20 November 2019

Tesla 3 fighter from BMW

BMW is set to introduce an electric car aimed directly at the Tesla Model 3, recently launched in Ireland, writes Brian Byrne.

The i4 will, according to reports, have a 600kms range, with a fifth-generation design battery, powering a 523hp electric motor system that will offer a 0-100km/h in under four seconds.

The car will be fast-chargeable to 80pc of capacity in 35 minutes. The new battery is less than half the size of the previous generation unit.

The car is based on the i Vision Dynamics concept shown at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show (pictured).

19 November 2019

Irish 'pre-book' customers for VW ID 3 get to see their car

Many of the 400-plus Irish motorists who have put down €1,000 booking fees for the new Volkswagen ID 3 electric car are getting their first 'see, touch, and sit in' the car today and tomorrow, writes Brian Byrne.

At a presentation in a hangar at Weston Aerodrome in Celbridge, the prototype of the car is on display for the 'pre-bookers', with four workshop modules where they are getting details of the charging systems, the car itself, finance options, and a timeline for when they may get their car.

The pre-bookers will have an 8-week 'window' in March-April to confirm their purchase and take up a finance option that suits them. Those who change their mind, or don't confirm, will get their €1,000 back.

According to Mark McGrath of Volkswagen Group Ireland, the more than four hundred pre-bookers here, in proportion to population, is 'massive' in comparison with many other markets. Some 36,000 overall have pre-booked to get the limited edition '1st' ID 3. They will get their cars in summer 2020, while the standard car for further buyers won't be delivered in Ireland until likely January 2021.

The Golf-sized car will be offered with two battery options, providing estimated ranges of 480kms or 550kms. A sprint performance to 100km/h of 7.3 seconds is equivalent to a Golf GTI hot hatch.

Features include a head-up display, 'natural voice' control assistant, a unique interior design, and extensive connectivity including a WeConnect phone app which can be used to manage many functions, including charging and pre-heating, remotely.

Volkswagen is also introducing a charge card which will enable owners to use any charging system supplier in Ireland and have their electricity charges incorporated in their monthly finance repayments. Those using the dedicated IONITY charging network currently being rolled out in Ireland will be buying electricity made from renewable sources.

The ID 3 is built on a dedicated EV platform on which a range of Volkswagen electric vehicles will be rolled out over the coming years. The company has made a commitment to be carbon-neutral both in its vehicles and its production facilities by 2060.

The car will be on public view at the top of Grafton Street in Dublin this weekend.

Suzuki Ireland Dealer of the Year winners for 2019

Brownes Suzuki in Milford, Co Donegal collected the Sales Dealer of the Year award during a ceremony at Suzuki’s annual conference at Adare Manor in Co Limerick, writes Trish Whelan.

Cassidy Motors from Co Mayo was the recipient of the Aftersales Dealer of the Year award for the second year running.

The trophies were presented by Dale Wyatt, Director of Automobile at Suzuki GB PLC. The annual event, which gathers together representatives from across the country’s network, recognise dealerships that have exceeded their goals and gone the extra mile to ensure an extra mile to ensure an exceptional customer experience. 

Brownes Suzuki in Milford, run by husband and wife team Barry and Brid for the last 20 years, emerged victorious to win the Sales Dealer of the Year award. 

They are pictured above with Dale Wyatt (Director Automobile, Suzuki GB PLC); Junita Fernandez (Director of Finance and Corporate Operations, Suzuki GB PLC); Nobuo Suyama (Managing Director, Suzuki GB PLC), and Denis Houston (Director of Aftersales, Suzuki GB PLC).

The family-owned Cassidy Motors business in Co Mayo, which has Suzuki sales and service locations in both Charlestown and Ballina, repeated their success of 2018, claiming the Aftersales Dealer of the Year award for the second time. Established by Des and Carmel Cassidy, the 20-year-old Suzuki franchise, now run by their son and daughter Jason Cassidy and Michelle Rowley, was praised for its pro-active approach ad customer first philosophy.

Michelle and Jason are pictured with their award with Dale Wyatt (Director of Automobile, Suzuki GB PLC); Junita Fernandez (Director of Finance and Corporate Operations, Suzuki GB PLC); Nobuo Suyama (Managing Director, Suzuki GB PLC); and Denis Houston (Director of Aftersales, Suzuki GB PLC). 

18 November 2019

Mustang Mach-E will be global car for Ford

Ford is expecting that the development of its first dedicated all-electric car will counter falling sales of the Mustang and similar sport coupes in the US, writes Brian Byrne.

The Mustang Mach-E is a crossover coupe due to go on sale next year, with a 480kms range and an optional AWD version. An extended range version will travel up to 600kms between charges,

US sport car buyers are drifting towards light trucks (pickups).

The car will be available in 332hp and 459hp versions, offering three drive modes. It will be sold in global markets, like the current Mustang pony car.

The Mustang Mach-E is part of an $11bn investment which will result in 40 electrified vehicles coming from the carmaker in the next three years.

17 November 2019

Nissan: Old bangers worth a tasty €3,500

Old bangers are worth a tasty €3,500 in Nissan’s ‘Go Green’ deal, writes Trish Whelan.

Nissan is helping drivers to go green and to switch into the zero emissions Nissan LEAF by offering them up to €3,500 for their old banger in an effort to clean up the national car fleet and to support consumers who want to drive electric to reduce their carbon footprint, writes Trish Whelan.

Anyone driving a car registered up to the end of 2009 is guaranteed a minimum trade-in value of €3,000 toward the cost of a new Nissan LEAF; trade-in values increase up to €3,500 for cars registered up to the end of 2011. 

This comes as Nissan continues to break all records for EV sales in Ireland having sold over 1,000 Nissan LEAF cars so far this year and over 5,000 since it launched over a decade ago. 

Nissan has introduced the offer after the Government failed to use Budget 2020 to deliver a green scrappage scheme to incentivise motorists to switch out of older polluting cars into cleaner, zero emission cars as part of its policy to put one million electric vehicles onto Irish roads by 2030.

The scrappage seal is set to reduce the cost of the €29,890 entry level 40kWh Nissan LEAF which has a range of up to 270kms to between €26,390 and €26,890, depending on the age of the car that is being traded-in. 

Those interested in switching into the newly launched 62kWh model, which can do up to 385 kms of zero emissions driving on a single charge, can save up to €3,500 off the start price of €37,840 with the green scrappage offer. 

Nissan recently announced that the Nissan X-Storage system will be available to buy in Ireland in 2020, enabling EV drivers to use their cars to power their businesses and homes and to feed energy back to the power grid. 

The company already uses the technology together with sustainable solar energy to power its new Dublin headquarters.

13 November 2019

Skoda brings older people back to the workplace

Francis Brennan and Celia Holman Lee at today's Simply Older, Still Clever event

SKODA Ireland has announced a new age diversity initiative today, with the help of media personality and advocate for the elderly, Francis Brennan. The initiative, called Simply Older, Still Clever (a play on the brand’s tagline Simply Clever), aims to recruit older individuals who may have previously worked in the motor industry.
Silver Service! Irish hotelier and TV personality Francis Brennan along with model agent Celia Holman-Lee officially launched Skoda's age diversity initiative today which aims to recruit retirees and older people who previously worked in the motor industry back into its dealerships nationwide. 
Success in the motor industry is reliant on excellent customer service and building and maintaining customer relationships. SKODA believe the older generation possesses unrivalled skills in this area and are taking the first steps to re-introduce retirees into the work place to fufill customer facing duties in showrooms and forecourts across their dealer network.
The motor industry workforce is under resourced in the months of January and February where 43% of annual new car sales are delivered to customers. It is in these peak periods SKODA believe they can utilise the retired skillset to fulfill vehicle test drives, vehicle demonstrations and vehicle customer hand overs; all the while maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction and service. The SKODA Dealer network has embraced the idea and has already begun the recruitment process.
Speaking at the launch, SKODA Ireland Head of Marketing and Product, Raymond Leddy said “Many vehicle brands are over-focused on the youth market, technology and digitalisation. Very few brands are stepping into the territory of considering older employees and even fewer will publicise or endorse associations with the older generation. At SKODA, we see ourselves as paving the way for others in not just the motor industry but in Irish businesses in general to follow suit”
SKODA is acutely aware of Irish demographics with over 65’s representing over 15% of the Irish population reaching 23% by 2040.  This group is already valued by SKODA as this generation has been essential to the success of the brand in Ireland with 18% of their current customers over the age of 60. This growing cohort is also proven to be more loyal with 90% of this group likely to repurchase (versus 85% of 31-40 year olds). 
Speaking at the launch, Francis Brennan, famous for his skills in hospitality said, “I just turned 66 and I have no plans to retire anytime soon. Many of us are fitter and more physically active in our 50s and 60s than our parents were. Life expectancy is at record levels and we can expect a much longer period of healthy, active retirement. The more I experience, the more I know that keeping mentally active has significant benefits for health and wellbeing. Opportunities like this will bring huge benefits to both the employees and the SKODA business in general.”
SKODA are expecting 75% of their dealers to take part in the recruitment providing flexible working arrangements designed around the correct candidate.
Guest speakers at today’s event in The Merrion Hotel, Dublin, also included social media star Eileen ‘Style Queen’ Smith. The event was hosted by broadcaster Des Cahill.