Saturday, November 30, 2013

2007 Hyundai Cars - What's New For 2007

(1) The 2007 Hyundai Sonata

The 2007 Sonata is the smaller of Hyundaiís two midsize sedans. It comes in three models: a) The Sonata Limited trim is the top-line model and has a 235-hp V6 and 5-speed automatic as well as heated front seats, automatic climate control and fine leather upholstery. b) The Sonata SE also has a 235-hp V6 and 5-speed automatic. c) The Sonata GLS has 162-hp 4-cylinders and a choice of either 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission. All models are equipped with ABS and traction/antiskid control as well as front-side and curtain-side airbags.

While the old version reminded many car patrons of a Jaguar in terms of style, the 2007 version looks even better, with a front lamp that resembles an Audi and a backside that looks like an Accord. The thin roof pillars and the driver's upright position also contribute to its esthetic value. The 2007 Sonata is also bigger, sharper and more technologically advanced version than the 2006 model. Overall, the Sonata's advantage over other cars of its class such as the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima is that it combines comfort, spaciousness, sophisticated design and reliable performance as well as a reasonable price.

(2) The Hyundai Accent

The new, completely re-designed 3-door Hyundai Accent hatchback is a welcome addition to the 4-door sedan introduced in 2006. Compared to the sedan, the Accent is a sportier ride in terms of both appearance and performance. It also boasts of side-curtain airbags, which are a rare feature in vehicles of this size and price range.

The 2007 Accent has superb handling, an attractive Euro style hatch and a strong safety kit. Sold in GE and SE trims, the Accent looks small on the outside but is surprisingly roomy inside, both front and rear. Its excellent fuel economy makes it an ideal choice for urban drivers, especially in places where gas costs as much as $6/gallon. Many have commented that the Accent 3-door 2007 model is even more attractive than the 4-door 2006 Accent sedan unveiled last year. The 2007 model brings back memories of the 3-door Honda Civic CX hatch from the mid-nineties or the Opel Corsa from General Motors which is so popular these days in Europe.

(3) The Hyundai Elantra

Many automotive industry observers consider the 2007 Hyundai Elantra a worthy challenger to the subcompact sedan field, which features the likes of the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Nissan Sentra. It is competitive in terms of safety, spaciousness and overall driving experience and may have a slight advantage in value and warranty coverage. However, its conservative styling needs to catch up with the rest in this field.

The 2007 Elantra has airbags galore both in the front seat-mounted and roof-mounted side curtains, and that's for both front and rear seats. It also has antilock brakes and four-wheel-disc brakes that are far better than the disc brakes in front and drum brakes at the rear of its competitors.

(4) The Hyundai Tiburon

The Tiburon has been restyled for 2007 and now features lower-placed headlamps, a hallmark of the more mainstream Japanese models, as well as revised taillights and chrome exhaust tips. It also has a new sheetmetal frame with a more wedge-like, mainstream look that is a far cry from the odd-looking and curvy Tiburon model first introduced in the US in 1997.

The handling of the top-of-the-line Tiburon SE has likewise been streamlined to make it smoother and more appealing to enthusiasts.

(5) The Hyundai Santa Fe

With a car's unibody construction instead of a regular truck's traditional body-on-frame construction, the Hyundai Santa Fe is more like a "crossover SUV." The 2007 version has been completely redesigned and is now bigger and better, boasts of more power, bigger legroom and a more sophisticated style.

Unlike last year's model, the 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe blends naturally into the suburbs. Its brand-new third-row seating allows the 2007 Santa Fe to accommodate up to seven passengers. It also offers improved fuel economy and power, whether itís the GLS, SE or Limited trims.

(6) The Hyundai Azera

This year's Azera has benefitted from minor changes in the interior details to increase its aesthetic value. It is actually a carryover from last year's model and features the standard 3.8-liter, V6, 263-horsepower engine and 5-speed automatic transmission with overdrive. This 4-door, 5-passenger family sedan is available in 4 trims, ranging from the SE to the Limited XM.

(7) The Hyundai Tucson

The Tucson is another of Hyundai's highly-regarded cars for 2007, especially since the 2006 Tucson captured the prestigious J.D. Power and Associates award for "Highest Ranked Multi-Activity Vehicle in Initial Quality" despite being only in its second year of production.

Based on a study of over 63,000 new car owners, the Tucson, on the average, outperformed its competitors in the Multi-Activity Vehicle (MAV) segment in six of eight categories. Overall, Tucson recorded scores that were 23 percent better than the category average. It also received high marks for its safety technology, electronic stability control, curtain airbags and for offering a choice between front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive.

(8) The Hyundai Entourage

In terms of standard safety features, the Hyundai Entourage is head and shoulders above the other minivans available in the market today It is no surprise that the 2007 Entourage garnered the Insurance Institute for Highway Safetyís highest and best crash test rating ever for a minivans.

Among the Entourage's safety and comfort features are six airbags, standard ABS, standard Electronic Stability Control and standard active head restraints. In addition, the Entourage boasts of lots of space to spare, including seating for seven and huge cargo space.

Friday, November 29, 2013

1950 Allard J2 - The Best of Mid 20th Century Euro-American Automotive Engineering

If you have been looking for a stunning sports car that exemplifies the best of English and American technological innovation and design the 1950 Allard J2 tops the list. These cars were produced during the 1950s and they were incredibly popular during this time period. What was even more amazing is that the cost of these cars was quite moderate. These cars enjoyed a popular appeal in both Europe and America when they were first produced and still today they are one of the most highly sought of older sports car models. This roadster was only produced as a limited series of 99 vehicles between the years 1950 and 1951.

The J2 Allard gave a driver an impressive amount of speed and performance and the handling was smooth enough to make them suitable for highly experienced or novice handlers. When the 1950 Allard J2 was put onto the racing circuit the sporty vehicle  quickly earned first place listings in race courses on both continents. Sebring and Bridgehampton were only two of the places where this little speedster earned its reputation. Today these well built coupes are perfect specimens to be used on road rally courses and of course the cars are highly desirable by people who only want them placed in show competitions.

One of the best known construction features of the 1950s Allard J2 is the split I- beam axle used in the front end design. This gave the cars that fiercely distinct elongated nose; but it also made it possible to attach the special telescopic shock absorbers and heavy coiled springs that created an exceptional ride. There was a track rod at the rear of the split axle design and it was fashioned from three separate sections. In addition there were two idler arms at the rear and two radial arms which were also attached to the axle beams. To give the vehicle  additional stability and suspension assistance there was a de Dion axle connected to the axle at the rear with the same style of coils and telescoping shocks that were used at the nose assembly. The incredible power of the J2 Allard in 1950 was made possible by a special Ford torque tube which was very much different from what other similar speedsters were using.

When the very first of the 99 1950  Allard J2 vehicle models were being rolled off the assembly line they were made with the souped up V8 Mercury flathead engines. These engines gave the cars incredible power and speed but as the racing legend of the Allard J2 models grew the increased need for even better speed was a must. This need was answered by installing new V8 engines in the Allard vehicle line including the Ardun OHV flathead and the Chrysler Company's powerful Hemi V8 model.

The chassis of the original 1950 J2 Allards all had exceptionally deep sides and these were interconnected with four big bore tubing assemblies. The cars transmissions had more bracing than just the four large diameter tubes and this gave the vehicle  outstanding stability but still the overall weight was quite light. This made these roadsters one of the speediest sports car designs on the road.

The lightweight bodies of the 1950 Allard J2 sports coupes were constructed from featherweight aluminum sheets that were molded and then attached with specialized bolts and fasteners. The fasteners were designed for quick and easy release and together the bolts and fasteners made stripping the car easy and fast. This meant that if the cars needed to be worked on by a mechanic, upgraded, or repaired it could be done in the shortest time frame possible. Even road, in-house or mechanical testing on the vehicle was able to be accomplished in unusually fast turnover times due to the innovative engineering and design of the cars.

There were some specific 1950 Allard J2 vehicle models that were only built for competition on the racing circuit. These powerful workhorses were equipped with the strongest V8 engines and tanks designed to hold 40 gallons of racing fuel. You could always tell one of these cars because the place the spare tire is mounted is not at the tail end of the car but on the side midway between the driver cockpit and forward fender.

A J2 Allard in 1950 was an amazing machine with some superior statistics including a 331 cc Cadillac V8 engine. This powerhouse could knock out 300 horsepower without flinching, and remember this was almost 60 years ago. The automotive engineers were forward thinking and highly innovative when it came to creating power and speed for the 1950 Allard J2 cars. In addition to a 331cc engine the Allard used triple, double barrel carbs and meticulously designed camshafts that combined to deliver some of the most powerful roadsters of the mid 20th century. Sports car enthusiasts pay dearly whenever they have a chance to purchase one of these rare cars from the 1950s.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Driving Report Nissan X-Trail - Success Makes Addicted

Success makes addicted - on still more success. Nissan could sell world-wide approximately 800,000 vehicles from its first compact sport utility Vehicle (SUV) with name X-Trail since the year 2000.

Into Germany nearly each second user had driven a sedan or a combination before. Why should one change thus something for the new edition?
Outwardly proof of worth, inside however…

Nissan decided in view of this success history to build with the exterior on the proven and essentially offer under the sheet metal new, particularly since with customer opinion polls it had turned out that three of ten X-Trail-drivers use their SUV actually also in the area and a further quarter him than towing vehicle. The successor could thus nothing by his area qualities lose, should better to the road be however at the same time adapted.
Good “climbing characteristics”

In the area the new one in the rauen mountains of north Greece proved now that it to it-won on this occasion. On the platform of the Qashquai developed and with an automatically connecting all-wheel drive provided, he creates amazing climbing portions without complaints from the obviously very torsionally stiff body. A Differenzialsperre and a mountain driving off assistance, which limit the speed on approximately 7 km/h by ABS, help it.
Comfortably on such as off Road

On the road the investment disburses itself into the new chassis. The straight line discharge convinces, and the driving dynamics fits likewise. It is no curve miracle, but it masters also mountain passages quite manierlich and - owing to its standard ESP - unproblematically. On the road and in the area equally the X-Trail moves its passengers amazingly comfortably.
Propulsion variants

Well the combination with the 2-Liter-Dieselmotor with 110 KW /150 HP of achievement and a maximum torque of 320 Newtonmeters (Nm) with the six-course transducer mechanism pleased us. In addition Nissan offers a 2,5-Liter-Diesel with 127 KW/173 HP, which with the mechanism can be likewise rigged. Both engines with a six-course hand switch are supplied in series.

In addition two four cylinder Benziner are available, of one with two litres capacity, 104 KW/141 HP and 196 Nm, the larger with 2,5 litres, 124 KW/169 HP and 233 Nm. Nissan assumes however in Germany nearly 90 per cent of Diesel can be brought to the man. But first consumption speaks. For the Diesels 7.1 litres and/or 7.4 litres per 100 km are indicated as normal consumption, for the Benziner of 8.7 and/or 9.8 litres plus mechanism addition, if the transducer mechanism is ordered. If one decides for the stepless CVT transmission, consumption sinks easily.
Handling characteristics

With the road performances the Benziner and the Diesels take themselves not much. The smaller accelerate the X-Trail in approximately 10 seconds of 0 to 100 km/h, the larger need for it one second less. In the maximum speed the Diesels with scarcely 190 km/h and approximately 200 km/h lie even a little more highly than the Benziner. But they offer then also approximately 40 per cent more torques, meanwhile jeep drivers did not only learn which to estimate.
More ITS than seem…

That outwardly apparently so little changed new ones grew after the slogan: More its than seem. However at tray surfaces, beverage holding and pilot possibilities in the interior he offers now approximately 50 litres of volume. Its trunk grew even on class optimum of more than 600 litres, if one takes the lower load soil out, under which approximately 120 litres camouflaged area hide themselves. If one leaves in the vehicle, 40:20 develops after surrounding the rear seat in the relationship: 40 a completely even loading area. Without the soil maximally 1773 litres of volume are available. That empty something over two tons weighing X-Trail can zuladen - depending upon equipment - between 460 kilograms and well 530 kilograms and draw as Diesels maximally two tons.
To the Interieur

Only in the interior we had with this first establishment of contact somewhat too meckern. Thus one decided with the instrument panel to throughout high-quality materials, but there is too many, and properly matching finished they could also be. In addition the instrument panel with the put on peak in the center and many corners and edges works rather fissured as elegant or sporty.

Also we would have found gladly larger seats with better side stop. But side stop for particularly fast curves was not the goal of the developers. The X-Trail is not a curve artist, but in the best sense a good car: useful, on the height of the compact SUV time and with good manners.
The price structure

Manierlich is also the price structuring for Germany. The new costs approximately 1500 euro more as the old, has however Diesel soot filters and ESP to offer in series and shows also otherwise clearly more qualities than the old person. It will give the 2007-er to class in three equipment lines: XE, SE and LE. The price margin reaches from 26,900 euro to 35,140 euro for the fully equipped LE with the strong Diesel and mechanism. Not a straight good deal, in addition, no reason to predict the end of the Erfolgsstory of the X-Trail.


Automotive blog []

Monday, November 25, 2013

Volkswagen Expecting An Increase Sales And Profit This Year

Volkswagen has announced recently that it is expecting for profit and sales to rise this year especially since the Skoda Fabia and Audi A5 models are doing pretty well in the market plus the corporate overhaul that the company is employing is reducing production costs.

The company's chief executive Martin Winterkorn announced during the company's annual conference that it is expecting profit before interest, taxes and one-time items to be higher than the 4.4 billion euros or $5.78 billion it has obtained for the year 2006.

He also said that the sales for the first two months of the company has already record an increase of 8.3 percent to 862,000 vehicles which is a good start for this year. He further added that the company is expecting to meet its goal of increasing 2008 pretax profit to 5.1 billion compared to the 1.1 billion euros in 2004 which is the target set by Bernd Pischetsrieder, who is the former chief executive. It should be noted that it was through the efforts of Piech and Winterkorn that Pistchetsrider was ousted on January 1.

Volkswagen shares increase by 3 percent to 102.96 euros

Last month, Europe's largest automaker and producer of the popular Volkswagen struts has reported that their income has more than doubled reaching 2.75 billion euros which they attributed to the launching of their new models, the disposal of Europcar vehicle-rental unit and the tax gain. Total revenue has increased by 12 percent to 104.9 billion euros.

The company has also reported its fourth quarter results and said that its income obtained has more than tripled reaching 1.54 billion euros from 435 million euros resulting from an 11 percent sales increase to 27.8 billion euros.

The Audi team that Winterkorn has brought with him including Walter de Silva, head of design and Ulrich Hackenberg, engineering chief has spent two months just to modify the new version of Volkswagen's Golf hatchback, which currently is VW's best-selling vehicle. Aside from the Golf hatchback the team is also working on other models that Wolfgang Bernhard, the former Volkswagen brand chief had started like the Scirocco sports hatchback and a new compact sport utility vehicle, the Tiguan.

CEO Winterkorn said 'We will continue to work intensely on productivity and quality. We want to further increase the brand's passion for building cars." Volkswagen is also counting on its new models to increase its sales in the US. The total loss that VW has obtained for 2006 for its North American sales has narrowed to 607 million euros compared to the loss of 866 million euros in 2005. CEO Winterkorn has also added, "we still have quite a bit to do here to return to our successful growth path."

CEO Winterkorn is working to create a three-way combination to Volkswagen's commercial-vehicles unit and that includes the Munich-based truck maker MAN and the Swedish truckmaker Scania of which Volkswagen is the biggest shareholder.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Nissan's CEO Bets 'Credibility' On Raising Profit

The Nissan Motor Co. Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn, who rescued the automaker from near bankruptcy seven years ago, said that his credibility is on the line after missing last year's earnings goals.

According to the average of 16 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg, Nissan's profit probably plunged 33 percent in the three months ended March 31. Earnings in the year-ago period were bolstered by a 17 billion yen one-time gain from selling the Nissan Diesel Motor Co. shares to Volvo AB. Sales probably increased 31 percent to a record 3.46 trillion yen, the survey said.

In February, the Japanese automaker slashed its net income estimate for the year ended last March to 460 billion yen ($3.9 billion) from 523 billion yen. It was the first time the automaker missed its target. Additionally, the automaker may miss a 3.73 million-vehicle global sales forecast for the year.

"It's important to maintain credibility,'' said Ghosn in an interview on Feb. 2. "We have made forecasts and we have met them in the past. We missed it this time and we don't like it.'' Ghosn, 53, intends to regain investors' confidence when he unveils the carmaker's earnings tomorrow. In the said announcement, he also will tackle what he called a "crisis'' at Tokyo-based Nissan. The company in February scaled back its full-year profit forecast by 12 percent and said it may not meet its target of selling 4.2 million vehicles in the year ending March 2009.

"He took his eyes off the ball,'' said Edwin Merner, who oversees $1 billion as the president of Atlantis Investment Research Corp. in Tokyo. "Sales in the U.S. have been disappointing until recently and in Japan sales are in a shambles.''

The shares of the Japanese automaker declined by 2.7 percent to 1,195 yen as of 12:32 p.m. in Tokyo, extending the fall for 2007 to 17 percent. Shares of the Toyota Motor Corp. dropped by two percent to 7,220 yen and the Honda Motor Co. shares dived by 1.7 percent to 4,000 yen. The shares fell after the confidence of purchasers plunged in the United States. Japanese automakers derive as much as 70 percent of their operating profit in the country.

From April, Ghosn gave up daily oversight of North American operations. The change is giving Ghosn, who is managing both Nissan and Renault SA, more time to concentrate on improving the performance of the two automakers. Renault owns 44.3 percent of Nissan. Ghosn is set to announce a plan today to boost the Nissan's earnings. Nissan said it will offer incentives to workers in Japan to save costs, the first time in eight years it has offered early retirements. Meanwhile, Nissan spokeswoman Pauline Kee declined to comment on the analysts' estimates or on Ghosn's plan.

Nissan is betting on 11 new or redesigned vehicles. The said product lines, equipped with sophisticated auto parts like Nissan air mass meter, engines, brakes, and rotors, will be introduced worldwide in the year starting April 1, including the Rogue crossover vehicle as Ghosn said last month.

It can be recalled that the automaker unveiled only one new model globally in the first half ended on Sept. 30. Ghosn has said the automaker must improve its planning to bring out new models on a more regular basis. "If we don't learn from the mistakes we've made, we will make more mistakes,'' Ghosn said. "We have to learn.''

Nissan will probably focus on cutting costs in purchasing, making better use of production capacity and strengthening sales and marketing efforts, especially in Japan and the U.S., said analysts including Koji Endo at Credit Suisse Group in Tokyo.

In the year ended March 31, "Nissan gained from the weaker yen'', said Koichi Takatsuka, who oversees $1 billion at UAM Japan Inc. in Tokyo. In February, the automaker based its earnings forecasts on an exchange rate of 120 yen to the dollar and 150 yen to the euro for the three months ended in March.

Nissan will report earnings at 3:20 p.m. today. Honda reported at 3 p.m. yesterday, followed by Toyota at 3 p.m. on May 9.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

BMW To Increase Annual Production In America

The Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft (BMW AG) intends to raise the number of vehicles it builds in the United States by about 43 percent to more than 200,000 annually by 2010, said Chief Executive Norbert Reithofer last Thursday.

Speaking to auto analysts at BMW's headquarters in Munich, Reithofer said the aim was to reduce the company's exposure to the weaker dollar, a paramount move given that the U.S. remains BMW's top single market. "We also have to buy more goods (in North America) to improve our natural hedging," Reithofer added.

The automaker's production capacity at its only U.S. production plant in Spartanburg, S.C., is around 140,000 vehicles per year. As part of its endeavor to increase vehicle production in the United States, it will be adding new model to its lineup - the new BMW X6. The vehicle will be manufactured in Spartanburg from 2008 onwards.

The BMW X6 is a full-size luxury crossover SUV to be released as a 2009 model. The vehicle, which has been in works for years, is inspired by the BMW X5 platform. The X6, dubbed as a SAV coupe, is now made sleeker and sportier than its X5 sibling. It will serve same function in the automaker's lineup as the 6 Series - an upscale coupe version of the high-volume 5 Series.

Though wrapped in hard body panels, it is obvious that the BMW X6 will have a lower stance and a sloping roof. The new crossover SUV is expected to give up the third row seats featured in the X5. This is to be done in favor of a tighter four passenger setup. The rest of dimensions of the vehicle as well as the drivetrain choices will resemble its BMW X5 sibling closely. Highland mats could keep grime, filth, oil, water, and dirt away from the vehicle. But no amount of precaution could keep prying eyes off the gorgeous BMW addition.

BMW said it expects pretax profit this year to rise above the 4.12 billion euros ($5.43 billion) it posted in 2006 on the expectations of increased auto sales.

Additionally, the company reported a 28 percent gain in net profit to 2.87 billion euros ($3.79 billion (2.87 billion euros). The increase was attributed to the one-time gain from the sale of a stake in British aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce PLC. Shares of BMW were up 1.4 percent to 41.09 euros ($54.17) in Frankfurt trading.

The Euro has been running powerful and steady against the U.S. dollar. It is up more than 14 percent in recent months. Last Thursday, the 13-nation Euro purchased $1.3205 in late morning European trading and it went down from $1.3227 in New York late last Wednesday.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mercedes-Benz E500 Cabriolet: All You Want In A C-CLass Packed Stylishly

It is back again and it'll deal with lots of competition from a lot of Euro convertibles. Presenting the Mercedes-Benz E-Class cabriolet! Featuring its E-Class foundations assuring that it is bigger than the CLK cabrio and that it will successfully replace, the E-Class Cabrio appears a lot like its siblings, specifically the coupe. The side profile is good-looking too and even with a top which is fabric, that has been picked to help keep the load down, the load of this vehicle is simply heavier by 120kg compared to equal hard top.

In the winter weather, you can really have a quiet driving with the roof in place similar to cruising a coupe. If the roof is lowered, it is just as awesome. And thanks to climate control, and Airscarf, one will definitely remain cozy. It also makes use of "Aircap" that is a deflector in the frame of the windscreen and a draught stop which is between the back car seats which as outlined by Merc, will minimize the wind flow and noise in the cabin at 160km/h. Nonetheless, this automobile is centered on unperturbed development since it isn't a real sports car but a luxury GT. Just simply look at the large steering wheel if you'd like proof!

With a three-link front, multi linked suspensions in the rear, together with features which make it obvious that a lot of money has been spent on the car, it's really a fantastic drive. There are much more great features like cruise control with automatic following, a rear view camera, park control, drowsiness detector, TV tuner, temperature controlled seats, auto headlights, and a lot more.

Step on the accelerator and you will definitely discover its 51:49-front to rear equilibrium providing an enjoyable agility. This vehicle navigates corners precisely using speed sensitive guiding and also dynamic dampers assist. And although there's a hint where the strong engine may well take control of the rear, the stability control though will gather up.

Nevertheless, in spite of its undoubted capability and minimal flex for a drop-top, this particular car never truly feels light-footed. It's not a big surprise though, since it weighs in at 1840kg. This car isn't as hardcore as the engine indicates nor the reality that this engine is not actually brand new won't make an impression on its buyers. They're going to still adore the muffled gurgle of its 5.4-litre V8 engine as well as the delivered acceleration. On top of it all, who will not enjoy all the extravagance of an E-Class sedan that's packaged more stylishly?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Two Deaths on the Same Afternoon

I guess it's not unusual for two people you know to die at the same time. It happens and it happened to me the other day...

The first was Dr. J. I knew him when I worked in the local hospital as a Grief Counselor and Pastoral Care Coordinator. I worked critical care and the emergency room. Dr. J was arrogant, wealthy and somehow oblivious to all the death he dealt with every day. Not that he wasn't a good doctor; I suppose in terms of skills he was as good as the next one in line. But like many so-called caring professionals he was driven by one bottom line...his.

He drove a fancy Euro sedan and always wore lots of gold jewelry. He seemed to be one of those that if he has it, he has to flaunt it. To him, everyone that wasn't a doctor was simply in the wrong caste and wrong social level. Simple employees were definitely not worth much on his social status scale.

When I quit the hospital I opened up a used car lot and became a used car dealer. I also ran an auto repair shop and got to know the Mrs. Dr. J. She was a whiny, neurotic bundle of nerves that always was in a dither about something on her car or in her personal life.

She would complain that the good Dr. J was not giving her enough allowance and it was through this happy couple that I first began to see the California 'non-divorced though divorced' status: couples living together that can't stand each other. But hey, one has to have their priorities straight, no? After all, it's all about the money, honey.

California is a common property state and by law assets are split down the middle in a divorce case. Over the years I saw many male business men that were set back 10-15 years in their businesses by a divorce.

The smarter ones simply did not divorce and that was the route the good Dr. J chose. He told his 'ex' that he was not going to divorce her but would give her a monthly allowance instead. I forget what that amount was but it was a nice pension for having lived with the presumptuous Dr. J for some 20 years.

Of course it wasn't nearly enough to cover what she felt were her necessities let alone what she 'deserved'. She was always stressing over her 'baby' car and bringing it in for rattles and other imagined problems. I suppose she must have been very foxy when younger but at this point in her life she was simply dull and dingy.

We always charged her to look especially since I had to spend a lot of time on her explaining why many of her car problems were imagined. I expect that in her distorted world there were many other things that were imagined as well...perhaps even her marriage to Dr. J was imagined.

So the good Dr. J died and went to wherever and I just hope he managed to salvage a few assets and status perks that he could take with him...and I wonder if she went to the funeral. I sure didn't. I sometimes would wonder how great it would be if wherever they went they in the afterlife they went together.

The other death was Sarah Teal. Oddly enough I met her ex before her but like so many people I have come across I got to know her pretty well by connecting the dots and pieces of her psyche over an extended period of time. Connecting dots is a not a too hidden secret for understanding human psychology and honing people skills.

Sarah was so sweet...always had a smile and a good word for others even if her day and life were going sideways and she seemed to have more than her share of sideways days.

I sold her two cars, the second a low mileage Euro sedan I bought at Golden Gate car auction that she just loved. The car was from Alaska and had one of those electric plugs sticking out of the grill to preheat the engine on subzero mornings. She probably drove that car a good ten years and I would see it and her all over town with the electric plug sticking out of her grill.

She even got me to help her out feeding the homeless at the local center. Unlike Dr. J, she truly felt all people were the same and there was no such thing as castes or social strata.

She recovered from her lousy marriage and managed to bring up her two kids by herself with dad taking them an afternoon a month. Some dads are such duds and she sure married one. I have come to since realize that who one marries is absolutely critical as it can take decades to recover from a bad marriage especially if children are involved.

Sarah had even dated some of my old friends trying to find a Mr. Right if there is such a thing. I remember she went out with one of my oddball friends she met at one of our famous Solstice parties. She said he grabbed her on the first date and she whacked him. Needless to say they only went out once and I always felt badly that they met at our party.

I last saw her less than a year ago in the parking lot at the mall. She had remarried and moved to Carmel and her new Mr. Right seemed like a really nice guy...something she really deserved and I was so happy for her. She showed me her newly constructed teeth and was so happy about them and her willpower to stop smoking cigarettes to keep those teeth sparkling white.

I guess her teeth stayed white but years of chain smoking had damaged her lungs and she died of lung cancer. I couldn't remember the exact ages of her kids but both were adults at least so they could fend for themselves...who knows what happened to dad.

Such is life and such is death. In the end I suppose we all get what we deserve...I just hope my friend Sarah Teal got what she deserved and that jerk Dr. J what he deserved.

And maybe, just maybe, there is some sort of justice after all.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Vauxhall - A Marvel of British Auto Engineering

VAUXHALL manufactures many models, many of which are not in production. Listed below are some famous models

The Vauxhall ASTRA 5Dr Hatchback is a wonderful vehicle. It is stylish and efficient. However finding the spare parts for this vehicle might pose you some challenge. Therefore it will be best if you search for the spare parts online. Most of the sites that deal with spare parts will have the parts that you want.

The Vauxhall is British automobile brands that are a part of Gm's brand of vehicles in Europe. Most of these vehicles are right handed versions of Gm's Opel brand of vehicles. The brand is however also known to produce left hand vehicles that are used to export in the European market. The CORSA 3Dr Hatchback from Vauxhall is a very popular vehicle out of Vauxhall stable. The classy design makes it a good vehicle for everyday use. Also the vehicle is very efficient. The spare parts of this vehicle are available online so you don't have to go hunting for them in the market.

The Vauxhall brand is a part of the GM Euro group. It is a British brand of vehicles that can be most commonly classified to have cars that are right handed version of the Opel which also belongs to GM. However the brand also produces left hand drive vehicles that are used for export in the European market. The Vauxhall VECTRA 5Dr Hatchback is one of the most popular cars among the enthusiasts of the Vauxhall brand. The car is stylish and elegant. Also the car is very comfortable. The spare parts of this vehicle can be a little hard to obtain but they can be easily found on the internet.

Vauxhall is a British brand of vehicles that is one of the market leaders in the automobile field in Europe. The vehicles mostly resemble Opel's models because most of them are right hand versions of Opel's models. However the brand also produces left hand drive vehicles for export in the continent of Europe. The ZAFIRA 5Dr Estate out of the Vauxhall stable is a very spacious vehicle and perfect for you if you have big family and love going on road trips. If the spare parts of this vehicle are not available in your area then you can easily obtain them from the internet through sites that deal with spare parts.

The British brand of Vauxhall is one of the biggest brands of vehicles in the continent of Europe. They are known to manufacture both right hand and left hand drive vehicles. The left hand drive vehicles are for export in the European market. The right hand vehicles are mostly a subsidiary version of Gm's Opel. The OMEGA 4Dr Saloon from Vauxhall is a classic saloon that was very popular at a period of time. If you own this vehicle and are finding it hard to get spare parts then you should try ordering them from the internet. This will save from all the trouble of searching for them in the market.

One of the biggest brands of cars under the GM Europe name is the Vauxhall. This brand makes both the right hand and the left hand drive vehicles. Many performance vehicles that are made from open performance center are also modified by this brand. Both Vauxhall and open are owned by GM. The FRONTERA 5Dr Estate from Vauxhall is a big spacious family vehicle that can also be effectively used in crowded roads. The inside is spacious and comfortable. The spare parts for this vehicle can be obtained online without any difficulties. You just need to find a site that deals with Vauxhall spare parts.

Vauxhall Motors is an automobile manufacturing company set in the United Kingdom. It is a part of the General Motors Corporation. The company was founded by Alexander Wilson in 1857. It has its headquarters in Luton, England, UK. Besides manufacturing automobiles, the company has also sponsored the Football Conference from 1986 to 1998. The Vauxhall CAVALIER 5Dr Hatchback is another beauty from the Vauxhall stable. This classic vehicle can be quite difficult to maintain these days though because of the unavailability of the spare parts. However these can be easily found on the internet on sites that deal with car spare parts and accessories.

Vauxhall Motors is an automobile company of British origin incorporated in 1857 by Alexander Wilson. Headquartered in Luton, England, this company has been a subsidiary of GM Europe and has become one of the leading manufacturing companies today. Many of the automobiles produced by Vauxhall are majorly derived from the Opel brand of GM. The TIGRA 2Dr Coupe from Vauxhall is one of the most popular cars out of the Vauxhall stable. The car is a beauty and is also very efficient. However the spare parts can be a little difficult to find in the market. However these spare parts are easily available online and can be ordered on your doorstep.

Having its headquarters in Luton, England, Vauxhall Motors has made it big in the list of the top automobile manufacturing companies of the world. Incorporated by Alexander Wilson in 1857, the company was originally called Alex Wilson and Company, then Vauxhall Iron Works and later came to be known as Vauxhall Motors. The MOVANO LWB from Vauxhall is a very popular truck that has many commercial uses. The vehicle is spacious and also fuel efficient. Also the vehicle can be easily navigated through traffic. The spare parts of this vehicle are available on the internet on sites dealing with spare parts and other accessories.

Vauxhall Motors is one of the leading automobile manufacturing companies in the world. Being a major part of the Opel brand of General Motors Corporation (GM), Vauxhall has produced a lot of automobiles over the years. Some famous models are Tigra, Movano and Vivaro. Vauxhall Motors was launched in 1857 by Alexander Wilson. The VIVARO 2900 from Vauxhall is a spacious and efficient truck that is used for many commercial purposes. Also the vehicle is quite rugged. If you are looking for spare parts for this vehicle then you can easily obtain them from the internet and have them delivered at your door step.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Investing in the Czech Republic - Outside of Prague - Part 3: Ostrava Property

In the North American school system students seeking to be the best strive for an 'A' grade. However, the school system is not the end of the drive to be the best and earn an 'A' grade. Letter grades are used by rating agencies to rank communities in terms of investment risk.

Ostrava, in recent times, received an 'A3' grade from Moody's Investors Service.

What does this mean to you as a potential investor? What are the other indicators which would point to the health and prospects of Ostrava's property market?

What does this rating actually mean?

There are 25 rankings from Moodys in the investor services, an 'A3' is seventh from the top and is defined as an upper-medium grade. A similar grading company, Standard and Poors, also gave Ostrava an 'A' ranking based on their grading system.

What will that mean for the city?

Some investors will only look at cities with 'A' ratings. It is an indicator of the financial and fiscal health of the community.

Since the restructuring of the industry in the 1990s, the economic platform of the city has changed substantially. In fact, most of its incomes are no longer dependent on local economic conditions.

Ostrava, in receiving this rating, achieved the identical level of rating as other mid-sized cities in Central Europe. Brno, for example, also received an 'A3' rating (for a complete discussion of Brno property and economic developments visit our feature on Brno property.)

Let's go through some other indicators as to the investment potential for this Northern Moravian city.

Area: 214 km2

Population (latest data April, 2004): 315 000

Road Distance from important European and Czech cities:

City / kms

Brno / 170

Olomouc / 93

Prague / 360

Vienna / 310

Bratislava / 300

Warsaw / 300

Budapest / 389

Berlin / 540

Paris / 1 500

With the completion of the D-47 highway the infrastructure capacity will greatly increase as well as the ease of travel. Travel time to the Czech capital, Prague, will be shortened to a little over three hours.

Air Transportation:

Ostrava - Mosnov International Airport is located 25 km from the city centre. It is the biggest regional airport in the Czech Republic with a capacity of more than one million passengers per year (current actual figures are just over 200 000 per year and expected to triple next year) and a runway 3500m in length and 63m wide, allowing it to accommodate the world's largest airplanes. Currently it caters to both domestic and international flights.

Although there are currently not any well-known low cost carriers flying into Ostrava we expect it will only be a matter of time.

Average monthly salary for Ostrava region (2004): 18 966 CZK

Average monthly salary for Czech Republic (2004): 18 582 CZK

Average monthly salary for Czech Republic (2005 2nd Q): 18 763 CZK

Education: 16.3% of residents in Ostrava have University level education compared to 9.4% Czech wide.

Average temperature in January: - 2°C to -4°C

Average temperature in July: 15°C to 19°C

(hey, some investors want to know this....)


Industrial production has always had a strong factor in the economy of the Ostrava region. Mainly its been based on the excavation and processing of coal and on related branches - metallurgy, the coking industry, the chemical industry, electric power generation, civil engineering and heavy engineering. Metallurgy and heavy engineering remain the largest employers in the City.

Some of the Largest Employers in Ostrava

Employer / Business / Activity / Employees (Jan. 2004)

Mittal Steel Ostrava a.s. / Metallurgical production, manufacture of metallurgical and engineering final products / 10 968

Faculty Hospital / Healthcare / 3 180

Czech Railways / Transportation and communication / 3 075

Vitkovice Machining / Machining and Metallurgy / 2 697

Vitkovice Steel / Metal production, processing / 1 682

Ostrava Blast Furnace / Metals and coking-chemical production / 1 305

Foreign Investors in Ostrava

(by no means comprehensive, only a sampling)

Investor (Country) / Business Activity / Employees (Jan. 2004)

Mittal Steel Ostrava a.s. (UK) / Metallurgical production, manufacture of metallurgical and engineering final products / 10 968

Vitkovice Tube Mill, a.s. (Cypress) / Steel tube production / 932

Dalkia Ceska republika, a.s.(France) / Heating and Electrical Production / 697

BorsodChem MCHZ, s.r.o. (Hungary) / Chemical production / 623

Tesco Stores CR a.s. (UK) / Retail / 580

Ahold Czech Republic, a.s. (Holland) / Retail / 529

Hayes Lemmerz Autokola, a.s. (USA) / Production of car wheels and automobile parts / 410

Ostrava Water and Sewage, a.s. (France) / Production and delivery of drinking water, removal and cleaning of waste water / 382

Trefil a Schomberg, s.r.o. (Germany) / Plastics production / 339

Hayes Lemmerz Alukola, s.r.o. (Italy) / Automobile parts manufacturing / 310

Connex Morava a.s. (Czech Republic/France) / Road transportation / 212

Other Investment News

US based Roper Industries Inc. has decided to invest 24 mil. CZK over the next five years into a new technology centre in Ostrava where it will create 18 highly qualified jobs.

“In Ostrava we will be focusing on projects for the development and innovation of our laboratory instruments. The Ostrava centre will supplement the technology centres of our existing Instrumentation Segment operations located in the U.S., Denmark, Germany and France employing in total almost 1000 people,” commented Will Crocker, Roper’s Vice President and Group Executive for the Instrumentation Segment. “The laboratory instruments produced from the design work there will serve foremost our materialography and physical property testing markets. The results from the product development in Ostrava will be utilized by our segment’s production plants abroad where they will produce the final products.”

The new customer support centre of GE Money Multiservis for Czech and Slovak clients, a subsidiary of one of the largest and most renowned American companies will be located in Ostrava (Moravia-Silesia region) and will provide work for up to 500 qualified staff members. The total investment exceeds three million euro.

"Our primary reason for opening the new centre is the growth of GE Money in the Czech Republic,“ says Jiri Pathy, Chairman of the Board and General Director of GE Money Multiservis, the company in charge of developing the new centre within GE Money group. "In order to maintain a high standard of services, we will gradually increase the number of staff who are responsible for operating GE Money group and caring for its customers. The new customer service centre allows us to continue to fully meet our customers‘ needs,“ adds Jiri Pathy.

Taiwan-based ASUSTeK COMPUTER INC. is in the process of constructing a new plant and repair center in Ostrava. Investment into the facilities will reach 20 million EUR and eventually at least 1300 employees will work be employed. The centre should produce up to 200 thousand personal computers per month and the capacity of the repair centre should reach 50 thousand computers per month.

“The important factors in deciding on the location of this plant were mainly the preparedness of the industrial park in Ostrava-Hrabová and the proximity to the Technical University of Ostrava with which we intend to closely cooperate. We are interested in their graduates and would like to take part in creating specific study programs for their electrical engineering departments. We are already considering moving part of our technology-driven activities to the Czech Republic,” said George Wu, Associate Vice President of ASUSTeK COMPUTER INC.

The best quality and most beneficial industrial zones in the Czech Republic were handed awards by the Czech ministers. The fifth annual “Industrial Zone of the Year” awards were presented according to the recommendations of the Ministry of Industry & Trade and CzechInvest in cooperation with the Association for Foreign Investment (AFI) and partners in the “Partnership to Support Foreign Direct Investment in the Czech Republic”.

The award for Industrial Zone with the Most Economic Benefits was given to the "Cernovicka terasa" Industrial Zone in Brno, while the Zone with the Most Social Benefit in 2004 was the Ostrava Hrabova Industrial Zone - 1st Stage. The Industrial Zone with the Best Town Planning Solution is being prepared by a private developer in Ostrava -– CTPark Ostrava, and the “Brownfield of the Year” was won by the Skoda Plzen Industrial Zone.

American company CTS Corporation declared plans to invest nearly 22 million dollars into a new facility in the Ostrava region of the Czech Republic. CTS Corporation is a leading designer and producer of electronic components for the automotive and electronics industry. Their main customers are Siemens, Magneti Marelli, Pierburg, Toyota, Renault and Nissan.

The new facility is expected to employ over 160 people within three years. Production in the new plant is targeted for as early as June 2006.

“This investment in the Czech Republic will enable us to raise our production capacity and better serve the European market, which at present is supplied mainly from our plant in Great Britain,” commented Ron Bell, Director of CTS’s European Automotive Operations, and added: “In the Ostrava facility we will be producing electro – mechanical sub - systems and sensors for the auto industry.”

Ostrava Property Figures

Apartment and Flat Rentals in CZK per month (2005 1st Q):

(average range - exceptions can be found either way)

Size / CZK per month

1 + 1 (studio or bachelor) / 4 000 - 5 500

2 + 1 (1 bedroom) / 5 000 - 7 000

3 + 1 (2 bedroom) / 7 000 - 9 000

4 + 1 (3 bedroom) / 8 000 - 11 000

House Sales in thousands of CZK per flat (2005 1st Q):

(average range - exceptions can be found either way)

Size / New Build (ave. 17 000 CZK/m2) / Heritage Building

1 + 1 (studio or bachelor) / 650 - 950 / 350 - 700

2 + 1 (1 bedroom) / 800 - 1 200 / 500 - 800

3 + 1 (2 bedroom) / 1 300 - 2 500 / 700 - 1 200

4 + 1 (3 bedroom) / 1 800 - 3 000 / 1 200 - 2 100

Property Examples

(common closing prices are commonly 5 - 10% less than the asking price)

Property Description / Link

Studio (1 + 1) flat right in the center of Ostrava. 37 m2. Completely reconstructed. Floor 5 of 5 with an elevator. Asking price: 395 000 CZK / Ostrava Property Example 1

2 bedroom (3 + 1) completely reconstructed. Floor 1/3. 76 m2. The price includes a garage. Asking price: 1 260 000 CZK / Ostrava Property Example 2

More examples added regularly...

As we’ve emphasized before, at Czech Point 101 we are not going to over-inflate figures or try to sell you on hyped up facts. Our goal is to inform you to make the best investment decisions possible.

Recommended Reference Websites

Ostrava city website []

Ostrava Airport []

Ostrava Hrabová Industrial Zone []

The sources for this newsletter include the Ostrava city and CzechInvest.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Audi A1 Is A Premium Supermini For Less

The Audi A1 is the most direct rival for MINI in the super-mini market. Don't be fooled by the smaller size, the A1 is packed with all the features of any big car. The drive of A1 is great, the interior is of high quality and even the entry level models come with a decent amount of kit. The first look of an Audi A1 will make you want one. Alloys come as standard with all models. Audi also gives plenty of options to customise the look including silver roof rails and many metallic colours to choose from. A1 also gets LED day time running lights and you can also choose the decals which will make it look like a Quattro rally car.

These options are great, but going for these means the car will cost much more than the standard versions. The sporty S Line models are equipped with a sporty body-kit and suspension and the 17 inch alloy-wheels. The Audi A1 might not be the best super-mini to drive but the driving experience is still enjoyable, thanks to the excellent road grip, much responsive steering and great body control. It has a firm suspension and it gets even stiffer in Sport and S-line models. It shows itself while driving on the bumpy streets, but take it on to the motorway and you are in for a comfortable ride with great all round visibility making Audi A1 very easy to park car.

The Audi A1 engines are smooth and refined. The engine options include 1.2 litre with 85bhp, a 120bhp 1.4 and 183bhp 1.4 in petrols and a 1.4bhp 1.6 litre diesel. Don't underestimate the 1.2, it gives a perfect drive on the motorway and provides the best steering among all models thanks to its light weight. The 120bhp 1.4 returns the best cost and performance balance. Apart from the 1.4, the engines get a 5 speed gearbox, which has a six speeder or seven speeder twin clutch auto. Audi A1 has been awarded with five star Euro NCAP rating. The standard safety features include six airbags and electric stability control. It uses the same underpinnings of Seat Ibiza which has a good reliability record. Audi scored 15th position in the Auto Express Driver Power Survey.

The interior boasts all Audi features. The materials used are of high quality and plastics are soft to touch. The air vents are chrome trimmed. Overall the cabin has a premium feel and A1 beats easily its direct rival MINI in this regard. The most eye catching is the pop up LCD display which comes with the top end models. The Audi 1 is much spacious than the MINI, there is enough leg and head room for the rear and front passengers. The rear seats can easily accommodate two tall adults. The Boot space is 270 litres-110 litres more than MINI- that increases to 920 litres when the back seats are folded flat.

Audi A1 gives an excellent fuel economy and the carbon emissions are much lower. The best performer is 1.6 diesel that returns an amazing 74mpg with 99g/km of CO2, keeping it just under the 100g/km barrier, hence it qualifies for free road tax. The 1.2 petrol gives 55mpg and emits 118g/km of carbon while 1.4 petrol posts 53mpg and emits124g/km of CO2. Audi offers fixed price service plans that help in keeping the running costs low. Plus A1 has good residual values. All of these factors make Audi A1 a good value for money super-mini.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Audi 100 Coupe S

In order to increase production volumes and to meet growing demand of VW Beetle model (also known as Käfer), Volkswagen corporation (hereinafter - VW) came into purchase-sales contract with Daimler-Benz in 1964 and acquired new factory in Ingolstadt as well as ownership of trademarks (Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer) of Auto Union GmbH. Since the "beetles" were stamped at a very high speed, working in one factory in several shifts, the main object of the mentioned contract was additional production line rather than increase of model line-up. On the contrary, VW boss Heinrich Nordhoff planned to discontinue further development of Audi and DKW, because the sales of DKW F102 and Audi F103 models were very low.

Dr. Ludwig Kraus held position of development director at Auto Union in those days. This man was initiator of development of new Audi model, which concept was unveiled for VW administration at the final stage only. Heinrich Nordhoff was fascinated by Audi future vision, and "blessed" developing model to see the day light. Since the model received 100 hp aggregate, the new Audi car was symbolically named as "100". Inside the company the model had C1 initials.

Dr. Ludwig Kraus is referred as to "dr. Audi" by some Audi fans, because they believe Audi could have been forgotten without efforts of this person. As the future will show, initiative of Ludwig Kraus inspired the appearance of one of the most successful Audi models ever built.

Closer look to Audi 100 Coupe S
Official debut of Audi 100 Coupe S (hereinafter - Coupe S) was held at International Frankurt Motorshow in 1969. The car featured four-speed manual gearbox and ventilated front disc brakes. These features were not unnecessary luxury components, since the car was able to make 185 km/h (115 mph) top speed what was high achievement at that time. The car also had wider tires, a variable-height steering wheel, tachometer, digital clock and upgraded interior equipment and trim. Power steering was available option from 1973. Though car specification showed Coupe S is a four-seater, the comfortable ride on the back seats was limited by car height (133 cm / 52,36'' ).

1 871 ccm, 4-cylinder engine (115 hp) with two carburetors was originally fitted into Audi 100 Coupe S. "Thanks" to carburetors, the appetite of the car was near 17 liters/ 100 km (13,84 mpg), while CO² emission didn't pass the standards set in certain countries. Starting from 1971, the same engine with one carburetor was offered, what affected lower fuel consumption and slight power decrease.

The car was in production till 1976 and 30 687 exemplars were built in total. The production was canceled due to low sales figures, what was influenced by price increase. Raising the prices was a must for Audi, since manufacture costs were constantly growing. The last Audi 100 Coupe S models were priced at 19.350 DM in Germany, what is ~ 4.000 DM more comparing to the prices in 1970.

Typical Audi 100 Coupe S problems
1,9 L engine does not require any serious investments up to 150 000 km (94 000 miles). Additional liter of engine oil may be necessary in-between changing periods from 100 000 km (62 000 miles); however this problem is solved after replacement of valve seals. The drivers should constantly check engine oil pressure. There were some accidents when the engine oil leaked out because the screws of oil pan got unscrewed. The engine is also sensitive to overheating.

Transmission is a weak point of the car. Synchronizer rings are often replaced within 100 000 km (62 000 miles). The very first sign of this defect is more difficult shifting from 1st to 2nd gear. It should be also taken care on brake master cylinder, which is prone to rust.

The body of Coupe S is Achilles heel. Typical places where rust can be found are: sills, beside the pillar A, metal part under the main console. Due to the moisture under the battery, which is located under the back seat, the floor often becomes rusty on that area.

1971-1973 models had sound insulating mat, which was fixed on the front side of the bulkhead between engine and cabin. After few tenths thousands of miles this mat "acted" as a bath sponge and reliably kept moisture, dirtiness. For this reason, the first work of restoration is the removal of this mat.

The rear axle of the car is also week in respect of corrosion. It is very likely that rust already done a great job and eaten all the mounting screws.

In accordance with the above stated, many technical defects can be removed at low costs, so the main focus should be on body condition.

About the value
About 90 percent of survived Audi 100 Coupe S can be found in Germany. Up to 100 exemplars belong to the owners from England, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland. Based on the existing offers in the end of 2011, mint condition Coupe S can be purchased for € 13.000-16.000 and model which require restoration are available for € 4.000-7.000.

Final word
This car undoubtedly brought Audi to the new level and when considering relatively low production volumes, current Coupe S owners may be proud of having the part of Audi history.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Mercedes-Benz to Unveil its Vision C 220 BLUETEC at the Geneva Motor Show

For the Geneva Motors Show, Mercedes-Benz--a German brand name of automobiles, trucks, coaches, buses and quality Mercedes auto parts like Mercedes ball joints-- has lined up a treat for car enthusiasts. And to start with it will present its highly environmentally compatible BLUETEC emission control technology which is combined with a four-cylinder engine that provides an amazing amount of fuel economy that will surely be a first in the industry. The Vision C 220 BLUETEC is also designed in compliance with the even made stricter EURO 6 emission standard which is going to be implemented to all new vehicles in Europe from 2015.

The Vision C 220 BLUETEC can rev up 125kW or 170 hp and delivers a potent torque of 400 Nm. It is also a remarkable fuel-saver requiring only 5.5 liters of diesel per hundred kilometers traveled and this is due to the modified diesel engine technology and intelligent system of energy management.

According to Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of DaimlerChrysler AG and Head of the Mercedes Car Group, "The sophisticated four-cylinder diesel engine with BLUETEC emission control is a prime example of leading-edge, future-compatible technology. Our diesel strategy is an effective answer to the question of how to save fuel and, therefore, CO2, how to further reduce all exhaust emissions including Nox and yet still ensure effortlessly superior driving employment. In this respect, we believe our state-of-the-art diesel concept is currently the best and most efficient solution available."

The Vision C 220 BLUETEC is Mercedes-Benz way of showing the public of the remarkable development and advancement that would transpire within the carmaker for the coming years. The BLUETEC initiative was first launch in the US last autumn with the introduction of the E 320 BLUETEC in North America. The debut of the Vision C 220 BLUETEC at the Geneva Motor Show will be the second world debut for Mercedes-Benz BLUETEC initiative.

The E 320 BLUETEC that was earlier introduced in the US last October 2006 was presented in conjunction with the introduction of low-sulphur diesel in US. The E 320 has a fuel consumption of 6.7 liters per hundred kilometers traveled making it as one of the most economical vehicles in its class in the US. The E 320 is also the first four-cylinder BLUETEC model created by Mercedes-Benz which clearly illustrates the remarkable innovative technology that the automaker has. Mercedes' BLUETEC initiative will also be introduced in other markets but at present it is adapted in Europe to meet market requirements.

Friday, November 8, 2013

What's Under the Hood of Mercedes-Benz Vision C 220 BLUETEC

Last week, DaimlerChrysler AG's Mercedes-Benz luxury car division unveiled for the first time the Vision C 220 BLUETEC in front of the European crowd at the recent 77e Salon International de l'Auto Geneve (77th annual Geneva International Motor Show). The Vision C 220 BLUETEC joins the company's vehicle lineup of C-Class models. Aside from the overall sleek exterior appearance along with the car's luxurious and elegant interior amenities, the Vision C 220 BLUETEC's key feature is under its hood.

The Mercedes-Benz Vision C 220 BLUETEC is equipped with the cleanest diesel engine in the world, according to the German automaker. The 4-cylinder engine is capable of pumping out 170 horsepower (125 kW) and produces 295 pound-feet (400 Nm) amount of peak torque. The engine complies with the most stringent emissions standard in the world including the EURO 6 standard and the BIN 5 emissions standard for all 50 states. Even with low fuel consumption and lower exhaust emission, the Mercedes-Benz Vision C 220 BLUETEC still offers impressive handling and driving performance.

DaimlerChrysler AG has developed the BLUTEC clean diesel technology to reduce the diesel nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. Like all other standard Mercedes-Benz production engines, the diesel engine onboard the Vision C 220 BLUETEC has a four-cylinder powertrain system. The drivetrain includes four valves per cylinder, third-generation direct common-rail injection system, turbocharger with a variable nozzle turbine and exhaust gas recirculation. An electronic engine management unit is also included to monitor the engine's operating conditions, thus improving the combustion process, provides better fuel economy up to 5.5 liters of diesel per 62 miles (100 km), and most of all, offers reduced harmful nitrous oxide exhaust emissions. The diesel engine for the Vision C 220 BLUETEC is also equipped with diesel particulate filter and bunch of Mercedes catalytic converters that helps to further reduce emissions.

The BLUETEC diesel engine was also included in Ward's 10 Best Engines list for 2007.

How does the BLUETEC clean diesel technology work? First, the system uses an oxidizing Mercedes-Benz catalytic converter that functions to reduce carbon monoxide (CO) and unburnd hydrocarbon (HC) contents from the exhaust. Next, another catalytic converter called the DeNOx removes oxides with the help of a particulate filter. Lastly, a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) catalytic converter converts the other nitrogen oxides into pure nitrogen and water, with the injection of AdBlue, a urea-based material that helps to the conversion process.

Meanwhile, according to Mercedes-Benz, they are planning to offer three model classes equipped with BLUETEC diesel engines to roll out in the U.S. market. These include the R-Class crossover SUV, M-Class 4-door SUV, and the GL-Class full size luxury crossover SUV.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Road Test and Review of the Volkswagen Tiguan 1.4 TSI Trend & Fun

A combination of the words 'tiger' and 'leguan' (German for 'iguana'), the name 'Tiguan' was chosen from VW's shortlist after the company received around 350,000 suggestions from readers of the German magazine, Auto Bild. We like the name, especially since others under consideration were Rockton, Nanuk, Samun and Namib.

With its somewhat muscular and purposeful stance, unique front and rear-ends, the Volkswagen Tiguan Trend & Fun is refreshing to look at when compared to other compact SUV's such as BMW's aging X3 and Honda's ugly duckling, the CR-V. The Trend & Fun specification model comes with VW's 16-inch San Francisco wheels, although there are some good looking 19″ alternatives available. The chrome grill surround, colour coded exterior mirrors and door handles, are standard across the range. Overall the Tiguan is well proportioned and stands out on the road.

Once inside you are hugged by supportive front seats. The optional electric seat adjustment on our test car meant an almost infinite number of driving positions are available and, when combined with the optional heated seats, made for a very comfortable journey, especially in the Cape winter. The interior is luxuriously appointed and we found the fit and finish to be excellent. The controls are in the right places and easy to use. The touch-screen radio is user-friendly and the 8-speaker system provides good sound quality, especially if you have an MP3 player, which connects via the auxillary connection in the centre armrest.

Rear passengers have ample leg room and a centre armrest with two cup holders. The rear seats are foldable in a 60/40 split, have recliner adjustment, and another feature is that they are longitudinally adjustable, i.e slide forwards and backwards. Boot space is 471-litres, or 1 510-litres with the seats folded forward, and should be enough for luggage for four, or your monthly shopping. Numerous safety-features including 6 air bags; anti-lock brakes; electronic stability programme; side impact protection and Isofix anchor points in the rear - which are all standard across the Tiguan range - contribute to its 5-star Euro NCAP rating.

At 200 mm, the Volkswagen Tiguan 1.4 TSI Trend & Fun has a fair amount of ground clearance when compared to others in its class. The ride height gives one a good all-round view of the road, however the relatively chunky c-pillar can be an obstacle on occasion. When combined with VW's permanent four-wheel drive (4Motion) the Tiguan has the credentials, on paper at least, to deliver a competent off-road drive. However, and this is generally the case with the majority of SUV owners, we didn't get to test it. Like most Tiguan drivers our time was spent almost exclusively in the urban jungle and on the black stuff. But the Tiguan feels at home on the tar. The ride is firm but comfortable and the 4Motion provides sure-footed progress, especially in the wet. Steering is direct and well weighted when on the move, thanks to the speed-sensitive power steering. However, we felt that the steering could've been lighter when maneuvering around town or in tight places.

Giving the Tiguan its legs is the world's first direct-injection petrol engine with twin charging technology. The 1,4-litre engine boasts both a turbocharger and a mechanically driven supercharger. This innovative combination ensures power delivery throughout the rev range with little or no turbo lag and equates to more power but with better fuel consumption than a similarly powerful 2,0-litre motor. The 1,4-litre TSI produces 110kW at 5 800 rpm and a healthy 240 Nm of torque between 1 750 and 4 000 rpm. Although peak power is produced relatively high up the rev range, the good spread of torque makes the Tiguan an enjoyable drive - and this is the little 1,4-litre's ace. At highway speeds you can cruise comfortably in 6th gear and cruise up most hills without having to stir the gearbox. Even when driving at urban speeds, the motor pulls in 5th and 6th gears from 80 km/h without complaint. The motor is responsive and speaks to the driver with a tenacious little growl. It's just a pity the gearbox isn't as slick as the engine it's mated to. We found it to be notchy and, when hustled through the gears, somewhat clumsy.

We like...

  • Styling.
  • Well appointed interior.
  • Firm but comfortable ride.
  • Quality fit and finish usually associated with more expensive cars.
  • Great 'little' TSI engine, with its responsiveness and tenacious growl.
We would like...

  • Traditional parking brake, as opposed to the electronic one fitted, which seemed to behave inconsistently.
  • Better synchro'd manual gearbox, or VW's accomplished DSG automatic.
  • Lighter steering at slow speed.
  • An auto-folding function for the relatively bulbous side mirrors - think tight parking spots or busy on-street parking.
Quick Facts

  • Engine Capacity: 1 390 cm³
  • No. Of Cylinders: 4-cylinders, in-line
  • Aspiration: Supercharged & Turbocharged
  • Power: 110 kW @ 5 800rpm
  • Torque: 240 Nm @ 1 750 - 4 000rpm
  • Drive type: Permanent four-wheel
  • Acceleration: 0-100 km/h in 9.6 seconds (claimed)
  • Top Speed: 192 km/h (claimed)
  • Fuel Consumption: 8.4 l/100km (claimed combined)