James Brooks, Managing Director, Leeson Motors, Opel Importer in Ireland; Alexis Moore, Head of Retail Network Development, Leeson Motors; Liam Rochford, Dealer Principal at Rochford Motors

Rochford Motors Joins Opel Dealer Network

James Brooks, Managing Director, Leeson Motors, Opel Importer in Ireland; Alexis Moore, Head of Retail Network Development, Leeson Motors; Liam Rochford, Dealer Principal at Rochford Motors
James Brooks, Managing Director, Leeson Motors, Opel Importer in Ireland; Alexis Moore, Head of Retail Network Development, Leeson Motors; and Liam Rochford, Dealer Principal at Rochford Motors

Leeson Motors, Opel Importer in Ireland, has announced the appointment of Rochford Motors to the Opel Dealer Network.

Located in Ballyhaunis, County Mayo, Rochford Motors was established in 1981 by the late Billy Rochford. Celebrating over 40 years in business, Rochford Motors is today headed by Billy's son, Dealer Principal, Liam Rochford, with a staff of 14.

James Brooks, Managing Director of Leeson Motors said:

"I warmly welcome Liam to the Opel Dealer Network. We very much look forward to working in partnership with his highly experienced team and I wish them every success with the Opel brand."

He continued: "The appointment of Rochford Motors comes at an opportune time. Opel is in the midst of a clear renaissance period, boasting one of the freshest model line-ups in the market. Armed with new passenger car models such as the Corsa, Corsa-e, the Crossland and Insignia, our all-new Mokka has just been crowned Continental Tyres Irish Small SUV of the Year 2022, whilst the all-electric Opel Vivaro-e mid-sized panel van was bestowed the Continental Tyres Irish Van of the Year 2022 title. In January, we celebrated a historical van market share high with over 13% of the market, ranking number 3 in the national sales podium. We now look forward in confidence to continued growth, as we prepare to launch two critical models in the coming months, the new Opel Grandland SUV and the all-new Opel Astra, both available in petrol, diesel and PHEV plug-in electric hybrid from launch."

Liam Rochford, Dealer Principal, said:

"I am delighted to join the Opel Dealer Network and thrilled to bring the trusted Opel brand to Ballyhaunis, as the Main Franchise Dealer for Opel New Passenger Cars and Light Commercial Vehicles, Parts and Service in County Mayo. I am fiercely proud of our reputation, which has seen Rochford Motors grow steadily over forty years to the strong, trusted business we represent today and I sincerely thank all of our staff and each and every one of our loyal customers, who have supported us."

He continued: "As Opel continues to grow in strength, we are very excited about its rapidly increasing electric range and new products such as the new Grandland, the new Astra, the new Combo-e and the new Movano range. We look forward to welcoming Mayo motorists to our showroom to view the Opel range this March."

Rochford Motors has a fully equipped service workshop and an RSA approved CVR Light Commercial Test Centre for light commercials up to 3500 kg.

The Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo

Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo Debuts

The Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo
The Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo is on the way to Ireland

Skoda has taken the covers off the new Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo. The new edition completes the fourth-generation Fabia range, which went on sale in Ireland earlier this year.

The Fabia Monte Carlo model commemorates the brand’s victories at the legendary rally and complements the Active, Ambition and Style trim levels.

Built on Volkswagen Group’s MQB-A0 modular platform, the Fabia Monte Carlo edition is characterised by black details on the exterior of the car. These include the Skoda grille, model-specific front and rear aprons, a black rear diffuser and black 16" Proxima alloy wheels  exclusive to the Monte Carlo.

Inside there are red accents and carbon-look detailing on the armrests and dashboard to help this model stand out. There are also sports seats with integrated headrests and a three-spoke multifunction steering wheel as standard. The interior is predominantly black, with the decorative dashboard strip, parts of the centre console and door handles providing a touch of red. The armrests on the front doors and the lower part of the dashboard are finished in a carbon-fibre look.

There's a choice of two engines for the Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo in Ireland. Buyers can choose from a 1.0-litre TSI 95hp petrol engine with a manual gearbox and a 1.0-litre TSI 110hp DSG automatic.

The Fabia Monte Carlo goes on sale in Ireland priced from €24,750 and is available to order now.

The Volkswagen ID.Buzz range is expected in Ireland in 2022

Volkswagen ID.Buzz On The Way To Ireland

The Volkswagen ID.Buzz range is expected in Ireland in 2022
The Volkswagen ID.Buzz range is expected in Ireland in 2022

Volkswagen has taken the covers off the new Volkswagen ID.Buzz and ID.Buzz Cargo. Both models are expected in Ireland before the end of 2022, with pricing and specifications to be announced closer to launch.

The all-electric bus and transporter range are built by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles in Hannover, based on the Volkswagen Group’s Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB).

Volkswagen ID.Buzz features

The ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo will launch with a 77 kWh battery. It provides current to a 150 kW electric motor, driving the rear axle. The lithium ion battery can be charged from wall boxes or public charging stations using 11 kW alternating current (AC). DC rapid charging is also possible via a CCS plug connector. When charged in this way, the battery charge level rises from 5 to 80% in about 30 minutes.

Using the latest ID. software, ‘Plug & Charge’ function will also be available in the future. The ID. Buzz authenticates itself at compatible DC rapid-charging stations via the charging connector.

Standard features in the ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo will include Front Assist emergency braking function, ‘Lane Assist’ lane-keeping assistant in the ID.Buzz MPV version, and the ‘Car2X’ local warning system. It uses signals from other vehicles and the transport infrastructure to spot hazards in real time.

The ID.BUZZ MPV version will have seating for five people in a lounge-like interior. Seating configurations include two or three seats up front.

Inside the Volkswagen ID.Buzz
Inside the Volkswagen ID.Buzz

Alan Bateson, Director of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Ireland, said:

“The ID. Buzz is a complete game changer for Irish motoring. Not only is it the first all-electric MPV and van to be made and shipped with a carbon neutral footprint, it brings the spirit of the original T1 to the cutting edge of vehicle design and technology. There has been a huge amount of interest in ID. Buzz ever since the Microbus prototype was unveiled in Detroit in 2000. Now that it is finally here, as a desirable family passenger car and highly-practical and versatile commercial vehicle, we can see what all the fuss was about.”

The new Mazda CX-60 is on the way to Ireland

Mazda CX-60 For Ireland In 2022

The new Mazda CX-60 is on the way to Ireland
The new Mazda CX-60 is on the way to Ireland

Mazda has taken the covers off their next new model to arrive here. The new Mazda CX-60 is the company’s first plug-in hybrid for Europe. It's also the most powerful road car Mazda has ever produced.

The brand says that the new CX-60 is the most important model it has introduced for over a decade. The new five seat SUV will slot in above the CX-5 in the Mazda range.

Features of the Mazda CX-60

The new CX-60 will be a flagship for the brand and promises outstanding exterior and interior design to the finest Japanese craftsmanship, along with the latest innovations in human-centric technologies and a world-class powertrain.

In the cabin a new Mazda Driver Personalisation System will recognise the occupant of the driver’s seat and automatically adjust the surroundings – seat position, steering wheel, mirrors, HUD, even the sound and climate control settings – to fit their physique as well as personal preferences.

The Mazda CX-60 has a front-engine and rear-wheel drive layout. It is the brand's first plug-in hybrid and uses a Skyactiv-G 2.5-litre, four-cylinder direct injection petrol engine with a 100 kW electric motor, new eight-speed automatic transmission, and a 17.8 kWh high-capacity battery.

Mazda CX-60 plug-in hybrid

This combination of engine and motor delivers a total system output of 327hp and 500 Nm of torque. This makes it the most powerful road car Mazda has ever produced. It will accelerate from 0-100 km/h in just 5.8 seconds. WLTP combined COemissions are just 33g/km. The Mazda CX-60 e-Skyactiv PHEV offers 63 km of motor-powered driving with the vehicle running at 100 km/h or less.

The new Mazda CX-60’s Skyactiv Multi-Solution Scalable Architecture is said to feature numerous enhancements to offer excellent driving dynamics. Adopting Mazda’s human-centric approach, these include bodyshell rigidity that ensures drivers can feel vehicle response without lag. The seats make it even easier for every occupant to maintain balance while the car is moving. The suspension stabilises vehicle posture while driving. There is a unique to Mazda vehicle posture control system - Kinematic Posture Control (KPC).

The interior of the new CX-60
The interior of the new CX-60

The positioning of the high voltage battery between the front and rear axles and as low as possible within the bodyshell gives the new Mazda CX-60 PHEV a particularly low centre of gravity. This, combined with a permanent all-wheel drive system incorporating shaft-driven transfer of torque between the axles, is said to give the car handling characteristics on par with the best in the premium segment.

Anything else?

The Mazda CX-60 is equipped with several new active safety systems: See-Through View - a next-generation 360o view monitor which improves visibility when driving at low speeds; Turn Across Traffic Assist; SBS-R pedestrian detection; Emergency Lane Keeping; i-Adaptive Cruise Control (i-ACC); and BSM Vehicle Exit Warning.

Over the coming years Mazda will continue to develop electrification across a wide range of new products. The Mazda MX-30 REV will combine full-time electric drive with a rotary engine-powered generator to offer unlimited range.

And in 2023 the company will launch a new model that is larger than the CX-60 and features three rows of seats - the Mazda CX-80.

Mazda is launching five new electrified products that feature its multi-solution platform architecture in the next three years.

After 2025, the company will launch its brand new Skyactiv EV Scalable Architecture - unique technology which will allow Mazda to efficiently build electric cars of all sizes using one common platform.

The new Renault Austral

Renault Austral Debuts For The First Time

The new Renault Austral
The new Renault Austral is on the way to Ireland

Renault has released the first images and details of their new electrified SUV, the new Renault Austral.

The Austral is an all-new model for the French brand and will replace the Kadjar in the brand's line-up of SUVs.

Features of the new Renault Austral

Designed on the 3rd generation CMF-CD platform, the new Austral will be available as a hybrid. It will have many technology features, including Renault's 4CONTROL Advanced and 32 driving aids.

The Renault Austral chassis will come in two versions. The first is a flexible torsion beam for two-wheel steering models. Then there's a multi-link rear axle with 4CONTROL Advanced for four-wheel steering. It promises the agility of a city car in urban driving.

17" to 20" wheels are available, a bi-tone roof option, and an exclusive Esprit Alpine version for a sportier look.

The new Austral's cabin is built around the new OpenR Link multimedia system. It combines a 12.3" dashboard instrument display with the 12" vertical multimedia screen. A new 9.3" head up display is also available.

The modular design means that some models feature a 2/3–1/3 split-folding rear seat. It can also be individually adjusted along 16 cm rails. There's also a handsfree tailgate and 500 litres The generous boot comes fitted with a hands-free power tailgate. There's 500 litres of boot space in mild hybrid versions of the new Austral.  

Hybrid for the new Austral

The new Austral will be available with a number of powertrains, including the latest generation E-Tech Hybrid with up to 200 hp. There are also two petrol engines - a 130hp 48V Mild Hybrid Advanced and a 140hp/160hp 12V Mild Hybrid.

The Mild Hybrid Advanced engine makes its Renault debut in the new Austral. It combines the latest 1.2-litre 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with a 48V lithium-ion battery and starter motor. It has 130hp and comes with a manual transmission.

The Mild Hybrid uses a 1.3-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged direct injection petrol engine. It can be found already in a selection of Renault vehicles. Developed in collaboration with Daimler, the engine is backed up by a starter motor and a 12V lithium-ion battery. It comes with either 140hp or 160hp with the X-TRONIC automatic transmission, or as 140hp on manual models.

When it arrives in Ireland, the Austral will join the new Arkana and new electric Megane E-TECH in the brand's C-segment offering.

Kermit, Volkswagen Ireland's Mark 1 Volkswagen Golf, photographed by Paddy McGrath

Volkswagen Golf Mk1 'Kermit' Auction For Charity

Kermit, Volkswagen Ireland's Mark 1 Volkswagen Golf, photographed by Paddy McGrath
Kermit, Volkswagen Ireland's Mark 1 Volkswagen Golf, photographed by Paddy McGrath

Volkswagen Ireland will auction the brand's 1977 Mk1 Volkswagen Golf, to raise money for Women’s Aid Ireland, the charity that supports victims of domestic violence.

The vintage car was bought by Volkswagen Ireland in 2013 and is affectionately known as Kermit, inspired by its frog-shaped headlamps and distinctive Bali Green paint work.

It will be auctioned off this week to coincide with International Women’s Day.

Powered by a 1.1-litre, 50-horsepower petrol engine, the Mark 1 Volkswagen Golf was considered nippy in its day with a cruising speed of 80km/h.

Despite showing signs of age, Kermit - licence plate KZN 712 - has lived a charmed life, spawning a legion of fans and appearing in the 2015 St Patrick’s Day Parade.

The lucky winning bidder at Wednesday’s auction gets to own a piece of automotive history, while raising vital funds to support victims of domestic violence.

Rodolfo Calixto, Brand Director for Volkswagen Ireland, says:

“We are sad to see Kermit go but confident he will be happy in his new habitat. Women’s Aid Ireland does wonderful work and we are delighted to support our charity partner via this unique auction.”

Toyota is Ireland's bestselling brand so far in 2022

New Car Registrations Ireland February 2022

Toyota is Ireland's bestselling brand so far in 2022
Toyota is Ireland's bestselling brand so far in 2022

The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) has released the official 221 new vehicle registration figures in Ireland for February 2022.

New car registrations for February were down 12.2% (12,031) when compared to February 2021 (13,698).

Registrations year to date are down 4.6% (37,058) on the same period last year (38,838).

The bestselling brands in Ireland up to the end of February were 1. Toyota, 2, Hyundai, 3, Skoda, 4. Kia and 5. Volkswagen.

Used car imports for February (3,807) have seen a decrease of 33.9% on February 2021 (5,758). Year to date imports are down 37.6% (7,848) on 2021 (12,579).

In the month of February 1,620 new electric vehicles were registered compared to 805 in February 2021. So far this year 4,320 new electric cars have been registered in comparison to 1,782 in the same period 2021.

Electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and standard hybrids continue to increase their market share, with a combined market share now of 44%. Despite a large decrease in market share for internal combustion engine type vehicles, petrol remains dominant 27.39%, with Diesel accounting for 25.92%, Hybrid for 24.23%, Electric for 11.66% and Plug-in Hybrid for 8.01%.

The bestselling cars so far this year are 1. Hyundai Tucson, 2. Toyota Corolla, 3. Toyota RAV4, 4. Toyota C-HR and 5. Kia Sportage.

Light Commercials Vehicles (LCV) are down 30.9% (2,292) compared to February last year (3,316) and year to date are 12.0% (7,341). HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) registrations are up 7.56% (242) in comparison to February 2021 (225). Year to date HGV's are up slightly 2.14% (574).

Brian Cooke, SIMI Director General, said:

“New car sales are 12.2% down on February last year and 4.6% down year to date, while they remain 21.9% behind that of pre-COVID (2019) levels.

Despite strong demand for new and used cars, supply continues to be a major issue, with any potential recovery unlikely to happen until the second half of 2022 at the earliest.

Despite this challenge, the number of new electric cars continues to grow with registrations doubling for the month of February when compared with the same month last year. There are now over 50,000 Electric Vehicles (combined EV and PHEV) on Irish roads, and there is increasing consumer interest for these vehicles. As highlighted in the recently issued report on reducing light fleet carbon emissions, commissioned by SIMI, it is essential that our charging infrastructure keeps pace with this acceleration in the electrification of the Irish car fleet. In this context ongoing support from Government in the charging network is vital if we are to convince more consumers that an electric vehicle is a viable choice of car for their driving needs.”

Managing Director of KIA Ireland, Ronan Flood, with Sarah Jane Cooney

Kia Ireland Launches KiaCharge

Managing Director of KIA Ireland, Ronan Flood, with Sarah Jane Cooney
Managing Director of KIA Ireland, Ronan Flood, with Sarah Jane Cooney

Kia Ireland has launched  KiaCharge, a European-wide integrated public charging service, designed to give drivers easier access to public vehicle charging.

KiaCharge gives owners of the brand’s BEVs (battery electric vehicle) and PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) access to more than 1,400 charge points across Ireland, from a single account.

Drivers can access more than 315,000 additional charging points across 28 other European countries without the need for additional contracts.

From launch, KiaCharge provides access to major charging networks, including ESB, EasyGo and IONITY. There are plans to further expand KiaCharge coverage throughout 2022.

This means drivers don't have to sign up to separate accounts with multiple charging point operators or pre-pay with others.

Kia BEV and PHEV owners can access KiaCharge via a smartphone app or RFID card.

Instead of numerous individual transactions, payments are made via a single itemised monthly invoice.

The service offers two fully flexible tariffs, ‘Easy’ and ‘Plus’. The ‘Easy’ tariff for light users offers a one-off €2.49 charge to access the service. With no monthly subscription fees, most charging stations instead require a €0.49 ‘session fee’ when users plug in, with users paying per kWh of electricity.

The ‘Plus’ tariff is for those who rely more heavily on public charging. There's a €3.95 monthly tariff, with no up-front charge or session fees. Like the ‘Easy’ tariff, users also pay per kWh, but earn an additional 15 per cent discount per kWh from most networks (except IONITY).

Two IONITY bolt-on tariffs can also be added to avail of ultra-high speed charging and can reduce the standard per kWh fee by up to 65%.

Owners of new Kia EV6 models registered this year can avail of a 12 month free subscription to IONITY Power. This means the monthly fee, normally €13, is waived so the customer just pays for the charging session at €0.27 per KW/h used. This offer is validated on eligible vehicles using a VIN input during account registration of their KiaCharge account .

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz CLS

Mercedes-Benz CLS On Sale Now (2022)

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz CLS
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz CLS

The Mercedes-Benz CLS has been updated for 2022 and is on sale in Ireland now.

The four-door, coupé-like CLS is based on the E-Class platform sand now has a sharper appearance with a new radiator grille, new air intakes and bumpers, silver-chrome exterior trim elements, new twin and multi-spoke light-alloys, and the choice of an additional metallic paint colour.

Inside, cabin upgrades include two new walnut and wood trim finishes, additional leather seat coverings and colour combinations, and a redesigned multifunction leather steering wheel.

Two petrol and three diesels are offered with the CLS 220d AMG design line priced from €83,090 expected to be the big seller in Ireland.

Petrol models include the CLS 450 4MATIC (2999cc/Nm 500) and a high performance Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4MATIC+ version (2999cc/Nm 520) with fast-shifting AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT 9G transmission.

Diesel models include the CLS 220d (1950cc/Nm 400 torque), CLS 300d 4MATIC (1993cc/Nm 550) and a CLS 400d 4MATIC (2925cc/Nm 700).

A mild hybrid with an integrated starter-generator 48-volt electrical system whose output of 195 kW can be increased with a 15 kW boost is included in the mix.

All versions are equipped with the Mercedes-Benz MBUX infotainment system with artificial intelligence and predictive functions. Standard specifications also include an extensive range of occupant safety and driver assistance packages.

Knowing it to be a ‘style icon’ with over four million models sold since its introduction in 2004, Mercedes-Benz passenger sales manager Ciaran Allen describes the CLS as “the embodiment of elegance, luxury and comfort, all wrapped in a timeless, eye-catching design”.

The new Toyota bZ4X will arrive in Ireland in June

Toyota bZ4X Electric Pricing For Ireland

The new Toyota bZ4X will arrive in Ireland in June
The new Toyota bZ4X will arrive in Ireland in June

Toyota Ireland has announced that the all-new Toyota bZ4X, the first Toyota electric car, will arrive in Ireland in June.

It's the first model from a new line-up of bZ - beyond zero - models promised by the Japanese brand.

The new electric five seat SUV will be available here in three grades - Advance, Sport and Premiere Edition.

The new Toyota bZ4X will go on sale priced from €43,402 and can be reserved online now through the Toyota website. Toyota expects that the 2022 bZ4X allocation will be pre-sold before its arrival in June

The new SUV will use a 71.4 kWh battery. With a fully charged battery, the new electric SUV from Toyotais said to have an expected range of more than 450 km. The brand says that even after 10 years of driving, the battery is targeted to still operate at 90% of its original performance.

There will be a single version with 204 hp and a dual motor, all wheel drive version of the bZ4X with 218 hp.

DC fast charging is available up to 150 kW.

As Toyota’s first battery electric vehicle (BEV), the new Toyota bZ4X is also the first to use the company’s new BEV-dedicated platform. based on eTNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture).