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Update December 2016


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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
Automania by Dr. Iain Corness
 

Update December 3, 2016

Mazuzu design secured

Current Mazda BT-50.

Mazda and Isuzu have set guidelines for the next generation of Mazda’s BT-50 pick-up.

After many years of association with Ford at the Auto Alliance manufacturing plant on our Eastern Seaboard, where the current BT-50 is built alongside its sibling, the Ford Ranger, the partnership between Mazda and Ford would end.

Mazda senior managing executive officer research and development Kiyoshi Fujiwara has confirmed that he had signed off on the next-generation BT-50’s basics with Isuzu in early November.

Kiyoshi Fujiwara said, “The issue is that the sales volume of pick-ups in our markets is not huge, so we cannot develop by ourselves,” he told journalists at the Los Angeles motor show. “Therefore we also search for a partner. Fortunately, I reached Isuzu as a partner.”

Initially it was thought that Isuzu would only be developing the engines for the BT-50, but Fujiwara revealed that was not correct. “Earlier this month I visited Isuzu in Hokkaido, I discussed with Isuzu guys how to develop the pick-up truck for the future, and we have already input our requirements. Now properly, Isuzu can develop our next pick-up.”

Fujiwara pointed to the fact that the two companies have long shared technology via Japanese-market commercial vehicles. “We have a long, long relationship with Isuzu through Japanese commercial trucks, so I think the good commercial relationship is already done. It is a good result,” he said.

There were no specific details given of the next-generation truck, which includes the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger, as well as the Mitsubishi Triton and the Holden Colorado and Isuzu D-Max.

“We want styling, of course, and good vehicle dynamics,” he said. “BT-50 is also our product and under our brand image. I cannot say which direction we are going, but this product is under our Kodo design and brand image.”

Isuzu’s next-generation D-Max will serve as the donor for the BT-50 range that is expected to offer 4x4 and 4x2 variants in cab-chassis, extra cab and dual-cab styles.

Mazda Motor Corporation managing executive officer and head of design Ikuo Maeda, meanwhile, said that designing the new pick-up will present its own challenges as the brand moves into a new era of more considered design.


What does a racer do in the traditional lay-off period?

 

A “Little guy” on his way to F1.
(Photo by Roland Hurni)

Formula 1 “shuts down” in November and does not publicly reappear until March the following year. Of course the teams continue to work, developing the new cars for the coming season, but that is F1. What happens in the less exalted levels of motor sport? Before going much further, I should explain what I mean by “less exalted levels”. This does not mean that I consider those categories anything “less” than F1. In fact, if it were not for the lower categories, F1 would not exist, something that the F1 industry should never forget. The “little guy” who runs his Honda in amateur races is just as important as all the F1 pilots. Believe me, I’ve been a “little guy” too.

Now here is the secret of sponsorship. A secret because 99 percent of race drivers can’t, don’t or won’t see what has to be done, from the potential sponsor’s point of view. The Golden Rule is that you have to tell potential sponsors what you can do for them – not what they can do for you, or how they can benefit from being involved with you. You have to work out what you can do for them, that they could not otherwise do for themselves. This takes time and thought by you, and is what takes up much of your off-season.

A race car is not, as many think, a high speed billboard. In fact, many times you can’t even read the signwriting as the car speeds past. As a mobile billboard, race cars are not good value for a sponsor.

So where does a sponsor get value? Go back to the concept of “what can you do for them”. Take for example, a body shop (something all race car drivers need). Race cars do attract attention. Brightly painted, they attract young males like bees to the honey pot. For a panel shop, you could propose that you leave the race car there, where it could be positioned outside on the forecourt every Saturday morning, and you will be there in person to answer questions. Not just questions about your race car, but questions about the panel shop. What paints are used? Do they have a jig to pull cars straight again? Is it accepted by insurance companies? You, effectively, become a promotions arm for the business. You are doing something for them.

That same concept works for every type of business that may sponsor you. You become the promotions team for that business. You have to know everything. Prices, delivery times, size of company, how long it has been established – everything. That takes time and study, and that is what takes up your time in the lay-off period. Learning to become a good representative for your sponsoring companies. You are offering potential sponsors a “free” employee – and everyone likes getting something for free!

Of course, your services are not really “free” as you want to receive something in return. That something is goods and services which will keep your race car going for the next 12 months. Panel and paint, batteries and auto electrics, tuning services and tyres are all items that are expensive if you have to pay for them out of your own pocket, but taken in the context of a large company’s budget, is just a drop in the ocean for them. At the level of the “little guy”, you are bartering your services as a promotional arm for them, in return for their goods and services. For corporations, this is much more attractive than handing over amounts of cash. Something to always remember.

Certainly, when you begin winning championships, then you may have a monetary value as well, but “little guys” have to start small and work up. Even the highly (over)paid F1 drivers started by getting goods and services until they became noticed.

Think about it. How much better will you go with a bigger Honda, rather than your Eco car? It is possible, but it does require time and effort, and the best time is in the lay-off period. Happy sponsor hunting!


What did we learn from Abu Dhabi?

Well, we learned that Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) has emulated his father in winning the World Driver’s Championship and his team mate Lewis Hamilton isn’t much of a “mate”.

Abu Dhabi circuit is not the most inspiring, and for the championship to go down to the wire on a circuit that does not promote passing, was an unfortunate roll of the F1 dice. For Rosberg to clinch the championship he had to finish at least third if Hamilton was first, and with the Englishman on pole it was most likely he would sail off into the distance, leaving Rosberg secure in second. However, that was not the scenario as the race wound on.

After the first round of pit stops it became obvious that Hamilton was slowing down, with the result that the pack was catching up with Rosberg and Hamilton, who was dictating the pace.

The Mercedes pit wall could see what Hamilton’s game was – get the Ferrari drivers on to Rosberg’s tail and a bungled pass would seal the title for Hamilton. This produced radio messages as “Lewis, this is Paddy (Lowe, the Mercedes Technical Director), we need you to pick up the pace to win the race.” This fell on deaf ears, resulting in “Lewis, this is Paddy, you need to pick up the pace. This is an instruction.”  “You should let us race,” Lewis said, ignoring the instruction.

Even the other drivers could see what Hamilton’s game was. Vettel (Ferrari) saying, “It was a difficult situation in the end with Lewis playing some dirty tricks.”

Afterwards, Toto Wolff (Mercedes team manager) said, “This was where we decided to intervene, he decided to ignore it. There’s just one thing: does this set a precedent for the future?”

One would like to think that our heroes are true sportsmen, role models for future generations, however, Hamilton has shown he is not one of those!

So despite his “dirty tricks” the good guy came second to win the World Driver’s Championship and put his trophy firmly beside that of his father Keke Rosberg.

The rest of the event was in actual fact, rather processional. It was the final race for both Jenson Button and Felipe Massa, whose F1 careers have come to an end. Button (McLaren) has been overshadowed by his team mate Fernando Alonso, but at least has one WDC in his career, while Massa was world champion for 20 seconds in 2008.

Verstappen (Red Bull) did by dint of clever strategy, come from behind to end up 4th, while his team mate Ricciardo ended up 5th.

Now comes the changing chairs event with Hulkenberg moving to Renault for 2017, for example. For his sake, I hope he knows something about Renault that nobody else does. Renault has been a back marker all 2016!

Results

1 L Hamilton Mercedes

2 N Rosberg Mercedes

3 S Vettel Ferrari

4 M Verstappen Red Bull

5 D Ricciardo Red Bull

6 K Raikkonen Ferrari

7 N Hulkenberg Force India

8 S Perez Force India

9 F Massa Williams

10 F Alonso McLaren

11 R Grosjean Haas

12 E Gutierrez Haas

13 E Ocon Manor

14 P Wehrlein Manor

15 M Ericsson Sauber

16 F Nasr Sauber

17 J Palmer Renault


Chasing the amphibian dream

Amphibious car.

Man has been trying to build an amphibious car for decades. Here is one of the not so successful versions.


Autotrivia Quiz

Last week I mentioned that Sir William Lyons used an Mk VII Jaguar as his daily driver. What was different about his Mk VII compared to the run of the mill Mk VII’s? And here was a clue – it was once owned by Rowan Atkinson, Mr. Bean himself. The difference was the fact that this Mk VII was constructed in the factory with an all-aluminium body. Despite their weight and somewhat cumbersome cornering, the normal Mk VII’s were surprisingly successful on the race circuit and this particular Mk VII lightweight did very well. I have owned a couple of Mk VII’s and really enjoyed them as daily drivers.

So to this week. The name of one of the very successful auto manufacturers relates to a Zoroastrian god. Clue, they began production in 1920, but not automobiles.

For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email [email protected] or [email protected] Good luck!


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Mazuzu design secured

What does a racer do in the traditional lay-off period?

What did we learn from Abu Dhabi?

Chasing the amphibian dream

Autotrivia Quiz

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