Category: UK

By on October 7, 2017

2017 Aston Martin DB11 - Image: Aston MartinAston Martin, builder of premium British GT cars, does not sell nearly as many cars as it used to. In fact, Aston Martin’s 2017’s output will fall some 30 percent below the brand’s record volume from a decade ago.

But that’s only part of the story. Aston Martin’s global 2017 volume will be 36-percent higher than it was just last year. Moreover, Aston Martin sales will more than double in the next two years.  Read More >

By on September 19, 2017

Jaguar E-Type, Image: Steph Willems

Just imagine for a second that Britain’s best-known automotive nameplates aren’t owned by the Germans and Indians. Once upon a time, the Union Jack fluttered proudly over a vast empire of brands. The sun never set on the nation’s impressive array of automobiles, and enthusiasts the world over lusted over the scorching, sexy offerings emerging from a country best known for fog, breakfast fishes and military might.

When Britain decided to let its hair down, oh boy. Any red-blooded driver would gladly put up with weird electrical issues or leaks for a chance to sit behind the wheel of a curvacious, inline-six-powered dream machine that oozed sex (and perhaps oil) every mile of its life. Though the dream eventually collapsed, foreign ownership brought it partway back. (I’m poking fun just a bit, but the stinking nationalized mess that was British-Leyland is a comedy mine that never runs out.)

But we’re not here to rehash the dismal 1970s. This is a celebration — a brimming glass of scotch, gin, sherry, or port raised in honour of a quirky industry with a diverse heritage. Detroit may have cranked out the wheels that moved America, but Britain — at least for a while — cranked out cheap exports for people who couldn’t afford a Dodge. North of the border especially, postwar British cars with alarmingly low horsepower figures stoically braved weather they weren’t designed for.

Sure, my parents’ childhoods contained Fords, Chevrolets, Studebakers and Plymouths, but they also contained an Austin A30, Morris Minor 1000, Morris Oxford, two Vauxhall Victors, and a grandparent’s Triumph Mayflower (0-50 mph in 26.6 seconds). Dad still raves about the Vauxhall Firenza (“half of a V8!”) he bought in the ’70s. Maybe it’s a Commonwealth thing.

It was with these tales in mind that I travelled to tony Stowe, Vermont last weekend for the British Invasion, the Northeast’s annual celebration of UK rolling stock. Let’s take a look at some oddities and bonafide classics, shall we? Read More >

By on August 4, 2017

Mini Cooper 5-door production line Oxford - Image: BMW UKAuto sales in the United Kingdom tumbled 9 percent in July 2017, a fourth consecutive year-over-year monthly decline for a market that had surged to record-high levels in the first-quarter of 2017.

A transitioning period for the Ford Fiesta — entering a new generation that is almost certainly not bound for North America — dropped the UK’s normal best-selling vehicle out of the top spot for a second consecutive month. Another Ford, the Focus, took over as the UK’s top-selling automobile as total sales at Ford, the UK’s top-selling brand, plunged 24 percent compared with July 2016.

Ford’s drop was by no means the only sharp decrease. Losses of more than 20 percent were also reported by Alfa Romeo, Citroën, Citroën’s DS brand, Fiat, Jeep, Peugeot, and Vauxhall.

Apparently, Brexit is to blame. Read More >

By on July 11, 2017

2016 Hyundai Genesis Right Hand Drive - Image: Hyundai UK“The Genesis was never built for the European market,” Hyundai UK director Tony Whitehorn says. “It was conceived for the Korean and American markets.”

And now, with the second-generation Hyundai Genesis sedan languishing in the United Kingdom while Hyundai launches the Genesis brand in North America, the Hyundai Genesis Americans now know as the Genesis G80 has been discontinued as in the UK.

Still follow? Read More >

By on July 5, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Golf - Image: Volkswagen UKThe Volkswagen Golf was the best-selling new vehicle in the United Kingdom in June 2017, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

So what, you say, the Golf is historically a European powerhouse, a fine car by all accounts, just one that’s not entirely suited to American sales success.

But for the Golf, typically a top five car, to earn outright best seller status in the UK, something had to give.

At just the right time, when the Ford Fiesta was at a weak point, the Volkswagen Golf stepped up with a 29-percent year-over-year increase despite shrinking demand across much of the UK market. The result: the Golf ended a Ford Fiesta streak that had been in good standing for 29 months.
Read More >

By on March 17, 2017

vauxhall corsa

Today’s the day we celebrate an Irish guy who probably isn’t responsible for banishing snakes from the Emerald Isle, usually by guzzling beer tinted with bowel-loosening amounts of green food coloring.

Across a tiny sea from that land, a much more vibrant color caused the inhabitants of one historic British town to rebel against the tyranny wrought by a compact hatchback. We’re happy to inform you that order has now been restored. Read More >

By on December 15, 2016

2016 Ford Fiesta green 3-door - Image: Ford UKThe Ford Fiesta is the most popular car at TTAC.

We don’t mean to say that TTAC’s audience researches the Ford Fiesta more often than any other vehicle. Nor are we suggesting that the Ford Fiesta is the consensus favourite among TTAC’s vast contributor network. Rather, there are a total of three Fiestas spread across TTAC driveways: the managing editor’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost, an ST at the home of our advice columnist, and another ST in the family of TTAC’s editor-at-large.

That’s an impressive level of marketplace penetration for a car that generates just 0.3 percent of the U.S. auto industry’s new vehicle sales volume. Yet across the pond, the very same car owns an industry-wide 4.5 percent of the overall new vehicle market.

2016 will be the eighth consecutive year in which the Ford Fiesta claims the title of the United Kingdom’s best-selling vehicle. Not only is the consistency remarkable, so too is the authority with which the Fiesta scores its victories. Read More >

By on September 15, 2016

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

The United Kingdom isn’t scared of electric vehicles, what with their high fuel prices and limited driving distances (when compared to the U.S.).

However, General Motors has developed a serious case of cold feet on the issue of launching a Vauxhall-branded Chevrolet Bolt, which could prove a decent sales performer. An all-electric range of 238 miles is impressive, so why is the General so shy? Read More >

By on June 29, 2016

2017 Jaguar lineup

Jaguar Land Rover’s brands are as British as crumpets and the Union Jack (ignore the fact that it’s owned by India’s Tata Motors), so concerns over Britain’s vote to leave the European Union should fall squarely on its tweed-covered shoulders.

The automaker is keeping a stiff upper lip, at least in public, with a spokesperson saying the company doesn’t plan to make changes to its strategy, Reuters reports.

A $1.34 billion assembly plant in Slovakia is going ahead as planned, said Jaguar Land Rover strategy director Adrian Hallmark, who called the Brexit a “short-term issue” during a news conference. Read More >

By on June 24, 2016

Red_Devils-Union_Jack (Wikimedia Commons)

The United Kingdom, through referendum, has decided to break off from Europe and go it alone. But what of all the auto manufacturers that produce vehicles in the island nation? And of their employees? And trade?

We won’t know the answers to those questions until the UK and European governments sort out how the two entities will work together in the future. For now, it’s business as usual. Though, thanks to Autocar, we at least have reactions from the big players in the UK’s automotive industry.

Read More >

By on June 24, 2016

2017 Jaguar lineup

The UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders is tasked with, according to the SMMT, promoting “the interests of the UK automotive industry at home and abroad.”

Prior to the June 23 Brexit vote for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, the SMMT insisted that voting “remain” was critical to the UK automotive industry. Brexit could jeopardise jobs, automakers were in agreement that remaining was important, and pointed to the UK’s 800,000 auto industry jobs and its £15.5 billion contribution to the economy as reasons to stay in the European Union.

Read More >

By on May 5, 2016

15 - 1982 Buick LeSabre Diesel in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

With European regulators taking a closer look at the continent’s wonder fuel — diesel, that is — in the wake of Volkswagen’s emissions scandal, oil burners could hasten their disappearance from European Union streets.

That would be great for police officers in the UK, who seem increasingly confused about what kind of fuel goes in their patrol car’s tank. Read More >

By on March 1, 2016

Honda Civic Hatchback Prototype front 3/4, Image: Honda Europe

The 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback has bowed in prototype form at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, and will be getting its U.S. welcome at the New York International Auto Show on March 22.

After having images leaked two days ago, the prototype offers a clearer look at what buyers can expect when the 10th generation Civic hatch goes on sale. Just don’t expect the ornate, go-fast trappings of this version to be found on anything approaching a base model.

Read More >

By on January 29, 2016

LR_DEF_Celebration_Event_290116_04

The last Land Rover Defender rolled off the line Friday at the Solihull, UK facility, according to the automaker.

The wildly uncomfortable, loud and grandfather to all Land Rovers will live on, albeit in name only — the next-generation Defender is already in the works.

The final Land Rover Defenders shared two common parts with the first Series Land Rover, according to the automaker: the hood cleats and underbody support strut. Which is two parts more than I expected would have survived from the originals. Read More >

By on January 26, 2016

1.6 TDI Motor ( EA 189 ):  Flow straightener Volkswagen

Last we heard, Volkswagen’s small loophole that it could technically skate through on the definition of “cheating” in Europe was fairly well closed.

Last week, Volkswagen’s chief in the UK asserted in a letter to British Parliament that the company may not have have technically cheated in Europe.

“Volkswagen accepts that a defeat device was used in the USA in certain models, in the context of the very different regulatory framework and factual circumstances there,” Paul Willis wrote in a December letter (via New York Times). “However we do not think that it is possible to make the same definitive legal determination in relation to the software that was fitted to those differently configured vehicles in the UK and EU.” (Emphasis ours.)

Holy shit. Really?

Read More >

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