We had an interview Sebastian Mackensen, Senior Vice President of MINI: “we sell a lifestyle…”

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At the recent Brussels Motor Show we talked with the Senior Vice President of MINI. Born in The 46-year-old Sebastian Mackensen with a master’s degree in business administration and economics joined the BMW Group in October 2013 and brought with him many years of international sales experience in the automotive premium segment. He started as head of worldwide MINI Sales. In March 2015 he then succeeded Jochen Goller as Senior Vice President MINI…

Just read on!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “We had an interview Sebastian Mackensen, Senior Vice President of MINI: “we sell a lifestyle…””

FCA Heritage returned in style to the Paris Rétromobile Show

We travelled on February 7 to a very snowy Paris to see the classic Italian gems which FCA Heritage brought over to the Rétromobile Autoshow, held in the equally iconic exposition halls at the Porte Versailles. Indeed, nothing could stop us.

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Stunning cars were on the show, like this Abarth Allemano 2400 Coupé…

On their 350 square meter stand we stood eye to eye with four remarkable cars, notably an elegant Lancia Appia Coupé, a Fiat Dino 2400 Coupé, an Abarth 2400 coupé, and last but not least an impressive Alfa Romeo SZ.

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We tell you here in this post more about FCA Heritage and its mission, and focus then on the Abarth 2400 Coupé Allemano , the personal car of late Carlo Abarth, and our meeting with his wife Anneliese Abarth.

In a following post, we will present a portrait of Roberto Giolito, now head of FCA Heritage, but previously Chief designer of Fiat. He is most widely known for the Fiat Multipla, and the 2004 Fiat Trepiùno concept — precursor to the Fiat 500. His latest design is the Fiat 500L, which we tested for you recently.

In a further post, we will tell you more about the other remarkable cars FCA Heritage brought to the show, and of course on all the beautiful and interesting cars on the Retromobile Show, which will be a following separate post. A lot to see and read!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “FCA Heritage returned in style to the Paris Rétromobile Show”

A range of interviews with a focus on BMW and MINI… its cars and its (electric) future.

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On the Brussels Salon, Dr. Peter Henrich, President and CEO of BMW Group Belux presented us the new i8 roadster, and his dynamic PR Team arranged for us a range of interviews…

The Brussels Salon was an excellent occasion this year to make some very interesting interviews and have some in depth face to face talks and discussions with the people who are shaping our automotive future and individual mobility.

At the 2018 edition of the Brussels Show we focused on BMW and Mini, last but not least thanks to the very dynamic and pro-active PR team of BMW Belux, notably Christophe Weerts, Corporate Communcations Manager and Saschia De Rudder, Corporate Communications, who kindly invited us to have talks and interviews with their important people who visited the Brussels Show.

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Dr. Peter Henrich greeting here Jean-Philippe Parain, stepping here out of the brand new facelifted BMW 2 series Active Tourer…

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Jean-Philippe Parain presenting the many qualities of the BMW 2 series and lifting a veil on the forthcoming novelties, like the X2, which will presented on January 15… 

So we had an interview met Jean-Philippe Parain, Senior Vice-President Sales Europe BMW, zooming in on the BMW sales results in the European market outside Germany,

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Sebastian MacKensen showed us the new MINI’s and a prototype of its full electric version…at the Brussels Show. 

then we had an in depth discussion with Sebastian Mackensen, Senior Vice-President MINI, on the MINI brand and its (bright) future, and we concluded the day with Armin Hultzsch, Head of Project BMW 2 Series Active Tourer/Gran Tourer, Marcus Tauchen, Project Management Office BMW 2 Series Active Tourer/Gran Tourer and Pascale Goudvis, Product Management BMW 2 Series Active Tourer/Gran Tourer. There the 2 series bestseller(s) took centre stage, and we discussed the many challenges involved in designing, developing and producing these impressive BMW’s which represent for some 70 pct of the buyers a first acquaintance with the brand.

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Dr. Peter Quitus, on the left of this picture, in discussion with us, together with Dr. Peter Henrich on the right…

To deepen out things further, we were also invited to participate in two round table discussions, one with Peter Quintus, Sales Manager BMW M GmbH, and secondly but last but not least a long discussion about BMW’s electrification successes, and its future plans and projects in this field, with Robert Irlinger, Senior Vice-President BMWi.

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Dr. Peter Irlinger, discussing with us the electric future of BMW…

Soon you will be treated in these columns to the full interviews and the many interesting insights which were developed here.

Needless to say that the subjects will form an interesting platform for further discussions, and we will deepen them further out over the year, widening them throughout our automotive world.

Stay tuned!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

 

 

Renault re-invents car traveling with the SYMBIOZ…

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2017 – Demo car SYMBIOZ

Renault presents a new demo car, which embodies a car that is in real-life conditions autonomous, electric and connected.

The result is a whole new life-on-board experience and as much pleasure while driving as with hands off the steering wheel.

Sitting in the SYMBIOZ, the driver can automate driving and use travel time for other activities. Renault believes that car travel will become a multi-sensory, personalized experience, with a cabin reconfigured differently for each driving mode. The car becomes part of the personal ecosystem for both driver and passenger.

Renault SYMBIOZ demo car showcases design elements –both interior and exterior– and key autonomous driving and connectivity technologies that will be progressively deployed in the range in the coming years.

Just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

2017 - Démonstrateur SYMBIOZ

Taking your mind off…

The Renault SYMBIOZ demo car is equipped with level 4 autonomous driving technology,known as “mind-off”. What this means in practice: no need to pay even a minimum of attention to the road.

The car itself is capable of maintaining safety or moving to a safe position. Thanks to the combined engineering, automated driving,and geo-positioning expertise of Renault, IAV and TomTom, the Renault SYMBIOZ Demo car is capable —on authorized highways—of adjusting its speed to maintain safe distances with surrounding cars, of staying in its lane even when cornering, of safely changing lanes (to overtake another car or exit the highway, for example), and of navigating autonomously in traffic jams

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Renault SYMBIOZ demo car is connected to road infrastructures in the Sanef network (Sanef is a subsidiary of the Albertis group, the world’s leading highway operator). The car passes automatically through toll gates and is warned in advance of any hazards ahead including roadworks, accidents, congestion, or a turn for the worse in the weather

It shows its colors…and is made for easy life

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To announce its presence and let other drivers know they’re sharing the road with an automated vehicle, Renault SYMBIOZ demo car lights up in blue when the autonomous driving mode is activated.

More than a slogan, Easy Life is the philosophy Renault has cultivated for years now, thanks to its people-centric innovations. The SYMBIOZ demo car onboard connectivity system allows driver and passengers uninterrupted access to their digital lives and offers a wide range of services, all the better to make use of their new-found time on the road.

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Always connected…

Occupants of the car are identified by their smartphone regardless of where they are sitting.

The smartphone interacts with the SYMBIOZ human-machine interface to adjust personalized functions such as preferred seat settings, air-conditioning settings, and music preferences.

Thanks to a full suite of connectivity features (GPS, 4G, Wi-Fi), occupants enjoy permanent access to their digital environment, media, networks, and services. The driver’s smartphone synchronizes with the SYMBIOZ demo car to allow access the personal calendars, trip itinerary and information about tourist attractions in the vicinity.

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Onboard the SYMBIOZ demo car the “mind-off” experience expands even further, thanks to the virtual reality options designed by our partner Ubisoft and available while traveling in autonomous mode. Wearing virtual reality headset and with the seat inclined in “zero gravity” position, the driver plunges into an immersive and contemplative world, fully relaxed and detached from the pressures of the road.

French design and impressive performance…

The Renault SYMBIOZ demo car’s exterior design is intrinsically aligned with Renault’s signature “French Design” styling: sensual and warm, with fluid lines and a dynamic presence accentuated by the “champagne” body color in a pearlescent finish.

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As a 100% electric vehicle, the Renault SYMBIOZ demo car takes its place in the long-game strategy of Renault’s zero-emissions commitment. This vehicle is the fruit of more than a century of work in automotive engineering

The Renault SYMBIOZ demo car delivers a maximum power of 500 kW and a peak torque of 660 Nm. The two electric motors are located on the rear axle, and are powered by a battery pack with a 72 kWh capacity.

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Accelerations are breathtaking, with 0 to 100 achieved in 6 seconds. 500 km autonomy is possible in real life conditions and batteries are charged up tp 80 pct in 30 minutes.

Feeling at home

When connected to the digital life of the user, the Renault SYMBIOZ demo car becomes an extension of the home. The traditional divides separating the car from the home and workplace are blurring…

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2017 – Démonstrateur SYMBIOZ

The journey starts at home: the Renault SYMBIOZ demo car communicates with your devices (tablet, TV, smartphone or PC) to update you on the status of the vehicle and your next journey. Once on the road, you can access security cameras, adjust thermostats, or control devices and connected appliances at home.

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Parked inside the house in its dedicated spot, the Renault SYMBIOZ demo car shows us that the automobile can play an increasingly important and integrated role in our daily lives.  With the ‘valet parking’ function activated by a simple call from a smartphone or smartwatch, the empty Renault SYMBIOZ demo car leaves its parking spot to come pick up passengers inside or in front of the house.

A brave new world for Renault, and for us!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

We had our Volvo 850 repaired at Wondercar…

 

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Barely visible from a distance, but in need for repair, and therefore we drove our fiathful 850 to the professional repair booths at Wondercar Zaventem… 

It all happens in an automotive life. The little pole on the kerb one doesn’t see. The front door on the right side of our faithful 1995 Volvo 850 took the little blow. A dent on the lower end of the door was the result.

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So we needed a bodywork shop which specializes in small repairs, and soon we found the right address: Wondercar in Zaventem…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “We had our Volvo 850 repaired at Wondercar…”

A 1937 Škoda steals the jury’s hearts at the Zoute Concours d’Elégance®

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We promised you, dear reader, that we would come back to you with more reports about the delightful 2017 edition of the Zoute Grand Prix®.

The cars presented at the Zoute Concours d’Elégance® certainly turned heads, and there was one little gem, brought from the Škoda Museum, a 1937 Škoda Popular “Monte Carlo”. A rare car indeed, lovingly restored to former glory by the craftsmen of the museum, as engineer Michal Velebný explained us. We show him here with the car in the following two films, and some photos, and treat you to an interesting story…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “A 1937 Škoda steals the jury’s hearts at the Zoute Concours d’Elégance®”

8th edition of the ZOUTE GRAND PRIX® proved again a resounding success…

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Very stylish participant at the ZOUTE RALLY®

The ZOUTE GRAND PRIX® has become THE automobile event of the year in Belgium, one can safely say, attracting on the Belgian coast as many as 160,000 car enthusiasts coming to see the classic thoroughbreds as well as admire the modern day stylish GT cars.

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And a very muddy but happy team at the finish! 

This ZOUTE GRAND PRIX® event is despite its size, number of participants and its numerous divisions, i.e. The Auction, the Rally, the GT speed event and last but not least the totally stunning Concours d’Elegance a perfectly organized venue, and can serve as an outstanding example for many.

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Off to a flying (and very happy) start! 

We therefore can only congratulate the organizers, and we will on these pages report in the coming weeks and months several times about the highlights of this superb event, as there was so much to see and experience for us car lovers…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

As it is becoming a tradition, automobile brands with a sporting pedigree participate greatly in the ZOUTE GRAND PRIX®, and this edition for instance BMW and AUDI came up with great cars and famous sporting drivers.

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Sven Nys at the wheel of his BMW 507 with Dr. Peter Henrich, President & CEO of BMW Group Belux as his co-driver. Christophe Weerts, Corporate Communications Manager, looks on… 

We already told you in these columns about Sven Nys taking the wheel of a BMW 507, (see photo above) but there was also heptathlete and IAAF World Champion Nafi Thiam at the wheel of the Audi “streamliner”.

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Soon we will show you a collection of photos of the cars in action on the Rally, as the organizers whisked us to magnificent spots where we could photograph the cars and their drivers “at speed” on the scenic roads along the North Sea coast.

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The cars on show on the Zoute Royal Golf Club were equally breathtaking and also here we come back to you many times to let you enjoy the beautiful contours and curves of the sometimes totally unique cars, lovingly restored to mint condition.

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Absolute gems were to be seen at the Zoute Royal Golf Course… what to think of this 1952 Ferrari 212 Export… 

We will also bring you several interviews of collectors and last but not least heritage museum directors, like Skoda who brought a 1936 Popular Monte Carlo- Coupé to the event.

So, more to follow soon…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Sven Nys, twice world champion in terrain cycling, will be at the wheel of a BMW 507 at the ZOUTE Grand Prix…

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After Matthias Schoenaerts in 2015 and Adrian Van Hooydonk, director of the design department of the BMW Group in 2016, this year, the king of offroad cycling will have the honour and the pleasure to enjoy classic motoring in a BMW at the Zoute Grand Prix.

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At the two last editions of the Zoute Grand Prix we saw a BMW 328 Roadster and a year after the 328 Touring Le Mans. This year BMW Belux, with the support of BMW Classic will participate with a BMW 507 from 1957, as this car celebrates its 60th birthday. An exceptional car indeed.

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Elvis Presley was also an admirer of the BMW 507 at its introduction… 

Sven Nys will have Dr. Peter Henrich, President & CEO of BMW Group Belux as a co-driver.  “It is an honour and pleasure to put a car with this historical pedigree at the disposal of an athlete which has marked the history of offroad cycling. I am convinced that Sven Nys, with his talented skills as an offroad champion, will find his way and be well at home behind the wheel of this BMW 507”, according to Peter Henrich…

We will see both men in action around Knokke!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

The Alpine A110 will be at the start of the ZOUTE GT TOUR®

Alpine A110 – Goodwood Festival of Speed
Alpine A110 in action at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, will also be in full swing on the Knokke boulevards…

Alpine presented its stylish new A110 at the latest Geneva Salon in March this year. Since then, the A110 participated in a row of prestigious events: at the Concours d’Elégance in Apeldoorn in the gardens of the Palace Het Loo and the Supercar Run during the Goodwood Festival of Speed (UK).

Next weekend, on October 8, the A110 will participate at the ZOUTE GT TOUR® in the 8th edition of the ZOUTE GRAND PRIX®

Alpine A110 – Goodwood Festival of Speed
Alpine A110 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, showing off its characteristic shape, reminiscent of its famous ancestors…

At the wheel of this gleaming A110 will be Michel  van der Sande, Managing Director Alpine.

The A110 will otherwise be on show in the streets of Knokke, amids other prestigious cars and thoroughbreds which will also adorn the ZOUTE GRAND PRIX®

See you there, and we will just show you here some photos of the A110 in action at the Goodwood festival of speed!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

An exclusive four wheeled star will turn heads for charity in Knokke Zoute…

Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet ;*Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 17,0 l/100 km, CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 397 g/km Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet; *Fuel consumption combined: 17.0 l/100 km, CO2 emissions combined: 397 g/km
Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet

The famous auction house Bonhams will offer a new masterpiece of automotive engineering – The Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet, one of only 99 built – at its Zoute auction on October 6th.

Bonhams is waiving its fees and returning proceeds of the sale to Laureus Sport for Good, a charity of which Mercedes-Benz is a global partner. The foundation focuses on helping children and young people overcome violence, discrimination and disadvantage through sport.

In the run up to the events surrounding the ZOUTE GRAND PRIX®, we just tell you here somewhat more about this unique SUV, and let you also enjoy the photos…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “An exclusive four wheeled star will turn heads for charity in Knokke Zoute…”