Wednesday, May 27, 2015

BMW celebrates 40 years of BMW Art Cars

Since a BMW 3.0 CSL painted by Alexander Calder lined up for the Le Mans 24-hour race exactly 40 years ago, the BMW Art Car Collection has fascinated both art and design enthusiasts as well as car and technology fans all around the world.

Ever since the invention of the motor car, artists have drawn inspiration from the thrill of speed, from the phenomenon of mobility and from racing cars as examples of modern sculpture. Since 1975, BMW Art Cars have been a central feature of this story. The idea behind the BMW Art Cars was the brainchild of French racing driver and art enthusiast Hervé Poulain: 40 years ago, Poulain asked artist friend Alexander Calder to apply his creative talents to his race car. Together with Jochen Neerpasch, then BMW Motorsport Director, the first BMW Art Car was born – and it became an instant crowd’s favourite on the race track. Since then, new additions to the BMW Art Car Collection have been made over the years at irregular intervals, with unique works of art from artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney and Jeff Koons.

“The BMW Art Cars provide an exciting landmark at the interface where cars, technology, design, art and motor sport meet,” reflects Maximilian Schöberl, Senior Vice President, Corporate and Governmental Affairs, BMW Group. “The 40-year history of our ‘rolling sculptures’ is as unique as the artists who created them. The BMW Art Cars are an essential element and core characteristic of our global cultural engagement.”

The anniversary celebrations got under way with exhibitions in Hong Kong, at the Centre Pompidou, the BMW Museum and the Concorso d’Eleganza at Lake Como, where the first four BMW Art Cars by Alexander Calder, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, plus the M3 GT2 created by Jeff Koons, were all on display. Further presentations are set to follow later in 2015 in New York, Miami and Shanghai.

The group of seventeen artists who have designed BMW models so far since 1975 is very international, and interest in the “rolling sculptures” has spread all around the world. Several cars are usually on display at the BMW Museum in Munich, the home of the BMW Art Cars, as part of its permanent collection. The remaining BMW Art Cars are travelling the globe – to art fairs in Los Angeles, London and Hong Kong, as well as exhibitions at the Louvre, the Guggenheim and the Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai.

To date, many of the BMW Art Cars have not only turned heads in museums, but have also – in their earlier life – done so on the race track: Alexander Calder (BMW 3.0 CSL, 1975), Frank Stella (BMW 3.0 CSL, 1976), Roy Lichtenstein (BMW 320 Group 5, 1977), Andy Warhol (BMW M1 Group 4, 1979), Ernst Fuchs (BMW 635CSi, 1982), Robert Rauschenberg (BMW 635CSi, 1986), Michael Jagamara Nelson (BMW M3 Group A, 1989), Ken Done (BMW M3 Group A, 1989), Matazo Kayama (BMW 535i, 1990), César Manrique (BMW 730i, 1990), A.R. Penck (BMW Z1, 1991), Esther Mahlangu (BMW 525i, 1991), Sandro Chia (BMW M3 GTR, 1992), David Hockney (BMW 850CSi, 1995), Jenny Holzer (BMW V12 LMR, 1999), Ólafur Elíasson (BMW H2R, 2007) and Jeff Koons (BMW M3 GT2, 2010).

The BMW Group would also like to introduce the 40th anniversary of the BMW Art Car Collection into the public sphere through social media. While exploring the vision of each artist for their car on its social media channels, the company also wants to ask people what the ‘art of the car’ means to them. To track the content, it will be shared under the hashtag #BMWArtCar.
In 2014, Hatje Cantz published the first comprehensive publication on the BMW Art Cars. The 200-page book is richly illustrated and reviews the history of this extraordinary collection of cars from its beginnings in 1975. It uses portraits and interviews to shed more light on the various artists’ themes and approaches.

50 Harley-Davidson riderstake on Bhutan for 2nd International H.O.G. Ride

50 Harley owners and members of the Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) thundered down the winding roads of the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’ for an epic seven-day ride organized by the Bengal Chapter. Bhutan, one of the most picturesque riding destinations in Asia, played host to riders from across 14 Harley-Davidson chapters of India between May 19-25. 

The road from Siliguri to Thimpu offers a great riding experience in varying conditions, making sure the ride never gets boring. All riders gathered at Siliguri and then together rode through the following cities and towns – Phuntsholing, Thimpu, Punakha, Bumthang and Haa-Paro. Fuelled by the passion for freedom and adventure, this incredible ride saw some riders cover more than 6,000 km.

Commenting on the journey, Mr. Manoj Joshi, Director, Bengal Chapter, said: “The beautiful country of Bhutan is on the bucket list for almost every motorcycle enthusiast. Riding with the brotherhood is always fun and the 2nd International H.O.G. ride gave all of us a brilliant opportunity to step outside our comfort zones and take our passion for riding to a whole new level.”

H.O.G. chapters in India routinely organize rides for Harley owners. It provides an excellent opportunity for riders to come together and celebrate their love for motorcycling and take back with them new friendships, amazing journeys and great stories. 

SUPRA SAEINDIA Student Formula 2015 at Chennai

“SUPRA SAEINDIA 2015” is the fourth edition of an excitingly designed competition conceived to inculcate and harness talent, hone the skills of engineering students from all over India. Students from various engineering colleges across India form teams, and create a virtual design, build a prototype and test their own formula type race car. The project fuels the exuberance of the youth by providing teams a platform to test their mettle, giving them a pragmatic exposure to real world challenges as faced in the industry. The goal of the competition is to provide the aspiring engineers a unique platform for entry level hands-on automotive design and manufacturing experience. Apart from engineering and design skills, the competition also assesses their capability for team-work, entrepreneurship and management skills with a real life Industry work environment.

The event has three stages over a period of one year. The first stage is a Virtual Design Round which is an eliminating round and the second stage comprise series of training programs on design software, manufacturing techniques, sourcing, costing and driving to the students, enabling them to manufacture their cars. The teams which are successful in manufacturing their cars as per specifications will be eligible for the final event. The event will take place from July 16 to 19 at the Madras Motor Racing Track (MMRT), Chennai.

Said Mr. Prashant K. Banerjee, Convener, SUPRA SAEINDIA 2015, and Head - Homologation and Product Evaluation, Tata Motors Ltd.: “The 4-day event at MMRT will have renowned industry experts analyzing the engineering design reports, marketing presentation, cost analysis, acceleration, fuel economy, skid pad and endurance test of the offered vehicles by the participating teams. The challenge to the engineering student is to constantly innovate and bring about changes for reduction in weight, fuel economy and increased efficiency in transmission. The students are guided and mentored by industry professionals and faculty advisers who are imparted training and guidance by technical experts of SAEINDIA. The event will be judged by a panel of eminent experts from the Federation of Motor Sports Club in India (FMSCI) and the experts from automotive industry. The students were given one year’s time to prepare their prototype and we have 104 teams from various colleges across India participating in the competition.”

Mr. Sirish Vissa, Technical Committee Chair, SUPRA SAEINDIA 2015, and Head, Volkswagen Motorsports India, said: “In this process, students learn to develop a design, understand the process of new product development, industrial procurement, manufacturing, assembly and prototyping. The selected prototypes are then tested in standard test conditions to measure parameters like manoeuvrability, technological innovation, endurance, fuel economy, performance and stability. The objective of this event is to bring out the latent talent of students so that it fulfills the ‘Make in India’ policy under Automotive Mission Plan (AMP 2016) and create an International Automotive Hub in India.”

Mrs. Rashmi Urdhwareshe, Chairperson, SAEINDIA Western Section, and Director, ARAI, said: “Participants in the competition will need to drive their own cars, which they have conceived, designed and fabricated. The specifications of the car frame and engine are restricted so that the imagination, creativity and knowledge of the students are challenged. Students realize their talent though such an experience, making them proven candidates for the future as technocrats, entrepreneurs, designers, innovators and leaders.” 

Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. is sponsoring this event for the fourth time as the title sponsor. Other sponsors include Continental Automotive, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd., Bosch, ALTAIR, ANSYS, ARAI, Viper Hobbies, Canara Bank, Automotive Test Systems, Roots, and many more.

SAEINDIA – the Society of Automotive Engineers, India, is a professional engineering society of automotive engineers, whose vision is to continuously enrich the knowledge base of practitioners in the mobility industry and institutions in the service of humanity. It is an affiliate of the SAE International based in the US.

SAE International is a global association of more than 138,000 engineers and related technical experts in the aerospace, automotive and commercial vehicle industries from over 117 countries in the world. SAE’s primary objectives are life-long learning and voluntary consensus standards development. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

KPCT launches new Gulf service

Containerized volumes are steadily increasing on the East Coast of India. Keeping pace with the growth, KPCT now offers a new service to the Gulf sector. Simatech, in association with Evergreen Line, recently launched a joint CCG service. The first sailing of this weekly service commenced at KPCT by the maiden call of M.V. Taroko on May 21.

This 28-day service will utilize four container ships of around 2,000 TEU each – three operated by Simatech and one by Evergreen Line. The service provides direct connectivity from Krishnapatnam Port (India) to Colombo (Sri Lanka), Cochin (India), Jebel Ali (UAE) and Sohar (Oman) ports.

The service vessels would call KPCT every Thursday complementing the trade in the hinterland of Krishnapatnam Port to plan their exports and imports out of KPCT. Apart from providing shortest transit time to Middle East destinations, the service also provides an option of connecting the transshipment hub – Colombo during the mid-week. This Colombo connection is an add-on to the existing BOX (jointly operated by BTL, Seacon & OEL) & MSC feeder services currently operating out of KPCT.

KPCT is one of the few terminals in the world that has grown exponentially in just its second full financial year of operations. A growth of 57% was registered in the last fiscal year (April 2014-March 2015) by handling 91,572 TEU vis-à-vis 58,577 TEU the previous fiscal. To facilitate the growth of its hinterland, KPCT now offers a rail service from ICD Bengaluru in addition to ICD Hyderabad. Due to such logistical advantage, faster turnaround times, and competitive tariffs, KPCT is turning out to be the preferred hub for container trade on the East Cost of India.

Renault puts in faith in HELLA-led technology for new Espace

In the new Renault Espace, form and function come together in an elegant combination. As a result, the fifth generation of the French crossover – first introduced as an “Initiale Paris” concept car at the IAA – is not only multifunctional and spacious, but also boasts an exceptional design. The design of the rear of the vehicle continues to elegantly integrate form and function.  For this design, the French automobile manufacturer relies on the long-standing experience of the lighting expert HELLA, who gave the combination rear lamp a complex shape and equipped it with innovative LED technology. 

The distinctive and dynamic appearance of the new Espace can be contributed to the complex design of the two-part lamp that is embedded into the rear of the vehicle and the tailgate. At the same time, a visual extension of the vehicle is achieved through the division of the lamp into two parts. This effect is especially strong when the indicator is activated, which is also horizontally embedded into both parts. In addition, the signature of the light guide technology-based tail light highlights the overall appearance of the crossover bypassing through the entire lamp in a powerfully curved line. An auxiliary lens positioned in front of the light guide adds further visual accents through the interplay of brushed and smooth coatings. The brushed sections only partially allow the light to pass, creating a similar visual effect as when light shines through an ice cube. Hence, the design was named ‘Ice Cube Design.’ 

Furthermore, the full LED combination rear lamp features a chrome inlay, something that is typical for vehicles produced by the French automaker (with the exception of the back-uplight, all light functions use LEDs). Parallel to the indicator and stop light, the inlay extends across both parts of the lamp. Finished with an elegant, jet black piano lacquer, the combination rear lamp seamlessly blends with the aesthetic of the vehicle. 

Renault unveils KWID car model: India launch in second half of 2015

Renault, one of Europe’s leading automobile manufacturers, revealed its all new global product ‘KWID’ in India on May 20.  

“With KWID, Renault continues to pursue its strategy of accessible mobility for all to step up its international growth. Using a new Renault-Nissan Alliance platform and following the trail blazed by the Duster, the KWID will enable Renault to continue its expansion and address the needs of customers who want a vehicle that is stylish, robust and easy-to-use,” said Mr. Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO, Groupe Renault, at the new launch by Renault.

“We have a very clear focus on establishing ourselves in the growing and volume segments of the Indian automobile industry. Alongside our aggressive product introduction plans, we are also determined to offer customers the best experience with our brand and will continue to introduce several initiatives towards achieving that, encompassing our strategy of accessible mobility,” commented Mr. Sumit Sawhney, Country CEO and Managing Director, Renault India Operations.

Priced at Rs. 3-4 lakhs, KWID will be launched in India in the second half of 2015.

KWID is a new and unique offering in the compact car segment, a vehicle with a dynamic profile and SUV look tailored to its dimensions. It is an attractive and modern car, with a spacious, comfortable interior that meets the everyday needs of the family.

KWID overturns established A-segment design cues, thanks to a robust, stylish exterior, plus a modern, welcoming interior with unprecedented features for its segment. With its short front and rear overhangs and high ground clearance (180 mm), the vehicle conveys an immediate impression of strength and reliability. At 3.68 meters long and 1.58 meters wide, KWID is ideal for zipping about in urban traffic, while its high-up driving position provides greater visibility for more relaxed journeys.

The KWID’s upright front end and short front and rear overhangs provide owners with the look associated with SUVs.

The bold, structured grille design highlights the logo and further emphasises the model’s SUV credentials, while the head lights incorporate the brand’s new lighting signature including a ‘C’-shaped chrome trim.

The slightly sculpted sides provide a fluid, dynamic touch, with the rectangular forms of the black wheel arches providing another pointer to the KWID’s SUV breeding, as well as additional protection. The lower door decor underlines the KWID’s robust character. The steeply-raked, forward-positioned windscreen lends a sense of movement and fluidity to the high waistline which rises slightly at the rear.

The large windows ensure good visibility for the driver and play a big part in travelling comfort. At the rear, the lower part of the bumper comes with a black trim, another SUV cue. The body-coloured tailgate spoiler adds to the car’s dynamic stance.

The KWID’s interior carries over the same confidence-inspiring styling as the exterior. The horizontal, uncluttered lines of the dashboard convey an impression of width and feature the cues associated with higher-end segments. The dashboard also harmoniously houses the centrally-positioned multimedia system.

The piano black centre console comes with a chrome-surround and houses the Media-Nav multimedia/navigation system which comes with a seven-inch (18 cm) display. The user-friendly Media-Nav system includes the radio and Bluetooth technology for hands-free telephony which contributes to safer driving. The vehicle has a very spacious boot for a best-in-class load capacity.

IJCCI Centre of Excellence in Chennai inaugurated

The Indo-Japan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (IJCCI) recently inaugurated its Centre of Excellence in Chennai.

In his welcome address, Mr. N. Krishnaswami, IJCCI Chairman, said that in the last 25 years the Chamber has been doing a tremendous job. It is the only chamber to concentrate on business, culture, language, education, etc. Its newly launched bi-monthly newsletter, ‘The Gateway’, would carry all information and news and views of interest to both the Japanese and Indians. IJCCI will also bring out a bi-monthly resource paper prepared by experts on a variety of topics, including bilateral relations, language and culture.

Mr. Pon Kothandaraman, former Vice-Chancellor, University of Madras, releasing ‘The Gateway’ newsletter, said Tamil and Japanese languages have the same sound correspondences, phonology and onomatopoeia, which make them closely related. 

Mr. B.S. Raghavan, former Chief Secretary of West Bengal-Tripura, formally released the bi-monthly.

Earlier, in his inaugural address, Mr. Seiji Baba Consul-General of Japan, Chennai, said the newsletter would indeed be a gateway for both Tamil Nadu and Japan. This initiative should be helpful for people from both the countries, and it should not be biased.

Ms. Suguna Ramamoorthy, IJCCI Secretary-General, proposed a vote of thanks.