Last month, Volkswagen’s appointed investigators wound up their investigation into precisely who knew what in the diesel emissions-cheating scandal. Five years of work, 480 million documents examined, countless interviews, several arrests and jail terms, and some owners’ class actions settled; it’s been a marathon. Early reports indicate that Volkswagen will be pursuing actions for damages against former chief executive Martin Winterkorn and his equivalent at Audi, Rupert Stadler – the latter recently described by one of my German colleagues as “a man of disgrace”. Well, they all are. They duped everyone, although the investigations are spreading wider, with allegations that other German car makers were using equally underhand, if harder to find, “defeat devices”. So where does this leave us? No one trusts car makers any more and the UK and EU have virtually mandated electric cars. VW’s spin is that was then and this is now. Its riposte is £54 billion investment in an all-new electric range based around its modular electric platform (MEB), using the same lithium-ion battery pack in a trio of sizes. This will be shared across all the Group’s marques, while Ford has bought into it as well. Spot the difference This car, the Skoda Enyaq, is the first non-VW use of the platform, but since it shares the same batteries-in-the-floor structure and rear-mounted, rear-drive configuration (although 4x4 and speedy RS versions are on their way), with MacPherson-strut front, multi-link rear suspension and similar steering components, just how different can it be?
Mercurial describes very few in this world, but it’s an apt depiction of Richard Parry-Jones, Ford’s former head of global product development, who has died aged 69 in an accident at his farm in Wales. RP-J, the Welsh wizard and Ford’s saviour would be other names, for this was a man who in his pomp would cross the Atlantic for a 20-minute drive in a prototype car, give his verdict to his engineers and catch the next plane back. Not the easiest to get on with, his direct, first-principles approach epitomised the engineer he was at heart, although he was also an accomplished player in the byzantine poker game of car-making politics. Bill Ford, chairman of the company that bears his name, was unusually fulsome in his tribute saying he was “a rare talent who left an indelible mark on Ford and the industry. As an engineer, he was a virtuoso with an uncanny feel for creating cars that were dynamic and incredibly fun to drive. I can tell you that going on a test drive with him was not for the faint of heart”. I’ll say. If Richard was speaking, you pinned your ears back; if he was driving, your back was pinned to the seat. Forthright in his opinions, he wasn’t frightened of giving you the benefit of them, whether that was on the labyrinthine ways of the Welsh Rugby Union, or the slightly less complex business of engineering stand-out road cars. His achievements and plaudits were many, including a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) awarded for services to the motor industry in 2005. He was an elected fellow of The Royal Academy of Engineers and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and in 1995 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Loughborough University. Autocar magazine’s Man of the Year in 1994, Parry-Jones left Ford in 2007 after 38 years with the company for pastures new.
Toyota Motor Corp said on Monday it will introduce 15 battery electric vehicle (BEV) models globally by 2025, expanding the automaker's electric vehicle lineup to achieve carbon neutrality before 2050. The company will increase its number of electric models to around 70 from currently offered 55, it said in a statement. The new BEV model Toyota bZ series, which was unveiled at the 2021 Shanghai Auto Show on Monday, is aimed for China, the United States and Europe, the carmaker said.
Two men have been killed after a Tesla crashed into a tree and burst into flames, and officials have said no one was in the driver's seat. The 2019 Tesla Model S was travelling at high speed at the time of the incident on Saturday night in Texas. After the fire was extinguished, one of the victims was found in the front passenger seat, while the other was in the back.
A policy shift by China's government is ratcheting up pressure on automakers to hasten development of green vehicles or pay rivals such as Tesla Inc and Chinese startups for green credits. Regulators are putting more teeth on a system of tradable green car credits to wean the industry off a decade-long policy of subsidies which has helped create some of the biggest companies in the industry. The system gives automakers credits for selling electric or fuel-efficient vehicles that can offset penalties on their more carbon-intensive models.
Elon Musk has claimed that Autopilot was not enabled in a Tesla car involved in a fatal accident in which "no one" appeared to be driving. Two men were killed after they crashed into a tree in a Tesla electric car on Saturday in Austin, Texas. Replying to a Twitter thread on the accident, Mr Musk said: “Data logs recovered so far show Autopilot was not enabled and this car did not purchase FSD [full self driving]. “Moreover, standard Autopilot would require lane lines to turn on, which this street did not have.” Local police in Texas said the car, a 2019 Model S, had been travelling at high speed and had failed to navigate a turn. Harris County precinct constable Mark Herman said authorities were "very confident just with the positioning of the bodies after the impact that there was no one driving that vehicle". One victim had been found in the front passenger seat and the other in the back of the vehicle. Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which regulates vehicle safety, and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) both said they would investigate.
SHANGHAI (Reuters) -Toyota pioneered the world's most successful hybrid car but when it comes to pure electric vehicles it has some catching up to do, especially in China. The Hong Guang Mini EV, a tiny, no-frills car made by a General Motors joint venture that costs under $5,000 is a smash hit in the world's biggest car market while Toyota has yet to launch its own small, low-cost electric vehicle in China. Toyota, the world's biggest carmaker, is set to unveil its solution at the Shanghai auto show on April 19: a new universal platform for electric vehicles (EVs) called e-TNGA that will underpin an array of models from small runarounds to large SUVs.
SHANGHAI/TOKYO (Reuters) -Japan's Nissan Motor Co, which is racing to lift margins and curb costs amid slowing sales, showed off a redesigned version of its X-Trail model on Monday and announced a green car strategy for China at the Shanghai auto show. The redesigned X-Trail sport-utility vehicle (SUV) was on display after a similar SUV called the Rogue hit the U.S. market last year. The new X-Trail will be available in China this year.
Global car companies have been struggling with semiconductor shortages due to increased demand in other markets such as smartphones and other consumer electronics amid the COVID pandemic.
Mazda’s first pure plug-in battery-powered production model is strikingly styled, especially the doors, though Sean O’Grady remains dubious over its obvious drawback
The RMS Titanic sank in the North Atlantic on 15 April 1912, taking the lives of 1,500 passengers – including the owner of one of the most famous cars ever to go missing. He was Fletcher F. Lambert-Williams, a director of the Mono Service Company, who three years previously had purchased a new dark blue Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost with the chassis number 60985 and fitted with Maythorn coachwork. It received a London registration number LC1928 and was given the name of Blue Mist; a Rolls-Royce custom at that time was to name each Silver Ghost it made. The Blue Mist was acquired by the Rt. Honourable Earl of Clonmell, an Irish horse breeder and Captain in the Royal Artillery, who used the car until 1914 when he went to Europe to fight in the First World War. Mr Burge, Lord Clonmell’s chauffeur, placed it into storage and maintained it until July 1916 when he was instructed to look for a buyer for the car. At that time Lord Clonmell met Aileen Bellew who was about to leave for Cairo to meet her new husband Hugh Lloyd-Thomas, who worked at the British Embassy there. She wanted to purchase the car for her husband as a wedding present.
Fifty years ago this month, Fiat startled many of its more traditionally-minded customers. For the past 16 years, the motoring public associated the company’s small cars with rear-mounted engines, but here was a front-wheel-drive saloon with a transversely mounted engine driving the front wheels. The 127 set the modern supermini template, with the Volkswagen Polo, Ford Fiesta and Austin Metro following in its wake. Project X1/4 commenced in 1968 as the eventual replacement for the Fiat 850. The future 127 employed the brakes, suspension and steering from the 128, with power from the long-established 903cc engine. The launch took place in April 1971, with a memorable advertising campaign starring the great stunt driver Rémy Julienne. One major sales asset was Pio Manzù’s neat styling. The 127 made its British debut at the 1971 London Motor Show, and at £799, it was only £62 more expensive than a Mini 1000. Autocar proclaimed “another winner from Turin”, and one brochure boasted “it holds all the right cards (including the joker)”. The 127 was declared Car of the Year for 1972, and by 1974 sales passed the million mark. Fiat initially built the 127 as a two-door, but a hatchback version became available in March 1972. Five years later, it introduced the Series 2: “It’s good to be back in front”, stated the British-market brochure. There was a revised grille, a new facia and the welcome option of a 1,049cc single overhead camshaft engine – and some witty marketing. Gavin Bushby, the chairman of the Fiat Motor Club, is the custodian of an immaculate 1978-registered 1050 CL that goes by the nom-de-127 of “Freddie”.
The Elise is being discontinued, which is why Lotus has released a special edition to celebrate. Jack Evans finds out what it’s like.