Audi hits pole position here


HARD SHOULDER:Audi Ireland has reaffirmed its position as the number one premium car brand in Ireland with the announcement that its market share increased to 5.5 per cent for the month of August. In the first eight months of 2012 they have surpassed their total sales figures for 2011, with 3,410 units sold.

Audi says it’s investing €80 million into its dealer network nationwide, opening new Audi terminals in Waterford, Galway, Sligo and Naas before the end of the year, with a further three due for completion next year.

Audi’s optimistic outlook for 2013 coincides with the recent Irish launch of its new Audi A3. Prices for the three-door hatch start at from €25,900 for the entry-level 1.2-litre TFSI petrol variant with 105hp.

Rival brands claim sales victory

What is the best-selling brand in Ireland? It seems to be something of a contentious point. Volkswagen is claiming top spot for the year so far, based on figures for Irish new registrations. These are cars sold through dealerships, and VW claims 9,357 registrations under this criteria. These figures put VW ahead of Toyota by 17 cars. However, take the total new registrations as your benchmark and Toyota remains on top with 9,381 registrations, three cars ahead of its German arch-rival.

Whichever figure you take as the closest to market reality, these two brands are clearly vying for top spot. It has been over 20 years since VW was the biggest-selling marque in Ireland, and we can expect some cut-throat competition in the coming months between the two.

Meanwhile, the Ford Focus has been named as the best-selling car in the world. Or has it? Ford is claiming that 500,000 Focuses have been sold from January to July this year, including 153,000 sold in Europe, putting it ahead of its strongest rivals, the VW Golf and Toyota Corolla. But Toyota is disputing the claim, saying that adding in the 100,000 versions of its Corolla Verso MPV that it sold in the Japanese market means that Corolla sales hit 603,000.

Whos right? Once more it depends on your definition.

New Fiesta syncs in with safety-conscious drivers

Ford has unveiled its latest version of the Fiesta, due for a full public introduction at this month’s Paris motor show. The latest iteration of the Ford supermini features a wide range of new tech features, including Ford’s voice-activated in-car connectivity system and Active City Stop, a system designed to help drivers avoid low speed collisions. It will also be equipped with the acclaimed 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine to deliver expected best-in-class fuel economy.

The new face of the Fiesta is dominated by a trapezoidal front grille, along with daytime LED running lights.

Ford’s SYNC in-car connectivity system enables owners to voice-activate phone calls and music selection from devices connected via Bluetooth or USB. The SYNC system includes Emergency Assistance, which directly connects to local emergency services operators after an accident.

The new Fiesta will also feature the European debut of Ford’s MyKey system, which will allow owners to configure maximum speed and audio volume limits on the car.

Aimed at parents who allow their newly-licensed children to drive the car, it also mutes audio until seat belts are fastened and ensures driver aids, safety systems and more vigorous alerts cannot be deactivated when used.

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