15 November 2018

Los Angeles debut for new Kia Soul

Kia’s Soul compact SUV appealed to those who want to drive something different, writes Trish Whelan. 

The current version was introduced in July 2014.

Now a new Kia Soul will make its world debut at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show which takes place from 30 November to 9 December.

An icon of Kia design, the Soul is all new for 2020 and will come to market with a bold, immediately recognisable design, uncompromising versatility and a fun-to-drive personality. 

It will come with several powertrains, including turbocharged engines and zero-emissions electric options. The new all-electric Soul version is set to go on sale in Europe next year. 

The 2014 model is pictured below.

Fiat announces three 191 offers

New Fiat 500X

Customers who buy a Fiat car will benefit from 3 years free servicing across the range as well as finance from 3pc APR for orders placed by 31 December and registered by 31 January 2019, writes Trish Whelan.

For those considering one of the three different body styles of the Tipo family (hatchback, sedan or estate), Fiat are offering an engine price match which will enable them to pick up a diesel model at the same price as the petrol equivalent, saving €1,750 versus the previous price walk.

The new Fiat 500X that has just arrived in Fiat showrooms (priced from €21,795), has been updated inside and out with new looks and technology. Three trim levels are Urban, City Cross and Cross. Three petrol engines include two new more efficient turbo petrol engines. A host of safety assistance systems now come as standard across the range. The 500X comes with 3 years free servicing plus 3pc APR finance (except the 500X Cross 1.3 150hp DCT Automatic). Customers can pick up the new 500X from €238 per month.

Fiat’s 3 years free servicing offer, coupled with the standard 3 years warranty and roadside assistance is across the entire range of passenger cars.

14 November 2018

Mercedes-Benz plans new models/facelifts in 2019

New Mercedes-Benz A-Class

The Mercedes-Benz product offensive continues in 2019 with eight new models and seven facelifted models set to be introduced here, writes Trish Whelan.

Amongst them will be models that demonstrate the car maker’s goal of reinventing the future of the automobile by developing new ‘green’ models and new technologies that are in harmony with current ecological thinking. 

These goals have led to the new ‘electric-intelligent’ EQ brand and will influence the development of an additional 10 new models by 2022. 

Next year we will see petrol-mild hybrids, petrol and diesel plug-in hybrids, and EQC, a full electric, mid-size SUV with a one-charge 420km range.

New models to hit the road in January will include facelifted C-Class models in saloon, coupe, estate and cabriolet variants.

February/March will see a new A-Class saloon and an all-new B-Class range. These models have been to the fore in attracting a new, more youthful generation of motorists to the Mercedes-Benz brand. The A-Class is perhaps the single most pivotal model in the company’s portfolio, providing the platform on which all of seven new models will be built, including the new A-Saloon and B-Class.

From April to June, a new CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and GLE with a 7-seat option will arrive here. June will see a facelifted V-Class and the arrival of the electric-powered EQC, a model styled on the new GLC.

New arrivals in the July/September period will include a new GLS. Also due in July will be the facelifted GLC Coupe and SUV models.

In the period October/December, end of year activity will focus on the arrival of the all new GLB. This model slots into the range just below the GLC and is a mid-size SUV with a 7-seat option.

2019 will also see technology spread across the NGCC range - technology such as the voice-activated ‘Hey Mercedes’ driver assistance programme introduced in the new A-Class. 

Appealing to a young audience, NGCC models now account for over 35pc of Mercedes-Benz sales in Ireland - a position which Ciaran Allen, sales manager for Mercedes-Benz in Ireland says ‘is helped by the availability of attractive PCP and other low-interest finance options'. 

13 November 2018

Shift to battery power will cost VW 14,000 jobs

Audi e-tron, all electric from Volkswagen Group.
Volkswagen has completed its list of approved battery supply partners for its upcoming electric car range, as it plans up to 50 million electric vehicles on its MEB platform, writes Brian Byrne.

Naming South Korean battery maker SKI Innovation as the supplier for its North American electric car range and for some of its European production alongside LG Chem and Samsung, the German carmaker has put in place supply for the 150 GWh capacity per year it needs through to 2025. Chinese company Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) was previously nominated as the strategic partner for China.

The announcement also puts the company closer to having to trim its workforce by an estimated 14,000 in Germany as production of internal combustion engines are phased out. Other carmakers face similar issues, as electric cars take less overall time to produce, and jobs in their engines manufacture go outside to battery makers.

Cities need to 'dissuade' people from owning cars: GoCar

Vincent Wall, moderator; with Dr Cara Augustenburg; Sheila Struyck; Owen Keegan; Anne Graham; and Colm Brady at The Future of Multimodal Transport.
The freedom of owning a car has been 'offset' down the years by 'too many cars, and pollution', according to the new MD of the GoCar car sharing company in Ireland, writes Brian Byrne.

And Colm Brady says that cities need to embrace the concept of 'dissuading' people from owning cars and thus help reduce car ownership.

He was speaking at an event in Dublin to mark the company's 10th anniversary, The Future of Multimodal Transport.

Mr Brady has replaced Colm Menton, who has retired, at the helm of GoCar and Europcar Mobility Group Ireland.

There are now more than 450 GoCar vehicles in service in Ireland, and by the end of next year the company expects to increase that to 1,000. In addition to private driver usage, GoCar now offers a corporate car pool scheme.

At the event in the Wood Quay Centre, Colm Brady noted that the the number of people using the service has grown to over 30,000 nationally, and that this would reach 100,000 in a year.

"GoCar is now operating in 18 counties and we have seen a 600pc increase in journeys using our vehicles over the last three years," he told those attending, adding that a recent initiative that allows users of Leap cars to access the fleet 'was a game-changer'.

He also outlined the adoption of electric vehicles by the company, with the support of BMW and Renault, which resulted in 1,700 electric car journeys over the last two years.

Asked if he thought it would be difficult to 'wean' the private owner away from owning a car, he said he didn't think so, because people were beginning to realise the real cost. "The figures are there, produced by the AA. The more we talk about it, the more people will think about how much their car is costing them. Increasingly, if people are thinking of changing their car, they might consider whether car sharing is the way to go for them?"

He also noted that local authorities are now ready to change their planning regulations to include car sharing as part of their town and city plans. "One effect of this will be a lesser need for car space," he said.

The event featured a keynote speech from Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross TD, followed by a panel discussion involving Dr Cara Augustenburg, Lecturer in Environmental Policy in UCD; Colm Brady, MD of GoCar & Europcar Mobility Group Ireland; Anne Graham of the NTA; Owen Keegan, Chief Executive of Dublin City Council; and Sheila Struyck, MD of the Business Unit, Europcar Mobility Group.

Airside is Citroen Dealership of the Year 2018

Airside Citroen, Swords, Co Dublin has been awarded the Citroen Ireland Dealer of the Year Award 2018 from a network of 23 authorised sales dealerships nationwide, writes Trish Whelan. The Dealership also scooped the Sales Dealer of the Year Award 2018 and were officially presented with both awards by Pat Ryan, Managing Director, Citroen Ireland at the 2018 Dealer Conference held at The Heritage Killenard.

The Dealership is owned by Avanacar Limited who took over the operation in May 2017 and is run by Dealer Principal and Managing Director, Damien Smyth who accepted the Awards on behalf of all the team at Airside Citroen.

Congratulating Damien and all the team, Pat Ryan said ‘the dealership has displayed outstanding excellence across both their sales and aftersales departments and thoroughly deserve these awards. He added: “We look forward to continuing to work with all at Airside Citroen in 2019 as we celebrate 100 years of the Citroen brand.”

Pictured at the presentation are Paul Tunnicliffe, Automotive Development Director, IM Group; Karl Larkin, Sales Manager, Airside Citroen; Damien Smyth, Dealer Principal, Airside Citroen; and Pat Ryan, Managing Director, Citroen Ireland.

Mercedes-Benz hands over fuel cell GLCs

Mercedes-Benz has just handed over the first GLC F-Cell fuel cell-powered vehicles to selected customers in Germany, writes Brian Byrne.

The car is both a plug-in hybrid and an FC vehicle that can run on hydrogen via its fuel cell technology.

the first customers in the German market include Deutsche Bahn, the German railways and further handovers will be made this year to companies which include Air Liquide, Shell, Linde AG and also the cities of Stuttgart and Hamburg.

Other business as well as private customers in Germany will also be able to enjoy access to the GLC F-Cell from the spring of 2019 via Mercedes-Benz Rent.

Young Rally Driver of the Year Award decided today

Darragh McNern

Today, 13 November, eight of Ireland’s most promising young rally drivers will make their cases to be selected as the Young Rally Driver of the Year and be declared the winner of the prestigious Billy Coleman Award, writes Paul Phelan.

Five of these hopefuls were nominated during the year for their performances in rallies between January and October, with three additional names added in the form of the highest placed eligible drivers from both the Junior Championship in the Triton Showers National series and the Junior category in the Valvoline National Forestry Championship, as well as a wildcard selection.

Colin O'Donoghue. All Photos: Ruaidhri Nash
Joining the five already chosen are Darragh McNern (Bruckless, Co Donegal), who finished 2nd in the Triton Showers National Junior class in his Toyota Corolla, and Peugeot 208 driver Marty Gallagher (Letterkenny), who is the highest placed eligible Junior in the Valvoline Championship.

Marty Gallagher

The first place on the interview list, the wildcard selection, goes to Colin O’Donoghue (Killarney), for his Junior wins on the Rally of the Lakes and the Skibbereen Fastnet, as well as runner up position in the West Cork Rally. Colin drove both a Ford Escort and a Honda Civic during the year.

The five bi-monthly selections were: James Wilson (Armagh), Derek Mackarel (Stone Bridge, Co Monaghan), Jason Black (Armagh), Jordan Hone (Claudy, Co Derry) and Michael Hamilton (Miltown Malbay, Co Clare). 

The winner of the Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year Award receives €50,000 worth of support to contest rallies nationally and internationally in 2019 along with the support of Billy Coleman co-ordinator, Sean McHugh, while the two runners-up will receive free entries into a number of MI permitted events in 2019, along with co-ordinator support.