Promoting your car club

Joining a car club allows people to meet fellow enthusiasts who share the same interests, but it is important that all of the members take an active role in promoting the club so that it can attract new members.

The easiest and often the cheapest way of promoting your car club is through social media and the internet. Set up a website that tells perspective members the clubs mission statement, expectations and goals, and also add a new page to keep all members up to date on what’s going on. Social networks are also a great way of keeping in touch with members and attracting new members, so think about setting up a Twitter and Facebook account for the club.

If the club already has a website and social pages, you can always help by contributing to it in the form of a blog post or forum discussion, or sharing news on your own social networking pages.

Another great way to promote your car club is to hold events such as car gatherings, charity raffles and other car related activities. This will show your car club off to a wider audience and help attract new members.

Merchandise has been used by many companies to promote their products and services for many years, so why not use it for your car club. Printed labels and car stickers are a great place to start and can be purchased here. Clothing can also be printed up with your clubs logo and sold to members to make a profit for the club.

Car clubs are great fun, and promoting yours in the right way will attract new members and provide a positive change to your community.

car showPicture: Nick Knouse

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Audi introduces virtual cockpit

German car manufacturer Audi has redesigned its famous TT car for the smartphone generation. First developed in 1995, the TT sports model got an update in 2006, with a somewhat modified look to make it sharper and give an improved performance. A five-year design process has led to the new TT. Dany Garand, the lead exterior designer for the upgrade, says the new TT has a more aggressive and masculine look in what represents “an intentional shift to position the TT as a legitimate sports car behind the R8 in the Audi line up.”

The most radical change, however, comes on the inside. Drivers will be familiar with the traditional dashboards of gauges, dials and fixed needles, but for the re-designed TT, Audi has embraced modern technology. The new car beams such information as speed, revolutions per minute and fuel levels from a high-resolution LCD screen to form a customisable virtual cockpit. The new way of doing things is actually two separate systems. One is an isolated so-called safety system, displaying such items as the rev counter and speed. The other is an internet-connected infotainment platform and the two are then fused into a single screen. Drivers will be able to swap the central fuel monitor for a music-track list or a list of contacts. Alternatively, they will be able to swap it for calls from a Bluetooth phone or a miniature satellite-view map drawn from Google Earth.

The technology in the new TT is based on QNX, a Unix-like operating system favoured by a majority of car makers.  The software relies on two automotive-grade Nvidia Tegra 3 processors, similar to those used in the latest generation of smartphones and tablets.

Audi virtual cockpit

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Volkswagen Group to expand its range of cars in the future

Volkswagen Group boss Martin Winterkorn has announced that the company will be making a wider range of car models in the future. The VW Group currently comprises of 12 brands including Audi, Lamborghini, Porsche, SEAT and Skoda, producing a combined number of 310 models and Winterkorn wants that to grow even bigger.

Speaking at the VW Group’s annual investor conference, Mr Winterkorn said, “We need even more bodystyles and give our customers even more chance to personalise them.”

The VW Group boss also went on to say that models will be revised or replaced at a quicker pace than in the past, noting that currently a car is on sale for seven years before being superseded.

This year the VW Group will be replacing a number of models including the Audi A4 and Q7, Skoda Fabia and the Volkswagen Passat. Winterkorn also voiced his ambitions for the VW Group to become the world’s biggest car maker by the end of 2018; Toyota currently holds the number one slot.

VW Group

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Citroën C3 Picasso Review

Engine choices, ride and handling

Those looking to buy a Citroën C3 Picasso can choose from two petrol engines or two diesel engines:

  • 1.4 litre VTi 95 (94bhp) petrol
  • 1.6 litre VTi 120 (118bhp) petrol
  • 1.6 litre HDi 90 (89bhp) diesel
  • 1.6 litre HDi 115 (113bhp) diesel

The VTi 95 engine is perfect if you do most of your driving around town, although you might want to choose the 1.6 litre VTi 120 if you do a lot of motorway driving. Both diesel engines are strong and flexible enough for any type of driving.

The Citroën C3 Picasso rides very comfortably thanks to its supple suspension, but does roll around a bit when the road get uneven; this isn’t really a problem though as the C3’s steering has a reassuring feel.

The engines are generally smooth and quiet, and although you can hear some wind noise through the windscreen, road noise is well contained to the outside of the vehicle.

Price and quality

Although the Citroën C3 Picasso isn’t that cheap there are deals to be had, so think of the £13,490 starting price tag as a negotiation starting point. Both petrol engines average over 40mpg, which isn’t too shabby and the HDi 90 diesel engine provides 67.2mpg making it an efficient choice. One thing to bear in mind is that Citroën’s don’t particularly hold their value well compared to other manufacturers.

Citroën’s of the past had pretty shabby interiors, but the same cannot be said about the C3 Picasso. The metallic accents around the vents and digital instrument display provide a sense of luxury, while the dashboard is finished in textured plastic to give it a more expensive feel.

Safety, space and practicality

Front airbags are standard on all Citroën C3 Picasso’s, but unfortunately curtain airbags and stability control are optional extras on entry-level models. An immobiliser and deadbolts are as standard to deter the would-be thief.

The cabin feels light and airy thanks to the wrap-around windscreen and there is enough space for any shape of driver. The boot is quite big at 385 litres of capacity and rival an estate car when the back seats are folded down.

Citroën C3 Picasso

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Advertising your business with car window stickers

Marketing your own business can be a costly endeavour, but create the right car window sticker and motorists will advertise your business for you. Just like car manufacturers use dealership car window stickers to promote local dealerships, you too can advertise your business in the same way.

The first thing to do is create a professional looking design that clearly says what your company name is and what you do. Once the design is finished its time to get it printed. Due to new printing technologies it is now possible to create a car sticker in any shape or size you want, in a single colour or multiple colours to suit your specifications. New technologies also mean that you do not have to buy in bulk and small lots can be purchased when you need them.

The first place to put your advertising stickers is of course you vehicles, most companies go even further and have vinyl branding fitted to their work vehicles, this also help the brand get noticed.

Give stickers to friends and family so they can help you advertise you company in the early days and give them away for free to your customers, who knows if they have had a good service they might put them up in their car giving you free advertising wherever they drive.

So, if you are looking for a cheap way to advertise your business you can’t go far wrong with car window stickers.

car stickers

Picture: Marshall Segal

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Vauxhall Mokka Overview

The very latest offering form General Motors under the Vauxhall badge is the sub compact SUV the Mokka. This is the first of an expected new range of three cars, the Adam, an upmarket supermini in the mould of the Mini, and then the Cascada, which is a lookalike of the Astra but with a folding roof.

This is their first effort in a rapidly growing sector with distinctive chunky bumpers and rather bulging wheel arches; it is aimed at the Nissan Qashqai and the Skoda Yeti, but in our opinion and that of the motoring press generally fall short of both of these.

You have a choice of either a two wheel or four wheel drive and on the four wheel drive version it has an electromagnetic clutch that can send up to 50 per cent of drive to the rear wheels. Three engines are currently available a 1.6-litre naturally aspirated petrol, which provides 113bhp, with a claimed consumption of 43.5mpg, a 1.4, turbocharged petrol unit which gives 138bhp, 44.1mpg, with a 1.7-litre turbodiesel giving 128bhp, 62.8mpg.

Prices currently start at £15,995 rising to £23,490 for the top of the range you get 18in wheels, Bluetooth, a USB dock, dual-zone climate control, parking sensors and leather seats.

Vauxhall Mokka

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The end of a motoring era

They say that you can hear a VW Kombi before you can see it, but news is just in that the production of the icon of motoring is to come to an end. However the Kombi took many forms and it has fond memories for many people even though it has a rather outdated engine and chassis that in reality should have been long gone years ago. Only now made in Brazil and where it has kept many small business men afloat the production is sadly for many, to come to an end.

The Kombi in Brazil is still largely built by hand on a site where today you can see smaller and newer cars that are largely built by robots, the Kombi has changed little since it was first produced in Brazil here in 1957, having been launched in Germany seven years earlier. Some modifications have taken place such as the old air cooled engine replaced by a water cooled version six years ago, but it is still basically the same “box on wheels” that acted as a school bus, camper van and pickup truck.

A much loved and it has to be said a very basic vehicle, that was loved by hippies and small businesses has come to an end, some 1.5 million vehicles later, Volkswagen will no longer make the Kombi, here or anywhere else in the world.

VW Kombi

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The new Nissan Qashqai announced

A highly successful model for Nissan as well as the Sunderland factory that makes them, at one time people were queuing up for the Qashqai and it was a major export to Japan of all places. The new model was officially revealed on 7th November and will be released sometime in 2014.

From the information available it would appear that the new Qashqai will only be available as a five-seater model, Nissan has confirmed: there is no long-wheelbase, Qashqai+2 seven-seater planned.  The thinking behind this is possibly to stop the sales of the bigger and more expensive X-Trail being hit.

The all-important motors for the new Qashqai two wheel and four wheel drive versions are likely to be the same or slightly modified version used in the existing model, but the 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine is likely to be the UK’s biggest seller. For the low mileage buyer, a new 1.2 litre turbo petrol engine is to be offered and at a lower price, this is claimed to have lower CO2 emissions.

Although no news about the price of the new car has been officially released, Nissan have said that the car will remain competitive staying close to the £17,000 to 27, 000 ticket of the existing range.

New Qashqai

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BMW 3 Series Saloon

Engine choices, ride and handling

BMW always has a range of engines to choose from and the new 3 Series is no exception. We would recommend staying away from the lower speced 316i and 316d engines as they do tend to struggle a bit under acceleration; instead we like the 320d diesel engine which is quick and flexible, while the 3 litre 335i petrol engine is a masterpiece of engineering and is blisteringly quick.

The standard suspension setup is a bit disappointing really with a noticeable amount of body roll in tight corners and a twitchy feel when accelerating and braking. Instead we would go for the adaptive suspension which improves the handling of the car immeasurably and provides a great ride.

The 3 Series has always been popular with executives who travel and all of the engine options offer great fuel economy. Resale values are also good, making the 3 Series very competitive.

Price and quality

Sitting near the top end of executive saloons, the 3 Series isn’t cheap; prices start at £23,185 but BMW is renowned for its plush interiors which are built with quality materials and are right up there at the top of the class.

Everything has been though of inside the cabin, its spacious, solid and well set out giving the driver and passengers an array of gadgets and gizmos to take advantage of.

Safety, space and practicality

Dynamic stability control, brake control and traction control are all standard on the 3 Series, as well as six airbags for safety. An alarm is also standard, while the optional active security package offers lane change and lane departure warning systems which is handy for extensive motorway driving.

Inside, the 3 Series is spacious and has enough room to fit 5 adults comfortably; there are a range of adjustments for the driver and the dashboard buttons are well set out and easy to find. The boot is also a decent size and you also have the option of folding the back seats down to create extra room.

BMW 3 Series Saloon

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Winter tyres

Winter tyres really are a great and a very solid investment, and also it may seem a high price to pay for a few months or even days when snow is on the ground, with colder temperatures, the performance of a standard summer tyre falls off substantially.

A set of tyres bought for use for the winter months should last the average motorist at least three years, possibly longer and the advantage that is gained through grip and stopping distance is quite marked. For example few people know that there is such a fall-off in performance of the tyres we normally buy, just because the weather is colder, the difference on ice and snow is even greater.

The reason for this is that below 7˚C, the rubber molecules in your summer-spec tyre treads progressively harden and freeze, as a consequence it is less able to adapt to the contour of the road surface, which in turn reduces grip levels. Just to give one example in icy roads a car travelling at 20mph using summer tyres it will need 68 metres to stop, while winter tyres will bring you to a halt in 57 metres, that is significant.

The question is often asked; why not use winter tyres all year round? Well at higher temperatures, on wet or dry roads, they’re not as good as summer tyres and tyre technology has moved forward in leaps and bounds today, temperature is still a major factor on performance.

Winter Tyre

Picture: Christian Olsen

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