At the Frankfurt Motor Show, Porsche revealed their 918 Spyder that’s set to go into production in the latter half of next year. Porsche will only be producing 918 cars in total, making it one of the first hybrid models to go into limited production. The 2-seater 918 is based around a carbon-fibre monocoque with plastic body panels and a chassis made up of aluminum, magnesium and titanium. One of the most eye-popping features of the 918 is you can pedal it up to a top speed of 344 km/h.
When looking at it, it’s hard not to compare it to the current generation Audi R8, as both specimens are made by the same parent company. We thought it would be interesting to draw similarities between the two supercars.
Now yes, it’s easy to argue that the Porsche’s body panels are a lot curvier than the Audis, but that’s what Porsche buyers want – curves. There’s also been rumblings that the Porsche 918 has been constantly revised since its reveal in 2010, but who’s to say it didn’t start out as an R8?
In the front, the side scoops are spaced out at almost the same distance from the bottom of the car. Moreover, the placements of the front grilles are almost identical and when you look around even the placement of the fuel door is the same.
Porsche, being the more exclusive of the two, has larger wheel wells, while the Audi’s smaller wheel wells gives the impression that the car is higher off the ground.
More parallels are revealed when you compare both rears. Instantly noticeable are the slim profile taillights with the placement of air vents below each taillight cluster. Another obvious likeness is the larger engine bay right behind the driver’s seat; although we assume that the Porsche’s is longer as it has to accommodate quite a large battery.
It amazed us how similar these two vehicles are in design. If you don’t think you’ll have the money for the Porsche 918 by the time it launches, or worry you may not be one of the lucky 918 to buy it, you can always turn to your Audi dealership and get something just a bit more affordable.
OAKVILLE, ON – Ford Motor Company made a big announcement yesterday that their Oakville Assembly plant will be receiving an $800-million investment ($700-million from Ford and the rest from the federal and provincial government) to expand its manufacturing capabilities.
This is all part of Ford’s “One Ford” global product plan that has seen several European vehicles come to North America, and vice versa, into Europe and Asia. This new investment will bring several new global models to the Oakville facility, but they didn’t specify which models they will be.
Currently, the Oakville Assembly plant produces the Ford Edge, Ford Flex, the Lincoln MKZ and Lincoln MKT, which brings about 2,800 jobs. This announcement is a major boost for the workers at the plant, as those jobs will be secured with this announcement. There’s no talk of added jobs, but there will be plenty of work to go around once the new global models are added to production.
“This investment is helping us find much needed capacity for global products and securing jobs, and it is positioning Oakville as one of the most competitive and important facilities in the Ford system,” said Joe Hinrichs, president of The Americas. “Global fuel-efficient products, built in a state-of-the-art facility, by a great workforce are a win for everyone today.”
Furthermore, Hinrichs noted that this investment into Oakville would mean more purchases of Canadian-made auto parts increasing its sales by an additional $200-million.
The “One Ford” global plan will be put into action in Oakville and production will adjust accordingly based on consumer demand. The plant workers will not face line shutdowns and time away from work, because now they can change their focus from one car to the next in this flexible global approach.
“Ford’s investment demonstrates Canada can be competitive in the global market through strategic partnerships,” said Dianne Craig, president and CEO, Ford of Canada. “Working closely with government and labour, we have secured a bright future for our employees at Oakville Assembly.”
Since 2004, Ford has invested $2-billion in Canada and survived the automotive financial crisis without a government bailout. Ford is clearly doing things right and it’s nice to see that Canadian jobs have been secured for the foreseeable future.
Infiniti just released its upcoming Q30 concept at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show earlier this month. Infiniti claims that the vehicle is a sports coupe, a hatchback, and a crossover all rolled into one. The company also claims that the Q30 is designed to appeal to a younger customer that would usually opt for a premium compact vehicle.
The Q30 certainly reveals the future of Infiniti’s design language without straying too far away from their current one. The design shares design cues with other Infiniti products such as the deep grille found in the Q50, as well as the familiar curve on the rear passenger window – currently found on the popular JX model, now known as the QX60.
Even though this is a concept, its design looks too road-ready to consider it one. We expect this to be what the Q30 will most likely look like. Although we like the design, we couldn’t help but compare it to Mazda’s newly designed compact hatch – the Mazda3. Expected to come out this fall, we can’t help but think that the Q30’s design might be a bit outdated by the time it launches. In fact, it was just a few months ago at the Detroit Auto Show that we were surprised how similar the Q50’s rear looked to the Mazda6.
This can only make us wonder: are automotive companies truly running out of design ideas?
TORONTO, ON - Anxious video-gamers began lining up early Monday evening for the midnight launch of Grand Theft Auto 5.
To celebrate the latest release of the billion-dollar video game franchise, a launch party was held outside the Best Buy store on Bay and Dundas Streets in downtown Toronto.
By shortly after 10 p.m. about 40 gamers, mostly 20-something males, were waiting in the roped-off area in front of the store.
And the crowd continued to grow until the 12:01 a.m. release of the much-anticipated video game.
First in the line was 26-year-old software developer Aubrey Cottle who said he also lined up hours for the last Grand Theft Auto release in 2008.
“This is very much a regular occurrence for me and it doesn’t get any less exciting. My wife encouraged me to come do this actually,” laughed Cottle, who often camps out for game releases or new video game systems.
“I once had a tent right over there,” he said pointing to the sidewalk in front of the store.
Cottle plans to take Tuesday off work to play with his new toy.
University of Toronto student, Vishnu Habi went to the midnight launch in Singapore in 2008.
“I’ve been playing since I was 11 or so and to be honest what attracted me as a kid was the mindless violence. Just like all little boys I loved it," he said.
"Today I wanted to line up again in my new home in Canada. I wanted to be a part of the experience.”
The lone female gamer in line, Ashleigh Alexander, 23, credits the game's open-world freedom for its tremendous popularity. “It’s fun to just play a bad guy, because in real life you’re a good guy. So I like letting some steam out at the end of the day and just robbing people,” she said laughing.
Another gamer, Drew Beaulieu, said he just moved to Toronto and came to the launch party to see what all the fuss was about.
“Why not spend a few hours taking in some city time and getting the game?" he said.
"It’s one of those games you really just have to play.”
Best Buy employees said the Dundas store sold over 200 copies of the game during its pre-sale.
Over the years, cruise control has been a steadily evolving feature. It started simply as a function to hold one’s speed on the highway to ease driver fatigue. Lately, automakers have started implementing systems that start to take away some of the basic challenges of driving, such as radar guided cruise control and park assist. All of these new advancements edge us closer and closer to fully autonomous vehicles, which in turn, will force us to start trusting these unfamiliar electronic systems.
General Motors (GM) just recently announced that by the year 2020, they want to offer consumers vehicles that have the ability to automatically follow road lanes without any input from the driver.
Do you realize what this means? A driver would just have to simply drive to the highway, activate the autonomous system and from there the car would do all the work.
If you think that’s wild, Nissan seems to be aiming higher than GM. At the Nissan 360 event (a large test drive and stakeholder interaction event held in Southern California), Nissan showed off their electric Leaf vehicle equipped with its full autonomous system. They demonstrated it by having the cars drive through a simulated urban environment without any input by a human being whatsoever. What was even more impressive is that they were that confident in their technologies to carry automotive journalists as passengers.
Nissan’s system works differently than GMs. GM wants you to drive to the highway and from there sit back and relax; while Nissan wants you to sit back and relax from the moment you leave your driveway.
These systems aren’t without their own flaws. The biggest challenge for these manufacturers is to avoid system malfunctions. If they were to break down – the driver must be aware of what’s happening on the road ahead to react in time. One little glitch could create a major catastrophe making it hard to solely rely on technology.
The more we rely on these systems, the more we place our lives in its hands as they pilot our vehicles. The driverless cars bring created today still don’t possess the capabilities of handling the unexpected, forcing us to still have our eyes peeled on the road. So in a sense, they’re only an advanced version of cruise control with additional functions.
Autonomous cars are a truly fascinating technology and it brings us closer to a reality that only existed in science fiction books and movies. GM, Nissan and numerous others are hard at work to drive us around without lifting a finger. Autonomous cars might be the way of the future, but for now these systems should be designed strictly to ease the load of long drives rather than remove driving altogether.
TORONTO - Canadian auto sales hit a record pace last month as they jumped 6.5 per cent compared with last year, according to data compiled by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.
Total light vehicle sales amounted to 159,004 for the month, up from 149,301 and besting the previous record for August of 158,400 set in 2007.
"Building on strong sales over the year's first seven months, Canadian consumers drove the light vehicle market to its best August result ever," DesRosiers said in a report.
The record came as car sales jumped 7.2 per cent from a year ago to 70,836, while light truck sales climbed 5.9 per cent to 88,168.
For the year to date, sales totalled 1.2 million, up from 1.16 million at the same point last year.
Canada's Big Three automakers all reported increases in light vehicle retail sales for August as General Motors, Ford and Chrylser combined for a 4.7 per cent increase.
Import nameplates gained a combined total of 7.9 per cent.
Ford Canada said it sold 27,268 cars and trucks last month, while Chrysler put its light-vehicle sales at 21,932 for the month — both up seven per cent.
Meanwhile, General Motors said Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac dealers delivered 21,091 vehicles in August, an increase of 0.1 per cent compared to last August.
Retail sales were up five per cent overall, as the Chevrolet Cruze posted a 16 per cent increase in sales for the month, Buick sales increased 18 per cent thanks to the Verano and the Buick Encore, and Cadillac sales increased by 54 per cent in August.
Chrysler said its sales figures mark the 45th consecutive month of growth year-over-year, as passenger car sales saw an increase of 20 per cent, with sales of 36,761 in the calendar year-to-date.
The Ford Fiesta saw sales climb 84 per cent year-over year, and Fusion had sales jump 57 per cent in August, led the increase for Ford.
The company also reported healthy increases for a number of other models, including the Ford Focus, Mustang and Taurus, up 16, 13 and 40 per cent respectively.
Several other auto makers reported their August sales figures Wednesday, with Honda logging combined sales of 16,208 vehicles by their Honda and Acura divisions in Canada, a 19 per cent increase over last year's sales.
Toyota sales were down slightly at 16,077 compared with 16,125 a year ago, while Lexus sales were up nearly 10 per cent at 1,570 compared with 1,431 in August 2012.
Nissan sales were up almost a third at 7,279 compared with 5,549. Infiniti sales totalled 913, up from 780 a year ago.
Subaru Canada also posted increases, marking six consecutive months of growth as it sold 3,339 units in August, a 24.6 per cent increase over the same period last year.
Kia Canada Inc., meanwhile, said it sold 7,502 cars and trucks in August, a decline of 2.3 per cent compared with the same month last year.
The Porsche Macan has been spotted yet again – this time though almost with no disguise. This image from Carscoops.com, pretty much sums up what the Cayenne’s baby brother would look like. Only the headlights and taillights are still in disguise. These elements will be revealed when the Macan hits the runway at the 2013 Los Angeles International Auto Show in November.
The Macan is expected to sell as a 2015 model, so its on-road launch can be expected in the summer of 2014. The spotted vehicle is the Macan’s Turbo variant that’s expected to have a 3.0-litre V-6 engine –similar to the one found in the Q5 from its sister company Audi.
Like other Porsche models, expect a Turbo S variant to be released shortly after – possibly with a price tag closer to the Cayenne. The base model is expected to come with a 220hp 2.0-litre TFSI engine, also found in the Q5.
The Macan might have similar components to the Q5, but like any Porsche product, expect an inflated price tag. We speculate the Macan will be priced at $45,000 upon its launch. That puts it in the same price bracket as the Range Rover Evoque. That being said, it will still be the cheapest brand new Porsche on the showroom floor.
Expected launch: Summer 2014
Expected price: $45,000 (CAN)
-Porsche Macan (base)
-Porsche Macan Turbo
-Porsche Macan Turbo S
-Porsche Macan Diesel
By now if you live in Toronto, Calgary or Vancouver you can't have helped but have noticed the tiny odd-looking white and blue two-person cars seemingly breeding like rabbits in downtown areas. The two-person Daimler AG Smart Fortwo cars are part of the car2go car share scheme – the latest of its kind to sweep Canada and seemingly unstoppable. Originally launched via pilot program in Germany in 2008, the program is now present in three Canadian cities as part of its remarkable growth across the globe. Daimler, which builds the smart cars and runs the program, expects it could have as many as 15 million customers in Europe alone by 2020 and it’s aiming to surpass revenue of €100 million by early 2015. Make no mistake; Canada is a large part of this aggressive growth plan with Vancouver being one of the company's best markets. And car2go is not alone, similar North American car share program Zipcar – which operates in Vancouver and Toronto – was recently sold to car hire giant Avis for half billion dollars, growing from a $75,000 investment 12 years ago.
A New Type of Car Hire
These new breeds of car share schemes differ from traditional car hire businesses in prices and availability. While traditionally people would need to attend an outlet, hire a car for at least a day and return the car to the same outlet – car share schemes allow users to hire cars on the go for as little as a minute and drop it off on the other side of town. Most car share programs use a subscription model where users pay joining or annual fees, and then pay per use. For example, car2go users often pay a registration fee and are then simply charged by the minute ($0.38 plus tax in Canada), hour or day for use. The company reports that the majority of trips in Canada are under half an hour. Meanwhile, Zipcar offers plans with a variety of joining and annual fees, and then charges by the hour ($8.25/hr for Vancouver or $9.25/hr for Toronto) or the day. Zipcar president Mark Norman recently said the wide variety of vehicles they offered combined with reserved parking spots and an advanced reservation system meant they were a flexible and reliable option for those looking for an alternative to car ownership. A similar pricing model is used by most car shares, with Communauto out of Quebec, charging through a combination of hours and kilometres.
Made Possible by Technology
While petrol prices, environmental concerns and a rocky economic climate all likely played their part in the car sharing boom – it’s technology that made it all possible. For example, car2go uses state-of-the-art technology including a swipe card, mobile phone app and GPS to facilitate 24-hour, curb-side hiring and one-way trips. Basically this means if you need a car and are within an allocated zone you can jump on your mobile phone, find the closest one, book it for up to half an hour, find it and swipe your card for access. Once that’s all done, you’re free to drive off.
When you're done simply park it on the side of the road in any free designated area. Zipcar and Modo offer similar services to Vancouver residents, essentially giving users the chance to rent vehicles on the spur of the moment. While car2go is limited to the miniature two-seater Daimler smart cars, Zipcar and Modo offer a range of vehicles including sedans, vans and pick-up trucks. In Montreal, a pilot for a purely electric car share program was launched in June by Communauto with 20 vehicles.
car2go's Canadian Boom
Canadians have flocked to car share schemes since they started popping up in the 1990s, with business at car2go especially booming. The company last year described growth in Vancouver as “exponential” and more recently dubbed Calgary the “fastest growing market across the world”. Its Vancouver launch in mid-2011 had 225 cars for 2,000 paying members. By early 2013 there were more than 23,000 members and 450 vehicles, making Vancouver one of the company's few break-even markets. In Calgary, a launch fleet of 150 vehicles ballooned to 400 in just over a year, with membership growing to 18,000 within months. A Toronto service was launched on June 30 with 250 cars, where car2go will compete against Zipcar and AutoShare. The CarSharing Association estimates that in North America alone more than one million people now belong to car sharing programs.
Is it Right for You?
Just because it's popular doesn't mean it works for everyone. Car share schemes may work well for the casual commuter living in the city, but if you live in the suburbs it could be cheaper to own a car. Most schemes operate within designated zones, take the car out of this zone and you're on the clock until you return. This can quickly add up.
Zones are generally centralised around cities, where the largest pockets of population reside. Live in the suburbs or commute out of town a lot and car share schemes quickly have dwindling appeal. It’s good to remember these days that while car ownership can be expensive there are tools to help you minimize costs. The Canadian Automobile Association's driving costs calculator can help you manage your vehicle's cost and your own expectations. Comparison sites are perfect tools to ensure you're getting the best possible deals on everything needed to keep your car on the road, from insurance to breakdown cover. Location, price and convenience are the big factors to consider when deciding whether a car share program is right or wrong for you. Also remember, giving up your own car in lieu of a car share membership will make impromptu road trips almost impossible or at least expensive.
A Future Fuelled on Young Drivers
Car share schemes are growing because they offer increasing convenience and savings to users. An increasing number of North Americans living in the right place are taking advantage of this and saving themselves money without sacrificing too much freedom. Zipcar launched in two new US cities (San Diego and Denver) this month and car2go shows no signs of slowing its aggressive expansion plans. Targeted predominantly at casual, inner-city, 20-something drivers, the cars have a ripe, rich and growing market – so expect to see more of those distinctive blue and white smart cars coming to a down town street near you.
It’s going to be a good decade for Jaguar. The British car manufacturer recently unveiled that it will be releasing six new cars by 2017. These six cars will be a combination of both new versions of existing models and new cars altogether.
What Jaguar is trying to do is fill in the existing gaps in their product line-up. Here’s a glimpse into their expected line-up over the next four years:
This is a non-convertible coupe version of the currently sold F-Type. Rumoured to have a stiffer suspension, this race-inspired two-seater will help the brand sell more cars in weather-sensitive countries like Canada.
Expected release time: 2014
Expected price: $70,000
XS or Q-type (no name yet):
With an increasing focus on sales volume, this 3-series competitor will help the brand sell more cars, while making the Jaguar brand more attainable. Just like its rival, the car is expected to come standard in a rear-wheel drive configuration and use Jaguar’s existing 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder engine from the existing low-end XF. Upon its release, the XS or Q-type will be one of the most affordable British cars sold in North America – along with all MINI products, of course.
Expected release time: 2015
Expected price: $39,000
XQ (unofficial name):
Artist rendering based on current design language.
This crossover concept is expected to be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September. Although currently the brand shares very little in common with its off-roading sister company, the XQ is rumoured to have a powertrain similar to the Range Rover Evoque. The top-of-the-line XQ is expected to have a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 – currently found in the Jaguar XF and XJ.
Expected release time: 2015
Expected price: $47,000
XJ (next generation):
The next generation Jaguar XJ will be unveiled with its new Premium Lightweight Architecture (PLA) floor and crash structure. Expect the design to change quite a bit as well (maybe a mid-cycle refresh?), as the current one has been selling for about five years now.
Expected release time: 2014
Expected price: $89,000
Aside from these listed releases, design changes are expected to be made to both the XF and the XK.
Mississauga, ON – Kia Canada Inc. was pleased to celebrate its third annual Drive Change Day, on August 21st, 2013, which promotes supporting local communities and driving positive change.
This year, Kia Canada partnered with York Regional Police and MADD Canada to focus their efforts on making our roads safer. Canadians were encouraged to visit www.mapofhope.ca to take the pledge not to drive impaired.
Kia Canada Inc. Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO), Maria Soklis, participated in a York Regional Police R.I.D.E. spot-check together with MADD Canada. Over 1,000 vehicles travelling south on Yonge Street directly outside of the Newmarket Kia dealership were reminded of the importance of driving sober and responsible. “As a global automaker of Canada, we have a very important role we can play to educate and remind Canadians on the dangers of driving impaired or distracted,” said Soklis.
Shaw Media and Quebecor Media supported Kia Canada’s initiative nationally through various television segments featuring influential ambassadors such as: Maria Soklis – Vice President and COO Kia Canada, Rick Campanelli – ET Canada host, Tim Leiweke – President and CEO MLSE, Jim Kenzie – Automotive Journalist, Brad Diamond – Motoring Television, Andrew Murie – CEO MADD Canada, Joey Saputo - President of the Montreal Impact and Anouk Meunier from TVA.
Charitable organization nominations more than doubled since the inaugural year in 2011 for the chance to win one of four Kia vehicles for two years nationally. Submission were accepted through www.DriveChangeWithKia.ca and the four winners will be selected on October 20, 2013.
“Kia Canada is elated by our dealers, partners and Canadians overwhelming support of Drive Change, not only resonating with Canadians, but inspiring them to support their communities. It is only by working together that we can make a difference,” said Maria Soklis.