Vauxhall boss slams Brexit bid: we need to stay in the EU

Vauxhall boss slams Brexit bid: we need to stay in the EU

Vauxhall boss slams Brexit bid: we need to stay in the EU

Vauxhall’s new managing director Rory Harvey has joined the debate on the EU referendum, telling journalists that the firm ‘absolutely’ has a position on Brexit – and that position is that the UK should remain in the European Union.

Speaking on the eve of the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, Harvey said: “We think it’s the right thing to do in terms of movement of goods and supply of services and people, and we think it’s the right thing in terms of the automotive industry and us as an organisation.

“We have a position and that position is that we think that now, at the moment, we should stay in the EU.”

Brexit: Nissan, Toyota want Britain to remain in EU

Harvey’s predecessor, Tim Tozer, left the company suddenly in September following what’s believed to have been a spat between Vauxhall and GM’s European arm, Opel.

In the weeks prior to his departure, Tozer suggested that Britain leaving the EU would not stop Vauxhall from doing business in the UK.

He told the BBC’s Radio 4 today programme: “I don’t think in that event [of Britain leaving the EU] there would not be a trade agreement with what was left of the EU. We’re a very, very big market for European products, goods and services, and it would be unthinkable to us as a corporation that no such trade agreement would ultimately be negotiated if this country chose to leave.”

His successor is more reserved, however. Harvey said it would be “interesting to see what happens with the referendum,” yet refused to speculate about whether the company would continue to build cars within the UK if it were to leave the EU.

Vauxhall is GM’s fourth biggest market around the world, with 35,000 people employed by the firm in the UK. The brand’s Ellesmere Port plant in the North West produces more than 180,000 Astras a year – 52,000 of which are sold in the UK.

This figure is set to increase with the new model, which tonight picked up the award of the 2016 European Car of the Year.

Recently, Toyota hinted that it would continue production at its Burnaston plant – whichever way the EU referendum goes.

Telling the Financial Times how Toyota had buried a time capsule under the Derbyshire factory, the multinational company’s chief executive Akio Toyoda said: “From now on, like Japan, we may face some pretty tough times in the UK market.

“But we want to deepen our roots to deliver ever better cars, so when that capsule is opened after 100 years, all can see we’ve built a truly British company.”

Volkswagen Phideon 2016

2016 Volkswagen Phideon Luxury saloon for China revealed at Geneva

Volkswagen Phideon 2016Volkswagen is showing an all-new luxury saloon called Phideon at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show – although isn’t a surprise early appearance of the all-new Phaeton, but a large luxury new model for the Chinese market.

Developed in Germany in collaboration with its Chinese car partner SAIC Volkswagen, the five-metre-long Phideon will launch in autumn 2016. It’ll be positioned above the Passat and Chinese-market Magotan.

It also won’t be coming to Europe.

Volkswagen Phideon 2016

Offered with an all-petrol TSI engine range, Volkswagen’s revealing it at Geneva in top-spec 300hp 3.0 TSI 4MOTION guise, although the 2.0 TSI is expected to sell best. There’ll also be a plug-in hybrid version.

It’s based on the MLB platform, the first Volkswagen to use it. This platform is also seen in models such as the new Audi Q7 and latest A4.

Like how it looks? Hope so: the Phideon debuts the new face of Volkswagen’s luxury saloons. Although it’s not the new Phaeton, the new Phaeton may look not dissimilar to this when it launches towards the end of the decade.

Two of the four chrome bars in the grille frame the headlights, while the grille itself is, says, Volkswagen, wide and comparatively high. Grille, headlights and LED running lights all combine to form a ‘face’, apparently.

Volkswagen Phideon 2016

Dimensions are interesting: it’s 5.05 metres long (and a stonking 1.87 metres wide) – but despite this length, it also has ultra-short front and rear overhangs. That’s because the wheelbase is more than three metres long, which should make it extremely roomy within, particularly in the rear.

Check out how long the doors are as a result…

Rather bizarrely, Volkswagen insists the Phideon name is a phonetic reference to Fides. Who? Why, the Roman goddess of fidelity.

Vauxhall Astra COTY 2016

Vauxhall Astra is 2016 European Car of the Year

Vauxhall Astra COTY 2016The Vauxhall Astra has won the 2016 European Car of the Year prize, in a closely-fought battle with the Volvo XC90.

Mazda’s MX-5 was third, following strong scoring from British COTY judges that helped it pip the Audi A4.

Revealed on the eve of the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, the Car of the Year Awards were presented in an exciting Eurovision-style presentation, where all nations’ points were revealed and totted up.

It soon became clear the two front-runners were the Vauxhall Astra and Volvo XC90.

The two were neck-and-neck before the Astra drew out a small lead – before the Swedish scores were revealed: naturally, they awarded the home brand strong scores, that narrowed the Astra’s lead once again.

In the presentation, it was down to Great Britain to cast the vote – and thanks to the UK awarding strong scores to the Mazda MX-5, but still scoring the Brit-built Astra reasonably highly, Vauxhall emerged ahead as the 2016 Car of the Year winner.

Of course, the scores were all cast at the same time and so it wasn’t really down to one nation to make the call: even so, the Astra’s overall points score of 309 saw it take an unquestionable victory ahead of the Volvo XC90 on 294 points and the Mazda MX-5 on 204 points.

Motoring Research reviews the new Vauxhall Astra

The Astra beat a long list of 35 Car of the Year Contenders, of which a shortlist of seven did battle for the overall trophy (which itself was new for 2016).

Judged by 58 jurors, Car of the Year prides itself on its transparency – all scores by each juror are available on the organisation’s website, for example.

The victory was also a genuine surprise to Vauxhall in the UK: the first they heard of the result was when Motoring Research’s Andrew Brady showed them Richard Aucock’s tweet from the Geneva show hall…

2016 Car of the Year – final scores

1: Vauxhall Astra – 309 points

2: Volvo XC90 – 294 points

3: Mazda MX-5 – 202 points

4: Audi A4 – 189 points

5: Jaguar XE – 163 points

6: Skoda Superb – 147 points

7: BMW 7 Series – 143 points

Volvo XC90 Excellence

High-rise limo: Volvo reveals flagship XC90 Excellence

Volvo XC90 ExcellenceVolvo is launching its most luxurious car ever: the four-seat XC90 Excellence.

The new model will be introduced as the top-of-the-range trim on the XC90 SUV and is designed to cement Volvo’s credentials as a premium carmaker.

Its key feature is two individual and highly-adjustable rear seats, which are equipped with massage functions and specially designed headrests.

That’s not to mention the refrigerator, two folding tables and cupholders all located in the centre console. The cupholders also have cooling and heating options, depending on what whether you’re sipping a dry Martini or a mug of Bovril. Hand-made crystal glasses from Orrefors, the famous Swedish glassmaker, are included – and best suited to the former…

The XC90 Excellence comes equipped an enhanced Bowers & Wilkins sound system, plus additional sound insulation to help you enjoy it.

Volvo XC90 Excellence

The  410hp T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid powertrain is standard, and will propel the car from 0-60mph in 5.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 140mph.

Initially, the XC90 Excellence will only be available to buy online, and sales for the car have already began in Switzerland, France, Belgium and Luxembourg – with China being added soon. It will only become available to order from Volvo dealerships later this year.

Björn Annwall, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Sales and Service at Volvo Cars said: “Selling the XC90 Excellence exclusively online is a perfect example of how Volvo is changing the way it sells cars and adjusts to new customer trends.”

Geneva news: images of new Porsche 911 R leaked

porsche 911R1Pictures of the brand new Porsche 911 R have appeared online just before the car’s official debut at the Geneva Motor Show.

The 911R is essentially a GT3 RS, but without all of the wild track-day kit – so no massive spoilers here.

Fortunately, it still has the 493hp engine – now mated to a manual gearbox, much to the delight of the Porsche purists. However, this will make the car slightly slower in the sprint to 62mph. Expect a figure of around 3.3 seconds.

porsche911R3

The R name is not a new model designation, as Porsche has used it before.

In the late 1960’s the 911 R was the lightweight version of the 911, which had much of the standard car’s metal bodywork replaced with fibreglass-reinforced plastic.

Because of this history, there is the potential that the 911 R will feature some exotic weight-saving materials.

porsche 911R2

The 911 R will be unveiled to the public at the Geneva Motor Show later this week, so get your deposit paid now. This one has ‘future classic’ written all over it…

 

Peugeot extends Just Add Fuel scheme for 18-year-olds

peugeot just add fuel pic

Peugeot is extending its Just Add Fuel finance initiative to 18-year-old drivers of its 208 and 2008.

The expansion is due to the success the scheme has enjoyed since 2010, when applied to the 108 for drivers aged 21 and over.

Just Add Fuel, which is now available in Northern Ireland, is a fixed monthly payment that covers all motoring costs, including insurance, for a three-year period.

This means that there is no need to separately budget for servicing, car tax, and roadside assistance costs.

Essentially, the only cost the driver has to worry about is just adding petrol or diesel to the tank.

The scheme is able to operate due to the addition of a plug-in telematics device. Thanks to satellite tracking, this monitors the vehicle’s speed, acceleration, deceleration and lateral G-forces, which are then used to assess the driver’s driving style and rate each journey made on a scale from 1–100.

This data is monitored by the insurance company and, based on the findings, they can warn the driver about his/her driving behaviour and may even cancel the insurance policy if drivers fail to heed the warnings.

Since its launch six years ago, some 30,000 UK drivers have brought Peugeot 108s with this policy attached and Peugeot is hoping that by extending it to other popular models in its line-up, and lowering the age range, it will be able to make expand the scheme still further.

Mark Pickles, Peugeot UK Marketing Director, commented: “Just Add Fuel is recognised as the most significant innovation in vehicle retailing for many years. Our dealers have experienced an increase in retail sales to adults over 18 years of age since the launch of our new telematics product.”

Ford Fiesta ST200 2016

2016 Ford Fiesta ST200 revealed

Ford Fiesta ST200 2016Ford has revealed a high-performance 200hp Fiesta ST200 special edition ahead of the 2016 Geneva Motor Show.

The Fiesta ST200’s 10% more engine power and 20% greater torque (up from 177lb-ft to 213lb-ft) help it accelerate from 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds – a 0.2secs improvement on the standard 182hp car.

This makes it the most powerful production Ford Fiesta in the model’s 40-year history.

Ford Fiesta ST200 2016

It’s marked out by unique Storm Grey paint, machined black 17-inch alloy wheels, red brake calipers and revised interior.

Mindful of recent megamoney auction prices for 1980s Ford hot hatches, Ford of Europe’s vice president for development said: “I think it’s a future classic in the making.

“The Fiesta ST is truly beloved by owners and critics. The ST200 takes this special drivers’ car to a new level of power and performance.”

Fiesta ST200 in detail

Ford Fiesta ST200 2016

Ford hasn’t simply boosted the 1.6-litre Ecoboost engine’s power, though. It’s undertaken detail engineering that extends even to a shorter final drive ratio – 4.06 instead of 3.82 in the regular Fiesta ST – to boost in-gear acceleration.

Giving a further boost is 15 seconds of transient overboost, that gives an extra 15hp and 22lb-ft of torque: effectively making this a 215hp Fiesta ST!

Mechanical details shared with the regular Fiesta ST include a modified front steering knuckle, increased roll stiffness for the rear twist-beam suspension, unique spring and damper settings with a 15mm lower centre of gravity, shortened steering arm and a sharper 13.69:1 steering ratio.

Inside, the ST200’s Recaro front seats have new charcoal part-leather with contrast silver stitching, silver seeatbelts and illuminated door sills.

Production starts in June with customer deliveries beginning soon after. Ford hasn’t yet revealed prices but upwards of £20,000 seems likely: the Fiesta ST3 it appears to be based on costs £19,645.

Ford also revealed it’s now sold more than 30,000 Fiesta STs in Europe – of which over 19,200 were in Britain alone. Yes, UK hot hatch buyers have taken almost two in three Fiesta ST: the Fiesta ST200 is likely to be equally in demand.

McLaren 570GT

2016 McLaren 570GT revealed: Woking’s supercar hatchback!

McLaren 570GTMcLaren will showcase the new 570GT two-seat sportscar, its most targeted Porsche 911 rival yet, at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. Costing from £154,000, deliveries begin in late 2016.

The new Sports Series derivative is a more luxurious and everyday alternative to the acclaimed 570S, set apart by a unique GT-style rear end that boosts practicality and usability.

McLaren 570GT

The 570GT has an extended roofline with a rear hatch – that, in a novel touch, is side-hinged. This revels an additional 220 litres’ storage space in McLaren’s leather-lined ‘Touring Deck’ – this takes total storage space up to 370 litres, or just 10 litres shy of a Volkswagen Golf.

McLaren 570GT

The firm has also softened the suspension (spring rates are up to 15% more compliant), made the steering 2% slower and calibrated the setup to boost ride quality over rough roads.

Special Pirelli P Zero tyres with the ‘Pirelli Noise Cancelling System’ PNCS are fitted. They reduce cabin noise by up to 3dB.

McLaren 570GT

It’s still no slouch: the 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 retains its 570hp, 443lb-ft torque output. McLaren has revised the seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox ratios though. It also has a ‘quieter’ exhaust.

0-62mph takes 3.4 seconds and the 570GT has a top speed of 204mph. It also does 26.6mpg and emits 249g/km CO2.

Inside the McLaren 570GT

McLaren 570GT

In contrast to the sports-like 570S, the 570GT has a suitably lavish cabin, with extended leather pack, plus electric seats, soft-close doors (making latching the dihedral ‘gullwing’ doors that bit easier) and a choice of sound systems.

The Touring Deck has been made from noise absorbing materials and, points out McLaren, the side-hinged hatch opens kerbside on both right-hand drive and left-hand drive models.

McLaren 570GT

A panoramic glass roof is standard on all 570GT and McLaren has upgraded the climate control to control temperatures from the increased glass area. The roof’s also been treated with an 18% tint, the same as on the McLaren P1.

Tech-spotters will note the 570GT lacks the flying rear buttresses of the 570S. As these have an aerodynamic function, McLaren has fitted a 10mm taller fixed rear spoiler to compensate.

McLaren 570GT

2016 McLaren 570GT revealed: Woking's supercar hatchback!

McLaren 570GTMcLaren will showcase the new 570GT two-seat sportscar, its most targeted Porsche 911 rival yet, at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. Costing from £154,000, deliveries begin in late 2016.

The new Sports Series derivative is a more luxurious and everyday alternative to the acclaimed 570S, set apart by a unique GT-style rear end that boosts practicality and usability.

McLaren 570GT

The 570GT has an extended roofline with a rear hatch – that, in a novel touch, is side-hinged. This revels an additional 220 litres’ storage space in McLaren’s leather-lined ‘Touring Deck’ – this takes total storage space up to 370 litres, or just 10 litres shy of a Volkswagen Golf.

McLaren 570GT

The firm has also softened the suspension (spring rates are up to 15% more compliant), made the steering 2% slower and calibrated the setup to boost ride quality over rough roads.

Special Pirelli P Zero tyres with the ‘Pirelli Noise Cancelling System’ PNCS are fitted. They reduce cabin noise by up to 3dB.

McLaren 570GT

It’s still no slouch: the 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 retains its 570hp, 443lb-ft torque output. McLaren has revised the seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox ratios though. It also has a ‘quieter’ exhaust.

0-62mph takes 3.4 seconds and the 570GT has a top speed of 204mph. It also does 26.6mpg and emits 249g/km CO2.

Inside the McLaren 570GT

McLaren 570GT

In contrast to the sports-like 570S, the 570GT has a suitably lavish cabin, with extended leather pack, plus electric seats, soft-close doors (making latching the dihedral ‘gullwing’ doors that bit easier) and a choice of sound systems.

The Touring Deck has been made from noise absorbing materials and, points out McLaren, the side-hinged hatch opens kerbside on both right-hand drive and left-hand drive models.

McLaren 570GT

A panoramic glass roof is standard on all 570GT and McLaren has upgraded the climate control to control temperatures from the increased glass area. The roof’s also been treated with an 18% tint, the same as on the McLaren P1.

Tech-spotters will note the 570GT lacks the flying rear buttresses of the 570S. As these have an aerodynamic function, McLaren has fitted a 10mm taller fixed rear spoiler to compensate.

Geneva 2016

2016 Geneva Motor Show preview

From a 1,500hp hypercar to budget Ford Focus rivals, check out some of the exciting new cars set to be unveiled at Geneva 2016

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