• Volvo celebrates its 90th birthday

    Volvo Cars starts production of its new XC60 mid-size SUV in Gothenburg, Sweden, this month – 90 years after the first-ever Volvo, the ÖV4, saw the light of day on April 14, 1927.

    New Volvo XC60A A total of just 275 vehicles were sold in its lifetime, which was modest even in those days, while the new XC60 replaces one of the best-selling models in Volvo’s history.

    The original XC60 became a phenomenon, with climbing sales every year since it was introduced in 2008.

    Seven years after it was revealed, it became the bestselling premium mid-sized SUV in Europe, and in its ninth year it is still selling in big numbers, accounting for around 30% of Volvo’s total global sales. In fact, April 2017 will see XC60 production exceed 1,000,000.

    Original Volvo XC60Volvo’s founder, Assar Gabrielsson, saw an opportunity for car manufacturing in Sweden after observing the growing automotive industries in the US and Europe from his position within sales at the Swedish ball bearing maker SKF – a supplier to the car industry.

    He managed to convince SKF to invest in a spin-off car business called AB Volvo and the first mass-produced Swedish car was quite a conventional vehicle, with elements of American car design, a wooden frame made of ash tree and beech, a 1.9-litre side-valve engine and artillery wheels with wooden spokes.

    Only one colour combination was available – dark blue with black fenders.

    Despite all these changes over the past 90 years, one thing has remained the same and that’s Volvo’s commitment to making the world’s safest cars.

    The post Volvo celebrates its 90th birthday appeared first on Automotive Blog.

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  • ’17 NISSAN GT-R TRACK EDITION: GODZILLA ON STEROIDS!

    The New York International Auto Show will host the North American debut of the GT-R Track Edition at the Jacob Javits Convention Center on April 14-24.

    2017 is turning out to be a milestone year for GT-R enthusiasts. The model year started with a major makeover for both the GT-R Premium and GT-R NISMO. As the third model in the GT-R lineup, the Track Edition occupies a unique position between the “T” (touring) and “R” (racing) sides of the GT-R equation.

    Designed to deliver a higher level of performance than the GT-R Premium, the Track Edition features elements of the flagship GT-R NISMO, though retaining the GT-R Premium model’s 565-horsepower engine rating (versus the GT-R NISMO’s 600-horsepower version). It is a twin-turbo VR38DETT 3.8-liter V6 engine. Torque is rated at 467 pound-feet. A Titanium exhaust system is standard. All GT-R engines are hand-assembled in a clean room by technicians known as Takumi, a process similar to racing powerplant construction. An aluminum plate is added to the front of each engine showing the name of the engine craftsman.

    “The new GT-R Track Edition gives buyers a specialized model, one true to GT-R heritage and available only by special order,” said Michael Bunce, vice president, Product Planning, Nissan North America, Inc. “Building on the major upgrade to every GT-R for 2017, the Track Edition is an amazing package inside, outside and under the skin.”

    Performance-oriented features start with the body’s additional adhesive bonding (in addition to spot welding), which helps increase body shell rigidity versus the GT-R Premium model. Next, the advanced four-wheel independent suspension receives unique NISMO tuning, with reduced weight and additional roll stiffness (versus GT-R Premium), as well as NISMO-spec tires.

    Other standard equipment includes GT-R NISMO front fenders, 20-inch NISMO forged aluminum-alloy wheels and a special dry carbon-fiber rear spoiler. Inside, the Track Edition interior includes a unique red and black color treatment with high-grip, leather-appointed, motorsports-inspired Recaro® seats. A simplified switch layout includes just 11 switches, along with an 8-inch capacitive touch panel monitor. The standard steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters allow drivers to make mid-turn gear changes without taking their hands off the wheel.
    High performance differential oil, used in GT-R motorsports competition, is standard.

    All ‘17 Nissan GT-Rs are built on an exclusive Premium Midship platform, which enables the use of the unique independent rear transaxle ATTESA E-TS all-wheel drive system. This system places the transmission, transfer case and final drive at the rear of the vehicle, optimizing weight distribution and maximizing handling capability. The new GT-R Track Edition has a starting MSRP of $127,990 and will be available late-summer 2017 by order only at GT-R certified Nissan dealers nationwide.

    For more information about the complete GT-R lineup, please visit https://www.nissanusa.com/sportscars/gt-r

    For more information about the New York International Auto Show, please visit http://www.autoshowny.com/

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  • 2018 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy Heads to Mongolia

    The 2018 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy will take place in Mongolia in a little over two years time. But the regional qualifies are open this year for men and women to compete to represent their country.

    The GS Trophy is open to any non-professional BMW rider. Teams of three compete, judged on their riding, adventure and teamwork skills. And even if you don’t win the overall trophy, you’ll get to spend time riding in Mongolia with bikes and equipment provided. To be in with a chance, you’ll need to try out in a regional qualifier, which generally replicates the main event over a couple of days.

    2018 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy
    The 2018 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy heads to Mongolia

    In addition to the top three overall riders from each country being selected, there’s also an International GS Trophy Female Team. The best two women from each regional event who haven’t made the top three anyway will be sent to an International GS Trophy Female Qualifier, with the top three from that going on to Mongolia.

    2018 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy Confirmed Teams:

    • Argentina
    • Australia
    • Brazil
    • Canada
    • China
    • France
    • Germany
    • Japan
    • Latin America
    • Mexico
    • Russia
    • Southeast Asia
    • South Africa
    • South Korea
    • UK
    • USA

    Want to give it a try and be in with a chance of competing in the 2018 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy? You’ll need to head to the GS Trophy website for the entry details. Or check out our previous coverage of the BMW all-female team, and how BMW shipped 114 BMW R1200 GS bikes to Thailand for the 2016 event.

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  • Ducati Grew Motorcycle Sales In 2016

    Claudio Domenicali will be a happy CEO, as Ducati grew motorcycle sales in 2016. The total for the year was 55,451 motorcycles delivered. That’s up 1.2% on 2015, which meant 642 extra bikes. “Ending the year of our 90th anniversary with yet another record is a source of immense pride and satisfaction”, commented Domenicali. “2016 was the seventh consecutive growth year for Ducati, clearly confirming the soundness of the Bologna-based group’s strategy and skills.”

    The growth came from a mix of existing and new models. Sales of the Multistrada range were up 16%, the renewed HyperMotards were up 15%, and apparently 5,200 of the new Ducati XDiavel were also delivered.

    Ducati Multistrada 950
    2017 Ducati Multistrada 950

    The Ducati Scrambler brand gained both the new Scrambler Sixty2 and 15,500 bikes shifted.

    In terms of location, America was the biggest market for Ducati, with customers receiving 8,787 bikes. Following up is Italy, which saw 20% growth, and Germany up 8%. There were also big gaines in Spain (+38%), China (+120%), Brazil (+36%) and Argentina (+219%).

    2017 Ducati XDiavel S
    2017 Ducati XDiavel S

    For 2017, Ducati will launch seven new bikes, including the Ducati Multistrada 950, SuperSport and 1299 Superleggera. The Monster range will see the new 797 and 1200, while the Scrambler brand gets the Cafe Racer and Desert Sled. For stats fans, Ducati currently employs 1,594 people, has a network of 783 sales and assistance centres and operates in 90 countries.

    Ducati Motor Holdings Factory in Bologna
    Ducati Motor Holdings Factory in Bologna

    What isn’t clear yet is how price rises in the UK will affect sales. Since January 1st, Ducati has raised prices by an average of 4.8% due to the devaluing of the pound following the EU Referendum, which means, for example, the Ducati Monster 821 has gone from £9,150 to £9,595. The increases haven’t been applied evenly though, as the HyperMotard 939 only increased by £300, and the Ducati Panigale R actually stays the same price.

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