Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Last of the Land Rover Defender

Land Rover celebrated 68 years of history as the last of the current Defenders was produced at its famous Solihull production facility. To mark the occasion Land Rover invited more than 700 current and former Solihull employees involved in the production of Series Land Rover and Defender vehicles to see and drive some of the most important vehicles from its history, including the first pre-production ‘Huey’ Series I as well as the last vehicle off the production line, a Defender 90 Heritage Soft Top.

The Defender Celebration in Solihull saw more than 25 unique vehicles from Land Rover’s history come together in a procession around the Solihull plant, featuring the final current Defender vehicle off the line. More than two million Series Land Rovers and Defenders have been built in Solihull, UK since 1948. 

What began as simply a line drawing in the sand has gone on to become one of the world’s most iconic 4x4s, earning the accolade of being the most versatile vehicle on the planet, capable of taking owners to the places other vehicles couldn’t reach. In 2015, a unique milestone Defender – the ‘Defender 2 000 000’ sold for a record £400 000 (more than R9-million) – a far cry from the original £450 the first Land Rover sold for at the 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show.

“Today we celebrate what generations of men and women have done since the outline for the Land Rover was originally drawn in the sand,” said Dr Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover”.

Tosan Aduayi is the founder of Trendy Africa Magazine and has been an Auto columnist since 1994

Monday, January 25, 2016

New Ford Explorer packed with irresistible thrills and Innovation

Aesthetically, the facial make-over is subtle but more aggressive and upscale for the 2016 Ford Explorer which is now available in left-hand drive for Sub-Saharan Africa, bringing more smart technologies, improved performance and efficiency, as well as greater all-round capabilities. 

Introduced in 1990 as a 1991 model in the US, Explorer featured generous interior space customers were looking for, and was engineered specifically for people seeking adventure for their families and a way to express their individuality. For a quarter century, Explorer has reigned as one of America’s best-selling SUVs.

The New 2016 Explorer Interior changes help enhances quietness in the cabin. There are new door seals, and an enhanced sound package which includes engine sub frame mounts specially tuned to reduce vibration. 

Technological enhancements on the on the Explorer also include; Front and rear cameras with washers, Enhanced active park assist with perpendicular park assist, park-out assist and semi-automatic parallel parking, Smart-charging USB ports located in the front and rear of the vehicle,  Hands-free liftgate with foot control and Active Grille Shutters to reduce drag speeds.

Other features include; Intelligent four-wheel drive which continuously monitors wheel speed, throttle position and steering wheel angle to determine vehicle conditions and driver intent. The system then determines the optimal amount of front and rear torque for the given conditions to prevent slip from even occurring, which helps keep the vehicle sure-footed on virtually any terrain. 

All the power is produced by advanced engines including the all-new powerful yet efficient 2.3 EcoBoost and 3.5 EcoBoost V6* engines, and proven 3.5 Ti-VCT V6.

“The Ford Explorer helped define how the world thinks about SUVs,” said Rob Johnston, Regional Manager Sales and Marketing, Ford Customer Services Division for Sub-Saharan Africa. “It is the centrepiece of Ford’s global utility vehicle line-up because it delivers an ideal combination of form and function.” 

Ford Explorer is built in North America at Chicago Assembly Plant, as well as in Venezuela and Russia, and is sold in markets across the globe.

Tosan Aduayi, a motoring journalist since 1994, is the founder and publisher of Trendy Africa Magazine and has reported on Motoring with trademark columns (Roadrunner, Carliners). He is also the founder of Flowtran global.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Jaguar tests new XJ with delivery challenge in Mumbai

Jaguar tested the new InControl Touch Pro system in its latest XJ by taking on Mumbai’s acclaimed Dabbawalla delivery system in a race through congested city streets. Many workers in Mumbai rely on Dabbawallas to collect their home-cooked meals from home and have them delivered at work. The meals are packed into in small ‘tiffins’ or ‘dabbas’. These highly efficient couriers operate on a complex relay transport system involving trains, buses, bikes and even travelling on foot.
But one lucky Dabbawalla was given the chance to ride in luxury when the new Jaguar XJ picked him up, swapping a hard bike saddle and noisy streets for leather massage seats and the new InControl Touch Pro infotainment system. 

The driver used the new navigation system to help steer through traffic as his rival Dabbawalla took the traditional route. The Dabbawalla said: “It was a very different experience to the one I am used to! The only massage I normally get is from the bumps in the road! Those seats were amazing. And I never knew Mumbai could be so quiet – it was like a different world inside the car.

Founded in 1890, the Dabbawalla system, once subject to a Harvard Business School study, is a business miracle. Low cost, highly efficient and environmentally friendly, there is no use of any IT system or even cell phones, yet mistakes are extremely rare. Logistics expert Federal Express even sent its employees over to learn from the system.

Aside from a unique weight-bearing jacket, which helps carry multiple loads using supports from lightweight but sturdy aluminium (the metal used for the body of the new XJ), new technology has done nothing to better the system. Now, approximately 5 000 Dabbawallas move more than 130 000 lunches per day, six days a week, 52 weeks a year.

Ever-present heavy traffic makes moving through the city streets a challenge, which is why the system is of such benefit. But on a course designed to give close competition even with the road congestion, the navigation system allowed the XJ to reach its destination with time to spare.

The InControl Touch Pro infotainment system features a high-performance quad-core processor and runs on state-of-the-art, ultra-fast Ethernet networking technology that offers data transfer rates of up to 1000Mbit per second. Combined, these technologies deliver incredible graphics with pinch and zoom functionality, offer fast response times and help to future-proof the system for significant upgrades in functionality over time.

The 2016 Jaguar XJ will go on sale in Jaguar’s sub-Sahara Africa markets in March. Pricing will be confirmed closer to the time. InControl Touch Pro will be made available as an option in the second half of this year.

Tosan Aduayi, a motoring journalist since 1994, is the founder and publisher of Trendy Africa Magazine and has reported on Motoring with trademark columns (Roadrunner, Carliners). He is also the founder of Flowtran global. Photo Credit: Anthony Cullen

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Jaguar unveils F-Type British Edition

Based on the F-TYPE S Coupé and Convertible, and featuring a range of visual enhancements and additional equipment, the British Design Edition is offered in a specially-selected colour palette inspired by the Union Jack: Caldera Red, Glacier White and – new to the F-TYPE range – Ultra Blue. An additional colour choice, Ultimate Black, is also available. Further enhancements to the F-TYPE’s award-winning design come from the Sport Design pack and discreet British Design Edition badges front and rear, with unique branding on the centre console, headrests and the stainless steel tread plates.

Behind the 20-inch Cyclone wheels with unique Satin Grey finish is an uprated braking system featuring red calipers (black is available as an option). Complementing the range of exterior colours is a crafted premium Jet leather interior finished with contrast stitching in a choice of three colours. The driver-focused theme of the ‘one-plus-one’ cabin is heightened by carbon fibre trim around the centre console.

The Jaguar F-TYPE British Design Edition will be available in Coupé and Convertible body styles.  Power comes exclusively from a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine, matched to an eight-speed Quickshift transmission with rear-wheel drive.

The F-TYPE British Design Edition model is offered in Caldera Red, Glacier White and – new to the F-TYPE range – Ultra Blue. Customers also have the choice of Ultimate Black. Enhancing the F-TYPE’s dramatic lines is the Sport Design Pack. Optional on the S model, this is standard equipment on the British Design Edition and comprises a gloss black front splitter, body-coloured side sill extensions and rear venturi – a fixed rear spoiler is also available for the Coupé.

The 20-inch Cyclone wheels with Satin Dark Grey finish are unique to the British Design Edition and are fitted with 255/35/R20 and 295/30/R20 tyres front and rear respectively. British Design Edition centre caps are available as an accessory fit.

For the interior, the British Design Edition offers premium Jet leather throughout together with contrast stitching in a choice of three distinctive colours: Red, Ivory and Reims Blue. The 14-way sports seats feature headrests embossed with British Design Edition branding. Replacing the aluminium of the F-TYPE S, carbon fibre trim is used on the centre console – this is also complete with British Design Edition branding. The texture and satin finish of this material complements the premium Jet leather interior perfectly.

Tosan Aduayi, a motoring journalist since 1994, is the founder and publisher of Trendy Africa Magazine and has reported on Motoring with trademark columns (Roadrunner, Carliners). He is also the founder of Flowtran global.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Mercedes Benz reports USA Sales Record for 2015

 Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) has reported its highest volume month ever with December 2015 sales of 38,918, bringing the company to the highest annual volume in its U.S. history at 380,461. MBUSA's sales for December were up 1.7 percent versus the 38,270 sold in December 2014 (the previous record volume for December) and up 3.8 on a year-to-date basis relative to the 366,589 vehicles sold in 2014.

"This has been a great year and we begin 2016 with strong momentum from the recent launches of our GLE and GLC models. We'll have a constant stream of new products in 2016 – cabriolets, coupes and AMG models – leading us to yet another banner year," said Dietmar Exler, president and CEO of MBUSA.

December sales for the Mercedes-Benz brand were led by the C-Class, GLE and E-Class model lines. The C-Class took the top spot with 7,023 units, followed by the newly introduced GLE-Class. The GLE finished second this month with 6,310 sales, marking a total of 20,663 units sold since its market debut in August. The E-Class recorded the third-highest December sales number with 4,999 units.

For the year, the Mercedes-Benz brand was led by the C-Class, M/GLE-Class and E-Class model lines. Like the month of December, the C-Class took the top spot for 2015 with 86,080 units, followed by the M/GLE-Class with 53,213 sales. The E-Class finished third, recording 49,736 sales for the year.

Mercedes-Benz Vans sold 4,046 vehicles during the month of December, up 23.1% over December 2014, bringing annual sales to their highest volume on record. For the year, Mercedes-Benz Vans tallied 29,889 vehicles sold, a 16.1% increase over the 25,745 from 2014. December saw smart deliver 669 units, finishing with 7,484 for the year.

Tosan Aduayi is the founder of Trendy Africa Magazine and has been an Auto columnist since 1994