Afternoon Round-Up: A-Class saloon on sale now, LCV market grows, Volvo autonomous plea

A-Class saloon order books open

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Mercedes has opened the order books for its A-Class  saloon ahead of the first vehicles hitting UK roads early next year.

It is priced from £27,875 and comes with two trim level options – Sport and AMG Line.

Standard kit includes twin seven-inch displays which features the brand’s multimedia system with voice activation,  comfort suspension, DAB radio, 17-inch alloy wheels,  fabric upholstery,  automatic two-zone climate control, active lane keeping Assist, speed limit assist; and keyless-go starting function.

Two engines are offered – a 116hp 1.5-litre diesel unit which emits 110g/km of CO2 and returns 68.9mpg and a 163hp 1.3-litre petrol that emits 121g/km of CO2 and returns 51.4g/km of CO2.

UK LCV market grows in August

The UK light commercial vehicle market grew in August, with more than 16,000 light commercial vehicles registered during the month, the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show.

According to the SMMT, 16,394 vans were registered last month, an increase on August 2017’s figures.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executivesaid, “August is typically one of the quietest months for new LCV registrations, so the increase in demand for these high-tech, ultra-low and zero-emission vehicles is especially welcome news.”

Volvo calls on a standard approach to driverless car systems

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Volvo has called for a global standard in how driverless vehicles can communicate with each other to be introduced.

The Swedish brand claims the technology has the potential to deliver the most significant improvement in traffic safety since the three-point seat belt was introduced.

However, the firm warned that autonomous technology will be introduced gradually rather than overnight. It said that as a result, fully autonomous cars will be introduced in a mixed traffic situation where driverless cars without a human driver will share the road with other road users.

“In such a traffic situation, it will no longer be possible to make eye contact with and learn about another driver’s intentions, a central element of today’s everyday traffic interaction,” the firm said.

“We strongly believe this communication method should be a universal standard, so all road users can communicate easily with any autonomous car, regardless of which maker built it,” said Malin Ekholm, vice president at the Volvo Cars safety centre. “But it is also important that we do not instruct others what to do next, in order to avoid potential confusion. Our research shows this is the safest way for fully autonomous cars to communicate with other road users.”