With UK temperatures having hit a seven-year low last year, it is no surprise that drivers are two-and-a-half times more likely to suffer a pothole-related breakdown or damage, than they were in the past. Citroen UK enlisted the help of its New C5 Aircross SUV Brand Ambassador, Austin Healey, to repair some of those potholes caused by heavy traffic or severe weather. As the automotive brand dedicated to providing class-leading Advanced Comfort, Citroen decided to team up with its New C5 Aircross SUV Brand Ambassador, Austin Healey, and Surrey County Council to smooth over 200 potholes in the county. Citroen has been working with Nu-Phalt(r) Contracting using its Jetpatcher process to provide the drivers and residents of Surrey with a glimpse into the level of comfort that you can experience every day in Citroen's latest models. Austin Healey commented: "Since getting behind the wheel of New C5 Aircross SUV, I totally get the benefits of a car with Progressive Hydraulic Cushions(r) suspension. The way it filters out any imperfections in the road is incredible. So nothing gives me greater pleasure than getting stuck in and sharing this experience with the residents of Surrey."
One of the most iconic cars in the current Honda lineup, the Civic Type R, has been transformed into a life-size LEGO(r) model ahead of the much anticipated 'LEGO(r) MASTERS' show airing on Channel Nine from 28th April. The passionate team behind the creation, led by global expert Ryan McNaught - LEGO(r) Certified Professional - used more than 320,000 LEGO(r) bricks in the build and took over 1,300 hours with a team of nine assembling each brick by hand. A steel frame supports the structure of LEGO(r) bricks, all glued together and is built completely by stock standard pieces. The car 'comes to life' with the help of an iPad which turns on the headlights, DRLs, fog lights, hazard lights, brake and reversing lights. The LEGO(r) car was built from the ground up, layer by layer. The most challenging elements of the build were the window wipers due to their fragility, and the back spoiler which needed structure to allow it to float. One of the most iconic cars in the current Honda lineup, the Civic Type R, has been transformed into a life-size LEGO(r) model ahead of the much anticipated 'LEGO(r) MASTERS' show airing on Channel Nine from 28th April. The passionate team behind the creation, led by global expert Ryan McNaught - LEGO(r) Certified Professional - used more than 320,000 LEGO(r) bricks in the build and took over 1,300 hours with a team of nine assembling each brick by hand. A steel frame supports the structure of LEGO(r) bricks, all glued together and is built completely by stock standard pieces. The car 'comes to life' with the help of an iPad which turns on the headlights, DRLs, fog lights, hazard lights, brake and reversing lights.
An innovative 'Smart Wallet' technology which is being tested by Jaguar Land Rover will let drivers earn cryptocurrency on the go. Drivers will be able to earn cryptocurrency and make payments on the move using innovative connected car services being tested by Jaguar Land Rover. Using 'Smart Wallet' technology, owners earn credits by enabling their cars to automatically report useful road condition data such as traffic congestion or potholes to navigation providers or local authorities. Drivers can then redeem these for rewards such as coffee, or conveniently use them to automatically pay tolls, parking fees and for smart charging electric vehicles.
Vauxhall/Opel's light commercial vehicle (LCV) offensive is gaining traction, with the carmaker registered global LCV sales of almost 33,000 units in the first quarter of 2019. This is an increase of 35 per cent compared to the same period last year. Additionally, the new British-built Vivaro will give Vauxhall/Opel even more momentum when it is launched later this year, with an electric version being available from 2020. The all-new Combo Cargo was the main driver of the growth. The International Van of the Year 2019 was sold around 6,900 times in the first three months of the year - an impressive increase of 68 per cent compared to sales of its predecessor in the first quarter of 2018. Customer demand for both the Movano (up 18 per cent) as well as the Vivaro (up 33 per cent) was significantly stronger than last year. "Our LCV business is growing on a broad front. All of our LCVs are more popular than last year and we have managed to increase our market share in almost every European market. This shows that our measures are effective," said Xavier Duchemin, Managing Director Sales, Aftersales and Marketing. The UK was the largest LCV market for Vauxhall/Opel with over 8,000 sold in the first quarter. Vauxhall LCV sales have increased by 28.5 per cent, with market share up 1.27 percentage points versus first quarter 2018. Order intake - the foundation for future sales - has also shown considerable increases in recent months. "The pleasing volume of orders means that 2019 is promising to be a good year," said Duchemin.
According to new Motorparc data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders or SMMT, last year, the number of plug-in electric cars on British roads grew by three quarters. The UK's largest automotive analysis shows there is now a record 195,410 plug-in vehicles on our roads. As drivers take advantage of the latest low emission vehicle technology - whether petrol, diesel or AFV - it means that the average CO2 emissions for the UK Motorparc have fallen to the lowest on record, down -17.8% compared with 2008. Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, "Thanks to massive investment from manufacturers in delivering a wide range of models across all fuel types, to suit all driving needs, environmental gains are now being delivered across the UK. Ever-more advanced in technology makes every new generation of vehicle more efficient than the last, and this is filtering rapidly from the new car market into the broader parc." Overall ownership of alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) increased by almost 30% last year, with more than 620,000 hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric cars now in use. It's thanks to manufacturer investment in advanced powertrains, transmission types, lightweight materials and aerodynamics, that cars are more efficient than ever before and drivers are seeing the benefits. The UK's record 34.9 million-strong car fleet has never been more diverse, with more than 1,600 model ranges and almost 68,000 different specifications on the roads last year. "Fleet renewal is proven to work," continues Hawes, "so we need a world-class package of incentives and infrastructure to give motorists the confidence to buy the latest, cleanest cars, whatever the fuel type, in the greater numbers we need to meet environmental challenges." While superminis continued to dominate, making up a third (33.2%) of all cars in the parc, dual purpose vehicles saw the biggest growth, up 10.6%. At the same time, family hatches and saloons (upper medium) saw the largest fall, down -4.7% to four million. Elsewhere, the data reveals that female car ownership remains at a record high, surpassing 2017's level by 1.4%, with more than 12 million cars now owned by women. Cars registered to men also rose moderately by 0.5% to almost 17.9 million.
For many people and businesses, when it comes to switching to a fully electric vehicle, there is a concern that charging stations will not be there when they are needed. However, Ford has now come up with a concept to help allay those concerns. The basis for this new approach is using big data to identify the most beneficial places to locate new rapid-charging points. Data scientists at the company have developed an algorithm, based on more than 1 million kilometres of driving data to pinpoint the places that could help drivers integrate charging within their operating patterns. This will alleviate having to make special journeys to out-of-the way locations. "Being able to harness, analyse and leverage the huge amounts of data that is available through existing vehicle use can make a real difference to how easy we find it to get about in the cities of the future," said John Scott, project lead, City Data Solutions, Ford Mobility. "We at Ford are committed to delivering smart vehicles for a smart world - including electric vehicles that will contribute to cleaner, quieter towns and cities." Following in-depth analysis in Greater London, the team concluded that it would be possible to significantly improve access to on-the-go charging through deploying a relatively small number of strategically positioned rapid-charging stations. Ford City Data Solutions Report As part of its far-reaching Ford City Data Solutions Report, published in December 2018, Ford fitted 160 connected vans with a simple plug-in device to record journey data. With the consent of participants, this generated more than 500 million data points, from more than 15,000 days of vehicle use, that was sent to the cloud for analysis. It was from this data, captured over an eight-month period, that Ford's Global Data Insight and Analytics team were able to identify where charging points would be most useful to a fleet. "Electrification changes the way we drive - and refuel - our vehicles," said Scott. "In locating these additional charging points, we've attempted to take into account regular driving and stopping patterns so that topping up slots into drivers' regular day-to-day activities." This announcement is ahead of the plug-in Transit Custom van and Tourneo Custom people carrier that go on sale later this year.
Motorists are less enthusiastic than ever about the idea of driverless cars - with more than half of drivers saying the idea "horrifies" them. This is according to newly released figures online motor retail specialist BuyaCar.co.uk that show motorists are now more fearful and sceptical about computer-controlled driving than they were just two years ago. They have tracked consumer attitudes to the concept of autonomous vehicles since April 2017. The latest findings will worry transport policy makers who are determined to see driverless cars introduced onto the UK's roads as soon as possible. In February the Department for Transport announced that it wanted to see driverless cars start to be introduced as early as 2021 - but it appears that scepticism, fear and mistrust of driverless cars has increased since April 2017. "There seems to be a gap emerging between the enthusiasm of transport policy planners toward autonomous vehicles and the willingness of today's motorists to accept them," says BuyaCar.co.uk Managing Director, Austin Collins. "Despite the constant flow of headlines about driverless cars arriving in just a few years, our analysis of the views of motorists shows enthusiasm waning and fears growing." In April 2017 almost one in five motorists thought they 'definitely' or 'probably' would own a driverless car one day. This month that figure has slumped to 13%, despite frequent publicity around government plans to encourage take-up of driverless cars in the next few years. And in a sign of hardening attitudes the number of people declaring that they 'definitely will not' own a driverless car at any point has risen from 38% to 42%. Over the past two years fear of not being in control of a vehicle has risen from 55% to 62%. Concerns over poor quality road markings leading to confusion for sophisticated visual recognition systems are also on the increase, with a rise from 24% to 29% of motorists mentioning it as a factor. But overall, a general sense of mistrust appears to be building, with 44% of drivers now saying they 'just don't trust the idea of a driverless car', compared with 34% in April 2017. "If driver concerns about their introduction continue to mount," concludes Collins, "it's possible to imagine it becoming a problem for transport policy makers or even a political issue."
Land Rover has handed over the first of a new fleet of Discovery vehicles to Highways England, which will begin patrolling England's motorways this month. They are the latest in a long line of Discovery public services vehicles, stretching right back to the original Discovery in 1989. A fleet of 70 Highways England Land Rover Discoverys have been specially modified for the needs of traffic officers, including a roof-mounted light array, programmable rear LED board, iconic Battenburg livery and a cavernous reinforced load area. Nick Harris, Executive Director of Operations at Highways England, said: "Having the right equipment and vehicles for our traffic officers is essential. It allows us to deliver the high levels of customer service and the support drivers expect from us while we work to keep England's motorways and major A-roads running smoothly round the clock. " Traffic officers have to carry over 600kg of equipment, including lights, traffic cones and safety barriers. Often called into action to tow stranded vehicles, the Discovery's mighty 3,500kg maximum towing capacity and its 700Nm of torque demonstrates its suitability for the job. "The Land Rover Discovery has always been the ultimate in versatility, comfort and ability," said Scott Dicken, Jaguar Land Rover Sales Director. "For fifteen years it has been a trusted workhorse for Highways England, and it gives me great pleasure to see the latest generation Discovery continuing that legacy." The Land Rover Discovery SE 3.0 Sd6 models will be in service with Highways England for roughly four years, with each expected to cover around 250,000 miles on England's motorways and major highways.
Aston Martin DBX - the British luxury marque's first SUV - has continued its intensive development programme this week at Pirelli's official test facility, close to the Arctic Circle in Sweden. Pirelli's R&D Sottozero Centre at the Flurheden Proving Ground provides a range of extreme environments, from snowy roads to ice handling courses, allowing Aston Martin's vehicle dynamics specialists - led by Aston Martin Chief Engineer, Matt Becker - to put the DBX prototype to the test. Becker said, "The Aston Martin DBX needs to be ready for a wide range of multi-terrain surfaces, so in addition to testing the car in normal day-to-day situations, we need to test it in extreme conditions such as these. "Testing these prototypes in cold climate conditions helps us to assess the car's early dynamics and crucially ensure confidence inspiring sure-footedness on low grip surfaces. This car propels Aston Martin into a new segment and our engineering team are enjoying the challenges of developing a quality luxury SUV experience through this robust testing schedule." Progress is on-track and Aston Martin are confident that they will deliver over and above what their customers would expect from an Aston Martin SUV. The Aston Martin DBX will go into prototype build at St Athan, Wales in mid-2019, before full production commences in 2020.
The Ford Tourneo Custom people-mover will soon be available with more powerful and fuel-efficient 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engines, innovative new EcoBlue Hybrid powertrains and sophisticated driver assistance technologies, including Active Park Assist. The new Tourneo Custom, which will be on sale from mid-2019, delivers up to a six per cent* improvement in fuel efficiency for reduced running costs, and Ford's sophisticated 2.0-litre EcoBlue engine will be offered as a new 185PS variant with 415Nm of torque. It will also be the first vehicle in its class to offer 48 volt mild-hybrid technology to further reduce fuel costs for owners and operators. The new EcoBlue Hybrid variant delivers an anticipated three per cent additional fuel efficiency improvement, based on WLTP analysis, with enhanced benefits in stop-start urban driving. "The latest generation Tourneo Custom has proved a runaway success with customers as varied as executive shuttle services, large families and weekend adventurers," said Hans Schep, General Manager, Commercial Vehicles, Ford of Europe. "Now, the more powerful and fuel efficient 2.0-litre EcoBlue engine and unique new EcoBlue Hybrid options will further reduce running costs to make the Tourneo Custom even more appealing." On-Board Modem Technology FordPass Connect on-board modem technology - standard for both the 4-inch and available 8-inch touchscreens - enables each occupant to benefit from Wi-Fi connectivity, and a range of features can be accessed via the FordPass mobile app to make the vehicle ownership and operating experience easier and more productive, including Vehicle Status, Vehicle Locator, Remote lock/unlock and, for automatic variants, Remote Start. For fleet or business users, FordPass Connect will also enable customers to improve vehicle utilisation and optimise running costs through solutions such as the new Ford Telematics and Ford Data Services products, which are launching during 2019. Exclusive series options include the upscale Titanium X, which features full leather trim, SYNC 3 voice-activated connectivity system with navigation and an 8-inch touchscreen, rear-view camera, and Bi-xenon headlamps as standard.