Moda hires head of residential operations

Property Week News Feed - Tue, 02/20/2018 - 10:29
Moda has hired Sarah Quinn as its new head of residential operations to oversee the running of the group’s build-to-rent portfolio.
Categories: Property

Grainger hires new land and development director

Property Week News Feed - Tue, 02/20/2018 - 10:19
Grainger has appointed Mike Keaveney as director of land and development.
Categories: Property

SLG to sell Stoke-on-Trent resi site

Property Week News Feed - Tue, 02/20/2018 - 10:16
The Strategic Land Group (SLG) is to sell a 33-acre greenfield site in Stoke-on-Trent, after securing outline planning consent for 350 new homes.
Categories: Property

Type R Approved: The Three Other Civic Type R Cars That Came From Honda’s UK Factory

Motortrend News Feed - Tue, 02/20/2018 - 09:00

The FK8 is the fourth Honda Civic Type R built in Honda’s UK factory. Here’s a quick look at the other three.

Read about our journey driving a 2018 Honda Civic Type R to Honda’s Swindon factory right here.

Code name: EP3

Manufactured: 2001-2005

Total built: 4490

Swindon produced two versions of the EP3, the second Civic Type R, one for the European market, and one for the Japanese market, both based on the seventh-generation Civic three-door hatchback. The European version was the softer of the two, with a 197hp variant of the 2.0-liter VTEC four under the hood, a close-ratio six-speed transmission, and uprated brakes. The faster, more focused JDM model got a special 212hp engine built in Japan, as well as a helical limited-slip differential, sharper suspension settings, and red Recaro seats.

Code name: FN2

Manufactured: 2012-2015

Total built: 2,985

Japan and Europe went quite different ways when it came to the third-gen Civic Type R. JDM versions (FD2) were based on the eighth-generation four door Civic sedan and built in Japan, while European models were based on the Civic three-door hatch built in Swindon. As such, the FN2 shared platform elements with the Honda Fit, including the under-seat fuel tank, and a torsion-beam rear axle instead of the more complex multi-link rear end used on the FD2. And while the JDM Type R boasted a new engine with 222hp, the FN2 carried over the previous car’s 197hp powerplant.

Code name: FK2

Manufactured: 2015-2017

Total built: 15,978

Based on the ninth-generation Civic five-door, the FK2 was a more serious car than previous Swindon-built Type Rs. With this car, Japan didn’t get to hog the good stuff. Built in a single spec for the world, which boosted production numbers significantly over the previous two Swindon-built Type Rs, the FK2 got the 306hp K20C1 (the same engine that powers the new FK8) built in Anna, Ohio, along with the all-important helical limited-slip differential. As with the FN2, the rear axle was a torsion-beam unit—adoption of a multi-link rear suspension was one of the key changes made with FK8.

Photos from our trip to the 2018 Honda Civic Type R’s factory:

The post Type R Approved: The Three Other Civic Type R Cars That Came From Honda’s UK Factory appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: Property

Supra-Heated Economy – Reference Mark

Motortrend News Feed - Tue, 02/20/2018 - 09:00

Economists and stock pickers have their supercomputers humming to try to determine when the next recession and market swoon will happen.

I don’t need all that fancy software. Nor do I need to analyze reams of political or trade-trend white papers. My quarter-mile-long measuring stick for economic calamity: Japanese sports cars.

That’s because the past three recessions can all be connected to when Japan’s automakers launched a new generation of hair-pinning acceleration monsters. I’m not sure if it’s correlation, causation, or coincidence. All I know is that it happens.

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the last three measurable U.S. recessions happened July 1990–March 1991, March 2001–November 2001, and December 2007–June 2009.

Let’s walk through what happened in each of them.

1990: The Japanese bubble economy bursts, triggering a global economic crisis, including here in America. What else was happening then? The Acura NSX, Nissan 300ZX twin-turbo, and Mitsubishi 3000GT were launching (as was Mazda’s doomed Amati luxury brand), followed a year or two later by the Lexus SC 400, Mazda RX-7 twin-turbo, and Toyota Supra. Sure, Lexus, Mazda, and Toyota could have killed or delayed the cars, but sunk-cost theory evidently wasn’t in vogue back then. No one was about to blink, lack of consumer confidence be damned.

2001: A lot of folks pin this recession on the 9/11 attacks, but America was already deep into a recession by September 2001, thanks to the dot-com collapse. Want to know what was on the boats coming over from Japan? The gleaming new Honda S2000. Guess what was in the immediate pipeline? The Mazda RX-8, and Nissan 350Z.

2007: The banking and real estate crises put the global economy in the tank. Guess what was rolling into dealerships: The Nissan GT-R. Meanwhile the Lexus LFA was all over auto show stands. And Honda was due to launch its next NSX, but smartly killed it.

How could these wondrous cars have such fantastically awful luck?

Well, Japanese automakers are overseen by bean counters who are exceedingly conservative. Oh, sure, Toyota has been spending upward of $10 billion a year on R&D of late, but it’s always on essential stuff—such as hybrids, fuel cells, solid-state batteries, and the Camry and RAV4 redesigns. It’s the sensible shoes approach.

But a sports car or supercar? That’s a $500 million to $1 billion investment in a low-volume entry, often riding on a bespoke platform and powered by a bespoke engine. These are real-deal rear-wheel-drive sports cars, not warmed-over hot hatches. The gigantic expenditure and amortization can only be measured profitably in terms of marketing impressions and media moments.

That said, when times are good and profits are high, Japanese automakers have green-lit sports cars like they hit “00” three times in a row at the Caesar’s Palace roulette tables. During the booming ’80s, the roaring ’90s, and the go-go aughts, approval for sports cars got waved through like they were bothersome mosquitos.

The problem is that cars like that are complicated to develop and manufacture. R&D typically takes several years from green light to Job 1—by which time, the superheated economy has started to cool, sometimes dramatically so.

To make this not just a lesson in theoretical gymnastics, I’ll do some math, too.

For the 11 economic cycles from 1945 through the last recession, the average number of months between peaks (or between troughs) was about 69, according to NBER. But the longest stretches were 100, 117, and 128 months. As this column hits the streets, since the end of the last trough in June 2009, it’s been 105 months. In other words, we’re due.

Guess what’s also due? The next Nissan GT-R redesign—it’s had 10 years of incremental changes, and Nissan bosses said in 2016 the new model was under development. Toyota has made the wait for the next Toyota Supra the “the longest introduction in the history of mankind,” in the words of North American boss Jim Lentz. Expect it to hit market early next year. And while Mazda has been perpetually putting the RX-9 on the backburner, the 100th anniversary of the automaker is 2020, and car companies like to give themselves lavish birthday presents.

I’m going to split the difference between those introduction dates, factor in the trough trends, and call my shot: We will start our next recession in May 2019.

More by Mark Rechtin:

The post Supra-Heated Economy – Reference Mark appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: Property

Homeward Bound in the Honda Civic Type R

Motortrend News Feed - Tue, 02/20/2018 - 09:00

The road jinks and heaves over the rolling hills, a gray ribbon carelessly tossed upon a rumpled green-brown sward. Grazing sheep bow their heads in the bracing wind. God-rays stream through occasional breaks in the ominous cloud cover. Rain threatens. We’re deep in hot hatch country, in one of the best hot hatches in the world—the 2018 Honda Civic Type R.

We’ve made no secret of our love for this car, especially now that Honda finally deemed it available for sale in America. From a two liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine, 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque rush forth. Sixty mph arrives in just over five seconds, carrying a top speed of almost 170mph. Its Nürburgring Nordschliefe lap time makes older Porsche 911s look… slow.

This little Gundam hot hatch—with its preposterous array of wings and vents, edges and angles—is perhaps the most impressive, most rounded high-performance Honda since the original NSX. And it costs about as much as a loaded Accord.

We’ve taken the long way ‘round en route to the birthplace of the Civic Type R, just for the sheer hell of it, to let that mighty little engine off the leash, to delight in the snickety-snick gearshift and the crisp, tactile steering, to play with a chassis with grip and poise and purpose equaled by few performance cars built on quotidian underpinnings. We’re in Wales, home of some of Britain’s best driving roads, and our drive isn’t going to take as long as you might think. We’re not headed for Japan, but rather the town of Swindon, 90 miles east of here, just across the border in England. It’s where every new Civic Type R in the world is made.

Learn about the three other Civic Type R generations built at Honda’s UK factory right here.

Unless you’re a Brit (or a fan of post-punk art-pop band XTC), chances are you’ve never heard of Swindon. Situated 80 miles west of central London, it traces its beginnings back more than a thousand years, to the time of the Anglo-Saxons. The Industrial Revolution transformed the town in the 1800s, bringing canals and the railways. In 1841, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Victorian Britain’s most celebrated engineer, established a workshop in Swindon to repair and maintain locomotives for the Great Western Railway. Thus began the town’s association with manufacturing.

Trains, planes, and automobiles have all been made in Swindon. Today, though, it’s only automobiles: The last steam engine built in Britain, the Evening Star, rolled out of Swindon Works in 1960, and the sprawling Honda of the UK Manufacturing plant on the northeastern outskirts of the town is built on the site of the old Vickers Supermarine factory that made the legendary Spitfire fighter plane during World War II.

The late 20th century hasn’t been especially kind to Swindon. What’s left of the old town is surrounded by a suburban sprawl dotted with big-box stores and identikit industrial parks. We cruise the Type R through town to the Honda plant, negotiating Swindon’s famous Magic Roundabout, a giant two-way traffic circle ringed by five mini traffic circles. Even the Brits, who can barely drive a mile without encountering a traffic circle, are a little flummoxed by this one; Lord knows the chaos it would cause in Los Angeles.

Honda began selling Civics in Britain in 1972, and to get around restrictions on Japanese imports, formed a joint venture with British Leyland in 1980. The mid-80s Rover 200 and 800 models used a lot of Civic and Acura Legend hardware; the 1993 Rover 600 was basically a reskinned Accord. Honda’s decision to establish a factory to build its own cars in Swindon was a direct result of its links with British Leyland: A stamping plant that made body panels for BL had been in the town since 1955. (Now owned by BMW, it makes panels for Minis.)

The first British-built Honda, an Accord, rolled off the Swindon line in 1992. Today, the factory sprawls across 370 acres, employs 4,000, and is Honda’s Global Production Hub for five-door hatchback versions of the 10th generation Civic. Every single five-door Civic hatchback sold around the world is made right here—one every 69 seconds. And because the current-gen Civic Type R, code-named FK8, is based on a five-door Civic hatch, it’s made here, too.

A Type R starts life like every other Civic five door—a collection of steel stampings to be stitched together on the Assembly Frame line. To improve body rigidity, Type R bodies get an extra helping of structural adhesive, as well as short pitch welds—spot welds placed 0.8 inches apart instead of the 1.6 inches used on regular Civics. Then the body-in-white rolls through the paint shop to get sprayed one of six colors before it is lowered onto a 1300-foot long, 120-station final assembly line. (U.S. Type R buyers can only choose from five colors; Sonic Grey Pearl, a slightly livelier take on Audi’s iconic Nardo Grey, is not offered. Pity, because it looks cool.)

Type Rs are typically built in batches of 75, and are treated no differently than any other Civic going down the line, says Phil Haydon, Honda’s manufacturing operations boss. With cars exported to 90 countries, in left- and right-hand drive and different powertrain configurations, Swindon builds about 500 unique versions of the five door hatch. Keeping all the Civic variant builds to small batches means everyone on the assembly line gets the crack at building a Type R, and not just because it’s good for morale.

Production is all about rhythm, Haydon says. Muscle memory is important. “If you’ve got that rhythm, quality comes naturally.” But Honda’s hottest Civic unquestionably gets a little extra TLC. “There’s pride in building a Type R,” admits Haydon, who drives one to the office, and parks it next to his S2000 roadster at home each night. “There are a lot of petrolheads working here. They love cars, and they love being around the Type R.”

It takes 14 hours to assemble a Type R—two hours in the weld shop, 10 hours in the paint shop, and two hours on the final assembly line. Quality control signoff includes a short test drive on a track built on an old runway that once reverberated with the growl of the Spitfire’s mighty Rolls-Royce Merlin V-12 engine. Then it’s over to the dispatch yard, ready for shipment. Swindon has manufactured about 12,000 FK8 Type Rs so far, and a third of them have been shipped to the U.S., already the single biggest market for the new-generation version.

The extraordinary thing about Type R production at Swindon is how hands-off the Japanese are in the process, and how uncomplicated it all is. Apart from a few specialist components such as the Brembo brakes, most of the car’s bits and pieces come from Honda’s existing supplier base, near and far. The seats, for example, are made just five miles away by a company called TS Tech. And that wonderful engine? Codenamed AP4T, it’s made in the good old US of A, at Honda’s engine plant in Anna, Ohio, and shipped to England.

That’s right. There’s a big piece of American pride at the heart of every Japanese-designed, British-built Honda Civic Type R. This car’s home is the global village.

GHOSTS IN THE MACHINE Britain’s auto industry isn’t British anymore

Situated just down the road from Honda’s UK factory, BMW’s Mini Plant Swindon is where 90 percent of the Mini’s body-in-white components, and 80 percent of its sub-assemblies (hoods, tailgates and doors) are made. It’s also a poignant reminder Britain once had its own auto industry.

Built in 1955, Mini Plant Swindon was owned by British Leyland in the late 1960s, when BL was Britain’s domestic auto industry. BL made millions of vehicles wearing the Austin, Morris, Jaguar, Rover, Land Rover, Triumph, or MG badge, as well as others lost to the rust of time. Some of these vehicles were interesting, even ground-breaking, in terms of concept and design, yet all shoddily built in ancient, inefficient factories.

Hobbled by incompetent management and intransigent unions, BL was on life support by the late 70s, dependent on government subsidies for survival. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s ruthless remaking of the British economy in the 80s changed everything, however. Glamorous Jaguar was spun off and listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1984, with Ford buying it six years later for $2.3 billion. The rest of BL was renamed Rover Group and sold to aircraft and defense systems manufacturer British Aerospace in 1988, which flipped it to BMW in 1994.


BMW boss Bernd Pischetsrieder, an Anglophile car enthusiast, dreamed of rehabilitating Rover, Mini, and MG, pushing Range Rover further upmarket (he had BMW V12-powered Range Rover prototypes tooling around Munich) and even bringing back the Riley and Austin Healey brands. But by 2000 Pischetsrieder had been booted from the top job in Munich. The BMW board, panicked by the massive investments in new products and factory upgrades Rover Group needed to be profitable, wanted out.

Successful Mini became a BMW division. Valuable Land Rover and Range Rover were sold to Ford for $2.9 billion. The rest was offloaded to a consortium of four British businessmen for less than 20 bucks, which spoke volumes about the perceived health of the business. As part of the deal, BMW also loaned the consortium, Phoenix Venture Holdings, about $640 million—interest free—to help keep the now-branded MG Rover Group afloat. It was Munich’s least worst option: If MG Rover went under, BMW wouldn’t be on the hook for any more money.

MG Rover collapsed in 2005 with debts of about $2.4 billion, throwing 5,300 employees out of work. But not before the so-called Phoenix Four executives had reportedly pocketed an estimated $73 million between them. It was a scandalously sad end to Britain’s domestic auto industry.

Of the old British Leyland brands, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Rover are now owned by India’s Tata; BMW owns Mini, Riley, and Triumph; Austin, Morris, MG, and Austin Healey are owned by Chinese automaker SAIC; and China’s Nanjing Automobile Corporation owns BMC, Princess, Vanden Plas, and Wolseley.

The post Homeward Bound in the Honda Civic Type R appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: Property

PRS REIT raises £250m

Property Week News Feed - Tue, 02/20/2018 - 08:53
The PRS REIT has successfully raised £250m following the early close of its share placing on Monday.
Categories: Property

Springfield posts solid growth for half-year

Property Week News Feed - Tue, 02/20/2018 - 08:43
Scottish housebuilder Springfield Properties has posted its maiden interim results showing a 10.5% rise in revenue, and a 19.6% leap in adjusted pre-tax profit.
Categories: Property

Green REIT NAV nudges up

Property Week News Feed - Tue, 02/20/2018 - 07:45
Green REIT has produced a 1.6% rise in net asset value (NAV) per share for the first six months of its financial year to 31 December.
Categories: Property

Patrizia doubles AUM after successful 2017

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 18:24
Patrizia Immobilien has reported strong results for 2017 after exceeding its earnings forecast.
Categories: Property

Green light for Dar's eco-friendly debut combined UK HQ

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 16:45
International consultancy Dar Group has received the green light to build a new 185,000 sq ft mixed use eco building at 150 Holborn as the company looks to grow its business in the UK.
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Cromwell sells Rotterdam Science Tower and Port Park Pernis

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 16:12
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2018 Toyota Camry recalled, James Bond's Aston Martin for sale, Opel Ampera-e: What’s New @ The Car Connection

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 15:30
2018 Toyota Camry, some Lexus models recalled Toyota’s redesign of the 2018 Camry was meant to light a fire under the staid mid-size sedan, but this isn't exactly what they meant. The automaker announced Friday that about 11,800 2018 Toyota Camry owners will receive recall notices by late March asking them to return their vehicles to dealers...
Categories: Property

TH Real Estate provides debt for £315m City deal

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 13:11
TH Real Estate has provided financing to Korean investor Samsung SRA Investment Management for the £315m acquisition of 200 Aldersgate in the City of London.
Categories: Property

Europa & Ediston sell Bath office site for £26.5m

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 13:09
Europa Capital and Ediston Real Estate have sold the Pinesgate office redevelopment site in Bath for £26.5m.
Categories: Property

Watkins Jones acquires Bath office site for £26.5m

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 13:09
Europa Capital and Ediston Real Estate have sold the Pinesgate office redevelopment site in Bath to Watkin Jones & Son for £26.5m.
Categories: Property

Deka makes €190m office buy for record Finnish deal

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 13:06
Fund manager Deka Immobilien has acquired a multi-let office building in Helsinki from Finnish pension-insurer Ilmarinen for €190m (£168m) in the largest ever office transaction in the Finnish market.
Categories: Property

Escape Hunt signs in Bristol and Birmingham

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 12:40
Leisure operator Escape Hunt has signed up for new sites at Hammerson’s Cabot Circus in Bristol and Martineau Galleries in Birmingham.
Categories: Property

M&G closes first value-add fund at £125m

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 12:30
M&G Real Estate has completed an initial close of its first value add fund – the M&G UK Enhanced Value Fund (UKEV) – with investor commitments totalling £125m.
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Hughes joins iQ as chair

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:50
Student accommodation specialist iQ has appointed former Coca-Cola Great Britain and Ireland president Penny Hughes as non-executive chair.
Categories: Property