Friday 26 May 2017

Good news on jobs; show snub; Tesla here; the 'self-drive' Merc S-Class; tyre check

Ford EcoSport
Ford EcoSport

The level of employment across the motor industry, as well as its contribution and sensitivity to economic growth, is often overlooked by policy makers.

Take the country's largest retail motor group - Windsor - as an example. It is expanding and creating 20 new jobs as it opens its 15th dealership nationwide.

The new jobs will be in sales, service and repair at the new Windsor Long Mile Nissan dealership in Dublin.

The group, with an annual turnover of €200m, currently employs more than 300 people at dealerships in Dublin, Wicklow, Meath and Galway. That's a lot of employment.

* The Ford EcoSport is a car I dislike - and have written previously to that effect.

Now I see they are going to build it in Romania for the European market which will mean it will no longer be imported from India.

I hope they ring some changes with it as a European-built car - for Europe. It needs to improve.

They are going to recruit nearly 1,000 people for production at the company's factory in Craiova, which starts this autumn.

* Motor shows are great places to get a real feel of what the car makers are doing - and thinking of doing.

But the format needs to change a bit; we need more areas to display the interface and crossover between the digital age and cars.

Frankfurt in September will be missing at least nine brands this year, amid indications they are opting for less traditional platforms.

Brands not attending include Peugeot, DS, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Jeep, Nissan and Infiniti. They have their individual reasons but is it a warning sign of shows lagging behind a bit?

* Mercedes say there will be "new and considerably extended driving assistance functions" in the revised new S‑Class this autumn.

In effect it is another step towards autonomous driving. There will be Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC and Active Steering Assist as well as a facility by which vehicle speed can be automatically adjusted in bends and at junctions.

A considerably improved Active Lane Change Assist will also be on board.

* Tesla will open their Irish Store and first Supercharger here in a couple of weeks.

And we'll get a chance to drive the electric Model S saloon and SUV Model X.

The timing is perfect on one front anyway. It may be a loss maker, but Tesla has just emerged as the most valuable car company in the US.

Based on Monday markets, it is worth $51.54bn - ahead of General Motors on $50.22bn. It edged ahead of Ford a week ago.

Amazing performance from the 13-year-old company that has just an 0.2pc share of the auto market in the US.

* Good advice, they say is always worth repeating.

So please, please check your tyres this Easter. It could save a life or avert injury.

Check the pressure is correct - MPG and safety are affected if not.

Remove stones etc from the tread. Check for bulges, cracks and cuts. If concerned have a professional examine them.

Don't take chances.

And use a one euro coin to check tread depth.

The gold band on the front face of the coin (circling the large number '1' and map of Europe) is 3mm wide.

By inserting the coin into the centre grooves of the tyre, you will be able to see how much tread is left on it.

The minimum legal depth is 1.6mm. Aim for 3mm.

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