• 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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  • Don’t Forget British Superbikes 2017 Starts This Weekend

    The motorcycle race season is now well underway. World Superbikes and MotoGP have already started their seasons. And possibly the best national series, the 2017 British Superbike championship, kicks off at Donington on Friday, March 31st.

    The entry list includes multiple champion Shane Byrne and team-mate Glenn Irwin on the Be Wiser Ducatis. Leon Haslam and Luke Mossey are on the JG Speedfit Kawasakis. Honda will again field Dan Linfoot and Jason O’Halloran. And Tyco BMW riders Christian Iddon and Davide Giugliano will both be capable of running at the front.

    Then there’s the returning Josh Brookes on the Anvil Hire Yamaha, John Hopkins on the Moto Rapido Ducati, James Ellison and Michael Laverty on the McAms Yamahas, and the Bennetts Suzuki team of Sylvain Guintoli and Taylor Mackenzie. And also the debut of Bradley Ray on the Buildbase Suzuki.

    Basically, out of a field of 25 riders, you wouldn’t bet against about 17 of them having a chance of winning.

    Anvil Hire Yamaha Josh Brookes British Superbikes 2017
    Anvil Hire Yamaha’s Josh Brookes is back in British Superbikes for 2017

    What’s the Donington Park British Superbikes Timetable?

    The weekend kicks off at 9am on Friday, March 31st. Free practice for all classes takes place throughout the day, and there are qualifying sessions for the KTM RC Cup at 3.45pm, and the Ducati TriOptions Cup at 5.45pm.

    On Saturday, the morning is largely taken up with qualifying sessions and the final free practice for the BSB boys.

    For entry, gates open at 7.30am

    Saturday Races:

    • 12.30: Ducati performance TriOptions Cup 8 Laps
    • 13:00: Pirelli National Superstock 1000 2 x 18 laps
    • 14:30: British Motostar Championship 10 laps
    • 15:05: KTM RC Cup 8 laps
    • 15:35: Ducati Performance TriOptions Cup 10 laps
    • 16:02: BSB Qualifying and Superpole
    • 17:20: British Supersport Championship Sprint Race 10 laps

    Sunday is race day, with all the competing classes getting a morning warm up session. Then racing begins at 10:30am. There are also Suzuki Donington 40th Anniversary parade laps taking place during lunch at 1pm.

    Sunday Races

    • 10:30: KTC RC Cup 8 laps
    • 11.05: Ducati TriOptions Cup 10 laps
    • 12:35 National Superstock 600 14 laps
    • 13:30: British Superbikes 20 laps
    • 14:15: National Superstock 1000 16 laps
    • 14:55: British Motostar Championship 14 laps
    • 15:40 British Supersport Championship Feature Race 18 laps
    • 16:30: British Superbikes 20 laps
    • 17:15: KTM RC Cup 8 laps

    How much does Donington British Superbikes 2017 cost?

    Advance ticket sales have now ended, so it’s full price on the gate. Children age 13 and under are free, and parking is free for the British Superbikes. Plus you can get 50% off adult entry for the Donington Park museum on the day.

    The paddock will be open. And disabled spectators access is located at Coppice Corner with an elevated viewing and parking area. You’ll need to be displaying your blue badge to get in.

    Ticket prices for the weekend are:

    Friday
    £10

    Saturday
    £15

    Sunday
    £30

    Weekend
    £45

    Grandstand
    £15

    Concessions
    £25 – race day only

    There are a few limited camping spots left for those deciding to stay at the last minute. Weekend admission with camping starts at £75 for those over 14 years of age.

    How to Watch Donington BSB 2017 on TV:

    Not able to make it to Donington Park? Here’s how to watch on TV and online.

    British Superbikes Live Timing is available via the official British Superbikes site for free.

    Saturday April 1:

    • 15:45: Live Qualifying and Supersport Sprint Race (Until 6pm) – Eurosport 2
    • 21:00: Qualifying and Supersport Sprint Race Highlights – Eurosport 2

    Sunday April 2:

    • 13:00: Live British Superbikes (Until 6pm) – Eurosport 2
    • 21:00: Race Highlights – Eurosport 2
    • 22:00: British Superbikes Extra – Eurosport 2

    Monday April 3:

    • 13.15: Race Highlights – Eurosport 2
    • 14:15: British Superbikes Extra – Eurosport 2
    • 17:30: Race Highlights – Eurosport 1

    Eurosport is available via Sky, Virgin Media and BT TV. Or online via the Eurosport Player, which is £5.99 for a one day pass, or £29.99 for access until December 31st, 2017 (Which also includes World Superbikes). That’s a special offer running until April 30th, 2017.

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  • Lexus Success Story

    The Reasons for Lexus’ Growing Success and Popularity

    In recent times, Lexus has become Japan’s largest-selling make of premium cars and established themselves as pioneers in the luxury car sector. The luxury vehicle division of Toyota was first developed in the early 1980’s as a secret project to build the world’s best car, but they are now one of the most recognisable and successful automobile manufacturers around.

    In fact, Lexus led the U.S luxury car market for an impressive 11 straight years before a Tsunami and an earthquake hit production in 2011. After falling behind Mercedes-Benz and BMW, they now are clawing their way back and recently posted a global sales record in 2016 and their fourth consecutive record year of sales.

    Reasons for Success

    So, what can be attributed to this success? One of the main reasons is that they have managed to find great success in the United States – a major consumer in the luxury car market. Lexus has always struggled to replicate this success in Europe, largely due to the fact that the European market as not as receptive to “new” brands as other areas of the world.

    Another key reason is the fact that their vehicles are known to be extremely reliable, solid and well-engineered – this makes them a great choice for long-term ownership, which is an important factor for consumers when purchasing high-end automobiles. This also makes them the logical and intelligent purchase to make for any motorists in the market for this kind of vehicle, with specialist suppliers like RRG Group being the best place to turn.

    Hybrid Technology

    Lexus has also manufactured a handful of hybrid vehicles in recent years. This has made them more popular throughout the world as there is a shift in attitude towards eco-friendly driving, but particularly in Europe where they have previously struggled to sell. This is not too much of a surprise, as their parent company Toyota are famed for being world leaders in hybrid technology. As a result, hybrid Lexus cars combine the strengths of petrol engines with all the benefits of electric power.

    This success for the Japanese manufacturer only looks set to continue, as they are growing in popularity around the world whilst also maintaining their image in the United States. Essentially, their success can be attributed to their core values being inline with that of a modern day consumer. They are a brand about innovation, reliability, technology and eco-friendly motoring whilst also maintaining a luxury performance and sleek design.

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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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  • 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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