Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ford's F-150 Raptor gets front-view camera

Ford F-150
By now, rear-view cameras are pretty much expected in all larger cars and trucks. But a front-view camera?

You'll find it in the latest version of the F-150 SVT Raptor, Ford's 411-horsepower ultimate off-road truck. Sure, you can look at the windshield to see where you're going. But the goal of the front-view is to let you see where you can't see.

The camera is mounted on the front grille and looks down. It's meant to help drivers who are rock-crawling off-road. In rough terrain, they may not be able to see down low without the camera, Ford contends.

"It's a surprise-and-delight feature that works during low-speed crawling, and it's particularly useful for seeing in front of the vehicle when tackling large inclines," said Jamal Hameedi, Ford SVT chief engineer. "We found the system particularly useful for avoiding large rocks or placing a tire on a rock. It can even take the place of the spotter at times, which is a great feature when the truck is in 1 foot of mud."

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mind-reading car could drive you round the bend

Mind Reading Car
Nissan collaborates with Swiss scientists to develop interface between man and machine, saying it will help road safety

One of the world's largest motor manufacturers is working with scientists based in Switzerland to design a car that can read its driver's mind and predict his or her next move.

The collaboration, between Nissan and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), is intended to balance the necessities of road safety with demands for personal transport.

Scientists at the EPFL have already developed brain-machine interface (BMI) systems that allow wheelchair users to manoeuvre their chairs by thought transference. Their next step will be finding a way to incorporate that technology into the way motorists interact with their cars.

If the endeavour proves successful, the vehicles of the future may be able to prepare themselves for a left or right turn – choosing the correct speed and positioning – by gauging that their drivers are thinking about making such a turn.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Honda Brio launched at a starting price of Rs 3.95 lakh

Honda Brio
Honda has entered the business end of India's car market with the aggressively-priced Brio, sending a message that it has the gumption for a fight in the world's second-fastest-growing car market.

With a starting price of Rs 3.95 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), Brio is Honda's cheapest offering and is being launched in the middle of a trying period for the Japanese carmaker.

"Brio is our answer to the demand of mass car market. It's our most focused product," said Takashi Nagai, the president & chief executive of Honda's Indian unit. Honda Siel, the Indian arm is a joint venture with Siel, a Siddharth Shriram group company.

Honda has been struggling with falling sales, production stoppages caused by a devastating tsunami in Japan in March and the recall earlier this month of more than 70,000 City sedans to replace faulty power window switches.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

The Story of Ferrari’s Horse Emblem

Ferrari Emblem
Italian car manufacturer Ferrari has been in the business of making sports and racing cars since 1947 and in the world of Formula One racing, the car is responsible for the excitement that follows each race. Along for every ride of the Ferrari line of cars has been the prancing black horse that is the recognizable emblem of the sportscar maker.

The trademarked Prancing Horse logo of Ferrari has a story almost as impressive as the brand itself. Having been on the plane of an Italian WWI flying hero, Ferrari used the logo with advice from the pilots mother that it would bring the company luck. Take a look at the Ferrari World video below that further explains the Prancing Horse logo. See cars and more from Ferrari

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Nissan LEAF to lead the charge with noisemaker tech in Australia; Toyota says no for now

Toyota has released a video detailing its latest Vehicle Proximity Notification System (VPNS) – a system designed to improve the safety of pedestrians and other road users around near-silent hybrid and electric vehicles by emitting audible warnings – but don’t expect our Prius to get the technology any time soon.

VPNS broadcasts a range of low- and high-pitched noises when travelling below 15mph (24km/h). The pitch of the tone increases and decreases depending on the vehicle’s speed (a function called ‘pitch-shifting’).

Toyota engineers in the US say the system will improve road safety for cyclists, or pedestrians who may be distracted by mobile phones, and insists it will be especially important to the independence of blind pedestrians who rely on audible warnings from vehicles.

Toyota describes the sound as “automotive in nature, but still futuristic to match the advanced powertrain of our hybrid vehicle”, and says it has been developed to remain effective around other ambient noises and parked cars.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Honda CR-V concept doesn't mess with success

Honda CR-V
Honda debuted a CR-V concept today at the Orange County International Auto Show in Anaheim, but don't expect gullwing doors, cameras instead of rear view mirrors, or some new, revolutionary electric power train. This CR-V is a preview of the 2012 model update, the production version of which Honda will show off in November.

The concept reveals new styling, and Honda says the new CR-V will have more cabin space, a redesigned interior, and better fuel economy than the current model.

The redesign gives the CR-V a much more modern look than the previous generation, which has gone for five years without a significant update. The headlights are integrated with the grille, and a skid-plate-looking piece rises up from under the front of the car.

The hatchback is more vertical, giving the roof a straighter run from windshield to back. That detail should lead to the promised cabin space increase. Honda added an up line at the rear of the side graphic, which is very reminiscent of BMW's signature Hofmeister kink.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Public transport workers expand Cairo strike

public transport
Public transport workers and drivers in Greater Cairo went on a partial strike Wednesday demanding better pay, working conditions and buses after they failed to reach an agreement through negotiations with the Public Transportation Authority (PTA).

The strike began three days ago in the Mazalat Garage, but spread Wednesday morning to Nasr City, El Moneeb, Giza, Imbaba, El Ter’a Mazalat, Basateen, El Ameriya, Gesr El-Suez, 6th of October, according to the Center of Socialist Studies.

The workers believe that more public bus hubs will join the strike in the next few days, shutting down all public transportation.

The public transport sector employs about 40,000 workers. Previous nationwide strikes in 2007 and 2009 and during the January 25 uprising led to the establishment of transport workers’ independent trade union last March. . . .

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tata Nano car worth Rs 22 crore!

Tata Nano
The Tata Group on Monday unveiled a Nano car - made with gold and silver, and studded with precious stones - worth an astronomical over Rs 22 crore.

But, it's not for sale - the valuable and fully functional car is a unique branding and promotional initiative by Goldplus Jewellery, part of Titan Industries, a Tata Group company, an official said.

The mega-value Goldplus Nano Car was unveiled on Monday evening by Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata.

The Goldplus Nano Car pales the average Rs.1.40 lakh Nano, which started with a Rs.1 lakh price tag at its launch.

The Goldplus Nano Car is billed as the world's first ever gold jewellery car and celebrates the 5,000 years of jewellery making industry in India.

The car's body is made with 80 kg 22 carat solid gold, 15 kg silver, precious stones - including diamonds, rubies - and other expensive gemstones, the official said. . . .

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Jaguar unveils C-X16 coupé concept at Frankfurt

Jaguar C-X16
Jaguar has used the occasion of the Frankfurt motor show to unveil a new coupé concept, code-named C-X16, designed to slot into the range beneath the XK.

The new car, like the XK and the XJ saloon, uses a largely aluminium structure and is also designed to have a 50:50 front/rear weight distribution in the interests of handling balance. Jaguar has indicated that the C-X16 should be capable of accelerating to 62mph from rest in 4.4 seconds and of reaching a top speed of 186mph, a similar level of performance to that achieved by the hottest version of today's XK, the XKR-S. But whereas the XKR-S uses a mighty 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine, the C-X16 is a hybrid; it pairs a 300 horsepower supercharged 3.0-litre V6 with a 95 horsepower electric motor, and is therefore projected to emit a comparatively modest 165g/km of CO2 in official tests, compared with the 292g/km achieved by the XKR-S. The power from the electric motor is provided on an “on-demand” basis. The driver of an C-X16 will be able to call upon its extra performance for brief periods by pressing what Jaguar calls a “Push to Pass” button.

At 4.445m, the C-X16 is the shortest Jaguar since the XK120 back in the 1950s. Its design is clearly related to that of the XK and previous Jaguar coupé models, although some traditional features such as the characteristic oval grille have been modified or dropped. . .

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Nissan plans to increase local content use

PT Nissan Motor Indonesia (NMI) look ahead to the local contents of its cars assembled in Indonesia to reach 80% next year in line with the company`s plan to produce low-cost green cars (LCGC) in the country.

"This is part of efforts to achieve our short-term target in 2013," NMI President Director Takayuki Kimura said here on Saturday.

He said the increase in the local contents was also aimed at expanding the scope of Nissan products to up to 80 percent in 2014.

For its part, NMI held a meeting with supplies in Jakarta recently. The meeting was the starting point to support the company`s plan and commitment to realize the LCGC project, he said.

He said around 500 suppliers from Indonesia and other Asian countries who took part in the meeting appeared to be enthusiastic.

"The two-day meeting was aimed at exploring the possibility of cooperation between suppliers and Nissan," he said.

Now that Nissan was growing rapidly in Indonesia, it was important for NMI and suppliers to have similar understanding about the country`s business prospects. Likewise the suppliers were also expected to understand what Nissan had achieved so far, he said..

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

'Connected' cars new buzzword at IAA fair ‎

The times are long past when car shows reeked of motor oil and fans were obsessed with engine power and sleek designs.

With the aid of cloud computing, car makers believe the car of the future will no longer be just a vehicle, but an extension of the home or workplace, where drivers will have access to emails and keep up-to-date on their social networks even on the road.

German top-of-the-range manufacturer BMW already offers an onboard computer with internet access whereby drivers can locate a restaurant of their preference, the nearest ATM or free parking space in a matter of clicks.

And rival Daimler is not to be outdone, either: its new in-built computer allows drivers to surf the web as long as the vehicle is parked.

In its new concept car on show unveiled at the IAA this week, the Evos, Ford claims it can fine-tune the car to personal preferences, even down to the cabin temperature, and access to the driver's home entertainment systems for listening to favourite news and music programmes.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hyundai offers glimpse of new i30

hyundai i30
South Korean auto major Hyundai Motor Company on Wednesday revealed the first picture of its new generation i30 hatchback, ahead of its unveiling at the Frankfurt Motor Show next week.

In a statement, Hyundai said it expected the new generation i30 to build on the success of the original model and also the company's first model to be launched with the prefix 'i'.

According to Hyundai, the original i30 was designed and engineered in Europe and rolled out of its factory in the Czech Republic in 2007.

Last year, Hyundai sold 115,000 i30 units in Europe.

After its July 2007 launch, the i30 went on to increase its sales in Europe every year, attracting 115,000 buyers in 2010 -- the highest-ever annual sales figure for an individual Hyundai model in Europe -- and achieving total sales of more than 350,000 units up to mid-2011.

The model has been designed and engineered at the Hyundai Motor Europe Technical Centre in R?sselsheim, Germany..

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Monday, September 12, 2011

BMW Superbike: Toseland Out, Elias In?

BMW Superbike
2012 World Superbike

Last Friday, BMW Italia World Superbike's James Toseland announced he was forced to retire from motorcycle racing due to wrist injuries sustained at private testing at Aragon in March.

With this news still looming in the WSBK paddock, the BMW Italia World Superbike team reported that Moto2 Champion and current LCR Honda rider Toni Elias is scheduled to test ride the BMW S1000RR WSBK machine at Misano Tuesday and Wednesday.

But although Elias is the likely candidate to replace Toseland for 2012, the 28-year-old Spaniard is still under contract to compete in the remaining five rounds of the 2011 MotoGP Championship.

Serafino Foti (Sports Director for the BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team) says: "The upcoming test is not aimed at replacing James in the championship, partly because Toni is already committed to the MotoGP championship. However, over the next few days we will identify and officially name the rider who will be competing for us in the last three (2011) races."..

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hybrid Air Vehicles — the future of Arctic mining is up in the air

Hybrid Vehicles
The 1985 movie Back to the Future ends with the prophetic line “Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads.”

Fast forward to the present to Canada’s Arctic region and that prediction is appearing to come true. The Ice Road Truckers better watch out, the future of Arctic mining and drilling may not need any roads.

British aviation pioneer Hybrid Air Vehicles Limited is proposing an alternative option for the delivery of heavy goods and equipment to remote mining sites and oil and gas drilling locations which eliminates the need for long-distance trucking.

The company has developed a “hybrid” aircraft that combines the helium lift of a conventional airship with the aerodynamic shape and more conventional thrust of a vertical take-off-and-landing craft and the precision hovering and soft-landing ability of a hovercraft. It is working to give its vehicles a heavy lift payload capacity ranging from 20 tons to 200 tons.

Hybrid Air Vehicles, which has been developing vehicles for the military in conjunction with defense contractors such as Northrop Grumman, signed its first commercial contract in August with Canada-based specialty aviation company Discovery Air Innovations to build airships capable of lifting as much as 50 tons.

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Thursday, September 08, 2011

Yamaha’s new premium bike

yamaha YZF2
India Yamaha Motor on Tuesday launched the upgraded version of its premium motorcycle YZF-R15 as the Japanese bike-maker hopes to cross 5-lakh sales figure in 2011. Priced at Rs.1.07-lakh, the bike comes with a 150cc liquid-cooled 4-stroke fuel injected engine that boasts of spruced up looks and better performance in circuit riding.

“The YZF-R15 has been continuously gaining ranks in the hotly contested premium segment since its launch three years ago and we are sure to repeat the same feat for the new version too. Seeing the trend, the market for premium bikes in India offers immense scope as this segment consists of people who are looking for performance characteristics,” India Yamaha Motor CEO & Managing Director Hiroyuki Suzuki told journalists here.

The R15 version 2.0 has undergone changes as compared to the present YZF-R15 in the specs of the engine control unit (ECU), drive train unit, a long aluminium swing arm, wider front and rear tires (radial tire for the rear), split seat, LED taillights and new-design middle cowl and tail cowl, he added.

About sales, Mr. Suzuki said the company was hoping a 40 per cent growth to reach 5.2 lakh units this year against last year's 3.8-lakh units. The Japanese bike-maker will also strengthen its market share in the 150cc segment from 15 per cent to 20 per cent by the end of 2011. “We are aiming to sell 5.2 lakh units in 2011…we plan to sell 6.5 lakh units in 2012, and touch 10-lakh sales figure by 2013,” Mr. Suzuki said..

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Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Tata launches a revamped Indigo eCS compact sedan with a mileage of 25 KMPL!

Tata Car
The Tata Indigo eCS Compact Sedan, which has been the pioneer of compact sedans in India, has gotten yet another upgrade from Tata Motors Limited. This time around, Tata motors have made the already fuel efficient sedan, even more fuel efficient with a raft of changes to boost the fuel economy number further. Now, the Tata Indigo eCS Diesel is touted to deliver a stunning 25 KMPL, thus making it the most efficient sedan in India.

Tata Motors attributes the higher fuel efficiency of the 1.4 Liter TDI common rail turbodiesel to five main factors. Firstly, the 1.4 liter turbodiesel engine’s ECU is said to have been optimized for maximum fuel economy. Secondly, Tata engineers have worked on the Indigo’s 1.4 Liter turbodiesel engine comprehensively to increase fuel economy.

A host of changes have been made to the engine head, block and piston for maximum combustion efficiency and reducing friction between moving parts, both of which will contribute to a higher fuel economy number. Thirdly, the Indigo eCS’ aerodynamics are said to have been improved to reduce drag...

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Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Yamaha, Piaggio to launch scooters in 2012

Honda Motorcyle & Scooter India, which holds almost half the scooter market in India, faces a big challenge with two of the world’s largest scooter makers readying a foray into the country.

Next year India Yamaha Motor and Piaggio will both launch their brands here. While Piaggio is bringing the world-famous ‘Vespa’, Yamaha is believed to be eyeing the entry-level scooter market, where currently HMSI is the undisputed leader.

Interestingly, Bajaj Auto recently vacated the scooter market, saying it did not generate enough volumes for the company whereas Hero MotoCorp—a late entrant—has seen healthy volume growth with its lone scooter brand called ‘Pleasure’.

A Tier I vendor, who supplies critical components to top two-wheeler makers in India, told DNA that Yamaha is working hard on its scooter plans and will be talking about volume targets by the end of the month.

“We have been asked to supply critical components to the Yamaha scooter brand...the first scooter should be out in the market next year and as far as I can see it will have a significant indigenisation level,” the vendor said.

A spokesperson for India Yamaha Motor declined to offer any comments. Yamaha would manufacture the scooters at its existing facilities at Surajpur and Faridabad.

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Monday, September 05, 2011

Rail-based business travel drops as government advised

Business travel taken on trains has decreased for the first time in five years despite increased awareness of the market and its environmental benefits. A survey of transactions from April to June show that receipts for rail journeys dropped by 175, 250, or 14%, compared to this year’s first quarter and 2% down from the same quarter last year. The sector has seemingly been replaced by air transport as corporate travel picks up, with air transactions recording growth of 6% and ancillary revenue from insurance, visa services, baggage check-in etc up 6% compared to 2010’s Q2. In addition car hire receipts improved 10% and hotel transactions increased 8%. Overall the statistics, released by the Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC), showed a slower rate of growth for business travel at 4% this quarter compared to 10% growth in the first quarter.

Despite the improved air travel data, Anne Godfrey, chief executive of the GTMC said the fall was due to a reduction in travel by civil servants. “Overall growth in business travel is healthy and steady but the decrease in rail bookings is significant and would appear, as expected, that public sector cuts have impacted on this mode of transport, which has been so popular with civil servants,” she said. “Rail was the first mode of transport to recover to pre 2008 levels, with increased transactions reported in every 2010 survey and a 10% growth that year. This dramatic drop in transactions will be monitored carefully in coming months”. The results come as government has been advised by Sir Roy McNulty to remove staff from 675 train stations across the UK. It is unclear how the government will react to the consultation, which would affect mainly rural areas but some small towns and stations in London.

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Sunday, September 04, 2011

Mercedes Benz cars drive mid-size luxury segment sales in India

Mercedes Benz cars are driving mid-size luxury segment sales in India. Their cars are making waves in India. The German auto giant is working tirelessly to bring the best cars to the Indian market. This seems to be the reason behind phenomenal rise of its car sales in India.

The company officially came to India in 1994 in collaboration with Telco. Traditionally, Mercedes-Benz cars have consistently catered to wealthy, rich, and super-rich consumers. The manufacturer’s name keeps on changing, but Mercedes-Benz cars remain Mercedes-Benz, for the Mercedes-Benz name has a greater brand relationship with world consumers than their manufacturer’s current corporate name – Daimler-Benz, Daimler-Chrysler, or Daimler AG.

Reports suggest that during the last eight months of this fiscal year, the Indian arm of Mercedes Benz grew by 40 per cent. A company spokesperson who was obviously over the seventh heaven due to the increased sales says, “Our sales grew by 40 per cent during the January to August period to 4,890 units in 2011 against 3,495 units during the corresponding period last year”.

Meanwhile like all other super car manufacturers, Mercedes Benz too is launching mid level sedans and sports vehicles in India to increase its sales volume. A top executive of another German auto maker Audi says, “Growth in the luxury segment is not coming from the top-end price points of above Rs 30 lakh”.

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