Car dealership turns movie maker in major campaign

Humorous situations involving an unlucky car salesman will feature as part of a car retailer’s major new video campaign.

Unlucky-Galore-PressSG Petch, which has showrooms across the North East and Yorkshire, has created and commissioned the production of a series of fun films based around a haplessly unlucky salesman constantly trying to make a sale.

The first episode, Unlucky Galore, promises a James Bond theme, with later films introducing love, heartbreak, intrigue and jealousy as the series continues.

All six films have been produced by Newton Aycliffe-based Anson Corporate Media and will be distributed throughout the media as well as being uploaded online, with plans already underway to launch a second series of videos in the near future.

Jon Wright, internet marketing manager at SG Petch, said: “The theme running through all the videos is the poor old unlucky salesman. What does every car salesman want to do? Sell cars. Wouldn’t it be frustrating if every time, just when you think you’ve got a sale in the bag, something or someone gets in the way?”

Lawrence Conyers, owner of Anson Corporate Media, added: “It’s been huge fun to produce and a pleasure working with SG Petch who have embraced the concept and that means we can make it work. It’s also allowed me to give quite a bit more creative freedom to the writer-director element of what I do.”

Among the actors involved in the project are Louis Roberts, who plays the salesman, Sam Owers, the no-nonsense receptionist as well as Robin Ellwood, Chase Black and Stewart Hanrahan who play various characters.

For more information on SG Petch and its TV channel visit: www.sgpetch.co.uk/tv

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Fiat’s TwinAir is engine of the year

As much as i like big engined cars, the one good thing to come out of the EU’s new emission standards is the advancement in engine technology.

Take Fiats new TwinAir engine that has just been added to the 500 range. Now i’m not the greatest fan of Fiat cars but if this new engine doesn’t win prizes for engine of the year then something’s wrong.

Without going all technical, they’ve removed two cylinders from their traditional 4 cylinder inline unit trimming 367 cc off the engine capacity. Thrown a turbo charger in for good measure which has increased the power output from 69 to 85 bhp and improved torque by 43 Nm’s and its all available at lower revs where it matter most.

But that’s not all. Fuel economy has increased from 65.7 mpg (extra urban cycle) to 76.3 mpg whilst all the time increasing in the vehicles kerb weight.

That’s impressive by any standards. Of course the upshot is the 500 TwinAir range drops below that crucial 100 g/km CO2 threshold (95 g/km), making it exempt from road tax, and probably congestion charges in 2011.

And all this without fiddling with the tyres and throwing a rear seat out of the window. Well done Fiat!

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More pictures of ix20 emerge

At a private press meeting fleet buyers got a closer look at the new Hyundai ix20 in all its glory.

ix20 with panoramic roofThe images reveal a Panoramic sunroof as well as a diesel version sporting the Blue Drive technology badging.

In less than a  week Hyundai will take the wrappers off its new b-segment people carrier at the Paris motor show, although its hardly been a secret has it?

A quick glance at the ix20 shows a lot of the design queues have been taken from the ix35 crossover, as well as baring a striking resemblance to the Kia Venga. Given both companies are partners this is understandable.

The ix20 replaces the outgoing and aging Matrix and as you’d expect, offers more in terms of arm and leg room, power, performance and economy without increasing its carbon footprint.

However, it’s in the value stakes where the ix20 will be tested the most. Sales of the Venga have been slow to date given the £12,000 price tag and the well established Ceed range cannibalising sales with better value for money offerings.

With the i30 now one of it’s best selling models, Hyundai could find themselves in a similar situation unless they get the ix20 pricing right from the off. If they get that wrong then i can’t see Hyundai having the same supply issues with the ix20 as they are with the ix35.

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Hyundai answer questions over ix35 supply

Hyundai managing director Tony Whitehorn agreed to a live questions and answer session from customers frustrated at having to wait for supply of its new ix35 crossover.

hyundai ix35The session, which was initiated on behalf of ‘Honest John’ (Daily Telegraph & www.honestjohn.co.uk), lasted 1.5 hours and allowed customers to ask a range of questions from compensation to whether the supply problems were specific to the UK or the whole of Europe.

This is the first time a manufacturer has answered questions directly to the customers and could set a trend for the future. Dealers will also be relieved as most of the questions from customers seemed to be in support of the dealer network where they’ve placed orders.

Tony Whitehorn revealed that most customers have ordered the 2.0 CRDi which has put a strain on the production lines.  However, he suggested those customers could choose the  1.7 diesel and 1.6 petrol models if they didn’t wish to wait any longer.

One customer revealed he’d ordered a car from an internet company in March and wanted to know if Hyundai would only give priority to dealer orders. Mr Whitehorn asked the name of the company stating Hyundai don’t supply ix35 to third parties and all cars will be coming via the dealer network. I would imagine that internet company won’t be supplying bogus orders for much longer.

Overall the session allowed the opportunity to clear the air and should have gone someway to appeasing customers.

Did you take part in the question and answer session? Tell us what you thought by posting your comments here.

Posted in Hyundai, ix35 | 1 Comment

Mazda 2 Upgrade

Mazda will refresh its Mazda 2 supermini with an official launch in October 2010.

mazda2upgrade

Since its launch in 2007, the Mazda 2 has earned praise around the world winning the 2008 World Car Of The Year Award. It’s now the best selling car in the Mazda range. However, it’s time for a facelift and model refresh if the Japanese car maker is to exceed its projected UK target of 15,000 sales.

Following dealer feedback, Mazda have taken the decision to permanently introduce the Tamura derivatives. These models were initially offered as special editions but will now form part of the standard line up. Also new to the range will be an automatic, strangely omitted from the current line up, based on the 1.5 102 ps petrol engine, featuring a 4-speed gearbox and available in TS2 trim only.

Fuel economy will be improved by 2% on the 1.3 petrol engine bringing it down to 119 g/km inline with most manufacturers 1.o to 1.2 litre engines which is pretty impressive. CO2 emissions have decreased to just 110 g/km on the 1.6 diesel models. This all means lower Road Fund Licence and better fuel efficiency. The upgraded Mazda 2 models also meet the stringent EURO Stage V emission standards.

Design
The upgraded Mazda 2 will take on a consistent five-point family face in the lower grille, which has become common across the Mazda range. Newly shaped front fog-lamp bezels and a bolder Mazda badge in the upper grille, integrated into the front bumper, complement the larger lower five-point grille. New 15″ wheels trims and 16″ alloys have been redesigned to give it a fresh contemporary and dynamic sporty look.

Interior has been tweaked to be more refined and of a higher quality. The centre console has been developed using a piano-black finish and chrome accents to provide a premium feel. New finishes on heavily used areas like the steering wheel now feature a black face meter with black inserts.

Seat trim changes reflect a more youthful design. The Sport model seats are complemented with red piping between the middle and side areas to create a stronger sense of sportiness, whilst TS, TS2 and Tamura grades will feature a sporty red line pattern cloth trim.

Driving Dynamics
The Mazda 2 has always been an excellent handling little car but Mazda plan to improve this even further. Revised trailing arm bushes and dampers on the rear suspension will provide more assured drive rigidity and stability. Overall these improvements will offer a more “suppressed” response to differing road surfaces to create a more refined ride.

Environmental Improvements
Engine improvements include the use of lower viscosity engine oil and small revisions to the higher gear ratios through 2nd and 5th gears, which deliver improvements in CO2: down to 119 g/km from 125 g/km and slightly improved fuel economy (+2%). The impressive 1.6 diesel unit now produces 110 g/km and an equally impressive 67.3 mpg on the combined cycle.

Incorporation of a catalyst in the mid exhaust system helps reduce CO2 emissions making the upgraded Mazda 2 a friendlier car to the environment, which helped gain EURO Stage V status.

Safety
Reinforced C-pillars increase rigidity, without increasing weight, which results in improved cabin protection for passengers. The upgraded Mazda 2 carries over some of the best in class safety features in the supermini segment. The Traction Control System (TCS) and Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) are now standard on the Sport and TS2 automatic models. All models will feature dual front and side curtain airbags as standard.

Upgraded Mazda 2 Range
The Tamura and automatic TS2 will be available in 5 door bodystyle from launch. Mazda plan to allocate preview models of the Automatic in September when production starts in August, given that the outgoing model does not feature an automatic.

Mazda 2 5dr petrol will be available from August with the 3 door following from September production. The 1.6 diesel will be available from October.

Full model line up (petrol):

  • TS – 1.3 – 75 PS – 3&5 door
  • TS2 – 1.3 – 84 PS – 3&5 door
  • Tamura – 1.3 – 84 PS – 3&5 door
  • TS2 Auto – 1.5 – 102 PS – 5 door only
  • Sport – 1.5 – 102 PS – 3&5 door

Full model line up (diesel):

  • Sport – 1.6 – 93 PS – 5 door only

The upgraded Mazda 2 will continue with the same high specification as the outgoing model but with the following changes:

  • Trip computer standard on TS2, Tamura and Sport models
  • Mazda family face
  • Mazda 2 1.5 5dr TS2 Automatic features DSC as standard
  • Mazda 2 1.3 5dr Tamura features Sports Styling Pack including rear spoiler and 16″ alloy Sports wheels.

Colours & Pricing
The upgraded Mazda 2 will feature a new launch colour, Aquatic Blue. Aurora Blue and Passion Orange will be removed from the range but all other colours will remain the same.

Pricing has yet to be confirmed although Mazda will try to keep it inline with the outgoing range with minor increases which will be balanced by new features and environmental improvements.

Launch Timings
On sale from October 2010, the launch planning schedule will include:

  • UK press release – 13th Sept
  • Price lists – Oct
  • Official launch – Late October
  • European press launch – 1-5th November

Dealers will start seeing the first deliveries around 11th October.

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Juke ownership adds up

The latest insurance ratings for the Nissan Juke, alongside RV figures just released from CAP, mean the cost of owning Nissan’s new crossover are looking good value for money indeed.

Positioning itself against the Mini and Alfa Romeo Mito, the Juke should be worth in around 54% of it’s new value providing you average 10,000 miles per annum over a 3 year period.

Juke Crossover Wharf

54% doesn’t sound a lot but is still way better than its core competiton .i.e the Mini (inc Countryman in this) and 207. And it’s still only 1 point behind the Audi A1.

Still this is all speculative but shows that Nissan intend to rely on bread and butter sales in the private sector as opposed to mass fleet deals, which always undermine the values slightly.

Insurance wise the Juke again seems to offer decent value for money with the 1.6 petrol and 1.5 dCi diesel models coming in at 11 and 13E, the latter being the higher spec Acenta and Tekna.

The high performance DIG-T turbo engines in both 2 and 4 wheel drive are rated at 19 and 20E respectively. Again still comparable with the Cooper S and Alfa Cloverleaf hot hatches.

Strong residuals, competitive insurance ratings and all backed by a decent 3 year warranty should go some way into tempting buyers into the weird and wonderful world of crossover SUV’s.

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Kia release early version of Sportage

Kia brought forward the Autumn launch of its all new Kia Sportage with a special edition model.

Badged as the First Edition, the model allows Kia to enter the September registration deadline in order to get the new crossover into the market place and into the minds of it’s customers.

The launch of the full range of new Sportage remains on schedule for later this year and will feature a full grade line-up as well as various powertrains – including 2.0-litre engines as well as all-new 1.6 GDi Direct Petrol Injection and 1.7 CRDi Turbo-diesel engines. Both of these new powertrains feature Intelligent Stop-and-Go (ISG) technology, and are highly fuel-efficient 2WD variants.

The new Sportage First Edition offers a choice of 5 colours and is priced from £20,777 for the 6-speed manual and £22,007 for the 6 speed automatic.

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Micra makes way for Juke

With austerity measures and the tightening of belts in the UK, the future of the North East of England, with the closure of Corus and all, must seem pretty bleak.

Micra production at Sunderland

Micra production at Sunderland comes to an end

Add Nissan’s recent decision to stop production of the Micra, and the proud North East folk on the cobbled streets of Sunderland must have thought their worst nightmare had come true. OK i made the cobbled streets up, but i’m trying to set the scene.

After 2.3 million units and 18 years of what were arguably the best production Micra’s in the world, the Sunderland-based plant said its final farewell. Of course that’s not the end of the Micra. Growing markets like India offer the ideal opportunity for Nissan to retool and cater for the huge domestic market. Plus, the joint owned factory with Renault in Chennai, India, means the new model, due for the UK in September, can continue to flourish.

However, there were no tears of sadness, only joy, as the news rolled in that the new Nissan Juke was pencilled in for production from mid-August.

There’s a lot riding on the Juke. Nissan see this car as setting the new benchmark in what is a rather dull B-segment. Like the Qashqai, Nissan are hoping the Juke will offer a funky alternative to those wanting SUV practicality, hatchback convenience and sporty looks.

Early signs, especially in Japan, seem to suggest their on the right track. Only time will tell.

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Nissan Juke exceeds sales target

It would seem Nissan’s initial target of 1300 Juke units was a little conservative judging by pre-orders in Japan.

Of course the Japanese love their cars as much as we do and the quirkier the better.

That being said, whoever did the market research for Nissan must be hiding under a table right now.

A quote from Nissan’s PR team:

“So who’s going to be driving Juke?
He’s the retrosexual male – a traditionally masculine, proud, stylish, assertive, competitive,
cut-to-the-chase kind of guy. He’s in his early 20s, the original male who works hard and plays hard, adding his own spin to ensure he stays progressive and modern.”

Not judging by the stats he ain’t.

Posted in Juke, Nissan | 1 Comment

Upgraded Hyundai i30 U At Geneva

Hyundai will reveal an updated version of its highly successful i30 hatchback at Geneva.

The revised i30 builds on the strengths of the current i30 range, whilst taking styling cues from the 2010 MY i30 Edition to further accentuate the car’s dynamic design.

Hyundai will seek to launch the upgraded i30 (2011 MY) this summer. Specification, pricing and launch timings will be confirmed in due course.

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