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Car makers to profit from China’s booming used market

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The vast majority of cars in the world’s biggest auto market are purchased new, but a second-hand trade is beginning to emerge in China despite traditional buyer reluctance — and foreign manufacturers are hoping to benefit. In China one used car is sold for every four new vehicles, the opposite of Europe and the United States, where around three used cars are sold to every new one. Even though more than 23 million vehicles were sold in the country last year, more than 65 percent of car buyers in China are still purchasing for the first time and simply do…

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GM gets boost from smaller pickups, but doubters question for how long

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General Motors Co’s return to selling smaller pickups in the United States has resuscitated a moribund market segment, but new data highlights the risk that the automaker’s new trucks are cannibalising sales of higher-priced models. Since the launch last autumn of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, the midsize pickup segment has grown to more than 2 percent of the total US car and light truck market from 1.4 percent last summer. Some industry executives believe the segment could double annual sales to 500,000 vehicles, which would have been 3 percent of last year’s market. However, beneath the encouraging numbers…

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Tech firms shake up China car market

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Chinese technology giants Alibaba and Tencent are promising to build the cars of the future, vehicles linked seamlessly to the Internet and offering shopping and navigation help while on the road. E-commerce company Alibaba and WeChat messaging app provider Tencent have both announced plans for cars in the past month, along with video streaming platform Letv. The move could shake up the traditional industry in the world’s largest auto market, but details of their automotive visions are still vague, analysts said. At the Shanghai auto show this week, the stand of Letv’s partner in the venture, BAIC Motor, displayed the…

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New Paul Newman documentary reveals star’s ‘racier’ side

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As one of the few true Hollywood icons, when asked if they know something about Paul Newman other than his eight Best Actor Academy Award nominations people will most likely point to his philanthropy and his Newman’s Own range of food products. However, Newman was just as accomplished behind the wheel as he was in front of the camera. A new documentary by Adam Carolla, called “Winning: The racing Life of Paul Newman,” which premieres on April 16 in Los Angeles and goes on general release on May 22, aims to understand just what it was about the sport that…

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Bridgestone Potenza Adrenalin RE003 tested in Australia

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Speed is an exciting proposition especially when you’re behind the wheel and it’s even more of a rush (no pun intended) when you are paired with the right set of tyres. The new Bridgestone Potenza Adrenalin RE003 tyres will do just that as members of the Malaysian media discovered recently in Brisbane, Australia. We were taken to the Performance Driving Centre in Gold Coast which is a world class driving centre and Australia’s leading Advanced Driver Training facility, to try out the new “treads” (as opposed to threads or swag). The RE003 replaces the previous RE002 and this premium series…

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For Alonso, time is running out

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I cannot imagine what must be going through Fernando Alonso’s mind as he gets on the plane from Shanghai to Bahrain. Three races into the 2015 season, his 15th season in Formula 1, and the Double World Champion has no points to his name. Adding a third championship is not going to happen this year. Alonso’s return to the McLaren team was probably the biggest surprise of last year’s seat swapping season. Mainly because the Spaniard was sitting comfortably at Ferrari with a contract to see him through until the end of 2016. However, it was no secret that after…

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zFAS – the brain behind Audi automated driving

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The central driver assistance controller (zFAS) is the core of future systems for automated driving currently under development by Audi AG. This mastermind unit uses cutting edge, high performance processors and will work its way into the Audi model range step by step in the foreseeable future. It is a key milestone on the road to new, automated driving functions and the pioneering role that Audi is assuming in the field of piloted driving. The technologies specialist Delphi has been awarded the contract for series production of the units. Audi developed this elemental control centre unit in collaboration with internationally…

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Vietnam’s bikers racing to upgrade as auto sales explode

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Hoang Hai turned his back on a Vietnamese business that was headed for bankruptcy and became a driving instructor instead. Now he is riding a wave of interest in car ownership as the country’s trend-setting middle class swaps two wheels for four. The Hanoi driving school where Hai works is inundated with people eager to get behind the wheel. About 300 have applied each month so far this year, double the rate in 2014. Hai, 45, says at least eight out of 10 learners don’t own a car, but they all want one. “As soon as there is an intention…

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‘Furious 7′: The amazing franchise that turbocharged into the stratosphere

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The “Fast and Furious” series is one of the rare movie franchises that has built up momentum as it goes along. Fourteen years after the first film in the saga roared into theaters, “Furious 7″ opened to an astounding US$384 million (RM1.4bil) globally. That establishes a new high-water mark for the “Fast and Furious” films and ranks as the fourth biggest debut in history. The only films to top that figure are two “Harry Potter” pictures and “The Avengers” – rarefied company indeed. “The action gets bigger, every film gets bigger and consequently, you’re seeing a bigger result,” said Nick…

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D-Max adapts to changing tastes

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With almost 100 years of automotive experience, Isuzu Motors continues to be renowned for its commercial vehicles that are fuel-efficient and robust. In a recent interview, its general manager (light commercial vehicle – product planning and vehicle engineering) Makoto Tamazawa said that in the last decade, the demand for interior comfort from pick-up truck buyers had increased significantly. This is in tandem with the evolution of the pick-up truck, from an austere utility vehicle to a dual-purpose leisure vehicle-cum-workhorse. The Japanese automaker’s new-generation pick-up trucks feature an interior with executive car-like ambience, and a ride quality geared towards passenger car…

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