Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Nissan Introduces Fuel-Saving Dual Injector System


NISSAN HAS ANNOUNCED details of its all-new Dual Injector technology designed to improve fuel efficiency in small-displacement petrol engines.

The first of its kind for mass-production in vehicle engines, the new fuel delivery system speeds up fuel vaporisation by using an injector for each port rather than one per cylinder. The result is a reduction in unburned fuel and hydrocarbon emissions.

Unlike direct injection systems which require a high-pressure fuel pump (complicating system design in small-capacity engines and increasing cost), Nissan’s “structurally simpler” Dual Injection technology delivers fuel at normal pressures, “reducing cost by about 60 percent compared to direct-injection engines of similar displacement”, Nissan claims.

Where most petrol engines feature one injector per cylinder, Nissan’s Dual Injector system uses two (one for each intake valve port), resulting in smoother, more stable combustion.

The Dual Injection system also features continuous valve timing control on the exhaust side and conventional intake cam control, offering improved heat efficiency, reduced pumping losses and raising fuel efficiency by up to four percent when used in sync with the dual injectors.

“We consider it important to further improve the fuel efficiency of gasoline engines as demand for gasoline and other internal-combustion systems continues to increase around the world,” said Shuichi Nishimura, Corporate Vice President, Nissan Powertrain Engineering Division.

“By widely applying the Dual Injector system on small-displacement engines, we hope to help reduce CO2 emissions and conserve rare metals.”


Nissan says that its system is unique in that, unlike direct injection systems which require a high-pressure fuel pump (thus complicating the design of small-capacity engines), the Dual Injection technology only needs fuel at normal pressures.

Thanks to its lighter and structurally simpler design, Nissan’s Dual Injection system can also be produced at a lower cost - around 60 percent cheaper than an equivalent Direct Injection system - and uses half the amount of precious metals (such as platinum) in the catalytic converter compared to a standard engine.

The first production use of the Dual Injection system is scheduled for 2010, but Nissan has yet to confirm which models will see the technology first.

2010 Peugeot RCZ Teaser Images Released, Australian Launch Confirmed


TWO YEARS AFTER unveiling the attention-grabbing 308 RC Z concept at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, Peugeot will officially unveil the production version of its curvaceous Audi TT alternative at this year’s Frankfurt Show in September.

The nomenclature has changed in the transition from concept to road car, with Peugeot simply calling it the ‘RCZ’.

Ken Thomas, Director of Peugeot Automobiles Australia, has also confirmed that the RCZ will debut in Australian showrooms in the second half of 2010.


The first model in the company’s history to drop the signature zero or double-zero naming convention, the RCZ is also a significant departure from the brand’s usual offerings.

A low-slung 2+2 coupe, the RCZ is worlds apart from the hatchbacks and sedans that are the French carmaker’s staple models.

Peugeot is clearly shooting for a new demographic with the RCZ, saying that the car is “aimed at enthusiasts who are particularly discerning with regards to driving enjoyment”.


Coinciding with the announcement of the car’s debut, Peugeot has also released a number of teaser images showing the finished product. If it looks familiar, that’s no accident - Peugeot has retained the concept’s svelte shape and intricate detailing, and all of the car’s sheetmetal appears identical.

Peugeot Automobiles Australia’s Ken Thomas said the RCZ represents a huge opportunity for the brand in Australia.

“The RCZ got a lot of attention when it was unveiled as a concept car,” he said, “and we are confident that the car will receive even more attention on the road.

“Peugeot has definitely maintained the spirit and flair of that original design.

“We will be offering high performance petrol and diesel engines when the car arrives here.

“To say we are excited about the RCZ coming to Australia is an understatement.”

Recent Spy photos of a prototype caught testing in Europe (below) confirm that the production RCZ won’t bear much external difference to the concept.


Mechanical details have yet to be released, but the general consensus is that the RCZ will be front-wheel-drive, with a range of turbocharged petrol (and possibly diesel) engines under the bonnet.

2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabrio Spied Testing


WITH THE 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show earlier this year, ‘three-pointed-star’ enthusiasts have since diverted their eager attention to news of the upcoming E-Class Cabriolet and Estate models.

It’s been a rollercoaster affair, with talk that the German luxury carmaker had delayed the convertible and wagon as a result of the global financial crisis, followed by a firm declaration from Mercedes-Benz Australia’s Peter Fadeyev that both models are well and truly on track.

Now, new spy photos of the cabriolet have landed in the TMR inbox - the one marked ‘Forget Everything Else’ - and they offer the world’s first look at the E-Class droptop, top up and top down.

About 100mm longer than the CLK Cabrio preceding it, the E-Class Cabrio also bears the same raked A pillar and steep belt-line of the ConceptFASCINATION study revealed back in September last year.

Power is expected to come from the same engine line-up as that featured in the E-Class Coupe, including four, six and eight-cylinder options and figures ranging from 150kW to 285kW for the range-topping E500/E550 model.

The ConceptFASCINATION’s connection to the E-Class is expected to stretch beyond the design similarities seen here. Mercedes-Benz is believed to be working on a ’shooting brake’ model, which would draw its style and shape from the popular concept.

Petrol Price War Heats Up Between Coles And Woolworths/Safeway

SHOPPERS at Coles and Woolworths/Safeway supermarkets are set to benefit from huge savings at the petrol pump, with both companies today announcing discounts for customers spending between $100 and $300 in their stores.

Coles was the first to begin advertising its offer, with offers of discounts of between 10c to 40c a litre at the company’s service stations for customers spending between $100 and $300 at its supermarkets.

Woolworths stores in Victoria launched a similar offer yesterday, giving customers 10c a litre off for spending $100 at its stores, 25c off for spending $200 and 40c off for a spend over $300. The discounts end at midnight on Wednesday.


Woolworths spokesman Benedict Brook warned that the deal may not last long, due to the size of the savings, and that customers should look to capitalise on the savings as soon as possible.

“Price cuts of this magnitude are not sustainable for long periods of time, but with people under the pump with the economy the way it is more one offs are likely in the future,” Mr Brook told News Ltd.

The offerings have come under fire in Canberra, with Independent Senator Nick Xenophon describing the discounts as an example of the “obscene” power that petrol retailers and oil companies wield in determining regular non-discounted fuel prices.

Victoria’s automotive industry body the VACC has also weighed in on the petrol promotion issue, saying that the supermarket retailers’ latest petrol discount offer will ultimately lead to the death of many independent fuel stations.

“While shoppers take advantage of the scheme, Independent Service Station and Convenience Store operators are feeling the knock-on effects,” said VACC Executive Director David Purchase.

“They cannot match a Coles or Woolworths offer as they do not have the thousands of items on their shelves to absorb the cost.

“Independent retailers, who are already battling to exist, are losing customers in droves.”

Mr Purchase also questioned the timing of the promotion:

“Oil prices have not risen dramatically, vehicle sales - while down on last year - are still healthy, petrol prices are at a reasonable level; so why discount heavily now?” He said.

“What is the purpose of selling petrol at below cost?”

Mr Purchase also called on the Australia’s consumer watchdog the ACCC to investigate the fuel discounts offered by Woolworths and Coles to determine if there is any behind-the-scenes collusion.

“The ACCC must immediately review its decision to allow the major grocers discount docket scheme and examine the motives and supposed benefits of Coles’ and Woolworths’ latest promotion,” he said.

2009 Nissan Skyline Crossover Released In Japan


NISSAN HAS RELEASED the high-riding variant of its Skyline sedan, the Skyline Crossover, in Japan this week - the first crossover/sports utility vehicle to bear the Skyline name.

But while the name may be different, the Skyline Crossover is actually based upon the European-market Infiniti EX37, and shares its bodywork and potent VQ37VHR 3.7 litre powertrain with the European car. Intriguingly, it also shares that engine with the rip-snorting Nissan 370Z.


At 243kW, the power output of the Skyline Crossover’s engine is just shy of that of the Z’s mill , but with 90 percent of peak torque on tap from between 2400rpm and 7000rpm, it’s still a grunty machine.

A seven-speed automatic with column-mounted paddle shifters is the only transmission on offer, and identical to the one available in the 370Z and Skyline 370GT.


In addition to its luxurious leather-bound interior and numerous mod-cons, the Skyline Crossover also comes packed with a variety of high-tech driving aids. An optional lane-departure prevention system automatically keeps the car between the lines, an intelligent cruise control system automatically maintains the Crossover’s distance from traffic in front and an obstacle-sensing radar system alerts the driver if a collision may be imminent.


The Skyline Crossover also features Nissan’s innovative Around View Monitor, which combines images obtained from a number of cameras positioned around the car to present the driver with a bird’s eye view of the vehicle’s surroundings, thus aiding parking and tight manuevuering greatly.

But, for all its attractive styling, mechanical prowess and high-tech gizmology, the Skyline Crossover won’t be coming here. At least not yet anyway.


Nissan spokesman Jeff Fisher told TMR that the company won’t import the Skyline Crossover, but that it may come here wearing its Infiniti badging instead.

“We will not import the Skyline Crossover,” Mr Fisher said.

“At some time in the future we will launch the Infiniti brand in Australia and, at that time, offer a comprehensive Infiniti product range.”

Precisely when the Infiniti revival will happen is yet to be determined, as the recent global financial crisis put the reins on large car sales and made such a proposition unviable. However, when Nissan finally does bring its premium brand back to our shores, the smart money would be on the EX37 crossover coming with it.

Holden To Increase V6 Engine Production To Serve Booming Chinese Market


HOLDEN WILL BE bumping up V6 production at its Melbourne engine plant by a whopping 14,000 units over the next four years, largely thanks to a newly-brokered (and highly lucrative) supply contract between Holden and GM’s Chinese arm, Shanghai General Motors.

The deal will see output of the Holden-made high-feature V6 engines more than triple, and the engines will likely be put into service in a number of Chinese made vehicles.

“We anticipate an increase in V6 engine exports, particularly to the key Chinese market in coming years. That’s obviously contingent on future model programs in China,” Holden’s corporate communications manager Jonathan Rose said to TMR.

holden_globalv6_01The Australian Government also played a key role in pushing the deal through, with Federal Trade Minister Simon Crean and Senator Kim Carr recently visiting China to promote the Australian car industry to Chinese manufacturers.

“It’s very pleasing to be recognised overseas for our technical capabilities and having Shanghai GM being enthusiastic about the opportunity with senior Australian Government Ministers,” Mr Rose said.

“We very much appreciate the Government’s support in promoting our expertise to important overseas markets. Once again, it demonstrates their commitment to an Australian automotive industry.

“We said at the time of the decision to end the Pontiac brand, that we would get back out there and find new export opportunties for our engines and vehicles around the world. We’re continuing to do just that.”

It’s not yet known just how much money the Chinese export deal will bring in for Holden, but being able to more that treble its output is bound to have the company in high spirits.


Other export deals may be waiting in the wings as well, with GM’s new product chief Bob Lutz recently dropping strong hints about the resumption of Commodore exports to the USA where, rather than being badged as Pontiac G8s, they may be sold as Chevrolet Caprices.

2009 Land Rover Defender Range Gets Six New Models


LAND ROVER’S EVERGREEN Defender has been given a big boost in Australia, with the British manufacturer sending a brace of new variants of its most rugged off-roader our way.

Six models have been added to the local Defender line-up, bringing the total number of offerings to eight. Four new 110 wheelbase models now feature in the Defender’s catalogue, while two long-wheelbase 130 variants have also been brought in.


The emphasis with the new models is definitely on utility, with three of the six being pick-ups (two of them high-capacity pick-ups), two being cab-chassis models and one being a hard-topped load-lugging wagon.

The 110 Crew Cab Pick Up, 110 Single Cab High-Capacity Pick Up, 110 Single Cab Chassis and 110 Hard Top are the new additions to the 110 range and join the existing 110 Station Wagon.


The 130 range has been bulked up by the new 130 Single Cab Chassis and 130 Crew Cab High Capacity Pick Up, which should prove worthy stablemates to the current 130 Crew Cab Chassis workhorse.

The pick-up variants come standard with a canvas canopy and offer a good alternative for those looking for a Defender with more utility, but don’t want the extra hassle of having to supply their own tray.


All models share the same mechanical package, with a grunty 2.4 litre common-rail diesel engine and a six speed manual transmission taking power to all-four wheels via a permanent four-wheel-drive system.

A dual-range transfer case and locking centre differential are standard equipment across the Defender range.

2009_landrover_defender_02Two option packs are also available for the 110 Hard Top, Single Cab Chassis and Single Cab High Capacity Pick Up, with a Boost Pack bringing ABS, traction control and alloy wheels and the Heavy Duty Pack featuring uprated suspension, knobbly tyres and a reinforced chassis.

The Defender 130 Single Cab Chassis comes standard with the Heavy Duty Pack.


Pricing for the 2009 Land Rover Defender Range is as follows:

  • 110 Station Wagon: $48,990.00
  • 110 Single Cab Chassis: $45,990.00
  • 110 Single Cab Chassis High Capacity Pick Up: $47,490.00
  • 110 Hard Top: $45,990.00
  • 110 Crew Cab Pick Up: $48,990.00
  • 130 Single Cab Chassis: $47,990.00
  • 130 Crew Cab Chassis: $51,990.00
  • 130 Crew Cab High Capacity Pick Up: $53,490.00

The Boost Pack costs $2475, while the Heavy Duty Pack adds $2145 to the Defender’s pricetag. Metallic Paint will set you back an extra $900, while the seven seat option for the 110 Station Wagon costs $2000. The new Defender models are available for order nationwide.

For more information on the updated Land Rover Defender range, take a look at the press release below.

Lexus Focusing On Entry-Level Models And Younger Buyers

REPORTS out of the US suggest that Lexus is planning to target younger buyers in the 25-49 age group. Toyota Executive Tokuichi Uranishi has mooted a new entry-level model for Europe, and Lexus Australia boss John Roca is eager to get such a car into Australian showrooms.

There has been talk that Lexus is working on a competitor to BMW’s 1 Series, which would give the Japanese luxury automaker a means of competing for younger buyers looking for a luxury brand, but aren’t yet ready to commit to a more expensive model.

The entry-level Lexus, which is expected to be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, will be built on the same Prius-derived platform as the HS 250h mini-Lexus, and, like the HS, will power its front wheels via a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain.

Unlike the Prius, the Lexus hybrid will be tuned with a greater emphasis on power rather than efficiency, making it an appealing prospect for younger buyers more concerned with style and performance than frugality.

Lexus Australia CEO John Roca believes that a Lexus that sits below the IS 250 in size and price would be perfect for Australia. He notes that younger buyers are more open to and knowledgeable of the Lexus brand as a luxury badge, while older buyers are more traditionally inclined to favour European luxury brands.

2010 Lexus IS 250C Australian Pricing Revealed


DUE IN SHOWROOMS in the third quarter of this year, Lexus has today announced pricing and trim levels for the 2010 Lexus IS 250C convertible, starting at $79,900 for the Prestige model.

The Sports model will sell for $84,900, while the range-topping Sports Luxury will come in at $99,900.

Lexus Australia CEO John Roca said the IS 250C brings a new look and approach to its segment, which Lexus believes will strike a chord with buyers.


“In this market segment, price is less imperative - IS 250C will be purchased for emotional and personal reasons.

“Lexus however, also adds an element of rationality to that decision - offering a vehicle that is unmatched for its quality, reliability and specification.

Lexus Australia says it will continue to sell the venerable SC 430 after the IS 250C arrives, until the model is officially retired or replaced.


A specific launch date has yet to be announced but, as with the IS sedan, Australia-bound cars will only come with Lexus’ 2.5 litre V6, and not the 3.5 litre V6 available in other markets.

At this stage it’s unclear whether a manual gearbox will be offered alongside the volume-selling automatic.