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Lamborghini to Launch the Urus

The Beijing Motor Show is up and running with today being the opening press day as the show runs for the entirety of the week and into early May, and already there’s been a shock. The shock has been caused by Lamborghini as they’ve showcased their latest concept car – and no, it isn’t an Aventador beater or a 1000bhp hyper-car. What it is, is a big 4×4 SUV!

The Urus

Are Lamborghini going down the route that Porsche took with the Cayenne? Well, no, I don’t think they are. For a start the new Urus (name derives from the world of bulls) concept looks fantastic! We’ve tweeted pictures of it today – check them out via Twitter and let us know what you think!

The new concept is, quite clearly, in keeping with what we expect from Lamborghini in terms of styling and aesthetics. The Urus looks edgy and dynamic with strong lines and pronounced shapes all over it. At first glances there’s bound to be a lot of people hoping to get car insurance cover on the Urus once it’s released. Furthermore, the concept sits on large alloy rims that also look the part. So, from the outside the car is a resounding success as it looks great, but what about under the bonnet?

It Packs a Punch

Once again, in typical Lamborghini style, they’ve shoved a rocket under the bonnet! The Urus will come with 600bhp, which is around 50 more than the latest Cayenne Turbo S. So not only does the Lambo look better, but it packs more of a punch too than the Cayenne. Lamborghini have also promised that the Urus will be much lighter than its rivals thanks to a lightweight construction inside and out. The Urus will also feature an intelligently designed height adjustable front spoiler in order to give considerable obstacle clearance whilst also allowing more stability at high speed when lowered.

All in all the Urus concept is shaping up to be a brilliant car both aesthetically and in terms of relative performance – but what about inside the cabin?

Luxuries Inside

Well, the Urus is suitably equipped with toys and gadgets such as a touch-screen centre console and touch-screen display for rear passengers too. There’s also a generous splash of lightweight carbon fibre and some traditional bucket seats to match.

The Urus really does look like the complete package, but how much will you have to pay for it all? Lamborghini have targeted prices to start around the £150,000 mark, so it’s certainly not cheap! However, with Lamborghini identifying the USA, Middle East, Russia, China, Germany and the UK as their target market, they are confident it will sell in its droves.

This isn’t the first SUV Lamborghini have built either – back in the 1980s they produced the LM002. That one wasn’t such a commercial success, who actually remembers such a machine?

Subaru to Launch BRZ

Since the launch of the first Impreza in 1993, Subaru’s have excited petrol heads across the land and now there’s an all new beast ready to be unleashed to get us excited once again. The BRZ will launch this year and the UK specification for the extremely anticipated car has been revealed.

Top Spec Model

The top of the range BRZ will come fitted with shiny, 17 inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, dual-zone climate control, MP3 connectivity and very responsible front, side, curtain and knee airbags. Whilst Subaru of course has a speed obsessed side to them, they do also like to keep their drivers safe!

Now the exciting bit. Under the bonnet the BRZ will have a 197bhp 2 litre boxer engine that will be perfect for after-market parts. There will also be a torque-sensing limited slip differential, with owners having the choice before purchasing the car of having it equipped with a six-speed manual, or a paddle operated semi-automatic gearbox.

Attention to Detail

The BRZ is particularly impressive due to the nature in which it has been designed and built. Subaru insisted on having the centre of gravity as low as possible and so half of the cars rather light 1100kg has been placed below knee level in order to improve the handling.

That, for me, is great attention to detail and shows that the designers are serious about this new offering. Whether or not it is a direct replacement for the Impreza, it certainly is going to appeal to those that enjoy modifying their cars.

Tuner Potential

Subaru have even addressed the tuner clientele they know they will attract by stating that they will release a stripped out edition of the car. This will act as an even more focused version of the BRZ whereby tuners will be able to customise the exterior and engine as freely as they like. Those that do decide to equip their Subaru with after-market parts will have to consider their car insurance cover whilst doing so as any modifications are likely to increase the premium.

I’ve always been a fan of the old Impreza; the noise it made coupled with the way it looked was like nothing else. You could always tell when an Impreza was crawling up the road as the 4 cylinder boxer engine would rumble and burble at low revs. It truly was a one of a kind and a favourite of tuners.

Sales Increase for Bentley

Bentley have seen UK sales increase by over 20% last month according to the latest statistics that have been released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). According to the stats, the Crewe-based firm have sold 65 cars in the UK in November, this is 20.4% more than the same period in 2010.

Sales Figures

So far this year, Bentley has sold a total of 986 cars in the UK. This is up by 4.5% during the same period last year. This is encouraging news for the automotive sector and those more exotic, luxury car makers. The number of luxury car owners looking for car insurance cover has, therefore, increased this year.

The economic recession has hit us all hard and big businesses have been suffering too. Especially those that manufacture luxury products, such as expensive cars, as less and less people feel the need to own one during times of financial uncertainty. Of course, the price for motor insurance on such expensive vehicles will have put many people off during the economic downturn.

A Bentley spokesman has been commenting on the recent revival they have seen however: “Bentley continues to do well, with global sales up around 30 per cent in November, continuing the annual trend which is seeing total sales increase by around one-third in 2011. Chinese growth is relentless as we surpassed 1,500 cars in the region for the first time.” Many car firms have seen great sales in China as the country continues to prosper.

The spokesman added: “However, established markets such as America and Europe are also increasing, reflecting strong demand for the Mulsanne and, in particular, the new Continental GT. The UK was up despite the on-going economic uncertainty but with the new Continental GTC reaching dealers from December, the prospects for the New Year are promising.”

Sales Forecasts

It is little surprise that Bentley will be excited by what 2012 could bring them, with new models on the horizon and increasing sales forecast.

The SMMT has reported that the total amount of UK car sales declined by 4.2% in November to 134,027 units, however, this is still 5,000 units above the SMMT’s forecast. This year, thus far, total vehicle registrations are down by 4.5%, at 1,822,065 units.

The SMMT feel that the market will better its full year forecast of 1.923 million, however, they added that they are remaining cautious for 2012. Nothing can really be taken for granted in such an unstable economy!

Uninsured Drivers Rife

I came across some interesting news last week regarding car insurance dodgers. The news was that the Director of AA Insurance was expressing his personal concerns at the lenient nature taking by the authorities who hand out fines for driving without car insurance cover.

Simon Douglas was quoted saying: “We’re failing honest motorists by such lenient fines. In my view, it’s vital to get the message over to this motoring underclass and, importantly, to their friends and families, that driving without insurance is socially unacceptable.”

Fines

The average fine for someone caught without insurance is just £200; however judges do have the power to fine them up to £5,000. It seems they simply choose not to. Mr Douglas also noted that uninsured drivers cause around 160 deaths every year whilst injury a further 23,000 in the process.

This is alarming news, and when put like this, in my opinion, those driving without insurance are a liability to not only themselves but, more importantly, others, and therefore these drivers should have their licence stripped from them, and thus taken off the road.

Road Safety

Rachel Davey’s article on this news also highlighted that the UK roads currently has one in every 25 drivers uninsured, whilst in Germany that figure is much better at one in every 500 drivers.

This does not look good for a country that is constantly pushing the message of safe driving, whilst in Germany they still have unrestricted areas of their famous Autobahn. Authorities in the UK are quick and efficient when it comes to installing cameras and imposing speed restrictions, yet we have huge numbers of drivers on the roads that do not deserve to be there as a result of not paying for a motor insurance quote.

Perhaps now is the time to take a stand against such drivers by imposing harsher fines. By targeting people’s wallets we can be sure that the message will spread like wildfire. Driving without insurance is irresponsible, yet people still do it. If we make sure that driving without insurance will become extremely costly to those that do it, then we may just see that figure of one in 25 begin to improve dramatically.

What do you think? Should uninsured drivers have their licence taken off them? Should the fines be substantially increased? Please feel free to let us know your thoughts.

The Average Driver Spends up to £2,999 Year on their Car

According to the latest research from Age UK Enterprises, the commercial services arm of Charity Age UK, the average driver spends nearly up to £3,000 every year on their car. The survey shows that price is the most important factor when people pick a car, with 23% (one in four) opting for the cheapest, most drivers still spend a tremendous amount annually on car insurance cover and the general costs of running it.

Car Owners

Two thirds of all adults own a car in the UK, which increases with age, with four out of five (81%) of 55 to 64 year olds owning a car. Women (64%) are less likely to own a car compared to men (69%), but only by 5%.

Annual Outgoings

The research found that most drivers do not help themselves to save money, such as comparing motor insurance quotes, even though owning a car accounts for a significant proportion of annual outgoings. 63% (two thirds) admitted staying with their current car insurance provider the last time they renewed. The survey showed that as drivers get older (70% for the 60+), the more loyal they were to the brand.

Managing Director of Age UK Enterprises, Gordon Morris, said “Despite the economic downturn, the UK remains a nation of car owners with those in later life the most likely to have a car whilst spending a significant amount every year maintaining it. While consumers are cautious about price when they buy their car, too often they don’t take action during its lifetime that could save them money.

“With the cost of running a car soaring every year, we encourage every driver to review what they currently spend on their car, and particularly their insurance cover. Consumers must shop around and ensure they have the information they need to make an informed choice, buying only what provides best value and appropriate cover for their needs. However, they also need to consider that some providers offer low initial prices which then rise sharply on renewal or come with high excess, making the need to shop around even more essential.”

Rural motorists getting the worst deal

It would appear that the austerity measures imposed by the incumbent Government and the high cost of motoring brought about by several factors is affecting the rural population of the UK far more than those who live in the cities.

Costs escalating

It is no secret that more and more motorists are reluctantly having to abandon their cars, especially families who own second cars. The cost of petrol and diesel is perhaps the main reason why people can’t afford to use their cars any more, but fuel duty imposed by the Government, which will be debated by Parliament today, and the high cost of motor insurance, are also contributing to the problem. People who live in the countryside are more reliant on their cars yet are finding it more difficult to afford them.

Rural communities losing out

A recent report by the Taxpayers Alliance (TA) suggests rural communities are coughing up almost £350 a year on average in subsidising their city dwelling counterparts. The TA investigated how motorists in different parts of the country were affected by different aspects of motoring including fuel costs, road tax and the money local councils spent on road projects and air quality. The complicated formula revealed huge differences in different regions of the country but there was no doubt that rural motorists were getting the worst of the deal.

Camden citizens locked into good deal

Citizens of Camden, in London, came off the best with the average citizen paying just £64 per person in excessive taxes. The worst hit society was the population of Shetland where the average worked out to be £566. Although the difference between most rural communities and cities was not as pronounced as there was clear evidence that rural dwellers are getting a poor deal.

Where has all the money gone?

A spokeswoman for the TA said that UK citizens paid out £31 billion in road taxes and fuel duty in 2009 yet only £10 billion was spent on our roads, and most of that was spent in urban areas. Car insurance cover, purchasing fuel and paying road tax is an essential part of rural life these days, as public transport has declined due to the austerity measures mentioned earlier. It seems like there will be no relief for these communities in regard to motoring for the foreseeable future.

The day of the tortoise

Research out this week suggests that motorists in all corners of the UK are desperately searching for ways to cut down on driving costs.

Cost of motoring becoming a big worry

Coming on the back of a report from financiers suggesting it will soon cost £100 to fill up your car, a report from a car auction company suggests that almost half of us are considering getting a motor vehicle insurance quote on a smaller car. British Car Auctions (BCA) say customers are looking more and more at smaller cars because they are worried about fuel and car insurance cover becoming even more expensive than it is now. This was not a small survey, over 4,000 motorists were questioned and it does show how inflationary costs are now impacting on families from all walks of life. While 50% said they would look to downsize cars in future, almost 40% said they are hoping this won’t happen because the fuel duty debate next week in Parliament will result in the Government cutting fuel duty. The tipping point for 1 in 6 drivers will be if petrol reaches the £1.50 a litre mark. This is the point at which mid range family saloons will cost around £100 to fill up.

Scarcity of cars will soon become apparent

The survey also revealed that motorists also plan to keep hold of their cars longer before they exchange them and 70% of those questioned said there next car purchase would be a second hand motor. The drop in new car production of around half a million per year for the last couple of years has radically changed the used car market but it will be the next couple of years when the changes become more profound as there becomes a dearth of second hand motors available.

Small cars will be market leaders

The second wave of austerity hitting the UK now will also compound future problems. If there is a dearth of cars available, and on top of that consumers start looking for smaller sized fuel efficient cars, then we may find a situation where the industry is turned on its head. Top of the range models with all the buttons and bells will suddenly become ten a penny and basic models from reputable manufacturers will be hot properties. There is never a dull moment in the motoring business but serious discussions on the analogies of the Hare and the Tortoise fable will surprise many showroom salesmen.

Forecourt fill up set to cost £100

As the cost of motoring seems to become more expensive by the day, a leading financial “Think Tank” have warned drivers in the UK that they may well be paying over £100 to fill their car with fuel in the not too distant future.

Experts warn of rising costs

It is no secret that fuel prices, maintenance costs and car insurance cover are at their highest rates ever, but a report by the ITEM club suggests we ain’t seen nothing yet! According to the financiers, residents of the UK may benefit from a fall in fuel prices next year due to the turning back on of the oil industry in Libya, but by 2015 they expect the price of petrol to be over £1.50 a litre in mainland Britain. The simple mathematics confirms that filling a 70 litre tank up would indeed cost over £100.

Public will follow the debate

Already the present Government intend to put a delayed 3p rise in fuel duty on the cost of petrol and diesel in January with a further increase forecast to be announced in the budget. A debate at Parliament next week in the House of Commons may well prove to be something of an embarrassment for many Coalition MPs. On November the 15th the FairFuel campaign group will hear the debate on fuel prices that their 100,000 signature petition secured. The eyes of the public will be on their MPs and where they stand. Motorists all over the UK hope that the debate will result in lower duties that will encourage more people to get a motor insurance quotes on a vehicle and get back on the road, however, with the parlous state of the Government coffers they perhaps shouldn’t hold their breath too long waiting!

Enjoy it while you can

In fact according to the ITEM club we should all make the best of next year whatever duty the Government impose on petrol because it is going to be much better than the ones that follow. They predict that food, oil and petrol will all fall in price next year bringing inflation closer to the Governments target of 2% rather than the 5% it is now, but the experts also say the relief will be short lived and by the time we reach 2013 demand for oil from all over the planet will drive prices up once again. Not at all good news for the consumer but perhaps a bit of light relief for manufacturers of electric vehicles, whose future may suddenly seem brighter again.

Who didn’t win an award?

The Scottish car of the year show took place over the weekend and if motorists north of the border were wondering exactly what sort of car they should get motor insurance quotes on, then they may be more confused than ever after attending the show.

List of winners was endless

The list of winners seemed endless and anyone looking to purchase a new vehicle really was spoilt for choice. Should they opt for the new Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet, which took the open top car of the year award, or maybe they should consider the Range Rover Evoque which won the SUV/Crossover section. Going down a gear or two motorists looking to get car insurance cover on a supermini could easily have fallen for the charms of the Kia Picanto, the winner of the best small car prize. The best family car award went to the all new Ford Focus, and no, that is not the end of the role of honour. Seat also managed to win two awards, the Ibiza E Ecomotive taking the best car in the ECO section and the SEAT Alhambra winning the MPV car of the year accolade.

And there’s more

John Murdoch, the President of the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers, presented many of the awards at the ceremony which was held at the Thistle hotel in Glasgow and by the end of the night his hand must have been aching from all the handshakes. On top of those awards already mentioned the Hyundai i40 tourer was named best estate car of the year and the Peugeot iOn voted the best electric car of the year.

Don’t forget Jaguar

It is amazing that all the bouquets managed to be handed out on the same evening because I may have forgot to mention that Jaguar also won a best car of the year award, well three actually. The JaguarXF was named best diesel car of the year, the Jaguar E-type, the most iconic car of the last 50 years, and the Jaguar XKR-S managed to throttle away with the best sports car of the year prize. Of course there also had to be an overall best car of the year award, which went to the Range Rover Evoque.

Conflict between residents and business now commonplace

Controversial council plans that would limit the amount of time a driver can park on a busy Middleton town centre street have moved another step closer. Council officers are preparing to visit the street and to draw up plans to curtail parking in the vicinity. It is a process being played out across the towns and cities of the UK where motorists are finding it ever more difficult to place their car where they want it to be.

Residents can’t park outside their homes

The proposals put forward would see a residents-only parking scheme introduced, after householders have complained about the increased number of commuters and shoppers who are using the street as a free car park. However, as in most cases the issue at Middleton is not that straightforward. Local businesses that have traded for years are now concerned the new parking permits will kill off their business.

Business fears having to relocate

In Middleton a local veterinary practice has operated in the street without a problem for over 30 years, the vets understand that homeowners want to be able to park their cars outside their homes but feel a blanket ban on other motorists does not reflect fairly on their business or their customers. The surgery feel a one-hour limit for parking for a non-resident would solve the problem and would have a minimal effect on their business. Asking a pet owner to walk from a paid-for town centre car park with an ill animal must be classed as unreasonable.

Between a rock and a hard place

Local councillors are aware something needs to be done to make sure local residents are able to park their vehicle outside their own home. With premiums increasing each year on a motor insurance quote, car owners do not want to have to park a street away from where they live as this would increase the chances of theft and an unwanted insurance claim. Rochdale Council is now at the official survey stage where the highways department will put together a scheme to stop the problems that local residents have had for some years. It is for sure the outcome will not please anyone and for motorists who already pay out large sums in road tax and car insurance cover the fact that they now have to pay for parking to visit a surgery will not go down well.