2013 Toyota 4Runner Sets the Pace for True SUV Capability


TORRANCE, Calif., (September 12, 2012) — The Toyota 4Runner, the fifth generation of this rugged, full-capability SUV and a key model in the Toyota SUV lineup for 28 years, continues as one of the few fully capability SUVs available in its segment.

The 4Runner combines rugged body-on-frame construction with suspension technology that yields ride comfort more often associated with car-based platforms. The 2013 4Runner is available in a variety of configurations and in three models: a well-equipped SR5, top-of-the-line Limited, plus a Trail grade for maximum off-road capability. Optional third-row seats allow for up to seven-person capacity.

Drivetrain configurations include rear wheel 4×2, part-time 4×4 and full-time multi-mode 4×4 with a locking center differential. All models are equipped with a 4.0-liter, 270-horsepower V6 teamed to a five-speed ECT-i automatic transmission. For 2013, the SR5 grade gets a switch-type control for the transfer case, replacing the lever.

Performance and Efficiency
The 4Runner 4.0-liter V6 generates 270 horsepower and 278 lb.-ft. of torque. Dual independent Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) optimizes torque across the engine’s operating range. Fuel economy ratings rival some car-based SUVs with an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city and 22 mpg highway for 4×2 models, and 17 mpg city and 22 mpg highway for 4×4. Maximum towing capacity is 5,000 pounds, with 4Runner’s standard integrated tow hitch receiver and wiring harness.

Handling and Ride
A double-wishbone independent front suspension, combined with a variable-flow rack and pinion steering, help give the 4Runner precise control on demanding roads. Coil springs over gas shocks are used at all four wheels for a comfortable ride and controlled handling. The four-link rear suspension minimizes axle hop and assures a smooth ride for rear-seat passengers.

The Limited grade comes standard with an X-REAS suspension system that further improves performance, comfort and control. X-REAS automatically adjusts the damping force of shocks when driving over bumpy surfaces or when cornering. The system uses a center control absorber to cross-link shocks on opposite corners of the vehicle, substantially reducing pitch and yaw by offsetting opposing inputs. With X-REAS the 4Runner corners flatter, smoother, and handles choppy pavement more easily.

4×4 Capabilities
The 4Runner SR5 and Trail 4×4 models have a two-speed, part-time four-wheel-drive system with neutral position. The 4Runner Limited is equipped with a full-time, four-wheel-drive system with a locking center differential and a three-mode, center console-mounted switch. The A-TRAC traction control system is standard equipment on all 4×4 models. The system can distribute driving force to any one wheel in contact with the ground, making terrain irregularities and slippery patches transparent to the driver. An electronic-locking rear differential is standard on the Trail grade.

The Trail grade offers Toyota’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) as an option. KDSS significantly improves terrain-following ability by dynamically disconnecting stabilizer bars to allow for more axle travel, and better suspension articulation in slow, difficult terrain.

Toyota’s Crawl Control (CRAWL) feature is standard on the Trail grade. The system helps maintain an appropriate speed to keep the vehicle under control and minimizes the load on drivetrain and suspension components.

With the transfer case shifted into low range, CRAWL regulates engine speed and output (along with braking force), to propel the vehicle forward or in reverse at one of the five driver-selectable low-speed settings. This allows the driver to maintain focus while steering over rough level ground or steep grades without having to also modulate the throttle or brake pedal.

The Trail grade also features a Multi-Terrain Select system that dials in wheel-slip control to match the terrain. In loose terrain such as mud and sand, more-than-normal wheel slip is permitted, allowing wheel-spin to work in the vehicle’s favor. On bumpy moguls, or solid rock, wheel slip is minimized and the system acts more like a limited slip differential. The Mogul setting is for any extremely uneven terrain, such as V-ditches, slopes, and ridges, uphill or down.

All 4Runner 4×4 models feature standard Downhill Assist Control (DAC). This feature augments the low-speed ascending ability of low-range by helping to hold the vehicle, allowing time for the driver to a target speed with no driver intervention. All models also come standard with Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), which provides additional control for off-road driving by helping to hold the vehicle stationary before starting on a steep incline or slippery surface.

Exterior Styling
All 4Runner grades feature rugged bumpers and wide fender flares. Aluminum alloy wheels are 17-inches in diameter on SR5 and Trail grades and 20 inches on the Limited, and include a full size spare. The front end’s square fender flares meld with a muscular profile that links with a beefy rear bumper and back door. In addition to its distinctive grille, the SR5 grade also features overfenders to help tackle inclement weather and off-road conditions. A roof rack comes standard.

The Trail grade is designed to maximize off-road performance with superior approach and departure angles, high ground clearance, and an array of functional upgrades for the most demanding active outdoor enthusiast. The Trail model is distinguished by a unique hood scoop, unique 17-inch wheels, black side mirrors, front and rear bumper guards and dark smoke treatment on the head lamps and tail lamps.

The Limited and SR5 grades feature a chrome-plated grille insert, fog lamp bezel and front bumper molding. Front and rear overfenders and side skirts are color-keyed. The side molding, roof rack and rear bumper are also chrome trimmed. The SR5 and Limited grades have supplementary turn signals in the side mirrors, along with puddle lamps.

The standard Toyota Star Safety System™ includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with traction control (TRAC), an Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), and Smart Stop Technology (SST). VSC helps the driver to ensure control by compensating for front and rear wheel slip. The system uses selective braking and modulated engine output to help keep the vehicle in line with the driver’s steering inputs. On 4×2 vehicles, the Auto LSD (Limited Slip Differential) system allows for better traction on slippery sections of roadway.
The four-wheel ABS with EBD provides the 4Runner with optimal brake proportioning, regardless of vehicle load.

Eight standard airbags includes front, side-mounted and knee airbags for the driver and front passenger, and side-curtain airbags for the second and third rows. All 2013 4Runners have active headrests for driver and passenger, and three-point seat belts for all seats.

The 2013 4Runner Limited offers the Safety Connect™ telematics system. Available by subscription, with or without the optional navigation system, Safety Connect offers four safety and security features: Automatic Collision Notification, Stolen Vehicle Location, Emergency Assistance Button (SOS), and Roadside Assistance. When Safety Connect is ordered, it includes a one-year trial subscription.

In case of either airbag deployment or severe rear-end collision, an Automatic Collision Notification system is designed to automatically call a response center. If a response agent cannot communicate with the occupants, the agent can contact the nearest emergency-services provider to dispatch assistance.

Pushing the in-vehicle “SOS” button allows drivers to reach the response center to request help in an emergency as well as for a wide range of roadside assistance needs. If a 4Runner equipped with Safety Connect is stolen, agents can work with local authorities to help locate and recover the vehicle.

A rear clearance sonar system is standard on SR5 models, and a rear-view backup camera is standard on Limited and Trail grades and optional on the SR5. The system displays in the rear-view mirror or navigation screen (if equipped), helping to keep track of hard-to-see objects to the rear of the vehicle.

Comfort and Convenience
A bright, highly visible instrument panel houses speedometer, tachometer, voltage, fuel and coolant temperature gauges, plus a combination meter that offers multiple functions. An Eco-Driving feedback system allows the driver to monitor fuel consumption in real time. On 4Runner Trail, an overhead console within easy reach organizes the off-road control switches into one location. A compass indicator and outside temperature display add functionality. A manual air conditioning system is standard on SR5 and Trail grades; the Limited features an automatic dual-zone climate-control system.

For second-row passengers, a sculpted front seat-back shape provides additional knee space. The second-row seats, which include a center armrest, individually recline up to 16 degrees in four steps. Third-row seating features a roomy, supportive seating area. A 40/20/40 second-row seat configuration with a one-touch walk-in function makes access to the third row easier.

A rich leather-trimmed interior comes standard on 4Runner Limited and is optional on SR5. Graphite and Sand Beige fabric is standard on SR5. The Trail models are equipped with graphite color water-resistant fabric seats.

Versatility and Convenience
The 2013 4Runner SR5 and Limited grades offer the convenience of newly available automatic running boards. Fold-flat second-row seats provide a level load floor in the 4Runner, and it is not necessary to remove the headrests to fold the seats flat. The available third-row seat is split 50/50 and folds flat. The seats can be folded from the side, or at the rear, using separate one-touch levers. With this new arrangement, more cargo space is available without removing seats, and longer items can be conveniently carried.

A Smart Key system featuring keyless entry with push-button start is standard on the Limited grade. The system allows the driver to unlock or start the vehicle by carrying the keyless remote. The cargo door window has jam control, like the moonroof and power side windows. An available pull-out cargo deck is capable of carrying up to 440 pounds to make loading heavy items easier and to provide seating for tailgating and campsite relaxation. For models with the sliding deck, a 6.4-liter capacity storage box behind the rear seat provides additional storage.

The Limited grade offers an available JBL® premium sound system with navigation, featuring a six-disk in-dash CD changer and 15 speakers. The navigation system includes a large seven-inch monitor.

Standard on all audio systems is a unique “party mode” audio setting that is ideal for tailgating, raises bass response and shifts sound balance to the rear of the vehicle. Party mode is in addition bolstered by rear liftgate-mounted speakers, which function with or without party mode selected.

Advanced Multimedia
The 4Runner SR5 and Trail models come with standard SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio capability with a 90-day trial subscription included, USB port with iPod® connectivity and hands-free phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth® wireless technology.

Standard for the Limited grade, and optional for all other 4Runner models, a new Display Audio system incorporates today’s most in-demand connectivity features. It features navigation, Toyota Entune™ multimedia system, XM Satellite Radio (with 90-day trial subscription), and HD Radio with iTunes® tagging.

Entune is a collection of popular mobile applications and data services, with three years of complimentary access. Once the smart phone is connected to the vehicle using Bluetooth wireless technology or a USB cable, Entune’s features are operated using the vehicle’s controls or, for some services, by voice recognition. Entune offers mobile apps for Bing™, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable®, and Pandora®. Entune data services include a fuel price guide, sports scores, stocks, traffic and weather.

Infiniti Announces U.S. Pricing for 2014 QX80 Full-Size Luxury SUV and 2014 QX50 Luxury Crossover


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Infiniti today announced U.S. pricing for the 2014 Infiniti QX80 and QX50, which are on sale now at Infiniti dealers nationwide. Starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP)* for the QX50 (formerly known as the Infiniti EX) are reduced $2,500 USD from 2013 model levels. Prices for Infiniti’s SUV flagship QX80 (formerly known as the Infiniti QX56) are unchanged from 2013.

2014 Infiniti QX80
The Infiniti QX80 continues to offer an unmatched combination of power, strength and luxury style – capable of transporting up to eight adults and their belongings with spacious elegance. Its drivetrain is rugged enough to handle tasks such as towing boats or trailers (8,500-pound towing capacity, when properly equipped), while being equally at home transporting friends and family for a night on the town. For 2014, the advanced Backup Collision Intervention (BCI) system is added to Technology Package.

The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP)* for the 2014 Infiniti QX80 are:

Model Engine/Drive MSRP
QX80 5.6-liter V8 / RWD $61,350 USD
QX80 AWD 5.6-liter V8 / AWD $64,450 USD

Destination and Handling $995 USD

2014 Infiniti QX50
The Infiniti QX50 combines a sleek, sculpted, elegant exterior design, exhilarating driving performance and an engaging interior environment. Standard features include leather-appointed seating, Intelligent Key and RearView Monitor. Responsive performance is provided by a 325-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 matched with a 7-speed automatic transmission. Infiniti QX50 AWD models feature Infiniti’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system. There are no major enhancements for the 2014 model year.

The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP)* for the 2014 Infiniti QX50 are:

Model Engine/Drive MSRP
QX50 3.7-liter V6 / RWD $34,400 USD
QX50 AWD 3.7-liter V6 / AWD $35,800 USD
QX50 Journey 3.7-liter V6 / RWD $36,750 USD
QX50 AWD Journey 3.7-liter V6 / AWD $38,150 USD

Destination and Handling $995 USD

Top accolade for Audi R8 in “red dot award” 2013


Audi has come away from this year’s “red dot award: product design 2013” with distinctions for three models: The Audi R8 impressed the high-profile international jury with its “highest design quality”, which earned it the top award “red dot: best of the best”. The Audi A3 Sportback, already a repeat winner, and the Audi S3 were also rated very highly, winning the “red dot” for their high styling quality. Head of Interior Design Enzo Rothfuss took receipt of the awards yesterday evening at the red dot gala in Essen’s Aalto Theater. He expressed his thanks to the jurors and the design team: “Design is a dynamic process in which we all seek to blend tradition with vision.”

Of more than 4,600 products and projects entered from 54 countries, the winners included 22 car models. The jury comprises 37 experts from 24 countries. The award acknowledges not just aesthetic form, but also pioneering trends and the designers’ innovations. “It is designed and elaborated to an extraordinarily high level. Its proportions are balanced, it has perfect poise and its aesthetics are of high caliber,” declared the jury as its reasons for choosing the Audi R8.

“Choosing new directions in design first of all involves questioning every design with a critical eye,” commented Audi chief designer Wolfgang Egger. “The design process often resembles a dynamic car trip, with all its highs and lows. For innovative creation to take place, things repeatedly need to be looked at from a variety of perspectives and new solutions invented without losing sight of the brand’s DNA.” The R8 perfectly embodies this blend of tradition and vision. This ultimately leads to a design that generates a high affinity and emotional bond among Audi customers and points to the shape of things to come.


The all-new 2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4MATIC


MONTVALE, NJ – Mercedes-AMG is unleashing the all-new 2014 S63 AMG 4MATIC. The most powerful high-performance sedan in the luxury segment sets new standards in terms of driving dynamics, lightweight construction and efficiency. The AMG 5.5-liter V8 biturbo engine – the most powerful member of the M157 engine family, with an output of 577 hp and torque of 664 lb-ft – delivers effortlessly superior performance. Thanks to systematic lightweight construction based on the “AMG Lightweight Performance” philosophy, the 2014 S63 AMG 4MATIC is up to 220 pounds lighter than its predecessor. A new standard feature on the 2014 model is the performance oriented AMG all-wheel-drive 4MATIC system. This not only enhances traction but represents a new dimension in driving dynamics in its segment. The design, equipment and appointments of the
2014 S63 AMG 4MATIC meets the highest standards in terms of high-class appeal, quality and perfection, and will be available in U.S. showrooms in November 2013.

Ola Källenius, CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH: “Following the successful launch of the A45 AMG and the CLA45 AMG, the new S63 AMG 4MATIC highlights our expertise in the automotive high-end segment. Lightweight construction and absolute performance are among the key strengths of the new flagship model from Mercedes-AMG. The new S63 AMG 4MATIC likewise leads the way when it comes to perfection, high-class appeal and quality. We are also offering the S63 AMG 4MATIC with the performance-oriented AMG all-wheel drive system 4MATIC for the first time to target new markets: the S63 AMG 4MATIC is just the ticket for customers who attach importance to four-wheel drive due to weather conditions.”

Tobias Moers, Head of Overall Vehicle Development and Board Member of Mercedes-AMG GmbH: “We have unquestionably achieved our aim of making the new S63 AMG 4MATIC more powerful, lightweight and efficient than its predecessor. In terms of driving dynamics as well, the S63 AMG 4MATIC has made giant leaps forward – not least thanks to the performance-oriented AMG 4MATIC all-wheel drive.”

AMG Lightweight Performance: up to 220 pounds lighter than before
Systematic implementation of the AMG Lightweight Performance strategy
reduces the weight of the S63 AMG 4MATIC by up to 220 pounds compared to
the predecessor model. This weight saving was achieved largely thanks to the
use of AMG forged light-alloy wheels, a lightweight lithium-ion battery and a
weight-optimized AMG high-performance two-piece brake system.
Furthermore, the entire outer skin of the S-Class, including the roof and the
front end of the body, is made of aluminum. Installing a spare wheel recess
made of carbon fiber, a material used in Formula 1, reduces the weight by a
further 9 pounds. The S63 AMG 4MATIC also leads the way when it comes to
power-to-weight ratio, boasting a figure of 7.9 lbs/hp, resulting in effortlessly
superior performance. Acceleration from 0 to 60 mph takes 3.9 seconds and
the top speed is 186 mph (electronically limited).
In terms of maximum output and fuel consumption, the AMG 5.5-liter
V8 biturbo engine remains the most efficient series-produced V8 engine of all.
With an output of 577 hp and a torque of 664 lb-ft, the AMG eight-cylinder motor
from the M157 engine family outperforms all comparable engines. The fuel
consumption of the new S63 AMG 4MATIC is lower than its predecessor, even
though the engine output has been increased by 49 hp.
Technical highlights of the AMG 5.5-liter V8 biturbo engine:
 Direct gasoline injection with piezo injectors
 Twin turbocharging
 All-aluminum crankcase
 Four valves per cylinder with camshaft adjustment
 Air-to-water intercooler
 Efficient cooling of engine oil, engine water and transmission oil
 Lightweight composite oil pan
 Alternator management
 ECO Start/Stop function

RCZ R: performance and efficiency, from Peugeot Sport


At the Goodwood “Festival of Speed”, Peugeot is unveiling the RCZ R, a more powerful version of its sports coupé, symbolic of the marque’s expertise in design and driving sensations.

Its new 270 hp engine with a capacity of 1.6 l and CO2 emissions limited to just 145g/km place the RCZ R at an unheard-of level of performance and efficiency.

“Every component designed specifically for the RCZ R contributes to its new dynamic performance and sublimates the pure, sleek, style of the RCZ which gives it its own identity. ”

Pierre Paul Mattei, RCZ Style Manager

thanks to a new spoiler, which favours stability at high speed, without reducing the drag.

Exterior design
Adorned with Matt Black arches and headlamps with an understated Titanium tint, the RCZ R sets itself apart with sporting attributes favouring its dynamic effectiveness and treated with refinement.

Its special wheel rims, two-tone diamond / matt black, are signed with an ‘R’ milled directly into the alloy. They have been designed to house and optimise the cooling of the new larger brakes and the red calipers at the front are signed ‘Peugeot Sport’.

The large fixed rear spoiler, perfectly integrated, guarantees improved aerodynamic downforce while extending the silhouette from the rear view.

Instruments and controls which awaken the senses
From the door sill bearing the Peugeot Sport logo, the sporty and exclusive character is reinforced.

The red overstitching runs across the soft, enhanced material of the dashboard, as well as the leather on the steering wheel, the gear lever gaiter, the door trim pads, the armrests and the seats.

“Descending” into his vehicle, the driver discovers an ergonomic driving position, ideal for savouring the dynamic qualities of his RCZ R. The small steering wheel, the short gear lever, the special gear knob in aluminium highlighted with red and the new bucket seats developed by Peugeot Sport – with reinforced support and consistent with the level of performance of the RCZ R – actively contribute to the driving sensations.

Dynamic and sporty sensations
The performance and agility of the RCZ R are also the result of fine-tuning meetings and circuit tests, in particular with the Peugeot Sport test drivers.

The RCZ R will have its world première at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2013 and will go on sale at the beginning of 2014.

Discover la Fashion Wheel


The new HYbrid Bike AE21 of Peugeot Cycles travelled around Europe’s trendy destinations and is being presented at Who’s next.

#LaFashionWheel // Expériences urbaines
In order to offer an innovative urban experience, Peugeot Cycles entrusted the AE21 with Marc Beaugé, fashion editor and commentator, for him to discover Paris, Berlin, Milan, Londres and Amsterdam.

Follow his favourite highlights in a guide that can be devoured unrestrainedly in the Peugeot Cycles space at the trade show (Who’s Next Accessories – Hall 7.2) from 6th to 9th July 2013. You will discover destinations, meetings, flavours and the exceptional items that stand out as the current unmissable points. Peugeot Cycles is pleased to present its Hybrid Bike AE21 in a preview showing.

The Hybrid Bike AE21presented at Who’s Next
By choosing to introduce its new ebike exclusively at fashion trade show, Peugeot Cycles confirmed its boldness in terms of urban mobility and design. An elegant bike that will seduce with its many others qualities. Urban, smart, agile and compact, it provides an original, chic response to urban use of bikes. Its innovative, universal frame, its lithium-ion plug-in battery, its pull-down elements, all equipment that delight fans of innovative and exclusive mobility.

With an electric motor located in the front wheel, the AE21 is perfect for effortless, quiet, and clean urban use. The Clever Case frame was designed and crafted by our designers to accommodate a battery, a laptop bag and a quality folding lock, the ABUS Bordo, to ensure the everyday protection of the bike. Compact thanks to its folding pedals and hanger, the AE21 can be easily stored against a wall in our urban homes.

The All-New Mazda3 Redefines the Sports Compact

mazda 3
mazda 3

HIROSHIMA, Japan—Mazda Motor Corporation today revealed the hatchback version of the all-new Mazda3 (known as Mazda Axela in Japan). The redesigned Mazda3 is the third in Mazda’s new generation of products that adopt both the KODO – Soul of Motion design theme and the full-suite of SKYACTIV Technologies. The sports compact that will redefine driving pleasure will be launched around the globe, with sales starting in North American markets from autumn this year.

All-new Mazda3 5-door Hatchback
(North American Specification)

Thanks to the dynamic expressions of KODO design, the Mazda3 suggests exhilarating driving at first glance. In addition, SKYACTIV Technology delivers a “jinba-ittai” experience of oneness between car and driver which deepens with every mile driven. Introduced for the first time with the 3rd generation Mazda3 is a new car connectivity system that broadens the scope of that driving experience. The system features a new Human Machine Interface (HMI) that is designed with the highest priority placed on driving safety. A wide range of Mazda’s i-ACTIVSENSE advanced active safety technologies aid the driver in recognizing and avoiding hazards. Mazda has consistently aimed to offer customers driving pleasure and this compelling package ensures the all-new Mazda3 is no exception.

The global engine line-up includes a newly-developed SKYACTIV-G 1.5 liter gasoline engine in addition to 2.0 and 2.5 liter engines and a 2.2 liter clean diesel engine. The line-up will be optimized for each market to meet the diverse needs of a wide variety of customers around the world. A sedan model featuring a hybrid electric powertrain will be available in Japan.

Since the launch of the first generation in 2003, more than 3.5 million Mazda3s have been sold around the world. It is the best-selling model in the Mazda lineup and accounts for a third of the company’s annual global sales. Previous generations of the Mazda3 were acclaimed in markets around the world for their emotive design, responsive and enjoyable driving, environmental and safety performance, and excellent craftsmanship. The model has received 136 awards globally.

Mazda to Increase Production Capacity of SKYACTIV Transmissions at Hofu Plant


HIROSHIMA, Japan—Mazda Motor Corporation has announced plans to increase SKYACTIV transmission* production capacity at the Nakanoseki district of Hofu Plant in Yamaguchi, Japan. Production capacity, currently at 750,000 units annually, will be increased to 1,140,000 units in July 2014 in response to growing sales of SKYACTIV models around the globe.

The initiative involves adding machining and assembly lines to an affiliated company’s building located next to the Nakanoseki district. Preparations will begin later this month with the installation of production equipment such as multi-function machining centers. Mazda aims to begin operations in July 2014.

A signing ceremony for an agreement related to the production capacity increase took place at the Hofu City Hall today. Among the attendees at the ceremony were Mazda’s Nariaki Uchida, Executive Officer and General Manager of Hofu Plant; Masato Matsuura, the Mayor of Hofu city, and Susumu Kimura from Yamaguchi Prefecture’s Department of Commerce and Industry.

Nariaki Uchida commented, “Operations began at the Nakanoseki district of Hofu plant in December 1981, and it is now Mazda’s chief transmission production facility. This is where we make SKYACTIV transmissions for the Mazda CX-5, which was named Car of the Year Japan last year, and our flagship model the Mazda Atenza (known as Mazda6 overseas). Moving forward, Mazda is committed to delivering vehicles featuring SKYACTIV Technology to the greatest number of customers possible and to contribute to the further development of Yamaguchi prefecture and the city of Hofu.”

Mazda is strengthening its production system in order to achieve its goal of achieving global sales of 1.7 million vehicles annually by the fiscal year ending March 2016. Eighty percent of those vehicles are expected to feature SKYACTIV technology. In addition to the Nakanoseki district, Mazda will construct a new transmission plant in Thailand with an annual production capacity of around 400,000 units. Operations at the new plant are expected to begin in the first half of the fiscal year ending March 2016.

The SKYACTIV transmission was first installed in the Mazda Axela (known as Mazda3 overseas) introduced to the Japanese market in 2011, and it is now available in five different models. It will also be available in the all-new Mazda3 due to be launched globally starting in North America in autumn this year.

* Includes both SKYACTIV-DRIVE automatic transmission and SKYACTIV-MT manual transmission.

Volvo Car Group demonstrates the ingenious self-parking car


Volvo Car Group has developed an ingenious concept for autonomous parking. The concept car, which will be demonstrated at a media event next week, finds and parks in a vacant space by itself, without the driver inside. The smart, driverless car also interacts safely and smoothly with other cars and pedestrians in the car park.

“Autonomous Parking is a concept technology that relieves the driver of the time-consuming task of finding a vacant parking space. The driver just drops the vehicle off at the entrance to the car park and picks it up in the same place later,” says Thomas Broberg, Senior Safety Advisor Volvo Car Group.

Vehicle 2 Infrastructure technology, in other words transmitters in the road infrastructure, informs the driver when the service is available. The driver uses a mobile phone application to activate the Autonomous Parking and then walks away from the car.

The vehicle uses sensors to localise and navigate to a free parking space. The procedure is reversed when the driver comes back to pick up the car.

Interacts with other vehicles and road users
Combining autonomous driving with detection and auto brake for other objects makes it possible for the car to interact safely with other cars and pedestrians in the car park. Speed and braking are adapted for smooth integration in the parking environment.

“Our approach is based on the principle that autonomously driven cars must be able to move safely in environments with non-autonomous vehicles and unprotected road users,” says Thomas Broberg.

Pioneering autonomous technologies
Volvo Car Group’s aim is to gain leadership in the field of autonomous driving by moving beyond concepts and actually delivering pioneering technologies that will reach the customers. The Autonomous Parking concept is one of several development projects in this field.

Volvo Cars has also been the only participating car manufacturer in the SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) project, which was successfully completed in 2012. The project involved seven European partners. It is the only one of its kind to focus on technology that can be implemented on conventional highways on which platooned traffic operates in a mixed environment with other road users.

The SARTRE platoon included a lead truck followed by four Volvos driven autonomously at speeds of up to 90 km/h – in some cases with no more than a four-metre gap between the vehicles.

Autonomous steering in the next XC90
“The autonomous parking and platooning technologies are still being developed. However, we will take the first steps towards our leadership aim by introducing the first features with autonomous steering in the all-new Volvo XC90, which will be revealed at the end of 2014,” concludes Thomas Broberg.

Volvo Cars’ pioneering work on pedestrian protection wins Global NCAP Innovation Award

volvo v40
volvo v40

Volvo Car Group’s pioneering work on pedestrian protection has been rewarded with the 2013 Global NCAP Innovation Award. The prize was received by Prof. Lotta Jakobsson, Senior Technical Specialist Safety at Volvo Cars Safety Centre, at the Enhanced Safety of Vehicles (ESV) Conference in Seoul, South Korea, today.

At the ESV Conference, Prof. Lotta Jakobsson held a presentation about Volvo Cars’ outstanding achievements within pedestrian protection. She presented a paper on the Pedestrian Airbag Technology in the new Volvo V40.

“The purpose of the world’s first airbag for pedestrians is to help protect these vulnerable road users in certain situations when they impact the bonnet and the area around the windscreen, where there may be a risk of serious head injuries,” says Lotta Jakobsson.

Addressing a global challenge
In China, 25 per cent of traffic fatalities are pedestrians. In Europe, the figure is 14 per cent and in the USA 12 per cent. Far larger numbers of pedestrians are injured. The most serious head injuries involving pedestrians and cars are caused by the hard structure under the bonnet panel, the windscreen’s lower edge and the A-pillars.

In 2010, Volvo Cars counteracted the statistics by launching Pedestrian Detection with full auto brake. The system can avoid a collision with a pedestrian at speeds of up to 35 km/h if the driver does not respond in time. At higher speeds, the focus is on reducing the car’s speed as much as possible before the collision.

In order to mitigate the consequences if a collision with a pedestrian is unavoidable, the Volvo V40, launched in 2012, comes equipped with the world’s first Pedestrian Airbag Technology.

Raises the bonnet by ten centimetres
Seven sensors embedded in the front of the car transmit signals to a control unit. When the car comes into contact with an object, the control unit evaluates the signals and if it registers a human-like leg form, the pedestrian airbag is deployed.

The bonnet hinges are equipped with pyrotechnical release mechanisms which, when the system is activated, pull out a pin and release the rear of the bonnet. At the same time, the airbag is inflated. During the inflation sequence, the airbag raises the bonnet. It is lifted ten centimetres and stays in the raised position.

The added gap between the bonnet and the hard components in the engine compartment gives space for the bonnet to deform, absorbing energy and dampening the impact of the pedestrian’s head and chest.

“The airbag has a dual function. It raises the bonnet to create distance. Then it helps to cushion the impact by covering the hard parts around the windscreen,” explains Lotta Jakobsson.

Best Euro NCAP score ever
In 2012, the all-new Volvo V40 achieved a five-star Euro NCAP rating and also won the Euro NCAP Best in Class in the Small Family class – with the best overall result ever recorded by the organization. The V40 scored an all-time high in the pedestrian evaluation by attaining 88 per cent of the total score.

“Several studies have documented that our collision-avoiding systems lead to significant accident reductions in real-life traffic. By continuously introducing new preventive and protective systems, we keep moving towards our aim that by 2020 no one should be injured or killed in a new Volvo,” concludes Lotta Jakobsson.