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  • Frankfurt Motor Show Live! Part 2

    September 14, 2011 @ 12:21 pm | by Michael McAleer

    Let’s look at that Jaguar again – wow.

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    The Opel Zafira was a massive seller in Ireland and that means there are thousands of buyers possible waiting to get the new one, which is coming later this year. It goes on sale in Germany soon and we should have the car in Ireland by the end of the year/start of next year. You can read more information on the Zafira here.

    New Opel Zafira: On sale in time for January 2012

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    There has been a huge amount of excitement over at Skoda with the unveiling of the MissionL, which is a beautiful saloon that sits between the Octavia and the Superb and will take on cars like the Renault Fluence and Volkswagen Jetta. It is a real signal of intent for Skoda and further proof, if it was needed, that the Volkswagen Group really means business with this brand.

    Skoda MissionL - will be called the Lauretta

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    Meanwhile across the room over at Volkswagen, we had already seen the Up!, but the new Cross Up! is about as close as we will see for now as to how the five-door Up! will look. The five-door model is expected to be the important one for Ireland, but we won’t see it until well into 2012.

    Volkswagen Up! 5-door

    They also showed a high-performance version of the new Beetle, the Beetle R. This will employ the same 2.0-litre TFSi engine as is in the Golf R and will also get all-wheel drive too, making it a half decent performance car we would imagine.

    Volkswagen Beetle R: all-wheel drive

  • Frankfurt motor show live

    September 13, 2011 @ 9:51 am | by Michael McAleer

    Time for some reflections on the first day as things starts to wrap up at Frankfurt. Well I’ve reconsidered my initial scepticism of the VW Beetle after they unveiled a version of the new car that will feature the same powertrain as the fantastic Golf R.

    Elsewhere the Jaguar concept remains a firm favourite amongst the great unwashed motoring press. Ford’s new design concept, the Evos (revealed in Motors last week), stole a lot of attention and even generated further idle gossip that it might herald a new Capri. Sadly, once more, chief designer J Mays was at pains to state categorically that the return of the iconic 1970s Ford coupe is but the work of idle minds. There are definitely no plans for one and this car has nothing to do with a revival.

    Speaking of idle minds, the Audi stand might not house that much in terms of dramatically new production cars – except perhaps the revised RS5 – but it’s set tongues wagging for its scale. The temporary structure is made of concrete and is the size of most of the other permanent halls at the Frankfurt exhibition centre. Costing an estimated €10 million to build, one wonders what further uses it can be put to after the 12-day show comes to an end. AudiWorld perhaps?

    The Audi Stand. Should have its own post code.

    So to the car of the show? All views are welcome from what we’ve offered you so far, but for me it’s a tie between the Jaguar C-X16 concept (that will eventually become the XE when it goes into production) and on a more practical front the Skoda MissionL. Of the rest, we’re particularly looking forward to pitting the new Fiat Panda against what is likely to be its toughest rival to date: the new VW Up!. We hope to have that twin-test in Motors for you over the next few weeks.

    Tomorrow it all starts again so we’ll report back with updates on the revised Toyota Avensis, the new Opel Zafira and loads more. Happy motoring.

    The Opel battery-powered tandem 2-seater RAK e is quite the odd-ball and it shows Opel’s concept of a “dynamic lightweight concept” of a zero-emission vehicle. This ‘car’ has a 100 km driving range and 120 km/h maximum speed and you are supposed to be able to take it on the motorway although I wouldn’t fancy it. It reminds us of the Sinclair C5. Opel say that to drive 100 kilometers would cost just €1. The RAK e also aims to make pure electric driving affordable for younger customers, allowing for drivers as young as 16.

    Opel Rak_E: Electric two-seater concept

    Over at Fiat there was the unveiling of the new Panda which is a car that is held in massive affection by the Italian carmaker. The same basic flavour of the Panda has been retained but the car is now a little bigger than before, with more generous interior space and luggage space. There is a new engine range too, with buyers able to choose from two TwinAir twin cylinder engines  - an 85hp TwinAir Turbo or the new 65hp naturally aspirated TwinAir, both with Stop/Start as standard. The 69hp 1.2-litre Fire engine will complete the petrol engine range, but there will also be 75hp 1.3-litre MultiJet 2 diesel engine, also with Stop/Start.

    Fiat Panda: Bigger and with new MultiAir engines

    The new Skoda Mission L concept won us over last night at the VW Group preview event. Well our interest in it has only grown stronger in the light of day, or at least the stage lights of the show floor. It’s not revolutionary in any way and the styling reflects as much the German influences t play in the brand as any of the brand’s heritage, but it’s a pretty spacious family hatchback that we suspect will prove very popular with Irish buyers already taken by Skoda’s strong value proposition in Ireland. Priced between Fabia and Octavia, you could expect it to start at about €17,000 or even below, which will really appeal to the growing number of mid-size family car buyers.

    Skoda's new MissionL concept

    The new version of the Hyundai i30 was revealed at the show and the new car is a big step-up in terms of quality and looks. There will be a choice of two petrol and two diesel engines, although Stephen Gleeson, Hyundai Ireland’s Managing Director said that they intend to just retail the two diesel versions. The diesels will be a 1.4-litre with 90hp and a1.6-litre with 110hp. Both will be in motor tax band A. The new car will be available with a variable steering rack, Flex Steer, so drivers can choose between levels of assistance. The car will come to Ireland in the first quarter of 2012.

    Hyundai i30: Diesel-only for Ireland

    Toyota continue to tease us. We should eventually see the FT86 in Ireland sometime next year and we can’t wait!

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    The Jaguar C-X16 Concept was revealed and it is absolutely stunning. Ian McCallum spoke about how this car was the first two-seater Jaguar to be produced since the E-Type and therefore had a lot to live up to. Certainly the car is pretty enough, with the now familiar Jaguar face – but the rear has a very short overhang. The concept car is powered by a 3.0-litre V6 producing 380hp and 450Nm of torque, but it is also a hybrid. A 70kW electric motor adds a further 235Nm of instantaneous torque at the touch of a button. Jaguar is saying that this concept can get to 100km/h in 4.4 seconds and is limited to 300km/h. All this and with emissions of just 165g/km it would sit in motor tax band D.

    Jaguar X-X16 - set to become the Jaguar XE

    It has been a long time in coming but Opel finally revealed its Astra GTC production car and it looks great. The new car will come with a choice of five engines, with output between 100 hp and 180 hp. There was the first showing of the 1.7 CDTI ecoFLEX version of the new Astra GTC that will be available with 110 hp and 130 hp, both with the Start/Stop system.

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    We had previously seen pictures of the DC 100 Concept from Land Rover, which is one of what is expected to be several design studies of the replacement to the much-loved model. At the press conference, design chief Gerry McGovern also revealed a Sport version, harking back to the days of the open top version.

    Land Rover DC 100 Sport Concept

    Both concepts are based on the same, shared 100-inch wheelbase. They feature sustainable hi-tech materials and the latest technology, which Land Rover says will optimise fuel and operational efficiency at all times, in all modes and in all driving conditions.

    Honda’s new Civic will hit showrooms by mid-December in time for January sales. The revised model retains much of the look of the current hatchback and will come with a 1.8-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel at launch, but there are some reports that the firm is preparing a 1.6-litre diesel for launch in time for 2013.

    New Honda Civic: 1.8-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel engines

    The hatchback will be the only variant on offer in Europe, while a hybrid version has been shelved for now. However, both of the launch engines have strongly improved fuel economy and emissions figures, with the 1.8-litre petrol emitting just 138g/km – qualifying for the €156 a year motor tax rate – while the 2.2-litre emits just 110g/km, thereby earning it a band A rating and motor tax of just €104 a year.

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    The interior has been improved with a better quality feel and more intuitive controls. Otherwise there is no mistaking that it’s a Civic: the only problem is that not very many made it onto our roads during the lifetime of the outgoing model and Honda will be hoping to secure much better sales figures with this new model. Promises include much improved suspension and comfort, while retaining sporty driving. We await a proper test drive to see.

    Following on from the launch of the new Focus ST, Ford has also unveiled a new 1-litre petrol engine which will go into the new Focus range early next year and claims the equivalent power output of a 1.4-litre but with emissions of less than 120g/km.

    The new 1-litre petrol engine comes with either 100bhp or 120bhp and will also feature in the firm’s new B-Max model, a high-roofed rival to the Meriva that’s based on the current Fiesta. Ford executives declined to discuss whether the engine will make it into the next generation Mondeo but they did so with a wry smile. However, there was plenty of interest in what could mark the revival in the fortune of petrol engines, with Toyota engineers swarming the display stand for the new engine just an hour after its unveiling, cameras in hand.

    Ford is also introducing  a new range of cleaner “Econetic” Focus and Fiesta models, with the Fiesta putting out 87g/km and the Focus 89g/km, using a variety of green features. The problem at present for Ireland is that there is no tax incentives for such low emission vehicles over and above what the current range offers by managing to be lower than 120g/km. The annual motor tax remains the same.

    The star of the Ford stand, however is the Focus ST, to be sold as both a five-door and an estate in Ireland next year, but there was another hot-hatch surprise with the unveiling of a new Fiesta ST concept that’s almost certain to go into production. Powered by a 1.6-litre 180bhp petrol engine it will not only be relatively quick, with a 0-100km/h time of under 7 seconds, but it also manages an emissions level of less than 140g/km. So we can look forward to a hot hatch that will fall into tax Band B and under the current rates, qualify for motor tax of just €156 a year.

    Ford Fiesta ST:1.6-litre EcoBoost putting out 180hp

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    And so it begins with an 8.30am press conference by BMW where the new 640d coupe is unveiled alongside promises to embrace an electric future. The scope of BMW’s offering is on display at their massive stand that takes up a whole hall and features a “roadway balcony” on which everything from electric Mini concept cars to Rolls Royces drive around above your head.

    BMW's new M5

    The contrast in offerings is stark: alongside the launch of its new electrically powered i-range of models is the launch of the new M5, a 560bhp behemoth that boasts 680Nm of torque. While the electric i3 hatchback will not hit our roads before the end of 2013, the M5 will be available next year, indicating that the world may well be changing, but not quite yet.

    Connectivity was all the rage at the presentation, a theme that is going to run through the entire show as the motor industry embraces the world of the smartphone and tries to bring appropriate apps for traffic management, parking and the like through to motorists.

  • Frankfurt show: VW’s preview night

    September 12, 2011 @ 11:48 pm | by Michael McAleer

    Volkswagen flexed its motoring muscles last night at a preview show in front of 2,352 journalists from 43 countries (they apparently counted us in).

    The Frankfurt show, which opens this morning to the media, is home turf for the German brand and it brought together its stable of brands to showcase its latest wares.

    The new VW Up! takes to the stage

    Top billing, of course, goes to the new VW Up!, which Paddy Comyn reported on last week, but there was room on stage for a new Audi A2 concept (electric of course), the gorgeous new 911 from Porsche and a very impressive concept version of an upcoming Skoda that will slot in between the current Fabia and Octavia models.
    While the Up! will draw most of the media attention given its relevance in urban areas and ultra-competitive price (starting at €10,800 in Ireland) the Skoda is certain to wet the appetites of many motorists. The car not only looks smart but with prices likely to start below the current Octavia range it could well shake up a market already focussed primarily on price and value for money. The Fluence has delivered that share for Renault up to now but Skoda is set to give chase.

    The Bugatti Veyron built in conjunction with Berlin's Royal Porcelain

    As expected from a brand that also boast marques such as Bugatti, Bentley and Lamborghini – not to mention the aforementioned Porsche – within its ranks, there was plenty of mouth-watering metal on display, and some odd-balls. That particular prize goes to a version of the Bugatti Veyron that has been built in conjunction with Royal Porcelain in Berlin. Featuring porcelain inserts on both the interior and exterior, the supercar brand is making no bones about the fact that this is a work of art as much as a car. The display car is the only one built so far but has already been sold – for an undisclosed sum – to a buyer in the Middle East. It’s a viable Veyron but with an immaculate white interior and the various porcelain parts its unlikely to take to the road very often if at all.
    The show didn’t go without hitch, however. Seat unveiled a rather lacklustre concept version of a future replacement for its Exeo but as it made its way off stage the shutters came down a little too quickly, knocking a new kink into the rear tail design that’s likely to have had designers working late into the night to remedy before its public unveiling later today.

  • The Frankfurt Motor Show Blog

    @ 2:17 pm | by Michael McAleer

    It is the 64th Frankfurt Motor Show and the day before is always fun. Despite having already done everything online to get the press pass the Germans suddenly forget to be German and have us queue in several unorganised lines.


    Here is the list of press conferences to get through. It is long.


    A very un-German queue to get our press accreditation.

    On the eve of the show we already started seeing cars being unveiled. The Ford Evos Concept you will already have read about in Motors and we were told that we will see a car featuring it’s design language in just four months from now. The car shows the future design direction of Ford and you can expect to see cars like a modern day Capri and new Mondeo bearing its hallmarks.


    Also revealed on the night was the new Ford Focus ST, which will be Ford’s new performance hatch. Gone is the 2.5-litre 5-cylinder, replaced by a 2.0-litre petrol engine putting out 250hp. We knew it would be available as a five-door, but an estate model was also revealed.


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  • Frankfurt Motor Show Preview: Part 2

    September 11, 2011 @ 5:15 pm | by Michael McAleer

    In the days leading up to the show there will no doubt be more information coming from the manufacturers regarding their new unveils at the Frankfurt Motor Show. We will be keeping you updated here on the blog on the latest

    New Opel ‘affordable’ electric car

    Opel is to reveal a concept with ‘production potential’ at this month’s Frankfurt show that it says ‘could revolutionise urban transport, especially for younger drivers and those on a very tight budget. A battery-powered electric vehicle, the low, rakish concept will be highly affordable (according to Opel), have a 100km range and be capable of 130km/h. The concept will be practical too, allowing two seats in a tandem layout, and its low weight – around a third of a small modern car’s – should allow it to be agile and fun to drive.

    Opel Electric Car Concept

    BMW i3

    The i3 electric car is just a concept for now, but little is expected to change on the car when it goes on sale in 2013. We can expect this to be an expensive first step by BMW into the EV market, but it will be very much aimed at the iPad generation. With a 170hp rear-drive electric motor in a carbon fibre body shell, the i3 is likely to be no slouch. This light weight is also expected to help the range which BMW is saying should be between 130km and 160km from full charge. There is also likely to be a model with a range extender petrol or diesel engine at some point in the future. Expect this to cost around €40,000 when it goes on sale in 2013.

    BMW i3: Likely to cost €40,000

    Citroen DS5

    At this stage we are starting to get familiar with the DS3 range and at this point understand that it an outlet for Citroen’s inherent flamboyance. We have had the DS3 and DS4 on sale in Ireland now for a while, but this is to be joined by a DS5, which for now at least, will be the flagship of this range. Although you might assume that it sits on the C5 platform, it in fact sits on an all-new platform and unlike the C5 which has steel spring suspension, the DS5 sits on a hydraulic set-up. The aim of the DS5 is not to be sporty, but is rather to be ultra comfy, like Citroens of old. Power will come from a 2.0-litre diesel engine putting out 163hp diesel engine, which is aided by a 37hp rear wheel drive electric motor. This hybrid will have emissions of 99g/km. There will be more conventional petrol and diesel powertrains available, but all will have low emissions.

    Citroen DS5: Comfort orientated

    Fiat Panda

    Fiat’s Panda has been a massive seller across Europe and we can understand why. The theory has often held, that Fiat are at their best when they are producing small cars and we can expect this to be a gem. Because this car is so beloved, Fiat hasn’t altered the styling too much, but there are significant changes when it comes to the dimensions. The new car has grown, with better room for passengers and their luggage. There is a new engine range too, with buyers able to choose from two TwinAir twin cylinder engines  - an 85hp TwinAir Turbo or the new 65hp naturally aspirated TwinAir, both with Stop/Start as standard. The 69hp 1.2-litre Fire engine will complete the petrol engine range, but there will also be 75hp 1.3-litre MultiJet 2 diesel engine, also with Stop/Start.

    New Fiat Panda: Twin-Air engines and more space.

    Honda Civic

    Honda has launched the first image of the 2012 European Civic, ahead of its world debut at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show in September.The new Civic features a rear combination light that works as an aerodynamic spoiler, managing air flow over the top and sides of the car.The ninth generation Civic hatchback will have, according to Honda “stand-out looks combined with class-leading space for passengers and luggage”. The new Civic will go on sale in 2012 and Honda engineers have spent a huge amount of time improving the ride quality and handling of the car. The car retains a torsion beam suspension system – but in this latest set-up uses fluid-filled compliance bushes to improve overall ride performance and handling. It has also been strengthened to give better stability.

    New Honda Civic: covers to be lifted off at Frankfurt.

    Unveiled: We've only been shown the rear end so far.

  • Frankfurt Motor Show Preview: Part 1

    September 6, 2011 @ 10:09 pm | by Michael McAleer

    Next week the Motors team will travel to Frankfurt for the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show. But as so often is the case these days, we know a lot of what you can expect to see in advance. So here is the first part of our preview of what you will see at the show. We will bring you coverage next week of the show live from Frankfurt.

    Porsche 911

    Yes it is a new Porsche 911 and as usual it is hard to tell. We never really expected Porsche to break the mould with another new 911 and predictably enough it looks very similar to the cars from the last ten years. It does have a 100mm longer wheelbase and the front and rear overhangs are shorter than before. There is a wider front track too. There are uprated engines too, with the Carrera powered by a new 3.4-litre engine developing 350hp, with the Carrera S moving up to 400hp from the 3.8-litre. The new car is lighter than before too, weight is reduced by up to 45kg in some cases, yet despite this the rigidity is improved. Just two Porsche were registered in 2011 so far, so there won’t be too much demand for the 911, but if you do want one they will be available from December for our market.

    Porsche 911: Faster, lighter, cleaner.

    Chevrolet Malibu

    Chevrolet is well and truly off the radar in Ireland these days, despite still offering a few models for sale. There might be better news on the horizon with the Chevrolet Malibu, which is a car that has been on sale in the US for some time. The Malibu will be available with a choice of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, although here in Ireland if we do get the Malibu then it will probably be only available with the 2.0-litre diesel. We can expect the Malibu to be pretty unremarkable and soggy to drive, but loaded with equipment and good value.

    Chevrolet Malibu: Europe bound

    Volkswagen Up

    We’ve already driven the Up, but it makes its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show where we should get more details regarding performance figures and emissions. We do know that the Up comes to Ireland in December as a three-door with a five-door following on later in 2012. An electric version will go on sale in 2013, but for now the Up is powered by a 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine putting out either 60- or 75hp and this will mean emissions of less than 100g/km. The Up will cost €10,800 when it goes on sale.

    Volkswagen Up: Coming to Ireland in early 2012 priced from €10,800

    Kia to take on the BMW M5

    It is hardly a surprise that Kia’s chief designer Peter Schreyer would want to delve into more adventurous territory with Kia design but the news that they are set to reveal a four-door coupé has raised a few eyebrows, as has the news that it could have performance to rival a BMW M5. We will wait and see, but it is a real signal of intent by the Korean brand that they might move into the executive market. We know that we will see some of the first performance Kia cars in 2012 when the Cee’d and Rio get turbocharged petrol engines.

    Kia four-door coupé concept: Just build it Kia!

    Audi Urban Concept

    Audi will have a busy Frankfurt Motor Show and one of their more interesting concept cars will be the radical Urban Concept, which is a two-seater electric car. There will be two versions of this concept, one a hardtop and the other a roadster. Built around a carbonfibre monocoque, this car will seat two and power is expected to come from a pair of electric motors and a battery pack. The Audi will compete with the BMW i3 as a small, ‘affordable’ electric car if it gets the green light for production.

    Audi Urban Spyder Concept: two-seater EV

    Jaguar C-X16

    The C-X16, which is expected to become the Jaguar XE, the spiritual replacement to the E-Type will be a rival to the Porsche Boxster and this is expected to be one of the stars of the Frankfurt Motor Show. The XE is not likely to go on sale until late 2012 and while it is likely that there will be a V6 engine under the bonnet there is also speculation of a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and stop-start technology. A V8 engine is likely to feature in the R model.

    Jaguar C-M16 Concept: Will be the new Jaguar XE

    Opel Zafira

    The new Opel Zafira makes its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show and the car has grown in size and now sits on a longer wheelbase (+57mm) and has a significantly wider front and rear track. With 65-litres more Bootspace than the model it replaces in 5-seat format, this 710-litres can expand out to a massive 1,860-litres with all of the seats folded flat. The new car features all-new styling, very much in line with the most modern of the range. There are distinctive twin boomerang graphics at the front and the now familiar Opel centre crease and trapezoidal grille. Opel’s Flex7 seating system, which has always been a clever system, is now upgraded to provide even more functionality.

    The 3rd row can be folded flat and the 2nd row has been redesigned. Instead of a bench seat in the 2nd row, there are three individual seats that can be folded flat and individually moved. There is now an optional Lounge Seating system, which Opel say will offer “limousine-like space and comfort” and with this option the back of the middle seat folds down and turns into an armrest. The outer seats can also slide towards the centre of the car. There will be a range of new storage solutions including the FlexConsole, which is a modular and moveable storage box.

    The choice of engines in the new model is going to consist of three outputs of the 2.0-litre CDTI with 110hp, 130hp or 165hp or two outputs of the 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol version with 120hp or 140hp. There will now be Stop/Start technology to keep fuel economy and emissions low, although we haven’t seen figures on this yet.

    Opel Zafira: We will be driving it after the Frankfurt Motor Show

    Hyundai i30

    We are well used to getting impressive new product from Hyundai these days and while we won’t yet see a new Santa Fe as first expected, we will get a heavily revised new i30, which will be a proper rival to the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf. Adopting much of the styling of the recently arrived i40, the new i30 gets a large hexagonal front grille, angular headlamps and distinctive LED daytime running lights. There is a sportier stance on the new car than before and the aim has been to give the car a stronger personality. The boot space will increase slightly in the new car, adding to versatility. There will be six engines revealed in the line up – three petrol and three diesels and power is expected to vary from 89 to 133hp. We can expect sub-100g/km emissions from the i30 Blue. The new range goes on sale in the first quarter of 2012.

    Hyundai i30: set to trouble the Ford Focus and VW Golf even further

    Audi A2

    Many of you will remember, some of you perhaps even owned an Audi A2, the all-aluminium car that was way ahead of its time. Well Audi is set to reintroduce the A2 and the four-seater is set to make its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The A2 will probably share some links with the A1, but we can expect LED headlights and perhaps even an electric powertrain on the show car, which will be 26mm shorter, 17mm wider and 63mm lower than the original A2.

    Audi A2: Take 2

    Toyota Avensis

    The ever popular Toyota Avensis will get its mid-life refresh at the Frankfurt Motor Show as it tries to beat back competition from the likes of Hyundai with its recently-released i40 and Kia’s forthcoming Optima. This new Avensis will feature new exterior styling, as well as some changes to the interior to improve the look and feel.

    Toyota Avensis: Facelift and interior changes

    Skoda MissionL Concept

    As if Skoda weren’t making enough of a nuisance of themselves, now they are set to really worry the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus with a new close-to-production concept called the MissionL. The new compact five-door will be launched in Europe, Russia and China and is likely to be called the ‘Lauretta’ and it is expected to fill the gap between the Fabia and Octavia in Skoda’s range. The car will have similar dimensions to the Golf and Focus and given Skodas current form we would expect it to be rather good.

    Skoda MissionL: set to bridge gap between Fabia and Octavia

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