2018 The Focus RS Heritage Edition is Here to Bid Farewell to the Current Generation
The current-generation Ford Focus RS has enjoyed an eventful life since it was unveiled at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. But like all good things, the Focus RS’s time in the sun is about to end. Weep not, though, dear friends, because Ford is giving the hot hatch the proper swan song with the release of the Focus RS Heritage Edition. Limited to just 50 units, the Focus RS Heritage doesn’t dabble in the subtleties. It’s got enough goodies and equipment to make even hardened hot hatch fans tremble in excitement. And, if that little tease isn’t enough to persuade you, maybe the hatch’s bright orange exterior will do the trick.
Honda, Toyota, and Nissan Threaten to Leave the U.K. if Brexit Kills Profits
The uncertainty of the U.K.’s “Brexit” away from the European Union looms as one of the world’s biggest storylines since the shock vote that happened in 2016. There’s still a year away before the U.K. formally leaves the European bloc, but there are already concerns from other countries all over the world about the kind of trade agreements that will arise from the country’s departure from the EU. One of the concerned nations is Japan and, in an unusual move for the normally docile Japanese people, the country said that its companies would leave Britain if trade barriers made them unprofitable. Among the Japanese companies that could exit Britain include Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and Mitsubishi.
Chevrolet Sold One Car - One! - in the U.K. Last Month
Chevrolet did well for itself in January 2018 when it moved 141,947 units for the whole month. That represents an increase of five percent from its sales total in the same month a year before. Good stuff. Unfortunately, the Bowtie didn’t do as well in the U.K. For the entire month of January — that’s 31 days — Chevrolet sold a grand total of one unit across the pond. One. One!
YASA Opens New Production Facility; Expands Electric Motor Production
YASA, a leading manufacturer of electric motors, has just opened a new factory in Oxford, England, giving the company a major boost in production levels. Previously capped at 2,000 units, the new facility will pump out 100,000 axial-flux electric motors per year. Nearly 80 percent of YASA’s production is exported to countries around the globe for use in both hybrid and fully electric vehicles.
Nissan and Jaguar Land Rover are two of YASA’s biggest customers, but automakers in China are also important customers of the British firm. YASA’s new factory comes as a result of a major £15 million ($21 million U.S. dollar) investment and supply agreements with several automakers.
Dr. Chris Harris, YASA’s CEO, said, “Our customers are looking to adopt innovative new technologies such as YASA’s axial-flux electric motors and controllers in order to meet the needs of the rapidly expanding hybrid and pure electric automotive market. This additional £15 million in growth funding will enable YASA to further invest in the volume production capacity necessary to meet our customers’ requirements, and to address markets beyond automotive including aerospace and marine.”
According to Harris’ comments, YASA isn’t limiting itself to just ground-based transportation. That could mean big business for the U.K. company as hybrid and electric drives become more and more common.
London Poised To Enact New Ultra-Low Emissions Zone By 2021
In the ongoing effort to curb emissions amid growing concern over pollution and air quality, London is looking to enact expanded ultra-low emission zones (ULEZ) that will fine older-model vehicles to travel through the city. Some analysts estimate the move could force upwards of 1.6 million motorists into a more modern automobile, which is a huge shift in just three years’ time.
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A 50-Year-Old Coal-Powered Steam Land Rover? Yup, There’s One Out There
If there’s anything the iconic Land Rover Defender proved in its 67-year run that concluded in 2016, it’s that it could be used in a variety of ways. Whether it was used as a military car, an off-roader, or even as an expedition car, there was no purpose the OG Defender couldn’t fulfill. Apparently, as one British man proved, it can also be turned into a fully functioning coal-powered steam car.
Meet Frank Rothwell. He’s a 67-year old retired British businessman man who happens the own one of the most unusual custom Land Rover Defender 88 models in the world. On the surface, we can still make out traces of its old identity. The body still has the Defender 88’s styling cues. but the recessed grille has been replaced by boiler front with a working chimney for the coal smoke. There’s even a Land Rover badge thrown in there for good measure, presumably to keep up with the appearances.
Rothwell said that he spent around £24,000 (about $34,000) on the project after buying the Land Rover for £4,000 (a little more than $5,600). From there, Rothwell spent more than 400 hours working on the conversion, most of which were used in fitting a coal-fired boiler that heats water into steam that is used to power the steam engine. The result speaks for itself.
The Defender 88, or whatever remains of it, now looks like something Jeremy Clarkson would build after one of his old late night benders.
Functionally, Rothwell claims that his Defender can top out at speeds of 15 mph with a full head of steam. It’s not much, but it’s enough for him to make his usual trips in and around town. More importantly, the car represents something of a love project for his grandchildren. "I think it’s really good for children of this era to do things like lighting fires and using coal," he says, "because they have little access to using things like that these days."
No Room For Error – U.K. Police Chief Wants To Fine Drivers For Going Just 1 MPH Over The Speed Limit
The chief of road policing in Britain just called for a major crackdown on speeders, arguing that even 1 mph over the limit should incur a penalty. However, critics question whether or not such draconian measures will actually make the roads any safer.
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TVR Gets Huge Investment From An Unlikely Source
The Welsh government has investing £500,000 ($690,000) to TVR, acquiring a three-percent stake in the British automaker. The government is also sending a £2 million loan to the company and purchased the Ebbw Vale production facility where TVR plan to produce its current and future models, including the recently launched Griffith sports coupé.
A parking garage in Liverpool, England turned into a huge firebox on Sunday night, engulfing a seven-story parking deck near the Liverpool International House Show. Authorities believe that the fire started in a Land Rover, which triggered a chain reaction that ended up roasting 1,400 cars in the process. Not exactly how you want to ring in 2018, right?
Dream cars, we’re talking about them on a regular basis. They’re usually exotic vehicles that we can’t afford, and we wish we will be able to buy them at some point. But dream cars isn’t always about Bugattis, McLarens, and Ferraris. A recent study conducted in Great Britain revealed that the country’s dream car for 2017 is a mess design-wise, combining features from vehicles that are radically different. More than 2,300 motorists were polled in this study on what makes their perfect car, with options ranging from badges and headlamps to doors and paints. And the result is essentially a Frankenstein of car features and designs launched over the last decade.
Introducing The Snoozeliner: The Bus You Want to Travel the Country In
Long-distance public commutes can be tricky, especially if you’re just off of a long day at work. You sit down, close your eyes, and before you know it, you’re dozing off, completely unaware of your surroundings. One stop turns to two, two turns to five, and when you wake up, you’re over ten stops past your own. This happens to a lot of commuters, which makes the idea of the Snoozeliner more appealing.
Aston Martin Could Be In Trouble If Brexit Pushes Through With No Trade Deal In Place With The European Union
As much progress as Aston Martin has had in recent years of re-establishing itself as one of the best marquee brands in the world, everything it has built could come crumbling down by forces that are completely out of its control. Welcome, then, to the affairs of the present-day United Kingdom, where the looming Brexit move continues to hover over the whole country like a dark and foreboding cloud. Any and all British companies could be affected by it, and Aston Martin has made it clear that if the U.K. fails to strike a Brexit deal with the European Union, the British automaker would have to stop production of its cars in the U.K., effectively stalling its business until the issues are settled.
The doomsday scenario is a very real one for Aston Martin has no less than finance chief, Mark Wilson, described it as having a “semi-catastrophic effect” on the company. A big part of Aston’s concern focuses on having to recertify approvals with other regions so they can sell their cars in those markets. That includes Chinese approval in China, approval on a federal level in the U.S., or E.U. approval, should it come to the point that the company would need to apply for one. If it does come to that, Wilson admitted that it would mean that Aston would have to temporarily stop its production. The issue isn’t as big of a deal today since the U.K. is still technically part of the E.U. But if Brexit does happen without some kind of trade deal in place, the validity of all U.K.-made cars that are headed to E.U. will be in limbo. And if Aston Martin can’t move these units, it’s not going to make them in the first place, hence the potential of a cease in production. Clearly, the political uncertainty of Brexit comes at a horrendous time for Aston Martin has the automaker has just started to pick up momentum in its goal of reinventing itself as a prized automaker. This situation is still fluid, though, so anything can still happen but, if worst comes to worst, it might be prudent to start preparing for situations like this. And, I’m not just talking about Aston Martin; I’m talking about the U.K.’s entire trade infrastructure with the whole world getting thrown into chaos.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
2018 Subaru WRX STI Final Edition
The Subaru WRX Sti has a long, storied history which is part of the reason why Subaru chose to bring a facelift to the car just a few years after the fifth-gen model hit dealers. If you were over in the U.K., on the other hand, you probably felt shafted when the U.S. got to lay eyes on the new WRX – after all, you got stuck with the design that debuted for 2016. Well, as it turns out, the U.K. isn’t getting the facelifted model and, in fact, there won’t be a Subaru STi at all after this year, leaving you just enough time to snag one of these last 150, Final Edition models. And, if you do happen to get your hands on one, well guess what? You actually get the facelifted version that’s on sale in the U.S. right now. That’s right; the “Final Edition” STi in the U.K. is really nothing more than the facelifted model that we received for 2018.
Sounds pretty sketchy, right? Well, it really is, but it’s not exactly Subaru’s fault either. According to various sources, the company that’s responsible for importing the WRX STi has chosen not to import it anymore. It was even up to that company, which goes by the name IM Group, whether or not the final edition models were brought over there. So, while they are the reason why you can’t get a 2018 model (outside of the 150 final editions, anyway) you might want to thank them as they were at least kind enough to import 150 more to give the car a proper send-off. With that said, you probably already know what you’ll get with the Final-Edition STi since it’s already on sale here in the U.S. as a 2018 model, but let’s go over the details just to refresh your memory a bit.
Continue reading to learn more about the Subaru WRX STI Final Edition.
2017 Mini Cooper 1499 GT
It’s a funny thing what a special edition car can do to polish an automaker’s shine. Nobody knows this better than Mini, which has created its fair share of special edition models, including one that it had just announced for the French market: the Mini Blackfriars Edition. Now, it’s doubling down on the SE goodness with yet another offering called the Mini 1499 GT.
In essence, the 1499 GT is not a special edition model that was concocted out of someone’s imagination, but rather, a tribute piece to one of the most iconic Minis to have hit the pavement: the 1971 1275 GT. Most of the functioning 1275 GTs have probably been lost in the sands of time and rust, but the 1499 GT is now here to breathe some life back to the legacy of the legendary hatchback. Between exterior features that pay homage to the classic Mini to suspension tweaks that ensure that it can perform as well as advertised, the new Mini 1499 GT is a stunning example of the best of what Mini can come up. The only downside is that only 1,499 units of the car will be made, and worse, all units will be sold exclusively in the UK market. It’s a bummer, sure, but don’t let dampen your spirits. It’s rare enough to see a special edition tribute car that properly pays homage to the car it’s supposed to be tipping its hats to. It’s even rarer to see one that takes the inspiration to a level that makes people actually reminisce about the classic. The 1499 GT does that, and then some.
Continue after the jump to read more about the Mini Cooper 1499 GT.