Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Defending The Faith

Autocar today are reporting that Tata are definitely going to replace the Land-Rover Defender, or, as it was called when I was young, the Land-Rover.

The BBC also had the story but I'm not linking to them because I'm still really annoyed at the way they are not responding to the flood of complaints about their dirty deal with Murdoch over the F1 rights.

Here's a picture of the DC100:This is still just a concept but is a clue as to what the Defender replacement will look like when it goes into production in 2015.

It's a hard act to follow:but I like what they've done so far.

The current Defender isn't selling brilliantly at the moment but I bet any run-out editions will do well. It still has a certain coolness - Richard Hammond has a couple for example - but the old design is expensive to build and poor reliability (which has affected the entire L-R range for quite a while) has led the Toyota Land-Cruiser to easily establish itself as the world-leader. I wonder where they got the idea for the name "Land-Cruiser" from?

The replacement will need to be reliable, tough, good off-road and, most of all, utilitarian. Definitely not trendy. This isn't one for Victoria Beckham to endorse, maybe Marilyn Monroe? Or, if you fancy someone a bit more alive, Rick Stein and the Dalai Lama are Landy fans

...and so is Ronan Keating (Ugh!)

Monday, 29 August 2011

Conceptually Speaking...

In my most previous posting, I used this picture:of the Eterniti - a luxury British SUV to be launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

I described it as a "cardboard cut-out of a Peugeot" and claimed it would never appear in the metal.

Looks like I was wrong!

Only thing is, Peugeot themselves have built it.

It's called the HX1 and it's their concept for a 2020 MPV. It's a Plug-in Diesel/Electric Hybrid and the details and more photos are here on the Autocar site today.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

To Infiniti and Beyond

What could be beyond Infinity?


Nah. And what happens when you spell them wrong?

Infiniti are Nissan's answer to Toyota's Lexus - luxury well-built cars but a bit boring. I mean look at this G37...It even looks quite Lexusish.

Infiniti have stated that they want to seriously up the numbers they sell in the UK next year. Up to now they've gone for the exclusive angle with a minimal number of dealerships hidden around the country - next year they're opening a few more.

But would anyone want to copy them?

Apparently so.This child's cardboard cut-out of a Peugeot with big wheels is supposed to be the new Eterniti luxury British car launching at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month. It's supposed to be an SUV - a posh Cayenne-type for Aston Martin money.

Lots of motoring sites including Autocar and me are mentioning it but I'm not sure why - I doubt if it will ever exist in the metal.

Unless Mattel do a Hotwheels version.

In fact, that looks like who they've nicked the wheel design from.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Ice Racing

There's a story on the BTCC site today about a race happening between one of the BTCC Ford Foci and an ice-cream van. It won't be as straightforward as you'd expect though because this ice-cream van is a 200mph ice-cream van owned by Jody Scheckter.

This race will be happening on Sunday as part of the Snetterton rounds of the British Touring Car Championship together with a host of support races all of which will be free to view in Britain on ITV4.

This contrasts sharply with how the British F1 fans are being treated. I reported last week about the deal done with Sky and since then the backlash has been amazing and the silence from the BBC has been deafening.

The BBC tried to justify it with a Blog posted by their head of F1. This Blog quickly got beseiged with 8415 comments before the BBC shut it with the rather arrogant announcement:

"This blog is now closed to comments.

If you do wish to make a formal complaint about this announcement, or any aspect of it, you can do so at the BBC Complaints website (

This blog was kept open to comments for longer than usual because of the volume of responses coming in and the clear interest in the subject matter. However, this blog is designed as a place to debate topical issues, rather than a forum that stays open indefinitely.

We are grateful for the high levels of interest in this issue, and the time it has taken everyone to comment here. We have explained the reasons behind the announcement in the initial blog post, and at this stage there is nothing more to add - but we have reviewed the comments and we thank everyone for them.

Sport Hosts"

The vast number of replies to that Blog are articulate and condemn the BBC for this deal and are looking for a better response. Reply number 5555 is particularly good.

At the same time, a petition on petition-buzz was started. This currently has 30,228 signatures.

The Hungarian Grand Prix came and went last weekend with scant mention of this backlash - it was obvious that the presentation team were unhappy but had been told to toe the party line which seems to be keep schtum. This even applied to the post-race red-button forum which is where the fans are supposed to be able to air their views.

The deal stinks for many reasons. One recurring argument is that the BBC could have let the whole F1 rights go to another free-to-air channel so everyone would be able to see all of the races but rather than allow one of their competitors have that, they would rather do a deal with the organisation they have just spent the last three weeks questioning the ethics and morals of.

If that is true, it seriously stinks and heads should roll.

The official response from the BBC is still being eagerly awaited.

Jake Humphrey posted a Blog entry which has now taken over as the place to post your complaints. It's currently sitting there with 1146 replies.

There is now also an Parliamentary e-petition currently with 6097 signatures (including mine) but I'd be surprised if that reaches the 100,000 that is required to get a debate in the House of Commons.

The BBC have let Murray Walker comment but he is not a BBC employee and reluctantly accepts the deal - he also, rather surprisingly, seems to imply that he can't afford Sky TV.

On many occasions within Metro's Car Blog I have discussed and compared F1 & BTCC. I know which I'll be watching next year.

Overall, the lack of coherent responses by the BBC Sport management to the very real arguments being put is disgraceful.

To quote rock-band Foreigner, they're, "As cold as ice".