KIA CROSS GT Concept - Teaser image 

Just ahead of the 2013 Chicago Auto Show, Kia Motors America is revealing a sneak peek of its next stunning concept, the Cross GT.

Inspired by nature, driven by technology, the Cross GT hints at the future of Kia's design language in the form of a premium Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV) that is larger than the new 2013 Sorento.

[Source : KIA]



  • Powerful 2.0-litre 195PS BiTurbo diesel engine
  • Flagship diesel broadens Zafira Tourer engine portfolio
  • Priced from £27,685 on-the-road
  • Available to order now with first deliveries in spring
Following in the tyre tracks of the Astra and Insignia BiTurbo models, Vauxhall has introduced state-of-the-art, sequential twin-turbo diesel technology to the Zafira Tourer range.

Powered by 2.0-litre 195PS diesel engine, the Zafira Tourer BiTurbo has a maximum speed of 135mph and can achieve 0-60mph in just 8.5 seconds, making it one of the fastest diesel-powered, seven-seat MPVs on the market. Start/Stop technology also helps the BiTurbo achieve an impressive combined fuel economy figure of just 50.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 149g/km.

Sophisticated sequential BiTurbo technology provides a high power output, an instantaneous throttle response and extraordinary pulling power from a wide torque plateau. It expands the Zafira Tourer’s broad powertrain offer which now comprises four diesel and two petrol engines.

The Zafira Tourer BiTurbo is available in either SE, SRi or Elite trims with a range of options including FlexRide adaptive chassis control system, AFL adaptive forward lighting system and a panoramic windscreen which floods the cabin with natural light.

Extra flexibility inside the Zafira Tourer is provided by the new generation Flex7 seating system, including the unique lounge seating functionality which gives passengers an unprecedented amount of space in the second row.

Available to order now with prices starting from £27,685 on-the-road, the first Zafira Tourer BiTurbo models will arrive in showrooms in spring 2013.

“Vauxhall is currently the only manufacturer to offer a sophisticated BiTurbo engine on a seven-seat MPV,” said Duncan Aldred, Vauxhall’s Chairman and Managing Director. “It provides a perfect blend of high performance, impressive fuel economy and premium class quality in a seven-seat layout.”

[Source : GM via NEWSPRESS]

Ssangyong Korando S petrol: $23,990 SUV ends diesel-only local strategy

The Ssangyong Korando S petrol has launched in Australia, introducing a new low-cost entry-level variant to the compact SUV range and ending the South Korean manufacturer�??s long-running diesel-only local strategy.

Priced from $23,990 driveaway, the petrol-powered Ssangyong Korando S undercuts the base model Korando diesel by $2300, making it one of the cheapest SUVs on the market.

While the bargain basement Chery J11 is untouchable at $17,990, the new Ssangyong Korando S petrol matches the price of the Great Wall X240 and undercuts the list prices of more established players like the Nissan Dualis and the Mitsubishi ASX by $1000 and $2000 respectively.

Under the bonnet of the Korando S petrol sits a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing 109kW and 191Nm. With a combined cycle fuel consumption rating of 6.2 litres per 100km for the six-speed manual, the petrol model is bettered by its diesel counterpart by just 0.1L/100km �?" although the petrol is also 20kW/169Nm adrift in terms of engine output. A six-speed automatic is available as a $2000 option.

Standard features include cruise control, Bluetooth phone connectivity, reversing sensors and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Six airbags and electronic stability control are also standard, as is Ssangyong�??s five-year/100,000km warranty and five-year roadside assistance.

The Korando is Ssangyong�??s top-selling model in Australia and the introduction of the entry-level petrol variant is expected to see volume grow significantly. Ssangyong sold 750 Korandos across the country in 2012, up 20 per cent over the previous year.

Neville Crichton, the owner of Ssangyong�??s new Australian distributor, Ateco Automotive, said the positioning of the Korando petrol model was an expression of �??the huge commitment that both Ssangyong and Ateco are making to ensure the success of the brand in Australia�?�.

The Korando S petrol becomes Ssangyong Australia�??s first petrol model since the brand adopted its audacious diesel-only strategy in 2008. The company signalled its intentions to move away from the hard-line stance in 2011 when it changed its slogan from �??We live diesel�?? to �??A lot of car, a little price�??.

The brand is looking at other non-diesel options beyond the compact SUV range too, currently considering a 3.2-litre petrol engine for the next-generation Stavic, which is a chance to reach local showrooms before the end of the year.


2013 FAB DESIGN Emperor II

FAB DESIGN presented its first interpretation of the Porsche Cayenne already at the Geneva Motor Show in 2011. Building on the success of this model, the Swiss customization specialist unveiled its latest version at the Auto Salon that meets and exceeds all expectations – the EMPEROR II. More dynamic, more luxurious, and more sophisticated than its predecessor. A dream car for those with the highest demands on driving pleasure and individuality.

Most impressive design package

Its impressive stylistic characteristics and lift-reducing features have always been a hallmark of the FAB chassis components. The wide-body kit of the EMPEROR II is again proof of FAB DESIGN's know-how and it transforms the Porsche SUV into the centre of attention on the streets and off-road. One component of the striking front design is the spoiler that is much racier with its over-sized cooling air intakes. The two ventilation ducts on the super light, carbon re-enforced engine hood ensure additional removal of the heat accumulated in the front engine. Added width to its wings, give the EMPEROR II its highly individual flair. Supplemented by its side skirts, an impressive 130 mm are added to the production-series body, conveying a message of pure power, even if simply parked at a street corner. The FAB ultra-light carbon rear spoiler with integrated diffuser provides enough space for the sports exhaust system with its four trapeze end pipes. It flows seamlessly into the overall package of the vehicle. As an option, visible carbon parts such as rear view mirror, front lip spoiler, and diffuser can be painted in the vehicle's colours.

For the first tile, FAB-Design offers its customization programme as part of its delivery programme. This way, any specialized shop, anywhere in the world, can convert a production-line Cayenne into an EMPEROR II. The price of the body styling kit is € 16,490 net, plus shipping costs.

More torque, more driving pleasure

The impressive appearance of the EMPEROR II is supported by a wide range of power kits. For the V8 engine of the Cayenne S Diesel, this programme offers a kit consisting of a sports exhaust system, sports air filter, and an optimised engine electronic system. Compared with the production type vehicle, the power is increased by up to 35 kW/48 HP and receives an additional torque of 80 Nm. At the same time, 5 km/h is added to its top speed, reaching 257 km/h, and accelerating to 100 km/h is reduced by 5.4 seconds. Acoustically, this is emphasised by the booming sound of the FAB sports exhaust system with its four end pipes.

Wheels and chassis – components for optimised road-handling and striking visual effects

Highest technical demands, paired with jazzy elegance are the hallmark of the EMPEROR II wheel design. Not only is the look of the multi-part forged wheel with its ten double-spoke design impressive, but so is its sophisticated manufacturing quality. The drop centre rim is offered in the dimensions 10 x 22 (front) and 12 x 22 (rear). The use of ultra-light aluminium alloys and the resulting reduction of the unsprung mass, significantly improve the acceleration, the braking distance, and the handling.

As optimal tyres for the EMPEROR II, FAB DESIGN recommends Dunlop Sport Maxx: 265/35 ZR22 (front) and 305/30 ZR22 (rear). A special eye-catcher is the FAB sports module in order to control the air suspension, using XXL wheels. Upon customer request, the SUV's centre point of gravity can be lowered by 45 mm.

Interior design without limits

Only the finest materials find their way into the car's interior, ensuring the greatest sense of comfort. The leather used for seats and dashboard in the EMPEROR II interior is extremely resilient, but still tremendously soft. The FAB upholstery shop uses only immaculate skin of natural products for integration into the interior, applying the most decorative stitching.

Whether it is double clear-coat finish, leather, carbon, or Alcantara – what ever your heart's desire, it is available upon request. From personalized foot mats to complete interior leather finish, everything is made with the highest degree of craftsmanship and precision, individually designed and integrated into the vehicle.

Images : FAB DESIGN Emperor II

[Source : FAB DESIGN]


Suzuki SWIFT 

Suzuki Motor Corporation is pleased to announce that cumulative worldwide sales of Suzuki's Swift compact car, which was originally launched as a world strategic model in 2004, reached three million units in January this year (eight years and two months since the start of sales in 2004).

 The Swift reflects Suzuki's expertise in the compact car sector and its dedication to creating models which are sporty, stylish and fun to drive. The vehicle was first produced and sold in Japan as a world strategic model in November 2004. In the following year, production and distribution began in various countries, including Hungary, India and China. In March 2012, production and distribution were also launched in Thailand. Today, the Swift is a popular vehicle in more than 120 countries and regions around the world and cumulative worldwide sales have now reached the three million mark.

In Japan, the Swift won the RJC (Automotive Researchers' and Journalists' Conference of Japan) Car of the Year Award in 2006 and 2011, and the 2005-2006 Japan Car of the Year Special ‘Most Fun' Award, in addition to various Car of the Year Awards in Europe, India and other countries – an indication of the high esteem in which the Swift is held.

In the full model change of 2010, the Swift – the new standard compact car – was enhanced with the adoption of a sophisticated design which conveys a free yet stable image, underscoring the Swift's "nippy" character, and also through the improvement of overall environmental performance.

Of the three million units, approximately 13% have been sold in Japan, 45% in India and 23% in Europe.


Nov 2004: First-generation Swift – a world strategic model – is launched in Japan

Feb 2005: Production begins in Hungary

May 2005: Production begins in India

Jun 2005:     Production begins in China

Sep 2005: The Swift Sport is released in Japan

Nov 2005: The Swift wins the 2006 RJC Car of the Year Award and in 2005–2006 the Japan Car of the Year Special ‘Most Fun' Award

Jan 2006: The Swift wins the 2006 Indian Car of the Year Award

Jun 2008:     Total worldwide production reaches one million units

Jun 2010:     Production of the new (second-generation) Swift for Europe begins at Magyar Suzuki in Hungary

Sep 2010: The new (second-generation) Swift is launched in Japan

Nov 2010: The new Swift wins the 2011 RJC Car of the Year Award

Jan 2011:     Total worldwide sales reach two million units

Mar 2012: Production begins in Thailand

Jan 2013:     Total worldwide sales reach three million units

[Source : SUZUKI]

Volkswagen Golf Mk7 to launch in April with new entry model

The entry-level� Volkswagen Golf 77TSI� will be ditched when the all-new seventh-generation small car arrives here in late April.

�??We�??ve created a new entry model [and] added a lot of equipment,�?� confirmed Volkswagen Australia Group managing director Anke Koeckler. �??I can�??t say anything [more] at this stage.�?�

General manager of marketing, Jutta Friese, did however confirm that the 77TSI would not be retained in the range, saying that �??it wouldn�??t make sense�?�.

That strongly indicates that Volkswagen will choose the 1.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder with 63kW and 160Nm as its entry-level powertrain, rather than the same-sized engine tuned to deliver 77kW and 175Nm �?" outputs that match the current 77TSI �?" that is also available overseas.

Doing so would create a larger performance �??jump�?? to the 103kW/250Nm 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine that will also be available in the Golf Mk7 line-up.

Confirmed by Friese, the launch of the Mk7 in this country will herald the re-introduction of a Golf with a torsion beam rear suspension in place of the multi-link suspension used in all models since 2005, but only for the entry-level car �?" all Golfs with less than 90kW get the simpler, cheaper rear suspension design.

Questioned whether the entry Golfs may take a step backwards in terms of dynamics, Friese replied that �??I am not an engineer, I cannot say�?�. There were no entry-level Volkswagen Golf models at the international launch late last year.

Volkswagen executives wouldn�??t be drawn into pricing speculation, however the marketing boss was surprised to learn that initial rumours were that Golf prices would rise on the switch to Mk7.

Firese also acknowledged that regular driveaway pricing during the Golf Mk6 run-out period improved sales volume substantially.

�??Other manufacturers offer a really good entry driveaway deal,�?� said Friese. �??We offer [driveaway pricing] across the range, with the exception of maybe the Golf R.�?�

But boss Koeckler said that the run-out deals seen with Golf Mk6 would not continue with the brand new Mk7.

�??There�??s no need to do it [driveaway pricing],�?� she said.


Mazda SKYACTIV-DRIVE Transmission 

HIROSHIMA, Japan : January 30, 2013 - Mazda Motor Corporation will construct a transmission plant with an annual production capacity of approximately 400,000 units in the Chonburi Province of Thailand representing an investment of 26 billion yen. Mazda has decided to establish the plant in order to respond to increasing demand for models featuring SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY and to strengthen its global production footprint. Operations at the new plant will commence in the first half of the fiscal year ending March 2016.

The new transmission plant will be located approximately five kilometers north of Mazda's joint venture production facility, AutoAlliance (Thailand) Co., Ltd. (AAT) and will supply SKYACTIV-DRIVE automatic transmissions for SKYACTIV models produced at AAT and other Mazda vehicle production facilities around the world.

Mazda's Representative Director, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO, Takashi Yamanouchi commented, "Mazda is establishing global production footprints in order to achieve our goal of an annual global sales volume of 1.7 million units by fiscal year ending March 2016. The Nakanoseki district of Hofu Plant will remain the chief production facility for transmissions, but we have decided to establish a second major transmission plant in Thailand's Chonburi Province. This will enable Mazda to cope with the rapidly increasing demand for SKYACTIV models and establish a production system capable of responding to the changing demands of our customers in a flexible and timely manner. We will make use of the knowledge and experience gained through AAT to ensure the success of the new plant in cooperation with the people of Thailand."

Company Overview

Company name
Mazda Powertrain Manufacturing (Thailand) Co., Ltd. (MPMT)
Chonburi Province, Thailand
Total investment
Approximately 26 billion yen
Investment ratio
100% Mazda
Business outline
Production and sales of transmissions for Mazda vehicles
Number of employees
Approximately 500

[Source : MAZDA]

Audi RS5 Review

The updated Audi RS5 has seen its price cut by $13,900 to $161,400 but it still carries enormous weight on its shoulders. It sits just one level below the mighty Audi R8 supercar and competes head to head with the iconic BMW M3 and Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupes. But is it a match for its direct rivals?

The answer to that question is an absolute �??yes�??. Nonetheless, it�??s hard to imagine another segment where the three main choices are all so good. But in the case of the premium coupe sports segment, the RS5, M3 and C63 AMG all represent the near-apex of German engineering (maybe with Porsche the pinnacle�?�). So why pick the Audi over the rest?

For a start, it�??s the only car in its segment that is all-wheel drive, meaning it sends drive to every tyre as part of Audi�??s Quattro system. This changes the entire dynamics of the RS5 compared to the M and AMG, both of which direct drive only the rear wheels. Arguably, the average driver can go faster in the RS5 than they could in its two main rivals, given it tends to do a lot of the hard work for you. The flipside is the M and AMG demand more input for a similar result and hence provide greater driver engagement. The Audi simply digs in and does.

The Audi RS5 is powered by a 4.2-litre naturally aspirated V8, which produces 331kW of power and 430Nm of torque. Power is transmitted to the backs and fronts via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Recent updates to the RS5 have seen its fuel efficiency improve by 0.3L/100km to 10.5 litres of 98RON per 100km; better than both the M3 at 11.2L/100km and C63 at 12.1L/100km.

The all-important 0-100km/h figure has also improved by one tenth to 4.5 seconds. This is still 0.1 slower than the standard C63 AMG, which makes a full 170Nm more from its 1.8L-larger engine, but faster than the soon to be replaced BMW M3; its 4.0-litre V8 reaches triple digits in 4.6 seconds.

From the outside the 2013 Audi RS5 is the ultimate portrayal of the A5 range, with a sharp and athletic stance now sporting wedge-shaped headlights that incorporate xenon lamps and gorgeous thin strips of LED daytime running lights �?" a fad that Audi is largely credited for starting and evolving. The grille has also been updated while the taillights and rear bumpers have been mildly reconfigured.

Our test car came coloured in Sepang Blue with pearl effects on the outside and black Nappa leather with contrasting stitching in rock grey for the inside. Optional 20�?� alloy wheels (5-arm rotor design) put the price up an additional $3,900 while dynamic steering ($2,400), sports exhaust system ($2,400) and aluminium style package ($1,400) brought the total price to $171,500 plus on roads.

The mostly black interior with chrome and carbon fibre highlights is very much a typical-Audi interior, with high quality materials and a pervasive sense of refinement all over. The recent updates have introduced a new flat-bottom steering wheel and minor updates to the infotainment system.

Beyond the cabin class, the Audi RS5 is an absolute joy to drive. Apart from the sensation of being in control of one of the fastest point-to-point cars around, the roar of the engine is a constant reminder of what lurks beneath the bonnet.

The seven-speed gearbox works harmoniously with the V8 in nearly all situations, including in traffic, but in dynamic mode with manual gear control using the paddles, the whole package is absolutely manic. The rapid-fire gearshifts, both up and down, are Formula One-like in their urgency, showcasing just how far everyday road cars have come. The high-tech V8 engine revs freely to more than 8250rpm, screaming an orchestra-worthy soundtrack as it extracts maximum power.

The Audi RS5 is by no means conservative in its power delivery and overall demeanour. But it�??s certainly more methodical in its approach to cornering than its key competitors. There�??s none of the brutish character that you get from a C63 AMG, which can at times be like a soccer hooligan after a home-team loss, or the �?"� admittedly brilliant �?"� balance and finesse that is prioritised over outright corner-exit speed in the M3.

It also rides very firmly, which can be a deterrent to driver enjoyment, particularly when the BMW rides superbly across all surfaces. � But what the RS5 lacks in comfort, it makes up in cornering ability. Pushed hard into a corner the RS5 grips on without much regard for the laws of physics. Mid corner you�??d expect that at any moment life will flash before your eyes with the end in sight, but instead, the RS5 continues on unfazed.

Through our usual testing roads of Brisbane�??s Mount Glorious and Nebo, the RS5 felt like a much faster version of a Mitsubishi Evolution, go-kart-like in its precision and agility.� There�??s a sense of invincibility that comes with driving this Audi, which is certainly not there with the rear happy C63, particularly, which always keeps you on edge.

During our week with the RS5 in Brisbane, we had tremendous amounts of rain that helped further justify why the Quattro system is ideal for a car with this much power. As with most rear-wheel drive muscle cars, trying to extract any ounce of performance in the wet is generally a time-wasting exercise, but the RS5�??s AWD system makes it look easy. Be it out of corner or off-the-line acceleration, the Audi�??s Quattro system minds not if it�??s dry or wet; it just gets the job done.

The steering feel is much improved compared with other Audis, but up against the brilliant systems in the C63 and M3, it�??s a sore point that highlights the lack of dynamic involvement compared with those rear drive rivals. The steering is quick and accurate, but also unremarkable and too heavy in dynamic mode.

When it comes to just regular driving, the RS5 can be put into auto mode, which eases the aggression of the transmission and lightens the steering. Comfort mode goes to an economy-focused extreme, slinking into tall gears at every opportunity and making the steering far too light.

If you must justify the purchase to the other half, you can argue that the RS5 has a decent sized cabin that can actually accommodate four adults for short trips. There�??s heaps of room in the boot and the front seats are comfortable and supportive around corners.

The rear seats are also useful and not just a gimmick. They can actually be used if needed �?" though they�??re perhaps best kept for short adults or children when undertaking long journeys.

The few things that did present some challenges with the RS5 were lack of a reversing camera, even as an option. The low front nose, which can be hard to accommodate in car parks and tight spaces and the multimedia system which, like most current model Audis, is unnecessarily complicated to perform simple task �?" an area where BMW�??s iDrive shines. On a more personal front, the large exhaust tips seemed like a step down from the quad-exhaust pipes on the S5.

When it comes to purchase time, the choice between an Audi RS5, Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe and BMW M3 Coupe is incredibly difficult, but here are some facts to consider. Firstly, the RS5 is currently the newest, with the M3 soon to be replaced and the C63 AMG coupe around halfway through its life.

The RS5 suits a certain driving style that values precision and pinpoint accuracy over engagement and then there�??s the fact that there are far more Ms and AMGs floating around than RS5s.

All three are equally incredible cars and if money was no object, you should buy them all. But what Audi should be credited for is creating a first iteration car that has managed to match its iconic Germans rivals in nearly every respect.

Bentley Mulsanne bringing new luxury features to Geneva

The Bentley Mulsanne will benefit from a number of new luxury features when the enhanced flagship sedan debuts at the Geneva motor show in March.

The Mulsanne�??s new Comfort Specification package adds headrests with manually adjustable wings (similar to those on an aeroplane), new footrests, loose cushions trimmed with the same tanned leather as the seats and filled with fine duck down, and a new rear-door armrest storage compartment designed for mobiles, Bluetooth headphones and other personal items.

Further enhancing luxury is the availability of rear compartment privacy curtains, which integrate into the rear doors and rear windscreen surround and can be extended or stowed at the touch of a button.

For more tech-savvy passengers, Bentley is offering a new Entertainment Specification package, which brings rear picnic tables with integrated iPads and wireless keyboards, as well as two eight-inch LCD screens linked to the Mulsanne�??s �??Naim for Bentley�?? audio system in the back of the front headrests.

Connectivity is also enhanced, with Bentley introducing an upgraded Wi-Fi router with a high-speed Universal Mobile Telecommunications System phone module and SIM card reader, providing a rolling hotspot for internet access for up to eight devices simultaneously.

The Bentley Mulsanne�??s colour palette has been expanded with three new exterior tones �?" Dark Cashmere, Portofino and Damson �?" and three additional leather colours �?" Brunel, Saffron and Damson �?" while a matching handmade six-piece Schedoni luggage set can now also be ordered for added personalisation.

The Bentley Mulsanne is priced from $662,857 in Australia.

BMW and Toyota confirm details of sports car, hydrogen partnership

BMW and Toyota have revealed more details of the partnership that will see the two global automotive giants collaborate on a pair of new sports cars and technology for a range of next-generation hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles.

Having signed a memorandum of understanding in July, BMW Group and Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) have now signed binding agreements aimed at a long-term collaboration between the two companies.

The first task for the Euro-Japanese partnership is the development of a feasibility study defining a joint platform concept for a mid-size sports car, which is scheduled to be completed before the end of this year.

Toyota�??s version will sit above the 86 coupe in its line-up, potentially resurrecting the Supra badge, although there is less clarity about the positioning of BMW�??s version. The companies have revealed little about the sports cars other than that they will �??combine each other�??s technology at a high level to maximise customer satisfaction�?�.

BMW and Toyota�??s efforts on hydrogen technology will extend to the development and construction of a fuel cell stack and system, as well as a hydrogen tank, electric motor and battery, with the duo targeting completion by 2020.

The partnership will also focus on the development of lightweight components such as reinforced composites for use in vehicles bodies, as well as a research program into the development of lithium-air batteries, which will have energy density greatly exceeding that of current lithium-ion batteries.

BMW Group chairman Norbert Reithofer described the collaboration as an �??important building block in keeping both companies on a successful course in the future�?�.

�??TMC and the BMW Group share the same strategic vision of future sustainable mobility,�?� Reithofer said.

�??In light of the technological changes ahead, the entire automotive industry faces tremendous challenges, which we also regard as an opportunity.�?�

TMC president Akio Toyoda said the two companies were committed to working hard together to produce even better cars in the future.

�??It is just over a year since we signed our collaborative MoU, and with each day as our relationship strengthens, we feel acutely that we are making steadfast progress,�?� Toyoda said.

�??Now, we are entering the phase that promises the fruit.�?�


2013 Lotus E21

The Lotus F1 Team E21 has been unleashed from the team’s Enstone base in Oxfordshire, England. Revealed to team partners on site, streamed live on YouTube and broadcast live on Sky Sports News in the UK, the E21 will contest the 2013 FIA Formula 1 World Championship with drivers Kimi Räikkönen (E21 n°7) and Romain Grosjean (E20 n°8).

With only limited changes to the technical and sporting regulations from 2012, the E21 continues the design themes seen in its race-winning predecessor, the E20. However, it is pushing last year’s concepts even further as well as incorporating some innovative technical solutions. The new car also features a slightly tweaked livery, incorporating an extra touch or red.

Joining the team as Third Driver is reigning GP2 series champion Davide Valsecchi, whilst Nicolas Prost will perform Development Driver duties. Jérôme D’Ambrosio will continue with the team as Reserve Driver.

Eric Boullier, Team Principal:
"I think it is fair to say that great things are possible from the team and the E21. The leap we made from 2011 to 2012 showed what we are capable of. Add to this the continuity and potential of our driver line-up and we have a very powerful cocktail for the season ahead. Our ambitious plan to turn ourselves into one of the top teams in Formula 1 is coming to fruition and now we need to harness this with strong and regular podium results."

James Allison, Technical Director:
"The E20 proved itself to be an effective racing car – particularly towards the end of last season – so there is an element of expectation from the E21 and plenty to build upon. We have continued with our design themes and tried to create a more efficient and faster racing car based on all the lessons we learnt last year. How successful we have been in this task will only be discovered when we take to the track at the winter tests and – more significantly – at Grands Prix."

Kimi Räikkönen, Race Driver:
"Of course, I’ve not driven the E21 yet so it’s difficult to say what could or could not be possible for the year ahead. We know we had a good car last season, but everyone is working hard to make the best package. I will be working with the team to help get the car as strong as we can, then in Melbourne we’ll have our first taste of results. It’s a long season from there. 2012 was a good start; let’s see what we can do in 2013."

Romain Grosjean, Race Driver:
"I can clearly say I want to score a lot of points for the team – everybody knows that – but I think it would be wrong for me to say I want to finish in a particular position in the championship. I really want to jump out of the car as many times as possible thinking that I did a good job. Knowing that everything I could do, I did, and feeling proud of my race or session. I hope to feel that way as many times as possible this year."

Images : 2013 LOTUS E21

[Source : LOTUS]


Nissan Juke Nismo - manufactured in Sunderland Plant

Production of the new Nissan Juke Nismo at the company's state-of-the-art factory in Sunderland, UK, is now well underway.

The highly experienced engineering and manufacturing teams have integrated the first of the new Nismo models into the existing production line. Thanks to Nissan's advanced assembly operation, it's a seamless process with no special day-to-day provisions or delays.

The bold design features of Juke Nismo have required some modifications at the plant, for production of the unique front and rear bumpers plus other elements of the new, more aerodynamic body. The car, which is available in Storm White, also makes use of the Sunderland plant's state-of-the-art paint facility.

Since its launch in 2010, more than 330,000 Jukes have been built at the factory, where Nissan also manufactures the Note, Qashqai and Qashqai+2.

Last year the plant set a new production record of 510,000 units, up from the previous best of 480,000 in 2011. The 2010 benchmark of 420,000 was the first time in history that any UK car production facility had made more than 400,000 passenger vehicles in a year.

When the plant opened in 1986, employees assembled 12.5 cars per hour. The figure is now an astonishing 118 per hour, 60 on Line 1 and 58 on Line 2. Around 80 per cent of production is exported, mainly to mainland Europe but to a total of 97 international markets.

The Juke Nismo is the first of a range that will take Nissan's wealth of global motorsport success and move it from the race track to the road. The Juke Nismo features a more aerodynamic body kit, driver-focused interior upgrades and a more powerful turbocharged engine. Stiffer suspension and modified steering means an enhanced dynamic experience, with sportier handling and improved traction.

Images: Nissan Juke NISMO Production

[Source : NEWSPRESS]