entry-level model with a with double cab and 103 kW TDI four-cylinder engine. The top-of-the-range Amarok Aventura with the V6 TDI and 165 kW engine, 4Motion all-wheel drive and 8-speed automatic transmission comes to €46,525 net and will be launched at the end of September 2016.

New Amarok sales in the UK will begin before the end of the year. There are currently no plans to sell the launch Aventura model in the UK. Full pricing and specification details will be released closer to launch.

IMG_0771Land Rover Experience Eastnor has announced its formation of a new partnership with the Malvern Rotary Club to give access to less able members of the community to the summit of the Malvern Hills.

The team from Eastnor took nine less able members of the local community in Land Rover Discoverys to the 1395 ft summit of the Malvern Hills, The Worcestershire Beacon. Until now the opportunity to go up the Malvern Hills had been a lifelong dream for these nine guests.

The Malvern Rotary Club approached Land Rover to support its programme of giving access to the hills due to the all-terrain capability of its vehicles and the off-road expertise of the Land Rover Experience Instructors based at Eastnor Castle. The trip provides easy access to seven seats and a 40 minute comfortable ride on challenging terrain to the summit. The Discoverys’ panoramic roofs allow guests to take in the magnificent views of The Malvern Hills on their journey up to the summit.

David Griffiths, Venue Manager at Land Rover Experience Eastnor said: “Land Rover has a proud heritage of using its vehicles to get people in and out of inaccessible environments.

Land Rover has used the Eastnor Estate on the eastern end of the Malvern Hills for over 50 years and to be able to use our Discoverys for this project is very much what Land Rover Experience is all about.”

Liz Armstrong who attended with her daughter who is confined to a wheelchair said: “Jannah is realising her dreams one by one and today, with the help of Land Rover she’s reaching the top of Malvern Hills; a dream she’s had since childhood. When teams get together it’s amazing what can be achieved.

“Jannah, her sister Rosie and I are achieving goals together, it’s amazing.” 

The programme contributes to Land Rover’s Global CSR Programme which will make a positive impact on the lives of 12 million people by 2020 through initiatives supporting education and talent, health and well-being, and design and technology for social good.  Land Rover Experience, Eastnor and the Malvern Hills Conservators have succeeded in creating a bespoke off-road trail that is not damaging to the iconic Malvern Hills.

Following this inaugural trip, Malvern Rotary Club will be inviting applications from suitable candidates to join one of two outings later in the year.

For more details, terms and conditions and an application form see www.malvernrotaryevents.org


240516-tomtom copyKnowing what lies on the road ahead – when you can’t see beyond the next corner – can be a serious problem for drivers. That’s why TomTom is announcing a solution to the issue. TomTom Jam Ahead Warningsi are now available on the freeii TomTom Speed Cameras app for Android™.

TomTom Jam Ahead Warnings visually and audibly alert drivers to rapidly slowing, or stationary, traffic on the highway ahead, giving the driver the opportunity to brake smoothly, and in time.

Corinne Vigreux, co-founder and managing director, TomTom, said: “We’re constantly striving to make the driving experience safer and more relaxed. TomTom Jam Ahead Warnings is a powerful example of this approach.”

Drivers will especially welcome the average speed check feature, as Average Speed Cameras are becoming increasingly popular with road authorities around the world.

The locations of fixed cameras are provided by TomTom’s highly accurate database, and verified by a TomTom moderation team, while mobile speed cameras are reported and verified by a community of over 5 million drivers.

The TomTom Speed Camera app for Android is available as a free download on the Google Play™ store.

The new PEUGEOT 3008 SUV will be revealed at the Paris Motor Show in September. It brings new technology and a unique driving experience to the popular C-segment SUV market.  The PEUGEOT 3008 SUV will be available to order in the UK from November with first deliveries due in January 2017.PEUGEOT_3008_1605PC_003


Volkswagen Touareg R-Line PlusThe latest Volkswagen Touareg is gaining that bit more luxury with the arrival of the new range-topping trim level: R-Line Plus.

The Touareg R-Line Plus naturally uses the well-equipped R-Line as a starting point, and builds in valuable and stylish additions inside and out.

Externally, the five-seat SUV’s alloy wheels are upgraded from 20 inches to the striking 21-inch ‘Mallory’ design.  Meanwhile, the R-Line Plus comes equipped with Volkswagen’s impressive Area View technology as standard.  This utilises front, rear and side wide-angle cameras (mounted within the door mirrors) to provide a 360-degree bird’s-eye exterior view of the SUV that is displayed on the Touareg’s infotainment display screen.

Area View allows the driver to see the immediate surroundings of the car from a new perspective, and the technology enhances the safety of occupants and those outside the vehicle.  For example, Area View allows the driver to ‘see around corners’.  When driving forwards from a parking space the Touareg driver can, via the system, see pedestrians and cyclists approaching from the side.

Inside, the new Touareg features a generous roster of standard equipment.  The centre console, dash and air vent surrounds are finished in stylish ‘Piano Black’, and the cabin features luxurious ‘Vienna’ leather upholstery.  The front comfort seats are 14-way electronically adjustable, and the front head restraints include four-way adjustment.

The extra equipment has a value of £3,255 if specified separately, but the premium over the Touareg R-Line is a mere £1,160.  That figure applies whether the customer chooses the 204 PS 3.0-litre V6 TDI engine or the 262 PS 3.0-litre V6 TDI.

The Volkswagen Touareg is now available in four trim levels: SE; Escape; R-Line; and R-Line Plus.  All feature Volkswagen’s 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system, which distributes engine power, as required, to all four wheels helping to ensure optimum traction and propulsion.


1989 Volkswagen T3 Doka Ex-Ferdinand Butzi Porsche interior

1989 Volkswagen T3 Doka Ex-Ferdinand Butzi Porsche interior

An unusual Volkswagen pick-up truck, which belonged to a member of the world famous Porsche family and designer of the iconic 911, will be auctioned by Silverstone Auctions at The Classic Race Aarhus motorsport festival in Denmark, on 28th and 29th May.

This 1989 Volkswagen T3 double cab pick-up truck was owned by Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, also known as “Butzi”, the son of “Ferry”, and grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, founder of Porsche and Volkswagen and creator of the VW Beetle.

After it was decided to change the Porsche legal structure and to keep the family out of its management, Ferdinand Alexander went on to found his own company, the Porsche Design Studio in 1972. Initially based in Stuttgart, the company was later moved to Zell am See, Austria, close to the Porsche family estate, Schüttgut. It was for use at this company that “Butzi” bought the T3 Doka pick-up. Purchased on 12th December 1989, the truck was used on the estate for various purposes in the daily running of the business.

The truck was purchased by the current vendor, a Porsche racing driver with long-standing links with the Porsche family, in 2014. After a bare metal restoration process of over 700 hours carried out at his Porsche racing garage, the truck presents today in superb condition. With a total of 141,000 kilometres recorded, and supporting paperwork clearly listing Ferdinand Alexander Porsche as the first owner, the truck will be offered at auction with an estimate of between €60,000 and €80,000.

Speaking ahead of the sale, Nick Whale, managing director of Silverstone Auctions, commented, “The Porsche family is automotive royalty and it’s an honour to have a vehicle in our auction with the distinction of being one of the few cars registered privately in the Porsche family name. This is a superb opportunity to add a quirky and historically significant vehicle to an ultimate Porsche collection.”

The youngest in the lineage of Porsche family engineers, Ferdinand Alexander, affectionately nicknamed “Butzi”, meaning ‘baby’ in German, was chief designer of the styling department at Porsche. He played a fundamental roll in the design of the iconic Porsche 911, as well as the 904 and 914, establishing a design culture that continues to shape the manufacturers sports cars to this very day.

Nick Whale added, “This is a very special addition to our first international sale in Denmark, and though pick-up trucks do not come into our sales often, we feel this is a very special exception.”

To find out more about the 1989 Volkswagen T3 double cab pick-up truck and the Classic Race Aarhus Auction please visit http://www.silverstoneauctions.com/1989-volkswagen-t3-doka-ex-ferdinand-butzi-porsche.

Testing the limits of the MG GS

Testing the limits of the MG GS

Do you know what a new car goes through just to make sure it’s right for every eventuality? Rigorous testing, worldwide travel, freezing temperatures and strong winds are just some of them.

Next month, the new MG GS goes on sale in the UK. To mark such a momentous occasion, MG has been keen to share the stages of the SUV’s growth; from the design brief and early sketches through to what it’s gone through to ensure it performs at its best.

All new models are put through their paces, and the MG GS is no exception to this thorough testing. The GS has travelled over 750,000 miles as part of its testing and it has braved the 46°C heat of Australia’s Alice Springs and -30° chills of Arjeplog in Sweden. Testing in such extreme temperatures guarantee that wherever you take your GS for adventures, it will stand up to the challenge.

To make sure the GS is as streamlined and fuel efficient as possible, it was also put through more than 200 hours of wind tunnel testing to develop its highly-efficient aerodynamics.

Testing has also covered the ‘wet dog in car’ scenario. By placing wet cloths in the GS, tests were able to determine how quickly the car can demist when moisture is present inside. Carrying out tests like this allow engineers to fine tune systems to ensure the GS runs at its optimum performance.

Matthew Cheyne, Head of Sales and Marketing for MG, said: “When you look into what a new car endures prior to going on sale, it’s fascinating and demonstrates the effort that goes into ensuring the car is the best it can possibly be.

“With the imminent arrival of the GS, we’re excited to share facts and figures and nuggets of information people may have not been privy to before. By sharing these, we’re showing customers that when they step into the GS they know it can stand up to all challenges and adventures they put it through.”


shutterstock_275370272Once lending someone your car keys was the ultimate symbol of trust. Now, most of us would consider offering our car to someone we don’t know as part of a car‑share.

This is among the findings of a new European survey commissioned by Ford Motor Company to better understand attitudes to car-sharing , and a whole range of possessions and services, that  form part of the growing sharing economy. *

Of the 10,016 people surveyed across the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain,, up to 55 per cent would share their car for money, compared with up to 44 per cent who would share their home, up to 33 per cent who would share their mobile phone, and up to 17 per cent who would even share their dog.

Most of those surveyed were also willing to drive others (77 per cent), or to transport packages (78 per cent). And the overwhelming majority were interested in using a sharing service to get around. Up to 76 per cent would ride-share, up to 73 per cent would use a parking space service, and up to 72 per cent would car-share.

“From cars to music to holidays, people are more prepared to share possessions and services than ever before. From your smartphone, you can quickly and easily borrow someone else’s designer shoes, use their lawnmower, or even walk their dog,” said Will Farrelly, user experience innovation, Ford Smart Mobility. “When it comes to mobility, sharing – whether through car-sharing, ride-sharing, or transporting packages for others – offers flexibility, a potentially more economical alternative, and can also help reduce congestion.”

The sharing economy generates more than £10 billion in global revenues, and is estimated to generate a potential revenue opportunity worth £215 billion by 2025, with car-sharing predicted to increase by 23 per cent. ** Farrelly will today in Paris join the panel discussion “Future of Mobility Ecosystems” at OuiShare Fest,the world’s largest gathering focused on the sharing economy.

Ford is currently expanding into both an auto and a mobility company; as such the company is aggressively pursuing emerging opportunities through Ford Smart Mobility – its plan to be a leader in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics.

FordPass, the company’s new customer experience platform, debuts this year in Europe. New partners for FordPass include BP and Mobile City, a leading mobile parking payment company. FordPass also will integrate Ford Carsharing, offered by Ford Germany and run with large, multi-partner car-sharing company Flinkster Carsharing.


* Survey conducted for Ford Motor Company by Opinion Matters during April 2016.

** http://www.pwc.co.uk/issues/megatrends/collisions/sharingeconomy/the-sharing-economy-sizing-the-revenue-opportunity.html

97143jeepThe Jeep® brand history can be traced through 9 fundamental vehicles that not only marked milestones in the Jeep legend, but also allowed to have a pioneering role in terms of introduction of new models and segments in the automotive industry.

These 9 milestone models showcase how the Jeep brand has been a key player in the evolution of the SUV industry and of its sub-segments. From 1941, when the first Willys-Overland rolled off the assembly line to today, the ‘Jeep’ vehicles have been transformed into a faithful work companion in farmhouses, recreational family vehicle and premium car for city customers, anticipating the needs of the customers and introducing important elements of innovation in the market place.

The Jeep legend starts with the Willys-Overland MA/MB (1941-1945). In 1940, with war raging in Europe, the U.S. Government issued a requisition for a ‘light reconnaissance vehicle’ for the Army and invited 135 manufacturers to bid on production. Willys-Overland won the contract with its “MA” design of 1941 (where ‘M’ stands for military and ‘A’ indicates the series number). This early prototype led to the production of the Overland MB: the authentic forerunner of the Jeep legend. Willys trademarked the name after the war and turned the Jeep into an off-road civilian utility vehicle for the farm.

With the 1945-1949 Jeep CJ-2A, the Jeep brand introduced the first modern mass production off-road vehicle, (where CJ stands for Civilian Jeep) and in the same years found inspiration to create the first SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle), thanks to the launch of the (Jeep) Willys  Wagon (1946-1965).

First introduced in 1946, the Willys Wagon made an important contribution to the evolution of the SUV, being the industry’s first all-steel-bodied station wagon, sold as a non-commercial vehicle. Featuring room for 7 passengers, the Wagon also introduced the concept of a multifunctional sports vehicle, offering functionality, versatility and 4×4 capability, all in the same package. In 1949, the four-wheel drive system was introduced for the first time to this model, allowing to combine for the first time four-wheel drive to a station wagon body, and therefore to pioneer the category of the Sport utility vehicles.

In 1955, the CJ-5 is launched (1955-1983). Improvements in engines, axles, transmissions and seating comfort contributed to make it the ideal vehicle to satisfy the public’s growing interest in off-road vehicles for recreational usage, allowing the brand to pioneer this vehicle category. But a milestone innovation was still to come: when in 1963, the Jeep Wagoneer (1963-1983) was launched, the brand could proudly claim the creation of the premium Large SUV. An all-new vehicle from the ground up, the Wagoneer represented also the first time a manufacturer mated an automatic transmission to the four-wheel-drive system. And this was not the only revolution. The Jeep Wagoneer was also the first four-wheel-drive vehicle equipped with an independent front suspension and it also featured the first automatic full-time four-wheel-drive system (Quadra-Trac®) introduced in 1973. Later in 1984, the Jeep Grand Wagoneer (1984-1991) was introduced, replacing the Wagoneer. This model became a premium lifestyle vehicle, popular with celebrities and the general public until the end of its run.

In 1974, the first Cherokee model (SJ  -1974-1983) is produced. This two-door off-road vehicle was based on the Wagoneer, without offering all premium features of that model. Indeed, the Cherokee aimed at attracting a younger public than the Wagoneer and was built to answer the requests of the growing recreational vehicle market.  A next major step in the evolution of the Jeep SUV came with the launch of the second generation of Cherokee in 1984 (XJ – 1984-2001). With this model, that was the first SUV with a uni body, the Jeep brand introduced a further revolution in the market and created the new category of the compact SUVs .

The last step taken from the Jeep brand was to reinvent the SUV that it had created almost 45 years before. With its introduction in mid-1992, the all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee model set a new standard in terms of craftsmanship and refinement in the premium Large SUV market. This vehicle, meant to become the flagship of the brand, was the first SUV to be equipped with a standard driver-side air bag, as well as the first to offer three different four-wheel-drive systems. Another major feature was the Quadra-Trac, a four-wheel-drive system that reacted automatically to road conditions without the driver’s need to shift. Grand Cherokee defined in the years the new standard in terms of style, craftsmanship and performance in the premium Large SUV segment. Through three generations of Grand Cherokee (1999, 2005 and 2010), the Jeep brand enhanced its flagship with new technological features and refined its on and off-road driving performance to reach the excellence of the current model.

Technological innovation is also the hallmark of the Jeep models that were introduced after the Grand Cherokee. As a matter of fact, in 2013 with the launch of the new generation of Jeep Cherokee, the Jeep brand introduced the first rear axle disconnect in the mid-size SUV segment. This system reduces energy losses when it is not necessary to use the 4×4 mode, thus resulting in increased fuel efficiency. The new Cherokee is also the first mid-size SUV to feature a 9-speed automatic transmission. One year later the same technological innovations – rear axle disconnect and 9-speed gearbox – was introduced in the small SUV segment by the all-new Jeep Renegade, the compact SUV the marks the debut of the brand in the small SUV category. A ‘game changer’ as it has been defined, the Renegade fully represent the new ‘Jeep era’ and further confirm the brand’s pioneering role in the automotive history and its capability to anticipate trends and customers’ needs.

But this will be all in a new chapter of our ‘journey’ of exploration of the legendary Jeep brand.

170516thatchA proposed new Transport Bill to be announced as part of the Queen’s Speech  will help pave the way for autonomous cars. In its role on the ‘Assisted Driving Insurance Group’ safety experts at Thatcham Research have identified the key stages of automation, which is also provided in graphical form.

Assisted Driving 

Today’s car is already a world apart form where the car was even 10 years ago. Many new cars are fitted with cameras and radars to monitor hazards ahead and automatically apply the brakes in case of a potential crash or guide the vehicle back into lane if the driver is not paying attention. However, the driver remains in full control.

Some of today’s cars have low speed driving assistance systems such as Volvo’s Pilot Assist, which can drive the car at low speeds controlling the steering, acceleration and braking. It operates at speeds up to 30 mph and will continue to operate as long as the driver proves he or she is still in control by keeping their hands on the steering wheel.

2018 will be a landmark year. Cars will become a lot smarter with even more advanced driver comfort features and with regulations now permitting hands-off driving on motorways. The driver retains responsibility and will be expected to take-over control in case of unanticipated situations or system failures.

For motorway driving, some cars will feature an ‘auto pilot’ function, automatically driving the vehicle and allowing hands to be taken off the wheel for around 3 minutes at a time. This might allow the driver to check the sat nav or to look at an important email, but after 3 minutes the system warns the driver that they need to re-engage with the car in some way usually through putting their hands back on the steering wheel. If this doesn’t happen the system disconnects and the car will perform a minimum risk manoeuvre to bring itself to a controlled safe stop. The driver remains in control.

Automated Driving

Moving towards full autonomy now. On defined segments of motorway the car is able to take complete control allowing the driver to disengage from driving completely and to do other, unrelated and more time consuming tasks such as reading a book. With a full sensor pack including radars, cameras and laser scanners the vehicle is able to build up a complete picture of the immediate road and traffic environment and to use lateral steering adjustments and longitudinal braking and acceleration inputs to navigate safely within it.  Such a vehicle would also likely be equipped with high specification Advanced Driver Assistance Systems to aid the driver at the times when they are in control.

By 2025, it is envisaged that the car will be able to drive itself, fully hands free from door to door. This will include the whole range of typical driving environments in cities and in urban environments as well as main arterial routes and with the ability to negotiate traffic lights, junctions and roundabouts, where the road infrastructure permits. Such vehicles will have full connectivity with each other and with the road infrastructure itself which will allow the vehicle not just to navigate through its immediate environment but to plan ahead effectively taking real time traffic conditions into account. At this stage the driver will not even need to touch the controls during the course of the journey.