Isuzu has taken to advertising its pickup truck with a unique initiative. The company wanted to apply the Google Street View philosophy to some of South Africa’s more remote off-road trails, and the result is Isuzu Trail View. Using multiple action cameras situated in a 3D-printed housing strapped to the top of the truck, the crew began bouncing along dirt and rock paths, recording all the while. They also shot additional video and worked with experts to provide excellent clips on how to navigate common off-road obstacles.
You can watch the making-of below, and you can head over to the Trail View site to poke around a few South African trails for yourself.
New Civic Tourer – 19/06/ 2013
The Honda Civic Tourer will be revealed in full production form at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September, and Auto Express has learned that the new estate will have the biggest boot in the family car class.
We spoke to senior engineer Adrian Killham at the brand’s R&D centre in Swindon, Wiltshire. He said: “When the VW Golf Mk7 estate appeared at Geneva [in March], it had 605 litres, then Skoda went one better with 610 litres in the Octavia. But the Civic will offer significantly more.”
Killham also confirmed that, like its rivals, the 1.6-litre diesel version of the Civic Tourer will “emit less than 100g/km of CO2”. And even though the Civic wasn’t designed to be developed into an estate, the conversion has added less than 40kg to the kerbweight.
The design of the Geneva show concept in our pictures will be toned down before the car hits dealers, but the swooping rear lights and wraparound glass will remain. And Killham told us the boot lip has been lowered even further to help boost practicality. “The Civic will be perfect for dog owners and towing,” he said.
It will keep the hatch’s flip-up ‘magic’ seatbases, too, while the higher roofline has apparently improved headroom in the rear for taller passengers too.
Engines will be carried over from the hatch, so there will be 1.4 and 1.8-litre petrols, plus 2.2 and ultra-efficient 1.6-litre diesels. But Killham was coy about the possibility of a hybrid, telling us: “That target [CO2] is always moving, and we might look at new technologies as they start to be available. But we’ll stick with the engines we have for now.”
He also revealed that top-spec Civic Tourers would stand out with a form of adaptive suspension that will be “very appropriate for a wagon”. And while he was vague on the exact details, it should act like a self-levelling system. The price is expected to rise by “between £500 and £1,200” over the hatch once it goes on sale in the UK in January 2014.
This Car Could Make Honda Relevant Again 03/06/2013
Honda is losing mindshare and marketshare with the demographic it used to dominate: young people. That’s why it desperately needs to put the Gear concept into production.
With all eyes still on the Detroit Auto Show, the debut of the Gear at the Montreal International Auto Show seemed like an odd tangent, until you look at the details.
It’s a subcompact created by Honda’s L.A.-based Advanced Design Studio and supposedly inspired by fixed-gear bikes. We don’t see the connection either, but that’s irrelevant marketing-speak, and anyway just look at it. It manages to come off as both retro and modern, without erring on the side of trite or cliched. It’s just a shame Honda isn’t telling us what’s under the hood.
But as a compact runabout designed with Gen-Y city dwellers in mind, the Gear is fully customizable, similar to what Scion – Toyota’s youth-focused division – did with its initial offerings in the States. And it’s packed with connectivity options that are an absolute necessity for its target audience.
Dave Marek, Design Director at Honda R&D says it will be “affordable” to boot, and if Honda can pull off something in the same sub-$20k price range as the latest offerings from GM and Ford, while offering more style and substance in the process, Honda could have a winner – assuming the Gear even makes it to market.
Honda Civic Tourer – 17/04/2013
Honda has confirmed the estate version of the Civic will use the name Civic Tourer when it goes on sale in the UK in early 2014. Shown here in our latest set of spy pictures, the full production car will make its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September.
Honda has already confirmed that the Civic Tourer will be built right here in the UK, at its HMUK plant in Swindon, and expects that the estate will make up around 20 per cent of total Civic sales.
And the test mule spied here shows how close the Civic Tourer is to the concept shown at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year. The bold rear wheelarch surfacing and big rear wing have been toned down slightly, but you can see that the Tourer retains the swoopy look of the concept. The rising shoulderline is still there, as are the swept-back tail-lights, sloping roofline and small spoiler that doubles as a light bar that runs along the bottom edge of the rear window.
The concept’s neat roof rails have also made it onto the final production model, while the car spied here ditches the concept’s centre exhaust layout, and gains a rear windscreen wiper.
The stylish look isn’t to the detriment of practicality, however, as the spy pictures clearly reveal the car’s large, rectangular tailgate that cuts right down low into the rear bumper to make loading heavy objects easier.
No boot figures are available yet, but the firm did say that the Tourer will have “class-leading cargo space”. That suggests it’s load area will easily eclipse models like the Ford Focus Estate and Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer, which have 1,502 litres and 1,550 litres of boot space respectively.
The engine line-up will include Honda’s new 118bhp 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel, and although no figures are available yet, this is likely to emit less than 100g/km. Also likely is a more powerful 2.2-litre diesel, plus 1.4 and 1.8-litre petrol models. A Type-R version with a 300bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged engine is also under consideration, to rival the Ford Focus ST Estate.
March 25 2013 – Land Rover Defender 110 Electric
Land Rover has unveiled a number of zero emission electric Defender 110 models, developed by Land Rover’s Advanced Engineering Team following successful trials of the Defender-based electric vehicle, Leopard 1. The Defenders were tested in extreme conditions which included pulling a 12-tonne ‘road train’ up a 13% gradient and wading to a depth of 800mm.
The standard diesel engine and gearbox in the 110 Defenders have been replaced by a 70kW (94bhp), 330Nm electric motor twinned with a 300-volt, lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 27kWh, giving a range of more than 50 miles. In typical, low speed off-road use it can last for up to eight hours before recharging. The battery can be fully charged by a 7kW fast charger in four hours or a portable 3kW charger in 10 hours.
The 410kg battery is mounted in the front of the Defender in place of the diesel engine. Kerb weight is 100kg more than a basic Defender 110 and ranges from 2,055kg to 2,162kg depending whether the body style is a pick-up, hard top or station wagon.
The four-wheel drive system and differential lock in the Defender has been retained, whilst the electric motor delivers maximum torque immediately it starts eliminating the need for gear shifting. The transmission comprises a single speed, 2.7:1 reduction gearbox which is combined to the existing four-wheel drive system. A modified version of Land Rover’s Terrain Response®System has also been incorporated.
All the major components in the electric powertrain – including the battery, inverter and motor – are air-cooled rather than liquid cooled, saving a considerable amount of weight and complexity and adding robustness. Regenerative braking has been optimised to such an extent that using Hill Descent Control, the motor can generate 30kW of electricity. Because the battery technology can be charged very quickly at a rate of up to twice its capacity of 54kW without reducing battery life, almost all of the regenerated energy can be recovered and stored. Up to 80 percent of the kinetic energy in the vehicle can be recovered in this way, depending on conditions.
There are no plans for the all-terrain electric Defender to enter series production however, the research EV’s will go into service in real world trials later this year.
21 Jan 2013 – German cars ‘among worst’
Audi, BMW and VW ranked in the bottom 10 of a study into engine reliability
German-made cars are not as reliable as many believe, according to new research. Warranty Direct has studied its claims data to compile a list of the manufacturers with the most reliable engines – and Audi, BMW and Volkswagen all finished in the bottom 10 out of a total 36 makers.
In fact, the only firm whose cars had a worse engine failure rate than Audi was MG Rover. MINI wasn’t much better, finishing third from bottom, while its parent company BMW came seventh from bottom. And, despite its reputation for rock-solid reliability, Volkswagen came ninth from bottom.
Honda scooped the gold medal – the study found that just one in every 344 Honda engines failed, compared to one in every 27 Audi engines. Despite its recent recall woes, Toyota came second and Mercedes managed to outperform its fellow German brands with a respectable third-place finish.
Duncan McClure, Warranty Direct Managing Director, said that engine failures are the worst for motorists as they’re the repairs that can lead to the highest costs because of the parts and hours of labour required to fix them: “The nuber of failures may be low compared to areas such as axle and suspension damage but engine repairs almost always result in costs reaching the thousands for motorists who aren’t covered by a warranty.”
An engine failure on a Range Rover Vogue recently led to Warranty Direct’s highest ever claim of £13,000.
Top 10 manufacturers
|Manufacturer||Failure rate (%)||Failure rate (1 in x)|
|1||Honda||0.29%||1 in 344|
|2||Toyota||0.58%||1 in 171|
|3||Mercedes||0.84%||1 in 119|
|4||Volvo||0.90%||1 in 111|
|5||Jaguar||0.98%||1 in 103|
Bottom 10 manufacturers
|Manufacturer||Failure rate (%)||Failure rate (1 in x)|
|1||MG Rover||7.88%||1 in 13|
|2||Audi||3.71%||1 in 27|
|3||MINI||2.51%||1 in 40|
|4||Saab||2.49%||1 in 40|
|5||Vauxhall||2.46%||1 in 41|
22 Dec 2012 -Honda SUV Concept at the Detroit Motor Show
We broke the story back in January, and now Honda has confirmed that a small Jazz-based SUV concept will debut at the Detroit Motor Show in January 2013. When it reaches showrooms – likely in late 2013, after the production car is shown in Tokyo in November – it will sit below the CR-V in the range.
The show car – which is called the Urban SUV Concept – is teased in this darkened sketch, but the proportions and several design details are clear to see. A low coupe-like roof and swollen wheelarches give it a stretched-out sporty look, while the signature line is a bold upturned crease that joins the window line to create a point in the C-pillar.
The front door handle is visible but not the rear, suggesting some sort of hidden handle in the C-pillar is likely. Turbine-style alloys, narrow head and tail lights and a roof spoiler complete the styling.
Honda has released precious few details on the car at this stage, other than to say that it is a global model that will definitely be coming to the UK.
We’ll bring you all the details and pictures when the car makes its world debut in Detroit on 14 January next year.
16 Nov 2012 – Radical Ener-G-Force concept.
The striking SUV has been developed for the Los Angeles Design Challenge, and previews a bold new look and cutting-edge technology for the next G-Class, due in 2015.
Mercedes describes the Ener-G-Force as a “Highway Patrol Vehicle 2025”. It has an intimidating look, but bears a clear resemblance to the current G-Class, with the front grille, wing-mounted indicators and LED headlamp designs in the shape of a ‘G’ all paying tribute to the existing car.
There’s loads of ground clearance, while a short windscreen adds to the imposing stance. Dramatic off-road cladding around the wheelarches and sills enhances the imposing stance, and there are three-section side windows in the G-class tradition.
Completing the look are narrow tail-lamps and a small rear windscreen, plus there’s a pull-out toolbox in the tailgate storage section, which is styled to look like a traditional spare wheel holder.
Under the skin, the Ener-G-Force is equally radical, with a hydrogen fuel cell powering motors in each wheel hub.
Mercedes says the car has a range of nearly 500 miles, with hydrogen stored in roof-mounted water tanks which feed water to a ‘hydro-tech convertor’. The electric energy they provide is then stored in the Ener-G-Force’s sculpted side skirts
13 Nov 2012 – The next Civic Type-R – 300bhp !!!
The next-generation Honda Civic Type-R will be powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that could produce as much as 300bhp, according to Yasuhisa Arai from Honda’s R&D centre.
Previous reports suggested it would use a development of Honda’s 1.6-litre motorsport engine, but Arai told Auto Express that a 2.0-litre capacity was necessary to ensure the Type R could be more powerful than the Renaultsport Megane 265.
Honda is using the Megane as the benchmark and has pledged that the new Civic Type R will beat the 265’s Nurburgring lap record for a front-wheel-drive car when it arrives in 2015.
Arai said: “We have an idea of the products our rivals are developing and regardless of what anyone else produces, our car will be the fastest front-wheel-drive model around the Nurburgring when it goes on sale, and we will do whatever we need to in order to make that happen.”
What’s more, Arai said that despite using turbo power he hoped the engine would still offer the top-end rush of the old naturally-aspirated VTEC Type-R engine. Honda is also investigating a trick suspension set-up that should help minimize torque steer and a range of other performance-boosting enhancements.
These include fitting a mechanical limited-slip differential and maybe even rear-wheel steering (although this would mean redesigning the standard Civic’s torsion beam rear suspension setup). The firm has just showcased its new Precision All-Wheel steer at an event in Tochigi Japan, which we tested on a US-market Accord.
The system boosts cornering speeds and turns both rear wheels inwards slightly under hard braking to stop it weaving around.
The only issue is cost. Honda UK wants the new Civic Type-R to start from no more than £25,000 to make sure it is competitive on price. But is it really possible to achieve both this target and the lap record? Time will tell…
13 Nov 2012 -New all-electric Honda Micro Commuter
Honda has revealed a new all-electric prototype model called the Micro Commuter.
It follows on from the Micro Commuter Concept that debuted at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show and provides seating for two children behind an adult driver. The seats can be shifted to accommodate one adult passenger in the rear, too.
The Micro Commuter weighs 400kg and uses lithium-ion batteries and a 20bhp electric motor. Honda says range stands at about 37 miles and the top speed is 50mph.
From behind the wheel it feels a lot like a Renault Twizy, and there’s no assistance in the steering or brakes. There aren’t any windows, either, but some will be available as an option.
Rather than normal dials driving information is displayed on a Samsung Galaxy tablet which is charged via solar panels on the car’s roof. It also double as a rear view mirror, displaying images from a camera mounted at the back.
Alongside the Micro Commuter Prototype Honda also revealed a system that can talk to traffic lights to tell the driver when they will change. Auto-braking technology that can brake a car to a halt from 40mph was also on display.
08 Nov 12 – Honda CB1100
Unmistakably Honda, the CB1100’s clean lines elegantly echo the past. The large round headlight, scalloped fuel tank (proudly detailed with the Honda Wing) and silver painted sidepanels add style and substance, while familiar analog dials, slim seat, side-swept 4-2-1 exhaust pipe and chromed front and rear mudguards provide the finishing touches, gently stirring memories of how motorcycles used to look and, as importantly, feel.
Perhaps it’s what you don’t see that matters more with the CB1100; this is the motorcycle at its most elemental. A steel double cradle frame houses the engine, with 41mm conventional telescopic forks and twin rear shocks providing compliant and finely tuned suspension. The CB1100’s riding position is upright and relaxed, a perfect platform from which to watch the world slide by.
From the outset of the project, the CB1100’s development engineers decided to use the word ‘design’ rather than ‘styling’ for their new bike. Utilising the characteristics of many materials – metal, plastic, leather and rubber – they created individual parts that are both beautiful and functional, and bought them together to stunning effect. Centrepiece of the CB1100 is its handsome DOHC engine. Air (via 2mm fins) and oil-cooled (via a 335mm 9-tier, front-mounted oil cooler), the finning is the finest found on any bike within the Honda range, and new production methods had to be found for its manufacture. It revs to 8,500rpm and features a compression ratio of 9.5:1. Maximum power output is 66Kw, with a peak torque figure of 93Nm @ 5,000rpm.
Importantly, however outright horsepower figures on Dynograph paper was not the goal – if the engine proved fun to use, then it would be deemed a success. Smooth, instantly accessible power and torque is what the CB1100’s motor’s all about, and plenty of it, anywhere in the rev range. No frantic thrashing to the redline; just dial in the throttle, and go. Four-stroke, four-cylinder motive thrust at its creamy, effortless best.
Extremely efficient PGM-FI fuel injection, utilising one 36mm throttle body, gives excellent fuel consumption of 25.1km/l (70.9mpg) @ WMTC.
Bore and stroke is set at 73.5mm x 67.2mm. Drive for the twin camshafts is via central chain, and the valve included angle is 26.5° inlet and exhaust. Inlet valve diameter is 27mm, with a 2.5mm stem; exhaust 24mm with 2.5mm stem. A single, secondary balancer shaft ensures smooth running and drive is transmitted via wet clutch and five-speed gearbox. Final drive is by 530 chain.
It’s sporty, without being a sportsbike. It can tour, without being a touring bike. The CB1100’s capacities, thanks to its strong engine and well-balanced chassis, are broad and multi-faceted; it’s a bike to be ridden and enjoyed in a variety of situations.
The CB1100’s classic, tubular steel double cradle frame grips the engine with four rigid and two rubber mounts; the swingarm is constructed from box-section steel. 41mm conventional telescopic forks are spring preload adjustable, as are the pair of Showa rear shocks. Painted silver, cast aluminium 18-inch five-spoke wheels mount 110/80-18 and 140/70-18 tyres and the standard Combined ABS brakes feature twin, 296mm floating discs up front, with four-piston Nissin calipers, and 256mm disc and single-piston caliper at the rear.
Overall dimensions are 2195mm (length) x 835mm (width) x 1130mm (height). Wheelbase is 1490mm, ground clearance 125mm and the seat height is reasonably low at 795mm, making the CB1100 very manageable.
Rake and trail is set at 27°/114mm. Kerb weight is 248kg; Fuel capacity is 14.6L with a 3.5L reserve.
The circular analog speedo and rev counter evoke memories of classic Hondas of old, and are easy to read. Equipment also includes a fuel gauge, clock, and a centrestand, passenger grabrail are fitted as standard equipment.
The CB1100 will be available in three different colours:
– Pearl Milky White/Eternal Silver sidepanels – Glory Red/Eternal Silver sidepanels – Graphite Black/Graphite Black sidepanels
08 Nov 12 – Honda invests £267 million in Swindon plant
The £267 million programme began last year with the arrival of the new Honda Civic, and now extends to the Honda CR-V, which is built in Swindon for the European market.
The money also includes the production of Honda’s new 118bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine which will be shown in the new Civic at the Paris Motor Show, and will be offered in the two-wheel drive CR-V from the middle of next year.
In order to meet the production demands, Honda has taken on 500 extra staff, taking the Swindon workforce to 3,500. As a result, Honda forecasts that it will build 183,00 cars in Swindon this year, double the amount of cars it built in 2011.
Honda aims to increase its production figures to 250,000 units per year within 3 years.
06 Nov 12 -Ultra-efficient Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC
The new engine produces 118bhp and 300Nm of torque and comes paired with a six-speed manual gearbox. As well as emitting just 94g/km of CO2, it’s also capable of 78.5mpg.
Buyers can order the new engine in SE, ES or range-topping EX trim. The level of equipment is the same as any other Civic, but 1.6 i-DTEC models get newly designed 16-inch alloy wheels.
SE cars get electric windows and air-conditioning, while ES models get extras like cruise control. Opt for EX trim and luxuries like sat-nav and leather upholstery are thrown in.
First deliveries of the Civic 1.6 i-DTEC are in January 2013. Prices start from £19,400 for entry-level SE models, with mid-range ES cars costing £20,595 and range-topping EX variants costing £23,175
5 November – Hyundai and Kia shares dip on overstated mileage claims
According to estimates, the compensation, which will cover nearly 900,000 vehicles, may cost the firms millions of dollars.
There are also fears that the firms’ sales in the US, one of their biggest markets, may be hurt in the near term. Both firms’ shares fell 7% in Seoul.
Hyundai Motors was trading at 200,000 South Korean won while Kia Motors was down to 56,300 won early on Monday. “We believe this could be a game-changing event in Hyundai’s success story,” James Yoon, an analyst at BNP Paribas was quoted as saying in a report by the Reuters news agency.
“We now find improvements in brand perception at risk due to faulty mileage claims, which are at the core of the brand’s success during difficult times. “We think the potential financial loss is immaterial compared to the potential reputational loss of brand equity.” The errors were discovered by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The agency said the firms had misstated claims on 13 models between them, including Hyundai’s Elantra and Kia’s Rio and Soul.
However, the carmakers blamed “procedural errors at testing facilities in Korea” for the faulty mileage claims.
The firms said they would issue debit cards to the owners of these vehicles to reimburse them for the higher-than-expected fuel costs, based on the difference between their actual mileages and the firms’ claimed mileages.
17 October – Nissan steer-by-wire cars set for showrooms by 2013
The innovation works by sending electronic signals from the steering wheel to a computerised unit that then controls the movement of the tyres, rather than using mechanical links.
The tech is commonly used in aeroplanes, but the Japanese firm said it would be the first to apply it to mass-produced cars. However, it might need to overcome motorists’ safety concerns. Although the vehicles would still be controlled by a human, one analyst said the development could eventually be incorporated into driverless cars. Controlled feedback
Nissan said that users would benefit from an improved driving experience since their intentions would be transmitted to the wheels faster than by using a hydraulic and mechanical system.
In addition it suggested that the development would “insulate” motorists from disturbances caused by unnecessary feedback.
“For example, even on a road surface with minor ridges or furrows, the driver no longer has to grip the steering wheel tightly and make detailed adjustments, so travelling on the intended path becomes easier,” it said in a statement.
Nissan appears to have borne potential issues in mind by deciding to install a back-up clutch system in its steer-by-wire vehicles, to link up their steering wheels and tyres in the event of a problem.
However, it signalled it hoped to be able to ditch the safety measure in the long term.
“If we are freed from that, we would be able to place the steering wheel wherever we like,” said Masaharu Satou, a Nissan engineer.
“Such as in the back seat, or it would be possible to steer the car with a joystick.”
02 Oct 12 – Honda Civic estate confirmed
The Honda Civic estate will be shown in concept form next year. That’s the message from Honda’s European President, Manabu Nishimae, who announced the addition of an “all-new Civic wagon-style model” to the Honda range at the Paris Motor Show.
Apart from this shadowy teaser picture, very little information was released, but we expect that the Civic estate will be built on the same platform as the latest hatchback and it will use the same range of engines, as Honda has confirmed that the estate and new Type R hatchback will be built at Honda’s UK manufacturing facility in Swindon.
What’s more, an estate model will add extra versatility to a car that already boasts impressive boot space. The Civic hatch has a 477-litre boot, which not only beats the Focus hatchback (which has 316 litres of space) but the Focus Estate’s 476 litres, too.
Nishimae confirmed that a concept car will be shown next year, most likely at one of the big European shows – Geneva in March, or Frankfurt in September. He also confirmed the introduction of a new Civic Type R in 2015.
The facelifted Honda CR-Z has made its world debut at the Indonesian International Motor Show
Honda bosses revealed the revised hybrid sportscar a week before it was expected to make its first public appearance at the Paris Motor Show.
The changes are sublte, but do include a new honeycomb grille, front bumper and fog light design, as well as lightly revised door mirrors, headlights and wheels. Inside, there are new black and red sports seats and a revised instrument panel. A Sport Plus button has been added to the car’s three existing driving modes, to offer drivers a more responsive feel.
The 1.5-litre VTEC engine now produces 118bhp when had with the six-speed manual, with an additional 20bhp from the 100-volt electric motor. This should make it marginally quicker from 0-62mph than the outgoing model, which manages the sprint in 9.9 seconds.
The updated CR-Z will also be making an appearance at the Paris show next week, with deliveries starting early next year. Expect prices to kick-off at around £18,000.
21 September – Honda aims to nearly double car sales in four years
“Our car business depends on the Fit series and I am confident that this is definitely a core product in any region in the world.” The Fit is known as the Jazz in some countries.
Honda aims to sell 3 million cars in Japan, the United States, Europe and other developed markets combined, up from about 2 million in the year ended March. It also wants to double sales to 3 million cars in emerging markets including India and China. Honda’s rivals are also expanding in emerging markets. Nissan Motor Co (7201.T) is reviving its Datsun brand targeting buyers in the lowest end of developing markets while Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) makes its Etios compacts in India and Brazil.
The 59-year-old CEO did not elaborate on the firm’s biggest car market, North America, or its mainstay mid-sized car the Accord, which went on sale in the United States this month.Honda will open new plants that will produce the Fit and its derivatives in Mexico and Japan. The Mexican plant will start work in spring 2014, and the Yorii plant in Japan will become operational in July 2013. The Fit series is currently produced in 12 countries, including Japan, Brazil, China, India and Indonesia. The new Fit series will go on sale in Japan in 2013 and globally in the following two years. The Brio was introduced in Thailand and India last year. Ito also set a goal for the world’s biggest motorcycle manufacturer to sell 25 million or more motorcycles globally in the year ending March 2017, up from 15 million it sold in the year ended March. He reiterated that Honda will keep making 1 million cars in Japan, with a greater focus on 660 cc minivehicles that are selling well.Earlier this week, Honda suspended operations at five car plants in China after violent anti-Japan protests erupted in the world’s biggest auto market, with some protesters destroying Japanese cars and setting fire to dealerships. All five Honda factories in China have restarted work but are not operating at full capacity as parts suppliers have also been impacted by the protests, Ito said.
2 July – Fiat clashes with German carmakers on EU CO2 law
Honda Civic Type-R – 06/06/2012
Mystery fast Civic prototype wearing a huge rear wing breaks cover for the first
Has the new Honda Civic Type-R started testing? This mystery prototype was spotted near to Honda’s engineering centre close to the Nurburgring in Germany – and it wears a vast rear wing, indicating that it is no ordinary hatchback.
The protoytype also features modified front air intakes, although there appear to be no other changes to the wheels, tyres, brakes or suspension, leaving our spies to believe this could be the first prototype to test the Civic Type-R’s new engine.
Rather than follow the current trend for small capacity turbos, the Type-R is likely to have a naturally aspirated, high-revving i-VTEC engine measuring the same 2.0-litres as the old Civic Type-R. Producing around 210bhp, it will be significantly less powerful than the
247bhp 2.0-litre turbo of the Focus ST and 276bhp Astra VXR, but Honda will instead concentrate on agile handling.
The new Civic Type-R won’t be available in three-door form this time as the Civic is five-door only, but the finished model will have a dramatic bodykit, large alloys and a development of the vast rear wing as seen on this prototype.
Honda UNI-CUB -Move over Segway, Honda has revealed a unique mobility device for scooting about indoors
16th May 2012
Are you tired of walking around the office? Honda thinks it has the answer. The new UNI-CUB follows on from the U3-X mobility concept shown in 2009, and features revolutionary technology from Honda’s world famous humanoid robot Asimo. Riders simply shift their weight to alter its speed or direction and thanks to the new wheel system, the UNI-CUB can even move diagonally or sideways to make it easier to manoeuvre around obstacles. Honda says the UNI-CUB “promotes harmony between the riders and others”, as the high seating position allows them to maintain eye-level contact with other pedestrians. The hands-free controls also allow more freedom compared to the earlier U3-X, where riders held the seat to balance. The device follows on from Honda’s continuing development of next-generation motability devices. It will continue testing at Japan’s National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation from June 2012 through to March 2013. Staff will be performing demonstrations and annual pass holders will be offered test rides.
8 May – Google gets Nevada driving licence for self-drive car
Its first drive included a spin down Las Vegas’s famous strip. Other car companies are also seeking self-driven car licences in Nevada. The car uses video cameras mounted on the roof, radar sensors and a laser range finder to “see” other traffic. Engineers at Google have previously tested the car on the streets of California, including crossing San Francisco’s Golden Gate bridge. For those tests, the car remained manned at all times by a trained driver ready to take control if the software failed. According to software engineer Sebastian Thrun, the car has covered 140,000 miles with no accidents, other than a bump at traffic lights from a car behind. Bruce Breslow, director of Nevada’s Department of Motor Vehicles, says he believes driverless vehicles are the “cars of the future”. Nevada changed its laws to allow self-driven cars in March. The long-term plan is to license the public to drive such cars.
30 April – Honda welcomes 500 new employees to Swindon plant
29 April – BTCC News – Honda Win
Gordon Shedden was a dominant winner in today’s second wet Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race at Thruxton.
Shedden started from sixth on the grid but, after two opening laps on a sodden circuit behind the safety car, he then swiftly picked off those ahead to secure his third win of the season. He also set the race’s fastest lap in his Honda Yuasa Racing Team Civic.
27 April – Honda profit recovers from floods
Records forecastAnalysts are expecting Honda’s rivals – Toyota and Nissan – to see a similar recovery in the first quarter of the year.Honda, the third largest car maker in Japan, was widely regarded to have been the worst hit of all the Japanese car makers.It was the last to get its supply chains back in order after the huge earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March 2011.Its car plant in Thailand was only back in operation at the end of March 2012 – a six month disruption after the floods in October.Finally, the strength of the yen has also worked against Honda and other Japanese exporters. A strong yen cuts into overseas earnings.Friday’s earnings put an end to five financial quarters of drops in operating profits.Honda attributed the recovery to improved sales in Japan and North America. It saw an 8.7% jump in sales to 2.41tn yen.
27 April – Ford earnings fall amid Europe’s economic weakness
23 April – 5 Star Civic
The new Honda Civic has scored a full five-star Euro NCAP rating. The new model Civic, which features Vehicle Stability Assist, driver and passenger airbags, curtain airbags, seatbelt pre-tensioners and Honda’s Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), continues Honda’s strong record of Euro NCAP results.
The Civic’s CMBS is a radar-based emergency braking system that works above 10mph. In the event of an imminent collision, the system offers a series of warnings before activating the seatbelt pre-tensioners and braking the car, bringing it to a complete stop.
The Civic also scored well thanks to its ‘Advanced Compatibility Engineering’ body structure, as well as pedestrian protection features, including an energy-absorbing front end and bonnet hinges to minimise harm to pedestrians in the event of a collision.
The Civic’s result means that every Honda currently on sale in the UK has achieved a five-star rating.
23 April – Fire in small German town could curb world car production
When a fire in the small town of Marl in the west of Germany closed down an obscure chemical plant on 31 March, it barely made headlines.
Two people died and that was a personal tragedy for their families and friends, but the shock waves did not resonate far beyond.
Except, it turns out, to the other side of the Atlantic – in Detroit, Michigan. So tight is the global car industry’s supply chain that one break in a small link threatens the lot. About three weeks after the fire, executives from the world’s biggest auto-makers and their suppliers have met with furrowed brows to take stock of the implications of the fire. And they are serious.
It turns out that the braking and the fuel systems of cars depend on a resin called PA-12. And PA-12 is made out of an inelegantly named chemical: cyclododecatriene, or CDT. Evonik Industries’ plant in Germany was responsible for a good chunk of the world’s supply – one estimate put it between a quarter and a half.
The supply of PA-12 was already tight because it is also used in solar panels. In addition, Evonik says that it will take at least three months and perhaps longer before its damaged chemical plant can resume full production. That has set off alarm bells throughout the car industry. Earlier this week, more than 200 executives from companies including General Motors, Volkswagen, Toyota and Ford met in Michigan. Under the auspices of the Automotive Industry Action Group, six technical committees were set up to assess the impact of the shortage and to seek alternatives. The group said that it was clear that “a significant portion of the global production capacity” had been compromised.
After the meeting, the big car companies were saying nothing on the record. But some sources now say there is a real worry that the potential impact could be serious, including a slow-down in production.
23 April – Honda to invest $560m to expand its operations in China
20 April – Nissan to manufacture two Infiniti models in China
19 April – Audi buys Italian motorcycle firm Ducati
Volkswagen’s Audi arm has bought Italian motorcycle firm Ducati for an undisclosed sum.
The 20-member supervisory board of Europe’s largest carmaker agreed to add a 12th brand to its portfolio.
The purchase will be completed when approval from the necessary regulators is received.
Ducati has won 13 rider’s Superbike World Championships since 1988, and the deal means Audi’s rivalry with BMW will now include superbikes.
However, one expert has questioned the wisdom of the purchase.
“I can’t think of a concrete reason for Audi to warrant a business case for buying Ducati,” said Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive, at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch-Gladbach.
“Ducati does not enhance Audi’s business model in any way, it is just a trophy in the wall cabinet.”
18 April – Lada 2107 production ceases after more than 40 years
Russian car-maker AutoVaz has announced that it will stop production of its Lada 2107 model, better known in Britain as the Lada Riva, after more than 40 years.
The boxy saloon became the butt of many jokes due to its poor build quality and reliability. Originally called the 2101, the four-door car was based on the 1966 Fiat 124, and was last updated in 1982 as the Lada 2107. Despite its basic underpinnings it has remained popular in Russia thanks to a combination of low price, simple mechanicals and cheap parts.
In total AutoVaz has sold more than 18 million examples of the Lada 2107, but has announced it will stop production next week due to a drastic fall in demand.
17 April – Honda 100 Million
Honda Motor Co., Ltd has announced today that Honda’s cumulative worldwide Power Equipment production reached the 100 million-unit*1 milestone during 2011.
Honda’s Power Equipment business dates back to 1953 and is based on the original spirit of Honda – to utilise technology to help people – when an engine for agricultural equipment was launched with the aim of reducing the manual labour of farmers.
Since then, Honda has been utilising its core technology, the engine, to gradually expand its Power Equipment offering and the product line-up now includes tillers, generators, outboard engines, pumps, lawnmowers, snow blowers as well as many other products.
Honda has always been proactive in developing products in the areas of energy conservation and creation and as a result, has been increasing the diversity of its Power Equipment line-up which now (in certain countries now) includes a compact household gas engine cogeneration unit and a solar power system which adopts CIGS thin-film solar cells*2.
In Japan, Honda Power Equipment products are produced at Kumamoto Factory and Hosoe Plant at Hamamatsu Factory. In regions outside of Japan, Honda Power Equipment product production began in 1984 with the production of lawnmowers in the United States of America.
This was closely followed in 1986 by the opening of Honda France Industries which produces walk-behind lawn mowers, brushcutters and generators for the European market. Today, the factory can produce over 1,700 units a day and in 2008 celebrated production of its 3 millionth unit.
Today, Honda Power Equipment products are produced at eleven production plants in nine countries and are used regularly by people in more than 150 countries around the world, positioning its Power Equipment business as one of the key pillars for Honda’s business along with the Motorcycle and Automobile businesses.
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