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Toyota to buy out PSA stake in joint Czech factory

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The French firm will also introduce another compact van model for its Japanese partner from its Vigo plant in Spain as of 2019, they added in a statement.
Toyota will fully own the Czech plant in Kolin from January 2021, and the plant will continue to manufacture the "current generation” of compact cars for the two companies.

These are currently Peugeot 108, Citroen C1 and Toyota Argo models.
"Toyota intends to continue production and future employment at the Kolin plant,” the companies said, without disclosing financial details.

PSA is already collecting vans for Toyota at the Sevelnord plant in northern France.


GM plans major announcement on global operations Monday: Canada union

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Unifor, which represents the majority of union automakers in Canada, said that GM said that after December 2019, a product that will affect production at the plant will not be produced in Oshawa.

A union statement appeared after a Canadian channel's news channel said that GM plans to close all operations at a plant in Oshawa, near Toronto.

GM spokesman declined to comment on Sunday evening.
GM is cutting jobs to cope with car sales in North America. For several months, the company repeatedly discussed the issue of reducing the demand for a car, said one of the participants in the briefing on this issue, and this question will undoubtedly reappear when GM negotiates a contract next year with the United Auto Workers union.

GM is expected to announce as soon as this week some involuntary hired layoffs after it failed to get so many volunteers to accept the ransom, the person said, hoping.

GM said on October 31 that about 18,000 of their 50,000 employees in North America are eligible for redemption.

Accelerated cost cutting and restructuring at GM comes in, like many industry leaders, and analysts predict that total auto sales in the United States will decline in 2019 and 2020.
At the same time, China, the world's largest car market and the largest auto sales market for GM, has slowed sharply in the past few months.

Analysts say GM has too many North American plants building slow-selling sedans.

GM shares fell 12 percent in a year, and GM CEO Mary Barra, in her message to employees last month, quoted stagnant stock prices as a reason for tougher restructuring measures.

According to her, the automaker had negative cash flow in the first nine months of the year, and he had to cut costs.

GM offers redemption to North American employees and says it can fire white-collar employees if they do not achieve the goal of reducing costs.

A person inquiring about this issue confirmed that GM had planned a major announcement about the future of the plant in Oshawa, but said that the automaker wanted to notify employees of its plans before making any reports about this plant.

According to Automotive News, total car production at the Oshawa complex fell by 60 percent in the first ten months of 2018 compared to the same period last year.

GM has about 2,500 union employees in Oshawa, which produces both the Chevrolet Impala sedans and the Cadillac XTS. It also completes the final build of stronger silver and Sierra pickup vendors that depart from Indiana.

Political pressure in Canada is already growing at GM, which has received billions of dollars in aid from the governments of the United States, Canada, and Ontario after filing for bankruptcy during the global recession in 2009.
"We are aware of the reports, and in the coming days we will work to determine how we can continue to support our automotive industry and workers,” said a Canadian government official.

"The work of many families is on the line,” said Colin Curry, a member of parliament for Oshawa. "Communities throughout Ontario would be devastated if this plant were to close.
The US automaker has other operations in Canada, including the plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, where it assembles the Chevrolet Equinox.

The reported plant closure is another blow to the Canadian auto industry, which has lost jobs in the United States, where governments offer manufacturers rich incentives and Mexico, where labor costs are lower.

However, the new trade deal, which the United States, Mexico and Canada hit in September, leaves a significant opportunity for Canadian factories to increase their exports of duty-free trade.


VW embarks on $50 billion electrification plan

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VW will spend almost 44 billion euros (50 billion dollars) on the development of electric vehicles, autonomous driving and new mobility services by 2023 and will explore further areas of cooperation with the American automaker Ford.

Diez said that he hopes that by the end of the year it is planned to outline a cooperation agreement with Ford, starting to focus on commercial vehicles. He added that merging with Ford was not on the agenda, and also said that there were no plans to take a stake in the American company.
Mass production of electric vehicles will help automakers reduce costs to the same level as current diesel vehicles, said Diez at a press conference in Wolfsburg, VW's hometown.

"Very emotional vehicles, with big economies of scale, I think we will be the most profitable company in electric cars,” said Diez, answering a question in English.

The supervisory board of Europe’s largest automaker has voted for far-reaching capital spending plans to start mass production of electric cars in Europe, the most radical shift in strategy after the VW diesel fraud scandal begins in 2015.
Volkswagen will return three of its German plants for building electric cars and exploring alliances with battery partners and competing automakers.

VW plans to increase the productivity of its plants by 30 percent by 2025, having built more cars of different brands on the same production line. He wants to reduce the rate of research and development of the automaker in the automotive division of the group to six percent of revenues from 2020.

"Volkswagen must become more efficient, productive and more profitable in order to finance high costs in the future and remain competitive,” said Diss.

The unions, which control half the seats in the Volkswagen supervisory board, must sign a plan to create global production capacity for 1 million electric vehicles by 2025 amid their fear that building battery-powered cars will require fewer workers.

About 436,000 industrial jobs in Germany are tied to the construction of gasoline and diesel engines.

According to ING analysts, the work is in jeopardy, since a car with an engine with a burner has 1,400 components in the engine, exhaust system and gearbox, while the battery and engine of an electric vehicle have only 200 components.

Volkswagen executives this week set out plans to turn auto plants into Zwickau, Emden, and Hannover to build electric cars, providing workers with job guarantees until 2028.
The first electric car ID should roll off the production line in Zwickau in 2019, as the plant rises to a production capacity of 330,000 electric vehicles. Zwickau is currently building the VW Golf and Golf Estate.

The Volkswagen MEB car platform is also being considered by Ford, since the two companies are continuing search negotiations on an alliance for developing self-propelled and electric vehicles.
"Our two companies complement each other very well in terms of both products and regions. Joint development and production of a number of light commercial vehicles underlies the proposed cooperation, ”said Diss.

VW expects significant synergies from this alliance, which may allow the creation of a new next-generation Amarok pickup truck series and additional sports cars, Diez said.
Ford CEO Jim Hackett told Reuters this week that the company was open to investing in its autonomous car business by automakers and others, but warned that expanding its partnership with VW was a "delicate dance.”


Chinese state-owned automaker FAW Group gets $144 billion credit line

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FAW stated that in its report on social networks, it would like to consolidate its cooperation with banks, create an open and innovative financial platform and provide funding for FAW initiatives in the future.

According to the FAW source, the credit line is part of the government’s plan to revitalize the economy of China’s northeastern provinces, refusing to determine that the source is not authorized to speak publicly on this issue.

The China National Development and Reform Commission announced plans to increase the rustbelt triumph in January, the latter in a long series of efforts to help the region, but the announcement did not mention FAW at the time.

Shares in two FAW blocks, FAW Car Co Ltd (000800.SZ) and Tianjin FAW Xiali Automobile Co Ltd (000927.SZ) jumped 10% after the daily credit line news.
FAW has a joint venture with Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE), which manufactures VW and Audi cars, and the other with Toyota (7203.T), which builds the Crown and Corolla models.

The 16 banks in agreement with FAW include China Development Bank, China Construction Bank (601939.SS), Bank of China (601988.SS), and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (1398.HK).

China's economy slowed to the weakest quarterly pace after the global financial crisis in the third quarter, data from last week showed that it suffered from the weakest factory output since February 2016, as automakers reduced production due to slower sales.

The numbers came as regulators are moving quickly to calm nervous investors as a multi-year campaign against debt risks, and the trade war with the United States began to bite.


U.S. Senate panel wants Hyundai, Kia to testify on engine fire reports

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The request comes after security defenders raised concerns about fires on vehicles not involved in the collisions. The nonprofit consumer protection group of the Center for Auto Safety said last week that since June 12, 103 fire complaints have been filed in accordance with US safety requirements. He called for the immediate withdrawal of nearly 3 million vehicles.
Neither Hyundai nor Kia had any comments.

In May 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an agency of the US Department of Transportation, opened a formal inquiry into recalling nearly 1.7 million Hyundai and Kia cars for engine problems.

A South Korean informant in 2016 reported on issues related to NHTSA, which examines the timeliness of three reviews conducted in the United States and whether they cover a sufficient number of vehicles.
Senator Bill Nelson, the chief Democrat of the Committee on Trade, said that the death from a collision as a result of a fire last year was reported in 2014 by Kia Soul. "We need to understand what causes these fires,” Nelson said in a statement. "Car owners need to know if their vehicles are safe."

The letter to automakers was also signed by Senator John Tune, who heads the committee, said the hearing will also "consider efforts to mitigate fires in vehicles and promptly identify and respond to defects that could pose a risk to fire”, and invites Hyundai executives and US Kia units to testify or their designated person.

NHTSA spokeswoman did not immediately express her opinion.
In 2015, Hyundai recalled 470,000 Sonata sedans, stating that engine failure would result in the vehicle stopping, which would increase the risk of an accident. At that time, the Kia affiliate did not remember its vehicles, which had the same Theta II engines.

In March 2017, Hyundai expanded its original US title to 572,000 Sonata and Santa Fe cars powered by Theta II, citing the same problem as factory garbage, NHTSA reports.

On the same day, Kia also recalled 618,160 Optima, Sorento and Sportage cars - they all use the same engine.
The recall, which was also conducted in Canada and South Korea, cost the automakers about 360 billion won (319.30 million dollars).

In June, the Auto Safety Center filed a petition to investigate defects due to motor fires in Kia Optima and Sorento cars in 2011-2014, as well as Hyundai Sonata and Santa Fe cars from the same model years.

In response, NHTSA said in August that most of the fires identified in the petition "appear to be related to engine failures,” covered by investigations launched in May 2017.


Aston Martin aims to steer round Brexit to $6.7 billion IPO

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The company, famous for creating a sports car under the management of the fictional secret agent James Bond, said that last month he planned to sell about 25 percent of his shares in the first initial public offering (IPO) by the British automaker for decades.

Booklet for IPO said on Thursday that the company has already received orders for all shares on offer. A source familiar with this issue said that it was at the bottom of the price range, valuing the company at a level of 4.02-5.07 billion pounds.

Aston Martin hopes to announce a final price for its shares around October 3 and expects it to go to the London Stock Exchange around October 8th.
Nevertheless, some analysts ask questions about the assessment that he is looking for.

Carmakers warn about any customs checks and fees that may arise as a result of Britain's departure from the European Union in March next year, may slow production and increase costs for the industry, which was one of the few successful stories in recent years in the country.

Chief Executive Officer Aston, who builds all of his cars in the UK, said the company increased its engine and component inventory in the event that free and free trade with the EU begins in a few months time.

"For example, we have up to five days of engine operation, and we have a very large warehouse in Wellsborn (in central England) where we have at least five days of vehicle stock," Andy Palmer said in an interview with Reuters, compared to with the previous three-day cost of components owned by the firm.

"If there are tariffs ... for every car that we lose because of a 10% tariff to Europe, we presumably choose Ferrari and Lamborghini in the other direction, because obviously their cars are becoming more expensive in the UK," said he.

But in its IPO prospectus, Aston warned that it could face "significant adverse effects" on sales and profitability if 18 percent of the sales it makes to the EU fall under restrictions.
Most of the company's suppliers are located in the EU, which means that restrictions on the movement of goods can also affect the production schedule and costs of the firm.

London and Brussels hope to conclude a Brexit agreement by the end of the year, but automakers are concerned that failure to reach a deal can lead to drastic cuts on highways and ports, disrupting trade.

Last week, Jaguar Land Rover boss Ralph Spett warned that the wrong Brexit deal could cost tens of thousands of jobs and risk production in the company, Britain's largest automaker.
Aston set the price range from 17.50 pounds to 22.50 pounds per share, as 25 percent of the shares it floats equates to a deal size of about 1.0-1.27 billion pounds.

Last month, the IPO involved the sale of shares to its main owners, Kuwaiti and Italian private joint-stock companies.

The caretaker underwent a negotiable plan, as Palmer took over in 2014, increasing production and expanding into new segments, with a new factory opened in 2019.

Palmer will receive an annual salary of £ 1.2 million after the IPO and will hold 0.6 percent of the company's shares, which he will be able to sell in stages over four years - a step that the company said showed long-term interests, management and shareholders will be agreed upon .

The central automaker in England sees the Italian brand Ferrari (RACE.MI), which made its debut on Wall Street in 2015 amid strong demand from investors as a model for imitation.
But some analysts are skeptical.

"The price of Aston Martin (AM) requires a high level of confidence in the company's plans," said Arndt Ellinghorst of Evercore ISI.

"We continue to note the extremely high level of capitalization of R & D ..., which increases margins and profits in the short term."

Palmer, however, said that investor interest was "unprecedented" so far, as he sets out on the road with the message that there is even more growth ahead.

"Investors tend to be" just one "investors, people understand that this is a growth story," he said, when asked what he will be meeting with. Such investors, as a rule, are institutions that often store shares for many years.

"The aircraft is halfway down the runway, but there is still half of the runway."

(1 dollar = 0.7606 pounds)


Volkswagen T-Roc 2.0 TSI 4Motion 2018 UK review

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Volkswagen T-Roc 2.0 TSI 4Motion 2018 UK review

What is it?
Volkswagen has ambitions of becoming one of the world’s largest producers of SUVs, so it is trying to leave no stone unturned by developing a model to fill every category in the segment. We recently met the T-Roc 1.0 TSI that provides an answer to the more mainstream end of the class. Today, it’s the significantly more potent T-Roc 2.0 TSI that gets our attention.

This most powerful T-Roc falls into the small but increasingly significant hot crossovers sub-segment, where cooking variants of the Mini Countryman and Mercedes-Benz GLA live. As such, its firepower is provided by Volkswagen’s ubiquitous turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine in 187bhp and 236lb ft form.

Our test car mates the unit to a seven-speed dual-clutch DSG gearbox and drives all four wheels via 4Motion technology, giving this T-Roc the quickest off-the-line performance statistics of its brethren. The 0-62mph dash takes 7.2sec and its top speed is rated at 134mph – that's enough to beat the cheaper Countryman Cooper S All4 but falls short of the more directly comparable GLA 250 4Matic.

Inside, our SE L-spec car - which is the top trim available until R-Line arrives in May 2018 – gets Volkswagen’s Active Information Display technology (the company's take on Audi’s Virtual Cockpit) in place of dials as standard, giving it an edge over rivals, as well as an 8.0in touchscreen on the centre console.What's it like?
Buyers expecting an interior to match the car’s heated-up performance may be disappointed, because much of the SE L model’s cabin looks familiar to that of the mid-spec SE. The interior is practical and versatile but, on a variant that starts from more than £30,000, its generic design and the use of hard-touch plastics will hamper its desirability.

Standard-fit Active Information Display technology (normally a £405 option) is the car’s saving grace, because it far surpasses the effectiveness of most of its main rivals’ smaller instrument cluster screens. The high-resolution 10.3in display adds functionality and value to the interior, falling second only to Audi's Virtual Cockpit.

In this well-equipped form, the T-Roc weighs a hefty 1495kg, but the TSI engine does a fine job of marching it along and is both sharp to respond and elastic through the rev range. Maximum torque is available from just 1500rpm and it keeps on until 4180rpm, making it easy to maintain swift progress no matter the starting speed. The gearbox is quick-shifting, too; but, unlike other models where this powetrain is used, there’s no sporty soundtrack to match.

Much of our test was on cold, partially snow-covered B-roads, where the 4Motion all-wheel drive does a fine job of maximising traction and minimising slippage when left to its own devices. On lower-traction surfaces, there are four traction settings: Ice/Snow, Road, Off-Road and Off-Road Individual, which offers further customisation. We tried out Ice/Snow on a snow-covered section of grass and the car’s ability to juggle torque to each wheel to maintain traction was impressive.

The traction settings are accompanied by four drive modes: Eco, Comfort, Normal and Sport, as well as an Individual setting. With no optional DCC adjustable damping on our test car, the biggest noticeable changes each mode had related to the sharpness of the throttle and weight of steering.

Volkswagen chassis development boss Karsten Schebsdat told Autocar earlier this month that he has pushed for the T-Roc to be more playful and agile, particularly in 4Motion guise. This certainly seemed to be the case with our test car, which tackled winding roads with enthusiasm and was surprisingly neutral on turn in, only starting to understeer when really hustled into a corner.

The car’s ride is good and the damping well resolved, and although the 18in wheels fitted to the SE L model make cracks and ridges more noticeable, at no point does the ride feel harsh or firm. The way this car can maintain pace along a road without complaint is one of its strongest and likely most desirable traits.


Audi RS4 Avant 2018 review

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Audi RS4 Avant 2018 review

What is it?
The Audi RS4 Avant operates in a rare old sphere of fast compact executive estates that involves only it and the Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate. There’s no BMW M3 estate and, as yet, no sign of an Alfa Giulia Quadrifoglio with a square back, either. So if you want a fast, smallish dog carrier for £60k or so, here you are.

Now in its fourth generation, the RS4 also leaves the C63 as the only V8-powered car in this class. Like the RS5, the new RS4’s engine has been downsized to a 444bhp 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6, rather than having the previous generation’s charismatic naturally aspirated V8.

This drives through an eight-speed torque-converter automatic gearbox, to all four wheels, in a body given a bit more chunkiness and cooling and 30mm-wider wheel arches.

The quattro four-wheel drive system puts 60% of power to the rear wheels under normal driving, but can put as much as 70% to the rear, or, 85% to the front. This is the kind of system intended to make the RS4 more agile. To that end, there’s a ‘sport differential’, an electronically controlled rear differential that can apportion as much power as it likes to either side, as standard.

There are other suspension options, too: hydraulically linked dampers, a bit like those in a McLaren, to reduce roll and pitch. There's also dynamic steering, which adjusts the steering ratio depending on speed, and ceramic brakes. All were fitted to our test car. Other options include a carbon pack at £10k (clue’s in the name). Wheels are 19in or 20in (guess what we got) with 275/30 R20 tyres.

This generation of RS4 is (up to) 80kg lighter than the old one (deep breath: the body by 15kg, engine by 31kg, front and rear axles 6kg each, steering system 3.5kg, sport differential 1kg, quattro driveline 12.5kg, ceramic brakes 8kg and, if you spec them, milled wheels 8kg), but is still a 1715kg car; about the same as the C63.

The two are also within a centimetre of length, with the RS4 at 4781mm long. This is one of those ultra-competitive classes where all of the key numbers are gnat’s widths apart, including a boot of 505 litres (to the C63’s 490).


2018 BMW X3: Our View

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2018 BMW X3: Our View


The verdict: The redesigned BMW X3 is a refined luxury SUV, but the biggest case against it might be another model in BMW’s showroom.

Versus the competition: The X3 boasts decent quality and drivability in a bustling class of compact luxury SUVs, but the more affordable X1 could be the X3’s undoing.Redesigned for 2018, the X3 has standard all-wheel drive and comes in four-cylinder (xDrive30i) and six-cylinder (M40i) configurations. We drove a well-optioned X3 xDrive30i.

Cleaner Styling
The new X3 is decluttered versus the 2017 model, emulating the smaller X1 — a handsome place to start. Three bumper openings replace the prior four, with lighting elements in the outboard units instead of last year's separate foglight dimples. Styling is subjective, of course, but I suspect this will age well — unlike the first- and second-generation X3s, which struck me as too busy-looking.


Pagani Can't Stop Building New Zondas

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Pagani Can't Stop Building New Zondas

Pagani said that the beloved Zonda will be out of production in 2013, but here we are four years later with a new model of HP Barchetta. Not that we complain, because, well, look at this. Like any other probe, it's awesome.

Pagani confirmed to us that the HP Barchetta is a brand new car from scratch, and not just a reworked chassis, like the recently debuted Zonda Fantasma Evo and Zonda Riviera.
The company will build three examples of Zonda HP Barchetta, with the image above, aimed at the personal collection of Horacio Pagani. It is equipped with a 7.3-liter naturally aspirated Mercedes-AMG V12, which is connected to a six-speed manual transmission. While official power numbers have not been released, it's an engine that can have 760 horsepower in certain applications, so it certainly will not be slow.

While AMG produces new 6.0-liter two-cylinder V12 for Pagani Huayra, for many years it did not create a bloated V12s. A spokesman for Pagani told us that this engine was left from an older production specifically for this car.

The Zonda HP Barchetta uses a central monocoque from the patented Carbo-Triax HP52 titanium from Pagani, and the front and rear subframes are steel. The suspension with a double wishbone is used in all four corners, like the Ohlins hand-operated shock absorbers. The brakes are supplied by Brembo, and the tires are "HP" -spec Pirelli P Zeros. All this weighs up to 2,800 pounds.

You can see that HP Barchetta has a very low windshield and a bright airflow that rises above the saloon.

On the car spotted car Marchinetto, several pictures of the magnificent interior of tartan were made on the debut album Pebble Beach on Sunday. Interestingly, he says that the car will cost $ 15 million, but Pagani did not confirm this information with us.

We still know a lot about the Zonda HP Barchetta, but at least we can say with confidence that it's great. I hope this is not the last "new" Zonda that we see.

This story was updated on 8/22/17 at 11:49 with new photos and information from Pagani.


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