NEWS that Britain's harshest average speed camera has landed - restricting drivers on the Isle of Wight to a mere lomph on one stretch -won't sit well with those eyeing up sports cars like the Toyota on this page.
Councils are becoming increasingly sold on the idea of tracking us over a set distance, knowing that nearly all of us cut our speed under the gaze of a SPECS unit.
And because all funding goes back to the Treasury these days, the low catch rate compared to Gatsos is less of a problem financially - because local authorities don't get the cash anyway.
But we'd be wrong to think this will herald a boom to rival that of the box cameras. For a start, councils deprived of road safety money can't afford them - even the latest wireless SPEC3 versions.
Which means if they do find the money, it will be for a section of road with a really bad crash record. And that generally means routes popular with bikers - for example, the A149 and A1151 around the Northern end of the Norfolk Broads (SPECS cameras here are rear-facing, unlike most which don't pick up motorcycles' reg plates).
But Gatsos won't be dug upjustyet. From next month, police forces will run cameras using the money offenders pay to attend speed awareness courses, in lieu of points. Too many average speed cams, and this revenue stream will be damned for good.
Brit sizzler scooped
JCW turns up the h
You vote for reborn Calibra
IT was one of the closest polls we have ever run, but the votes are in and the lines have closed. And according to readers taking part at 3utoexpress.co.uk the name of the new flagship Vauxhall convertible should be... Calibra!
The badge, last used on the firm's Cavalier-based coupé of the late Eighties, pipped the classic Manta name by the tiniest of margins, winning 51 per cent of 850 votes.
In Issue 1,156 (right), Vauxhall boss Nick Reilly told us Calibra and Manta were being considered for the new car. But many of you thought neither badge suited an open-top model, as both were previously applied to coupés.
Alternative suggestions included Victor and Monza. "How about Firenza?" said poster Wintonian. "The name was used briefly in the Seventies for the souped-up Viva. It makes an attractive name for an open car." Whatever the badge, the new four-seater will go on sale in 2013.
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The Calibra wasn't held in the same light as the Opel Manta, but it definitely had a separate identity to the Astra. A new Calibra needs to be more upmarket and sleeker."
"As the owner of a 1983 Manta coupe, I'm horrified Vauxhall is considering calling I this car a Manta. If the name is revived, it should be a rear-drive coupe or hatch to fill the void left by the original."
Brit sizzler scooped eat on MINI Coupé
O Spies snare high-performance John Cooper Works version of all-new two-door O Gets same turbo has hot hatch; will top new range when it arrives in autumn
THE MINI Coupé has nearly reached the start line. Our spy photographers have snapped the clearest pictures yet of a pair of camouflaged models, ahead of the car's launch this autumn. And these exclusive Images confirm that a hot |ohn Cooper Works model will be part of the line-up.
The two-door was previewed by the 2009 MINI Coupé concept, and it's clear that the production version will retain this car's styling. Take a close look at the camouflaged areas, and you can see the same floating roof design and neat, integrated spoiler, which overlaps the steeply raked rear screen. The uncovered bodywork is identical to that of the Mkll MINI hatch on which the Coupé is based.
The range-topping variant is set apart by a |ohn
Rear spoiler rises at high speed to boost stability _
Cooper Works badge on the lower grille, and also includes large, twin, central exhausts, plus extra logos on the wheels. A deeper front spoiler and side skirts further hint at the two-seater's potential. While the black car does without the badging, it demonstrates the
pop-up rear spoiler, which deploys at speed to increase stability. And this should prove useful, as the jCW version will get the same 1.6-litre turbo as the hatchback, producing 211bhp and capable of providing a top speed of around 150mph.
The JCW model will be the flagship Coupé. An entry-level One variant is unlikely, as the two-door will sit above the standard hatchback in the range, but petrol and diesel-powered Cooper models, plus mid-range Cooper S and SD versions, are expected.
The Coupé is the first in a wave of new models on the way from MINI over the next few years. A Roadster variant will be launched a few months later, followed by a production version of the Countryman-based Paceman and a showroom-ready incarnation of the pocket-sized MINI Rocketman. This was displayed at the Geneva Motor Show earlier in the month.
THE first maker to fit DAB digital radio as standard on every car it sells will be... Ford. The news comes as the firm revealed engineers are working on an upgrade, allowing existing owners with AM/FM head units to swap to DAB.
Digital radio offers more stations and improved sound quality, and is already standard on all Fords bar the Fiesta and Ka. It will be fitted to these car in the summer, and to commercial vehicles over the next 12-18 months.
"It's difficult to be 100 per cent sure, but I believe we will be the first manufacturer to offer DAB as standard across the range," said Mark Simpson, Ford's marketing director.
All carcompaniesare working on DAB because the UK's analogue transmission network is due to be switched off in 2015.
The upgrade initiative will enable owners of cars built after a certain year to buy a replacement audio system from their main dealers. The exact cut-off date has yet to be decided, but Simpson warned that the firm "won't be offering DAB for a 30-year-old Cortina".
DAB radios will be standard on all Fords - plus, owners with AM/FM can upgrade
..As luxurious new MINI 'Rolls' rolls!
THE MINI Rolls is on its way! Bosses will reveal the most luxurious version of the baby Brit yet at next month's Shanghai Auto Show - and it's set to be called the MINI Goodwood, in honour of Rolls-Royce's West Sussex base. Inside, it's expected to be trimmed in cream leather and walnut veneer, with a new bodykit and paintjob similar to this model (below), spied in 2009.
Electric model could be plugging in soon
BOSSES are "not ruling out" an electric MINI. BMW head of Innovation for e-Mobility Dr Julian Weber said: "Battery power suits the brand." But, talking at the end of the trial of the MINI E (below), he stressed any electric model must be purpose-built: "You can't sell a car with two seats and no boot." Prototypes run by 40 UK drivers helped BMW develop 2013's Megacity i.
Ford in digital switchover
IT'S Budget crunch day, when we get to find out whether Chancellor George Osborne has kept the Conservatives' promise to be a friend to the motorist and ditch the lp-plus inflation rise in fuel duty. We're predicting he will, but to keep in touch with what is going on as it actually happens, make sure you log on to our coverage at www.autoexpress.co.uk.
Further good news could be a 5p duty cut for rural communities, as well as a raising of the mileage allowance that employees can claim when using their own cars for business.
Kia roadster sets its sights on MX-5
O Koreans reveal plans for two-door thriller to take on Mazda class leader O Next Soul to come with 4WD, too
BOSSES are calling it Kia's MX-5. The fast-expanding company has earmarked a roadster in its future plans as it works to position itself as a "dynamic, sporting, fun brand" - and our images show what the car could look tike.
European CEO Paul Philpott confirmed that a two-seater would be the preferred choice as a desirable sports modeL
"I'd like to have a Kia MX-5," he said. "2011 and 2012 are about establishing the brand. But for 2013 and 2014, we're thinking about halo models that stretch the company forward." Speaking separately, chief designer Peter Schreyer also backed the car. He explained: "The brand deserves a sporty car, like a roadster." The German is currently applying the tiger nose' grille to the growing range, and the new car will get a more aggressive version, with a deeper grille, as our pictures show.
Philpott said the company was positioning itself as a younger brand than sister firm Hyundai. He added: "There's a big programme going on right now: How do we best differentiate Hyundai and Kia?
"In the past, we have been too close together, but if Kia is fun, dynamic and more youthful, Hyundai is more about style and comfort: more upmarket. VW manages brands more effectively than most If you think Hyundai is more like VW, Kia is more like SEAT." Meanwhile, Kia is also considering a junior 4x4 to sit below the fast-selling Sportage, with the next Soul, due in two years' time, likely to be adapted, "We're looking at the market for a smaller SUV that is four-wheel drive," said Philpott.
Model would get dramatic take on latest Kia front end
Firms count quake cost
AS the full extent of the devastation caused by the 11 March earthquake and tsunami unfolds, japan's car industry is counting the cost of the country's worst natural disaster.
Supply is now a problem for those factories still in operation, with parts shortages affecting not only japanese plants, but also operations in Europe and the UK. Close to the earthquake, Nissan's Inaki engine site remains closed. This builds V6 engines and is situated in the south of Fukushima prefecture, close to the stricken nuclear power station. The firm's Infiniti brand lost 1,300 cars awaiting export to the US (right).
Factories are mostly running again after shutting to conserve electricity, although suppliers to the larger car manufacturers are struggling to return to business. Both Toyota and Mitsubishi have said they are continuing until supplies run out, while Honda reported 113 of its suppliers were situated in the earthquake zone.
Further afield, Toyota has cut overtime and weekend shifts at its facilities in North America and Europea, including Bumaston in Derbyshire, to slow production and allow parts supplies to build up again.
Meanwhile Vauxhall Corsa production in Spain and Renault's South Korea-based Samsung operation has been affected due to shortages of electrical parts from Japan. BMW and Volkswagen employ around 750 and 600 sales staff in Japan respectively, and have repatriated those who wish to leave.
Shock two-door briefs
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