Swindon to resume work
06 December 2011
HONDA’S Swindon factory will resume normal production next month, following an improvement to supply.
Severe flooding in Thailand halted production at the factory - and that of the new Civic - but an ‘improvement in the situation’ will see normal production to return to the Swindon plant on December 19.
‘Our associates have shown great understanding over the last month and we are all now really excited about the prospect of starting to produce our new Civic,’ said Andy Piatek, director of manufacturing at Honda in Swindon.
Tokyo: BMW and Toyota collaboration
06 December 2011
BMW Group and Toyota have signed a deal concerning a mid-to-long-term collaboration on the next-generation environment-friendly technologies.
The German firm will supply Toyota with 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre diesel units from 2014, and will be installed in European-bound Toyotas. The two car giants will also collaborate on research of the next-generation lithium-ion battery technologies.
Making the announcement, Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG, said: ‘Toyota is the leading provider of environment-friendly series technology in the volume segment, and the BMW Group is the most innovative and sustainable manufacturer of premium automobiles. We are now joining forces to further develop environment-friendly technologies and to expand our innovation leadership in each of our segments. Supplying Toyota with our fuel efficient and dynamic diesel engines represents another important step in the planned expansion of our sales activities for engines and powertrain systems.’
Representing Toyota Motor Corporation president Akio Toyoda said: ‘It is a great joy and a thrill to enter into this mid-to-long-term collaborative relationship with BMW, a company with its own culture and history from its many years of car manufacturing in Europe, and a company that makes cars that are fun to drive. In the spirit of contributing to furthering the development of the auto industry and society, both companies will bring their wide-ranging knowledge - starting with that concerning environmental technologies - to the table and make ever-better cars.’
CO2 parity for new auto Volvo DrivE
06 December 2011
Volvo has introduced an automatic gearbox option for its larger DrivE models using the 1.6-litre diesel, with the same CO2 emissions as manual versions.
It means company car drivers will be able to choose a range of sub-120g/km Volvo models with the company's Powershift double-clutch transmission.
"For the first time ever, we have managed to bring the fuel consumption in variants with an automatic gearbox down to the same level as in the manual versions. An impressive achievement by our powertrain experts," sais Peter Mertens, senior vice president research and development at the Volvo Car Corporation.
Fuel consumption (combined cycle) and CO2 figures are as follows:
S60 DrivE automatic - 65.7mpg; 114g/km
V60 DrivE automatic - 62.8mpg; 119g/km
V70 DrivE automatic - 62.8mpg; 119g/km
S80 DrivE automatic - 62.8mpg; 119g/km
Customers will be able to order a DrivE Powershift in early 2012 with production starting mid-February. On the road prices start at £25,230 for the S60 DrivE, £26,405 for the V60 DrivE, £27,730 for the V70 DrivE and £26,980 for the S80 DrivE.
The low consumption and emission levels are the result of a number of technological improvements:
• Friction between gearbox components has been reduced.
• The engine and gearbox software have been modified.
• The start/stop system cuts off the diesel engine when the car is still rolling (below 3mph).
• All electrical systems have been optimised to create lower energy consumption.
The S60, V60, V70 and S80 Drive is fitted with the latest version of the PSA-Ford-sourced 1.6-litre turbo diesel engine, producing 115bhp and 119lb-ft of torque.
FTA condemns Severn Bridge toll rise
06 December 2011
Chancellor George Osbourne may have announced a halving of the toll to use the Humber Bridge, but from 1 January 2012 it will cost £12.50 to cross the Severn Bridge into Wales — already the most expensive toll in the UK — in a Ford Fiesta Van; a rise of 5.2 per cent. Putting to one side the fact that the same journey in a Fiesta car will be £6.10 cheaper, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has condemned the decision made by Severn River Crossing PLC — the bridge’s builders — to once again foist up the charge for commercial vehicles to use this vital trade corridor.
Autumn statement: Boost to UK competitiveness
30 November 2011
The Chancellor has responded to industry calls to reform the R&D tax credit system, announcing the change to an ‘above the line’ credit in today’s Autumn Statement.
The reform will signal the UK’s international competitiveness, generate more investment in UK R&D, safeguard jobs and affirm the country’s status as a prime location to base high-skill operations, according to the SMMT.
“Reform of the R&D tax credit system propels the UK into a new league of global competitiveness sending a strong signal to international investors,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive. “The UK is already a centre for innovation with advanced engineering and low carbon expertise attracting major corporations to invest in the UK; this reform will enhance the UK’s investment appeal, create high value jobs and drive economic growth.”
UK-based automotive companies already invest more than £1.5bn each year in R&D. This, coupled with a world-class skills base, has made the UK a leader in the development of low and ultra-low carbon technologies. Moving to an ‘above the line’ system will strengthen the link between R&D investment decisions and the credit, enhancing the UK’s international competitiveness and attracting a greater share of global investment.
The Chancellor also:
• Cut January’s planned 3p rise in fuel duty, providing welcome relief to motorists.
• Re-affirmed his commitment to boosting skills, particularly those leading to engineering and science degrees.
• Introduced a national loan guarantee scheme of up to £20bn to help small businesses to invest in growth.
• Announced a £1bn Business Finance Partnership fund to assist mid-sized companies to find affordable finance through non-bank channels.
Alongside the Autumn Statement, government also published its Logistics Growth Review that sets out plans to improve efficiencies, remove barriers, develop skills and encourage growth in the logistics sector. The SMMT is part of a task force that will spearhead the development of the sector, liaising with government, local authorities and industry to implement measures that support the use of low emission technologies.