24 May 2019

New Renault Pro+ Centre in North Dublin

On 1 June, Dennehy Commercials will open a new Renault Pro+centre at Unit 802, Northwest Business Park, Blanchardstown, Co Dublin, writes Trish Whelan. It is convenient to all arterial routes, M50, N2, N3 and within the Dublin Enterprize Zone. 

This standalone facility joins an elite club of autonomous Pro+ centres, becoming one of only ten in the world. This will be the second such centre in Ireland with the first one opened in Cork city less than two years ago.

The dealership will be fully dedicated to business and fleet customers only. As Dublin’s only dedicated Pro+ centre, it will ensure that Renault’s business customers benefit from the full range of Renault services under one roof. 

Pictured above are Patrick Cahill, Business Development Manager; Rory Dennehy, Managing Director, Dennehy Renault Pro+ centre; and Ian Grant, Business Development Sales, Dennehy Renault Pro+. 

The Pro+ standards ensure that the aftersales team are completely dedicated to business customer needs, account managers are put in place for larger fleets, commercial vehicle maintenance and repair made available for vehicles up to 5 tonne’ and extended opening hours for business users. Dennehy’s will open their servicing facility at hours that will suit business operators with 7am starts running until 8pm finishes each evening and also Saturday opening owners. 

The Pro+ standards ensure that the dealership operates as a one stop shop with all solutions available onsite for commercial customers. The very knowledgeable fleet sales team is trained to provide guidance on all transport solutions including converted vehicles tailored to precise requirements, specific vehicles such as ambulances, box bodies, curtainsiders, fridge units and crew cabs can all be delivered and many will be made available onsite at Dennehy’s for demo purposes. In partnership with Renault Bank, finance offers are facilitated onsite. Dennehy’s also operate both a short and long term hire department.

The Dennehy name is well established for 45 years with expertise in both Heavy and Light commercial vehicles throughout Ireland. Its first dealership opened in 1975 operating the HINO franchise out of Cork and this progressed in time with Dennehy Commercials taking on the MAN and Renault Truck franchises for the South West of Ireland. In 2012, Dennehy Motors became the proud holders of the Renault and Dacia brands for Limerick and were granted regional dealer responsibility for the south west of Ireland.

Late 2012, it was awarded the Pro+ franchise for Limerick in recognition of the dealership’s ability and expertise in dealing with business customers. In 2014, the Limerick dealership was awarded National Renault LCV Dealer of the Year; in 2015 it was awarded Renault National Dealer of the Year, and in 2018 it took home four prestigious awards - National Renault Fleet Dealer of the Year, National Renault Bank Financial Services Dealer of the Year, National Territory Dealer of the Year, National Voice of the Customer Dealer of the Year. 

23 May 2019

Discovery Sport enhanced for every family adventure

Embracing the adventurous spirit has defined the Discovery family for the past 30 years, writes Trish Whelan. The Discovery Sport has been a real sales success for Land Rover, leading the way for the past three years and selling almost half a million models to date. 

During that time, it has won a number of awards and introduced a big number of new, younger families into the brand. 

The new LR Discovery Sport is a true Land Rover with its versatility and go-anywhere ethos. JLR says it can wade rivers, climb mountains and explore places other SUVs can’t reach.

This latest version has been updated with the latest user-friendly technology and more efficient, electrified engines while being every inch a Land Rover combining its all-terrain handling with all-weather capability including a wading depth of 600mm, All-Wheel Drive and a second-generation Active Driveline system. Terrain Response 2 automatically detects the surface and adjusts the torque delivery to best suit the conditions. It can tow up to 2,500kg and that the Advanced Tow Assist makes reversing with a trailer safer than ever.

The premium cabin of this compact 5+2 SUV is now even more plush with its levels of craftsmanship and comfort. 

It is also bigger inside with more room for everyone and offers increased small and large stowage spaces, up to 1,794 litres. 

New seats across each of the three rows provide more comfort and versatility thanks to the second row 40:20:40 split fold and slide functionality allowing a possible 24 seat combinations. Those seated in the second and third row get individual heating and ventilation controls. 

The fuel tank can now take up to 65 litres, a 20 per cent increase in capacity. 

The Discovery Sport is built on Land Rover’s latest Premium Transverse Architecture that ‘revolutionises comfort and handling and supports electrification with its advanced Mild and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle powertrains’. 

Available across the range of four-cylinder Ingenium petrol and diesel engines, the mild hybrid delivers C02 emissions from 144g/km C02 (NEDC equivalent) and fuel economy up to 6.9 L/100kms (40.0mpg). A more efficient plug-in hybrid electric vehicle model and three-cylinder petrol Ingenium engine will arrive later this year. 

The most efficient Discovery Sport model will be the Front-Wheel Drive 150hp diesel with manual transmission with emissions from 140g/km C02 and fuel economy from 5.9 L/100kms (47.8mpg). 

Trims are S, SE and HSE in addition to the R-Dynamic variant that marks itself out with Shadow Atlas script on the bonnet and tailgate. Standard features on all models include a reversing camera as well as a suite of advanced driver assistance systems including Adaptive Cruise Control with Steering Assist, Lane Keep Assist, Autonomous Emergency Braking and a Driver Condition Monitor.

This vehicle has been designed to meet the digital demands of a modern family. While on the go, the Touch Pro infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless charging and 4G WiFi hotspot keep you and your family and friends connected, informed and entertained everywhere. 

It is available with a ‘smart rear view mirror’ that transforms into a video screen at the flick of a switch to display what is behind the vehicle in crisp high definition. Offering a wider field of vision and superior visibility in low light conditions from a camera mounted above the rear window, the mirror ensures rear visibility isn’t compromised by a second row passenger or by bulky items in the boot. 

Ground View technology helps drivers navigate high city centre kerbs or tackle rough terrain by projecting camera images that offer a virtual 180-degree view beneath the car onto the touchscreen  - effectively making the bonnet invisible.  

This 'go anywhere' premium compact SUV will be available to order from June when Irish pricing will be announced. 

22 May 2019

2019 Mazda3 achieves five stars from Euro NCAP

The All-New 2019 Mazda3 has been awarded the maximum five-star safety rating by Euro NCAP in its latest series of tests, writes Trish Whelan.

Following the Mazda6 last year, this is the second Mazda to achieve an overall five-star rating under the new, more stringent 2018 Euro NCAP crashworthiness ratings.

The Mazda3 performed impressively in all four Euro NCAP test categories - Adult Occupant, Child Occupant, Vulnerable Road User (pedestrian safety) and Safety Assist.

The car scored 98 per cent in the Adult Occupant category achieving top points for frontal full width impact and both car and pole side impacts. Mazda’s Smart Brake Support system also gained full marks in low speed tests with collisions avoided in all scenarios.

The Child Occupant score of 87 per cent includes maximum points for child protection in the tests with full marks for both frontal and lateral impact. Pedestrian safety tests garnered 81 per cent with maximum points for pedestrian leg and pelvis area protection. The car’s comprehensive suite of i-Activsense safety features contributed to the 73 per cent score in the Safety Assist category. 

The All-New Mazda3 hatchback is on sale from €26,295; the saloon from €28,715. 

Ford’s 1.0 EcoBoost wins engine ‘Oscar’

Ford’s powerful, fuel-efficient 1.0 EcoBoost engine has today been named 2019 International Engine and Powertrain of the Year (IEPOTY) in the Sub-150hp category - the 11th IEPOTY award earned by the engine since its launch in 2012, writes Trish Whelan.

Delivering up to 140hp, the compact, low-friction engine powered more than 1 in 4 Ford models sold last year - over 410,000 vehicles - from the Fiesta hatchback family car to the Transit Connect van.

Ford recently enhanced this 1.0 EcoBoost petrol engine offered in the Focus and Transit Connect to deliver more fuel efficiency with technologies including an industry-first cylinder deactivation system for a three-cylinder engine. This enhanced engine will be introduced to further models this year.

“Even with 1.6 million 1.0 EcoBoost engines already on the road, we’re still uncovering its potential and new, even more fuel-efficient electrified powertrains with 1.0 EcoBoost at their core are hitting the road soon,” said Carsten Weber, manager, Research & Advanced Powertrain Engineering, Ford Europe.

An IEPOTY panel of 70 judges from 31 countries awarded Ford’s 1.0 EcoBoost a total of 145 points to win the Sub-150hp category by 26 points, ahead of powertrains from BMW, PSA Group, Toyota/Lexus, and Volkswagen. 

Following its introduction, this engine kick-started an industry trend for small capacity, high output, three-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engines. Earlier this year Ford announced that this 1.0 EcoBoost engine will provide the basis for the mild-hybrid powertrains in the new Fiesta EcoBoost Hybrid and Focus EcoBoost Hybrid models. 

This engine will also support the first-in-class Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid van and Tourneo Custom Plug-In Hybrid people-mover to deliver pure-electric driving capability without range anxiety. The Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid is currently being trialled to better understand the benefits for the environment and for customers, in London, with further trials soon to begin in Valencia, Spain; and Cologne, Germany. 

New Megane R.S. Trophy-R sets lap record

Renault has unveiled the New Megane R.S. Trophy-R, a new version in a lineage that began 15 years ago that has set - like its iconic predecessors, a new lap record time of 07”40”100 on the Nordschleife (a world renowned proving ground) in the front-wheel-drive production car category, writes Trish Whelan. Renault say this new Trophy-R embodies Renault Sport’s passion for challenge and performance.

The Megane R.S. Trophy-R is equipped with the same 300hp engine as Megane R.S. Trophy and owes its increased speed to weight reduction of up to 130kg, improved aerodynamics and the more radical development of its chassis for improved handling.

This car will have its public debut on this coming Friday, 24 May as part of the build up to the Formula One Grand Prix in Monaco with drivers from the Renault F1 Team, Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg, behind the wheel.

This car doesn’t only owe its performance to its pure power but was honed for the track by a small, dedicated team focusing on maximum weight reduction, reworked aerodynamics and a more radical development of its drive axles.  

21 May 2019

Audi continues its electric offensive

Audi is proceeding full-steam ahead with its electrification offensive, writes Trish Whelan.

The Audi Q5 55 TFSI e quattro with 367hp system output (combined fuel consumption: 2.4 - 2.1 L/100kms; combined C02 emissions 53 - 46 g/km) is the first of the new plug-in models from Audi. The drive concept comprises a combustion engine and an electric motor allowing it to cover most everyday driving distances electrically. The WLTP all-electric range is more than 40 kms.

The new drive concept comprises a 2.0 TFSI, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine producing 252hp and 370 Nm of torque, and an electric motor. The engine is matched with a seven-speed S tronic. The hybrid SUV has a system output of 270 kW (367hp) and total torque of 500 Nm just above idle. Acceleration from 9-100km/h takes 5.3 seconds and top speed is 239km/h.  

The car is the first time that the AWD with ultra technology is used in combination with an electric motor. 

The car comes standard with the Compact charging system plus a Mode 3 cable with Type 2 plug for use at public charging stations. The Compact charging system comprises cables for household and industrial outlets plus a control unit. Audi also offers an optional charging clip, a lockable wall-mounted holder for the charging system. A full charge at a CEE industrial outlet with 400 V/16 A takes 2.5 hours. 

The Audi e-tron Charging Service provides access to some 100,000 charging points in Europe with almost 1,100 public charge points available across the island of Ireland at the moment with a network of over 70 fast charges in the Republic of Ireland, primarily installed at service stations to facilitate longer journeys between major towns and cities. 

Renault’s 192 sales event at dealerships from 23-25 May

Renault Runway Sales Events will take place from this Thursday 23 May to Saturday 25 May at all 27 Renault dealerships nationwide, writes Trish Whelan.

Broadcaster and Brand Ambassador Ian Dempsey was recently on hand to launch the Renault Runway Sales Events as the brand revs up for a busy 192.

Renault customers can avail of a unique offer as the only car brand offering 0pc APR and 0 Deposit until 31 July with a further offer of three-years’ 0 cost servicing available only during this three-day Renault Runway Sales Events saving customers on average €600. These offers are available across the model range including the recently refreshed New KADJAR, Clio and Captur, the Megane range, the flagship Koleos SUV and the Scenic and Grand Scenic family cars.

All Renault cars come with 5 years’ warranty and 5 years’ roadside assistance as standard.

The 0pc APR and 0 Deposit helps to lower the cost of change and saves customers over €2,000 versus high street bank rates. 

On the Renault ZOE Z.E. 40 EV, customers can avail of 0pc APR HP for 192.

These offers, from Renault Bank, are available now on all new car registrations. 24-hour test drives are available across the Renault car range, including the electric ZOE, at all dealerships.

Pictured above are Renault’s Lynne Boucher, Ian Dempsey and Renault’s Liz O’Gorman.

Revised Billy Coleman Award Criteria announced

Motorsport Ireland has announced the updated Billy Coleman Award criteria for 2019, writes Richard Burke. The updates make no changes to the eligibility criteria of those considered for the prestigious prize but rather, focus on further developing those who are lucky to become nominated as well as slight tweaks to the judging windows.

The previous bi-monthly nomination periods have been replaced by tri-monthly nomination windows to better reflect the spread of events in the calendar. The months of January, February, March and April will count for 1 nomination while May/June/July and August/September/October will count for 1 nomination each. The nominees from these periods will be joined by the junior rally champions from the Irish National and Irish Forestry Rally Championships for both class 16 and 16A and the winner of the new dual surface J1600 Motorsport Ireland Junior Rally Series. One wildcard candidate may also be chosen by a panel appointed by Motorsport Ireland. This means there may be a maximum of 9 nominees in 2019, dropping to 7 in 2020 as class 16A will cease to exist at the end of this year.

All nominated candidates, who take up the offer to be interviewed for the Award, are eligible for inclusion in the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy for 1 year. Additional support from the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy as part of a training and development plan to further their careers will also be available in year 1 for the winner and they may apply for funding for a second year of support and delivering on the year 1 plan. The runners up (2) will receive support to compete in stage rallies at home and abroad up to an amount of €15,000 each, to be paid in stage payments as agreed. The funding for the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy is made possible by the Team Ireland Foundation.

As mentioned earlier, the eligibility criteria for the award has remained the same for 2019. Those wishing to qualify must:

- Be under 26 years of age on 1st January in the year of the award.
- Hold a valid current competition licence issued by Motorsport Ireland.
- Be resident on the island of Ireland.
- Be competing at home or abroad in any type of car eligible for Motorsport Ireland rallies except WRC cars.

The full rule change is available to view in the “2019 YEARBOOK AMENDMENTS SINCE PUBLICATION” section onmotorsportireland.com under the “RULES & REGULATIONS” tab and the first 2019 nominee from the January-April window will be announced shortly. The current Billy Coleman Award co-ordinator is Sean McHugh.

17 May 2019

Gabriel Keane is new SIMI President

Gabriel Keane, who is Managing Director and owner of Kia Liffey Valley in Dublin, was elected President of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) at the organisation’s AGM held recently in Killashee Hotel, Naas, Co Kildare, writes Trish Whelan.

At the AGM, he commented that he has experienced the highs and lows of the industry. “Some great years and some terrible years. And unfortunately, 2019 will not go down in the annals as a great year.

“Over the last three years we have seen the new car market decline by nearly 25pc. Obviously, Brexit was the main cause of this downturn and while we are by no means out of the woods on Brexit, there is a feeling that a softer Brexit may become a reality. I believe that if this happens, we will see growth in the new car market in 2020.”

Another cause of this decline is because of the increases in Vehicle Registration taxes in the last budget. Mr Keane remarked that the result is that the Government’s tax take on new cars will be down this year despite the tax increases. This, he said, is a loss for the industry and also for the Exchequer.

He added that achieving a better taxation regime for cars and having environmentally cleaner cars on our roads is a key objective for the SIMI. He called on the Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe to take this into account in the next budget in October by implementing any changes in vehicle taxation that will allow the Industry sell more new cars next year.

Having joined the Motor Industry nearly 30 years ago, Gabriel has gained extensive experience. His previous roles included Director of Nissan Ireland and Managing Director for the Windsor Motors. In 2014 he established Kia Liffey Valley which has become the largest Kia dealership in Ireland and one of the top ten Kia dealers in Europe.

Mr Keane thanked the members of the Society for allowing him the honour of being President and said he looks forward to serving the members in the coming year.