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.

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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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Margot Robbie’s high-speed Monaco glide

Watch this cool video of Wolf of Wall Street star Margot Robbie driving a 100% electric Nissan BladeGlider through the streets of Monte Carlo.

The actress tested the Nissan BladeGlider – which can hit 62mph in less than five seconds – against an identical car on closed roads in the iconic French Riviera Principality.

The three-seater prototype, which hits 100km/h in less than five seconds, challenges the conventional thinking of what an all-electric sports car could look like in the future.

Showcasing all the fun and excitement of pure electric vehicles, the concept is part of Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility vision of how cars should be driven, powered and integrated into society.

In the video, the Suicide Squad and The Wolf of Wall Street star is also seen demonstrating the drifting prowess of Nissan BladeGlider around one of the most famous corners in the world of motorsport – the iconic Fairmont Hairpin.

“It’s a really exciting time for electric vehicles,” said Margot, Nissan’s first electric vehicle ambassador.

“More people are choosing to go electric, leading the way to a more sustainable future and the Nissan BladeGlider hints at the future of smarter performance cars.”

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Jenson Button’s Ford GT for sale

A 2005 Ford GT first owned by ex-F1 World Champion Jenson Button is to be offered for sale by Silverstone Auctions.

The car is one of five ‘VIP’ marked models and will go under the hammer with an estimate of £250,000 to £300,000 at Race Retro, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire (February 25-26).

2005 Ford GT - Ex Jenson Button MBE rearSwiss Ford GT dealer Grimm of Geneva delivered the car to the Frome-born racing driver in August 2005 and it was subsequently UK registered in 2006.

The high performance Ford GT showcases advanced technologies. For instance, it’s constructed on a lightweight aluminium chassis coated in superplastic-formed lightweight composite and features aluminium body panels.

Finished in evocative white with blue racing stripes, it’s powered by a mid-mounted, hand-built, supercharged quad-cam 550bhp V8 and can hit 60mph in about 3.5 seconds, while the maximum speed is limited to 205mph.

The car was acquired by its current owner in 2011 and has just 8,350 miles on the clock. It will be supplied with a history file including stamps and invoices from ‘Mountune’ and two services by Ford GT experts GT101, as well as copies of the order form signed by Jenson.

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