Last week I asked at what university did Henry Ford 1 study engineering? The
correct answer was ‘none’. Henry Ford 1 was a self-taught engineer.
So to this week. Honda has pulled out of F1. What other Japanese companies have
just pulled out of international level motor sport?
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email
Things are grim, but not that grim at VW
Latest reports indicate that the Volkswagen Group delivered 5.73
million vehicles from January to November in 2008. Those are world-wide figures,
and this puts VW among the few automakers this year who have matched or even
slightly exceeded last year’s delivery figures.
However, the last month showed a 16.5 percent fall compared to November 2007,
but with the industry overall being down 24.5 percent, VW are certainly not
doing too bad.
Detlef Wittig, executive vice president group sales and marketing said, “The
Volkswagen Group held its own well in the first three quarters of this year as
overall market demand continued to weaken. The slump on the world market in the
fourth quarter is really putting us to the test, but we have still grown market
share even though vehicles sales are falling.”
Volkswagen Passenger Cars, the Group’s highest-volume brand, delivered 3.37
million vehicles (+0.2 percent) to customers worldwide from January to November
2008, of which 482,000 vehicles (+1.5 percent) were delivered in Germany.
However, there has also been a sharp decline in momentum on what have to date
been growth markets. Nevertheless, development in Volkswagen Group deliveries
during the first eleven months of the year was positive. In Brazil, the Group
delivered 591,800 vehicles from January to November, an increase of 11.9
percent. In China, too, the Group reported good growth of 10.1 percent during
this period, with deliveries totaling 931,100 units. There was significant
growth in Russia, where deliveries rose 61.6 percent to 118,300 units and India,
where deliveries increased by 59.7 percent to 17,700 vehicles. Thailand sales
have remained numerically very small, however.
Honda Racing Fest finale at Bira
Despite the parent Honda Corporation having withdrawn from the F1
circus, Honda Thailand is continuing next year with its very popular Honda
Racing Fest series, with its Jazz, Civic and Pro Cup categories. These are
always very closely contested, sometimes a little too close as Jack Lemvard
found out in the final of the Civic series.
When push comes to shove (Photo
Despite only having to finish fifth to clinch the title, he
allowed himself to become involved in fender benders, and was lucky to finish in
third place, and in so doing did secure the title for 2008. Jack has yet to
learn that if you leave the door half open, someone will drive through it, like
Narasak in the photo.
The Honda Pro Cup B championship is under investigation following an appeal by
local driver Thomas Raldorf, who was given the championship win on points gained
over the year, but was then told that there had been a mistake in addition early
on in the year, which was only discovered on the afternoon of the final race,
and he was demoted to second in class. Hmmm!
Put your order in for a BYD
That’s not BVD jocks, (by the way, BVD stands for Bradley,
Voorhees and Day, the New York City firm that initially manufactured
underwear of this name for both men and women) but is BYD, a Chinese
BYD have produced the BYD F3 DM, which is a plug-in hybrid, and has beaten the
world’s car manufacturers to produce the first mass-produced plug-in, by a
sizeable margin. That includes GM’s Chev Volt and Toyota and Renault-Nissan,
whose plug-ins will not be available till 2010 and 2012.
This new BYD can run for 100 km on battery power alone and takes seven hours to
recharge overnight from the home wall socket. It has a secondary petrol engine
as a back-up if you are going more than 100 km between plugs. That is where the
DM comes in - dual mode.
The BYD is also about 40 percent cheaper than the Toyota Prius hybrid (which is
not a plug-in) in China. BYD is also China’s largest manufacturer of
rechargeable batteries, so it probably is in the right arena to produce
As China is the knock-off capital of the world, take another look at the BYD
photo. Does that not look a lot like the previous model Toyota Corolla Altis?
New Volvo S60 avoids pedestrians
Volvo will unveil the new S60 Concept at next month’s North
American International Auto Show in Detroit, with the production version
touted as being very close to the concept.
Both the concept and the production vehicle are the work of company design
director Steve Mattin, who is also responsible for the soon-to-be-released XC60.
All three vehicles share the same EUCD platform that also underpins the XC70,
V70 and S80 models in Volvo’s portfolio.
According to the blurb, “The interior expresses a typically Scandinavian feel:
fresh, light and airy. In the middle of the four-seater car glitters the jewel
in the crown - a floating centre stack crafted from handmade, solid Orrefors
crystal. It floats like a gentle, calm wave from the instrument panel all the
way to the rear seat backrest,” Mr Mattin stated.
The S60 Concept’s job does not stop there, as it also ushers in future
preventative safety technology such as Volvo’s ‘Collision Warning with Full Auto
Brake’ function that stomps on the brakes if the driver is too slow to do so.
A radar and camera mounted in the grille area monitor the distance ahead and
work in conjunction to confirm that there is an object in the way before
applying full-force braking if required. That object can be a pedestrian, and it
is tipped that this feature will also make it into production.
The radar also works in conjunction with an updated Adaptive Cruise Control
system that now works in slow-moving queues that often result in repeated
starting and stopping. The previous set-up deactivate below 30 km/h.
On the subject of motion, the S60 Concept also introduces Volvo’s new 1.6-litre
GTDi technology. It is a petrol-powered direct-injection four-cylinder turbo
unit that delivers 134 kW of power while returning 5.0 liters per 100 kilometers
and 119 grams of carbon dioxide emissions per kilometer.
Volvo says using direct-injection results in around a 20 percent cut in petrol
use and pollution over a similarly sized engine. Expect the next-generation
S40/V50 models, as well as the C30 and its derivatives, to be the first
recipients of the GTDi technology from later in 2010.
Other high-tech features in the S60 Concept include a head-up display for the
instrumentation, increased connectivity and connection via the steering wheel
controls, and Volvo’s Blind Spot Information System to make it into the