Nissan reveals car that can park itself, charge then pick you up

Plus plans to revive the British marque Atalanta, Volkswagen Group posts 14 per cent growth worldwide, and more Motoring news.

The Pivo 3 could revolutionise urban driving with its self-park technology. AFP
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Nissan's had a few electric concept cars over the last few years but none as advanced as the Pivo 3, which will be unveiled at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show.

The Pivo 3 is pioneering not for its zero-emissions electric powertrain but the technology that means it can park on its own, charge itself and then be summoned by its driver via a smartphone to pick them up once they've finished what they're doing.

It may seem far-fetched but Nissan believes its Automated Valet Parking system will revolutionise parking. The Pivo 3 parks automatically in specially equipped car parks then charges itself or sells excess power to the regional grid.

Its compact size (under three metres in length) means it can make a U-turn in a road just four metres wide and, despite its size, it can seat three people in a 1 + 2 layout.

Inside is a wide centre console for displaying GPS and other information, while side-view monitors take the place of mirrors.

Nissan chiefs will now decide whether the car is suitable for production, though it's likely to be 2016 or 2017 at the earliest before we see it on the roads.

Plan to revive Brit marque

A motoring enthusiast is trying to revive British sports car company Atalanta Motors 75 years on from the last model.

Martyn Corfield aims to bring back "one of the most innovative and stylish pre-war British car manufacturers" with a concept set to be revealed in spring next year.

With more than just a gentle nod to Atalanta's heritage, he plans to emulate the style and spirit of one of the most technically advanced sports car designs of its era, while acknowledging 72 years of automotive evolution.

A traditionally coach-built pre-production prototype is being developed that remains true to original Atalanta design principles of "Innovation, Style and Performance". It will be unveiled in 2012 - 75 years after the first Atalanta car was announced, the Autocar on March 5, 1937.

"Atalanta is one of the greatest untold British motoring heritage stories. The cars and the team that delivered the original concept were so ahead of their time. What might have been had the war not interrupted development?" says Corfield.

Only two models were ever made by Atalanta and this could be a third.

Woman, 86, drives into pool

An 86-year-old woman went out to do some grocery shopping but ended up driving her car into a swimming pool.

Mary Lee Fine was anything but fine after driving her Dodge Neon through a fence and into the pool in Austin, Texas.

Security cameras caught the moment when the incident happened and Fine can be seen struggling to get out before a passer-by spots her. The man calmly takes his shoes and valuables off before wading in to help.

It turns out Fine is extremely lucky as a steel chair she knocked into the pool during the incident wedged itself underneath the back of the car in the pool, holding it up and buying enough time for her to escape.

"When the water came up I thought, oh hell, I'm going to drown,'" Fine told KXAN.

"I couldn't get out, nothing would work. I'm trying to figure out if I could dog paddle or something."

Fine says the incident happened after a car parked too close to her, forcing her to enter via the passenger door. She says she must have hit the gear stick as the car unexpectedly sped forward when she started it.

Although not injured, Fine says she'll take a taxi next time.

Volkswagen Group posts 14 per cent growth worldwide in 2011

Volkswagen Group has announced a growth in vehicle deliveries of 13.8 per cent to 6.8 million units for the year to October.

The German giant said its brands were performing well in North America as well as in its European heartlands.

The group includes brands such as Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, Skoda and Seat, as well as Volkswagen itself.

"Developments so far have been very encouraging," says the Volkswagen Group board member for sales, Christian Klingler. "We made a good start to the fourth quarter, too. However, given the present economic uncertainty and its impact on the automotive industry, we cannot take the fourth quarter for granted.

"We will continue to keep a close eye on the situation over the coming months as developments on global markets remain volatile."

Deliveries rose 21.5 per cent to 543,000 units from January to October in North America and 10.7 per cent to 3.07m units in Europe.

Seat to have plug-in hybrid and all-electric cars on roads by 2016

Seat is planning to have its first electric plug-in hybrid in car showrooms by 2015 followed by an all-electric vehicle a year later.

The company is working on designing, developing and manufacturing the cars in its native Spain and has unveiled a prototype Altea XL Electric Ecomotive, a totally electrically driven zero-emissions car, as well as the prototype Leon TwinDrive Ecomotive, a plug-in hybrid.

The company will make available units of both models to government institutions in Catalonia and Madrid over the next few months so it can assess their roadworthiness.

"Customers demand a more sustainable form of mobility, but their needs are diverse," says Seat president James Muir. "So we believe that a parallel strategy of developing two different technologies will put Seat in the best position to meet their needs."

Seat will also launch four new models over the next 12 months, the first being the urban car Mii.