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

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Suzuki introduces revised SX4 for 2010

Suzuki has announced that it will display the revised 2010 Suzuki SX4 at this year's Frankfurt Auto Show together with a range of cleaner and more efficient engines. The 2010 Suzuki SX4 features a new and cleaner exterior styling package which the company says it will offer greater aerodynamics and a sporting appearance. The 2010 Suzuki SX4 comes with a new front bumper and grill and new design front and rear skid plates.
The interior of the 2010 Suzuki SX4 features a new instrument cluster with an integrated information display and a new control panel for the climate control system.
The 2010 Suzuki SX4 will be available with a 1.6-litre petrol engine and a 2.0-litre DDiS engine on the AWD version.
  • Suzuki offers four sub 120g/km cars in the City, Supermini and Mini MPV segments.
  • Revisions to 1.6-litre petrol engine for 2010 include Variable Valve Timing system for greater torque flexibility, more power and improvements to fuel economy and emissions.
  • New Euro Five 2.0-DDiS engine for SX4 4x4 replaces 1.9DDiS unit – now with 18 per cent lower emissions and higher maximum torque; available from just 1,500rpm.
  • 12 per cent improvement in fuel economy for the new diesel engine – 51.3mpg combined.
  • Revised SX4 with 1.6-litre petrol on sale in the UK next spring; new diesel to be introduced later in 2010.

At the Frankfurt show next month, Suzuki will continue to focus on its expertise in small cars and will showcase its latest range of low emission models including the Alto, Splash 1.0-litre petrol and 1.3 DDiS Splash and Swift models.
Also on display will be the 2010 model SX4; Suzuki's clever combination of SUV dynamics and passenger car elegance. The latest model SX4 incorporates cleaner styling refreshments to the exterior with a new styling package for greater aerodynamics and sporting appearance. The Minor Change model also features a new front bumper assembly, front grille and new design front and rear skid plates to help handle the rigours of outdoor life.

At Suzuki it's not just about stylish and clean cars as the company will also exhibit several examples from its innovative and widespread range of motorcycles as well as the latest Marine Outboard engines and All Terrain Vehicles (ATV's).
Suzuki celebrates its Centenary of innovation this year and recently passed the 40 million mark for global car sales.

Monday, January 25, 2010

New Toyota Auris Pricing Announced (UK)

Auris – a new name for an all-new family hatchback from Toyota
Inside-out” design approach maximises usable interior space
1.4-litre VVT-i and new 1.6-litre Dual VVT-i petrol engines
Three diesel engines – 1.4-litre D-4D 90, 2.0-litre D-4D 130 and 2.2-litre D-4D 180
  • New suspension, with dedicated multilink rear suspension for Auris T180
  • Nine airbags standard on all models, including driver’s knee airbag
  • Top Euro NCAP five-star safety rating for adult occupant protection
  • Five-door Auris built at Burnaston in the UK
  • On-the-road prices from £11,995
  • On sale in the UK from 1 February, T180 and three-door models from 1 April

Auris is a new name for an all-new Toyota, a family hatchback designed, developed and engineered for the European market. The best selling models will be built in Europe too, with the most popular models coming from Toyota’s Burnaston factory near Derby. Distinctively styled, and delivering first class safety and driving performance, Auris is set to transform Toyota’s profile in one of the most significant and competitive market sectors.

Built on a new platform, Auris is available in three and five-door body styles and with a choice of two petrol and three diesel engines, three transmissions and four model grades: T2, T3, T Spirit and the flagship T180. Sales start on 1 February, with T180 and three-door models joining the line-up from 1 April. Prices are from £11,995 on the road (T2 1.4 VVT-i three-door). In 2007, Toyota aims to sell around 22,000 Auris in the UK.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

All-new Mazda5 to debut in Geneva

The world premiere of the all-new Mazda5 on 2 March will be a highlight of this year’s Geneva Motor Show. The all-new Mazda5 has been designed and developed to be especially good at meeting the needs of European families with active lifestyles.
“In approaching development of the all-new Mazda5,” says Hideki Matsuoka, Mazda5 Programme Manager, “our team aimed to create a new C-MAV that combines superb practicality with the superior environmental performance these modern times demand and a new expression in stylish design.”
The all-new model further evolves Mazda5’s acclaimed functionality – with rear sliding doors and up to 7-seat Karakuri flexibility in the spacious cabin – and creates an eye-catching exterior that is unique to the segment. This design, which also uses elements of Mazda’s ‘Nagare Flow’ design language, is also highly functional and contributes to fuel efficiency by achieving a particularly low drag coefficient, together with optimal lift and air-flow stability characteristics.

The all-new Mazda5 is fitted with a newly-developed 2.0-litre DISI1 petrol engine equipped with i-stop, and a six-speed manual transmission with gear ratios specific to this version. This new direct-injection petrol engine offers linear and smooth performance characteristics which ensure that it is fun to drive in the best Mazda tradition.
The all-new Mazda5 is also one of the most frugal and clean C-MAVs on the market, achieving approximately 15 percent reduction in CO2 emissions compared to the 2.0-litre petrol model it replaces. The petrol line-up also features a 1.8-litre engine with a six-speed manual transmission.
The all-new Mazda5 will go on sale across Europe later this year. The new model is one of three premieres that will be unveiled during Mazda’s press conference to be held at the Mazda stand in Hall 5, on 2 March at 11:15 (CET).

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ford S-MAX and Galaxy get a fresh new look for 2010

The new Ford S-MAX and Galaxy models, unveiled at the Brussels Motorshow, herald the arrival of a series of new and innovative technologies and features that will challenge established perceptions of what Ford cars feel like to sit in and to drive.

With fresh designs, they feature new interior materials and features, a range of more efficient powertrains and a host of driver-focused technologies aimed at improving safety and comfort.
The 2010 S-MAX and Galaxy are the first cars to be available with Ford's all-new, high efficiency, 2.0-litre 203PS EcoBoost petrol engine. This joins new 115PS and 163PS 2.0-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel engines, with an updated 140PS version arriving in the UK later. Additionally, the latest Ford PowerShift double wet-clutch transmission system is available for the first time on Ford's large car range; it will be standard equipment with the EcoBoost petrol engine and optional with the 2.0 140PS and 2.0 163PS Duratorq diesels
A range of innovative new safety and convenience features debut on versions of the new S-MAX and Galaxy, including a Blind Spot Information System.
More Distinctive OutsideWith the new S-MAX and Galaxy, Ford's design team has achieved significant changes to enhance each vehicle's individual and expressive kinetic design styling.

S-MAXFrom launch in 2006 the S-MAX quickly established itself as a sporty, high quality and well-equipped crossover that provided the benefits of a people mover, but without sacrificing style or driving enjoyment. The new model includes a strongly sculptured bonnet and all-new front facia, emphasised by the bolder graphic of the gloss black, lower front trapezoidal grille. A new lower front bumper includes distinctive LED daytime running lights on high series models.

From the side, S-MAX is instantly recognisable with a new chrome strip which surrounds the whole glass area to enhance the car's sleek and sporty lines. The new S-MAX has also been re-designed with a more dynamically profiled tailgate, lower facia and new LED tail lights. Further distinguishing the new SMAX is a horizontal satin chrome bar, which runs between the LED tail lights and is embossed with the distinctive S-MAX logo.
GalaxyThe new Galaxy also features a re-designed frontal section. A new, more sculptured bonnet combines with a new front fascia design incorporating a bolder lower trapezoidal grille with inserts featuring subtle chrome bars - and new-look fog lights.
Titanium and Titanium X models are differentiated further with chrome bars in the upper grille.The roof incorporates new bolder integrated silver rails for cross bars, while at the rear, distinctive new LED lights and body-coloured lower fascia are standard equipment.
More LuxuriousCarefully balanced new colour and material choices deliver a luxurious and dynamic feel. For both vehicles, the Ford Fold Flat System comes as standard for the second and third row of seats.
S-MAX high series models get a new multifunctional overhead console with sunglasses holder and child-watch mirror, and a new one-piece panorama roof equipped with power sun blinds.
For the first time high series S-MAX models, and all models fitted with the panorama roof, get a new LED interior lighting system.New interior colours, graphics and materials are offered across all series.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Renault Megane Coupe Concept Unveiled

Renault used the Geneva Auto Show to debut their new Megane Coupe Concept, which hints at a future production model. Styled in an attempt to bring out character and dynamism, the concept symbolizes Renault’s idea of a perfect compact sports coupe.
The exterior features aluminum finished air-intakes which flow into the concept’s headlights, meant to convey the impression of movement. A series of crystal-like light strips act as turn signals and daytime running lights, while gull-wing doors provide access to the cabin. 21” wheels fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport tires combine with the sports suspension to create an engaging driving experience.
On the inside Renault took influences from modern furniture to create an upscale driving environment. Independent asymmetric front seats seem to float due to the clever ingenuity of designers. The center console flows into the rear cabin, creating separate seating for two individuals. Featuring the latest technology, the cabin has a central screen which is divided into three separate views. The main screen activates the concept’s various systems such as navigation, radio, and Bluetooth while the two side screens display exterior side views via cameras incorporated into the mirrors. Rear passengers are well accommodated, as the concept has four-zone climate control and a Samsung P2 multimedia player.
Powering the Megane Coupe is a 2.0L turbocharged petrol engine which produces 200 horsepower and 280Nm of torque. Using a six-speed manual transmission, drivers can get the coupe from 0-100 km/h in 7.2 seconds. Fuel consumption is estimated at 6.5 liters per 100km.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Renault previews new Megane Coupe-Cabriolet

TC Eurokars Sdn Bhd had a public preview of four Renault models at its Jalan Semangat showroom on the weekend of the 21st to the 23rd of March 2008. The models displayed were the Renault Megane R26 Renault Sport, the Renault Megane Coupe-Cabriolet, The Renault Clio RS and the Renault Grand Espace. Reader Al Maarof shares with us some photos snapped of the cars.

The Renault Clio RS has a different 2.0 engine than the one found in the normal 2.0 liter Clio III. While the Clio III used new 2.0 liter Renault M engine (essentially the Nissan MR20DE), the Renault Clio RS uses the F4R – an older 2.0 liter engine in the Renault stables, but one that revs high and produces 197 horsepower at 7,250rpm, and 215Nm of torque at 5,550rpm. Matced to a 6-speed manual, it hits 100km/h in 6.9 seconds
The other hot hatch is the Renault Megane R26 with a torsion beam rear, powered by a 2.0 liter turbocharged engine making 230 horsepower at 5,500rpm and 310Nm of torque at 3,000rpm. 0 to 100km/h takes 6.5 seconds with a 6 speed manual. If you look after the jump you’ll see the car’s huge brakes at the front. TC Eurokars indicates this one will come in at about RM235,000 in the second half of 2008.
The less hot Megane you will see after the jump is the Megane Coupe-Cabriolet which features a foldable hard top. It’s 2.0 liter normally aspirated engine makes 135 horses at 5,500rpm and 191Nm of torque at 3,750rpm, paired to a 4-speed auto.
The last car is an MPV – the Renault Grand Espace. This is a replacement model of the NGV-powered third generation Espace used as KLIA taxis we see here in KL. Its turbocharged 2.0 liter engine puts out 170 horses at 5,000rpm and 270Nm of torque at 3,200rpm. It features 6 airbags and seats 7 with independent seats for all passengers.