Fiat launches on social media a stunning “one shot” film about three unique 500’s …

Outstanding design is one of the hallmarks of Fiat cars, with the superbly iconic 500 or “Cinquecento” of course taking centre stage. Indeed, this is further shown by a remarkable docufilm “One-Shot”.

The trailer of this film is now on air, looking “behind the scenes” of the creation of the One-Offs, three exclusive interpretations of the New Fiat 500, by Armani, Bvlgari and Kartell.

The Bulgari logo on the 500…

The full film can be viewed on Fiat’s social media channels, first of all on YouTube. The link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGGd7EcnmNI&feature=youtu.be. But you can also see it on FCA’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

In the film, we see the unfolding of “Plan B” when Geneva Motor Show was canceled, and it was decided to present the “one off” cars in front of the Milan Duomo…

This breathtaking journey, narrated by Olivier François – President, Fiat Brand Global and FCA Chief Marketing Officer, includes interviews with designers, tales of partners, close-ups on the details and selection of materials, where the aim is caring of the environment and its sustainability.

Unloading the cars in the early morning in front of the Duomo…

The short film (15 and a half minutes) presents a relentless succession of meetings and processes that highlight teamwork, the affinity between designers from different fields and the emotions involved in playing an active role in an extraordinary project: the creation of something unique, an interpretation of the New 500 alongside the very best of “Made in Italy”.

Genuine gold flakes adorn the Bulgari 500…

The result is the three One-Offs, embodiment’s of the style, creativity and craftsmanship characteristic of “Made in Italy” and of our partners in the project, in the path and in the vision of the Earth’s future.

The Armani 500 got a special dressing…

And also a wood sculpted dashboard…

The journey depicted in the film begins in Turin, cradle of the Fiat brand, passing from Rome on the way with its sunsets, colors and lines that symbolize Bvlgari all over the world, to arrive in Milan, the world capital of fashion and design, due in no small part to Armani and Kartell.

…by a special wood cutting machine…

The twist in the tale has Milan as the setting for the entire presentation of the New 500.

A veritable gearshift takes place in the film’s account of the tense time when the Geneva International Motor Show was canceled, and a plan B had to be found and set in motion. The presentation of the New 500 and the One-Offs was completely rewritten to pull up stakes, to Milan.

Bvlgari jewelry in the 500 logo…

The short film is created and produced by VICE Italy, with Rockets at the helm. It uses the language of documentaries to reveal aspects normally concealed from the general public, in an immediate and effective way.

In an authentic, realistic vernacular, the evocative film opens the doors of the Style Center in Turin to the cameras. We get an exclusive peek inside the “Color & Material” department led by Rossella Guasco, halfway between a sophisticated research center and an elegant fashion atelier.

Bvlgari used its foulards…to enhance the dasboard

The footage documents their almost-obsessive attentiveness to every detail, that “know-how” typical of Italian creativity, and dwells on the emotions of the whole team as they experience something truly unique.

Kartell the seats…

The journey continues in an interview with Klaus Busse, Head of Design, explaining what lies beneath the creative process of style and forms, and the role of the 500 in the history of industrial design, even more so in the collective unconscious.

…and elements of the car…

It was the Style Center that took a legend of the 50’s, the fabled “Cinquino”, and reinvented it in 2007 to “color” everyday life and streets all over the world, making it an authentic, unique and salient response to the requirements of international urban mobility.

At the Milan launch of the One-Offs in March, it was even announced that the Fiat 500 has been confirmed as an “Italian Icon and Honorary Member” of Altagamma, the prestigious Foundation that brings together the best of Italy’s companies, to promote the epitomes of the country’s excellence around the world.

Just have a look at the photos here, and also enjoy the film!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Support in Corona times: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Belgium presents its dealers the CAR @ HOME project

In order to enable dealers to maintain the essential relationship with customers and prospects in these restricted Corona times, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles developed the CAR @ HOME project to support its network.

How is it done? Video conferencing seems to be the best way to establish a link between a customer / prospect and a network dealer. “We offer this original solution to meet a need and demand from our dealers to stay in touch with their clients,” said M. Yann Chabert, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for the Benelux. “We offer them this tool, of course insofar as every employee involved is legally allowed to work. Our primary concern today remains of course the health of our employees and customers »

For distributors interested in this project, FCA Belgium will acquire the Google Hangouts Meet license, which will allow them to organize video conferences for a period of one year, as well as organize the training of the sales staff in virtual class situations.

This initiative will be promoted by a digital campaign with the slogan “Our vehicles may be standing still, we will remain at your service!” to emphasize once again the importance of staying at home, but staying proactive and looking to the future with optimism.

The simple and easy to use system is also an additional tool for the FCA factories in Europe as the orders generated allow for a quicker return to normal once the crisis is over.

This project is presented to concessionaires who wish to participate. They will be asked to contact their respective zone manager for their region and for their brands, who will in turn direct this digital activity to the dealership.

A remarkable initiative, and indeed, it provides professional support those considering buying a car during these difficult times.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Kia reveals first images of next-generation Sorento…

The concept of ‘refined boldness’ inspired Kia’s designers, and they came up with a more confident, mature and desirable exterior design. But that is not all. The cabin is also definitely upscale with premium material quality.

Of course, the new Sorento is crammed with progressive connectivity, driver assist and infotainment technologies. It makes its first public appearance at 2020 Geneva International Motor Show

More to come!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

AudiStream: You can have your virtual factory visit at Audi Ingolstadt…

Audi has another first: you can now experience virtual factory tours! For the moment, you can experience production processes of the brand at the Ingolstadt site online and in English language, both from the comfort of your own homes and/or while on the go. It is also interactive: experienced tour guides accompany the virtual tour and answer questions in the live stream.

The tour guides moderate the virtual tours live from a studio…

AudiStream provides detailed insights into selected production stages at Audi in Ingolstadt. Additionally, the new online feature presents the technical highlights of the brand. The tour guides moderate the virtual tours live from a studio. They explain production processes, answer individual questions as part of a dialog, and tailor the course of the approximately 20-minute live stream to the wishes and interests of the participants.

You visit Audi Ingolstadt virtually…

AudiStream starts with the online feature “Audi live at the Ingolstadt factory.” Participants learn how an Audi is made, from the first production steps in the press shop up to the last manual operations during the final assembly. Streams about further topics concerning the Audi brand are to follow.

You see on your screen the A4 production at Ingolstadt

Users select the desired live stream and a suitable time slot online at http://www.audi.stream.

The offering is free of charge; fees may be charged for internet access, however, depending on the selected provider. Further information on AudiStream can be found in the video. We give you here the link:

https://www.audi-mediacenter.com/de/audimediatv/video/audistream-virtuelle-reise-in-die-produktionswelt-von-audi-in-ingolstadt-4872.

Battery tray welding at Audi Brussels for the e-Tron: to see this, follow your servant in the factory!

If you want to see the production of the E-Tron at Audi Brussels, you will still see your servant and his colleagues. For your info, I am personally guiding you through the factory and tell you everything you want to know about its presence and history and all the state of the art Audi production techniques in four languages, German, English, French and Dutch. You can book a visit through the website http://www.audibrussels.be/brussels/web/nl/factory-visit/reservation.html. Just hurry, interest is large, and bookings are already months ahead!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

2020 Brussels show report: BMW electrifies the future…

The BMW Vision INEXT was to be seen in Brussels…

The Brussels motor show is always a unique event. Last but not least because this is a true buyers’ show, to be taken in the literary sense: about 30 % of the annual car sales in our country is done on the grounds of the Motor Show!

“Our” show is also unique because all the brands are present here in Brussels. First of all because no car manufacturer wants to miss the sales opportunity, but also because the Brussels show is also an ideal “test” market, it allows brands to assess what global (European) market share they can achieve overall and for their respective models individually, judging by their penetration in the Belgian market, where no national brands can distort the situation in our market place.

We took a walk through some of the stands, and here follows our report, where we focus on the brands we did not yet discuss already in our show preview, starting here with BMW.   

Hans Knol ten Bensel

BMW and MINI unveiled two world premieres with respectively the BMW plug in hybrid versions for the X1 and the X2 models, the BMW X1 xDrive25e and the new BMW X2 xDrive25e. BMW is pushing its electrification very hard forward, and on the accompanying photo you can see the table they displayed at the show, showing the further steps they are taking towards an electrified future. An  electric drive and a lithium-ion battery enable an electrically powered range of up to 57 kilometres in the two new plug-in hybrid models. In the near future, four BMW X models with plug-in hybrid drive will be available. BMW intends to have more than one million vehicles with electrified drive on the road by the end of 2021.

The plug-in hybrid system of the new BMW X1 xDrive 25e and the new BMW X2 xDrive25e consists of a 1.5 litre 3-cylinder petrol engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo Technology and an electric drive specially developed for this model. It is taken from the eDrive technology modular system of the BMW Group. The petrol engine mobilizes a peak output of 92 kW/125 hp and a maximum torque of 220 Newton meters. It transfers its power to a 6-speed Steptronic transmission and drives the front wheels.

The electric motor generates an output of 70 kW/95 hp and delivers 165 Nm of torque to the rear wheels via a single-speed transmission. This makes for a hybrid specific all-wheel drive…Together the combustion engine and electric motor produce a system output of 162 kW/220 hp. The maximum system torque of both drive units is 385 Nm. The new BMW X1 xDrive25e accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.9 seconds. The new BMW X2 xDrive25e does the 0 to 100 km/h sprint in 6.8 seconds. The top speed of the new BMW X1 xDrive25e is 193 km/h. Maximum speed of the new BMW X2 xDrive25e is 195 km/h.

The MINI crowd was also spoiled with a world first of a Sidewalk Edition of the MINI convertible. The MINI is already cute, desirable and truly iconic, and a cabrio version adds to all the pleasure a MINI can offer its driver and occupants. Variants of the exterior paintwork, soft top design, rim styling and interior fittings are developed especially for the edition model. The version of the fully automatic textile soft top, specially designed for the edition model, can be opened or closed electrically and almost silently in 18 seconds. It features an artistically woven-in arrow graphic in the particularly high-quality finish typical of MINI Yours. The 17 inch light-alloy Scissor Spoke 2-tone wheels of the new MINI Convertible Sidewalk are also a model-specific design feature. There are also the side indicator bezels, known as side scuttles, which bear the “Sidewalk” model designation.

Presenting the MINI John Cooper Works GP and the M8 Gran Coupé

Three engine versions are available, The new MINI One Convertible Sidewalk develops 75 kW/102 hp from the 1.5 litre 3-cylinder engine. The new MINI Cooper Convertible Sidewalk is also powered by a 1.5 litre 3-cylinder engine which produces 100 kW/136 hp. The 141 kW/192 hp 4-cylinder engine of the new MINI Cooper S Convertible Sidewalk provides the sportiest fresh air experience.

European premieres for BMW and MINI

There were also European firsts in Brussels, like the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé, interesting as it is beautiful, and we are certainly keen to drive one soon to tell you more about it. The same goes for the BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe. It has a 200 mm longer wheelbase makes extra room for the rear passengers.

Furthermore there is the insipring MINI John Cooper Works GP, with a 4 cylinder 306 HP engine, catapulting this Mini from 0 to 100 km in merely 5,2 seconds. It is produced in Oxford in 3000 units, and is on sale from March 2020.

Things to come: The Vision INEXT dashboard…

The BMW BMW X5 M and X6 M have their Belgian premières, the 4,4 litre V8 is good for 625 hp and this formidable engine makes these cars sprint form 0 to 100 in merely 3,8 seconds. Last but not least there is the Belgian first of the MINI electric, or the 3-door MINI Cooper SE.

On the stand, we stood also eye to eye with the BMW Vision iNEXT, the optical highlight of the exhibition stand, which also showcases the interior design principle “My Favorite Space” with harmonious, natural surfaces and technology that is kept discreetly out of sight.

Just look at the photos here… which answers the question: “What will cars look like when they no longer have to be driven by a person, but still can be?” The interior can be a place for relaxation, interaction, entertainment, or concentration, as preferred. It is more like a comfortable and fashionably furnished “living space” on wheels – a new “Favorite Space”. A new design principle, referred to as “Shy Tech”, plays an especially important part in this.

To preserve the high-end, yet cozy character of the rear compartment, and place its occupants center-stage, the intelligent technology behind the operating controls is integrated out of sight. It only becomes visible and operable when required by the driver or passengers…

Soon more about other brands and novelties we saw on the Brussels show…

Hans Knol ten Bensel    

The Concept Alfa Romeo Tonale is to be seen on the press and gala day of the Brussels Show…

Faithful readers will remember that we stood in the FCA Centro Stile eye to eye with the stunning design concept car, the Alfa Romeo Tonale. For those lucky ones who will be invited to the gala evening and attend the press day on January 9, we have good news : it will be on show on that day in the Hall 7 of the Brussels Salon…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Indeed, you can admire it for one day in Hall 7 of the Motor Show buildings, and you will see its design language close up. This is rather important, as its shapes will be seen back in the second SUV which will bear the Alfa Romeo badge.

Its expressive design and compact shape bode well for the future styling of Alfa’s, whilst maintaining and even rather enhancing and accentuating further the organic Alfa styling DNA of the past. One only has to look at the formidable 21-inch alloy wheels, which evoke the “telephone dial”, a pure execution of the circular theme of the wheel itself. It was first seen in the 60’s and proudly carried by the Alfa 33 stradale. The wheel design has been further enhanced by special custom-made Pirelli’s…

The lateral profile of the car is reminiscent of the shapes of the Duetto and Disco Volante Spider, and the “Linea GT” profile of the Tonale is a modern day interpretation of the shapes seen on the GT Junior.

The “Trilobo” front end bears proudly the “Scudetto” grille, and the “3 + 3” headlights remember proudly the SZ and the Brera.

The cabin shapes have a distinct thoroughbred touch, and the materials are rich and inviting, with transparent panels in the centre console, and of course the DNA driving mode elector is a prominent element.

The Tonale is named after the Tonale mountain pass, which lies not far from the iconic Stelvio pass, and is equally breathtaking with eternal snow and water falls. Just come to admire it in Brussels…on the 9th of January. If you missed it, there is always a nice consolation for you: you can admire on the following days instead the new Giulia MY 2020…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Volkswagen on the Brussels show…

Volkswagen will of course be quite present at the show in palace 11 with a very impressive stand, under the new VW logo, reminiscent of its early beginnings, and we must admit we like its style.

There is a lot to see: in the first place the brand new Golf, the iconic bestseller and of course the electric ID.3. We will be very keen to admire it “in the flesh.”

At launch, a special range of ID.3 1ST will be available in three trim levels and with an electric driving range of up to 420 kilometers (WLTP). All ID.3 1ST versions are equipped with the most popular battery variant, which has a useful energy content of 58 kWh.

The series models will later also be available with a smaller battery (45 kWh), with a driving range of up to 330 kilometers, and a larger battery (77 kWh), with a maximum driving range of 550 kilometers.

VW is also presenting some fun cars, like the T-Roc Cabriolet and the sporting version of the range, the T-Roc R.

On the new Golf, not less than five hybrid versions are offered. Three eTSIs (mild hybrids) make their debut. A belt-driven 48 V starter generator, a 48 V lithium-ion battery and the latest generation of the groundbreaking efficient TSI engines offer performance but also significantly reduce fuel consumption.

The mild-hybrid powertrains, which are always combined with a 7-speed DSG, have a powerful energy recovery and deliver power of 81 kW (110 hp), 96 kW (130 hp) and 110 kW (150 hp). The 48 V system also makes it possible to roll out with the engine switched off completely and to save fuel.

Of course, there are also Plug-in Hybrid (eHybrid) versions. The eHybrid program is divided into a 150 kW / 204 hp version optimized for driving range and a performance-oriented GTE version with 180 kW / 245 hp (system power each time). The plug-in hybrid drive line consists of a 1.4 TSI, the hybrid module with electric motor, a six-speed DSG and a lithium-ion battery. The new battery is distinguished by a 50 percent larger storage capacity (13 kWh) and therefore a larger electric driving range: almost all daily journeys in the city can be done locally without emissions.

The family of the Multivan, Caravelle and California 6.1 with a nod to the first-born, the T1, is also to be seen at the show.

The T-Roc Cabriolet is already a classic with its foldable cabrio roof which can be opened in merely 9 seconds and which is powered by a choice of two petrol engines, the 1 litre 110 HP 3 cylinder and the 1,5 litre 150 HP four cylinder. 

T-Roc R, fun, sporty and safe with the integral transmission

The modern 2.0 engine with TSI technology and the 4MOTION intelligent four-wheel drive gives the new T-Roc R quite some zest. Pressure feed and direct injection ensure an impressive torque of 400 Nm even at low speeds.

You can also admire two electric concept cars: the ID. BUGGY and the ID. BUZZ Cargo.

Here the basis is formed by the new and already much discussed MEB platform. The high-voltage battery in housed in the floor of the vehicle. This lithium-ion battery provides in the case of the ID. Buggy a capacity of 62 kWh to power the 150 kW / 204 hp electric motor in the rear for a driving range of approximately 250 kilometers (WLTP).

Last but not least the importer D’Ieteren is showing electric charging solutions. With Electric D’Ieteren Solutions, or EDI for short, D’Ieteren Auto wants to expand a portfolio of intelligent charging and energy solutions.

The EDI range includes charging stations for home and work, but also a charging card for charging on the road, which offers access to more than 100,000 charging points in 25 European countries. In addition, EDI provides a range of services for both private customers and professional accounts.

As you see, a lot of interesting news to see in hall or “palace” 11 of the Brussels Motor Show on the Heysel…  

Hans Knol ten Bensel

EQ power for Mercedes in Brussels…

Mercedes-Benz is launching at the Brussels Motor Show with a scoop: after the digital premiere of the GLA in mid-December, the youngest member of the Compact Car segment makes its very first worldwide physical appearance in Brussels.

The brand new GLA will be joined by the Belgian premieres of the CAP and the GLS – both available as seven-seater.

In addition, the EQ offensive from Mercedes-Benz is gradually coming up at full speed: from the newest and therefore most efficient generation of diesel engines and EQ Boost on petrol engines to the EQ Power Plug-In Hybrids from A-Class to S-Class to fully battery-powered EQC, the smart EQ facelift and the EQV in Belgian premiere.

In the next year we will drive the E-300, and indeed, as you can read in our columns, the EQC has greatly impressed us…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Renault presents its hybrid technology at the Brussels Salon…

Hybrid E-Tech Engine

In palace 5 of the show, Renault will present the New Clio, under a full hybrid version from 2020, christened E-TECH. This is a major first for Groupe Renault, which relied on its pioneering know-how as the European market leader in electric mobility to develop a unique hybrid experience for New Clio. New Clio E-Tech is presented as a world premiere at the Brussels 2020 Salon.

Renault CLIO in Portugal…

Another world premiere is the new Captur, the first affordable model in its segment to be offered in 2020 with a fully rechargeable hybrid engine. Renault calls its hybrid technology E-TECH Plug-in.

New Renault CAPTUR in Greece…

Renault presents its hybrid technology, under this E-Tech label, to the general public for the first time at the Brussels Motor Show.

That is why a special technological zone will be dedicated exclusively to New Clio E-Tech and New Captur E-Tech Plug-in at the Renault stand in Palace 5. Visitors to the salon will be able to learn everything about this new technology thanks to demonstration modules, but also thanks to technical experts with whom they will be able to talk.

A 1,6 litre petrol engine is used in the hybrid layout, alongside with two electric engines. More about all this soon, when we discuss all this more in technical detail.

2019 – New Renault ESPACE Initiale Paris

The new Espace has also its world premiere in Brussels. There is also the new ZOE, a next step in terms of versatility, quality and technology. With 52 kWh, the battery offers Z.E. 50 in New ZOE now a range of 395 km WLTP, an increase with 25%.

Two years after it was launched on the European market, New Koleos is making progress in all areas, with a more pronounced body design and a higher level of comfort. He also has new, more efficient and more efficient engines and more technologies in the interior.

The new ZOE with a bigger range…

The New ZOE sets a next step in the field of versatility, quality and technology. With 52 kWh, the battery offers Z.E. 50 in New ZOE now a range of 395 km WLTP, an increase with 25%.

We just let you look at the photos here… and needless to say that we are very keen to make a test drive soon with the new E-Tech cars!

Hans Knol ten Bensel  

Kia is going electric on the Brussels Show

Ceed Sportswagon and XCeed are now also offered as PHEV versions…

Electrification is the name of the game at Kia. In Hall 4 it will show not less than 11 “electrified” cars, ranging from mild hybrid to hybrid and plug in hybrid on to full electric.

In Belgian premieres, we will stand eye to eye with the XCeed PHEV and the Ceed SW PHEV.

Emilio Herrera, Chief Operating Officer at Kia Motors Europe, commented that in the first half of 2019, one in seven of the Kia’s sold in Europe was an electrified model, a trend which is catching up quite fast.

The new drivetrain combines a lithium-polymer battery package of 8,9 kWh, an electric motor of 44,5 kW and an efficient 1,6 litre ‘Kappa’ four cylinder GDI (gasoline direct injection) engine. Total system power is 141 HP and 265 Nm, enough to propel the Ceed Sportswagon in 10,8 seconds and the XCeed in 11 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h.

Regenerative braking is provided for, and both cars have the so-called Virtual Engine Sound System, which is actvated in the EV-mode when driving slowly or backwards.

A charge indicator is of course provided in the instrumentation, and one can monitor the energy flow between engine, battery package and electric motor.

Power transmission of the petrol engine is via a 6 speed DCT, and both engines deliver their power parallel to the front wheels. The 8,9 kWh battery package is situated next to the 37 liter fuel tank under the rear seat.

Clever is also the “driver only” heating/ventilation mode, where the vents closest to the driver are opened, and the blower is cancelled. Just to save energy!

We will soon take the Kia XCeed 1,4 T for a test drive, awaiting this interesting PHEV version…

Hans Knol ten Bensel