19 October 2018

Charlie is Young Racing Driver of the month for August

Eastwood in the Aston Martin Vantage GTE of TF Sport.
Charlie Eastwood from Belfast has been selected as the Young Racing Driver of the Month for August, writes Richard Burke. The 23 year-old shared TF Sport team’s Aston Martin Vantage to runner up position in the GTE Am class at the Silverstone round of the World Endurance Championship, having led earlier in the six hour race.

Charlie started his racing career in karts at the age of eight, achieving great success, and won the 2012 Rotax World Final. He added the 2013 Rotax European title to his list of successes before switching to car racing in 2014, driving in the UK Formula 4 series, the New Zealand Toyota championship and the Formula Renault Eurocup during the next two seasons.

He began an association with Porsche GB in late 2015, becoming the 2016/17 Porsche Carrera Cup GB scholar, which launched him into the Carrera Cup championship. Charlie won the Rookie title in 2016 as well as taking 3rd in the Pro class, and went on to win the overall Pro Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship last year.

This has been a busy year for Charlie, as he has contested the Blancpain Endurance series at the wheel of TF Sport’s GT3 version of the Vantage, the VLN championship on the Nordschleife at the world famous Nurburgring in a Porsche GT4 for the Four Motors team, in addition to the WEC which spans a lengthy season, running from the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps last April and ending with the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June 2019.

Between races, Charlie works at the Porsche Experience Centre at Silverstone. Among his other sponsors are Oman Racing and SuCo.

Having been selected as the fifth Driver of the Month for the 2018 season, Charlie is now a contender for the prestigious Motorsport Ireland Young Racing Driver of the Year Award, the historic Sexton Trophy. This award is presented annually and is supported by Sport Ireland and Motorsport Ireland.

Eddie Cunningham launches book of short stories

Eddie with his daughter Emily and his brother PJ at the mike.
You may know him as the Motoring Editor of the Irish Independent, but there is another side to Eddie Cunningham, writes Trish Whelan.

He has just written a collection of 20 short stories. Called ‘Letters in the Sky and other stories’, they are described as original, engrossing and unusual in that they pick the lock of the bizarre and the everyday.

The book was launched at a special function in City West Hotel last evening with a huge number of well wishers from all over the country including Eddie's family, friends, and people from the Irish motor industry, there to congratulate him on his achievement and to wish him well. 

With Eddie’s stories, nothing is as it seems; much is left to your imagination. They can be provocative, dark, warm and entertaining. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself re-reading them several times.

A native of Clara, Co Offaly, Eddie is former Senior Deputy Editor of the Irish Independent, lives in Dublin and has four daughters.

There was a strong family involvement in bringing the collection to fruition. Eddie’s daughter, Emily, acted as Editor while his brother PJ’s company Ballpoint Press, published them.

Eddie says: “I’m delighted to be the author of a book that was edited by my daughter and published by my brother. It doesn’t happen every day.”

New Mercedes-Benz C-Class arrives

The latest Mercedes-Benz C-Class is now arriving in dealer showrooms fresh from having undergone a comprehensive mid-term makeover that has seen improvements made in all areas, writes Trish Whelan.

Prices start from €37,710.

This upgraded C-Class is available in saloon, estate, coupe and cabriolet form and in two style and equipment lines - Avantgarde and AMG.

The company says in terms of its design, specifications and technological advancement, this latest C-Class range 'goes well beyond what customers might expect for a car in its segment'. 

A host of external design changes give it a distinctly more sporty appearance. These include redesigned front and rear bumpers, new front and rear lights, chrome highlighting, new silver and emerald green metallic colour additions, and diamond pattern grille on AMG versions. 

Also new is its electronic architecture, a new generation of four-cylinder petrol engines, and an interior style boost reflected in more luxurious upholstery and trim, an extensive multimedia and infotainment layout, and latest online and ‘Mercedes-me’ App services.

Models likely to feature strongly in the Irish market will be the C180 petrol and the C180d and C200d.

Amongst its innovative eco-friendly features is EQ Boost which helps reduce fuel consumption and deliver extra power when accelerating or when operating at low speeds.

New C-Class range keeps pace with other Mercedes-Benz newcomers with safety-focused driver assistance and infotainment systems managed by touch-sensitive steering wheel controls. Other tech goodies include a control that contributes to driver relaxation and wellbeing by linking all of the comfort systems, an anti-theft alarm system that can record instances when parking damage is caused by another vehicle, and a futuristic 'near field communications' feature that allows owners to convert their mobiles into a vehicle key to control functions remotely.

The C-Class has been one of Mercedes-Benz's great success stories recording global sales of around 9.5 million units since it was originally launched, with close on half a million sold last year alone. 

A plug-in diesel hybrid that combines a new generation diesel and a latest-generation 9-speed hybrid transmission, and with a range of around 50kms on electric power alone, will arrive next year.

VW offers to clean up diesels in 14 cities

Volkswagen in Germany is offering a special incentive to owners of Euro-1 to Euro-5 diesel vehicles in 14 of the country's most air-polluted cities to scrap them, writes Brian Byrne.

The incentive is available across all of the VW Group's brands, including Audi, SEAT, Skoda, Volkswagen and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, and are available for new vehicles and on a varying scale for nearly-new used vehicles.

Volkswagen’s first environmental incentive from August 2017 to June 2018 successfully demonstrated that systematic fleet renewal is a swift and efficient way of improving air quality.

Throughout the Group, over 210,000 old diesel vehicles were taken off the roads, scrapped and replaced by modern, cleaner models. In combination with the software updates for diesel vehicles, the company says nitrogen dioxide emissions have thus been reduced by over 10,000 tonnes per year.

18 October 2018

Citroen launch new service website

Citroen Ireland has launched a new service website, www.citroenservice.ie which allows customers to book their service online with their local authorised Citroen dealership and receive a precise quote in advance of their service, writes Trish Whelan.

The new website is all about providing customers with a convenient and fast way to book in their vehicle’s service. By booking online customers can avail of exclusive service offers including free bulb replacement and free technical updates and health checks for their vehicle.

Services are carried out by Citroen’s specially trained technicians using the latest Citroen diagnostic equipment. Citroen also offer customers a 1-year warranty on all parts and accessories purchased through the brand’s Aftersales dealers and 3 months’ workmanship warranty on all repairs.

Joseph Greene, Aftersales Manager, Citroen Ireland, said: “Our main aim is to make the service process as convenient and straight forward as possible and through the new website customers can book a service for a date and time that suits them. They will also receive a quote for their service in advance and can also avail of the exclusive online offers too.”

P.G. Duffy & Sons join Suzuki dealer network

P.G. Duffy & Sons in Newbridge, Co Kildare, have been welcomed to the Suzuki Ireland dealer network bringing the total number of showrooms representing the brand in the country to 23, writes Trish Whelan.

The modern 100 square-metre dealership is operated by a family-owned business which has over 60 years’ experience in the motor trade.

On display in the recently refurbished four-car showroom is the full Suzuki model range from the Celerio city car to the upgraded 2019 model year Vitara compact SUV.

The dealership provides customers with servicing and repair facilities which adhere to the Suzuki Service Promise. Pricing is transparent and only genuine parts are used during any maintenance or repair work. Benefits also include a complementary health check.

Dale Wyatt, Director of Automobile at Suzuki GB PLC says “P.G. Duffy & Sons is one of the region’s highly respected family-run businesses renowned for its loyal and repeat customers and we look forward to working closely with them during what is set to be an exciting few months ahead.

P.G. Duffy & Sons is located at Naas Road, Newbridge, Co Kildare.

Reen’s Rathmore win Peugeot Dealer of the Year 2018

For the second consecutive year, Reen’s Rathmore, Main Peugeot Dealer for Co Kerry, has been crowned Peugeot Dealers of the Year 2018, writes Trish Whelan.

The presentation was made to Dealer Principals, John and Tim Reen, at the annual Peugeot Dealer Conference at the Castleknock Hotel and Spa, Dublin.

Des Cannon, Managing Director at Gowan Distributors Limited, Peugeot Importers in Ireland, said the Reen family have demonstrated continued drive and energy to ensure their customers are king, bringing the Peugeot brand to new heights in the Kingdom of Kerry. He congratulated them on another incredible performance in 2018.

Tim Reen, Dealer Principal recognised his team’s strength at Reen’s Rathmore and thanked each and every one of their customers.

The family-run business in Rathmore was first established by brothers John, Vincent and Donie Reen. Appointed Main Peugeot Dealers in 1987, the business grew in 2005 when a new state of the art showroom was opened on the existing site in Rathmore. The showroom underwent a refresh in 2018. 

Reen’s Rathmore was Peugeot Dealer of the Year in 2006, 2015 and 2017 before clinching the title again for 2018.

Pictured are: Des Cannon, Managing Director at Gowan Distributors Limited; John and Tim Reen, Dealer Principals at Reen’s Rathmore; Colin Sheridan, Sales and Marketing Director at Gowan Distributors Limited.

17 October 2018

BMW's biggest X car on sale in spring

BMW's X7 will go on sale next spring in RHD markets, writes Brian Byrne.

The new flagship of the X models will feature a more prominent 'kidney' grille, and wider rear passenger doors than the front ones.

It will be a seven-seat vehicle, with a boot capacity of 326L, and trim will include leather seats as standard. A three-part panoramic roof will also be standard.

Engines will include a 340hp petrol, and diesels with 265hp and 400hp outputs.

For offroad use, ground clearance can be lifted by up to 40mm.

Flack Bros wins Peugeot Sales Dealer 2018 crown

Flack Bros, Main Peugeot Dealer for Co Monaghan, has been crowned Peugeot Sales Dealer of the Year 2018, writes Trish Whelan.

A new annual award bestowed upon a Peugeot Dealer, the presentation was made to Dealer Principal, Noelle Flack and Melvin Jordan, at the Peugeot Dealer Conference at the Castleknock Hotel and Spa, Dublin.

Des Cannon, Managing Director at Gowan Distributors Limited, Peugeot Importers in Ireland, said: “Flack Bros has delivered an unparalleled performance in 2018 and now commands a 10.8pc market share (cars and vans combined) in Co Monaghan, the highest Peugeot Dealer county share in our Network this year. Flack’s van market share represents a colossal 20.9pc meaning one in five vans in Monaghan is a new Peugeot van.”

Noelle Flack, Dealer Principal, said: “A proud third generation Flack here at Flack Bros, I think each and every customer who has come through our door, without whom we would not be celebrating this award.”

Established in 1929 Flack Brothers Ltd is a family run business located in Monaghan Town. The dealership joined the Peugeot franchise network in 1979 coinciding with its 50th anniversary and headed by Noel Flack. Noelle, Noel’s daughter, took the reins in 2002 and today leads a staff of 10. Now a state of the art showroom at 68 Glaslough Street, Monaghan, the site underwent a refresh this year.

Pictured are Emma Toner, Marketing Manager at Gowan Distributors; Melvin Jordan, Flack Bros Monaghan; Noelle Flack, Dealer Principal and Des Cannon, Managing Director at Gowan Distributors. 

Volkswagen to revamp sales formats

Volkswagen customers from 2020 will be able to avail of a range of services including and beyond the purchase of a car through a personal ID number, writes Brian Byrne.

The system, to be rolled out through the company's 5,400 dealers in Europe will also allow online purchases, mobility services, software updates, and round the clock availability of support.

VW plans to add five million of its customers each year globally to the initiative.

As a major revamp of its sales and service format, the plan will also involve pop-up stores in high footfall city locations.

In a developing digitisation of its sales network, Volkswagen will develop an internet platform which will handle the entire purchasing process through to contract conclusion, including financing, payment and even used car trade-ins.

Customers will be able to choose from the entire brand model range and to complete their car purchase with their selected dealer online. For Volkswagen, the new platform will also offer the possibility of direct sales.