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- 12/28/18--00:11: _Europe theme for Ed...
- 12/27/18--17:06: _Edinburgh's Hogmana...
- 12/27/18--20:37: _Macron v Salvini: t...
- 12/28/18--03:17: _Conscious uncouplin...
- 12/27/18--22:02: _Reinvent the wheels...
- 12/27/18--22:02: _The grand tour: whi...
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- 12/28/18--07:10: _Bacteria found in a...
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- 12/28/18--00:11: Europe theme for Edinburgh New Year party
- 12/27/18--17:06: Edinburgh's Hogmanay 2019: Europe theme as full line-up unveiled
- 12/27/18--20:37: Macron v Salvini: the battle over Europe’s future
- 12/28/18--03:17: Conscious uncoupling from Europe is painful
- 12/27/18--22:02: Reinvent the wheels: designing new versions of old cars
- 12/27/18--22:02: The grand tour: which Brit car factories you should visit
- 12/28/18--07:14: Q: How do you solve a problem like homelessness? A: Speak to Finland
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The TALL Group of Companies, the UK’s leading provider of secure electronic and paper payments solut...
Reported by Finextra 1 day ago.
The first deliveries of Model 3s to European customers are expected in February and March. UK customers are expected to get their vehicles by mid-2019.
Reported by MailOnline 17 hours ago.
Organisers of Edinburgh's Hogmanay say it will be a celebration of Scotland's cultural ties with Europe.
Reported by BBC News 7 hours ago.
BBC Local News: Edinburgh and East Scotland -- Organisers of Edinburgh's Hogmanay say it will be a celebration of Scotland's cultural ties with Europe.
Reported by BBC Local News 14 hours ago.
EU elections next year are becoming a contest between a liberal champion and a Eurosceptic
Reported by FT.com 10 hours ago.
Theresa May is discovering that leaving the EU is much harder than anyone thought
Reported by FT.com 4 hours ago.
We tried to make the design of our Alfa Romeo concept as forward-thinking as the company's earlier models
Reimagining cars from the past is a trend we applaud. Twelve months on from our last go, we try again – with mixed results
More often than you might think, new cars are created by people whose names aren’t on the bonnet badge.
Car makers, especially start-ups spurred on by special circumstances like the rapid rise of the Chinese market and the onrush of electrification and autonomy, enlist the aid of discreet specialists who conceive, style, engineer and ready new cars for production, then fade away as if nothing ever happened. The UK has a good selection of such expert consultancies, and business is brisk.
When we decided to repeat last year’s successful Christmas wheeze of reimagining a quartet of well-loved classics (via our resident designer Ben Summerell-Youde), it seemed sensible to get them assessed by proven car creators.
We have again approached Envisage Group, the Coventry-based consultancy with whom, a couple of years ago, we created and part-engineered an all-new five-door electric saloon for 10-15 years hence. This time, four of us proposed new iterations of old cars – an alternative Mercedes A-Class, a new-era Audi A2, an Alfa Romeo Duetto and a Ford Capri crossover – and each wrote a short justification of the concept. These were assessed for practicality, market appeal and innovative content by a three-man Envisage team led by engineering director Paul Arkesden, with project manager Craig Bonham and engineering manager Stuart Smith, all greatly experienced in other projects and at other companies – but unable to talk very much about any of it, such is the secrecy in car creation.
Talking about our projects, though, was something the team was happy to do. Not that their reactions were all sweet music to our ears, as the comments make clear…
*Steve Cropley: Ford Capri*
What makes me want to recreate this highly successful last-century Ford coupé is the catchy advertising label that always went with it: “The car you always promised yourself.” For car nuts, such cars are always lurking in the back of the mind.
Get serious about making a new Capri and you soon strike trouble. Any mission to recreate a long-nosed European 2+2 runs into two major problems: firstly, the fact that there isn’t a suitable Ford front-engine/rear-drive powertrain available on this side of the Atlantic; and secondly, the fact that Europe’s best-selling sports coupé is already a Ford – the Mustang. No sense in launching against that.
What would the people who built Ford’s performance image so high in the 1960s have done? Well, in Detroit a bit over a year ago, their descendants explained that Ford’s grand plan is to use iconic names to sell first-gen electric cars. To me, ‘Capri’ stands in the front rank of Ford’s great names, but what kind of electric car makes sense? What kind of electric car am I promising myself? Electric saloons are everywhere and the Capri was never a family car. SUVs sell strongly, but there’s no argument for a boxy Capri. The challenge is to propose something whose styling says compact, stylish, agile, at least semi-sporting and, above all, relevant to modern life. After all, that original Capri worked so well because it fitted people’s lives at the time.
That’s why I’m proposing the new Capri as a kind of diminutive, high-rolling electric fastback coupé, reminiscent of a stubby, downsized Aston Martin DBX concept but with the footprint of a Ford Ecosport, maybe plus an inch or two. That way, the car can be proud and practical, with sportiness chucked in, and its height can provide battery space more easily than a saloon.
There can be a bit of off-road toughness, with the wheel design and tyre tread adding character, along with a non-corporate grille (nothing says ‘mainstream’ more than a corporate grille). A radical roofline is essential, too. I’m seeing a fastback rear meeting a rising belt, with more extravagant surfacing than you normally see on a small car, although never overdone. It’d be a question of balance. Great designers might also find a detail or two, maybe even a rear window outline, to echo the original Capri. I’d certainly like to see them try.
There’s a need, or soon will be, I believe, for affordable electric cars that are compact, sporty and, above all, a little bit special. There’s absolutely nothing in this space at present and the customers are getting impatient.
*Expert view: there’s nothing like it*
“This one really got us thinking, mostly because there’s nothing like it on the market. That’s where we struggled: it helps to have a buyer in mind even though both electrification is coming very rapidly and crossover architecture is fashionable.
“You can take comfort from the fact that there are no cars like this in the chosen size and price range — maybe you’ve discovered a car as special and trend-setting as the new Mini — or you can be alarmed by it. Or maybe it’s a car no one will want.
“It’s not obvious what existing platform you’d build this off, given the dimensions and that it’s electric. But we note the suggestion that Ford’s strategy for future EVs will be to attach iconic names and shapes to them to earn credibility and justify higher pricing. From that viewpoint, it works.”
*Matt Prior: Audi A2*
How to revive the Audi A2? Just restart the original production line. The A2 was a car so far ahead of its time that maybe we’re almost ready for it now. I’m joking, of course. Some of the original A2 bits would have to go, I suppose. We’d have to can the diesels, for a start, even though the original 1.4 TDI was good for 119g/km and 65.7mpg – 18 years ago. Later, there was a 1.2 diesel that averaged 94mpg. Key to the A2’s so-2018 frugality was that it weighed only 895kg, owing to its diminutive size and aluminium structure. It also had extremely slippery aerodynamics.
The A2 couldn’t be so light today, because a new version, if it matched the forward-looking ethos of its predecessor, would have to be based on the Volkswagen Group’s MEB electrified platform, have a floor full of batteries and an electric motor at one end or the other. Which means that, just like 18 years ago, hardly anyone will buy one, because unless you can plug it in at home and have a predictable commute, you’re exposing yourself to the wild west of the public charging network. And no one will do that unless they’re forced to, which is why soon we all will be.
Powertrain aside, for the new A2 little changes. The A2 didn’t rely on retro styling, which is why it still looks fresh. Its thick door pillars were for crash protection and its bluff, high rear and accompanying tiny window made for good aero but hurt visibility. Today, blindspot sensors and rearview cameras can fix that.
There’s no obvious fix to the original A2’s hard ride, save for the fact that we’ve become quite accustomed to EVs and Audis riding harshly and no one seems to mind.
The original A2’s only other issue is how few of them Audi managed to sell, which, given that it was priced from around £16,000, left profit margins far too slim. Today, we’re used to paying a lot for small Audis, so restart the cogs and price the new A2 from £30,000.
*Expert view: who would buy it?*
“You’ve got to ask yourself why Audi never built another A2. A few people loved them and still do, but the questions linger: how do you make sure this car has appeal? What’s the USP?
“We think selling it would be the problem. Sure, the original A2 was light, but it wouldn’t be as light in production nowadays, and the original also had serious cost issues, like special plastic wings and a bespoke HVAC system.
“The Autocar proposal could have been a lot more radical, more edgy, we think. The proposed design looks like not much more than a mid-cycle action on the original model. The roof is a bit different, but we’d predict difficulties with getting in and out of the back seat as a result of that. Having said all this, it wouldn’t be too difficult to do, depending on the aggressiveness of the cost targets.”
*Hilton Holloway: Mercedes A-Class (Mk1)*
It’s 21 years since the original Mercedes A-Class became infamous. For some reason, video of the tiny futuristic vehicle rolling over during testing by a Swedish motoring magazine hit the TV headlines around the world, and the phrase ‘elk test’ entered our vocabulary.
The main reason the new A-Class – just 2000 or so had been built at the time – rolled over when steered violently around an obstacle was because it was so tall and so short, and one of the reasons it was so tall was its ‘sandwich’ platform.
The double-decker floorpan, which allowed for an empty space under the A-Class’s flat floor, had a number of functions. In the event of a frontal collision, it allowed the slant-mounted engine to be pushed under the floor rather than into the cabin. Sitting passengers high also greatly improved the side-impact safety.
At the time – and this was 21 years ago, remember – Mercedes engineers also suggested that the space could also be used to store batteries for an electric A-Class or gas tanks for a fuel-cell version.
Indeed, experimental hydrogen fuel-cell versions of the original A-Class and its B-Class successor were made. (I drove the latter a few years ago in the RAC’s Future Car run from Brighton to London.)
Mercedes phased out the sandwich floor concept, saying lowish sales made the bespoke engine and gearbox very expensive to do. But I’m still a devotee of the idea.
The flat floor and tilted drivetrain make for a fantastically spacious package. (The original A-Class gave 70% of its overall length to occupant and luggage space.) Fitting removable seats to this concept turns it into a van, or build it without seats for a bespoke delivery vehicle.
This concept is inspired by both the experimental B-Class range-extender and Toyota’s new Japan Taxi, which has a petrol-hybrid engine albeit fuelled by LPG. The range-extending concept has much going for it, especially when it uses low-CO2, low-pollution natural gas.
Using natural gas also allows us to exploit the extensive fuelling network already under our feet. And unlike pure battery power, gas tanks are much lighter and much cheaper and vehicle range is unaffected by weather conditions. Two decades after it was launched, the original A-Class engineering concept is more relevant than ever. Using this architecture and a natural gas (or biogas) range-extender drivetrain could underpin a new generation of diesel-free premium crossovers, as well providing the basis for low-pollution haulage.
*Expert view: fashionable but flawed*
“Leaving aside that Mercedes has moved on from the original, twin-floor A-Class (and is much more successful with today’s version), this revival of the concept does everything right for the modern era. It is smartly packaged, with the cab forward and a ‘flip diff’ to shorten the nose. These things are very fashionable. But you have to decide whether the market cares as much about the extremes of interior space as the designers.
“It goes back to the Austin Maxi: the company made much of the fact that you could lay all the seats down and sleep in the car – but nobody did.
“We’re not struck on that huge glass roof, either. It’s feasible, but you’d consume a lot of the energy you’ve just saved keeping the car cool.”
*Richard Bremner: Alfa Romeo Spider*
The Alfa Romeo Spider was once the car in which much of the glamour of its maker’s name resided. Not only did it look pretty, with its artfully crafted triple-piece grille, faired headlights, scalloped flanks and delicate boat tail, but it also had the mechanicals to deliver a drive as dreamy as its looks. A rorty all-alloy, twin-cam 1600, a five-speed gearbox, well-engineered suspension and four-wheel disc brakes made it the most sophisticated sports car in its class. And class it had in spades.
Its fame was hugely amplified by a star appearance in the 1967 Hollywood film The Graduate, with Dustin Hoffman, but it didn’t need such publicity for success. Its basic excellence and loss-making Alfa Romeo’s inability to replace it caused it to live on for 27 years, in increasingly adulterated form, before being replaced in 1995 by the front-drive Spider loosely based on the Fiat Tipo. While not a landmark machine, that 916-series Spider sold decently, survived until 2004 and was eventually replaced in 2006 by the 159- and Brera-derived Spider. More cabrio than sports car, this overweight two-seater sold very slowly until being deleted, yet to be replaced, in 2010.
Despite this disappointing end, Alfa has a two-seat sports car heritage that deserves reviving. Before you mouth ‘4C’, I mean in a manner a lot more convincing than this Lotus Elise-alike underachiever manages. Happily, Alfa Romeo now has the hardware to make it happen, namely the rear-wheel-drive platform from the Giulia saloon. It’s too long for a two-seat Spider, but with a section of floor removed, an agility-enhancing action in itself, there is the platform, suspension and 197bhp, 276bhp and 503bhp engine range to form the fine basis of a sports car that would be a lot sportier than the Mercedes SLC and possibly the new BMW Z4. Oh, and a manual gearbox would be good.
A generous bonnet, a tail longer than both the SLC’s and Z4’s, as per the original ’66 Spider’s proportions, should produce a timeless design that would feature a handful of sculptural and decorative references to the earlier car. But this Spider would be boldly contemporary, subtly muscular, elegant, Italian and decidedly not retro. Alfa Romeo designs have always pushed ahead, and this should be no different. Achieving elegance will require a fabric hood, incidentally.
The interior would be Italian furniture post-modern lush, and the speedo and tacho would individually sprout front and centre from behind the wheel, ’66 style. But all else would be modern, driver-centric and thoughtfully equipped for the passenger, too. Sports cars often go through periods of waning appeal, before being reignited by fresh product. A brilliant new Alfa Spider should do it.
*Expert view: not edgy enough*
"This new version of the sports car that started as Duetto and became Spider looks very feasible. Alfa’s parent, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, has platforms and powertrain hardware that could be adapted relatively quickly to make it.
“The car is very attractive but if anything it’s a bit too plausible. The proposer has a good understanding of how low-volume models are created from high-volume components, but if this were an Envisage project, we’d have made it more radical, with an eye on a longer life. Part of the appeal of cars like this is edgy styling. You want a design that starts as a piece of art and a finished shape that implies we can build this whereas others can’t.”
Mostly, we’ve proved again how hard it is to propose, let alone specify, a new car. Our cars all have a degree of credibility, but Envisage’s experts (veterans of dozens of live projects) found our Alfa Spider a bit too safe, our Audi and Mercedes somewhat lacking in sales appeal, and our Ford Capri a bit too off-the-wall for comfort. It might work, but it looks risky. Last year, our results were much like this: nobody proposed a market smash. With a year to improve, we hardly did. Perhaps the lesson for us is to stick to the keyboard.
*Bettered by design: behind the scenes at Land Rover's design studio*
*The dark art of car design*
*How to design an electric car, according to Porsche design boss* Reported by Autocar 9 hours ago.
Get behind the scenes to see how today's cars are put together
You can watch your favourite British cars in exotic locations on TV but we recommend seeing them being brought to life on the factory floor
The arcing sparks of synchronised robot welders, the seismic thump of a multi-tonne press stamping body panels, the orderly bustle of a final assembly line – if you know about cars, you’ll likely be familiar with these processes, even if you haven’t seen them. And if you haven’t witnessed this amazing creative theatre, add it to your list of automotive must-dos.
There’s plenty of scope in the UK, despite Brexit, where you can see Minis, Jaguars and Land Rovers produced in profusion, by booking yourself onto a guided tour. Not all cars are mass-produced, of course: Aston Martin, Bentley, Lotus and Morgan are among those allowing you to see car construction at a less frenetic pace.
Sadly, not every UK car plant grants the public access, among them Nissan’s legendarily productive Sunderland plant. But one of the bigger factories allowing you a view is the Mini factory in Oxford, with the reactions of the almost invariably enthusiastic visitors visible on TripAdvisor. If you’re still sceptical, here are a couple of reviews:
“Watching the robots work was like being in another world. I enjoyed it even though I am not interested in cars!” Or this: “Mind blown by the complexity of the logistics.” And this: “The area with the robots welding the body parts together was utterly captivating. Big, heavy machines that moved like a cross between a human and a snake. The factory is amazingly clean and surprisingly quiet. Such a good experience, I went twice.”
As a bit of a seasoned car factory visitor, your reporter can confirm all this, and the fact that despite many similarities, car factories never stop being mesmerising – from the huge rolls of sheet steel at the start, to the moment when a car starts for the first time in its life.
*1. Aston Martin *
*Models featured:* DB11, Vantage, DBS Superleggera
*Tour includes:* Visits for two, including a history retrospective with previous models, a full factory tour with explanations from specialists and a tour of the current Aston range including lifestyle products. Refreshments included. Hotel accommodation and transfers optionally available. Three-day ‘At Home with Aston Martin’ tour for two: Day 1 – Gaydon factory tour; Day 2 – Aston Martin Works Newport Pagnell tour of restoration and servicing activities; Day 3 – dynamic driving day at Millbrook Proving Ground with professional tutors.
*Price:* Standard tour £350, but free for Aston Martin owners via franchised dealers. Three-day tour £4060, including accommodation at Dormy House hotel in the Cotswolds.
*When:* See website for availability
*How long:* One or three days
*Where:* Gaydon, Warwickshire
*Contact:* www.astonmartinartofliving.com/ experience/factory_tour
*Models featured: *Continental GT, Bentayga, Mulsanne
*Tour includes:* Starts with a heritage exhibition and an explanation of the company’s origins, before an extensive assembly line tour and a visit to the woodwork and trim shops. Refreshments included. German spoken on request. Minimum age 14.
*When:* Most days from Monday to Friday, morning or afternoon. 2019 tour dates released early next year.
*How long:* Between two and two-and-a-half hours
*Where:* Bentley Motors, Pyms Lane, Crewe, Cheshire, CW1 3PL
*Contact:* 01270 505851
*Models featured:* G40, G55, G58
*Tour includes:* Detail tours with groups of 20 during a one-date winter open day, often in collaboration with a PistonHeads’ Sunday Service. Includes engine assembly, engine testing by dynomometer, chassis construction and the carbonfibre moulding process, plus an opportunity to inspect and sit in most of the current range. Refreshments (with charity donation) included.
*When:* Annually, usually over the Christmas/New Year break
*How long:* All day
*Where:* Ginetta Cars, Helios 47, Isabella Road, Garforth, Leeds, LS25 2DY
*Models featured:* Jaguar XJ, XE, XF. Separate ‘Spitfires to Sportscars’ F-Type tour
*Tour includes:* A guided tour of the thunderous aluminium press shop, the sophisticated rivet-bond body assembly area, the paint shop and the final assembly line, including vehicle start-up. The bespoke options area is also visited. The F-Type tour includes explanation of the factory’s World War Two Spitfire fighter plane manufacture.
*Price:* £49 (children £39)
*When:* Twice daily, Monday to Friday
*How long: *Three hours
*Where* The Jaguar Visitor Centre, Chester Road, Castle Vale, Birmingham, B35 7RA
*5. Jaguar Land Rover*
*Models featured:* Jaguar F-Pace, Range Rover Velar
*Tour includes:* A guided tour of the ground-thumping aluminium press shop, the advanced rivet-bond body assembly area, the paint shop and the final assembly line, including vehicle start-up. The increasingly busy bespoke options area is also visited. Refreshments included.
*Price:* £49 (children £39)
*When:* Twice daily, Monday to Friday
*How long:* Two-and-a-half to three hours
*Where:* The Land Rover Visitor Centre, Lode Lane, Solihull, West Midlands, B92 8NW
*6. Jaguar Land Rover*
*Models featured: *Ingenium engines
*Tour includes:* A guided tour of the machining hall, where engine blocks are ground, cut and honed, together with machining of cylinder heads and crankshafts. This is followed by the assembly of the engines by robots. The tour also includes an explanation of the factory’s advanced recycling processes, its energy generation methods and rainwater harvesting. Refreshments included.
*Price:* £39 (children £30)
*When: *Twice daily, Monday to Friday
*How long: *Three hours
*Where:* Jaguar Land Rover Engine Manufacturing Centre, i54 Business Park, Innovations Drive, Coven, Wolverhampton, WV9 5GB
*7. Land Rover*
*Models featured:* Discovery, Range Rover Sport, Range Rover (Solihull); Evoque, Discovery Sport (Halewood)
*Tour includes:* Guided tour of the aluminium press shop, rivet-bond body assembly area, paint shop and final assembly line, including vehicle start-up. Finishes with the Range Rover Story Exhibition.
*Price:* £49 (children £39). Taster tour at Halewood £29
*When:* Twice daily, Monday to Friday
*How long:* Three hours; one-and-a-half-hour taster tour
*Where: *Land Rover, Lode Lane, Solihull, West Midlands, B92 8NW; Halewood Visitor Centre, South Road, Liverpool L24 9PZ
*Models featured:* Elise, Exige, Evora, 3-Eleven
*Tour includes:* An introduction to Lotus’s history, followed by the engine and subframe preparation areas, the body bonding process, chassis assembly, final assembly and quality check process. There are also visits to the factory shop and Hethel Store. Refreshments provided.
*When:* Monday and Wednesday
*How long:* Three hours
*Where:* See Lotus website for details
*Contact: *www.lotuscars.com/factory-tours; 01908 608000
*Models featured:* Mini Hatchback, Convertible, Clubman
*Tour includes:* A guided tour of a robot bodyshop that’s one of the most impressive in Europe, and a walk along the extensive and often very colourful final assembly line. A trip to the plant’s small museum and shop, which are housed in part of the original Morris works, is also included. German is spoken on request.
*Price:* £19 (concessions £16); guided tour for 15 £220; extended tour for 15 £320
*When:* Two or three times daily, Monday to Friday
*How long:* Two hours
*Where:* Mini Plant Oxford, Eastern By-Pass Road, Oxford, OX4 6NL
*Models featured:* 4/4, Plus 4, Roadster, Plus 8, 3 Wheeler, Aero
*Tour includes:* Gravity provides the assembly line movement here, as the factory is built on a hill. Wood, aluminium and leather are a Morgan’s main ingredients, and the tour starts in the aluminium shop that constructs the chassis. You’ll also see (and smell) the wood shop, the tin shop that forms the exterior panels, the trim shop and the final inspection area.
*Price:* £22.50 (children £11.50)
*When:* Monday, Thursday, Friday mornings
*How long:* Two hours
*Where:* Morgan Motor Company, Spring Lane, Malvern Link, Worcestershire WR14 1AJ
*Contact:* www.morgan-motor.co.uk/factorytours; 01684 584580
*Models featured:* Phantom, Cullinan, Wraith, Ghost, Dawn
*Tour includes: *The factory building itself is worth the journey. Designed by architect Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, the limestone, glass, cedar and plant-clad building is adjacent to a lake, the grounds hosting more than 120 species of tree. The tour takes in the craftsmanship of the wood shop, the trim shop and the glazed final assembly line known as ‘the glass mile’.
*When:* There are no regular organised tours, but there are usually a couple of open days that the public can attend. Details of these can be found on Rolls-Royce’s Facebook and Instagram pages.
*How long:* Two hours, but they can be longer for those with a particular interest.
*Where:* Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited, The Drive, Westhampnett, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0SH
*Contact:* Check the Rolls-Royce Facebook (en-gb.facebook.com/RollsRoyceGroup) and Instagram (www.instagram.com/rollsroycecars) pages for news of public tour days.
*Burnaston; Deeside engine plant*
*Models featured: *Auris hatchback and Hybrid, Auris Touring Sports, Avensis
*Tour includes:* Starts with rolled coils of sheet steel that are cut and pressed into panels that an army of more than 500 robots manipulates and welds into a body. The assembly line tour will see around 2300 sub-assemblies and components attached to the painted bodyshell to create the car, which comprises around 30,000 individual parts. The quality inspection and testing process will also be shown. Refreshments included.
*Price: *Free, but donations of £10-£15 are encouraged for the Toyota Manufacturing UK Charitable Trust and Air Ambulance.
*When:* Tuesday and Thursday mornings
*How long:* Three hours
*Where:* Vehicle plant: Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK, Burnaston, Derby, DE1 9TA (use DE65 6DX for sat-nav); Engine plant: Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK, Deeside Industrial Park, Tenth Avenue, Deeside, CH5 2TW
*Contact:* www.toyotauk.com/ community/public-visits; for Deeside engine plant, email email@example.com
*Models featured:* Astra hatchback, Astra Sports Tourer
*Tour includes:* The bodyshop, where robots handle and weld panels to create the two bodystyles, followed by a viewing of the extensive general assembly areas. Refreshments provided.
*Price:* Free, but tours are currently only being provided for fleet customers and marketing invitees. That may change, so it’s worth checking.
*When: *Once weekly on a Wednesday morning. Extensive walking involved. Minimum age 12. Maximum of 12 guests per tour.
*How long:* Two-and-a-half hours, 9.30am-12.00pm
*Where:* Gate 10/Reception, Vauxhall Motors Limited, North Road, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, CH65 1AL
*Touring Britain's car industry: three days, 1500 miles and 16 car plants*
*Inside the BAC factory: how to make a Mono*
*Inside the secret morgue at Jaguar Land Rover’s Castle Bromwich plant* Reported by Autocar 9 hours ago.
The Frenchman has admitted he could leave Wanda Metropolitano for a new 'project', with the Bundesliga champions monitoring his situation
Reported by Goal.com 9 minutes ago.
*News release from **Vestas Northern and Central Europe*
Hamburg, 28 DecemberVestas has received a 29 MW repowering order from the Danish utility company NRGi Renewables A/S for the Tagmark wind park in Thisted Municipality in northwestern Jutland, Denmark. The repowering project is derived from Denmark’s first energy-neutral auction held in November 2018.
The site currently consists of six V66-1.75 MW turbines, which will be replaced by eight V117-3.45 MW turbines delivered in 3.6 MW Power Optimised Mode that will more than double the annual energy production due to more efficient turbines. The project thus underlines Denmark’s large repowering potential from replacing older turbines with new and more efficient variants.
“Our strong partnership with Vestas on this project has enabled us to deliver the most competitive bid in Denmark’s first energy-neutral auction, which marks a significant milestone in Denmark’s green transition as it highlights that renewable energy projects are soon possible without any state subsidies,” says Jakob Bundgaard, CEO of NRGi Renewables A/S
The project is firmly rooted in the community, as the local owners of the current turbines will be part owners of the new project and 20 percent of the new wind park will be sold in shares to nearest neighbours.
“To partner with NRGI on this repowering project, which is derived from Denmark’s first energy-neutral auction, highlights onshore wind energy offers the lowest cost of energy and Denmark’s repowering potential. Denmark continues to be an important market for Vestas and the strong local commitment to this project underlines wind energy’s benefits for both our climate and the community”, says Christer Baden Hansen, Vestas Head of Sales Nordics
Deliveries are expected to begin in the third quarter of 2019, while commissioning is planned for the fourth quarter of 2019.
For updated Vestas photographs and videos, please visit our media images page on: https://www.vestas.com/en/media/images.
*For more information, please contact:*
Tel: +45 52 26 12 81
Vestas is the energy industry’s global partner on sustainable energy solutions. We design, manufacture, install, and service wind turbines across the globe, and with 97 GW of wind turbines in 79 countries, we have installed more wind power than anyone else. Through our industry-leading smart data capabilities and unparalleled 83 GW of wind turbines under service, we use data to interpret, forecast, and exploit wind resources and deliver best-in-class wind power solutions. Together with our customers, Vestas’ more than 24,400 employees are bringing the world sustainable energy solutions to power a bright future.
We invite you to learn more about Vestas by visiting our website at www.vestas.com and following us on our social media channels:
· 181228_nr_uk_nce_4 Reported by GlobeNewswire 13 minutes ago.
Researchers analyzing soil from Ireland long thought to have medicinal properties have discovered that it contains a previously unknown strain of bacteria which is effective against four of the top six superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics, including MRSA. Antibiotic-resistant superbugs could kill up to 1.3 million people in Europe by 2050, according to recent research. The World Health Organisation (WHO) describes the problem as 'one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today.'
Reported by Science Daily 8 minutes ago.
Efore Plc Stock Exchange Release 28.12.2018 at 16.40
Notification according to chapter 9, section 10 of the securities markets act
Efore Plc has received a notification with reference to Chapter 9, paragraph 5 of the Finnish Securities Markets Act.
Issuing company: Efore Plc
Basis of announcement: An acquisition or disposal of shares or voting rights
Complete name: Jussi Capital Oy, Sievi, Finland
Date of transaction and exceeding the threshold: 28.12.2018
Total position of person(s) subject to the notification obligations:
% of shares and voting rights % of shares and voting rights through financial instruments % of total Total number of shares and voting rights of issuer
Resulting situation on the date on which the threshold was crossed or reached 18,90 18,90 421 636 788
Position of previous notification (if applicable) 14,91 14,91 Notified details of the resulting situation on the date on which the threshold was reached/crossed:
Class/type of shares Number of shares and voting rights Number of shares and voting rights % of shares and voting rights % of shares and voting rights
Direct Indirect Direct Indirect
(SMA 9:5) (SMA 9:6 and 9:7) (SMA 9:5) (SMA 9:6 and 9:7)
FI0009900054 79 685 422 18,90 % Person subject to the notification obligation is not controlled by any natural person or legal entity and does not control any other undertaking(s) holding directly or indirectly an interest in the (underlying) issuer.EFORE PLC
Jorma Wiitakorpi Vesa Leino
President and CEO CFO
For further information please contact Jorma Wiitakorpi, President and CEO, tel. +358 40 175 8510 or Vesa Leino, CFO, tel. + 358 40 759 89 56.
Nasdaq Helsinki Oy
Principal mediaEfore Group
Efore is an international Group which develops and produces demanding power products. Efore's head office is based in Finland and its sales, marketing and R&D functions are located in Europe and China. The Group also has a sales and marketing unit in the United States. In the financial year ended on December 2017, consolidated net sales totalled EUR 69.9 million and the Group's personnel averaged 432. The parent company's share is quoted on the Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd. www.efore.fi Reported by GlobeNewswire 21 minutes ago.
As governments around Europe grapple with how to tackle rising homelessness, one country stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Reported by euronews 3 minutes ago.
Additional funding supports widespread distributed security enforcement and Industrial IOT innovation as company welcomes new SVP of Sales and Business Development
PALO ALTO, Calif., Dec. 28, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Silicon Valley-based Xage Security today announced an investment from Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures, a subsidiary of the world’s leading integrated energy and chemicals company, Saudi Aramco. Xage also welcomes Norman Thorlakson to its leadership team as SVP of Sales and Business Development. The first and only blockchain-protected security platform for IIOT, Xage’s security fabric creating the essential trusted foundation for in-field interactions between machines, people, apps and data. The recent funding and executive hire will drive the company’s continued growth in the energy sector, enabling distributed IIOT deployments across oil and gas, renewables, water, wind, and more.The investment from Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV) is an addition to Xage’s Series A round, bringing the total round size to over $16M. With an interest in improving secure operational efficiency and increasing value and production within the energy sector, the SAEV funding will support Xage’s mission to enable industrial modernization through the development and deployment of its decentralized and scalable security fabric. Having recently launched Xage for Energy, a tamperproof solution tailored to meet the needs of connected energy networks, the company’s work will continue to facilitate the industry’s adoption of emerging technologies that advance the market.
“SAEV invests in technologies and companies that represent the future of energy, and as operational networks become more connected, there’s an opportunity to improve asset management, production, and efficiency,” said Jim Sledzik of SAEV. “Xage has developed an innovative approach to distributed interactions and industrial security for IIOT, and we are proud to partner with them, as they continue to grow and contribute to the evolution of the energy sector.”
Norman Thorlakson joins as Xage’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Business Development, where he will lead expansion of the company’s portfolio of customers – including organizations across industries such as manufacturing, oil and gas, telecommunications, transportation, and utilities – activating IIOT networks with distributed and connected devices. Bringing a background in global business growth, spanning SaaS, IoT, and industrial software, and recently held senior roles at Schneider Electric and Invensys, Thorlakson’s expertise in industrial operations and automated control systems will contribute to his work with companies from the energy industry.
“Our mission is to secure all interactions involving industrial networks – whether those are between machines, apps, data, or people – to enable the next wave of connected and improved operations for global industry,” said Xage Security CEO, Duncan Greatwood. “The support from SAEV is a significant validator for Xage’s solution and its impact on the energy sector, and with the addition of Norman Thorlakson to our executive team, we are extending our reach, and supporting the benefits of IIOT and industrial automation.”
The Xage Security Suite is the first and only blockchain-protected security platform for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT). Xage creates the essential trusted foundation for secure interactions between machines, people, applications, and data. Advancing beyond traditional security models, Xage distributes authentication and private data across the network of devices, creating a tamper-proof “fabric” for communication, authentication and trust that ensures security at scale. Xage supports any-to-any communication, secures access to existing industrial systems, underpins continuous edge-computing operations even in the face of irregular connectivity, and gets stronger and stronger with every device added to the network. Xage customers include leaders in the largest industries, spanning energy, utilities, transportation and manufacturing.
*About Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures
*Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures LLC (SAEV) is the corporate venturing subsidiary of Saudi Aramco, the world’s leading fully integrated energy and petrochemical enterprise. Headquartered in Dhahran with offices in North America, Europe and Asia, SAEV’s mission is to invest globally in start-up and high growth companies with technologies of strategic importance to its parent.
For more information about SAEV, please visit www. saev.com.
LaunchSquad for Xage
firstname.lastname@example.org Reported by GlobeNewswire 9 minutes ago.
UK and other European markets are up almost 2% at midday on Friday after a turbulent week.
Reported by BBC News 1 hour ago.
Things have been quite active in the Eastern Mediterranean lately, with Israel, Cyprus and Greece pushing forward for the realization of the EastMed pipeline, a new gas conduit destined to diversify Europe’s natural gas sources and find a long-term reliable market outlet for all the recent Mediterranean gas discoveries. The three sides have reached an agreement in late November (roughly a year after signing the MoU) to lay the pipeline, the estimated cost of which hovers around $7 billion (roughly the same as rival TurkStream’s construction…
Reported by OilPrice.com 2 hours ago.
SHANGHAI, Dec. 29, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- With the New Year holiday coming, many people are about to go traveling. Now, over 26 million merchants outside the Chinese Mainland accept UnionPay cards and, in the next month, over 70 popular commercial districts will provide special offers for UnionPay cardholders.
*UnionPay offers increasingly smooth payment experience to its global cardholders*
So far, UnionPay's acceptance footprint has expanded to 171 countries and regions, covering almost all the popular travel destinations. Since the beginning of this year, the acceptance coverage of UnionPay in many emerging tourist destinations has continued to grow. For example, in South Asia, UnionPay International has partnered with the National Payments Corporation of India to enable all the local ATMs and half of the local merchants to accept UnionPay cards. In the Middle East, UnionPay has reached 90% acceptance coverage in Turkey. UnionPay has also realized about 100% acceptance in South Africa and Kenya through collaboration with various local agencies. In Portugal, UnionPay is accepted at all ATMs and about 80% merchants.
To better serve free-and-independent travelers, UnionPay International continues to enrich the types of merchants that accept UnionPay, focusing particularly on hotels and transportation. To date, UnionPay is accepted at several of the world's top hotel brands, including Mandarin Oriental, Peninsula, Shangri-La and Hilton. UnionPay International has also reached collaboration with the world's top car rental brands, namely Hertz, Avis, Europcar, Enterprise and Sixt.
*UnionPay offers available now in over 70 business districts worldwide*
In the CBD of Auckland, UnionPay cards are accepted at almost all shopping malls, restaurants, cinemas. Popular merchants such as The Loop Duty Free Shop and Live Fish Restaurant also offer special discounts for UnionPay cardholders.
UnionPay's acceptance coverage has exceeded 90% in popular business districts such as the Auckland CBD. The UnionPay logo can be found easily in these districts and many merchants provide Chinese cashier service. Based on its expanding acceptance, UnionPay is providing up to 30%-off discounts at quality merchants in 76 key business districts in more than 30 countries and regions. These business districts are located in Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the US.
With UnionPay mobile payment service accepted in 43 countries and regions, UnionPay is also providing special offers for cardholders who spend via its mobile payment products. About 3,000 merchant locations in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, and Europe offer instant discounts for customers who pay with UnionPay's mobile contactless payment service, QuickPass. There are also 20%-off discounts for customers who pay via UnionPay's QR code payment solution, the UnionPay app, in Hong Kong. Reported by PR Newswire Asia 57 minutes ago.
President Trump's signing of "Make America Great Again" hats during his whirlwind trip to visit troops in Iraq didn't violate regulations prohibiting a mix of political and military activities, The United States Air Force in Europe says.
Reported by FOXNews.com 35 minutes ago.
*REXEL DECIDES NOT TO RENEW ITS CONTRACT WITH FITCH RATINGS*
Rexel, a worldwide expert in the professional multichannel distribution of electrical products and services for the energy world, announces that it has decided not to renew its contract with Fitch Ratings upon its expiry on December 31^st 2018. The Group will remain rated by Moody's and Standard and Poor's.
The decision takes into account Rexel's deleveraging and is in line with standard market practice, with a majority of corporates rated by two agencies.
Rexel is rated Ba2 with a stable outlook by Moody's and BB with a stable outlook by S&P.
*ABOUT REXEL GROUP*
Rexel, worldwide expert in the multichannel professional distribution of products and services for the energy world, addresses three main markets - residential, commercial and industrial. The Group supports its residential, commercial and industrial customers by providing a tailored and scalable range of products and services in energy management for construction, renovation, production and maintenance.
Rexel operates through a network of some 2,000 branches in 26 countries, with more than 27,000 employees. The Group's sales were €13.3 billion in 2017.
Rexel is listed on the Eurolist market of Euronext Paris (compartment A, ticker RXL, ISIN code FR0010451203). It is included in the following indices: SBF 120, CAC Mid 100, CAC AllTrade, CAC AllShares, FTSE EuroMid, STOXX600. Rexel is also part of the following SRI indices: FTSE4Good, STOXX® Global ESG Leaders, Ethibel Sustainability Index Excellence Europe, Euronext Vigeo Eiris Eurozone 120 and Dow Jones Sustainability Index Europe, in recognition of its performance in corporate social responsibility (CSR).
For more information, visit Rexel's web site at www.rexel.com
*FINANCIAL ANALYSTS / INVESTORS*
Ludovic DEBAILLEUX +33 1 42 85 76 12 email@example.com
Elsa LAVERSANNE +33 1 42 85 58 08 firstname.lastname@example.org
Brunswick: Thomas KAMM +33 1 53 96 83 92 email@example.com
· REXEL : Non-renewal of its contract with Fitch Ratings.pdf Reported by GlobeNewswire 14 minutes ago.
Publication on December 28, 2018, 6.00pm CET
Regulated information – transparency notification
EVS Broadcast Equipment S.A.: Euronext Brussels (EVS.BR), Bloomberg (EVS BB), Reuters (EVSB.BR)
**Publication of a transparency notification**
(Article 14, first paragraph, of the Law of 2 May 2007 on disclosure of major holdings)
On December 27, 2018, EVS Broadcast Equipment has received a transparency notification indicating that Evertz Technologies Limited now holds 2.99% of the voting rights of the company. Evertz Technologies Limited has therefore crossed down the threshold of 3%. This is a passive crossing of the 3% threshold, following the capital increase realized by EVS on December 26.
The notification, dated December 27, 2018, contains the following information:
Reason for the notification: passive crossing of a threshold
Notification by: a person that notifies alone
Persons subject to the notification requirement: Evertz Technologies Limited – 5292 John Lucas Drive, Ontario, Canada L7L 5Z9
Transaction date: December 26, 2018
Threshold that is crossed (in %): 3%
A) Voting rights Previous notification After the transaction
# voting rights # voting rights % voting rights
Holders of voting rights Linked to securities Not linked to the securities Linked to securities Not linked to the securities
Evertz Technologies Limited 424,936 429,060 2.99 %
*TOTAL* *429,060* ** *2.99* *%* *0.00* *%*
B) Equivalent financial instruments After the transaction
Holders of equivalent financial instruments Type of financial
date Exercise period or date # of voting rights that may be acquired if the instrument is exercised % of voting rights Settlement
*TOTAL* * * * * ** *0.00* *%*
*TOTAL (A & B)* # voting rights % of voting rights
*TOTAL (A & B)* *429,060* *2.99* *%*
Full chain of controlled undertakings through which the holding is effectively held:
Evertz Technologies Limited is not a controlled (50% or plus) entity.
This press release and the notification are available on the EVS website (www.evs.com).
Shareholders must declare their ownership in EVS shares as soon as their shareholding passes over/under the 3% threshold (required by Company Statutes) and any multiple of 5% thresholds (required by Belgian Law). Notifications of important shareholdings to be made according to the Law of May 2, 2007 and the EVS's bylaws, should be sent to the company (by email firstname.lastname@example.org or fax +32 4 361 7089) and to the FSMA. The current number of shares (denominator) to be taken into account is 14,327,024 shares.*For more information, please contact:*
Yvan ABSIL, CFO
Geoffroy d’OULTREMONT, Vice President Investor Relations & Corporate Communication
EVS Broadcast Equipment S.A., Liege Science Park, 13 rue du Bois Saint-Jean, B-4102 Seraing, Belgium
Tel: +32 4 361 70 13. E-mail:email@example.com; www.evs.com
Forward Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements with respect to the business, financial condition, and results of operations of EVS and its affiliates. These statements are based on the current expectations or beliefs of EVS's management and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results or performance of the Company to differ materially from those contemplated in such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties relate to changes in technology and market requirements, the company’s concentration on one industry, decline in demand for the company’s products and those of its affiliates, inability to timely develop and introduce new technologies, products and applications, and loss of market share and pressure on pricing resulting from competition which could cause the actual results or performance of the company to differ materially from those contemplated in such forward-looking statements. EVS undertakes no obligation to publicly release any revisions to these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.
EVS is globally recognized as the leader in live video technology for broadcast and new media productions. Our passion and purpose are to help our clients craft immersive stories that trigger the best return on emotion. Through a wide range of products and solutions, we deliver the most gripping live sports images, buzzing entertainment shows and breaking news content to billions of viewers every day – and in real-time. The company is headquartered in Belgium with offices in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America, and provides sales and technical support to more than 100 countries. EVS is a public company traded on Euronext Brussels: EVS, ISIN: BE0003820371. For more information, please visit www.evs.com.
· Press release in pdf format Reported by GlobeNewswire 14 minutes ago.