Thursday, February 11, 2010

Kia Ray plug-in hybrid concept to debut in Chicago

Kia Motors has unveiled its “Ray” plug-in Hybrid concept at the 2010 Chicago Auto Show, to highlight its innovative fuel-stretching and emissions-cutting technologies.
Following the Kia Borrego Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV), the Forte LPI Hybrid, the petrol cee’d Hybrid and the twin-turbo diesel Sorento Hybrid the “Ray” concept is a bold new collaboration between design and engineering and inventively showcases a futuristic four-seat compact saloon based on the Kia Forte platform.
Designed with lightweight and recycled materials, as well as hexagonal solar cells embedded in the glass roof panel to power extra lighting or climate control systems, the Kia “Ray” boasts a range of up to 746 miles.
“It is important to imagine early in the design process what people will want in the future from a green perspective. People want to reduce their carbon footprint without driving carbon copies,” said Peter Schreyer, Chief Design Officer for the Kia Motors Corporation.
“Being green doesn’t have to be an obvious statement anymore and the Kia “Ray” exemplifies a viable blend of modern, eco-minded features for today’s environmentally conscious consumers,” he added.The stylish, aerodynamic “Ray” combines design and engineering for maximum efficiency, incorporating clean, flush surfaces minimising unnecessary edges giving a flowing profile and a pronounced rear shoulder ending in a slightly higher deck for reduced drag.
The “Ray” also features touch-screen controls, drive-by-wire steering, “cool-glazing” solar glass and a lithium-polymer battery – all possible indicators of future technology from Kia.As a plug-in hybrid, “Ray” is designed to cover driving distances of more than 50 miles using just its electric motor on a single charge, and has a fuel economy rating of more than 202 miles per gallon for a total range of 746 miles.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Peugeot RCZ wins the most beautiful car of the year award 2009

Peugeot’s eagerly awaited RCZ Coupé has been voted the most beautiful car of the year 2009 at the 25th International Automobile Festival.
As part of the 25th International Automobile Festival, an online competition was created to select the most beautiful car of 2009. The Peugeot RCZ was selected from the votes cast by over 100,000 internet users in 62 different countries around the world.
It is the fourth time Peugeot has won this prestigious award, and in the year the marque is celebrating its 200 year anniversary.The International Automobile Festival was established in 1986. The Most Beautiful Car of the Year award was first launched in 1987.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Toyota Land Cruiser 2010 replaces V8 engine

Toyata recently announced the 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser is going to get a new engine and transmission option, retiring the long-running 4.7-litre V8 to replace it with a Lexus-derived 4.6-litre V8. The upgrade is only for the Japanese-market model currently, but may spread to GCC and other markets later.

The new Japan-spec 4.6-litre V8 dual VVT-i engine produces 318 hp at 5600 rpm and 460 Nm at 3400 rpm, mated to a new 6-speed automatic. The previous 4.7-litre made 288 hp and 445 Nm of torque, with a 5-speed auto. It is assumed that the 4WD system and other mechanicals remain the same.

It is unknown at this time whether the 2010 Land Cruiser for the UAE market will be receiving a similar engine change. Regardless of any changes, the big 4×4 will continue to be popular in Cruiser-crazy markets such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Renault Wind to be revealed at Geneva

The Renault Wind was originally concept car created by the French automobile manufacturer, Renault. The Wind was first introduced at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show as a 2+1 roadster.
On February 2nd, 2010, Renault announced that the Wind would enter production. It is set to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show on March 2nd, 2010. The production version will be a 2 seater, as opposed to the 2+1 seating of the concept car [1].
The concept uses a inline-4 engine that gives 136 horsepower (101 kW) and 141ft-lb (191 N·m) of torque. Other performance specifications of the wind, such as its top speed and its zero to sixty mph time, are unknown to the public.
Renault has not confirmed that this engine will be in the production version of the car

The concept Wind's design is like other Renault vehicles such as the performance versions of the Renault Clio and Mégane. The steering wheel and pedal assemblies in the concept are adjustable and fold away automatically when the door is opened for easier access. Producer is Erdenechulun.
The production version is styled very similarly to the concept car, however some changes have been made, such as a roll bar behind the seats, a spoiler, and other minor changes. The Wind will feature a one piece metal roof, that rotates 180° backwards (much like the Ferrari 575M Maranello Superamerica), as opposed to being made of several pieces like many other metal roof convertibles. Renault claims that it takes 12 seconds to fold the roof away, which is quite quick compared to most convertibles.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Proton Comes to Thailand

BANGKOK: Thailand’s Phranakorn Auto Sales Co Ltd plans to open 20 outlets to sell Proton cars in the country, with an initial target of 3,000 cars in the first year.
Its general manager (operation) Apichart Wangsatorntanakhun said eight outlets would be located in the capital and the rest in major provinces, with a long-term target of opening more throughout the country.
“We are looking for the best dealers and outlets. All these outlets will come with 3S — sales, service and spare parts — which are very important to ensure customer satisfaction and loyalty to a brand,” he said in an interview here.
Phranakorn Auto Sales, a subsidiary of the PNA Group which is one of Thailand’s largest automotive companies, has been appointed as Proton’s authorised dealer in the country, with the official signing ceremony scheduled here on Thursday.
Apichart declined to reveal the models being brought into the Thai market, but said a range of 25 models could be picked.
“But for the start, we are not going to explode the market with many models and big volume. We want to grow at a stable pace and take care of our customers first to get their trust and loyalty,” he said.
The first model will be unveiled at the Thailand Motor Show in early December this year.
But Apichart hinted that the initial models would be priced less than 400,000 baht, targeting a niche market, especially youngsters, first car owners and those crossing over from pick-up to passenger cars.
In fact, there are no cars being sold in this price range in the country, with the nearest being Toyota Vios, which starts at 490,000 baht, he said.
With 14 years experience in the industry and having served as a top executive for major brands like BMW, Honda and Chevrolet in Thailand, Apichart said he is confident that Proton would be able to penetrate the Japanese-controlled automotive industry.
Apichart, who was brought in specially to steer Proton’s growth, said there are bright prospects for the carmaker in Thailand, adding that 270,000 passenger cars were sold last year, with Toyota leading the pack.

Malaysia’s national car maker Proton Holdings Bhd is confident that its exports will reach 44,000 by year end and be doubled next year when new markets are opened up in China and Thailand.

Managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir, noting that last year’s export sales numbered 23,000, said today that its overseas markets are growing fast, especially in Iran where sales could reach 16,000 this year, with a 15 to 20 percent growth in 2008.

Syed Zainal attributed the anticipated increase in exports to its expansion into the Chinese market by the end of the year, with Proton expected to ship at least 30,000 cars to its authorised dealer, Jinhua Youngman Automobile Manufacturing Co Ltd, and re-badged under the “Europestar” brand.

“China and Thailand are our new exciting markets. We are also talking to several parties in India and hope to establish our footing there, but not in this calendar year,” he told a press conference after announcing Proton’s entry into Thailand today through Phranakorn Auto Sales Co.

The agreement to appoint Phranakorn as Proton’s authorised dealer for an initial five years was signed by Syed Zainal and the company’s managing director, Thawatchai Jungsanguanpornsuk.

It was witnessed by Malaysia’s Deputy Chief of Mission to Thailand, Umardin Mutalib. Over 100 media personnel attended the ceremony, which marks Proton’s debut in the Kingdom after being in existence since the 1980s.

The first Proton model will be launched at the Thailand Motor Show at the end of November.

Syed Zainal said the company will use Iran as a base to move aggressively into the Middle East market.

He pointed out that Proton is in a better position to move overseas now with its product pipeline stretching to five years, adding that domestic sales have also been improving by 20 percent every month.

“Our target is to export 100,000 cars in a few years’ time, and at the same time we can compete with Perodua and other OEM (original equipment manufacturing) companies in Malaysia. We are not happy at being overtaken by Perodua but we are on track to regain the number one spot,” he said when asked about the competition from Perodua, Malaysia’s second national car maker.

He said testing on the much improved Campro engine has been completed and it will go into new cars in the near future.

On talks with German carmaker Volkswagen regarding a possible strategic partnership with Proton, Syed Zainal shed no new light, only reiterating that VW’s talks with Proton’s controlling stake holder, the government, are ongoing.

On Proton’s entry into Thailand, Syed Zainal sees good sales prospects despite the economic slowdown here, and he stressed on a long term commitment by Proton, especially with the Asean Free Trade Area (Afta) opening the door to Malaysian-made vehicles.

“I am so proud to say that finally, Proton is in Thailand,” he said.

According to Syed Zainal, Phranakorn Auto Sales will open 20 outlets initially and double this in the next four years, with anticipated first year sales of 3,000 cars of yet to be announced models.

He felt that the Thai auto market is recovering, with total auto sales expected to be between 620,000 and 650,000 units by the end of this year.

Phranakorn auto sales general manager (operations) Apichart Wangsatorntanakhun said the company will focus on a 3S strategy (sales, service and spare parts) as well as an additional 3S promotion – savings, safety and style.

“We are going to have in our line-up a model with a price that is the lowest and with the most value for money in Thailand for at least the past 10 years,” he said.

VW seeks management control of Proton

KUALA LUMPUR (Thomson Financial) – Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Tuesday that German auto giant Volkswagen is seeking management control over Malaysia’s state-owned Proton as it negotiates an alliance.

‘They have been discussing about it but we have not yet decided on that,’ Abdullah said when reporters asked if Volkswagen (other-otc: VLKAF.PK – news – people ) was eyeing management control of the loss-making firm.

Mitsubishi Motors announce vehicle, technology collaboration for a PROTON brand vehicle

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) announced today the signing of a contract with Malaysia’s major automobile manufacturer, Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Sdn Bhd (PONSB)*1, covering the technology for, as well as the development and production of, a new PROTON vehicle. In addition, the contract will grant a license to the Malaysian automaker to manufacture a new Mitsubishi vehicle based product.

Through this and other collaboration projects in the fields of development and production, MMC aims to expand its Malaysian business beyond the current export shipments of built-up cars from Japan to that nation. For its part, PONSB aims to work with MMC to expand its model lineup as well as to raise quality levels and make more effective use of its production plant.

The two companies are also continuing to study other mutually beneficial avenues of collaboration.

*1 A wholly owned subsidiary of PROTON Holdings Berhad