Is your green car hiding a dark secret?

Chrysler Neon

Can the colour of a car increase the chances of it being stolen or written-off? According to vehicle history experts, HPI, it most certainly can and green cars are at the greatest risk.

Used car buyers who conduct an HPI Check on green cars are more frequently told they are either registered as stolen with the police, have a mileage discrepancy that needs investigating, or are recorded as an insurance write-off. But before any owners of green cars rush outside armed with a spray can, there is some good news. Green cars are the least likely to have any outstanding finance when they come to be sold.

Amazingly, 1 in 4 cars checked with HPI has outstanding finance against it, putting buyers at risk of losing the vehicle and the money they paid for it. As the finance company remains the rightful owner of the car, there’s a chance it could be repossessed. In case you’re wondering, white cars are most likely to have outstanding finance against them.

Colour me bad

HPI identifies 41 vehicles per day as being reported stolen, with green topping the list of cars thieves like to target. Quite why this is the case remains a mystery, although perhaps the ne’er-do-wells have the mistaken belief that British Racing Green will give them a greater chance of outrunning the police. Grey cars are the least likely to be stolen.

Other statistics revealed by HPI include:

  • 1 in 5 cars have received a plate change, often to disguise a darker past
  • 1 in 20 vehicles have been clocked, with buyers paying over the odds for what they believed to be a lower mileage car
  • 760 vehicles a day are uncovered as being previously written-off, meaning motorists could be driving in cars that aren’t fit for the road

Neil Hodson, deputy managing director for CAP HPI, said: “We urge used car buyers to stay vigilant, regardless of colour. There are no hard and fast rules for spotting a car with something to hide, which is why heading to hpicheck.com is the best way to avoid being duped by a dodgy deal.”

The table in full:

Colour most likely to hit HPI’s at risk registersColour least likely to hit HPI’s at risk registers
GreenStolenGreyStolen
WhiteFinanceGreenFinance
BlackPlate changeRedPlate change
GreenMileage discrepancyWhiteMileage discrepancy
GreenWrite-offGreyWrite-off

Kia Pro_Cee’d GT: Two-Minute Road Test

2015 Kia pro_ceed GTCan the head rule the heart when it comes to choosing a hot hatch? To be a truly great hot hatch, a car must have an ability to set the pulse racing long before an ignition key has been twisted. Anticipation is everything.

So can the recently refreshed Kia Pro_Cee’d GT – complete with a seven-year warranty – mix it with the hot hatch establishment? Or, after a week behind the wheel, does satisfaction kill the desire? We borrowed a (very) Liquid Yellow Kia to find out.

What are its rivals?

02_Kia_Proceed_GT_TMRT

Let’s establish one thing from the outset, the Kia Proceed GT – if you’ll allow us to use the more sensible version of its name – isn’t able to mix it with the big league hot hatches. So put aside any thoughts that it could be a cut-price Volkswagen Golf GTi Ford Focus ST or Renaultsport Megane.

The clue is in the name – this is a GT and not a GTi. The little ‘i’ makes all the difference. So think of the Kia Proceed GT as a rival to the Peugeot 308 GT, Hyundai i30 Turbo and Renault Megane GT 220.

Which engines does it use?

03_Kia_Proceed_GT_TMRT

The 1.6-litre T-GDi engine was the first turbocharged petrol unit to be offered by Kia in the UK and it has been reworked for the refreshed Proceed GT. Power remains the same at 204hp, but 195lb ft of torque is now available from 1,500rpm, rather than 1,750rpm in the old model.

Kia quotes a 0-60mph time of 7.3 seconds and the Proceed GT certainly feels brisk. Blisteringly quick, no, but certainly quick enough. It’s not the most characterful of engines, which is perhaps why Kia has chosen to fit an electronic sound generator to the new Proceed GT…

Press a button on the steering wheel and a ‘more distinctive and exciting’ engine note enters the cabin. At the same time, the analogue speedometer goes digital, complete with torque and turbo gauges. The sound isn’t the worst we’ve heard, but it can get a tad irritating when you’re not on it like Rob Bonnet.

What’s it like to drive?

04_Kia_Proceed_GT_TMRT

Within a few miles of driving the Kia Proceed GT you’ll begin to appreciate just what a great all-rounder it is. It may not hit the high notes of the very best hot hatches, but you can still dance to a very merry tune along your favourite B-road.

This is definitely a warm hatch you could live with on a daily basis, as the ride is surprisingly comfortable, even with those 18-inch rims shod in Michelin Sport tyres. The steering is nicely weighted, if lacking in outright feel, and there’s a good level of grip. It even stops well, largely thanks to the new 17-inch front brake discs, up one inch compared with the previous Proceed GT.

Fuel economy and running costs

06_Kia_Proceed_GT_TMRT

On paper at least, the claimed 38.2mpg is perfectly acceptable for a petrol-engined warm hatch, but don’t expect to get anything close to that if you use the Proceed GT to its full potential. CO2 emissions of 170g/km put the Kia in VED band H, resulting in a showroom tax of £295 and annual car tax of £205.

It’s worth remembering the 1.6-litre turbocharged Peugeot 308 GT offers figures of 50.4mpg and 130g/km, so although the warm Pug is more expensive to buy, it should be cheaper to run.

Is it practical?

05_Kia_Proceed_GT_TMRT

If you want the most practical version, Kia has a ready-made alternative in the shape of the five-door Cee’d GT. That said, access to the rear seats is surprisingly easy, although you’ll need to allow for the wide doors when parking. We found access rather restricted in a tight multi-storey car park.

There’s a useful 380 litres of boot space, which swallowed pretty much all the Christmas presents we forgot to order online. Which actually turned out to be rather a lot. You can also fold the 60:40-split rear seats, although at 1,225 litres, the Proceed does give up 93 litres compared with the Cee’d. Up front, there’s plenty of space and storage, including a useful area in front of the gearstick, with enough space to put a charging smartphone next to the well-positioned USB port.

What about safety?

07_Kia_Proceed_GT_TMRT

The Kia Cee’d was awarded a maximum five-star Euro NCAP rating when it was tested in 2012. The new brakes help to reduce the stopping distance at 62mph from 36.4 metres to 35.2 metres. Given the brakes and a poor soundtrack were two things criticised in the earlier car, it’s good to see Kia has listened to feedback from its drivers.

The Kia Proceed GT also features brake assist and hill-start assist control, which prevents you from rolling back on a hill.

Which version should I go for?

08_Kia_Proceed_GT_TMRT

There’s only one Proceed GT on offer, so your choices are limited. That said, it’s very well-equipped, including a heated D-shaped steering wheel (a first for Kia), keyless entry and start, DAB digital radio, seven-inch sat nav screen, xenon automatic adaptive lights, rain-sensing wipers, heated seats, reversing camera and dual-zone climate control.

Your only decision is the choice of colour. Do you opt for Track Red, Fusion White, Phantom Black or the new Yellow Flame? This colour divides opinion, but we reckon the Kia wears it very well. And it certainly stands out. The Proceed GT received more than its fair share of admiring glances, although the signature ice-cube LED lights certainly help.

Should I buy one?

09_Kia_Proceed_GT_TMRT

Don’t look at the Proceed GT as a rival to the Golf GTi or Focus ST, as you’re likely to be disappointed. But that’s not the end of the story, because by the end of the week we felt we could spend the next seven years with this Kia. It offers about 90% of the talent offered by the class leaders, with 100% of the reassurance offered by a seven-year warranty. Buy one today and it could see you through to the time when the pitter-patter of tiny feet demands something more practical.

What’s more, we think the Kia Proceed GT is one of the best looking cars you can buy. We’d go as far as saying it’s the best looking hot hatch, full stop. At £23,105, considering all the standard kit and warranty, we reckon it’s a bit of steal.

Pub fact

10_Kia_Proceed_GT_TMRT

The Proceed GT is the first Kia to be fitted with Recaro front seats. And it’s not made in Korea. Instead, the Proceed GT is built in Slovakia and is sold only in Europe. Because Europe – and especially the Brits – love hot hatches. Give the Kia a chance and you could find yourself falling for its charms. Your head can rule your heart.

Infiniti Q30

Infiniti Q30: Two-Minute Road Test

Infiniti Q30

Infiniti is Nissan’s premium brand – like Lexus is to Toyota. It’s Nissan’s way of competing with the likes of BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. However, its success so far in the UK has been slow, with just 10 dealers and 1,195 new cars registered last year.

Infiniti hopes the Q30 will catapult the brand into the premium mainstream. The car shares its platform with the Mercedes-Benz A-class, and is produced at Nissan’s Sunderland plant.

Infiniti Q30

What are its rivals?

It’s a slightly unusual alternative to the likes of the BMW 1 Series, Audi A3 and, of course, the Mercedes-Benz A-class. Unlike these conventional premium hatchbacks, it sits a bit higher, offering more practicality (and with it, a slightly heftier price tag). It’s not a proper crossover, though – that will come in the form of the QX30, due later this year. The whole thing is a tad confusing – but following convention isn’t what the Q30 is all about.

Infiniti Q30

Which engines does it use?

The range kicks off with a 1.6-litre petrol engine producing 122hp. It’s likely to be a small-seller in the UK, and for good reason; it doesn’t exactly live up to the Infiniti’s premium image. The most popular choice will be a 1.5-litre Renault turbodiesel, producing 109hp, while a 2.2-litre turbodiesel borrowed from Mercedes-Benz tops the range. That’s the model we’ve got on test here.

Infiniti Q30

What’s it like to drive?

It’s actually pretty good. Despite the raised ride height, body roll is well-contained – although that is partly down to the Sport model we’re testing here, which rides 15mm lower than the regular car. We’d opt for Premium-spec, though – the Sport’s ride is definitely a touch on the firm side.

The 2.2-litre 170hp Mercedes-Benz turbodiesel is clattery on start-up, but offers impressive performance. Handling has been fine-tuned on British roads and you can tell – it turns in well, with the four-wheel drive of our test car providing excellent levels of grip. The steering is on the light side, with little feedback.

Infiniti Q30

Fuel economy and running costs

On paper, the 2.2-litre turbodiesel returns 57.6mpg. That’s impressive, especially when you consider the performance and the fuel-sapping four-wheel-drive system. Unfortunately, during our week-long, 500-mile test, the Q30’s trip computer is only showing early-30s mpg. We weren’t driving it with economy in mind, admittedly, and our experience of this Mercedes-Benz engine suggests it does need running in before decent economy is returned. Even so, it’s unusual for real-life economy to be quite so far from the official figure.

Infiniti Q30

Is it practical?

It’s a relatively big car, the Q30, and that translates into good levels of interior space. The boot comes in at 368 litres, bigger than that of a Mercedes-Benz A-Class (341 litres) but slotting in neatly between a BMW 1 Series (360 litres) and an Audi A3 Sportback (380 litres).

Infiniti Q30

What about safety?

Safety is where the Q30 excels. It’s actually the safest car in its class, according to Euro NCAP, scoring five stars and an impressive 86% in the child occupant test, plus 84% for adults. It also scored highly in the pedestrian-impact tests – thanks partly to a bonnet that pops up if sensors detect a person has been struck.

Infiniti Q30

Which version should I go for?

We’d be tempted by the 2.2-litre turbodiesel tested here (in more comfortable Premium spec). In reality, though, the 1.5-litre diesel will make more sense for most people – company car drivers especially.

Infiniti Q30

Should I buy one?

If you’re a company car driver considering yet another Audi A3 or the Infiniti, we can understand why you’d be tempted. The Q30 looks great, offers good levels of practicality and is extremely safe. It also drives well, although keen drivers will be better off with a BMW 1 Series.

Our biggest gripe with the Q30 is that it’s just a little bit too much of a Nissan/Mercedes parts bin. It fails to feel as premium as the Mercedes, or most other rivals, and there are switches and instruments everywhere that have clearly been lifted from other models. You’re making a statement buying this car – in Infiniti’s own words, it ‘challenges convention’ – so you’re different from all the Mercedes/BMW/Audi crowd. But you’re making that statement by buying a car that’s basically a Mercedes-Benz A-class, but not as good.

Infiniti Q30

Pub fact

The Mercedes-Benz A-class isn’t known for its comfortable seats, so Infiniti has designed special seats for the Q30. It says the seat-back has been engineered to match the curvature of the spine, helping to reduce backache on long journeys.

Vauxhall is bringing sexy back with GT Concept

GT Concept Geneva

Vauxhall and Opel are going back to the future at this year’s Geneva Motor Show with the stunning GT Concept. By paying homage to the 1966 Vauxhall XVR and Opel Experimental GT of 1965, Vauxhall-Opel claims the GT represents its vision of a sports car of the future.

So does this mean we could be looking at a third generation Vauxhall Tigra? Perhaps not, because by using words such as ‘template’ and phrases like ‘points to Vauxhall/Opel’s ever-evolving design philosophy’, the companies are saying this is little more than a show car.

GT Concept: front mid-engined, rear-wheel drive

Let’s consider the obstacles. Sure, the front mid-engined, rear-wheel drive chassis will appeal to the enthusiasts, but Vauxhall-Opel doesn’t have a platform upon which to base a small rear-wheel-drive sports car. Simple things like the lack of door handles and door mirrors are classic show concept touches that are easier to overcome. Just don’t expect to find red tyres at your local Kwik-Fit.

Then there’s the brand profile. The new Corsa and Astra represent a huge step forward for Vauxhall, with both cars no longer feeling like they’re doing little more than treading water in their respective sectors. With OnStar, the company also has a unique selling point to offer customers. All well and good, but hardly sexy.

Vauxhall GT Concept

There’s one car from the back catalogue that provides a glimmer of hope, though. The last time Vauxhall and Opel brought sexy back it turned to Hethel. The Vauxhall VX220 and Opel Speedster project was an expensive reworking of the Elise and cars were built alongside the Lotus in Norfolk. Sadly, Vauxhall failed to capitalise on the injection of added fruit and nut.

GT Concept: 1.0-litre turbocharged engine

Right, so back to the car in question. The GT Concept is powered by the really-rather-good 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged engine you’d find in the Adam, Corsa and Astra. Developing 145hp and 151lb ft of torque, the engine helps propel the lightweight GT Concept to 62mph in less than 8.0 seconds. The top speed is a claimed 134mph.

Design highlights include large electrically-powered doors with integrated side windows, with a pair of touchpads used to provide access to the cabin. Note how the doors open into the front arches, using what Vauxhall-Opel is calling a ‘space-saving and patented mounting’, allowing for a large opening angle in tight parking spaces.

Opel GT Concept

The GT Concept also features two cameras mounted behind the wheelarches, designed to provide enhanced visibility in the city. Images are transmitted to two monitors on the left- and right-hand sides of the cabin, rendering external mirrors obsolete. At least that’s what Vauxhall-Opel is claiming.

Other features of note include the integrated headlight/indicator units, with a three-dimensional beam providing glare-free high-beam driving. They’re based on the excellent IntelliLux LED matrix lighting we first experienced in the new Astra.

Speaking about the Geneva concept, Mark Adams, vice president design Europe, said: “We created the GT Concept to capture the bold, emotional spirit of both the Vauxhall and Opel brands. It is dramatic, sculptural and full of innovations, which is our great tradition that we intend to continue.

“In the mid-Sixties, Vauxhall and Opel created their own interpretations of a light-weight sports car – the XVR and the Experimental GT – both of which were thoroughly modern with dynamic sculptural forms. It’s certainly difficult to reinvent iconic concepts like these, but just as each was avant-garde back then, so too is this GT Concept today – absolutely pure, minimalistic, yet bold and uncompromising.”

The Concept GT will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

One they made earlier: Vauxhall XVR

Vauxhall XVR

The XVR project was managed by Wayne Cherry and was inspired by GM concepts in the US, most notably the 1965 Mako Shark II. The Xperimental Vauxhall Research (XVR) featured gullwing doors, a split windscreen, a clamshell bonnet and pop-up headlights.

Three cars were built, including one powered by a 2.0-litre engine and capable of reaching speeds up to 100mph. Like the Concept GT, the XVR influenced future Vauxhall products, including the Viva HC and Firenza.

Another one they made earlier: Opel Experimental GT

Opel GT

First shown at the 1965 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Experimental GT became a production reality in the form of the stunning Opel GT. Like the XVR, its styling was influenced by parent company General Motors, most notably the Corvette.

2016 Porsche Boxster revealed: smaller engines and bigger price tags

2016 Porsche Boxster revealed: smaller engines and bigger price tags

2016 Porsche Boxster revealed: smaller engines and bigger price tags

Porsche has revealed pictures of its new turbocharged Boxster and Boxster S models ahead of their official debut at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show.

The entry-level Boxster will be powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged flat-four engine, producing 300hp – and will come with a £41,739 price tag (a rise of £1,641 over the outgoing model – and more expensive than the equivalent Cayman).

The Boxster S will top the range for the time being, boasting 350hp from its 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo. That’ll cost £2,142 than the current Boxster S – with prices starting at £50,685.

Both models now pack an extra 35hp over their predecessors, while a hot GTS model is mooted for 2017.

2016 Porsche Boxster revealed: smaller engines and bigger price tags

They’re also available with a six-speed manual gearbox, or the optional seven-speed PDK dual clutch auto transmission – with added fuel-saving ‘virtual gears’, previously seen on the 911.

In the 718 Boxster, the 2.0-litre engine with PDK has a combined fuel consumption figure of 40.9 mpg (5.1 mpg more than the previous model). In the 718 Boxster S, the 2.5-litre turbo engine with PDK returns 38.7 mpg combined (4.3 mpg more than its predecessor).

When fitted with the PDK ‘box, the new Boxster has a 0-62mph time of 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 171mph. That’s almost a whole second (0.9) quicker to 62mph than the outgoing Boxster.

The new Boxster S will hit 62mph in 4.2 seconds and is good for 177mph.

2016 Porsche Boxster revealed: smaller engines and bigger price tags

Porsche says the chassis of the 2016 Boxster has been revised to offer ‘enhanced cornering performance’, while the electro-mechanical power steering system is configured to be 10% more direct.

Cosmetic improvements are limited – the front bumper has been tweaked, while the bi-xenon headlights have been redesigned. To the rear, the lights have been revised, and a new ‘Porsche’ badge runs along an accent strip.

Inside, the Boxster gets the latest-generation Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system as standard.

We’ll first see the new 718 Boxster and Boxster S in the metal at next month’s Geneva Motor Show, with sales expected to start in the spring.

Jaguar F-Type SVR Coupe 2016

Jaguar F-Type SVR confirmed for Geneva Motor Show 2016

Jaguar F-Type SVR Coupe 2016Jaguar has revealed the high-performance new F-Type SVR will be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show 2016 – but while it’s confirmed this will be a 200mph F-Type, Jaguar’s not yet revealed exactly how fast it will be.

The first SVR-branded Jaguar, it will be the latest performance model from the Special Vehicle Operations division. That’s the same specialist unit that also recently developed the Range Rover Sport SVR.


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On sale in the summer, the F-Type SVR will, claims Jaguar, exploit the all-aluminium F-Type’s full potential “while retaining its day-to-day usability”.

It “takes performance, dynamics and driver involvement to a new level” says the firm of the lighter, faster and more powerful SVR, “yet retains the comfort and duality”.

JLR SVO MD John Edwards added that “the result is a 200mph, all-weather supercar that you can drive every day”.

Jaguar’s even made an F-Type SVR Convertible.

What do we know about the Jaguar F-Type SVR?

Jaguar F-Type SVR Convertible 2016

Jaguar promises full technical details, including pricing, will be revealed on 17 February. Mark the date in your diary.

For now, it’s all speculation – but consensus (and leaks) seem to suggest the F-Type SVR will produce 575hp from its 5.0-litre V8 supercharged engine, for a 0-62mph time of just 3.7 seconds.

Likely boasting all-wheel drive, the F-Type SVR will be much stiffer and racier than the regular F-Type R, while confirmed weight-saving details include a new titanium exhaust systems (whose sound enthusiasts will “revel in” promises Edwards).

The F-Type SVR will sit at the top of the F-Type tree, in a range that includes the regular car, F-Type S, F-Type R and recent special edition F-Type British Design Edition.

But although it’s the first Jaguar SVR, it’s not actually the first SVO-developed Jaguar: that was the F-Type Project 7, whose strictly limited 250 editions are now all fully sold out.

One of the 250 owners is no less than David Beckham.

Telematics data used as evidence helps jail hit and run driver

91894apu_In-Car-Cleverness-device

A speeding driver who lied to the police has been sentenced to three years and four months in prison for causing death by dangerous driving.

Omar Tariq was left with no option but to plead guilty after a blend of police work and telematics data provided by anti-motor fraud experts, Asset Protection Unit (APU), proved he was speeding, and that he switched seats with his girlfriend after the collision.

Tariq, a customer service agent from Stourbridge, was adjudged to have killed a pedestrian on Saturday 29 November 2014. Tariq claimed he was not driving his girlfriend’s courtesy car, a white Mercedes-Benz convertible, at the time of the incident. The pedestrian, Peter Price, died at the scene.

In a police interview, Tariq further claimed that he had been driving towards Birmingham to collect his sister from work, and “wasn’t speeding or doing ridiculous speeds”.

However, a telematics device in the courtesy car allowed APU to prove that Tariq was lying, with the team able to establish a precise timeline of events before and after the crash. The data proved that the Mercedes-Benz was speeding at 61mph in a 40mph zone and that Tariq pulled in further down the road to switch seats. Tariq was not insured to drive the vehicle.

His girlfriend, Parvinder Ubli, was prosecuted for permitting use of the vehicle without valid insurance and obstructing the police in its extension of its duty by falsely claiming she was driving.

Neil Thomas, director of investigative services at APU said: “This is a tragic case where Mr. Price was almost home and was killed by the actions of Tariq.

“Witnesses had seen the Mercedes being driven at high speed prior to the collision, with one even commenting that the driver was driving like an idiot. The expert evidence we were able to supply helped provide the court with the exact speeds being driven which were well in excess of the speed limit.

“I’m glad we have been able to collaborate with the police to ensure the correct sentencing of a serious crime, and I hope play our part in helping to afford Mr Price’s family some justice.”

UK motorists hurtling towards January Doomsday

Winter-driving

UK motorists are being warned to stay off the road this Friday, as the country prepares for a perfect storm of incidents and accidents. Yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s time for another set of statistics…

According to Accident Exchange, there are approximately 19% more accidents on a Friday compared to the average week-day, with people rushing home from work and seemingly forgetting how to drive in the process.

But that’s not all, because the accident management firm says 29 January is statistically the busiest day of the year for accidents.

So bad, in fact, that Accident Exchange is calling it JANUARY DOOMSDAY.

[bctt tweet=”Take our advice: stay at home and watch Phillip and Holly instead.”]

That’s right, on the same day in 2015, there were 74% more accidents than average, with Accident Exchange confidently predicting there will be around 10,500 accidents on Friday. This is compared to the 6,000 recorded incidents on a day that isn’t called JANUARY DOOMSDAY.

In fact, you’re eight times more likely to have an accident this Friday then you would have been on Christmas Day, which is officially the least accident-prone day of the year. Sadly we have no statistics for the number of accidents caused by flaming Christmas puds or rage caused as a result of frustrating packaging.

If you’re a man, you’re probably better off staying in bed, with two-thirds of accidents attributed to male drivers. Take our advice: stay at home and watch Phillip and Holly instead.

Winter-driving-2

Liz Fisher, sales director at Accident Exchange, said: “The study sheds an interesting light on the seasonal effects on motorists across the UK.

“The combination of poor weather conditions, congestion and likely fatigue at the end of the week means it may come as no surprise that we are approaching peak time in the calendar for accidents.”

The study examined 35,000 incidents recorded between October 2014 and December 2015, with the figures based on the estimated 2.2 million accidents annually.

Ford logo

Ford pulls out of Japan and Indonesia

Ford logoFord is to pull out of the Japanese and Indonesian new car markets, blaming tough conditions and the closed economies of both car markets that favour domestic brands.

It won’t make a huge difference to Ford’s global sales: in 2015, it sold just 6,100 cars in Indonesia, and a mere 5,000 in Japan. But the signal it sends for a global maker to withdraw from a key market such as Japan is significant.


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A staggering 5 million vehicles were sold in Japan during 2015 – but imported vehicles formed just 6.5% of that total.

Ford says sales in Japan accounted for just 0.15% of its overall global volume.

The blue oval will now withdraw from both markets by the end of 2016, with around 300 jobs in Japan now in question – although fewer than 50 in Indonesia are reportedly at risk.

“Japan is the most closed, developed auto economy in the world, with all imported brands accounting for less than 6% of Japan’s annual new car market,” said Ford spokesman Neal McCarthy.

Even the looming agreement of the 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement won’t alter Ford’s fortunes in Japan, hence the brand’s withdrawal.

Audi A1 2015

SEAT to build new Audi A1 in Spain

Audi A1 2015SEAT will produce the next-generation Audi A1 for the German brand from 2018 at its Martorell factory in Spain, the firm today confirmed.

It will be the second Audi to be produced by SEAT in Spain, following the success of the Q3 that it’s built since 2011 (to date, almost 480,000 have been built there – well up on the 100,000 annual target initially set).

The next generation Q3 will shift to Hungary, Audi adds.

“The Martorell plant has a long-standing experience and manufactures the Audi Q3 with the highest quality,” said Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hubert Waltl, Audi’s production board member. “Therefore, we made the decision to produce the Audi A1 in Martorell.”

The news has delighted SEAT executive committee chairman Luca de Meo, who said it shows “the full confidence placed in SEAT and the Martorell plant by Audi and the Volkswagen Group.

“Production of the A1 is magnificent news and will bring us more volume and greater income in the next few years”.

In moving A1 production from today’s plant in Brussels over to Spain, Audi’s thus guaranteeing the all-important volumes SEAT’s massive Martorell plant needs to remain viable: it also thus ensures employment and continued investment well into the 2020s.