Group's jobs boost; Big threat to small; Apple bites bullet; new brand; better Tiguan pricing
Best wishes to the Connolly Motor Group on the opening of their new 20,000 sq ft Mercedes dealership in Sligo.
They opened the doors on the €4.5m premises on Monday, creating 20 new full-time jobs in the process. The group now employs 183 people.
The building, by the way, had been vacant since the recession.
We're told it is one of the largest Mercedes-Benz dealerships (14 main dealers now) in the country.
Brothers Kevin and Neil Connolly run the Group and already have Audi and Volkswagen dealerships in Sligo and Ballina and the Audi dealership in Galway.
Importantly this will pave the way for aftersales services to current Mercedes drivers in the region who up to now had to travel to Athlone, Cavan or Dublin for repairs or servicing.
The showrooms will have space to display up to 15 cars. Great to see such progress.
*Just when we thought Small was beautiful ... We've been raving about petrol engines that were developed to reduce emissions and boost power. But now comes news that even tougher emissions coming down the line will reverse that trend. Some industry experts are being quoted as saying that Renault, GM and VW are preparing to make bigger engines and ease out the smaller ones to cope with the stiffer emission levels. If that is the case it's quite amazing because I, for one, have heard nothing from international experts except 'small is the way forward'.
But a quote from Alain Raposo, head of powertrain at the Renault-Nissan alliance suggests divided opinion: "The techniques we've used to reduce engine capacities will no longer allow us to meet emissions standards. We're reaching the limits of downsizing." That's a poor lookout isn't it?
*BMW have confirmed there will be a roadster version of the i8 supercar - and we'll see it by 2018. It will be part of a facelift with a possible upping of power to 420bhp.
*And so after all the talk, Apple has decided it will not build its own car under what has become known as Project Titan. Reports say they have scaled back plans to take on car makers and are taking a new direction that does not include building its own vehicle.
*There will be a hybrid version of the next (second-gen) MINI Countryman next year, according to reports. It would be MINI's first hybrid attempt.
*The company that owns Volvo, Chinese automaker Geely Automobile, will unveil a new car brand - called Lynk & Co - tomorrow. The cars will go on sale initially in China next year but more upmarket versions (Volvos) will be sold later in Europe and the US.
It will be the first vehicle based on the Complex Modular Architecture (CMA) platform which it and Volvo have developed.
*Volkswagen got their initial pricing wrong on the Tiguan but the arrival of a new entry-level 2-litre diesel seems to have put things right.
It starts from €30,985 - around €30,000 is a critical area. The new 115bhp engine makes the more reasonable price possible (it falls to €29,985 for cars ordered on PCP before December 31).
The Tiguan range starts with the 125bhp 1.4-TSI petrol (from €29,085) but this is a core diesel segment - hence the significance of the new 2-litre.