Whilst we’ve been asleep…VW compensates Canadian motorists whilst ignoring Australians…and lots more

OK! That’s the end of pretty elongated festive holiday. So, what’s been happening whilst we’ve been skiing? Well, for starters, Lotus has added the 3.9-second 0-100km/h GT410 Sport to its line-up of Evora models. (Buy two and you get a free English country house??)

As is usual for a Lotus, the new model is super light with a massive horsepower to weight ratio, is dressed in company blue and is available in two-seat and two-plus-two configurations.

A high-output, supercharged, version of the 3.5-liter six-cylinder engine, used in several Lotus models, has an integrated water-to-air charge cooler and produces 410hp at 7000rpm and 420Nm of torque at 3500rpm.

Bilstein dampers and shocks come as standard, but can be upgraded to Ohlins TTX dampers to further reduce weight and improve adjustment capabilities, there’s forged aluminum wheels and four-piston brake calipers from AP Racing at front and rear.

In the mine-is-much-bigger-than-yours category, Toyota’s motorsport arm, Gazoo Racing, has put a super sport concept on show at the 2018 Tokyo Auto Salon, with what is said to be a hybrid 735kW (986hp) drivetrain.

The new GR Super Sports Concept is based on the WEC TS050 hybrid race car, and comes with a twin-turbo, direct injection, 2.4-litre V6 that should give the Mercedes-AMG Project One, McLaren Senna and Aston-Martin Valkyrie something to think about.

That’s, of course, if the vehicle and Gazoo Racing, eventually morph into the real thing in the commercial market. The engineering company’s Shigeki Tomoyama, reckons it will be some time before anyone can get behind the wheel, but hopes that the GR SSC will give consumers a taste of what the company’s next-generation sports cars will look like.

Steeda, the largest privately-owned Ford tuning specialist in the world, is about to launch its first V8 Mustang specifically for Europe. The Q500 Enforcer puts out 480hp (358kW) and 658Nm of torque over the standard UK version thanks to a cold air intake, revised engine mapping and a performance exhaust.

The vehicle also has a stiffer chassis with fully adjustable suspension, progressive rate springs, solidly-mounted thicker anti-roll bars front and rear, strut tower brace and upgraded bushes for the rear suspension subframe.

Optional wheel packages include 20-inch Velgen VMB7’s and 20-inch Steeda ST-R’s both clad with Michelin Sport 4S tyres. The launch vehicle is fitted with an optional, fully-adjustable, coil over kit that features ride height and camber settings.

Other options include a heavy-duty Tremec Magnum XL 6-speed manual with multiple gear ratio options, heavy-duty aluminum drive shafts, vented disc brakes, an upgraded twin-plate clutch and custom painted brake calipers and engine components.

The Q500 Enforcer is available for order in the UK from Haynes Ford, Maidestone, for £8,998 over the base car’s price, including a factory warranty.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Landrover intend to celebrate its 70th anniversary year by restoring one of the original pre-production Series I models that grew out of a sketch in the sand of Red Wharf Bay, north Wales.

Appropriately, the model to be renovated spent decades on a farm in Wales working as a stationary power source before the engine seized and the unit was sold to a restorer who never got around to the task.

Land Rover say that this unattractive mix of decades’ worth of rust, peeled paint and general decay, is the world’s most historically significant unrestored Land Rover.

“This Land Rover is an irreplaceable piece of world automotive history and is as historically important as ‘Huey’, the first pre-production Land Rover,” says the company’s Tim Hannig.

“There is something charming about the fact that exactly 70 years ago this vehicle would have been undergoing its final adjustments before being prepared for the 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show launch.”

Samsung and the recently acquired Harman International have wasted no time in getting something out there that sort of represents what the US$8 billion merger means for the auto industry.

Amongst other things, the joint effort (no name) unit at CES Las Vegas included an autonomous driving platform, custom-designed audio, and a QLED ‘MoodRoof’.

Apparently, the idea is meant to illustrate how the merger is working to reinvent the digital cockpit, bring a new 5G telematics solution to the industry and build an ecosystem of partners and solutions piggy backing on the Samsung autonomous vehicle platform.

A new digital cockpit platform is designed to integrate the instrument cluster with the centre console in a single, centralised screen group through the use of voice control, haptic feedback, and physical knobs, including steering wheel controls.

Multiple items can be controlled including heating and air conditioning and media. The system relies on smartphone connectivity for many services, thereby lightening the weight of the vehicle and reducing manufacturer requirements.

A multi-display layout, based on Harman’s ignite platform, can turn the entire dashboard into a screen allowing both the driver and front passenger access to services such as virtual personal assistance, subscription services-including streaming apps-and augmented reality.

The system also supports the Android operating system being integrated on four displays and Samsung say the platform is scalable to make it an option in every automotive segment.

In addition to plans to deliver an industry-first, 5G-ready, automotive telematics solution, Samsung is working on an open modular platform for autonomous driving.

Drvline is designed to scale autonomous driving from level three automation up to levels four and five. The improved computing and control power needed for this leveling up requires high-end artificial intelligence on high-performance computing platforms alongside high-speed connectivity.

There’s a heap more including self learning vehicles. Click here to read NewAtlas’ full report.

VW compensates Canadian motorists whilst ignoring Australians

Global vehicle giant Volkswagen, the company that unleashed one of the greatest motoring scandals of all time on consumers across the globe with its Dieselgate emissions cheating devices, has agreed to further compensate Canadian motorists whilst continuing to snub Australians that have been affected by the same scandal.

In a proposed further settlement, Volkswagen Group Canada and Audi Canada have offered to pay more than CAD$290m to resolve class action claims on behalf of 20,000 affected 3.0L diesel Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche branded vehicles.

The compensation will include buybacks, repairs and restitution payments in addition to a CAD$2.9m fine to be paid to the regulator. This follows the earlier Canadian Court approved settlement in respect of 105,000 affected Canadian 2.0L diesel vehicles whereby Volkswagen and Audi agreed to pay CAD $2.1 billion to motorists and a CAD $15m fine.

In announcing the settlement, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group Canada, Daniel Weissland, is quoted in a media statement as saying: “This is an important milestone for making things right for all of our customers with affected diesel vehicles in Canada.”

Paradoxically, the German vehicle manufacturer’s parent company VWAG, along with Volkswagen Group Australia – which is under the leadership of CEO Michael Bartsch, also formerly the CEO of Volkswagen Group Canada – refuse to agree to any compensation deal for the equivalent 100,000 or so affected Australian 2.0L diesel vehicles, which contain the same emissions cheating software.

Jason Geisker, class action principal at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, which is representing thousands of affected Australian Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda motorists in an Australian class action, said there is simply no credible excuse for Volkswagen to continue to refuse compensation for Australia motorists, particularly as VW profited from its decade long deception.

“Promptly apologising and compensating Canadians and Americans whilst paying millions of dollars to defence lawyers here in Australia to defend exactly the same conduct is simply deplorable.

“In its smokescreen attempts to justify shocking double standards, Volkswagen seeks to hide behind carefully worded and formulaic statements about differences in emissions standards around the world.

“But let’s clear the air. The deception of testing authorities and cheating on emissions tests was always prohibited, both in the US and elsewhere around the world including Canada and Australia. So until Volkswagen is prepared to admit and accept responsibility for its deceptive conduct and compensate affected motorists accordingly it will continue to lack credibility and will further damage its already sullied reputation,” said Jason.

Dieselgate no barrier to record sales

Internationally, Volkswagen has really bounced back from the dieselgate scandal by recording an annual production record of more than six million vehicles. The company builds cars at more than 50 factories in 14 countries, with its most popular models in 2017 globally being Jetta, Golf, Santana, Passat and Polo.

VW has built more than 150m vehicles in the past 72 years and its product portfolio now stretches to more than 60 models.

But despite rising production and sales, the dieselgate scandal still rumbles on more than two years later with the company petitioning Germany’s constitutional court in a bid to block the appointment of an independent auditor to probe its behaviour.

Meanwhile, Toyota has stopped selling diesel cars in Italy. The world’s biggest car maker has suspended sales of diesel Yaris, Auris and RAV4 models, to concentrate on its cleanest petrol and hybrid models. It will, however, continue to sell Hilux and Land Cruiser models as diesels.

Toyota Italy is offering incentives of up to €7000 on trade-ins of old diesels for a new Toyota hybrid. The company denies that VW’s dieselgate scandal has anything to do with the decision instead claiming that in 2017 oil-burners comprised just 6% of sales.

This ‘road well travelled’ has a definite end in sight

Travelling more than 1000 kilometeres from NSW to Queensland to pick up a new car might seem like a fair distance for some, but not for Peter Stephenson who recently took ownership of a brand new Ford Mustang GT all from being road smart and buying a set of new tyres.

Cooper Tires distributor Exclusive Tyre Distributors gave one lucky Australian the chance to win the highly sought after Ford Mustang GT to park in their garage. All the winner needed to do was purchase a set of Cooper Tires.

ETD’s Terry Smith reckons there’s few things better than cruising the open road in an iconic piece of automotive history like a V8 Mustang: “We are very excited for Peter, it’s not every day you win a car like this and we hope he enjoys it for many years to come.”

Terry was also pleased that Peter is one of the 45% of Australians who regularly check their vehicle’s tyres. Recent research indicates almost a third of the population are unaware that they need new tyres until it is too late, or rely on being told by someone else that they need to take action.

“Sixty-two percent of Australians have no idea, or are unsure, about how many kilometres they should usually get from their tyres. Cooper Tires is working hard to change this by helping consumers understand how to get engaged, check the facts and choose the right tyres for their specific needs,” said Terry.

For his part, Peter says that he has always kept an eye on the wear and tear of the tyres on every car he has owned to avoid getting into a situation that is easily avoidable.

“These days I don’t take any chances, especially when I have my grandson in the car. Safety is first and foremost,” he said.

More @ www.coopertires.com.au 

Free app for outback adventurers

BFGoodrich Tires Australia launched a free app, through which users can locate and receive information on 4×4 tracks and trails throughout Australia. The Off Road Escape app offers the free download of both live tracking and offline maps. Users can also share trail information, 4×4 tips, points of interest on tracks, vehicle details and modifications, etc. The app also provides live tracking and a permanent record of a drive, the ability to plot a route, save pins with notes and searches for locations. CLICK HERE for download.


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