x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Top car market China to develop its own 'Top Gear'

Is this the end of the Honda Civic? Would you like to buy a famous car? A round-up of local and international motoring news.

The 1975 Honda Civic. The model is the second largest selling nameplate from a Japanese automaker, behind the Toyota Corolla. AFP
The 1975 Honda Civic. The model is the second largest selling nameplate from a Japanese automaker, behind the Toyota Corolla. AFP

Helmet safety a proven fact

New research has "debunked" the belief that wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle could be actually detrimental in a crash.

It is accepted that wearing protective headgear reduced the number of brain injuries and deaths from crashes, but anti-helmet lobbyists have often cited a 25-year-old study that found more spine injuries in helmet wearers.

But results of the study, published online in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, shows that helmeted riders were 22 per cent less likely to suffer cervical spine injury than those without helmets. The study looked through information on more than 40,000 motorcycle collisions between 2002 and 2006.

"There is no doubt that helmets save lives and reduce head injury. And now we know they are also associated with a decreased risk of cervical spine injury," said the study leader, Adil H Haider, an assistant professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Forty years ago in the US, Haider says, nearly all states required helmets for motorcyclists. Today, they are mandatory in only 20 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.


Civic unrest: Honda to put faith in Fit and Jazz nameplates

One of the oldest nameplates in the car industry is set for the chopping block.

Sources insist Honda is planning to kill off the Civic, which the Japanese brand used as its launch vehicle in most of the world's markets back in the 1970s.

Instead, the brand feels its Fit and Jazz nameplates are strong enough to carry Honda into places where the Civic couldn't.

Insiders have confirmed the current Civic will be the last to wear the Honda nameplate, even though it continues to be a strong seller everywhere from Japan to Australia and from the UK to North America.

"There has been a strategic shift that has come straight from the president and the board. They seem keen to micro manage a lot of models and they've decided there's no future for the Civic," one source said.


China to start own 'Top Gear'

China is now the world's largest car market and therefore the big thing missing is its own version of the successful Top Gear motoring show, but according to the Beijing-based comedian and television presenter Cao Yunjin this will rectified.

Cao told the state-run newspaper The Global Times that he and two other men would present the local edition of the award-winning programme, keeping the original's zany style. He refused to reveal when the programme would first air, but admitted a pilot had been filmed.

"The boys go crazy with cars in the show, like pushing a Maserati over the top of a three-storey building and smashing it," Cao said. "It may be too much violence for a fun programme in China. We will do more localised fun stuff.

"Top Gear has been successful because the way the UK hosts present it is entertaining," Cao said, adding that the Chinese version would feature both domestic and foreign brands, including luxury cars.

Officials at China Central Television, which is rumoured to have obtained the rights to the show, declined to comment when contacted by Agence France-Presse.

Now we can await the diplomatic spat between China and Mexico.


Museum puts collection of famous cars for sale on eBay

The Lake District in the north of England is a beautiful, if wet, place for a holiday, but has also been the home of the Cars of the Stars museum.

It has taken the owner, Peter Nelson, 30 years to amass his collection, but will be a lot quicker to get rid of: they are all for sale on eBay.

"I've managed to get all the main cars from the most celebrated film and television shows ever," Nelson, 59, told The Sun. "A lot of Americans think it's amazing that I've got all this way over the other side of the world in a little museum in England. There is the odd museum in the US with one or two famous cars, but there's nothing close to our one in Keswick. Every car I have is unique with its own distinct and cherished history. Individually they're amazing - as a collection there's nothing else like it in the world."

The museum was home to KITT, a Batmobile, a Back to the Future DeLorean and a Robin Reliant from Only Fools and Horses.


Japan association worried by rise in counterfeit car parts

The Japan Auto Parts Industries Association has raised concerns that China is home to a global boom in the production of counterfeit automotive parts.

The association estimates that up to 83 per cent of the world's fake parts are produced in China, while Taiwan and Thailand account for five per cent each and Japan and Malaysia account for two per cent each.

The Chinese government and police have conducted raids but with counterfeit parts generating worldwide sales worth US$45 billion (Dh165bn), legitimate parts manufacturers are losing revenue and market share.

Alex Ashmore, aftermarket director for TRW Automotive, told Plastics News that the company has lost as much as 20 per cent of the market to counterfeit parts.

Ashmore says genuine suppliers and manufacturers, are trying to fight the flood of counterfeits by marking products with radio frequency identification tags.