ARTICLES

STEEL BULL BARS

The steel bull bars are high end SOE products, designed to give your truck that sporty yet elegant look and at the same time protect the front body from severe damages. The key words are longevity, durability and elegance. The steel bull bar has undergone various modifications and changes over the past years. They take a lot of time during the manufacturing process and this is evident from its fine details and finishing details, which are all clearly perfect. When compared to other brush guards and grille guards, these bull bars are designed with a rather sophisticated mounting system that outdoes the normal bumper.

The design of the bull bars are universal as intended by the manufacturers. They provide the protection that is expected without compromising the overall design and look of the SUV. There are a number of known designs for the client to choose from, depending on the environment or purpose it is going to serve. The most common include:

  • Summit Bull Bars
  • Deluxe Bull Bars
  • Sahara Bars
  • Alloy Bull Bars
  • Commercial Bull Bars
  • Nudge Bars

The modern day bull bars were carefully perform other functions apart from protection and complementing the overall look. One such factor that was considered is the airbag deployment design.  It is important that the bull bar crash rate is in line with the triggering of the airbag. To ensure its reliability, the steel bull bars are thoroughly assessed. The crash characteristics and scenarios are translated in relation to the airbag deployment circumstances by the engineers. This ensures maximum protection on all scenarios.

FEATURES

  • 3.5” oval heavy-duty steel tubes
  • Stainless steel that is polished
  • Customized skid plate with the logo of your choice
  • Easy installation
  • One year warranty

The steel bull bars can be purchased from as low as $270 and can be ordered and delivered, as arranged by the client and the representatives.

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ABS FENDER FLARES

The ABS fender flares are most suitable for lifted vehicles, specifically trucks and SUVs. It helps in creating a more iconic, attractive and bold overview of the automobile. They are mostly designed for trucks with large tires; some include Dodge Ram, Ford Truck, GMC Sierra, Chevrolet Silverado or Toyota Hilux, just to name the most common. The fenders are available in different designs to suit the model of your vehicle. They give the vehicle the rugged design of a tough off-road automobile and at the same time shields debris that may damage the body of the truck. The ABS fender flares are composed of thermoplastic material that gives it its durability, high density and a surface that is resistant to scratch, yet flexible and elastic.

The fenders come with bolts made of stainless steel that adds on to its elegant look. This ABS product is east to mount and install as they already have existing holes so drilling is not required. The process of installation is designed that way so as to avoid accidental scratches. It is also suitable for replacement and this is free within the one-year warranty.

FEATURES

  • Appealing to the eyes with its elegant yet tough design
  • Extra-wide design that is able to accommodate bigger trucks with larger wheels.
  • UV-resistant gloss to protect it from fading.
  • The fenders can come in various designs to suit various truck models.
  • Fenders designed to suit various truck models.
  • Protects truck from debris and rocks from damaging its body.
  • Durable and tough ABS fenders that are thermoplastic
  • Decorative pure stainless steel bolts that are rust-free
  • No drilling required, factory designed holes for easy installation.
  • One year Warranty
  • Made in the Thailand

The ABS fender flares range in price between $178.50 and $428.40. Ordering and delivery can be organized between the client and SOE representatives.

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30

May

2016

ARTICLES

Car Buying Tips

1. Do Your Homework. Look at consumer guides, look at new car guides, check out

insurance costs, check to see what dealers are offering for rebates.

2. Choose Your Dealer Well. Look for someone reputable. Check the service center; are

they friendly, fast and efficient? What is your first impression? Remember you will be

dealing with the service center long after your sale is completed.

3. Be Willing To Walk Away. If you feel overwhelmed or pressured, walk away. Have

several models in mind. Your chances of a better deal increase when you can negotiate

on several vehicle models. (If the dealer knows you have your heart set on a specific

vehicle, negotiations are over.)

4. Stay Calm When Negotiating. Remember the dealer does this everyday, the average

person does it once every four years. The dealer will be better at the negotiation

process. Keep your wits about you, keep the salesman on the subject of cost, and don’t

sign anything until you have time to think about it.

5. Get Dealer Promises In Writing. If the dealer promises to give you future add-ons at

cost, change a spare tire, upgrade a CD player, include floor mats, etc. – get it in writing.

Have them put it on the sales contract. After the sale anything not in writing could be

subject to interpretation.

6. Negotiate The Price Of Your New Car Based On “Cash Price”. If you are trading in a

vehicle make the deal on the new vehicle first, then bring up your trade-in. Some dealers

inflate the price of your new vehicle to incorporate the trade-in.

7. Be Honest About The Condition Of Your Trade-In. You want the dealer to be honest

with you, reciprocate in kind. A good honest relationship is the best place to start.

8. When A Rebate vs. Low Interest Rate Is Offered, Consider The Rebate. The rebate

reduces the amount financed and reduces the amount of sales tax paid. If you are in an

accident or decide the vehicle is not for you, taking the rebate allows more equity in the

vehicle.

9. Consider “Add-Ons” Carefully Before Agreeing. Do you already have AAA that will

help you with roadside assistance? Have you had under-carriage rust before where you

needed additional coverage? Do you need the fabric guard or is that something you

could do with a product yourself? Do you need the floor mats or could you buy some

after? All these items add up, that is why they are add-ons. Don’t let the excitement of a

new vehicle cloud your basic judgment.

10. Be Nice But Not A Push-Over. Dealers are counting on making you feel embarrassed if

you negotiate. So what if the dealer thinks you are trying to save money? They work on

commission and are conditioned to get the highest price, you want on the lowest. You

hope to meet in the middle.

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Hood Strut Kit Installation

Step 1: Determine which brackets you need to mount the hood strut.

Two brackets are included with this kit. Depending on your vehicle, you will need to decide whether to use the 90 degree bracket or the flat bracket on the base of the Hood Strut. To use the 90 degree bracket you need a flat surface perpendicular to the Hood Strut. If you do not have a surface to accommodate the 90 degree bracket, you will need to use the flat bracket which will install on the inner fender.

Step 2: Determine where to mount the brackets.

After you have determined which bracket you will be using, you must determine where to mount each end of the strut. Determining the proper mounting points will ensure a trouble free install. Start with the bottom bracket. Find a suitable location for the bracket that will allow the Hood Strut when mounted to it, to lie down without obstruction.

Once you have checked that the hood will close with the strut in this location, you can mount the lower bracket. This is done with a #26 or 9/64 drill. Hold your bracket in its proper position and mark your holes using the bracket as a template. Center punch and drill the three holes. Mount the bracket using the supplied self-tapping screws. With your lower bracket mounted, install the Hood Strut to it. With the hood strut fully closed, measure the distance from the bottom mounting bolt to the upper mounting bolt. THIS DISTANCE IS CRUCIAL. If you mount the upper bracket too close, the hood will not close all the way. If you mount the bracket too far away, the hood will not open to its’ full potential. After this distance has been determined, simply transfer this measurement to the bottom side of the hood. We recommend you tape the bracket to the hood and check that your hood will close before any drilling.

Once you are sure your bracket is in its proper location on the bottom of the hood, using the bracket as a template, mark your holes. Center punch and drill the three holes using a #26 or 9/64 drill. It is important that you be very careful when drilling through the hood liner. If you push too hard, you may ding or even drill through the outer skin of the hood.

Step 3: Mounting the Hood Strut.

Now that you have the upper and lower brackets installed you are ready to install the Hood Strut. Simply install and tighten the stud from the quick release using the nut and washers provided, then attach the quick release to the stud. For the bottom you should tighten until the prop is sturdy and then back off until it is free to move with the hood. We recommend that you use some form of thread lock on this nut.

Step 4: Testing your Hood Strut.

With the Hood Strut installed, you will need to do some final checks.

First be sure that your hood will close all the way and there are no obstructions to the Hood Strut.

Next open your hood to the final slot in the Hood Strut. The inner-rod of the hood strut should turn on its’ own. Gently let the weight down on the strut being sure the inner-rod has turned into the slot and everything is holding correctly.

Once you have completed these checks, and everything works, you are ready to go. If the inner-rod does not turn on its own you need to undo the quick release and unscrew it one complete turn and reinstall.

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FRONT BUMPER INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Using a flat head screwdriver, remove the (4) push pins then remove the lower plastic valance.

FRONT BUMPER INSTALLATION

2.   With the valance removed, use an 18mm socket, and remove the (8) nuts holding the bumper to the front of the frame. Be careful when removing the bumper as the factory fog lights will be re-used if you purchased a Crusader, or Vanguard bumper. Once that is done, remove the last two push pins on the upper filler panel and remove.

FRONT BUMPER INSTALLATION

3.  OPTIONAL | Crusader and Vanguard bumper ONLY – With the bumper removed, use a philips screw driver and remove both of the factory fog lights. Now, using a 1/4″ drill bit, enlarge the mounting holes on the factory fog lights. Place the fog light inside your Crusade or Vanguard bumper, and tighten the 1/4″ flange nuts down using a 7/16″ socket.

FRONT BUMPER INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS

4.   If you are installing a Vanguard, Crusader or Mauler on a 2012+, you will need to relocate the vacuum pump. If installing a Dagger or Defender bumper, you can skip these steps

 

 

 

5.  OPTIONAL – Warn Zeon, Warn Powerplant, or Other Large Winch – If you’re planning on running a large winch such as the Warn Zeon, or Warn Powerplant, some slight modification to the frame horns will be necessary to allow the winch to sit between the frame. On the driver side, measure 1 & 1/4″ in x 1/4” down and mark the area you will cut out. On the passenger side, measure in 1″ x1/4”. Mark the frame, then cut. It is always best to clean up any sharp edges and apply some paint to the areas you just cut out.

front bumper cover

6.  On the passenger side, drop in the provided nutsert tab. At this time remove the (8) flange nuts on the back of the bumper.

front car bumper

7.   Now, slide the JcrOffroad Bumper onto the Jeep. It is best to use two people when installing the bumper. Using the 3/8″ bolt from the netsert tab, loosely install the side frame mounting bolt. Next, install the flange nuts back onto the bumper and tighten them down. Once the flange nuts are tight, tighten down the 3/8″ bolt on the side of the frame.

front car bumper

8.   With the bumper tightened down, install your winch at this time.

9.   With your winch bolted down, loosely install the front fairlead bracket. Make sure the offset plate matches the offset of the winch. Now, bolt on your fairlead and tighten everything up using a 3/16″ allen head, and 9/16″ wrench.

front car bumper

10.   OPTIONAL – At this time, If you are installing a front lower skid with either our Vanguard, Crusader, or Mauler bumpers, please continue on with the install process, and proceed to either our website for instructions, or print out the instructions you need for your reference.

11.   Now it’s time to head out with your newly installed bumper and enjoy the trails

 

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How to Change a Tire on Car

Knowing how to change a tire is mostly helpful in case you get a flat while driving on the road. Every other time your tires get removed, rotated and/or replaced it will be by a tire technician.

Every vehicle has instructions for using the jack and other tools as necessary to change the tire. Some of the details can vary by make and model, such as the storage location for the jack and spare tire. Consult the owners manual of the vehicle. Also, there will often be a sticker with instructions located with the jack and spare tire.

Some general guidelines for changing a tire :

  • Make sure the vehicle is on level ground
  • Apply the parking brake
  • Remove the spare tire and tools from the vehicle
  • Use wheel chocks to block the wheels opposite of the wheel you’re changing (i.e. if you’re changing a rear tire, then put the chocks in front of the front wheels).
    • Wheel chocks are similar to triangle-shaped door stoppers. When chocks are included with the tire changing kit, then they should be used. However, they are not present with every vehicle. Cases where they’re not present may include vehicles with a rear parking brake and front wheel drive. When changing a rear wheel in these vehicles the front wheel drive keeps the vehicle stable, and when changing a front wheel in these vehicles the rear parking brake keeps the vehicle stable.
  • Loosen the lug nuts before lifting the vehicle, but do not remove
  • Pump or crank the jack to lift the vehicle using the proper lift points
  • Remove the lug nuts
  • Remove the flat tire
  • Place the spare tire
  • Replace the lug nuts snug
  • Lower the vehicle

Tire Disposal

Any time you purchase a tire, the tire shop is responsible for charging a disposal fee and disposing the old tire properly. If for some reason you have to dispose of the tires yourself, you can take them to the city dump. The dump may charge you a fee. You can try taking it to a tire recycling facility where you might be able to dump them for free or even get paid for them.

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General Maintenance : Vehicle Lighting

Vehicle lighting includes instrument panel lighting, warning indicator lights, left and right turn signals, brake lights, hazard lights (which have a distinct circuit from the turn signals even though the display is in the same place), headlights and tail lights, front marker lights, the license plate light, and lights for the cab and trunk. Checking vehicle lighting goes quicker and smoother with two people, and in the case of the brake lights two people are required.

The instrument lighting is all of the back lighting for the instrument cluster (all the gauges, speedometer, fuel gauge and others). The instrument lighting can be checked by turning on the headlights at night or in a dim garage. Check to see that all the gauges are clearly visible. There should not be any dark spots on the cluster.

The warning indicator lights on the dashboard include the brake light, oil light, check engine light, anti-lock brake (ABS) light, airbag light, tire pressure monitor, engine temperature light, and others — all of which can be found in the owners manual. All of the warning indicator lights will turn on for a set amount of time (about a minute, but varies per vehicle) when you turn the key to the on position without cranking the engine. Once the engine is running, none of these lights should be on (even the seat belt light should be off, indicating that you’re wearing your seat belt). If one is on, then it indicates a problem with its correlating system. The number of lights and types of lights will vary by make and model. Some vehicles have features that others don’t, such as traction control.

Exterior lighting is checked with the key turned to the on position in the ignition (or with the engine running, but its not necessary to have the engine running just to check the lights). Turn on the headlights. Check all four corners of the vehicle. On both sides (right and left, or driver side and passenger side) the same number of bulbs should be illuminated. There should be two front marker lights that are orange, two tail lights, and a license plate light.

Turn the left turn signal on. Check the left front and left rear of the vehicle for blinking lights. Some vehicles have more than one bulb for the turn signal and some even include a signal in the side rear view mirrors. Be sure every applicable bulb is illuminating. Some vehicles have a cornering lamp, which is a clear lamp on the front of the vehicle which illuminates corners while turning. This should be illuminated but it will not blink.

Turn the right turn signal on. Check the right front and right rear of the vehicle for blinking lights. Be sure all applicable bulbs are illuminating. Check the cornering lamp if applicable.

When the turn signal is on and the indicator is blinking fast or not blinking at all, these are indicators of a failed bulb.

Brake lights require two people for inspection. One person presses the brake pedal while the other person checks the rear of the vehicle to make sure all the brake lights are illuminating, including the high mount brake light in the rear window if the vehicle is equipped with one.

Activate the hazard switch. Check to make sure that there are flashing lights with an equal number of bulbs on all four corners. The hazard lights are wired separately from the turn signals, so it is important to check the hazard lights even if the turn signals have been checked.

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Let’s (Still) Make a Deal

THE FIRST IN OUR FIVE-PART SERIES ON CAR COMMERCE ASKS:

WHY DO WE KEEP BUYING VEHICLES AT DEALERSHIPS?

TWO 20-SOMETHINGS WALKED into a car dealership . . .

No, that really happened—this isn’t a setup for a joke. More than a quarter of the 16 million new-car purchases in the United States last year were made by that tech-savvy, marketing-averse group known as millennials, according to market-research firm J.D. Power. And virtually all those buyers ended up signing the paperwork and accepting the keys at an honestto-goodness new-car dealership.

How could that be, in an age of painless online shopping, when you can buy everything from shoes to home mortgages via keystrokes, no trial fittings or handshakes required? Why can’t you read the review of a new model on Car and Driver’s website, click the “Buy It Now” button at the end of the article, and walk out to the driveway to await delivery by (large-capacity) Amazon drone?

FAR FROM USELESS

Despite a few experiments with direct sales that have generally not caught on, a notable exception being Tesla Motors’s factory sales model, franchised dealers still control the new-car pipeline in this country. Their reign is unlikely to end soon. “The internet has dramatically changed the car-buying experience, but not the role of the dealer,” Maryann Keller & Associates wrote in a 2014 study for the National Automobile Dealers Association, a group that undoubtedly liked what it heard.

Long-established state franchise laws that largely prohibit direct sales by auto manufacturers are the biggest reasons dealers are mostly impervious to outside threats. The idea behind the franchise system is that third-party businesses can service customers better by fostering competition. A dealer who is independent of the automaker would, in theory, assure a broad inventory, provide competent repairs, and be an upstanding member of the local community, treating neighbors fairly and perhaps sponsoring beer-league softball or a kids’ soccer team. And customers can comparison-shop Chevy dealers easier than if they are taking on Chevrolet itself.

Compared with most purchases, online and otherwise, buying a car is a costly, complicated affair, more akin to a real-estate transaction than buying a shirt. The dealer arranges financing, collects taxes, handles the state registration, and offers an opportunity to see and drive various models before making a decision. It will take your old car on trade and stands ready to provide factory-warranty service and handle recalls.

“There has been a focus on outdated laws that protect dealers, but there is that consumer issue, and it is a real one,” says Aaron Jacoby, chair of the automotive industry practice group at Arent Fox, a Washington, D.C.–based law firm. “Laws are still geared toward protecting consumers, and there is interest in how they will get service for these major expensive things they are buying. How will recalls be handled? How will warranty work be handled?”

While more than a third of customers say they would consider buying a car directly online, according to a study by McKinsey & Company, most want to try before they buy. More than 80 percent of buyers take test drives, underscoring the continued strategic importance of dealers.

The number of dealers is declining, though, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many marginal operations succumbed to the recession, and manufacturers bought out others that were smaller or less professional. Consolidation has created a national network of some 18,000 dealers today, 18 percent fewer than the 22,000 in operation just 10 years ago. While momand-pop operations dwindle, the largest dealer groups—such as AutoNation, Penske, and Group 1 Automotive—continue to add locations, boosting profit margins and efficiency. Bigger can be better for customers as well. The dealer groups offer more choices, with AutoNation listing some 70,000 vehicles for sale nationwide, all searchable online. Once you find the exact model you’re looking for, the car can be shipped to your local store for delivery.

CHASING TRANSPARENCY

Buying a new car remains a bricks-and-mortar transaction, an actual physical exchange of paperwork for keys. The sales environment is changing, however, as dealerships face up to the internet’s new reality. Today’s customers, millennials in particular, demand transparency, simplicity, speed, and trust. “Customer expectations are being shaped by retail experiences largely online,” says Jeremy Anwyl, principal of Anwyl Partners and former vice chairman of Edmunds.com, the auto-shopping website.

A tsunami of information is within easy reach of anyone with a laptop or a smartphone. Data-gathering websites detail exactly what dealers pay for cars, while independent companies compile full inventories of available vehicles, reveal what other buyers paid for the exact model under consideration, and connect shoppers to the dealer with the lowest price, often guaranteed in writing. Increasingly, buyers are striking virtual deals with salespeople they haven’t met, filling out forms and initiating the transaction from their living rooms. A study released this year by Autotrader.com, which included a survey of more than 4000 car shoppers, found that 56 percent wanted to start negotiating on their own terms, preferably online, and that nearly threequarters wanted to complete the credit and financing paperwork that way as well.

“You talk to consumers about what bothers them. One is a lack of feeling comfortable with the price, and another is a feeling that their time is being wasted,” reports Anwyl.

So the goal for dealers today is to complete the deal and hand over the keys within an hour. Still, a complicated credit history can stretch the process toward, and beyond, the industry average of four hours.

Another bottleneck in the process is the trade-in. “Why don’t people buy more new cars right now?” asks John Krafcik, president of TrueCar, an online pricingand-information site that funnels buyers to dealers. “Probably because the thought of selling their current car is so horrible.”

TrueCar attacks this problem with a smartphone app to expedite the trade-in process. You snap photos of your car, answer a few questions about its condition, and TrueCar will solicit bids from dealers in your area, then send you back the highest offer. Assuming that an inspection verifies the claimed condition, the dealer will cut you a check for the car or honor the stated value as a trade-in. By the time the TrueTrade process is fully implemented next year, TrueCar says you will be able to take your car to many of the 10,000 dealers in its network to receive the guaranteed price.

Online pricing tools may have helped to reassure wary customers, but some parts of the transaction, such as lease calculations or payments from manufacturers to help cover dealer costs, remain inscrutable. “There is partial transparency,” Anwyl says, “but it is not complete.”

GETTING SATISFACTION

To a public increasingly accustomed to online shopping, the dealer model may seem old-fashioned. But Jacoby, the lawyer, says that automakers and dealers “are slowly figuring out the dance toward how they themselves would dominate the internet.” He points to FordDirect.com as an example. That site—and similar efforts such as GM’s Shop-Click-Drive and Scion’s Pure Process—allows you to build a vehicle to your specification, gives you an “internet price,” and links you to a dealer for delivery. FordDirect claims to have helped dealers with more than 600,000 sales last year.

Another factor in favor of dealers: Customers seem to like them better than ever before. Two of J.D. Power’s studies, the Sales Satisfaction Index and the Customer Service Index, have been on the upswing for years (except for a slight dip in 2015 for the service study), suggesting that dealers have been cleaning up their houses.

“People are more satisfied with dealers today than they have been,” says John Humphrey, senior vice president for global automotive operations at J.D. Power. “It’s evident in trend numbers from our surveys. They’re more satisfied when they buy and when they go for service.”

Adds Anwyl: “It is not inherent in the franchise system that customers can’t feel happy and have a great experience when they buy a vehicle. It does mean that manufacturers and dealers need to clarify their roles and responsibilities and work together.” So while there is still no simple way to buy a car, technology has leveled the playing field. That gives the customer more clout.

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25

February

2016

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ARTICLES

Water, water everywhere

Water, water everywhere

Flood-damaged cars are turning up on the used market.

If it smells like a previously flooded car then it probably is.

Who’s the U-boat captain?” is one of the better lines from Risky Business, the Tom Cruise film partly about a drowned Porsche 928. I may dream about buying a damp early 1980s Porker, but, a lot of people have lost their cars to floodwater recently, which means we need to be on the lookout for recently submerged used cars.

For the fully insured motorist, there isn’t much of a problem. They get a payout, which may or may not be satisfying, and a loan car (I recently enjoyed negotiating that one) while their old car goes into the salvage system.

That is all very clear, as you can then find clearly identified flood-damaged cars at specialist companies. Category Bs are breakers, Cat Cs are salvage and Cat Ds are repairable. Some companies even provide repair estimates, which are rarely less than a couple of grand. You can even bid online for them.

With an hour to go in an online auction, I’m looking at a flooded late model 2005 MG ZR 105, which is up to £50. The pictures are pretty good and it looks dusty rather than damp inside, with some doodles on the dashboard, but the exterior has some of the random knocks that afflict flooded cars.

Then I came across a 2004 MG ZS that was at £90, so it has been a wet old time for old rebadged Rovers. After that, there was a £40 Smart that would take a motorcycle engine transplant and had been re-registered on a Q-plate. So if you have a trailer, there are hundreds of projects to choose from. The fancy stuff (although not Porsche 928 level) included a Cat D 2012 BMW 3 Series at £10k.

What we need to steer clear of, though, are the uninsured ones that slip back into the used market after a steam clean and brush-up with no mention that water may have lapped over the sills.

A few years ago I spent some time with a buyer who had seen it all more than once, including plenty of U-boats. So while we all forget to look too closely when it’s sunny outside and we’re eager for a fresh set of wheels, what should we look for to avoid the flooded stuff?

There are obvious signs, such as tide marks around the upholstery and damp carpets, plus silt under the bonnet. A few months down the line, though, these are gone. So it’s corrosion to bolts on the seats, random bumps on the bodywork and general electrical upsets. Actually, this is starting to sound like my BMW 7 Series.

However, if it smells like a previously flooded car then it probably is. If the valet has been half-hearted, you’ll find grime in the crevices, although you could blame that trip to the seaside with the kids. As ever, be careful out there — and keep dry if you can.

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15

February

2016

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ARTICLES

OPEN FOR EVEN MORE BUSINESS

JAGUAR LAND ROVER’S LATEST MODEL WILL EXTEND ITS CUSTOMER BASE, AND REMAIN A DECENT OFF-ROADER

IT IS SOMEWHAT appropriate in the issue when we explain the best ways to prepare your 4×4 vehicle for the forthcoming winter season, that we should be able to show pictures of a new convertible Evoque! Not perhaps for the UK in December, it is nevertheless great to look forward to when the sun returns.

As it happens, you may well have seen the final production version of the Evoque as you read this, as the model is due to be unveiled at the Los Angeles International Auto Show in November – Jaguar Land Rover obviously knows its markets. We received these ‘disguised’ testing shots just before we went to press at the end of October and if you can ignore the visually confusing paintwork, it’s a prototype that is close to the production offering. Perhaps the most intriguing design question that is not answered with these ‘spy’ shots is just what happens to the roof system when folded. Indeed, will it be completely hidden as it appears here?

Looking at the picture above, you have to admit that it is extremely unlikely a convertible Evoque will ever find itself up to its axles in water and mud in a forest in England in the autumn! The shots are actually taken at Eastnor Castle and show that JLR is at least intent on keeping the convertible as a capable off-roader. We do understand that the development of the convertible Evoque has actually been delayed somewhat, and can only surmise that initial off-road test results could well have been the reason. Modern SUV design involves the creation of a monocoque that has to be light (in JLR’s case, this has been the development of aluminium monocoques) but has to remain strong and rigid. To be brutally simple, cutting the roof, sides and rear from a monocoque will significantly affect its structural rigidity, and leading to the rest of the bodyshell to flex. Now making such an open bodyshell rigid is difficult enough when the vehicle is designed just for the road, imagine how difficult that is when you also expect this vehicle to bump and grind off-road. It’s probably why there aren’t that many convertible off-roaders. An open-topped Jeep Wrangler still retains a significant roll-over ‘hoop’ to keep everything rigid, as indeed did the original Dacia Duster for those with long memories, yet that still flopped about off-road as if it was made from Angel Delight… From these pictures, the latest Evoque has no such structural ‘hoop’ and will be a true convertible. It will be very interesting to learn exactly how the Evoque’s monocoque has been redesigned to cope. Mike Cross, Land Rover Chief Engineer of Vehicle Integrity, explained: “Land Rover prides itself on being a class leader when it comes to all-terrain capability and the the Evoque Convertible is no different. Thanks to a combination of innovative engineering and the application of advanced technologies, Evoque Convertible will deliver a dynamic and assured SUV experience that has been tested around the world. We call it ‘The Convertible for all Seasons’.”

The company is obviously happy with the results and the Evoque Convertible will be on sale in the UK next spring. As yet prices have not been announced, but you suspect that order books already have some names pencilledin, definitely the SUV that you really will be able to be seen in.

FULLY WIRED Any readers doing their monthly shopping around the Harrods area of London in October may well have had a sneak preview of the forthcoming Evoque model. A series of wire models of the convertible were produced, and parked in the posh areas of Knightsbridge and Mayfair (pictured below left). Computer generated designs, these models were made from aluminium and were full scale and 3D, including both wheels and front seats. They were designed to show the convertible ‘in its natural environment’, which is obviously not Eastnor Castle. This impressive promotional programme came from Gerry McGovern’s innovative team, as he explained: “The Range Rover Evoque Convertible is perfectly suited to the urban surroundings of a city like London and it’s the perfect place to showcase the world’s first luxury compact SUV convertible. The locations chosen reflect the refined and luxurious lifestyle of an Evoque Convertible customer.”

Not for everyone, perhaps, but JLR still deserve credit for not diluting the Evoque’s offroad abilities just to chase the image conscious ‘look-at-me’ customer. Top down, in the sunshine, it will turn heads, although it will also be interesting to see what it looks like with the roof up on UK roads on a grim, grey, wet and windy November afternoon…

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