• Wednesday, 10 April 2013

      Lisbon Coast Holiday Sale

      The Lisbon Coast offers a great blend of sea side resorts with golden sandy beaches, beautiful landmarks like Sintra National Park and the lively capital, Lisbon.

      Concorde Travel are offering city breaks to Lisbon or holidays in Cascais and Estorial.

      Departing 2 May, 8 May or 9 May 2013 for 7 nights: stay at the 3* Sana Estoril, b&b, was €564 now €449pp. Two Centre Lisbon City + Lisbon Coast: 3 nights at the 3* Lisboa Tejo Hotel & 4 nights at 3* Hotel Saboia, b&b now €499pp.

      Other offers include the 4* Clube do Lago Estoril, 4 sharing a 2-bedroom apartment, self catering, from €574pp; or the 4* Hotel Vila Gale in Estoril, b&b, now €579pp; the 4* Hotel Vila Gale in Cascais, b&b, now €629pp or the Hotel Pestana also in Cascais, b&b, now €629pp.

      For these and other offers, check www.concordetravel.ie.

      Mondello Park Car Races to be streamed live

      Mondello Park's Car Race season starts with a bang this weekend, with a packed 17-race programme run by the Irish Motor Racing Club taking place over Saturday and Sunday. The event will feature some brand new classes and the first ever Live Streaming Web TV Coverage of an Irish Car Race event.

      Many classes see increased entries and the introduction of three new series, two of which will be on show this weekend. The PatchTyre Equipment Fiesta Championship, with the brand new series for standard Fiesta Zetec's cars, has attracted more than 25 cars for its race.

      The Fiestas will be joined on the timetable by the new 'Future Classics' championship for modern Historics, which are not eligible for the current Historic Racing age limitations. The third new class will be the revitalised GT series which will début at the next event on June 10th.

      The Fiesta Series will be one of five classes which will star in the first Mondello.TV Live broadcast, which will transmit from the County Kildare circuit throughout Sunday's event. Joining the Patch Tyre Equipment supported series will be Formula Vee, Formula Libre, Irish Touring Car Championship and Ginetta Juniors. Each class will race twice and both races for each series will be broadcast. In between races the presentation team will bring viewers background information from the event and interviews with drivers and other guests. The live stream will be accessible through mondello.tv or the Mondello Park web site.

      With the season opener being so busy the event is scheduled to take place over two days with qualifying taking place on Saturday afternoon and Racing all day Sunday. Joining the Televised classes on the timetable will be the Future Classics with a single race and the HRCA Historics, Strykers, and Global Light classes with double headers.

      Admission to Sundays race day is just €10 for adults with accompanied under sixteen’s admitted free of charge. All admission includes a complimentary event programme. For a event timetable see www.mondellopark.ie.

      Opinion: Lincoln needs a farewell address, not a new marketing plan

      Lincoln grille
      The trouble with Ford's Lincoln brand is that no one cares about it any more.
      Not long after I heard that Mark LaNeve, chief operating officer ofFord agency Team Detroit, was moving to take over direct operations of the New York ad agency Hudson Rouge for Lincoln, I heard that JCPenney CEO Ron Johnson was ousted. The two events are connected.

      There can be all sorts of reasons why LaNeve, former head of sales and marketing at General Motors, is taking over the office that was under the direction of Cameron McNaughton since it was opened last year to serve Lincoln. But the bottom line reason: The plan to save Lincoln is not working.

      As I was listening to the discussion about JCPenney's Johnson and his mistakes, I heard two talking heads discussing it. One said it perfectly: "Johnson's mistake was not in moving JCPenney to an everyday low-pricing strategy, it was taking the job in the first place. JCPenney has no reason to exist. It's reason for being is gone. It was once the place where America bought its underwear, but now they buy their underwear all sorts of other places."

      I have been saying for about two years now that the trouble with Ford's Lincoln brand is that no one cares about it any more. Okay, Lincoln dealers and some current and ex-Ford employees, some of those in the airport livery and hearse businesses care. That's not a business model, though. Ford is going to try and force Lincoln on China, I hear. The Chinese want Lincoln? I doubt that.

      I'm not alone. Ford CEO Alan Mulally was aghast at the Super Bowl ad as well.
      The advertising for Lincoln since last fall has been a mess. The TV work has ranged from wallpaper that vaguely positions to Lincoln as a forward-looking tech brand to a truly strange Super Bowl effortthat had some mystical indecipherable connection to Jimmy Fallon. I will give someone an AOL Autos iPhone cover and ten bucks if they can tell me what the hell Fallon had to do with that ad effort or the Lincoln brand. I'm not alone. Sources tell me Ford CEO Alan Mulally was aghast at the Super Bowl ad as well.

      We have seen ghostly images of Abraham Lincoln, and reflected images of Dean Martin and Franklin Roosevelt in the paint of old Lincolns and the new ones hardly anyone is buying.

      This past weekend, the debut of AMC's Mad Men was brought to me by Lincoln, so the ad billboard said at the start of the program. The ad I saw run on the show had no connection to the show, and I saw a bunch of other car ads as well. Lexus was in the second hour of the program. The sound you hear is me scratching my head.

      If anyone has a shot at fixing it, Mark LaNeve is the guy. He did smart work at Cadillac, and then stewarded the "Mayhem" ad campaign at Allstate before coming back to Detroit last year. He is talking to dealers and Ford about how to fix things, at least in the short term.

      But I wish his skills and experience were being deployed against a problem that could really be fixed. Like JCPenney, Kresge's, Gimbel's, Woolworth, Pan-Am, Blockbuster, HummerPlymouth and Lincoln's old showroom-mate, Mercury, the problem facing Lincoln is a staggering lack of relevance.

      God himself couldn't save Lincoln and make it profitable and relevant again.
      This is a brand that no one needs or desires. Desire was drained out of this brand in the last century when even Ford's senior executives stopped driving Lincolns. The latest crop of products wouldn't crack the top six choices in any category they compete in. And I feel bad about that. Watching Lincoln today is like watching an athlete try and perform in a game – baseball, football, golf or hockey – after he is beyond the age or skills to compete. I have an image of Arnold Palmer in my head – stiff-backed, stiff-legged and stiff-armed – trying feebly to get the ball around Augusta the last few years he played in the Masters. Arnie is Arnie, but it was painful to watch him play about as well as I do.

      What to do?

      • If Ford wants to compete in the premium-luxury space, the company ought to do it the right way. Make Lincoln – specifically the MKT crossover and MKS sedan – a livery brand only for airport fleets, funeral homes, etc. If some retail buyers want those vehicles too, God bless 'em.
      • Phase out the current MKZ and MKX. Make the Navigator an up-market Ford Expedition or Ford Navigator.
      • Launch a brand-new luxury brand as Toyota did with Lexus. If playing in the luxe space is required for future growth and profitability, then start from scratch with a clean sheet of paper with a brand name that can resonate and achieve legitimacy and relevance. Lexus achieved that in less than ten years.
      • Have the courage to walk away. Admit that no one, including God himself, could save Lincoln and make it profitable and relevant again. People aren't buying their underwear at JCPenney. They aren't renting videos at Blockbuster. And they aren't going to buy these Lincolns.

      Top 5 Market Trendsetters

      Top 5 Market Trendsetters
      Whether you love or hate any of these cars, each one has managed to change the modern auto industry in many ways.
      Cars like these don’t come along every model year. When they do, however, competing automakers often find themselves scrambling to come up with their own version of whatever that trendsetting new car may be. So we've taken a quick look back at just a few of the biggest automotive trendsetters of the past 30 years or so. None of them are supercars, or even sports cars for that matter, but each one managed to forever change the automotive industry, for better or worse.
      The Honda Civic first arrived on American shores in 1978 and it finally proved that an economy car didn't always have to be a complete piece of junk. Compared to the Ford Pinto and Chevy Vega, the Civic had overall excellent build quality and was quite fuel efficient. Despite some early rust issues, the Civic continued to catch on with buyers and today it’s one of the best-selling cars in the US. A total of nine generations have been built so far and, despite even more potent competitors today, the Civic doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
      Top 5 Market Trendsetters
      Before the arrival of the minivan, there was the station wagon. But for those who wanted something a bit more trendy and off-road capable, there was also the original Jeep Cherokee - perhaps the first modern SUV. When it first arrived on the scene in 1984, it allowed buyers to enjoy a reasonably-priced family car that could also handle itself when the road conditions turned rough. More importantly, it looked good and had solid engine options. Although it was quite outdated by the time production ended in 2001, it still remained popular among enthusiasts.Top 5 Market TrendsettersTop 5 Market TrendsettersYes, we already know how much of a game changer the BMW 3 Series has been ever since it hit the market way back in 1975. But it was only in 1983 when the second-generation E30 model arrived that BMW begun to offer it as a sedan alongside the coupe. And so began the era of the sports sedan. Before the E30, family sedans were usually big cars that may have had decent enough power but weren’t all that much fun to drive. The second-gen 3-Series sedan changed that thanks to its range of powerful inline four- and six-cylinder engines and well-tuned suspension.Top 5 Market TrendsettersTop 5 Market TrendsettersMany may have derided it as an expensive Toyota with leather seats, but those naysayers have been proven wrong when it came to the Lexus LS 400. It debuted as Lexus’ first model back in 1989 and it immediately put German brands like Mercedes-Benz and BMW on notice. The reason? Toyota had successfully managed to build and engineer a premium luxury car with proven Japanese build quality and refinement. The first-gen LS 400 even had a new 4.0-liter V8 and a unique platform that wasn’t shared with anything else. It was an instant success and quickly became the new luxury benchmark.Top 5 Market TrendsettersTop 5 Market TrendsettersWe know what you’re thinking but bear with us for a moment here. The Toyota Prius never was and never will be an exciting car or anything even remotely associated with the words "fun" or "performance." What it did do, however, was usher in the era of the hybrid car. When it launched in the US in 1997, environmentally-friendly cars mainly consisted of failed projects like GM’s EV1. The Prius changed that by proving that a mass-market gasoline-electric car could combine everyday usability without range anxiety and still save money at the pumps. We still can’t stand it though.We know what you’re thinking but bear with us for a moment here. The Toyota Prius never was and never will be an exciting car or anything even remotely associated with the words "fun" or "performance." What it did do, however, was usher in the era of the hybrid car. When it launched in the US in 1997, environmentally-friendly cars mainly consisted of failed projects like GM’s EV1. The Prius changed that by proving that a mass-market gasoline-electric car could combine everyday usability without range anxiety and still save money at the pumps. We still can’t stand it though.Top 5 Market TrendsettersTop 5 Market Trendsetters

      BMW Developing Electric X1?

      Could BMW be close to unveiling an EV variant of the X1? These spy shots suggest so.
      At first glance, the model caught winter testing by our spy photographer appears to be a stock BMW X1. But a closer look at the details reveals something more environmentally-friendly is afoot. The test vehicle is wearing stickers that read “Hybrid Test Vehicle” and has no visible exhaust pipes. But our shutterbug on the scene reports that the car emitted no engine note whatsoever, suggesting this could be a full-electric model. Whether BMW plans to roll out a battery-powered variant (be it hybrid or fully electric) of the X1 or is simply testing the technology for another model remains to be seen.

      Car Culture exhibit at Lentos museum will bend your mind

      It was modern art and motorcars on display in the Car Culture exhibit at the LENTOS Kunstmuseum in Linz, Austria. We say "was" because we missed the exhibit, which was last year, but we've been tipped to a video of some of its offerings, and we wish we had gone.

      The image above is two Porsche Cayennes in wood in the midst of a head-on collision – and it gets far more modern artsy from there, such as with the Volkswagen Beetle with the upside down tortoise shell glued to its roof. The exhibit also showed off the pedal-powered aluminum foil Porsche 911 and the similarly poweredFahrradi Farfalla FXX. There are videos below of selections from the piece and the world premiere of the Farhrradi, enjoy.
      Follow the below given links to watch the video:

      2014 Mercedes S-Class Gets Heated Arm Rests, Built-in Perfume Dispenser

      As unorthodox as it seems, Mercedes-Benzhas been slowly revealing its 2014 S-Class flagship sedan from the inside out.
      So just what all does the 2014 S-Class pack inside? For starters, there is a pair of 12.3-inch TFT digital screens in the dash, with the left screen displaying the speedometer and tachometer while the right screen is your standard infotainment display. To give the instruments a free-standing appearance, ambient lighting is used. As for the two-spoke steering wheel, Mercedes has confirmed that it’ll be exclusive to the flagship sedan model and can be purchased as a heated unit. Another fancy option the S-Class will offer to buyers is heated armrests.
      Flexing its focus on the Chinese market, a new individual climate control system has been integrated called Thermotronic. Since pollution has become a major issue in China, the new Thermotronic system features two combined filters – one for fine dust, and one made from activated charcoal filters. To help freshen the air, an ionizing system can filter out various viruses and spores.
      To give the door panels a more upscale feel, the only plastic buyers will be finding is the lining of the aperture for the door release. Elsewhere on the door panel they’ll find either wood, leather, or aluminum. Now for the focus on the rear interior, long-wheelbase models will have the option of “Executive” reclining individual seats. This will allow the backrest on the nearside rear seat to tilt 43.5 degrees while the “Chauffeur” package allows the front seat to be pushed forward.
      To top it all off, the German automaker has teamed up with perfume specialist Marc vom Ende to include a built-in atomizer in the S-Class. It’s a $4,600 option and can diffuse five different scents into the cabin.

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