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In this section of 4x4News: July - December 2008

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Iveco delivers specialist 4x4 fleet for expedition to the Arctic

Iveco delivers specialist 4x4 fleet for expedition to the Arctic5 December 2008
Iveco has delivered six special vehicles for the “Oltre – Beyond The Edge 2008” expedition to the Arctic. The expedition will be travelling from North Cape to the Bering Strait to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the North-East Passage completed by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen. The presentation of the vehicles took place at Iveco’s headquarters in Turin, in the presence of Petter Johannesen, expedition head and descendent of Roald Amundsen. Johannesen will use a fleet of four Massif five-door vehicles and two Iveco Daily 4x4s that have been specially equipped to tackle the challenging climatic conditions of the freezing Nordic winter.

The expedition’s route will take it into some of the most difficult conditions in the world for motor vehicles, where temperatures routinely drop to below -50°C. Indeed, -20°C is already cold enough to cause critical static stress on materials and components. Plastics, for example, become hard and fragile; physical transformations cause oils and fluids to lose their effectiveness; rubber parts and electrical cables crack and break far more easily. Whilst moving, the vehicles will have to face up to extreme dynamic stress caused by the hardening of shock absorbers and the freezing of hydraulic components.

Iveco was happy to accept the challenge posed by these conditions and to supply the expedition with the extremely reliable vehicles it requires. Both the Dailys and Massifs have been specially prepared to guarantee maximum performance under even the toughest conditions. In particular, special guards have been fitted to protect mechanical parts against impacts and the fuel systems have been adapted to ensure an adequate supply to the main systems whatever the conditions. The cab interiors have also been fitted with additional heating and demisting systems, whilst the electrical systems have been protected against possible impact damage and the cold, together with the provision of increased power to drive additional lights. Other additions have seen the vehicles fitted with winches and claw tyres to ensure traction on ice. Because tyre pressure may have to be reduced to improve traction on snow, the vehicles also benefit from special beadlock wheels. The ‘Arctic-proofing’ process did not stop here and, whilst the Massif 4x4s did not require any special installations, the two Daily 4x4s were completely refitted, one as a combined truck, living quarters and spares store, and the other as a combined kitchen and living quarters.

Respect for the environment will be a constant theme throughout the expedition, especially since one of the purposes of the trip is to emphasise the need for greater ecological awareness. The scientific value of the journey has already been ensured by contributions from major organisations and institutions like the Italian Space Agency, Telespazio, the San Raffaele Hospital and the WWF.

The “Oltre – Beyond The Edge 2008” expedition will set off on Sunday 7th December from Milan’s main commercial street, Corso Buenos Aires. From Milan the vehicles will drive northwards for fifteen days to Norway’s North Cape, where the real journey will begin. The expedition is hoping to reach the Bering Strait in March 2009. The team is made up of a total of 40 people, including researchers, doctors, journalists, photographers, video operators, drivers, and mechanics, with personnel rotating at the end of each of twelve 30-day legs.

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PIAGGIO PORTER 4X45 December 2008
Whether you are tackling rocky terrain or travelling down a muddy track to collect your Christmas tree, Piaggio Porter 4x4 will deliver this Christmas. With winter fast approaching, look no further than the versatile Piaggio Porter 4x4 range of light commercial vehicles from as little as £7,795*. Available in a variety of models to suit a myriad of business needs, the Piaggio Porter 4x4 range is ideal for harsh winter conditions.

The Porter 4x4 is the ultimate choice for working in difficult terrains and is highly compact which makes it incredibly easy to manoeuvre in restricted areas where access may be limited for larger vehicles. Travelling to rural areas will prove easy in the practical Porter 4x4 as its compact dimensions work in its favour, meaning it can travel down narrow, windy lanes without difficulty. Its permanent four-wheel drive system with electronic locking centre differential makes the Porter 4x4 ideal for working in tough environments and means it can adapt accordingly in rough, off-road conditions. With a fully loaded surmountable gradient of 28° and a maximum lateral incline of 45°, the Porter 4x4 is designed to work through challenging terrain as well as battling all weather conditions. The Porter 4x4 has enhanced traction controlled by its advanced all-wheel drive system assisting it through potential hazards such as icy slopes and muddy fields with ease.

Available in the same variants as the two-wheel drive range, the Porter 4x4 provides choice and practicality therefore meeting the needs of a host of business users. From Panel Van, MPV, Pick Up, Big Deck, Tipper and Chassis Cab, to which virtually anything can be added, there is a vehicle to meet the requirements of endless light commercial vehicle operators. The Porter 4x4 range has remarkable payload capacities for such a small vehicle, ranging from 560kg for the Panel Van rising to 680kg for the Pick Up and Tipper and again to 685kg for the Big Deck version, which boasts a useful larger load area. The Panel Van has an impressive load volume of 3 cubic metres, matching many of its competitors.

With the Porter 4x4 range priced from only £7,795* and the two-wheel drive range from only £6,295*, it’s easy to see why the What Van? judges are continually impressed by the Piaggio Porter range and have awarded the Porter with the What Van? microvan of the year award for four consecutive years.

*Price excludes VAT, road fund licence (£180 for 12 months) and first registration fee (£55).

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The new Fiat Panda Cross, a car that was only launched in the UK three months ago, has scooped its first major off-roading honour – 4x4 of the Year 2009. The award comes from the specialist magazine 4x4 and MPV Driver, whose panel of expert judges put the new all-terrain Panda at the top of a list of extremely capable, and more expensive, competitors. The judges praised the Panda’s off-roading capability, style and affordability but particularly highlighted the car’s brilliant 1.3 16v MultiJet turbodiesel engine – previously unavailable in a right-hand drive Panda 4x4.

“The diesel engine has made a star out of Fiat’s baby off-roader. It’s a viable motorway cruiser now, while bringing out the fun side of the Cross’s handling on twisty roads, something that is never at the expense of a surprisingly comfortable ride,” says Bob Murray, editor, 4x4 and MPV Driver. “The Panda Cross rewrites the rulebook for baby 4x4s in most areas, emerging as a capable all-rounder at a time when small is increasingly beautiful. We say it is the best new 4x4 launched in the past 12 months.”

Andrew Humberstone, managing director, Fiat Group Automobiles UK, adds: “The Panda has a long and distinguished record in this country – as it has across Europe – and it’s fantastic to see it not only continuing to be a top choice for our customers, but still able to impress very influential judging panels.”

As with any Panda, the Cross’s fuel consumption and emissions are exceptionally low. It returns 42.1 mpg in the urban cycle, 67.3 mpg extra-urban, and 54.3 combined. The CO2 figure is 136 g/km. Standard equipment includes ESP, air conditioning, radio and MP3-compatible CD player with steering wheel audio controls, and electric power steering. One new colour is available: Rain Dance Green, which joins the existing Goa Orange, Cumbia Beige and Crossover Black.

At £11,995 on-the-road, the highly-competitive Panda Cross represents superb value for money and makes it the cheapest diesel 4x4 available in the UK.

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Jungle star Anna picks go-anywhere Hilux for wildlife park patrol21 November 2008
Jungle star Anna picks go-anywhere Hilux for wildlife park patrol. Anna Ryder Richardson, a star survivor of last year’s I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!, knows just what it takes to tackle tough environments. That’s why the celebrity TV interior designer has chosen a pair of Toyota Hilux to ride the range of her very own safari park.

Hilux is renowned the world over for its go-anywhere character – only last year it became the first car to be driven across the ice to the Magnetic North Pole. Now it is mixing it with the zebra, camels, reindeer and other exotic creatures that roam the zoo that Anna and husband Colin bought last year.

The trials and tribulations the couple faced after they swapped their luxury lifestyle to take over the rundown wildlife park in west Wales have been captured in a new TV special, Chaos at the Zoo, screening next Sunday 30 November at 9:00pm on Channel 4. Their Hilux 4x4 pick-ups, supplied by Toyota, reflect Anna’s flair as a designer, finished in tiger and zebra-stripe paintwork that’s the last word in jungle style.

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Adding a touch of class and luxury to a car that has already won numerous accolades the Jeep Patriot S-Limited is the latest offering from the Jeep brand. Available with a 2.4-litre petrol engine, this special edition model boasts a series of exterior and interior improvements, including chrome grille surrounds, body coloured door handles and mirrors, rear parking sensor plus a special S-Limited badge and front and rear under-ride body-kit, all of which ensure it is a worthy addition to the Jeep Patriot range.

Federico Goretti, Managing Director of Chrysler UK, said: “The fuel-efficient Patriot has always appealed to customers that want a vehicle with Jeep’s legendary brand cachet and desirability, but who also demand comfort, practicality, value for money and high levels of safety equipment. “The S-Limited is no exception and with its distinctive black paint and chrome styling it is one premium model that’s destined to stand out from the crowd.”

Interior improvements are achieved by the use of leather trimmed seats and leather and Alcantara® door panels, plus a leather covered centre armrest, gearstick and headrests.

Outside, the S-Limited badge in red and silver finish makes this special edition instantly recognisable whilst the Startech chrome grille highlights the vehicle’s unique character. While the exclusive design cues make the model an attractive proposition, it is further enhanced by a long list of standard equipment including electric windows, CD/radio, side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes and ESP® with Electronic Roll Mitigation. The Jeep Patriot S-Limited is limited to 100 vehicles in the UK and is priced at £19,810 including metallic paint.

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PARIS MOTOR SHOW: French Wallys plan British invasion

French Wallys plan British invasion3 October 2008
Long before it became part of Chrysler, the original Jeep was made by a company called Willys. But at Paris this year, we saw the launch of a Jeep lookalike – made by Wallys! WallysCar, in fact. It’s called the Izis, and it’s a plastic-panelled body-on-chassis off-roader, with a 75bhp Peugeot 1.4-litre TU3A petrol engine. It’s a proper car, not a quadricycle – its engine is Euro 4-compliant, and it even has a Euro NCAP rating – just two stars at the moment, but it should have four by the time it goes on sale, says WallysCar sales manager Rene Boesch.

What’s more, it’ll be built in right-hand drive, and Boesch wants to bring it to the UK. “I’m looking for an importer in the UK and southern Ireland, as well as other European markets,” he says. The Izis is compact – just 3.25m long – and Boesch says it is ideal for leisure activities – holiday resort rental operations are a key target. It makes a lot of design ‘nods’ to the original Willys Jeep, including a windscreen that folds flat against the bonnet.

It’s a capable off-roader too, with a 9.2m turning circle and a 39-degree angle of attack on a climb. The galvanised steel chassis carries a 14-year anti-corrosion guarantee, while the plastic body carries a lifetime guarantee. There’s also an electric version, with a 90km range.

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  • Revised Grand Vitara now powered by 2.4-litre petrol engine as a development of the 2.0-litre unit - incorporates balancer shaft for smoother running performance and lower NVH levels
  • Marking 20 years of Suzuki Vitara/Grand Vitara and more than 2.4 million worldwide sales
  • UK Vitara / Grand Vitara sales of more than 161,700 since introduction in 1988
  • More power, more torque and quieter, more refined performance
  • Added safety with Electronic Stability Programme (ESP®)* now fitted as standard
  • Three and five-door body styles – 2.4 three-door unique in its segment
  • Revised exterior and interior styling
  • Three-door model has high standard specification including 17-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass and in-dash 6CD player with MP3 compatibility
  • Five-door model additionally features 18-inch alloy wheels, High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps, electrically-operated glass sun-roof, and leather seats with front seat heating
  • On sale from 1 October, priced from £14,499 for 2.4-litre three-door manual and £17,499 for five-door manual on the road
Suzuki launched its first Vitara 20 years ago, creating the world’s first compact SUV and tapping into a new market for vehicles that deliver true off-road performance with responsive, fun-to-drive on-road performance. Since then the stylish and versatile SUV has steadily evolved and kept pace with growing demand for good-looking, versatile 4x4s that are as rewarding on the open road as they are motoring off the beaten track.

In developing the new flagship 2.4-litre Grand Vitara, Suzuki has consolidated the design and engineering qualities that have helped the model enjoy such enduring success, while introducing an all-round upgrade in terms of engine performance, equipment specifications, safety, styling and all-round quality. The result is a compact SUV that offers more than ever before: more power, more style and more driving pleasure but with no adverse effect on fuel consumption or emissions.

The highly specified Grand Vitara 2.4-litre is available in three and five-door body styles and the arrival of the 2.4 three-door gives Suzuki a unique offering in the SUV market, with no other manufacturer currently offering this engine/body style combination. At the heart of the new model is a 122kW/166PS 2.4-litre petrol engine (five-door slightly more powerful at 124kW/169PS). The unit makes full use of advanced technical and design features to deliver improved power and torque, with only modest adjustments in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. In fact, with five-speed manual transmission, tailpipe emissions are unchanged at 208g/km for the five-door model (205g/km for three-door).

The engine is also only marginally larger in size, yet it incorporates a series of features seen for the first time on a Suzuki-designed powerplant. These include a balancer shaft, three-stage variable air intake and a tumble control valve in the intake ports to achieve the best possible fuel-air mixture.

Recognising the life saving potential of electronic stability systems, Suzuki is equipping the 2.4-litre Grand Vitara as standard with ESP®, part of a company policy to introduce the system progressively on all forthcoming new models and model facelifts. ESP® uses selective wheel braking and controls engine output as necessary to stabilise the vehicle if it detects understeer or oversteer situations which could possibly result in total loss of control. Further safety measures have also been upgraded, most notably with the introduction of ventilated rear disc brakes and extra shock-absorbing elements around the bonnet, wings and front bumper to reduce the risk of injury to pedestrians – a quality that had already earned Grand Vitara a very respectable three-star rating in independent Euro NCAP crash testing. * ESP® is a registered trade mark of Daimler AG

Both the exterior and interior have been given a mild facelift. On the outside there is a revised front end treatment and new door mirrors with integrated turn indicators, while inside the cabin chrome and wood-effect inlays add extra touches of quality, together with improvements to the design and operation of some of the dashboard controls, including a new multi-information display and revised air conditioning control panel.

The 2.4-litre model has a high standard specification including an in-dash 6CD player with MP3 compatibility, rear privacy glass and 17-inch wheels. Five-door models additionally feature leather seats with front seat heating; High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps, cruise control, 18-inch wheels and electrically-operated glass sun-roof as standard.

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HANOVER CV SHOW: A new niche – 4x4 panel vans

A new niche – 4x4 panel vans26 September 2008
As the van market fragments, manufacturers are looking for new niches. And an emerging niche at Hanover seems to be all-wheel drive versions of panel vans, with a number of manufacturers showing 4x4 vans.

Ford announced the Transit AWD, which marries an all-wheel drive system to a 140PS 2.4-litre TDCi diesel and a 6-speed manual transmission. It is available for all different body styles, roof heights and wheelbases on Transits in the 3.3 to 3.5-tonne weight class. “The Transit AWD is mainly aimed at customers who sometimes have to take country roads, dirt tracks or mountain roads, but do not require a ‘classic’ off-roader such as the Ford Ranger pick-up,” said Bernhard Mattes, Ford of Europe’s customer service vice-president.

Volkswagen also revealed a 4x4 panel van, based on the Caddy compact van. The Caddy 4MOTION has VW’s acclaimed permanent all-wheel drive system, which uses an electronically controlled Haldex gearbox. The van is powered by a 105PS four-cylinder turbodiesel, with maximum torque f 250Nm. The Caddy 4MOTION will go on sale at the start of the Winter. VW also showed an MPV concept based on the Caddy 4MOTION called the Caddy PanAmerica study, which VW Commercial Vehicles CEO Stephan Schaller described as “a variant of the Caddy for globetrotters, with 16in all-terrain tyres, off-road look and feel and high-quality yet robust leather interior”.

Meanwhile, Peugeot has employed French 4x4 conversion specialist Automobiles Dangel to create an all-wheel drive version of the latest Partner compact van. Dangel has been producing 4x4 versions of PSA vehicles for many years, including 504 pick-ups and off-road versions of the old-style Partner/Berlingo.

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Volkswagen has revealed the fourth model in its commercial vehicle line-up with the debut at the IAA in Hanover this week of an all-new Pickup concept. Aiming to set new standards in the one-tonne pickup class, the new model will go into production at the end of 2009. It will be built at Volkswagen’s ‘Pacheco’ plant in Argentina and introduced initially to markets in Europe, South America, South Africa and Australia.

The Pickup is all-new in the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles line-up and is the first commercial vehicle to be designed under Volkswagen Group design chief, Walter de Silva’s command. As such it exhibits what is referred to as ‘historical DNA’, in other words design elements which link it to other group models and give it a distinctive yet familiar appearance. The concept measures 5.18 metres in length and is 1.9 metres wide, and with four doors and four seats it is ideal for recreational or business use. The Pickup also has the ability to take a standard-sized Euro pallet sideways in the flat cargo bed. Under the bonnet, new common rail turbodiesel engines will be used in the Pickup to ensure it is powerful, yet clean and efficient and meets the necessary emissions requirements.

The Pickup on show at the IAA has been designed for use as a ‘Search and Rescue’ (SAR) vehicle by lifeguards and was conceptualised following consultation with emergency services as well as in-house emergency vehicle specialists. As a result it features, among a host of other features, GPS, a multifunction touchscreen infotainment unit, CB radios, a number of chassis and all-wheel drive functions, a compass, flashlights, a defibrillator and binoculars. Life jackets, rescue buoys, fire extinguishers, blankets and a tool kit are also all incorporated. Whether the ‘SAR’ vehicle will go into production is not yet decided.

For more information on Volkswagen’s current line-up – the Caddy, Transporter and Crafter – please visit www.volkswagen-vans.co.uk

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DISCOVERY 3 VOTED BEST USED 4x4Gaydon, Warwickshire, 19 September 2008
The Land Rover Discovery 3, one of the most decorated 4x4s ever, scooped yet another accolade today, having been voted the Best Used 4x4 by What Car? Magazine. The award takes into account the price, performance, availability, desirability and reliability for the sector for which, the Discovery 3 came out on top, beating the two runners-up, the Nissan X-Trail and Kia Sorento.

"The Discovery’s credentials are impeccable. Designed and built by the most famous 4x4 company in the world it's extremely capable in the rough, yet extremely comfortable on the road," said Matt Sanger, used car editor, What Car?. "This award is yet another great achievement for the Discovery which continues to prove its versatility and widespread appeal if you are in the market for a used 4x4," added John Edwards, managing director, Land Rover UK.

The seven-seat Discovery 3 SE, 2.7 litre diesel, 05/55 plate is available from £19,765 on the road and comes with a generous package including active four-corner air suspension, satellite navigation, cruise control, Land Rover's acclaimed Terrain Response™ system and park distance control. Land Rover runs an Approved Used Car Scheme which ensures the best possible condition and most rigorous checks of its used vehicles.

For more information or to book a test drive, visit your local Land Rover dealership or log onto: www.landrover.co.uk

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Iconic Jeep® j8 offers extreme cargo & towing for humanitarian, commercial & military applications

JEEP J810 July 2008
The production version of the Jeep® J8 was revealed at Euro Jeep Camp 2008, a customer event in Northern Germany this week. The J8 marks the Jeep brand’s return to commercial and military vehicle production with a thoroughly modern vehicle designed to meet the needs of both non-government organisations and government agencies.

“The new Jeep J8 combines the legendary capability and dependability that makes the Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited famous with unmatched cargo capacity and an exceptional towing rating,” said Thomas Hausch, Vice President – International Sales, Chrysler LLC. “The Jeep J8 is also exceptional value, priced far below other vehicles designed for humanitarian and military duty.”

With the all-new 2007 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited as the starting point, Jeep engineers increased the capability and versatility to create the Jeep J8. The frame of the Wrangler Unlimited has been reinforced for increased ruggedness and to allow greater payloads – up to a maximum of 1,250 kg (2,756 lbs.). The rear axle is a Dana 60 model with brake discs engineered specifically for more demanding use. The rear suspension utilises a leaf-spring suspension system while the J8’s Command-Trac® four-wheel drive system allows maximum versatility and performance in both on- and off-road conditions.

The Jeep J8 is powered by a 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that produces 118 kW (158 hp) and 400 Nm (295 lb.-ft.) of torque, providing towing capability of up to 3,500 kg. The engine is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. The J8 also features a unique air-intake system with special filtration and a hood-mounted air inlet that enables the J8 to ford water up to 762 mm (30 in.) deep and operate in sandstorm conditions for up to five hours. The Jeep J8 features best-in-class water-fording capability and ground clearance.

The Jeep J8 is available as a two-door with an extended pickup bed for personnel or equipment transport, or a four-door multipurpose vehicle. It may be produced with numerous vehicle-body and seating configurations in either right-hand or left-hand drive. The two-door version, for example, can be configured as a personnel carrier with seating for up to eight.

While not designed for front-line combat operations, the Jeep J8 is armour capable and excels in a variety of duties ranging from command vehicle to troop/cargo carrier, ambulance, communications vehicle and other duties – also making it suitable for civilian government applications. Tow eyes and heavy-duty bumpers allow the Jeep J8 to be easily transported by aeroplane or helicopter.

The Jeep J8 will be produced in the Chrysler LLC joint-venture facility in Cairo, Egypt, and will be available from July 2008. There are no plans to offer the J8 through Chrysler dealers to civilian customers.

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Land Rover donates 60 vehicles to the Red Cross

London 9 July 2008
As part of its 60th anniversary celebrations, Land Rover is donating 60 vehicles to the British Red Cross Society and its sister national societies around the world. The vehicles were officially handed over to the President of the Red Cross, HRH The Prince of Wales, during a garden party at Buckingham Palace. In an unprecedented move, the vehicles, a mixture of Defender, Discovery and Freelander models, were arranged in the form of the Red Cross flag in the quadrangle of the palace.

This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the Royal Charter being granted to The British Red Cross by HM King Edward VII. The two landmark anniversaries provide an ideal opportunity to celebrate and recognise the unstinting work of Red Cross volunteers, staff and supporters, as well as the remarkable contribution Land Rover has made to the global aid agency requirement for vehicles over the past 60 years.

Half of the donated vehicles will be taken across the globe where they will deliver vital supplies and emergency response personnel to those in desperate need. This includes natural disaster operations such as cyclones, floods and earthquakes. National societies in Sierra Leone, Lesotho and Mongolia are among those who will receive vehicle donations to ensure they can access rural and harsh-terrain territories.

The remainder of the donated vehicles will be dispersed throughout the UK to help with regional operations such as local flooding, off-road emergencies and public events. Some of these Land Rovers will undergo minor ambulance conversions and will be fitted with emergency vehicle equipment as well as stretchers and medical kits.

The donation is an addition to Land Rover's commitment to raise over £1m for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies during the course of the next two Land Rover G4 Challenge events. Sir Nicholas Young, Chief Executive of the British Red Cross said: "We are absolutely delighted to be accepting these 60 vehicles from Land Rover on behalf of The British Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world. It is a fantastically generous way for Land Rover to celebrate its 60th birthday, and the 100th anniversary of our own Royal Charter, and will make a very real difference to some of the hundreds of thousands of people the Red Cross supports globally each year. Often those who are most in need are in the places which are hardest to reach; these vehicles will help make sure our staff and volunteers can continue to reach the most vulnerable."

Phil Popham, Managing Director of Land Rover said: "We are delighted to celebrate our 60th anniversary by donating 60 much-needed vehicles to the Red Cross. Land Rovers have optimal capabilities for harsh and remote terrain access and this donation will ensure that those who are most in need are reached quickly and effectively. We already have an association with the Red Cross through the Land Rover G4 Challenge and this donation furthers that relationship."

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Why large 4x4s are ‘impossible to part-ex’

8 July 2008
Parker’s reveals why owners of large petrol 4x4s could find themselves stuck as dealers steer clear of thirsty off-roaders

Parker’s, Britain’s biggest and best-selling car price guide has gained exclusive information from trade insiders which suggests that there is currently no demand among used car buyers for petrol 4x4s. This means owners of the vehicles may be unable to change their cars as dealers steer clear of the thirsty off-roaders - particularly those with big V8 engines - and are far less likely to take them in part exchange.

Parker’s source confirmed several individual stories of customers who have been refused part exchange for their large petrol 4x4s in order to purchase a new car. And he went on to say that no matter how cheap the car, dealers are simply not accepting the gas guzzling models as they are in danger of sitting on the forecourt for months on end while the value plummets.

Kieren Puffett, Editor of Parker’s comments: "The large 4x4 market should stabilise eventually, but by the time that happens large 4x4s with petrol engines will be worth substantially less that they had been until fairly recently. In the meantime it's hardly surprising that car dealers are nervous of accepting cars like this in part exchange."

It has been further revealed that even if dealers were to offer rock bottom prices for the cars and send them to auction, there is no longer any guarantee they would sell. While owners of 4x4s could be looking to swap due to high petrol costs and the potentially large road tax bill, it seems there is no appetite for the thirsty cars as buyers are put off for the very same reasons. The higher fuel consumption models could cost £100 or more to fill up with soaring petrol prices, and then there’s possibility of becoming liable for more than £450 a year in vehicle excise duty by 2010 for models currently two years old.

Andrew Harrison-Smith, owner of independent Land Rover specialist Nene Overland says that while the whole 4x4 market was facing a difficult time, depreciation on petrol 4x4s is currently very heavy. “Values for petrol engine 4x4s are £3000 or even £4000 lower than for the diesels” he told Parker’s. However he also suggests that owners and buyers could be hit less hard if they consider converting large petrol Land Rovers and Jeeps to run on LPG (liquefied petroleum gas).

The association representing franchised dealers confirmed large off-roaders presented sales staff with a big challenge, but claimed there wasn’t a blanket policy to refuse petrol 4x4s as a part exchanges. Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealer Association told Parker’s “The market for 4x4s has become tougher following the Government’s announcement in the budget of revised VED rates for higher polluting cars. This has had an impact on values of these vehicles, which has meant that all dealers have had to review their stocking policies to make sure they are holding the right stock of vehicle to sell. This is not a new practice, it is something that has occurred for many years as dealers endeavor to hold their optimum stock”.

The advice from Parker’s is to firstly, look at selling your car privately. Parker’s top tips for selling privately include:

  • Ensure the car has had a recent service and MOT to reassure buyers
  • Repair any small chips or dents in the bodywork – a couple of hundred pounds spent could make the difference in selling a car that looks pristine
  • Spend money on a valet
  • Be choosy about where you take the photograph for an advert – bright sunny days are best, park the car at an angle showing the front three quarters for a main picture.

The other option is to convert to LPG. Many petrol 4x4 owners convert their cars to run on both LPG and petrol. LPG is around half the price of unleaded petrol and is available from about 1300 filling stations in the UK. However, take care when considering this; it isn’t a simple task of adding a tank and a fuel line, certain components must also be changed, so find a LP Gas Association approved converter to carry out the work.

In order to help motorists navigate the constantly changing market, Parker’s has launched its ‘Cost of Motoring’ section on its website, which provides up to date news, top tips on saving money on everything from the congestion charge to insurance, and of course the best buys that Parker’s is famous for. For more information, please see www.parkers.co.uk

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Land Rover's adventurous spirit captured in photo exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society

Marilyn Monroe in one of the featured picturesGaydon, Warwickshire, 7 July 2008
A collection of 60 photographs that represent the spirit of adventure has been brought together for a special exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) in London, to celebrate Land Rover's 60th anniversary this year. The exhibition, called Portraits of Adventure, runs from 22 July to 3 August.

Portraits of Adventure includes 50 rarely seen archive images from leading landscape, portrait, action and travel photographers, as well as 10 specially commissioned giant four-metre high portraits by top British photographer Alastair Thain, featuring adventurous personalities such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Zara Phillips.

Over 3,000 photographs were researched to find the chosen 50 archive pieces. These include images of explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes and mountaineer Todd Skinner, as well as some more surprising takes on the idea of an adventurous spirit, including Marilyn Monroe, a New York cab driver, David Beckham and a group of UN peace-keepers.

The photographs span the last 60 years and have been taken in many countries across the globe. If you ever wondered what Outkast’s Big Boi might have in common with Margaret Thatcher, Portraits of Adventure provides the answer!

The exhibition is accompanied by a large-format coffee table book containing all the images, and proceeds from the sale of the book will be used to benefit the British Red Cross.

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7 July 2008

Number of cars with under-inflated tyres doubles in past year Britain could save £1.4 billion by inflating tyres to correct pressure 2.2 million extra tonnes of carbon caused by under-inflated tyres

With motorists looking for new ways to cut their fuel bills, Kwik-Fit’s annual nationwide tyre spot check concludes that 12 million motorists could cut costs at the pump by a combined £1.4 billion in the next 12 months - simply by keeping their tyres inflated to the correct pressure. Indeed the company’s field study found that 46% of cars in the UK are driven with at least one under-inflated tyre, which according to official tests, wastes up to 8% more fuel.

Furthermore Kwik-Fit also calculates that an extra 2.2 million tonnes of carbon could enter the atmosphere this year, as a result of tyre under-inflation. That’s the equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions for Iceland.

Sadly, the figures are significantly worse than last year’s spot check when only 20% of cars were found to have an under-inflated tyre. The company blames this on a decline in fully functioning, publically available tyre gauges. Indeed a recent report from Auto Express found that over a third (39%) of service station tyre gauges are damaged, out of order, or giving incorrect readings.

David White, customer services director at Kwik-Fit, commented: “It’s disappointing that, despite the extra financial pressure on motorists, this year’s spot check found that the number of underinflated tyres more than doubled in the past year. With fuel prices soaring, we hope that by showing how under-inflated tyres add to our fuel bills will provoke motorists into action. If not, then perhaps the impact on the environment will.”

Motorists that are keen to ‘drive green’ might consider Kwik-Fit’s Go Green service. Go Green only costs an extra £29 on top of a normal interim or full service. For this Kwik-Fit will also carry out a number of other important checks and enhancements and will turn your car into a green machine.

David White, continues: “Aside from increasing the amount of fuel used, under-inflated tyres can cause a blow-out – where a tyre suddenly explodes without warning. Any motorist that has had this happen to them will know it is an extremely alarming situation to be in and has the potential to cause a serious accident.”

Any motorist that is unsure about how to check tyre pressure for themselves or would like a tyre safety check is welcome to visit any of Kwik-Fit’s 670 centres nationwide, without appointment, for a free check-up.

Go Green Service Extras

  1. Adding a fuel treatment to the tank that systematically cleans the engine and ensures it burns cleanly and efficiently.
  2. Checking brakes are operating efficiently - minimising the amount of fuel needed to slow the car.
  3. Checking emissions for improper gases so that they meet and exceed legal requirements for a balanced mix.
  4. Checking that engine management system sensor for O2 is operational and sending the optimum amount of fuel to the combustion chamber.
  5. One third (£10) of the £29 Go Green charge goes directly to carbon offsetting activity organised by the Carbon Neutral Company. One tonne of carbon by funding verified emissions reductions projects around the world. This is equivalent to 6 months or 4000 miles of average driving by the average car.
Top Driving Tips for Keeping Green Remember, you can help reduce your carbon emissions every day by following our top tips to reduce your driving carbon footprint:
  1. Check your tyre pressure often (or get Kwik-Fit to do it for you) – an underinflated tyre takes more petrol to roll.
  2. Service your car annually to check that all is working efficiently and not using more fuel than necessary.
  3. Remove any unnecessary items from your car – a heavier car (and one with a roof rack) takes more fuel to move.
  4. Easing off the gas a little and accelerating slowly will cut fuel a lot – reducing speed from 70mph to 56mph for example, will reduce costs by one quarter.

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KAM Differentials, the enhanced mobility, traction and off-road driveline performance products specialist, has announced an all-new world patented axle tube strengthening design for specified models of current generation Land Rovers, including military variants. The new package, which increases the inherent strength of the axle tube structure by over 60% - and provides both longitudinal and radial strengthening, will be available as a complete retrofit kit for aftermarket installation, post-production or in-service conversion.

The upgrade can be installed without removing the axle from the vehicle – and without heat or welding. It will be offered with staged ‘duty and performance’ options available to equate to required strength, vehicle gross weight and anticipated operational conditions. The system, which is modestly priced compared with current alternatives, will complement KAM’s already successful high-strength driveshaft upgrades and other driveline performance components – and its established range of electrically operated differential locker systems.

KAM Managing Director, Kevin Mason says, “Our range of mobility enhancements and extreme performance driveline components has been developed through our long experience of the world markets and the off-road competition environment – and for events such as the Dakar Rally. Reliability is the watchword in these conditions… our components must not fail… and we believe that there is considerable synergy between what we have to do for international off-road competition and military operational environments which in-service normal-duty vehicles are expected to handle.”

At the heart of the new KAM axle strengthening system is a specially treated tube, which is inserted, after a laid-down preparatory stage - within the existing axle casing – and then uniquely bonded to the inner surface. This strengthens the axle tube longitudinally, radially and equally along the whole length – without creating stress or point loadings where external stiffening flanges have been attached. The procedure also avoids the potential risk of heat distortion, associated with external welding onto the existing tube. Effectively, the KAM strengthening design increases the material thickness and strength of the axle tube, allowing it to tolerate much higher gross weights, shock loadings and impacts.

To partner the strengthening system – and for stand-alone final drive performance improvements, KAM offers a range of multi-splined driveshafts and associated components – which are significantly stronger than the standard equivalent production product. These now also include an upgrade option front propshaft, which incorporates a double cardon joint with wide-angle yokes. Importantly, the cost premium on KAM components is modest, compared with other off-the-shelf options. Customer options on all or part of the packages will be offered also through KAM, as an inclusive upgrade and refurbishment service.

KAM has trialled the system on one of its own Land Rover engineering vehicles – which is delivering well over 300 brake horse power and 330 Nm of torque from a significantly uprated 3.9 litre V8 engine – far in excess of normal duty operational power and torque requirements.

KAM is already supplying its electrically operated differential locker systems and associated componentry to OEM manufacturers for on line fit. Its upgrade packages and performance components are also in use with military and civilian users in a number of countries. The company has an established network of distributors and agents in more than 35 countries worldwide. See www.kamdiffs.com

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4 July 2008
With an expected nine million passengers to cross the channel by car this year, the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) is warning motorists of a new piece of French legislation. From 1 July 2008, it is compulsory to have a reflective jacket on board a vehicle with four wheels or more.

Neil Greig, Director of the IAM Motoring Trust said: “This new legislation means any person planning to drive in France must carry a reflective jacket. It’s worth investing in one, before you leave, to ensure you don’t end up with a nasty fine when you’re on holiday. It would be a shame to get your collar felt for the lack of a legal jacket.”

In an emergency, the jacket must be easily accessible by the driver and must be put on before leaving the car, day or night, regardless of visibility. As of 1 October 2008, any person found not complying will face a 135 euro fine (90 euro if paid early).

Mr Greig added: “People tend to go into ‘holiday mode’ when away and don’t expect to break down or be involved in an accident. But, research shows you’re actually three times more likely to be involved in an accident when abroad. Being fully prepared will really help take some of the stress out of a bad situation.” This week the IAM has prepared some simple tips to help you understand what it is a motorist need to know whilst driving abroad, for more information visit www.iam.org.uk.

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