We’ve heard that European new car registrations went up by 9.3 per cent in 2015 and we’ve heard that the UK delivered record figures. But what has been less widely reported is the fact that the strong European increase has been driven by what analysts have called “an SUV boom”. A boom that the British market played a key part in.
For the first time in the history of European car sales, SUVs led the way, outselling the traditional subcompact and compact segments, posting an increase of 24 per cent at 3.2 million units. Their market share grew from 19.8 per cent in 2014 to 22.5 per cent in 2015, leaving the subcompacts in second position with 22 per cent share, and the compacts segment third with 20.6 per cent. These vehicles along with the mid-size saloons and sports cars were the only segments to gain market share in 2015.
The following board meetings at both Renault and Nissan on 10 and 11 December respectively, the two firms have issued the following statement via Carlos Ghosn, chairman and chief executive officer of the Renault-Nissan Alliance: “Today was an important day for the future of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. After months of discussions, I am happy to say that an agreement has been reached that builds on our heritage and strong foundations to achieve further sustainable growth and success of the two partners. While there were important short-term issues to address, it was imperative that all involved took a long view.”
Sailun Tyres has launched two new passenger car tyres developed particularly for the European market in an event held in the Brittany village of Lohéac, France. The tyres both appear in the company’s Atrezzo PCR line; the Atrezzo Elite asymmetrical high performance tread and the Atrezzo Eco, designed as a more eco-friendly alternative to sit below the Elite in terms of size profile. Compared to their predecessor, the 90-size SH-402, the tyres both have patterns in keeping with current market trends. During the presentation of the two new tyres, Sailun also gave details of its first all-season tyre, the Atrezo 4 Seasons, which has also been launched in five sizes. The event follows Sailun’s collaborative events in Lohéac and Val d’Isère with its French distributor DistriCash, though this time the manufacturer was “standing alone,” in the words of Sailun Jinyu (Europe) managing director Martin West, with guests attending from across Europe.
Renault’s 6×2 T-series Optifuel will roll off the production line on Michelin 315/70 R 22.5 X Line Energy tyres as standard, after intensive trials.
During three days of testing around a 143.6 mile test route, the low rolling resistance Michelin 315/70 X Line Energy tyres – designed to operate at a high average speed on long-distance trunking – showed a three per cent advantage in fuel efficiency over a set of competing premium-brand 295/80 R 22.5 ‘regional’ tread pattern tyres. The trials took in a combination of A-roads and motorways, and were conducted with the support of Michelin’s UK technical team.
The Goodyear Vector 4Seasons has been named an original equipment fitment for Renault’s new mid-size SUV. Those wishing to have their Kadjar roll on all-season rubber will receive the Goodyear tyre in 215/60R17 96H.
The outcome of the FIA Formula E Championship was decided at the final round in London. Sam Bird (Virgin) won the last ePrix of the season, whilst the all-electric series’ inaugural titles were won by Nelson Piquet (Nextev TCR) – Drivers’ championship – and e.dams-Renault – Constructors.
Trend Tracker, formed in 2003 to provide accurate and informed automotive industry research, calculates the retail service, maintenance and repair market’s worth has risen by almost £1 billion since the 2008 recession. This is inevitably resulting in greater interest in the segment, which is increasing the desire of vehicle manufacturers (VMs) to compete for this business. AMOnline has recently reported on the efforts of some car manufacturers to take a bigger slice of that market, giving a synopsis of what measures various VMs are taking.
Nexen Tire’s N’blue Premium has been selected as original equipment for the Renault ‘Twingo’ and the Smart ‘Forfour’ compact cars. According to Nexen, its tyres will be standard equipment for the two cars, which were co-developed by Renault and Daimler AG.
The latest version of the Renault Espace will be equipped with Dunlop Sport Maxx RT tyres in size 235/55R19 101W. When it first launched in 1984, the Renault Espace revolutionised the automotive world as one of the first MPVs on the market. Today, the new Espace has evolved to become a crossover for the European market.
The Formula E car – the Spark-Renault SRT_01E – will receive a series of updates ahead of season two of the all-electric racing series. Speaking in a mid-season update, Spark technical director Theophile Gouzin confirmed: “We’re constantly improving the car’s mechanical components in order to meet street circuit requirements.
The past couple of years have witnessed a build-up of Nexen Tire’s original equipment supply portfolio with European vehicle manufacturers. At the end of 2013 the Korean tyre maker announced its N’blue HD would be fitted to European market Volkswagen Polo models, and shortly afterwards it said the tyre would also be original equipment on the Skoda Octavia and Rapid. News of a third N’blue HD deal, this time for the Dacia Lodgy and Dokker, was issued in June 2014. Now Nexen has announced it is working with two further car makers in Europe: Nexen Tire says its N’blue Premium has been approved for original equipment fitment on the Smart Fortwo and Forfour and the Renault Twingo.
Customers of Autoparts UK will have their parts orders delivered rapidly by a brand-new fleet of unique Renault Twizy electric cars. The 12-branch motor factor has invested in the new environmentally-friendly vehicles as part of a drive to reduce its carbon footprint. The cars will mainly operate from the company’s branches in Glasgow & Dundee, delivering a rapid deployment of parts under its exclusive brands including Padtech brake pads, Disctech discs and Ultratech oils. The Renault Twizy is a twin-seater car that is powered by a 17bhp electric motor. Its battery can be recharged by plugging into any 220V power source.
Suspension manufacturer Bilstein has released details of its damper upgrade for Renault’s latest Clio range-toppers, the RS and RS Cup. The Mk IV Clio, with its sophisticated rear suspension design and balanced chassis, will benefit from the B8 damper package, according to Bilstein, with enhanced dynamic abilities working in harmony with either the OEM springs or any quality aftermarket offerings. The suspension supplier’s B14 kits, meanwhile, offer OEM levels of fit, finish and ride quality, coupled with a significant improvement in handling, Bilstein claims
British wheel balancing weight manufacturer Trax has won a contract to supply balance weights to Motrio in France. According to Trax, the Motrio business is worth some 1 million euros over the next three years and will further strengthen the supply of Trax weights into France and the European market.
Mitsubishi, Renault, Subaru, Hyundai and Kia now offer warranties ranging from four to seven years from the initial purchase date, but a closer examination of the small print reveals major discrepancies between the advertised cover and the time elapsed.