Genesis Opens Doors On First Australian Flagship Studio In Sydney

A glamourous ribbon-cutting at the first Genesis Studio, in Sydney’s Pitt Street Mall, has marked the launch of the Genesis brand in Australia.

The flagship studio was unveiled by Executive Vice President, Global Head of the Genesis Brand, Manfred Fitzgerald, at a glittering cocktail event.

The launch of Genesis Studio Sydney introduces a new premium customer experience to the Australian market, and will be joined by Genesis Studios in Melbourne and Brisbane next year.

The stunningly designed Studio in the retail heart of Sydney’s CBD is defined by its spiral staircase encircled by a spectacular, bespoke large-scale curved LED screen.

“I am delighted to unveil Genesis in Australia with the grand opening of our flagship Genesis Studio in Sydney,” Manfred Fitzgerald – Executive Vice President, Global Head of the Genesis Brand said.

“Genesis Studio Sydney ushers in a new exclusive way to buy and own a luxury car, providing customers with all-encompassing premium ownership experience,” he said.

Genesis Studio Sydney will showcase the latest G70 and G80 luxury sedans, which will be joined by next year by the brand’s first SUV.

The company-owned Genesis Studio, with Australia’s first online build and order fixed pricing website, forms part of a true omni-channel business model and gives customers the convenience of being able purchase online or in person.

The Genesis Studio experience will be complemented by the Genesis To You program, which will give customers a test drive home-delivery service, a convenient handover delivery for new purchases, and concierge pick-up and delivery for scheduled servicing.

Genesis Experience Executives will meet the needs of Studio visitors, and provide customers with an individual point of contact from evaluation to purchase, which then continues throughout their Genesis vehicle ownership.

Completing the customer-focused offering is an all-inclusive ownership proposition that gives Genesis customers a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, five years free scheduled servicing, five years 24/7 roadside assist, 5 years free map updates and a five-year subscription to Genesis Connected Services and the exclusive ‘Genesis To You’ valet service.

The ownership experience is further enhanced with a two year complimentary subscription to the Genesis Lifestyle program, incorporating benefits such as a Lifestyle Concierge and Global Privileges, which includes travel and medical assistance.

Further underlying Genesis’s commitment to customer experience, for the second year in a row Genesis has placed first in the J.D. Power U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS) among all automotive brands. The IQS study, now in its fourth decade, serves as the industry benchmark for new-vehicle quality.

The New Mahindra XUV500

Mahindra Automotive Australia Pty LTD (MAAPL), unveiled an updated XUV500 in Brisbane. The refreshed XUV500 features subtle changes in refinement and features while adding further improvements to its exterior. Viewed from the front, the new XUV500 features a brand-new grille, with a larger chrome surround, redesigned headlamps and lower bumper.

The new tailgate, new combination taillights and a larger roof-mounted rear spoiler present a completely new look.

The W6, and W10 models have alloy wheels, cruise control with a multi-functional steering wheel with reach adjustment, rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlights, as well as fully automatic temperature control (FATC). In addition, the W6-grade features premium cloth upholstery. The W10 model is also equipped with a 7” full colour infotainment system with voice commands.

The 2019 upgrade on the Stylish New XUV500 is more than just skin deep. Mahindra engineers have refined its mHawk 2.2 turbo petrol engine with its fifth-generation turbocharger. The mHawk-engine delivers 103 kW and 320 Nm of torque.

In addition, Mahindra has revised the suspension – which it designed in partnership with Lotus – to offer greater comfort and improved handling. The suspension upgrade and additional noise damping on the 2019 model has led to a dramatic drop in the noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) inside the cabin.

The W6 variant offers a raft of standard equipment and suitably affordable drive away price of just $26,990.

Porsche Fined €535 Million Over Diesel Cheating

German sports car manufacturer and Volkswagen subsidiary Porsche will pay a €535 million fine over diesel vehicles that emitted more harmful pollutants than allowed, according to Stuttgart prosecutors.

“The fine against Porsche AG was levied for negligence in quality control,” the investigators said. Porsche “abstained from a legal challenge” against the decision, the prosecutor’s office added.

The new penalty against Porsche is the latest in a string of fines against the Volkswagen group over its years-long “dieselgate” scandal. The company admitted in 2015 to manipulating 11 million vehicles worldwide to appear less polluting in laboratory tests than they were in real driving conditions.

Following fines against the Volkswagen brand, high-end subsidiary Audi and now Porsche, no further investigations over “administrative offences” remain open against the group, according to a spokesman. But legal proceedings against individuals, including former chief executive Martin Winterkorn, remain open.

Meanwhile, thousands of investors are suing the company for the losses they suffered on its shares when news of the scandal broke, while hundreds of thousands of drivers are also demanding compensation.

So far, the total costs of “dieselgate” for the Wolfsburg-based car giant have risen to €30 billion.

Suzuki Jimny Named World Urban Car Of The Year

The Suzuki Jimny has been named World Urban Car of the Year for 2019 at the New York International Auto Show.

In addition, the Suzuki Jimny also secured third place in the World Car Design of the Year award.

Vehicles were selected and voted on by an international jury panel comprised of 86 prominent automotive journalists from 24 countries around the world.

Upon receiving the award on behalf of Suzuki Motor Corporation Japan, its President, Toshihiro Suzuki said Suzuki is greatly honoured to receive the award.

“The Jimny is the one-and-only compact, authentic off-roader and we have kept true to this concept for almost 50 years. It now has many fans around the world who enjoy its excellent performance and one-of-a-kind functional design, both on and off-road. We accept this award on behalf of our fans, as well as with pride and confidence in our passion to build exciting cars to be the foot of our customers’ everyday lives” said Suzuki.

In the Australian market in excess of 1500 orders for the all-new Jimny have been taken and over 450 examples registered and delivered to date.

Ford Ranger Offers Standard AEB With Pedestrian Detection

Ford is now offering the Ranger and Ranger Raptor with standard Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and pedestrian detection as standard across the range. After introducing AEB as standard on the Ranger Wildtrak in late 2018, the technology has been added range-wide as part of a feature update for Ranger models.

“Ranger has a tradition of leading technology, which includes being the first pick-up to achieve a five-star ANCAP safety rating, and in 2018 we added more powertrain choices and significant Driver Assist Technology coupled with a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty,” said Ford Australia and New Zealand President and CEO, Kay Hart. “Now, AEB with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keeping Aid, Traffic Sign Recognition and Automatic High Beam is standard on every Ranger, from the entry-level Ranger XL cab-chassis all the way through to the Ford Performance Ranger Raptor.”

The new technology suite comes with a host of updates for Ranger and Ranger Raptor, which sees a high level of equipment that spans the complete lineup, including cab- chassis models, building on the Ranger’s five-star ANCAP rating.

“The standard inclusion of AEB on the Ford Ranger and Ranger Raptor is great news for ute buyers and other road users,” said ANCAP Chief Executive, James Goodwin. “As one of Australia’s top sellers, having this important safety technology fitted across the Ranger lineup will have a big impact.”

Building on the changes introduced to Ranger in late 2018, which included a twin-turbo, 10-speed powertrain option and new features such as “Semi-Auto Active Park Assist”, HID headlamps, keyless entry and “Tailgate with Lift Assistance”, Ford says the Ranger lineup has never offered such a comprehensive array of technology, driver assist and convenience features.

The 2019 Geneva Motor Show – What’s Hot And What’s Not

The 89th edition of the Geneva International Motor Show is being held at the Palexpo exhibition and trade centre in Le Grand-Saconnex.

This year’s show had a lot to offer, some great and some not so great vehicles, but as expected, there was a lot of electric cars.

From Audi, Fiat and Citroën to Aston Martin, a whole host of automotive brands are offering eco-friendly mobility options. From affordable, commercial cars to the more luxurious models.

Here’s a small selection:

Fiat presented an all-electric vehicle that is affordable for all. The Centoventi (One Hundred and Twenty in Italian) marks the manufacturer’s 120th anniversary and shows its vision for electric mass mobility in the near future.

Dubbed a rival to Tesla’s Model 3, Polestar’s latest car – Polestar 2 – is a fully-electric, five-door fastback coupe and comes at a lower price than the company’s previous model, while claiming to reach 100 kilometres per hour in less than five seconds.

The electric concept vehicle by Spanish manufacturer Seat (part of the Volkswagen Group) is called Minimó and was designed with city-dwellers in mind. It combines the safety and comfort of a car with the agility and easy parking of a motorcycle. It accommodates up to two passengers and features a battery-swap system that can fully recharge the car in a matter of minutes.

Citroën’s Ami One electric concept vehicle is designed to be an alternative to urban transport such as hiring an electric bike or scooter to get around a city or using public transport. The ultra-compact vehicle has a top speed of just 45 kilometres per hour, meaning that in many countries it can be operated by people as young as 16, with or without a driving licence.

Audi’s latest all-electric SUV concept will be the company’s fifth all-electric vehicle when it goes into production in 2020. The Q4 e-tron includes a specially developed exterior blue paint colour, called Solar Sky, which reflects a short-wave fraction of sunlight to reduce heat build-up in the car, meaning less energy is needed to cool the car on hot days.

Aston Martin revealed its Lagonda All-Terrain Concept – a zero-emissions SUV described as elegant yet robust, with futuristic shapes that look like they have been created by “the huge, planetary forces of gravity fields”. In line with this future-facing theme, the Lagonda also features a levitating key, which uses electromagnets to float between the front seats.

Volvo To Impose 180km/h Speed Limit On Its Cars

Volvo Cars says it is sending a strong signal about the dangers of speeding in limiting the top speed of all its cars to 180km/h from 2020.

The company’s Vision 2020, which aims for no one to be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by 2020, is one of the most ambitious safety visions in the automotive industry. But Volvo Cars says it is now broadening its scope to include a focus on driver behaviour, after realising that technology alone will not get it all the way to zero.

The company’s own research has identified three remaining concerns for safety that constitute ‘gaps’ in its ambition to completely end serious injuries and fatalities in its cars, with speeding a prominent one.

“Volvo is a leader in safety: we always have been and we always will be,” said Håkan Samuelsson, President and Chief Executive of Volvo Cars. “Because of our research, we know where the problem areas are when it comes to ending serious injuries and fatalities in our cars. And while a speed limitation is not a cure-all, it’s worth doing if we can even save one life.”

Apart from limiting top speeds, the company is also investigating how a combination of smart speed control and geofencing technology could automatically limit speeds around schools and hospitals in future.

“We want to start a conversation about whether car manufacturers have the right or maybe even an obligation to install technology in cars that changes their driver’s behaviour, to tackle things such as speeding, intoxication or distraction,” said Samuelsson. “We don’t have a firm answer to this question but believe we should take leadership in the discussion and be a pioneer.”

According to Volvo Cars, the problem with speeding is that above certain speeds, in-car safety technology and smart infrastructure design are no longer enough to avoid severe injuries and fatalities in the event of an accident. This is why speed limits are in place in most western countries, but speeding remains ubiquitous and one of the most common reasons for fatalities in traffic.

Beyond speeding, two other problem areas constitute ‘gaps toward zero’. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in large parts of the world, yet it remains a prime reason for injuries and fatalities on today’s roads. The other area is distraction – drivers distracted by their mobile phones or otherwise not fully engaged in driving are another major cause of traffic fatalities.

Volvo Cars says it will present ideas to tackle the problem areas of intoxication and distraction at a special safety event in Gothenburg, Sweden on 20 March.

Honda, Mercedes-Benz And SEAT Off-Roaders Get Top Marks For Safety

The first three cars tested by Euro NCAP in 2019 have all achieved the maximum five-star rating for safety.

The new SEAT Tarraco shares Volkswagen’s MQB platform with the Škoda Kodiaq, rated as five-stars by Euro NCAP in 2017. Against the more stringent protocols of 2019, the Tarraco’s five-star rating is notable, and its score of 97 per cent in adult occupant protection is amongst the best achieved by a car in this category.

The previous-generation Honda CR-V was tested as a diesel in 2013. In a sign of the times, this latest version is tested in petrol-hybrid form, anticipated to be the biggest-selling variant. The car performs well in all areas of safety and secures a top safety rating.

Mercedes-Benz’s rugged G-Class also comes in with a five-star rating, with Euro NCAP noting an “impressive performance” in each of the four areas of assessment.

Michiel van Ratingen, Secretary General of Euro NCAP, said: “Here we have three new vehicles, competing in the same segment and getting top safety ratings. That’s impressive enough but the fact that all three off-roaders are equipped with pedestrian and cyclist AEB systems really demonstrates the power of consumer testing, not only to encourage better performance but also to promote new technologies as standard-fit across Europe.”

Citroën Unveils AMI One Concept

Citroën says it has marked 100 years of innovation and boldness with the unveiling of the Ami One Concept, an all-electric vehicle that “places digital technology at the heart of urban mobility”. The company will exhibit the concept at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show.

A full electric vehicle concept car capable of carrying two people, the French car manufacturer says the Ami One is faithful to the brand promise “Inspired by You”, and is the company’s response to new customer behaviour and the “challenge of the energy transition in urban environments”.

Designed to be utilised without a driver’s licence in France, the Ami One is accompanied by a global digital ecosystem “fostering a modern, cheerful and broadly accessible mobility experience”.

The concept aims to rethink the customer journey, offering ‘on-demand’ use ranging from five-minutes to five-years. This would cover a range of scenarios from car-sharing and rentals to a full-blown purchase.

The Ami One includes a mobile app that motorists can use to “manage their relationship with the vehicle”, providing access to a portal of services tailored to each journey.

VW’s Dune Buggy Is Back… And Now It’s Electric

At the beginning of March, Volkswagen will reveal the first fully electric version of a new buggy. Taking its cues from popular American dune buggies, the concept vehicle is based on the Modular Electric Drive Matrix (MEB) – designed to demonstrate how multifaceted the new platform truly is, according to Volkswagen.

The company says the concept of the fully electric buggy is based on the historical predecessors that found their home in California and Australia. Back then, the chassis of the Beetle served as the basis; now, the MEB platform is apparently proving to be just as flexible. This reinterpretation of a proper buggy has no fixed roof or conventional doors, while the free-standing wheels fitted with off-road tyres and open side sills dominate the overall look.

VW says the new MEB concept vehicle shows that the fully electric platform can be used for more than just large-scale series production models. Like previous Beetle chassis, the company feels MEB has the potential to facilitate the development of low-volume niche series.

The company notes that the history of recreational vehicles and its technology is a long one – from the Beetle convertible and special bodies produced by companies such as Hebmüller and Rometsch, to fully open designs of the kind embraced by the Meyers Manx buggy, the Beetle chassis allowed for creative – and sometimes exclusive – custom solutions for decades. Globally, around 250,000 individual vehicles were built as one-offs or at low volumes through to the 1980s.

The fully electric concept buggy will be revealed for the first time at the 89th International Geneva Motor Show (7 to 17 March 2019).