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23 June 2006
"The world’s most successful car maker has been consistently at the forefront of new environmental automotive technologies for decades, often using 4x4s to take that technology out of the laboratory and on to the road."
The Lexus RX 400h is singled out for praise as ‘a technological tour de force, as well as a pretty darned civilised SUV’. Six out of 10 British RX buyers now opt for the hybrid power 400h, which delivers incredible performance with emissions levels and fuel economy that are unheard of among non-diesel SUVs.
The new RAV4 T180 contributes further to Toyota’s success, exemplifying the clean and efficient modern compact 4x4. The T180’s 2.2-litre D-4D engine uses Toyota D-CAT technology to achieve exceptionally low levels of particulates and nitrogen oxides emissions, two of the most challenging elements in diesel exhaust gas. And as well already achieving emissions standards proposed for 2010 at a time when some companies are still struggling to meet current requirements, the 175bhp engine is the most powerful in its class. The judges also took into account Toyota’s investment in developing hybrid fuel cell technology and putting it on the road in the FCHV-5, a special version of its US-market Highlander 4x4 that is capable of creating its own hydrogen fuel on board.
26 May 2006
The Range Rover gets an all-new V8 diesel engine and a series of other significant enhancements for the 2007 model year. These latest improvements to Land Rover’s flagship include a revised cabin design and a host of technical upgrades, such as Land Rover’s patented Terrain Response system, which extends even further the vehicle’s impressive breadth of capability.
The technologically sophisticated, turbocharged 272 bhp/PS (200 kW) TDV8 diesel makes its debut in the Range Rover, and is one of the world’s most advanced engines. Like all Land Rover engines, it is lightweight, compact and extremely strong. Compared with the six-cylinder diesel it replaces, it is 54 per cent more powerful, delivers 64 per cent more torque, and yet has the same fuel economy. "The TDV8 diesel is a great new engine, to power one of the world’s great vehicles – the most complete luxury 4x4," says Land Rover managing director Phil Popham. "Its balance of performance, refinement and economy is unmatched. We believe it makes the Range Rover an even more desirable vehicle, especially in strong diesel markets, and will appeal to many customers who’ve never considered a diesel before.
"Performance is similar to many more obviously sporty vehicles and fuel economy is comparable with a lot of petrol saloon cars. Yet the new Range Rover delivers so much more – great comfort, huge carrying capacity, awesome off-road capability and massive towing ability, all with exemplary refinement." Acceleration is significantly improved, compared with the previous diesel engine: over four seconds has been cut from the 0-60 mph and 0-100 km/h times (now 8.5 sec and 9.2 sec respectively). Maximum speed is raised to 124 mph (200 km/h), electronically limited. In addition, the TDV8 is up to 75 per cent quieter overall, more refined, and has improved brakes and handling. The new engine is matched to the six-speed, state-of-the-art ZF ‘intelligent shift’ automatic transmission, already used on petrol Range Rover models. The suspension set-up is similar to that of the Range Rover Supercharged, delivering outstanding handling and ride comfort. Large Brembo front brakes are standard.
The two petrol engine options for the Range Rover introduced last year to wide acclaim – a 396 bhp/PS (291 kW) supercharged V8 and a normally aspirated 306 bhp/PS (225 kW) V8 – continue for 2007 model year.
The Range Rover’s outstanding off-road capability is enhanced by the addition of Terrain Response as standard for all 2007 models, together with a centre ‘e’ (electronic) differential and the availability of a rear ‘e’ differential. Terrain Response allows the driver to select one of five settings on the rotary switch, to suit the terrain. The vehicle’s electronic and mechanical controls are then optimised to tackle the specific conditions. "Terrain Response improves absolute off-road ability while reducing driver effort: off-road performance has never been easier," says Phil Popham. "It benefits on-road driving too, and perfectly exemplifies Land Rover’s belief in offering the greatest breadth of capability in the class."
Other enhancements apply across the Range Rover line-up for the 2007 model year. The cabin gains better stowage space (including a new twin glovebox), an enhanced airbag package, a cleaner centre console design, an electronic parking brake, a new upper facia and substantially improved air-conditioning and ventilation. Switchgear and the audio system have been improved, and there are more extensive wood and metallic finishes, all contributing to an enhanced premium feel. Front seats now offer an optional cooling function, as well as a standard heating feature, and active head restraints contribute to improved safety.
"The most complete luxury 4x4 in the world is now even better," says Phil Popham. "The outstanding supercharged V8 and normally aspirated petrol V8 are joined by an equally impressive new diesel V8. It is an unbeatable engine range, reinforcing the Range Rover’s unassailable position at the very pinnacle of the luxury 4x4 sector."
ALL-NEW TDV8 DIESEL ENGINE BOOSTS PERFORMANCE & IMPROVES REFINEMENT
The Range Rover’s new TDV8 diesel engine builds on learning from the widely acclaimed TDV6, used in the Discovery 3 and Range Rover Sport. Delivering substantial improvements in both performance and refinement, its maximum power is increased by more than 50 per cent, at 272 bhp/PS (200 kW), compared with the outgoing straight-six diesel’s 177 bhp/PS (130 kW). Maximum torque is an enormous 640 Nm (472 lb ft). This is maintained constantly from 2000 rpm to 2500 rpm, delivering effortless performance even at low engine speeds. Over 400 Nm of torque is available from just 1250 rpm – greater than the previous engine’s maximum torque of 390 Nm (288 lb ft).
Acceleration is similarly transformed, with the 0-60 mph time down to 8.5 sec from 12.7 sec (0-100 km/h now 9.2 sec, from 13.6 sec). The improvements continue right across the speed range. In the crucial 50-70 mph acceleration range (80-110 km/h), for example, the new diesel model is about 40 per cent faster. Top speed is an electronically limited 124 mph (200 km/h), up from 111 mph (179 km/h). Twin variable nozzle turbochargers contribute to the huge torque of the V8 diesel, as does the relatively low 17.3:1 compression ratio. The 32-valve engine configuration allows for smooth high-revving, assisting performance and on-road refinement.
The engine exceeds EU4 emissions standards and fuel consumption is impressively low considering the performance: combined average fuel economy is 25.1 mpg (11.3 litres/100 km). This is comparable to that of many petrol saloon cars, in a vehicle that has the capability to cruise motorways, climb mountains, cross rivers, carry five adults in ultimate comfort plus an enormous amount of luggage, and has one of the highest permissible towing weights of any vehicle. Although sharing many technologies with the TDV6, the 3.6-litre TDV8 has been designed from the outset to meet the refinement, torque characteristics and off-road needs of the Range Rover. It is not just a V6 with two extra cylinders. For example, the V6 has a bank angle of 60 degrees, while the V8 has 90 degrees – the best configuration for a V8’s balance and refinement.
As with the TDV6, the TDV8 uses a revolutionary Compacted Graphite Iron (CGI) block, which has much higher tensile strength than ‘standard grey’ cast iron, better fatigue strength than aluminium, and extraordinary stiffness. Its overall advantages in weight and strength mean the block can be lighter and smaller than those of rivals, making it astonishingly compact for such a large-capacity engine. The block’s outstanding stiffness is a major factor in the refinement of the engine. The TDV8 is one of the world’s quietest and smoothest diesels, as well as one of the mightiest. Heads are cast in aluminium. The overhead camshafts – two per cylinder bank – are hollow to reduce weight, and actuate the 32 valves through roller-finger followers and hydraulic lash adjusters. The intake camshaft is driven by a simplex bush chain, the exhaust camshaft by near-silent gearwheels. The intake manifold – made from lightweight injection moulding – and cylinder heads employ Land Rover’s intake port deactivation technology, to optimise swirl across the full engine speed range.
The new TDV8 is designed not just for day-to-day road driving and high-speed motorway or autobahn cruising, but also for river wading, dust, mud and the steep angles necessary for class-leading off-road capability. As with all Land Rover products, the new Range Rover TDV8 must be able to drive through 45-degree gradients and traverse 35-degree side slopes, as well as wade through water 500 mm deep.
The 90-degree V8 configuration means the twin turbochargers are sited low in the engine. At extreme angles, there is a risk that either turbo may be below the sump level, restricting oil flow. So a new, patent pending, vacuum lubrication system has been developed to ensure full flow of oil at all times to the critical turbochargers, even on the most severe side slopes. No other turbo V8 has anything like the all-terrain versatility of the Range Rover’s new engine. The variable nozzle turbochargers – one per cylinder bank – have small turbine wheels, for excellent response. Their variable nozzle design boosts not only response, but also low-end torque and top-end power. No wastegate is necessary, improving refinement and boosting the progressive driving characteristics of the engine.
Common-rail injection technology improves refinement, power and economy. Fuel is injected at up to 1700 bar (more than 24,000 psi), about 30 per cent higher than in previous-generation common-rail fuel systems. Incredibly accurate Piezo injectors provide highly efficient combustion, very low particulate emissions and instant power on demand. They also reduce combustion noise, improving refinement. Despite the phenomenal performance, this is one of the world’s quietest diesels. Noise, at both idle and full load, is extremely low. "Compared with the outgoing Range Rover diesel, the new engine is up to 75 per cent quieter, a huge improvement," says Al Kammerer, product development director for Land Rover. "In both qualitative and quantitative measures, the new diesel is very similar to the V8 petrol engine – a tremendous achievement." The noise levels are so low that Land Rover engineers had to target other sources of engine noise normally masked by combustion noise. Extraneous sounds are dampened by a comprehensive acoustic system, including a glass-reinforced nylon engine cover and sound-deadening rubber-mounted covers encapsulating the fuel injectors, to ensure that injection noise goes unnoticed.
Given the TDV8’s exceptional standards of performance and refinement, it would be easy for people to mistake it for a petrol engine. So Land Rover has developed a new, patented device for the TDV8 fuel filler neck, to avoid the risk of inadvertent fuelling with petrol. The new TDV8 diesel engine is matched to the latest-generation ZF six-speed automatic electronically controlled transmission, which offers extra smoothness and response. The CommandShift facility allows for manual gearchanges, improving the dynamic nature of the driving experience when required. Low-range is also provided, for extreme off-roading and heavy-duty towing. Both the new gearbox and transfer box have a wider ratio spread than the outgoing units. Together, these provide for a 12 per cent lower first gear, giving better off-road control and power, while the top gear is now 28 per cent higher, to consolidate the benefits of the new engine’s excellent refinement and economy.
This latest Land Rover diesel engine was developed specifically for Range Rover, jointly by Land Rover and Ford engineers. It is built at Ford Motor Company’s high-tech diesel engine facility in Dagenham, England.
IMPROVED CABIN BOOSTS STOWAGE SPACE & PREMIUM QUALITY
All 2007 Range Rovers have revised cabins, to improve storage space and further increase the premium ambience. "Most of the changes are very practical, designed to enhance day-to-day living with the vehicle," says Land Rover’s design director Geoff Upex, "with much improved stowage and better siting of controls. The vehicle is now equipped with twin gloveboxes and higher quality centre console storage and cupholders. The new electronic park brake and off-set gearchange are better oriented towards the driver. "The facia is all new – to meet the latest safety standards – so we’ve taken the opportunity to refine the highly regarded architectural design theme, increasing both luxury and craftsmanship. The new facia design also improves the renowned Range Rover ‘command view’ driving position."
The smart new door casings feature more extensive use of wood. Instruments have new graphics and the bezels now have a richer alloy finish. The centre console switchgear has been redesigned to improve both functionality and its tactile appeal. The front seats are new too, and now offer the option of a cooling function, as well as the standard heating feature. For an even quieter interior, the Range Rover now gains acoustic laminated windscreen glass, reducing transmitted exterior noise by up to 6 dB.
An enhanced airbag strategy relocates the side airbags, formerly in the doors, to the seats, to improve cushioning in the event of a side impact. A driver’s side inflatable knee bolster is also added to all models, and the passenger front airbag has been redesigned.
The air-conditioning system has been comprehensively revised, to offer improved cooling, better airflow distribution, lower noise and greater comfort levels. The new 9 kW evaporator (replacing a 7.8 kW version) enables 15 per cent more heat to be removed from the cabin. In addition, new centre top vents help improve ventilation for front-seat occupants, and lead to a significant reduction in airflow noise at high fan speeds.
TERRAIN RESPONSE & ‘E’ DIFFERENTIALS BOOST OFF-ROAD PROWESS
Technical upgrades for the Range Rover at 2007 model year include the addition of Terrain Response, Land Rover’s patented technology to make off-road driving easier. Terrain Response allows the driver to choose one of five terrain settings via a rotary control, located on the newly redesigned centre console of the Range Rover.
Terrain Response then implements the most appropriate settings for the vehicle’s many advanced electronic controls and traction aids, including ride height, engine torque response, Hill Descent Control, electronic traction control and transmission settings. The five Terrain Response programmes optimise the vehicle set-up for virtually any on-road or off-road driving conditions:
The rear ‘e’ (for electronic) differential is also new for the 2007 model year. It is standard on the Range Rover Supercharged, and available as an option on both the diesel and the normally aspirated petrol engine. It improves on-road handling and off-road dexterity. All models have a centre ‘e’ differential.
Suspension settings and brakes have been upgraded for the TDV8. Competition-bred Brembo front brakes are standard, identical to the high-performance ones used on the latest Range Rover Supercharged. Revised spring and damper rates have been selected, to replicate the same ride and handling characteristics as on the supercharged model. 19-inch wheels are standard on the TDV8, with a 20-inch wheel and tyre option also available. An electronic park brake replaces the space-consuming conventional hand brake lever in the centre console area. It is engaged by a simple pull of a switch. It is disengaged automatically when the vehicle moves off, or can be released manually.
THE RANGE ROVER: THE WORLD’S MOST COMPLETE LUXURY 4x4
The original Range Rover was the world’s first luxury 4x4 when it was launched in 1970. There have been three new distinct versions, with the most recent model unveiled in 2002. Since the release of the latest version, sales of Range Rovers have been running at record levels. The 2007 model year upgrades come on top of a number of major improvements for the 2006 model year, when two new petrol engines were introduced. Both give better performance and greater fuel economy than the single V8 they replaced. The flagship model uses a 396 bhp/PS (291 kW) 4.2-litre supercharged V8, which is 35 per cent more powerful than the previous engine, has over 25 per cent more torque – which contributes to refinement and ease of driving – and is about 1.5 seconds quicker from 0-62 mph (100 km/h). The other V8 is the normally aspirated 306 bhp/PS (225 kW) 4.4-litre engine, also quicker, more refined and more economical than the previous engine.
For the Range Rover, these two Jaguar-derived engines were specially developed to offer more torque at lower revs. For tough off-roading, the engines can operate at more extreme angles and have enhanced protection from dust and rocks. They are also better water-proofed for Land Rover’s tough wading requirements. "Supreme breadth of capability is a hallmark of the Range Rover," says Land Rover managing director Phil Popham. "It inspires a sense of confidence no matter what the conditions. The latest Range Rover offers effortless performance, irrespective of terrain, and has better on-road performance than ever before, both in handling and straight-line speed.
"The new TDV8 model has the finest blend of performance and economy ever offered on a Land Rover vehicle. It is faster, quieter and more refined than any diesel engine in our history, and is exactly the right powerplant to underline the Range Rover’s reputation as the world’s most complete luxury 4x4."
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS contd…
Gaydon, Warwickshire 15 May 2006
The extension to the long life of Defender, which has been in production in various models since 1948, will preserve more than 750 jobs at the Solihull factory where it is produced alongside the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Discovery 3. Work is also underway to see if there are opportunities to extend Defender's life beyond 2010.
Annual production of Defender has remained consistent at around 25,000 units in recent years, with much of the demand coming from large contract orders. For example, the Italian energy distribution company, Ente Nazionale Elettricita, recently placed an order for over 900 Defenders.
Since its emergence, nearly 60 years ago, the original Land Rover has carved a heroic path through some of the world's remotest regions and at one time for 60% of the planet's population a Land Rover was the first motorised vehicle they had seen.
"With sales growth forecast in 2006, Defender remains a significant contributor to the business as well as an enduring symbol of Land Rover's 4x4 heritage," said Phil Popham, Land Rover's Managing Director. "Its simple concept hasn't changed fundamentally over the years, but it remains as relevant as ever. Defender continues to play a vital role for emergency services, aid workers and farmers around the world. As we grow Land Rover we're not forgetting our core values and our traditional customers."
With a rugged ladder-frame box-section chassis and aluminium bodywork, the Defender is incredibly tough. Its practical advantages include its unmatched combination of off-road supremacy, carrying capacity and towing capability.
The Defender name was introduced in 1990 but the model is a direct descendant of the original Land Rover introduced in 1948. Production of Defender and its predecessors has passed 1.8 million and it is estimated that over two thirds of them are still in use.
For more information on the Land Rover range go to www.landrover.co.uk
12 May 2006
1. Ask yourself: " Do I really need to drive? " It's the shortest journeys - less than two miles - which cause the most pollution and are inefficient in terms of fuel consumption. A straining cold engine will produce 60 per cent more pollution than a warm one. Yet it's these shorter journeys that are ideal for walking or cycling.
2. Plan your route. A bit of forethought can save much wear and tear - for the car,and the driver. Try to take the most direct route and go off peak if possible. Sitting in congestion means you are often doing zero miles per gallon. If you have to commute by car, think about car sharing, Park and Ride schemes or public transport.
3. Have your vehicle serviced regularly. This helps maintain efficient running and good economy. Inefficient, under-serviced engines can reduce fuel economy by ten per cent or more. Catalytic converters are environmentally friendly - but only if they are properly maintained.
4. Check your tyres. Correct tyre pressures will keep wear down and fuel economy up. Under-inflated tyres need replacing more often (itself an environmental problem) as well as being dangerous. Anybody who has cycled on under-inflated tyres will appreciate how much extra effort is involved! Make a point of checking them at least once a week.
5. Obey the speed limits. Try to "feather" the throttle as you reach your cruising speed. Doing 56mph uses 25 per cent less fuel than 70mph and a smoother driving style can bring significant fuel saving.
6. Reduce the drag factor by removing roof racks and carriers when not in use. Driving with the window open also increases drag and lowers fuel economy. Remove unnecessary boot luggage, avoid heavy accessories and wide tyres that add rolling resistance. Air conditioning lowers fuel economy so use the vent settings as much as possible instead.
7. Buy green fuel - and use less of it. If you get stuck in traffic, switch off the engine. Find out if you can buy low sulphur diesel (City diesel) or cleaner petrol (low sulphur/aromatics) locally.
8. Use “accelerator” sense. Do you go straight from the accelerator to the brake? You would save fuel if you planned ahead, and rather than have to brake as you hit traffic, gently let the speed of the vehicle bring you to a halt as you join a queue. There is no point in rushing and then having to brake to come to a sudden halt.
9. Reverse in when you park. When you start off again, the engine will be cold and at its most fuel inefficient. If you can drive smoothly away without having to reverse when the engine is cold, not only will you save fuel you will also have better visibility.
10. Be a tank miser. Why fill the tank up to the very brim? If you do so, you may be carrying around additional fuel, which in turn means that you have more weight on board than is necessary. That extra weight will itself reduce fuel efficiency.
10 May 2006
Suzuki’s recently introduced, all-new Grand Vitara is longer, wider and more spacious than its predecessor, and boasts sleek new styling. Its permanent four-wheel drive system provides added on-road safety plus useful levels of traction in muddy fields, while the unitary body with its ‘built-in ladder frame’ provides levels of rigidity to match the most traditional of off-roaders. Drive-by-wire throttle management and variable valve timing help the 106PS 1.6-litre engine to deliver 32.5mpg on the Combined cycle.
In true Suzuki fashion, the 3-door model comes exceptionally well equipped and standard are climate control air conditioning, front electric windows, an integrated radio/CD player, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, tinted glass, tilt adjustable steering column, remote central locking, reclining rear seats, folding exterior door mirrors, driver and front passenger front and side airbags, front and rear curtain airbags and an immobiliser. The 1.6 16v VVT+ model adds heated electric mirrors, alloy wheels, and front fog lamps.
The Grand Vitara finance offer runs until 30 June.
10 May 2006
With its stylish looks and high ground clearance the Antara has all the attributes demanded by customers in this burgeoning sector, and yet its external dimensions are only fractionally larger than an Astra estate at 4570mm long and 1850mm wide.
The interior offers plenty of room too, thanks to its car-like monocoque body structure, transversely mounted engines and a compact four-wheel drive system. The Antara’s interior styling and quality will also be a pleasant surprise to buyers in the sector. Sporty contoured seats, large, well-designed instruments and a centre console with easy-to-read info display give the cockpit a driver-oriented layout, and the fit and finish is expected to set a new benchmark for the class. As with other Vauxhalls, technology such as sat-nav and Bluetooth phone connectivity will be available from launch.
The first cars to arrive in the UK – and the biggest selling version of the Antara – will be powered by an all-new highly fuel efficient 2.0-litre common-rail turbodiesel producing 150PS. Both manual and automatic gearboxes will be available. A 141PS four-cylinder petrol unit will join the range shortly after launch to become the entry-level model.
All versions of the Antara will feature a sophisticated active four-wheel drive system, which combines the fuel economy and handling characteristics of a front-wheel drive car with the grip and stability of all-wheel drive when it is needed. It features an electronically controlled electro-hydraulic differential which ensures optimal torque distribution between the front and rear axles in all situations. The drivetrain is fully integrated into the ABS and ESP systems, enhancing vehicle control ® and active safety. To further improve performance on rough terrain, the Antara features an electronic device to enable the car to be driven safely on steep descents at a constant speed.
The UK launch date will be announced nearer the official show debut in September.
3 May 2006
Taking the title of ‘Pick-Up of the Year’, the all-new L200 brushed aside competition from the likes of the Nissan Navara and Toyota Hilux to be voted class champion by a considerable margin. The Shogun 4x4 commercial took top honours over the Jeep Pioneer plus the Land Rover Discovery and Defender. This is the second award for the Shogun commercial this year, having already taken 4x4 Van of the Year in 4x4 magazine’s annual awards in February.
In order to choose its winners, Professional Van & Light Truck magazine deployed a panel of seven judges to spend one very intensive day driving and evaluating over 70 vehicles. Along with two members of the magazine’s editorial team, five business professionals were invited to add their real-life experience to the panel in choosing the best the industry has to offer. All seven judges were given a set quantifiable methodology to follow in order to evaluate each of the products and were also armed with a kit of every-day items such as a clipboard, coffee cup, sandwich box and heavy duty jacket to look at the user-friendliness of each vehicle. At the end of a hard day’s judging the winners of 14 separate categories were decided upon, with the trophies presented at a ceremony during the Commercial Vehicle Show at the Birmingham NEC in April.
On collecting the awards Jim Tyrrell, Managing Director of Mitsubishi Motors UK stated "Having only just launched the new L200 pick-up we are delighted that it has already beaten off all competition to take this award. What’s more, the fact that it was judged by actual tradesmen and business owners is a testament to its appeal in the commercial market."
The L200 has been market leader in the pick-up sector for the last five years and with sales of the new model reaching over 2,400 in its first month on the market it seems the King is in no way going to relinquish his crown. Mitsubishi Motors expects to sell 12,000 new L200s this year plus an additional 5,000 units of the outgoing model.
Mitsubishi’s Shogun commercial vehicle continues to grow in popularity within its niche market and has become an important part of Mitsubishi’s specialist fleet strategy supplying high-profile utility companies such as National Grid PLC and The Environment Agency.
Bangkok, Thailand, 24 April 2006
Once competitors were paired-up for the start event that included hellishly physical demands such as mountain biking a 150 metre course to then drag their Range Rover Sport from its shipping container, pulling a kayak on wires high above the ground, guiding their partner across a set of narrow logs in the Range Rover Sport and hand-winching a 600kg Tuk Tuk (three-wheel Bangkok taxi) up off the ground. This was the initial test for these pairings, who will remain paired for the first week of the month-long event.
Joining Russia/Greece and Italy/Taiwan in the final heat were the British/German double act of Brian Reynolds and Robert Josef Schweiger. Right up to the end there was little between the British/German and Greek/Russian pairs. But Dimitry of Russia and Michael of Greece got a better finish in the end – and eventual victory.
The eventual runners-up were not too disappointed. Only a week ago Brian Reynolds was training in snow at home. "To nearly win the opening competition in almost 40 degree temperatures was a real achievement. This was a perfect start to the event for me and knowing now that Robert and I are a good team is really exciting," he said. "I can’t wait to get into Laos and get our teeth into the next competition."
20 Apr 2006
Since its home market launch in October 2005, the all-new Mitsubishi Outlander has amassed more sales than any other SUV in Japan, placing it not only ahead of its own sales targets but also well ahead of the competition.
Accumulated sales of 18,921 put new Outlander at the top of the 6-month October-March SUV sales chart, ahead of the Toyota Harrier (Lexus RX in Europe) and Toyota RAV4; Outlander was also top seller in November, December and February. Outlander’s closest rivals (Toyota RAV4 and Nissan X-Trail) each registered over 4,000 fewer sales than Outlander, which outsells the Honda CR-V by more than three-to-one. With an original sales target of 2,000 per month, new Outlander’s to-date sales figure represents an achievement rate of almost 160%.
A little over a year after Mitsubishi Motors Corporation’s new business plan was announced, the consistently strong sales of new Outlander show how confidence in the Mitsubishi brand - with an enviable heritage and fresh approach to design - is rapidly returning. Another Mitsubishi newcomer, the cleverly-engineered and futuristically-designed ‘i’, is also posting impressive sales figures. In its first month of sales, ‘i’ sold to 6,025 customers, against a target of 5,000.
Mitsubishi sales in Japan have now increased every month (when compared to the same month of the previous year) for the last 11 months (May 2005 to March 2006). When placed within the context of an increasingly competitive Japanese market that actually shrank slightly in 2005 (4.75 mio sales in CY 2005 vs. 4.77 mio sales in CY 2004), these results are even more significant.
New Outlander will soon be making a similar impact in export markets: its debut at the New York Auto Show on April 14th will be followed by its European debut during the first quarter of 2007. Landing right in the heart of the European mid-size SUV segment, new Outlander will doubtless make a contribution to the increasing success of Mitsubishi Motors in Europe (whose sales of 265,685 in 2005 represented an increase of 17.7% vs. 2004).
Gaydon, Warwickshire, 13 April 2006
‘Go Beyond is about going beyond personal boundaries and experiencing adventure in its many forms,’ says Phil Popham, managing director of Land Rover. ‘It amplifies the core brand promise of Land Rover. It will also enhance our dealer environments, and work in tandem with our landrover.co.uk website to drive sales and further improve customer loyalty.’ Mr Popham continues, ‘The aim is to suit everybody’s idea of going beyond. It is certainly not a motoring web site, although you can find out all about our Land Rover range of vehicles and many of the adventures will feature Land Rovers. For some, off-roading in Africa will be their idea of going beyond. For others, it may be as simple as trying a new wine or experimenting with new and exotic cuisine.’
The Go Beyond website and TV channel will focus on real people living lives much less ordinary and can be accessed on any computer with a broadband connection. It will also be displayed at Land Rover dealerships and major motor shows and will be ultimately available for download to mobile phones or hand-held consoles like the Sony PSP or iPod. A Go Beyond link on www.landrover.co.uk takes users to the new site.
Six unique channels of Go Beyond TV will cover all aspects of 21st century adventure from travel, to amazing Land Rover off-road journeys, food and wine, and people and places. The content will be premium, contemporary and adventurous – three of the cornerstones of the Land Rover brand. Containing a blend of original content, material from the Discovery Channel, Land Rover’s award-winning One Life customer magazine and sponsored partners including Born Free, Biosphere Expeditions and the Royal Geographical Society, Go Beyond is a distinctive, premium, glossy, magazine style community of people who live the Land Rover brand. ‘The website will be inclusive and aspirational,’ says Steve Hobbs, editor of Go Beyond. ‘It will tell real-life stories of people who go beyond every day. Adventure means different things to different people and we intend to cover a wide range of extraordinary activities. It could include anything from climbing Mount Everest to simply taking the scenic route home from work. Preferably off road.
‘We aim to build a community of people who live the Go Beyond life, and communicate with each other through our website. Of course, they can just read about it on our website or watch it on our TV channel but we hope that most will actively participate.’
Go Beyond TV launches in New York with four hours material running on a rolling schedule, with four hours of new content added every month. In addition, there will be live telecasts (from, for example, motor shows) and updates from special events. This will include the Land Rover G4 Challenge, which begins in Thailand on 23 April. The content can also be viewed on demand as part of a fully searchable video library. More content will be added to the new Go Beyond website at the British International Motor Show in London in July. Go Beyond can be accessed through the www.landrover.co.uk website.
The all-new long-wheelbase Jeep Wrangler is the first Wrangler to offer four doors, a diesel engine and space for five adults. It is expected to join the new two-door Wrangler, unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in January, in Chrysler Group dealerships in the UK in March 2007.
Steve Gray, Marketing Director for Chrysler Group, said: "The Jeep Wrangler has been a firm favourite in the UK for more than a decade, with nearly 5,000 sold since 1993. In the past, the Wrangler has tended to be a car for Jeep enthusiasts, with its classic looks and incredible off-road ability. "From 2007 we will be able to offer two or four doors, better road manners, a new diesel engine and an all-new interior with enough space for all the family – and luggage. This will help us compete much more effectively without compromising on what makes this vehicle a Jeep." The new Wrangler will also come to the UK with a new petrol engine that offers more power and more torque. The new Jeep benefits from improved aerodynamics, reduced noise levels and a more spacious interior. ESP and side airbags also come as standard together with four-wheel disc ABS brakes. The Wrangler’s on-road characteristics have also been significantly improved with a wider track and longer wheelbase, new steering and 100 per cent stiffer frame. These improvements have not reduced off-road ability – the Wrangler features improved live front and rear axles, extra ground clearance and an electronic disconnecting front sway bar.
The new Jeep Patriot is based on the concept first shown at the Frankfurt Motorshow in 2005. Jeep Patriot combines the packaging and interior flexibility of an SUV with the performance, handling, fuel economy and price of a small family car. Steve Gray added: "The Jeep Patriot reflects the ‘Jeep-rugged’ design theme and fulfils customers’ demands for a modern family car with the credibility and characteristics associated with the Jeep brand name. It is designed to reach younger customers that may not have previously considered the Jeep brand. It is a great on-road car as well as being able to drive off the beaten track." This rugged looking ‘soft-roader’ has a brand new all-wheel drive system. The AWD system offers a full-time setting and will offer the driver tangible benefits in every day driving conditions such as wet and icy tarmac.
Gaydon, Warwickshire 5 April 2006
John Edwards, Land Rover's UK Managing Director, said: "Spring has certainly sprung for Land Rover. The great start to this year maintained its momentum in March with a fantastic performance across the board. Dealers are working hard to satisfy demand and the order bank looks very healthy."
Defender sales rose 17%, Discovery by 17%, Range Rover by 39% and Freelander by 5%. The Range Rover Sport achieved its best month, since its launch last summer, with 2,014 sales.
Land Rover's UK sales for the first quarter of this year are 16% ahead of the same period in 2005 – which went on to become the most successful sales year since Land Rover started production in 1948. The UK performance is also reflected globally for Land Rover, with all-time worldwide record sales in March, some 23% up on 2005, completing a best-ever first quarter for the marque. This represents the best continuous period of sales success since Land Rover was acquired by Ford Motor Company in 2000. Since then Ford has made significant investment in revitalising the entire Land Rover model line up.
"Last year was a record breaking performance for Land Rover and this year we shall build further on that achievement, our overhaul of the Land Rover range being completed with the introduction of an all new Freelander later this year," Edwards said.
Land Rover employs 10,500 people directly in the UK and supports a further 50,000 in the supply chain. Last year over 70% of the 185,000 vehicles produced were sold abroad, making it a significant wealth creator for the UK.