As evidenced by the host of safety features found on their current model lineup, Mercedes is clearly a company focused on improving driving safety, whether it be in the event of an accident or by preventing an accident altogether. But have you ever wondered what the future holds in store for driving safety? If so, Mercedes has published a press release today detailing their forward-looking safety concept.
Month: June 2007
Volkswagen is set to revive the beetle and make it a new-generation rear-engined economy car.
It was reported that the new entry-level, tiny four-seat Volkswagen is the brainchild of Ferdinand Piech, chairman of the Volkswagen board and grandson of original Beetle creator Ferdinand Porsche. According to other reports, The new Volkswagen vehicle will have its engine mounted on top of the transaxle, driving the rear wheels, but a water-cooled radiator up front, shifting from the classic Beetle theme.
The engines of the new car are said to be a TSI (turbo/supercharged) three-cylinder petrol unit and an ultra-economical diesel. A two-cylinder petrol engine has also been suggested for developing markets.
There were also reports that three different wheelbase lengths will be offered for the Beetle. One type will include a 130″ model that will go to the US. There will also be and two body-styles. One a retro hatchback and the other a conventional saloon. This new car is designed as a rival for the Renault Logan, Fiat Palio/Albea and other economy cars sold in poorer nations.
The US-market retro hatch is predicted to cost at $10,000 to $14,000. It will also be available to Europe to compete with the Fiat 500, new-generation Ford Ka, Peugeot 107/Citroen C1 and suchlike. It was also reported that power steering will not be included, since the car will be small and light enough for this not to be necessary. It will be incorporated with all necessary modern safety features such as ABS, stability control, airbags and so on.
There’s no word yet on a name for this car but some reports have suggested it will be called Lupa.
In a Volkswagen case, a former member of the German parliament and labor leader of the car company, Hans-Juergen Uhl, was fined 39,200 euros (52,130 dollars) by a German court yesterday after he admitted to having been involved in a bribery and corruption scandal at Europe’s leading car maker.
The municipal court of Wolfsburg sentenced Uhl, 55, to the fine after finding him guilty of aiding and abetting a breach of fiduciary duty and lying under oath.
Uhl, a work council chief at Volkswagen between 1990 and 2006, admitted accepting visits from prostitutes paid for with company cash and lying about it earlier in the case.
“I regret what I did and take responsibility for it,” said Uhl, who recently laid down his parliamentary mandate and quit the Social Democrat party (SPD) because of his involvement in the scandal.
In view of his confession, the court, which had originally planned five days for the trial, declined to interview any witnesses and handed down the sentence after just one day.
Earlier, Uhl had told the court that he had “lost grip on reality” and that, in retrospect, he was “aghast” at his own behavior.
In January, Volkswagen’s former head of human resources Peter Hartz was given a two-year suspended jail sentence and a fine of 560,000 euros for his role in a bribery scandal involving lavish holidays and prostitutes.
Hartz, the architect of extensive German labor market reforms and the former head of personnel at Europe’s biggest car maker, avoided prison under an agreement struck with the prosecution under which he gave full testimony and admitted paying bribes.
This is it: Citroenâ€™s brand-new Mondeo fighter, the C5 thatâ€™ll make its first public appearance at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show in September. However, since three months is a lifetime in the world of automotive journalism, French car magazine Auto-Journal took the liberty to enlighten us with a whole series of photos featuring a totally undisguised 2008 C5.
While it would be foolish, to say the least, to draw any final conclusions on the C5â€™s appearance, judging by what we see here, Citroenâ€™s new five-door liftback abandons the first generationâ€™s sober looks in favour of a more dynamic shape, inspired from the latest C4 and C6 models. Likewise, the 2008 C5â€™s interior blends several characteristic details we find in other Citroens like the C4 & Picasso derived, fixed steering wheel hub that in theory, lets the driver operate several functions of the car without removing his or her hands from the wheel, but in practice, proves a huge annoyance. –Continued: Click â€œRead Moreâ€¦â€ below
No word on technical specs, but if thereâ€™s one thing we can be sure of is that, like the current model, the new C5 with be equipped with a will be equipped Citroen’s technologically advanced, hydropneumatic suspension.
Pics via: Autojournal
T. Boone Pickens wants to build the largest wind farm in the world. You might assume that with a name like T. Boone Pickens, this guy would be some kind of oil tycoon. Funny thing is, you’d totally be right.
You know wind power has made it big when Texas oil moguls start getting into the business. And, of course, everything is bigger in Texas.
Pickens’ wind project will stretch over 200,000 acres in four Texas panhandle counties and produce over 4000 megawatts of power…enough to power around one million homes.
Of course, these plans don’t always become reality, but the prospect of a four gigawatt $6 billion solar plant is pretty freakin’ exciting. If approved, the plant would begin construction in 2010. And that may be the first time in my life saying "Thanks" to an oil tycoon.
Ever sit by the ocean, and watch a buoy or a seagull bob up and down without end? The energy it
takes to move all that water up and down is massive. Prevailing winds,
temperature differentials, strong weather and even the rotation of the
Earth all contribute to the never-ending crash of waves against the
shore, and viewed from a certain perspective, that’s a lot of energy
going to waste:
The World Energy
Council has estimated that approximately 2 terawatts (2 million
megawatts), about double current world electricity production, could be
produced from the oceans via wave power. It is estimated that 1 million
gigawatt hours of wave energy hits Australian
shores annually and that 25% of the UKÂ’s current power usage could be
supplied by harvesting its wave resource.
The image above shows average yearly wave-power energy in various parts of the world in kilowatts per METER!
same ocean currents that fueled the economic growth of the 18th and
19th centuries may now help power the countries that prospered as a
result – with the best sites in the world lying off the shores of
developed countries, look for this alternative energy to (I can’t help
myself) make some waves in the coming years. Scotland, Portugal,
Australia and Hawaii already have installations underway or in place,
and feasibility studies are being undertaken by Spain, Norway, USA and
Mazda’s new Miller-cycle engine will power the new Mazda2, (named the Demio for the US).
Mazda Motor Corporation has developed a new, naturally
aspirated 1.3-liter Miller-cycle gasoline engine, which will power the all-new Mazda2
when it goes on sale in Japan
in July 2007. The Miller-cycle engine
usually depends on having a really big super charger but Mazda has figured out
a way to use the Miller-cycle on a normally aspirated engine.
The Miller-cycle is a fancy name for a simple change in the
valve timing for an engine. It allows
the compression stroke of a 4-cycle engine to begin later than typical. Less power wasted on compression means more
In combination with MazdaÂ’s first continuously variable
transmission (CVT), the engine enables the new Mazda2 to offer 54 mpg US, an
improvement of approximately 20% compared with MazdaÂ’s current 1.3-liter
In addition to the new powertrain, the all-new Mazda2 has
been made approximately 220 lb lighter than its predecessor through a strict weight
reduction program, which results in quick handling to go along with the
significantly improved fuel economy.
can see no reason that the Miller-cycle engine can’t be used to improve
the efficiency of larger engines and/or engines in hybrids. I wonder
what the carbon footprint of a Miller-cycle hybrid car running on
cellulosic ethanol would be?
In a recent survey conducted by Motor Klassik, readers of the trade journal named the Mercedes CLS, SL and G-Class models ‘classics-to-be,’ placing each at the top of their respective classes in the ‘upper medium,’ ‘convertible’ and ‘offroader’ segments. Other Mercedes models mentioned in the survey included the SLR McLaren in the ‘sports car’ category, the Maybach 57/62 in the ‘luxury’ category and the smart fortwo in the ‘mini cars’ category, with each of the aforementioned earning second in their respective classes.
We might not have formed a clear idea yet to as how the upcoming X6 crossover will look like -no thanks to BMWâ€™s more than perfect camouflaged X6 prototypes, but at least thereâ€™s no shortage of CGIâ€™s around the net. The above rendering comes from Italian webzine, Infomotori, with the artist proposing a sporty look for the mid-size crossover with a coupe-like roofline and â€œMâ€ style bumpers and rims. His guess is as good as ours.-Follow the jump for more pictures
Drivethedeal.com, an online car broker, names Volkswagen Golf as the most popular car bought.
The Peugeot 207 is also very popular as it followed Volkswagen Golf in the list. So is the Audi A3, while cars like the Mazda MX-5 and Ford Focus have always featured in its annual top 10. Newer family cars such as the Ford S-MAX and Volkswagen Touran have become more recent favorites.
â€œWe have always sold the Volkswagen Golf in large quantities, while more recently the Golf Match has proven very popular. The car is bought both as a first car and second car and offers practicality with German build quality and a good resale value,â€ explained Richard Sanders, managing director of Drivethedeal.com.
The average price of cars bought through Drivethedeal.com has risen from Â£15,000 in 2002 to Â£17,000 in 2006/07.
â€œConsumers are just as happy to buy a car online as they are with a lower value item such as a TV. A new car is the same no matter which UK main dealer supplies it, and our job is to find the dealer keenest to pick up extra business. We also speak to all our customers about things like delivery times and specification, so despite ordering online they still get to speak to a person,â€ said Sanders.
Volkswagen AG, Europe’s largest car maker, will reduce discounts and warranty claims, and concentrate on the sales of the most profitable models to make up for their loss in North America.
â€œWe have a better financial result this year than last year, categorically,” said Adrian Hallmark, Volkswagen of America’s executive vice president. â€œWe’ve cut costs, we’ve reduced incentives and we have hedged.â€
Volkswagen sales have fallen in the U.S. this year as the company prepares new models for 2008. The company only sold 91,743 vehicles in the U.S. in the first five months, a 4.4 percent drop from a year earlier. Sales in 2007 will be flat, Hallmark reiterated.
Hallmark has a long-term goal of increasing U.S. sales to 400,000 to 600,000 vehicles a year. Last year, the car maker sold 235,140 cars and SUVs in the world’s largest market. Volkswagen’s U.S. sales record, set in 1970, was 569,696 cars and vans.
Volkswagen expects to increase U.S. sales next year with the introduction of a compact sport-utility vehicle, a new Passat coupe and a minivan built with DaimlerChrysler AG. The car company will also reintroduce a diesel Jetta in 2008. Volkswagen this year pulled the diesel, which accounted for 30 percent of U.S. Jetta sales last year, to switch to new technology.
Volkswagen’s North American loss in 2006 was 607 million euros, after a loss of 317 million euros in the first half. The company will no longer give profit figures by region when it reports first-half earnings on July 27.
Worldwide, the company reported a first-quarter profit after cutting labor costs. The Volkswagen brand had earnings before interest and tax of 386 million euros compared with an operating loss of 49 million euros a year earlier.
Volkswagen has lowered North American costs by decreasing spending on warranty claims by two-thirds over the last two years and focusing on sales of more profitable vehicles, Hallmark said.
â€œThe car maker will double Rabbit sales this year to 20,000 vehicles while reducing Passat sales. The incentive costs for selling 2,600 Passats in the U.S. are eight times as high as selling the same number of Rabbits,â€ Hallmark said.
Hallmark plans to shorten delivery times from European and Mexican factories by one week by the end of the year. It now takes six weeks to get vehicles from Mexico and 14 weeks from Germany. Hallmark also said that it would cost $35 to $40 per week in transit for a Passat.
Hallmark, 44, replaced Executive Vice President Len Hunt as head of Volkswagen’s U.S. operations in late 2005. Volkswagen made changes in North America after sales plummeted and losses deepened. Hallmark had been running sales and marketing for the Bentley luxury-car division.
â€œHallmark was moved from Bentley, where he was very successful, and has had one clear mission: Get Volkswagen’s U.S. operations into shape,” said Stephen Pope, head of equity research at Cantor Fitzgerald in London, who has a `buy’ rating on the stock. â€œThe benefits of the hard work are being seen and when the new models come through it will auger well for the sales.”