On August 12th 2015 I was lucky enough to visit the former DeLorean Factory in Dunmurry-Belfast and was surprised to find that the site is still being used in the manufacture of car components for no other that Peugeot and Citroen. I visited the site on a Sunday and as such it was much like a ghost town which how it must have felt shortly after DMC demise and closure in 1983.
On looking around the various factory units it was amazing to still see some of the original DMC-12 production line equipment still hanging from the ceilings and which sit redundant and forever waiting. I look round and try to picture what the site would have looked like in the heyday of production and feel a sadness that the production was cut short.
Unfortunately I did not get a chance to look at the historic Delorean test track due to a lack of time which was real shame as it is under threat from being built on. Nor did I get to drive up to the famous Delorean House as it is a private residence which had subsequently sold the year before.
I do hope that Belfast stops any proposals of housing on the Delorean test track, as it would be a great loss to Belfast due to the history the test track and the rest of the factory complex holds for city.
On the 9th August 2015 I had the fortune of visiting the historic MG factory at Longbridge in Birmingham, and on arrival we waited for our guide in the MG Showroom which gave me a chance to have a look over the MG3 and MG6. Our guide then met us and took us across to the main buildings where we were shown into a room and learnt the history of the MG brand and SAIC future plans for the marque.
After the presentation the real fun began and we were shown a faithful reconstruction of Morris office and then moved onto the Technical Centre. As no surprise we were not allowed to take any pictures, but we were show an MG3 turbo prototype as well as the CAD/CAM machines as well as the engine test facilities. The test facilities at Longbridge design and develop the engines and suspension for European MG3s and as such they differ from their Chinese siblings.
We then moved onto the heart of the site where we saw the build process for the MG3 but I must confess the conveyor belts and production lines were silent on the day of our visit as production only occurred two days a week. We were also informed that the cars arrive from China to the UK as Complete Knock Down (CKD) kits and reassembled at Longbridge. The silence was eerie but I was just pleased to see the factories still being used for their orginal purpose instead of just idling.
The final part of the tour was to be shown MG’s private collection of prototypes and historic vehicles which included some limited edition models and key successes such as the Mini, TF and Austin Healey. Overall the factory tour was a great day out and a real insight into the current operations of MG.
The entire automotive industry talks nervously of disruption. Autonomy, China, electric vehicles… these days it’s a case of pick your threat.
In the UK, however, disruption is coming much faster and from a much more traditional source: politics. Brexit and, to a lesser extent, the decline of diesel are probably the two biggest forces acting on our industry right now, and the fate of both, by and large, lies in the hands of the Government and its opposition.
It’s now 20 years since the first Golf Mk4 was registered in the UK, and to mark the occasion Steve reviews whether or not the fourth generation Golf could be considered a future classic?
The fourth generation Golf was introduced to the UK in mid-1998 to replace the aging mk3 model and was available in 3 or 5 door hatchback, estate or cabriolet even though the latter was just a facelifted Mk3 Golf convertible which naturally confused buyers. The Mk4 Golf brought with it various improvements over the outgoing model as it was both longer and wider than the previous model as well as being taller which all improved the cabin space. One key improvement over the mk3 variant was the fact the mk4 Golf body shell was galvanised to prevent against rust and backed up with a 12 year perforation warranty. This was a big thing as the mk3 became notorious for rust, so much so it equally matched with the Ford Escort and Ford Ka on the amount of rust issues that developed.
Steve sets to find out whether Kia’s first attempt at a compact hybrid SUV is a good one, and whether you should consider purchasing one
The word Niro is an interesting one because it is pronounced the same regardless if its spelt Niro or Nero. Why is this relevant to a car review I can hear you ask? Well the word Niro/Nero will mean different things to different people. For example coffee connoisseurs will think of the coffee shop, to Trekkies they’ll think of the baddy in the 2009 Star Trek franchise reboot film and for me I think of Kia’s new compact SUV. This also brings me nicely to my photo location which is the National Space Centre in Leicester, which I have chosen as a nod to the Trekkies but also as the Kia and the Space Centre have something in common – the focus on the future.