19 September 2019
The Kia e-Soul is the latest generation of the boxy but charming compact from the Korean carmaker. It is only being sold as a battery electric car in Europe, which means that the brand now offers two fully electric and one plug-in hybrid here.
The style includes bright and cheerful dual colour combinations, so apart from its very identifiable shape you’re going to see it coming anyhow. But it’s also very practical, the upright driving position offering good visibility, and room in the back which rivals cars two segments above.
Among them are the new Subaru Forester e-Boxer, with a hybrid 2.0 petrol engine and a very high level of safety and comfort technology. It comes to Ireland in November.
|Sean Dunne of Subaru Ireland with the new Forester e-Boxer hybrid.|
|Colin Sheridan and Emma Toner of Peugeot Ireland, with the new Peugeot 208.|
|Eoin Quinn and Emma Toner of Peugeot Ireland with the new Partner Van.|
|John Donegan of Skoda Ireland with the new Skoda Kamiq.|
|David Ford, Corporate Fleet Manager with Jaguar Land Rover Ireland, and the Discovery Commercial.|
|Warren Reidy of Volkswagen Commercials Ireland with the Crafter Van.|
|Jason Byrne of Mitsubishi Motors Ireland with the Outlander PHEV.|
|Carol Hughes of Toyota Ireland with the new RAV 4 Hybrid.|
Labels: car sales
18 September 2019
Besides, his work at DCU Alpha is about nurturing tech companies focusing on the disruption of various sectors, including transportation.
So saying something like 'car ownership is dead' was not to be unexpected. It may be, like Mark Twain's first obituary, a bit premature. But, eventually, I suspect he's right.
And in the nature of change in these times, eventually can come more quickly than it used to.
At the event held in Dogpatch Labs in Dublin yesterday, Furlong did say that cars and transportation are 'coming late' to the 'disruption tipping point'. "But the speed of the shift is extraordinary. There are really fundamental changes coming. They are inevitable."
In what had to be, in the time available, only a brief overview of what he believes is the near future he forecast 'an explosion of micro-mobility'. That's e-scooters, and more available shared bicycles to you and me. And more car-sharing and ride-hailing (Uber and like, which we don't have here ... yet).
On the shared e-scooters, he said the dockless experience in US cities got bad press, mainly because they were introduced in a 'Wild West' unregulated environment.
That can be fixed. And Irish companies are working on that stuff. Like one of his DCU Alpha enterprises which is developing centimetre-level tracking technology that can be used to control shared micro-mobility users who are breaking the rules.
Car makers will be happy to hear Furlong's statement that much personal transport will still be underpinned by the car. "But not by ownership. We're moving towards a 'servitization' of the car asset. Where mobility moves into the realm of a financial service."
He talked of a 'tokenisation' of the urban transport system which will allow customers to use a variety of ways of getting around, seamlessly, on a subscription basis. "It will create challenges. For municipalities in providing the infrastructure. For politicians."
Ah, yes, for politicians. Changes in planning needed, for instance, to provide for more micromobility facilities than car parking in new city apartment developments. Taxing existing city parking spaces, heavily (Ouch! Motorists' Votes! Ouch!).
"We need a congestion charge (in Dublin) and we need it fast." (Ouch! Motorists' Votes! Ouch!)
Nevertheless, in conclusion the DCU man was adamant that change is coming, and fast. "It's inexorable."
His company's fleet of rent-by-the-hour GoCars is now 800, and a high percentage of them have more than 20 drivers each. "We can put 800 more on the road in a year if the demand is there."
He added that according to the survey his company commissioned, there's a strong belief that change will only come from Government action. "We have to vote in governments that will make these happen. It's going to hurt for some, but this has to happen."
Are we there yet?
No. But we're getting there. Where 'there' is, has yet to be decided.
Labels: sustainable mobility
17 September 2019
|Brian Cooke, Director General of SIMI, with Paddy Magee, Country Operations Manager, Renault Group Ireland.|
These were stark figures today in a market presentation by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry, which warns that ‘the mistakes of 2008 must be avoided’ and says the industry is now at its most vulnerable since the crash of 2008.
Economist Jim Power detailed the national economic background to the Budget submission recently submitted by SIMI on behalf of its members. While there has been generally a strong recovery in the economy, he suggests this has been exaggerated. He pointed to sterling’s weakness since Brexit, a motor market which has declined for the last three years and the 'fragility' of consumer confidence.
A new car market under pressure and a continuing strong growth in used imports are the main concerns. With the potential for serious financial and environmental outcomes.
“We're not looking for handouts in this Budget,” Paddy Magee of Renault Ireland said on behalf of the distributors and dealer networks. “We’re only looking for help in dealing with climate change. On one hand we're doing what we can to sell clean new cars. But on the other, there are no restrictions on used diesel cars, which don't meet current standards, being dumped here from the UK. Whatever we do on the new car side is being undermined by the imports.”
Director General of SIMI Brian Cooke noted that 400,000 used cars had been imported to the Irish market over the past three and a half years. “If a quarter of those had been substituted by new car sales, it would have meant an extra €650m in the state's coffers.”
He criticised the 'open door' policy on used imports, with no regulations in place to refuse registration of an import, which could be a 'write-off' in the UK or be producing emissions no longer acceptable in its home market.
Jim Power noted how the current situation means a big difference for Government revenues, with an average of €10,174 being the tax take on a new car, versus €3,493 for the typical imported used one. “The cost to the Exchequer is €66m for every 10,000 used cars imported that displace new car sales,” he said.
The motor industry wants the state to introduce 'reasonable checks' on imports. They also call for non-recognition of a UK MOT on passenger cars of four years old and over, or one year in the case of commercial vehicles.
The industry wants the diesel CO2 levy introduced last year to be replaced with a charge on nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions instead. This would address the current anomaly where a new car with relatively very low NOx emissions is taxed more than an equivalent used import with high emissions which cause significant health and environmental issues.
The meeting heard that the annual car market has ‘stabilised’ at around 220,000 over recent years, but the proportion of imports is rising inexorably. From just 47,790 units five years ago, the figures are trending to hit 115,000 in 2020, with new car sales for that year shrinking to 105,000.
In a comment on the growth of electric vehicles in the Irish market 'from an extraordinarily low base', Jim Power said the targets for EVs in the recent Government Climate plan are ‘absolute pie in the sky’, and there is no possibility of achieving the numbers in the forseeable future. “But the objective is a good idea, so we should stick with it,” he added.
Looking at the prospects depending on different kinds of Brexit scenario, Jim Power suggested that a no-deal split could see new car sales going as low as 70,000 next year, if there are also VRT increases in the Budget.
“It's a simple message,” Brian Cooke said bluntly. “It's a stark message. We're struggling. We need fair play.”
13 September 2019
|New Skoda Superb.|
Skoda will have two new models at the National Ploughing Championships in Ballintrane, Fenagh, Co Carlow from 17-19 September, the new Superb and a Kamiq Crossover, writes Trish Whelan.
The new Superb receives new exterior styling, refreshed interiors and upgraded specifications across the model range. It will launch in Ireland on 7 October.
The Skoda Kamiq crossover will also be unveiled at The Ploughing and arrive in showrooms on 1 November. It will compete in one of the fastest growing segments in Ireland. With an elevated driving position and raised ground clearance, the Kamiq is positioned at the lower end of the SUV segment.
|Skoda Kamiq Crossover.|
|All-New Peugeot 208|
With over 300,000 visitors expected, Peugeot will host a preview of the futuristic new 208 hatchback at the National Ploughing Championships from 17-19 September at Fenagh, Co Carlow, along with the full range of their passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.
Available with a choice of petrol, diesel or 100pc electric powertrains, the all-new 208 has the Lion Brand’s latest-generation i-Cockpit and 3D head-up display along with a host of technology and comfort features. It is expected to arrive in Dealer showrooms in late 2019 ahead of the first customer registrations in early 2020. Prices and equipment will be announced closer to launch.
Whether a customer chooses petrol, diesel or all-electric, the new Peugeot 208 retains the same dimensions, the same look, and the same unique character. Longer and wider than its predecessor, the new 208’s wide shaped wings, body curves and sculpted bonnet create a distinctive and sporty look. Like its 3008, 5008 and new 508 siblings, the rear of the new 208 stands out with a black band running the width of the boot lid linking the 3-claw daytime running lights.
The Peugeot brand recorded the highest volume sales increase in the Irish market again in 2019 (+378 units August year-to-date representing +5.7pc increase, cars and vans combined).
Peugeot will have 15 vehicles at this year’s show, located at stand number 522, block 3, row number 23.
|Joe Donoghue, Minister Catherine Byrne, and Conor Dixon of Renault Ireland.|
Renault Ireland has handed over a specially converted nine-seater Renault Trafic minibus to Fatima Groups United Family Resource Centre in Rialto, Dublin 8, writes Trish Whelan.
Based on the Trafic van, the converted minibus will be used by the centre during the course of its work within the local community. The centre is the representative body of residents and projects in Fatima and Herberton, and operates from community development principles providing key services in the areas of health and wellbeing, education, employment, arts, childcare, counselling supports, information and advice, family support and advocacy, civic awareness and community development.
Renault supported the Family Resource Centre with the purchase of the minibus and also plans to supply an electric Kangoo Z.E. van to the centre for use in its catering service.
At the handover, Conor Dixon of Renault Ireland said: “We are thrilled to be able to support such a great organisation which does amazing work within the local communities of Fatima and Herberton.” He wished them safe and happy driving from all at Renault Ireland.
Replying on behalf of the Centre, Joe Donohoe, Projects Manager said: “Having our own Renault Trafic minibus will make such a difference to the many people, young and old, using our centre. It will make life a lot easier for us in providing quality services for all those who come into all of our programmes.” He added that later this year, Renault will supply them with an electric Kangoo Z.E. van which will enable their cafe to expand its operations with the aim of creating more jobs for local people. He thanked Renault and looks forward to developing relations with the company in the coming years.
Pictured at the handover was Minister Catherine Byrne, Minister of State at the Department of Health with responsibility for Health Promotion and the National Drugs Strategy.
12 September 2019
The traditional big motorshows in Europe are becoming more for their local consumer markets, and many carmakers are preferring to have their more important reveals at events of their own, writes Brian Byrne. Though the Frankfurt Motor Show this week is still a draw for many thousands of journalists and motor business people to the Press Days debuts, the no-shows include Aston Martin, Bugatti, Citroën, Ferrari, Fiat, Jeep, Kia, Lancia, Mazda, Nissan, Peugeot, Rolls-Royce, Suzuki, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota and Volvo. But there's still a fair bit to report on, much of it electric.