Fast Lane: Funky Volvos on the horizon

Funky Volvos on the horizon.
Funky Volvos on the horizon.PHOTO: VOLVO
Grooming future drivers: Road safety programme (above).
Grooming future drivers: Road safety programme (above).PHOTO: AUDI
The Touran TDI is one of the models affected in the Volkswagen scandal.
The Touran TDI is one of the models affected in the Volkswagen scandal. PHOTO: VOLKSWAGEN

Funky Volvos on the horizon

Volvo Cars has given a glimpse of what its future compact models will look like.

The 40-series concept models demonstrate for the first time how the carmaker plans to expand into the large and lucrative global market for premium small cars.

Its range of vehicles combines bold exterior and interior design with industry-leading connectivity, electrification and autonomous drive technologies.

The new cars will be the first to be built around Volvo's new compact modular architecture, which has been created for smaller cars and has liberated the company's designers and engineers to explore bold and daring new directions.

The range will include a purely electric vehicle as well as plug-in hybrid variants.

Volvo plans to sell up to one million electrified cars by 2025.

Grooming future drivers

To help keep children safe on the roads, Audi Singapore has launched a road safety programme for pre-schoolers aged five and six.

The "Audi Future Drivers" programme is in partnership with Pat's Schoolhouse and aims to educate more than 900 children across its 16 centres in Singapore.

The programme sees these children undergoing a hands-on session to learn about road safety in a role-playing environment.

This includes being guided on how to drive safely using Audi R8 mini-electric cars on an interactive course, understanding how to use the road wisely and identifying traffic signs.

No runny noses in an Audi

Audi will incorporate a new filter system for its compact models to bring relief to allergy sufferers.

Active substances in its system reduce allergens, while additional layers shield occupants from particulates and gaseous impurities.

To be found in the A1, A3, Q3 and TT from next month and in the new Q2 at its launch, the system is also available to Audi owners who want to have their cars retrofitted for a fee.

Dual-clutch transmission for Citan

Mercedes-Benz has introduced dual-clutch transmission versions of its Citan compact van.

From next month, selected Citan 112 variants will be available with the new 6G-DCT gearbox.

Citan panel van and Tourer models with the 112 petrol engine can benefit from the double-clutch transmission, which combines the comfort of a six-speed automatic transmission with the driving dynamics of a manual gearbox in a compact and lightweight design.

VW wants speedier emissions investigation

Volkswagen has expressed frustration about the slow pace of investigations into its emissions scandal.

In a letter seen by Reuters, chief financial officer Frank Witter told British hedge fund TCI that Volkswagen had made significant progress in implementing a new structure for the group and the VW brand.

However, Mr Witter also acknowledged that an inquiry by law firm Jones Day into who was responsible for rigging United States exhaust emissions tests was dragging on. "We are all frustrated at the time this is taking," he said.

VW commissioned the inquiry from the US law firm last year, but Mr Witter said Jones Day had to be allowed to continue its work into the second half of this year to ensure "no stone (is) unturned in the pursuit of truth".

GM plans to compensate SUV owners in US

General Motors plans to compensate about 130,000 owners of SUVs with inflated fuel economy labels, said Reuters, which quoted sources briefed on the plans.

The Detroit carmaker said last Friday it was temporarily halting sales of about 60,000 new 2016 SUVs because the vehicles' labels overstated their fuel efficiency.

GM Canada is expected to offer a similar compensation programme, but it is not clear how many owners are impacted.

GM has sold about 170,000 2016 SUVs in the United States and about 130,000 are retail sales which will qualify for the compensation plan.

The remainder of the vehicles were sold to rental car, commercial and fleet buyers. It is not clear how GM will address those owners or whether GM will extend the compensation offer to owners in countries outside North America.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 21, 2016, with the headline 'Fast Lane'. Print Edition | Subscribe