• Toyota’s UK vote of confidence

    Toyota has announced that it will invest a further £240 million in its plant at Burnaston in Derbyshire.

    Starting this year, the facility will be upgraded with new equipment, technologies and systems so that it can produce future vehicles using the new Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform.

    By 2020, the majority of Toyota’s models will be built using TNGA platforms which already underpin the new Prius and the all-new C-HR crossover, which is built in Turkey.

    “Our investment demonstrates that, as a company, we are doing all we can to raise the competitiveness of our Burnaston plant in Derbyshire,” said Dr Johan van Zyl, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Europe.

    “Continued tariff-and-barrier free market access between the UK and Europe that is predictable and uncomplicated will be vital for future success.”

    Toyota has been making cars in the UK since 1992 and the Burnaston factory employs about 2,500 people.

    The Avensis, Auris and Auris Hybrid are currently produced at the site. In 2015, 239,728 British-built Toyota cars were manufactured at the giant plant.

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  • Rolls-Royce unveils 10mph luxury electric car

    Iconic luxury car maker Rolls-Royce has taken the wraps off its smallest ever car.

    The unique Rolls-Royce SRH has been crafted for one very special customer – St Richard’s Hospital Pediatric Day Surgery Unit in the marque’s home town of Chichester, West Sussex.

    The car will allow children awaiting surgery to drive themselves to the operating theatre, through the Pediatric Unit corridors which are lined with ‘traffic signs’. The experience of ‘self-drive to theatre’ aims to reduce child patient stress.

    Rolls-Royce Motor Cars welcomed two test drivers from the Pediatric Unit at St Richard’s Hospital, Molly Matthews and Hari Rajyaguru, to the home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood.

    Rolls-Royce SRH for Saint Richard's Hospital, Chichester. Photographed at Rolls-Royce factory, Goodwood, UK. Photo: James Lipman / jameslipman.com

    In true Rolls-Royce style, the two children and their families enjoyed VIP hospitality with one notable addition to the usual customer experience. Molly and Hari both enjoyed first drives on the Rolls-Royce production line, an exceptionally rare privilege.

    “We are a proud member of the community here in West Sussex,” said said , CEO, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

    “The Pediatric Unit at St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester does such vital work in providing essential care to young people and their families.

    “We hope that the RollsRoyce SRH will serve to make the experience for young people during treatment a little less stressful.”

    Created from the ground-up by the dedicated Bespoke Manufacturing team, the Rolls-Royce SRH presents to its very important customer a landmark study in bespoke luxury.

    Finished in a two-tone paint-scheme of Andalusian White and Salamanca Blue with a hand-applied St James Red coachline, the interior features a two-tone steering wheel, while the 24 volt gel battery propels the car with the same whisper-quietness as Rolls-Royce’s awersome V12 engines.

    Marianne Griffiths, Chief Executive, of Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Just like the joy it will bring to our young patients, the Rolls-Royce SRH is simply priceless.

    “It is a very special gift and one of the most wonderful donations ever received by Love Your Hospital, our trust’s dedicated charity.

    “On behalf of everyone at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and especially the small team who volunteered so much of their own time in support of St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester and the children we care for.”

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  • RAREST OF THE RARE: ‘57 CORVETTE SUPER SPORT!

    One of the rarest factory-built Corvettes ever built can be seen for the first time in 60 years at the Amelia Island Concours next month.

    The ‘57 Corvette Super Sport prototype originally built for GM’s famous Motorama shows of the 1950s will, after six decades hidden from view, break cover in a special exhibit at the 22nd annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance on March 12, 2017. After its auto show duties, it was sold to Ralph Poole of Albuquerque, NM. The current owner, John Baldwin purchased the car in 1996.

    “We’ve been working on the SS for the last few weeks and have it running nicely for the first time since the 1950s,” said owner John Baldwin.

    Actually a 1956 model, the Corvette was customized by the Chevrolet studio at GM Design and “updated” with a one-off 1957 Vin # tag. It was used to showcase the first fuel-injected Corvette engine, which debuted in 1957 models. This special Corvette debuted at the January 1957 New York Waldorf Astoria Auto Show (there was no Motorama show in 1957) and the Chicago Auto Show, but has not been seen by the public for the past 60 years. Power for this unique prototype comes from a fuel-injected 283/283 small-block mated to a close ratio three-speed transmission.

    “This unique Corvette is practically unknown,” said Bill Warner, founder and Chairman of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. “It was the cover car for the June, 1957 issue of Speed Age magazine and then it disappeared. It’s been hidden for its entire life. For it to be at Amelia is the sort of thing we dream of.”

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  • Just Where Are The Best Deals on Wheels?

    When looking to buy a car there is certainly no shortage of choice. The UK has over 4,900 franchised dealers plus many more generalists. Car auctions, internet sites and private ads offer even more options but this still leaves many buyers wondering just where is the best place to get a really good deal.

    For most people, a car is likely to be the second most expensive single item that they will ever buy and so it is important to get it right. There is certainly plenty of choice and if you are looking to buy a used car in the London area, it is possible to find almost every conceivable make and model within a radius of a few miles. The first decision is whether to buy new or second-hand. New car sales are booming, fuelled largely by some of the new methods of financing them such as personal contract plans and leasing as new recruits to the world of motoring consider car ownership very much along the same lines as mobile phone contracts with a continuous monthly charge and regular upgrades being the order of the day. The canny buyer, however, realises that such a throw-away mentality results in some great cars appearing on the second-hand market and it usually means that the first owner has paid dearly for the privilege of new car ownership or lease. A car’s value depends on several things but one of the most predictable is its age and the depreciation curve is invariably steeper in its early days.

    By steering clear of the lure of new cars, a buyer may suddenly realise that his budget will now stretch to a much better specified car. Most car purchases involve the heart more than the head and even our London buyer may fancifully visualise cruising along deserted country roads with the roof down whereas, in reality, a nose-to-tail daily commute is probably much more likely with emission levels and congestion charges figuring highly in any car buying decision.

    There are undoubtedly some great bargains to be found but the risks should not be underestimated. Perhaps the ideal car could be almost new or fairly young, low mileage, well maintained and with a known history. An ex-demonstrator from a franchised dealer or an ex-lease car could probably fit the bill and some of those previously used by disabled people under the Motability leasing scheme can often be exceptionally good but the range of vehicles on offer may be rather limited. Buying ex-fleet vehicles is another option to be considered but some of these may have covered high mileages and a used taxi or minibus is certainly not to be recommended.

    Another interesting idea is to check what vehicles are available from car rental companies such as those offered under the Hertz Rent2Buy scheme. The idea that ex-rental cars have been roughly treated by uncaring drivers is simply not borne out by the facts and there are some real gems to be found. Hertz even allow for an extended test drive in the form of rental for a few days so there should be no unpleasant surprises here!

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