Wheels & Deals: Cupra takes top innovation prize; plus industry news from VW and Opel

Declan Colley reports on the latest motoring industry news from the world's leading car manufacturers
Wheels & Deals: Cupra takes top innovation prize; plus industry news from VW and Opel
Cupra's Tavascan Electric Concept has won a top prize innovation.

SEAT sub-brand Cupra has claimed first place in an international design competition’s Concepts category for the Tavascan Electric Concept, the brand’s vision for reinvented sportiness in an all-electric world and first shown at the IAA Frankfurt International Motor Show in 2019.

Cupra has already achieved great success in the Automotive Brand Contest with wins for the e-Racer Concept in 2018 and the Formentor Concept last year.

The award, run by the German Design Council, honours the best automotive brand and design achievements in the industry and is held in high regard throughout the industry.

The prestigious award is judged by a panel of experts with backgrounds in the media, design and communications, along with those from universities, adding to the significance of the achievement.

“Winning the top award in the concept category for the third time in a row highlights the tremendous work, dedication and effort the whole Cupra team put into crafting the Tavascan Electric Concept,” said Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos, Design Director at Cupra.

“With each vehicle that we work on, we aim to communicate the fundamental essence of our brand, and this accolade is proof that we are achieving our goals.”

The Automotive Brand Contest is the only international design competition for automobile brands and has emerged as one of the most important events in the sector, making the victory — CUPRA’s third in succession — even more exceptional.

The Tavascan Electric Concept marries sophisticated liquid metal paint that emphasises and accentuates its exterior design, with tone-on-tone carbon fibre and delicate copper details stress its expressive look. The vehicle’s exterior brings muscularity and dynamism to the segment, but linked to the ability to reduce its environmental impact.

We are told that the Tavascan Concept provides a unique vision of high-performance; the vehicle’s arresting design conceals an advanced all-electric powertrain that provides plenty of thrills as well as the celebrated quietness and efficiency the technology offers.

Two motors — one integrated on the front axle, the second at the rear— provide a combined 225kW (306 bhp) of power to all four wheels, delivering performance, allowing the car to reach 100kph in less than 6.5 seconds.

But that’s only part of the story. A 77kWh lithium-ion battery pack stores enough energy to keep the vehicle moving for up to 450km — a figure based on the stringent WLTP test cycle. The vehicle is based on the Volkswagen Group’s MEB platform and because the battery pack is housed in the floor, its centre of gravity is low, making it a truly dynamic drive.

VW warranty

Volkswagen has announced that its passenger car division is extending the warranty period for new vehicles by three months. This applies to all vehicles produced in Europe or for the European market with a two-year new vehicle warranty or an extended warranty that expires between March 1, 2020 and May 31, 2020.

The prolongation is valid for three months after the expiry of the original new vehicle or extended warranty.

“As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, numerous of our authorized workshops throughout the world remain closed. For many of our customers, it has therefore not been possible to make claims under their warranties in good time,” says Jürgen Stackmann, Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand responsible for Sales, Marketing and After-Sales.

“We are pleased to be able to offer our customers an immediate, unbureaucratic solution with this three-month warranty prolongation.”

In the meantime — and also on the warranty front, Kia Motors Europe has announced a further extension to its ‘Kia Promise’ warranty extension program.

The Kia Promise is designed to support Kia customers whose movements may be limited because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Originally covering vehicles with original Kia warranties due to expire between 1 February and 30 April 2020, the Kia Promise is now being extended further, covering all customers whose cars’ original manufacturer warranties are due to expire during May 2020.

The Kia Promise extends warranty cover for all eligible vehicles to June 30, 2020.

Electric delivery: Opel's new Vivaro-e

The all new Vivaro-e, Opel’s first fully electric light commercial vehicle, is due to arrive in Irish showrooms in late 2020.

The latest Opel model to be electrified, the Vivaro-e will play a key role in Opel’s rapidly evolving e-mobility range, arriving on the market in time to meet growing needs for emission-free delivery of goods and services in cities across Europe. Available in a variety of lengths and body variants, the Vivaro-e is produced in the same plant and is as versatile and flexible as its diesel counterpart.

“As the first all-electric light commercial vehicle to enter the Van-D market segment of medium-sized vans, and featuring a range of up to 330 kilometres in the WLTP cycle, the new Opel Vivaro-e sets the standards for ease of use, dependability and professionalism,” said Opel CEO Michael Lohscheller.

With a payload of up to 1,275kg (diesel versions have a max payload of 1,405kg), the Vivaro-e is now the first electrified vehicle in its segment that has the ability to pull trailers, returning a maximum towing capacity of 1 tonne. Gross vehicle weight ranges from 2,800 to 3,100kg.

The Vivaro-e’s powerful motor generates 136hp and 260Nm of torque, surpassing most electric commercial vehicles currently on the market. With an electronically controlled maximum speed of 130km/h, to preserve electric range, the Vivaro-e is perfectly suited for inner-city driving, unleashing ample performance for motorway driving.

The battery’s positioning under the load cabin lowers the vehicle’s centre of gravity, delivering enhanced cornering and wind stability, even when fully loaded with cargo.

The Vivaro-e continues not only Opel’s electrification offensive, taking its place beside the new electric Corsa-e and the new Grandland X PHEV ranges. The next electric Opel LCV, the Combo Cargo-e will arrive in 2021. Opel will offer an electrified version of every passenger car and LCV model by 2024.

Pandemic losses

Volkswagen Passenger Cars experienced a substantial impact on its business in the first three months of 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite a solid start to the year, deliveries to customers by the core Volkswagen brand decreased by around 25 percent to 1.1 million vehicles over the January to March period of 2020.

In the same quarter, sales revenue fell by some €2.6 billion (-11.9 percent) to around €19 billion. The core brand’s operating profit remained positive.

Standing at around €481 million, it fell by 50 percent in comparison to the previous year’s figure before special items.

Ralf Brandstätter, COO of the Volkswagen brand said: “After a solid start to the year, the global pandemic severely impacted our business as the quarter progressed. Our current focus is therefore ensuring liquidity. We are reviewing all our projects to reassess their importance to our short-term needs. However, this will have no impact on strategic projects such as the new ID.31.”

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