Monthly Archives: December 2016

mgMG Motor UK’s family-friendly SUV, the MG GS, has been announced as the company’s fastest-ever selling vehicle.

Launched at The London Motor Show in May 2016, the model has already surpassed 500 unit sales in just 176 days.

Sales of the GS reflect MG’s continued success in the UK, with the brand recently announced as the country’s sixth fastest-growing automotive business, reporting 4,035 year-to-date vehicle registrations – already 956 units more than 2015.

Matthew Cheyne, Head of Sales & Marketing at MG Motor UK, commented: “As our first entry into the SUV marketplace, the MG GS has continued to delight customers nationwide – a sporty, stylish and affordable vehicle for all the family to enjoy.

“Surpassing the 500-unit milestone faster than any other MG model in the modern era shows a highly positive market outlook, as well as considerable demand for a fun yet sophisticated SUV.”

With OTR prices starting from £14,995, the GS is currently available with a number of great offers*, including:

  • 0% APR with just a 20% deposit monthly finance option
  • £660 contribution towards your deposit when financed on a PCP basis
  • A five-year/80,000-mile (whichever occurs first) manufacturer parts and labour warranty

tiguanVolkswagen will launch an addition to the Tiguan range next year: the new Tiguan Allspace.

The lengthened version of the best-seller will celebrate its world premiere at the beginning of January at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS, 8– 22 January 2017). Beginning in the early part of summer, the Tiguan – with up to seven seats – will be launched successively in North America, China and Europe

The European version of the lengthened Tiguan will begiven the added designation “Allspace”, while the models for North America and China will simply be called “Tiguan”. As the name suggests, the new long version of the Tiguan boasts more room inside, and a longer wheelbase (+ 11 cm).

beaulieu-autojumble-will-poBack in 1967, what was then the Montagu Motor Museum held a jumble sale with a difference. One of the fields at Beaulieu in Hampshire was given over to dozens of stalls selling hard-to-find old car parts and spares, motoring books, mascots, brochures, advertising signs and petrol pumps – essentially anything with a motoring theme.

It was christened an autojumble and now, 50 years on, the Beaulieu Autojumble is acknowledged not only as the first but also the biggest this side of the Atlantic – the International Autojumble, held every September, covers three fields, has at least 2,000 stall holders and more than 38,000 visitors looking for those elusive parts. It’s said that if it can’t be found at Beaulieu, it doesn’t exist.

To mark that 50th anniversary, a flavour of autojumble fever is coming to the capital as Beaulieu partners with events organiser Brand Events to stage a Pop-Up Autojumble at the London Classic Car Show on 25-26 February 2017 at the ExCeL Centre in London.

Regular Beaulieu Autojumble exhibitors have been offered 60 stalls to sell all types of automobilia. If you’re missing an issue of a motoring magazine needed to complete a collection, or you’re looking for an obscure part for an equally obscure classic car, there’s a good chance you’ll find them here.

“Beaulieu created the autojumble movement a remarkable 50 years ago and we are very excited to have the very first Beaulieu Pop-up Autojumble at the London Classic Car Show, the first time it has left Hampshire. It underlines how significant our show has become in the classic car world,” said Event Director, Bas Bungish.

“In its entire 50 years, this is the first time our Autojumble has ventured away from Beaulieu and while we obviously can’t recreate the entire event at the London Classic Car Show, the Pop-Up Autojumble will give a real flavour of the world-famous events we hold here,” said Jane Riddiford, PR Manager at the National Motor Museum.

“We are sure our presence in London will entice more visitors to Beaulieu for this year’s two events, the Spring Autojumble (13 & 14 May) and the International Autojumble (2 & 3 September). Come along, you’ll be amazed at the treasure trove on offer.”

The Beaulieu Pop-Up Autojumble will be held on the Saturday and Sunday of the London show and will be staged alongside Car Club Square, which will be packed with classic cars owned by members of the country’s leading one-make clubs.

Visitors to the show are also promised a huge variety of classic machinery, ranging from early veterans to supercars, many of which will be put through their paces inside the halls of ExCeL. The show’s centre piece – The Grand Avenue, a motoring catwalk inside the central hall – will play host to 50 of the world’s most desirable classics under the banner of the ‘Perfect Ten’.

Five of the best saloons, coupés, convertibles, sports cars, supercars, hatchbacks, shooting brakes, sports racers, single-seater and streamliners will all be driven along The Grand Avenue, allowing visitors to see and hear their favourite classics in action. Other show highlights include a glittering celebration of 70 years of Ferrari road cars.

Entry to the show also gives entry to a sister exhibition, the inaugural Historic Motorsport International (HMI), which is being held in an adjacent hall at ExCeL. Devoted to all aspects of historic racing and rallying, among the celebrations at HMI will be the 50th anniversaries of both the all-conquering Ford Cosworth DFV Grand Prix engine and the birth of Formula Ford.

The London Classic Car Show and HMI will be held at ExCeL London, on 23-26 February, with access to both shows included in the entry price. Historic Motorsport International will open its doors at 12pm on Thursday 23 February, while the London Classic Car Show will burst into life at 3pm that afternoon.

  • Tickets are now available from the show website – thelondonclassiccarshow.co.uk­ and start at £24 for single adult entry (£27 on the door on the day).

kia-all-new-sportage-gt-line-s-arctic-white-solidDecember brings new changes to the all-new Sportage. The model, launched in February 2016, has had a huge 35,000 sold since then.

As well as the introduction of a ‘GT-line S’ model, a ‘KX-5’ version and a 1.7 DCT powertrain are now available. An updated multimedia system and new paint options have been added to the line-up. This means 2017 is set to be an exciting year for Sportage customers and the Korean car manufacturer hopes they will continue the Sportage’s popularity well into 2017.

‘GT-Line’ on Sportage has proved to be a big success in its first year, and now the range sees an even higher specification, the ‘GT-Line S’. This will provide the looks and styling of the GT-Line with a number of high level specification items to add further appeal to the line-up. The ‘GT-Line S’ will be paired with the high powered 2.0 CRDi 6-speed auto and the 1.6 T-GDi 7-speed auto DCT powertrains. Additions also include a heated steering wheel, headlamp washers, bi-xenon headlamps, smart park assist system plus much more.

Replacing the ‘First Edition’ is the KX-5. This is a range-topping high end, highly specified model that showcases the full extent of technology that the Sportage range has to offer, available with a 2.0 CRDi engine and 6-speed automatic transmission.  It features two-tone leather upholstery, electronic parking brake, wireless phone charging plus much more over the KX-4.

On ‘2’ and ‘3’ grades, the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) paired with the 1.7 CRDi engine will be available. This improves the MPG and lowers the CO2 when compared to traditional automatics. MY17 Sportage also has an upgraded multimedia system from the ‘2’ grade and above offering a number of key improvements such as 3D Mapping, SD map updates, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

As for the updated paint strategy, customers can choose whether to have Standard at no additional cost or Optional and Premium paint colours, for which the price will vary accordingly.

14121Beaver Garages, the family-run motor dealer based in Minehead, Somerset, has been appointed an MG Motor UK franchise, expanding the resurgent car brand’s network in the South East.

Established in 1981 as Richard Beaver Garages, the business operates from three locations in Taunton and Minehead, providing retail, servicing and used car solutions to drivers in the region. The move to MG is a major development for Beaver Garages, which chose the marque due to the growing reputation of its new models and the strong culture of collaboration from the manufacturer’s Longbridge team.

Group sales manager at Beaver Garages, Wayne Johnson, said: “Having talked to several other car manufacturers looking to expand their network, we found the team at MG to be very approachable, business-like and easy to deal with. Unlike many other big car brands, the team based in Birmingham was always easy to contact and very proactive when it came to setting up the franchise.”

Beaver Garages will begin actively retailing the MG3 supermini and all-new SUV, the MG GS, before Christmas.

Johnson continued: “While we were really impressed with the style, build quality and sheer value for money that the new MG range offered, we were also pleasantly surprised by the proactive way the company provides sales support for its models. For instance, MG’s current 0% finance offer on new models is an incredible incentive for new drivers to get behind the wheel of the funky supermini or bigger GS.”

Matthew Cheyne, Head of Sales & Marketing at MG Motor UK, added: “Beaver Garages is one of the most respected dealers in the South West. It has been offering great customer service for more than 30 years now and are very active in supporting local sports clubs and other community activities. Beaver Garages a great family team and we’re delighted to have them on board as an MG Motor franchisee.”

While MG sales will initially be conducted at Beaver Garage’s existing premises in Minehead, the business is planning to open a dedicated MG showroom in the summer of 2017.

201688_uber_launcheswebUber, the ride-sharing technology company, is expanding its self-driving pilot to San Francisco, California, using specially converted self-driving Volvo XC90 premium SUVs.

The move marks the next phase in a deepening alliance between Volvo and Uber after the two companies signed an agreement in August 2016 to establish a jointly owned project to build base vehicles that can be used to develop fully autonomous driverless cars. These cars were initially tested in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The latest cars to be used in San Francisco have been built by Volvo and sold to Uber, after which Uber’s own self-driving hardware and software package has been added, most visibly in the roof-mounted control apparatus.

These cars will drive around the streets of San Francisco autonomously, but as part of the pilot programme they will at all times have an Uber technician on board to supervise the car’s operation.

“The promise of self-driving ride sharing is becoming a reality,” said Mårten Levenstam, vice president product planning at Volvo Cars. “Volvo is proud to be at the forefront of the latest developments in the automotive world alongside our partners at Uber.”

The alliance with Uber forms one part of Volvo’s three-part plan to develop autonomous driving (AD) technologies.

In January 2017, Volvo will begin a project entitled Drive Me, which will be the world’s largest autonomous driving test in which up to 100 AD cars will be given to members of the public to be driven on real roads around Gothenburg, Sweden. Their experiences will be used to co-develop Volvo’s AD cars.

The second part is a joint venture with Autoliv, the leading automotive safety technology company, to set up a new jointly owned company to design and manufacture separately branded AD and driver-assistance software technology packages for sale to third-party OEMs. The new company will have its headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden, and an initial workforce taken from both companies of around 200, increasing to more than 600 in the medium term. The company is expected to start operations in the beginning of 2017.

The third part is the ongoing relationship with Uber to build and co-develop base vehicles for AD cars. This deal reduces Volvo’s development costs, gives it a chance to develop cutting-edge technology and could ultimately boost sales significantly.

The base vehicles are manufactured by Volvo and then purchased from Volvo by Uber. Volvo Cars and Uber are contributing a combined USD300m to the project. Both Uber and Volvo will use the same base vehicle for the next stage of their own autonomous car strategies.

The cars to be used in San Francisco are developed on Volvo Cars’ fully modular Scalable Product Architecture (SPA). SPA is one of the most advanced car architectures in the world and is currently used on Volvo Cars’ top-of-the-line multiple-award-winning XC90 SUV, as well as the S90 premium saloon and V90 premium estate.

SPA has been developed as part of Volvo Cars’ USD11bn global industrial transformation programme, which started in 2010, and has been prepared from the outset for the latest autonomous drive technologies as well as next-generation electrification and connectivity developments. It is these capabilities that attracted Uber to Volvo.

mycarcheck_mot_infographicThe latest MyCarCheck.com infographic uses Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency data to highlight the most common reasons for MOT failures, including blown bulbs, chips in the windscreen, and worn brakes, shock absorbers and tyres.

Reason for MOT failure % tests
1 Lighting & signaling 18.4
2 Suspension 12.0
3 Brakes 9.6
4 Tyres 7.4
5 Driver’s view of the road 6.6

Source: DVSA (from MOT tests 2014-15) 

Used car, van and motorbike buyers can now access MOT history completely free of charge as part of My Car Check’s new Vehicle Factsheet, which also features other previously charged-for data, notably valuations. See: www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUCP_vfha4E 

Head of MyCarCheck.com, Roger Powell, said: “Our new Vehicle Factsheet provides buyers with everything they need to narrow their search. The MOT data is particularly useful as you can see if a vehicle sailed through its last test or needed work and a retest. The advisory notices are also very useful as they show what repairs will likely need doing soon. Potentially expensive items, like four worn tyres, can be grounds to push for a price reduction. The mileage data protects against clocking, while the valuations confirm if the sticker price is in the right ball park. All this, in one place, for free – why wouldn’t you do it?”

With information from the police, DVLA, insurers and finance houses, My Car Check holds comprehensive data on every vehicle on UK roads – things that buyers should be aware of before making an offer.

Former Formula 1 World Champion Nigel Mansell CBE has given his backing to road safety charity IAM RoadSmart’s Christmas drink drive campaign, which urges no alcohol at all if you are driving during the festive season.

The charity’s campaign also encourages groups of friends to reward their designated driver as a true ‘hero of the road’ this season.

Nigel, who has been President of IAM RoadSmart for 10 years, says that as a Formula 1 driver he couldn’t have achieved the success he had without the backing of his team – and that similarly, a group of friends need to work as a team and make sure the designated driver feels a part of the evening. In this way, there is no temptation to down a swift pint and risk the lives of everyone in the vehicle.

IAM RoadSmart wants to remind everyone of some of the shocking statics that surround drink driving:

  • There were 35,000 drink drive offences recorded in the first nine months of 2015
  • Having alcohol in your system at just below the limit increases your chances of dying in a crash six fold
  • The total number of drink drive related accidents of all severities were 5,620 in 2014

Nigel, who won 31 Formula 1 races for Ferrari and Williams, said: “Often racing drivers are seen as heroes. But to me, the real heroes of the road are those who make sure their friends and family get home safe and sound during the festive season.

“So let’s make sure these real heroes of the road are rewarded. Treat them to a meal or their soft drinks for the evening. And don’t forget to take part in IAM RoadSmart’s designated driver competition for a chance of winning a very special prize.”

To give that hero designated driver and their guest a pat on the back, IAM RoadSmart is offering afternoon tea at The Savoy in London as a competition prize – all entrants have to do is tweet a picture to the IAM RoadSmart Twitter page using the hashtag #herooftheroad, showing your designated driver being celebrated by his or her group of friends.

Nigel added: “Let’s make this festive season one to remember for everyone. And let’s show some love for our designated drivers, who all make sure we are safe on the roads this month.”

nissanAfter exactly 30 years away from the public eye, Nissan has brought one of its most iconic motorsport machines back to life. The 1987 Nissan Patrol Fanta Limon Paris-Dakar rally car has been fully restored to its former glory, and made an emotional return to its spiritual home in the sand dunes of the Saharan desert.

The car’s legendary status is second to none, writing its very own chapter in Dakar mythology. It took victory in the diesel category, and was the first diesel car to ever finish in the race’s overall top 10, taking ninth spot. Today, all the top cars are diesels.

The Fanta Limon car has been given a new lease of life thanks to a dedicated team of engineers at Nissan’s European Technical Centre (NTCE) in Barcelona, Spain. For more than two years they restored the car after work and at weekends, turning it from a rusting wreck in a Spanish museum to a highly capable off-road racer.

Pedro Diaz Illan is Manager of the Electrical and Electronics Engineering team at NTCE, and the only member of the original 1987 team still working there. “That was a proud moment. Our brains, hearts and souls have gone into this project and it has not been easy. But to see the car in the desert again was just fantastic.”

The story of the car’s success in the 1987 Paris-Dakar rally starts the year before, when Nissan Motorsport devised a plan to take part in high-profile off-road endurance rallies. The base vehicle was to be the Patrol – Nissan’s popular 4×4 vehicle – with the team at NTCE in Spain leading the project.

The sponsorship with Fanta Limon came through links between Nissan Spain and drinks brand Coca-Cola, which was looking to exploit the global publicity generated by the Paris-Dakar race. Success came quickly, with victories in the diesel class in three events during 1986 (see results table, below).

But the main target was the Paris-Dakar. It began on 1 January 1987, with 312 vehicles lining up at the start of the gruelling 13,000 km race through Europe, Algeria, Niger, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal. The Nissan Fanta Limon team entered two vehicles; car 211 with Miguel Prieto and Ramon Termens as driver and co-driver respectively, and car 212, crewed by brothers Jorge and Hansi Babler.

Things did not run smoothly. The team’s support truck broke down on the second stage, leaving the pair without spares for the rest of the race. Car 212 was eventually forced to withdraw after rolling down a dune, but 211 battled on to the end. It was the first diesel to finish, in ninth place overall.

Mission accomplished, the cars were retired from racing. The whereabouts of 212 is unknown, but 211 was offered to the Salvador Claret, a private car collection and automotive museum south of Girona, Spain. There it remained for almost three decades.

The idea for recovering the car came in February 2014, when NTCE technicians spotted images of it on an internet forum. Realising the 30th anniversary was less than three years away, they contacted the museum to ask for it back.

Juan Villegas, an NTCE technician and part of the restoration team, explained: “The engine was in terrible condition. It was impossible to start and many parts were heavily corroded. The front axle was quite damaged, but the worst thing was the electrics, which had been badly attacked by rats.”

The wreck was transported to NTCE Barcelona in May 2014 and the eight-strong restoration team began work, using their own time at evenings and weekends. They searched all over Europe for parts, asking Nissan dealers to search their warehouses for old stock. Some components were bought used and also restored.

Juan added: “We wanted the car to be accurate in every way, and were lucky to get the very old drawings and service manuals from NTCE. We followed all the fine adjustments to get the exact Paris-Dakar race set-up.”

In November 2016 the Patrol was complete and made a return to its spiritual home – the sand dunes of the Sahara. It was an amazing moment for the team.

Juan commented: “The spirit of innovation that was at the heart of Nissan’s entry into the 1987 Paris-Dakar has been all around us as we have completed this project. We felt inspired by the memory of that team, which decided to participate in the most challenging race in the world and achieved such success.”

The restoration’s cost has been covered by Nissan as part of its ‘Performance Innovation’ fund. It’s a pot of money set aside each year for projects which bring the company’s brand promise – Innovation That Excites – to life.

102144jeepThe hugely popular Jeep Renegade has been named 4×4 Magazine’s ‘4×4 of the Year 2017’, retaining the crown for the second year in a row.

Rapidly growing in popularity on the UK’s roads, and hugely capable off them, the Jeep Renegade has had an excellent year of sales. To date, more than 16,500 two- and four-wheel-drive Renegades have been sold in this country while, in the UK and around the world, the successful B-segment SUV has continued to scoop numerous awards.

In this latest recognition, the off-road driving publication’s panel of expert judges was unable to find a contender capable of taking away the Jeep Renegade’s ‘4×4 of the Year’ crown. Excellent on-road, the range-topping Trailhawk version also outshone rivals on 4×4 Magazine’s tough off-road evaluation course.

“Since winning last year, we are now seeing many more Renegades on the roads here in the UK and in Europe,” says Nigel Fryatt, Editor, 4×4 Magazine. “Admittedly, not all of them are Trailhawk versions, and some are front-wheel drive, yet that merely underlines the importance of this small SUV.

“The Renegade range is comprehensive and every owner is getting a well built, well equipped and surprisingly spacious small SUV. Those that choose four-wheel drive options get a lot more, with the Trailhawk version the absolute master.”

In the same awards, the Renegade won the ‘Mid-range SUV’ category, the legendary Jeep Wrangler took the ‘Hardcore’ class for the fifth consecutive year, and the Jeep Cherokee won the ‘Top-Range SUV’ group.

“This has been another very good year for Jeep and for Renegade, rounded off nicely with the top award from a leading 4×4 magazine,” says Damien Dally, head of brand, Jeep UK.

“Growing sales, continual good reports from the media and thousands of happy customers tell us that Jeep has a winning product in Renegade. And the verdict of expert panellists, such as those at 4×4 Magazine, confirms that view. I am delighted that Renegade has been crowned ‘4×4 of the Year’ for the second year running.”

The Jeep Renegade range starts at £18,195 OTR for the 1.6E-TorQ 110hp Sport, rising to £29,495 for the 2.0 MultiJet II Trailhawk.