x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Porsche to expand R&D facility in Germany

Plus a record-breaking Cadillac parade, Toyota the greenest brand, 'racing' against GPS and BMW wins design awards.

Henry Leland, photographed in 1930 with a 1905 Cadillac Osceola.
Henry Leland, photographed in 1930 with a 1905 Cadillac Osceola.

Porsche is growing its research and development centre in Weissach, Germany. Ground was broken last week on the site, which is being expanded with the addition of a modern design studio, a high-tech wind tunnel and an electronics integration centre.

Porsche announced it is investing about €150 million (Dh793m) in the project. Matthias Mueller, chairman of the board, said the extension is a "far-sighted investment in the future of Porsche".

Uwe Hueck, chairman of the Group Works Council, said the investment will increase the number of permanent jobs and the company's independence.

The wind tunnel, to open in the first half of 2014, will enable the Stuttgart-based sports car manufacturer to cope with technological challenges in vehicle development. "Good aerodynamics make a major contribution towards low fuel consumption and high performance - both of which are important aspects in implementing Porsche intelligent performance", said Wolfgang Hatz, who is in charge of research and development.

The new offices and design studio should be ready for occupation in summer 2013.

Big event for a big car: Cadillac parade to break Guinness record

The Orleans Country Agricultural Fair, held annually in northern Vermont in the US, is looking to do something a little different this year on a grand scale.

Organisers are planning to set the Guinness World Record for the largest parade of Cadillacs. Barton, the planned starting point of the parade on August 17, is the childhood home of Henry Leland, who created the Cadillac and Lincoln companies in the early 20th century.

"Since there is a record, we feel it ought to be in Vermont," David Leland told The New York Times. David is Henry's great-great-nephew and a resident of Barton. "It is a great opportunity to recognise some of his accomplishments."

On hearing the news of the planned parade, Cadillac's public relations department has not only lent support through its dealers and social media outlets but has also promised the US$6,500 necessary to have a Guinness representative on hand to officially certify the record.

The previous record for a Cadillac parade was 102 cars in, of all places, the Netherlands, in 2002.

Insurer records 'GPS racing'

This is so not in the owner's manual.

According to research by Sainsbury's, the car insurer, 7.2 million drivers in the UK have raced to a destination to beat the predicted arrival time on their vehicle's GPS. That's just in the past year alone.

Among those, fully half admitted to breaking the speed limit to beat their GPS in the past year.

Sainsbury's calls this dangerous new driving game "GPS racing".

A further 322,000 drivers admitted to overtaking when prohibited from doing so and 241,000 have tailgated other vehicles in an attempt to save time. Shockingly - well perhaps not so shocking if you've driven at all along UAE motorways - more than 161,000 drivers have flashed their lights or gesticulated at other drivers to try to get them to speed up so they could race to their destination.

Ben Tyte, head of car insurance for Sainsbury's, said the trend was worrying and pointed to the proper use of GPS units: effective navigation.

It should come as no surprise that collisions and crashes have resulted from GPS racing - about 144,000 GPS racers admit they collided with another vehicle or hitting a parked car.

Global environmental survey finds Toyota is greenest brand

Toyota is the world's greenest brand, according to a new global survey from the international brand consultancy Interbrand. The first Best Global Green Brands examines environmental performance and public perception of a environmental sustainability - its "green profile" - to produce a Green Performance Score.

Based on data collected from the world's leading markets, including the UK, France, Germany, Italy, the United States, Japan, Brazil and India, the report gives Toyota a top score of 64.19 points, ahead of 3M in second place.

The Interbrand report said Toyota is "a leading example of making the environment a core management priority, while also engaging in a meaningful way with audiences around the world".

Toyota's development of hybrid technology was a key contributor to its score, according to the report. Since 1997, Toyota and Lexus have produced more than 3.2 million hybrid vehicle sales worldwide.

BMW wins three German design awards in new competition

BMW scooped up three awards from the German Design Council in the Automotive Brand Contest, a new international brand and design competition this year.

The winner of the Architecture and Events category was the Sestosenso light installation, created in collaboration with Flos and light designer Paul Cocksedge, while the BMW 328 Hommage won the Concept and Study category. The new BMW 6 Series Coupé came away with a prize in the Exterior category.

Presentation of the awards is next month at the Automotive Designers' Night during the Frankfurt International Motor Show.

With its Automotive Brand Contest, the German Design Council recognises the significance of the brand and brand design as factors in the success of automakers. Judges evaluated submissions for a total of 15 competition categories ranging from exterior and interior to brand design and advertising campaigns.