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Trucking tips from IAM Roadsmart

[categories driving tips]

Driving in front of, or even behind, a large lorry can be daunting. But there’s no need to panic as Richard Gladman, IAM RoadSmart’s head of riding and driving standards, is here to help with seven top driving behaviour tips to keep you at ease on the road.

  • When you’re driving along the motorway, you’ll notice many lorries with foreign number plates. Bear in mind that the driver will be sitting on the left hand side rather than the right, so you may be difficult to see and the driver may be acclimatising his lane position in the UK. Take extra care when passing and allow more space if you can
  • We’ve all heard the saying “if you can see their mirrors, then they can see you.” But an HGV can have up to five mirrors, and the driver is only limited to looking at one at a time so they may not see you. Hold back and you will eventually be visible in their mirrors
  • Identify when there is a likelihood of the HGV changing lanes. Is there a slip road coming up which will be joining traffic and may force a lane change? Or if there is an HGV in lane two, are they likely to change back into lane one? Be accommodating by hanging back and allowing them to pull into the lane they are looking to move into
  • At one point in time, we’ve all experienced heavy spray from an HGV in front of us. You can control this by extending the distance between yourself and the lorry. The Highway Code suggests at least four seconds in the rain but if needed, make it more. Not only will it prevent your wipers working overtime, it will also improve your vision beyond the HGV
  • An articulated lorry will track sideways in a right-hand bend on the motorway and on a roundabout, so avoid being beside it. A good rule of thumb is to be safely in front of or safely behind, but never beside an HGV when entering a roundabout
  • If you see a queue of traffic in front of you and have an HGV behind you, introduce your brake lights early to pre-warn the driver behind and slow down gradually. This will let the HGV driver extend their braking distance and stop in plenty of time. On a motorway or dual carriageway, hazard lights can be used to show drivers behind you of any issues further in front (Highway Code rule 116)
  • Despite being legally limited to 60mph, an HGV can only physically go a maximum of 56mph on the motorway. So if you do see a HGV on the right hand lane, give them a helping hand by slowing down and letting them into the left lane. Allow them to pass more easily if you can

Richard said: “As any HGV driver will tell you, they sometimes need a bit of extra space to move down the road. Visibility can be restricted, and no amount of mirrors will allow all of the blind spots to be monitored all of the time. By applying some simple rules and sharing the road space, we can make life easier for all of us. On a roundabout they will need more than one lane so let them have it; a few seconds delay will be worth it if you prevent a crash. Walk that mile in the other man’s shoes and understand what we may need.”

Millennials, Gen Z believe driving should be taught at school

[categories industry survey]

Almost half of the drivers aged under 25 (44 percent) think learning to drive is such an important skill, it should be added to the school curriculum. With the number of youngsters choosing to learn to drive in steep decline, falling by 20 percent in a decade*, a new study from Young Driver asked 1,000 motorists how important driving was to their lives.

According to the research of pre-17 driving lessons, 39 percent of under 25s think that not driving closes avenues of opportunity for you. Young Driver’s research also found that one in five motorists (19 percent) would be unable to do their job if they didn’t have a driving license – the equivalent of 6.25 million people**.

But the study also revealed another important benefit resulting from being able to drive – a boost in confidence and self-esteem. Forty-four percent of drivers aged under 25 felt that driving gave them self-confidence they wouldn’t otherwise have, with 53 percent saying passing their test gave them a ‘huge’ confidence boost. That was felt to be important for teens against the backdrop of the one in four parents (25 percent) who worry about how difficult it is in the modern day for youngsters to feel self-confident. Just less than half (44 percent) thought social media negatively affected teens’ self-confidence, whilst one in three (32 percent) thought celebrity culture was to blame.

Laura White is a marketing manager at Young Driver, a scheme which has delivered more than 600,000 driving lessons to 10-17-year-olds across the UK. She said: “Driving is a useful skill, which can open up a world of opportunities which might otherwise be impossible. But even beyond that, it also has the ability to give people a sense of freedom and confidence. Sixty-five percent of the drivers we questioned said they enjoyed the feeling of freedom driving gave them, and our research also showed it gave people self-confidence they wouldn’t otherwise have.

“At Young Driver, we see it all the time – we’re teaching those who are not legally able to be on the road yet, sometimes as young as 10, but they get a massive boost when they know they’re controlling a car safely and can tackle a manoeuvre that even parents might struggle with. As our research shows, it can be hard for young people to get that self-confidence in the modern world, but this is something they can feel a real, genuine sense of achievement at. If they’re learning before 17, there’s no pressures to pass their test or get on the road asap – they can do it to have fun and to improve for their own sense of success.”

Young Driver lessons for 10-17-year-olds take place on specially created road systems at private venues, with traffic lights, junctions, and roundabouts to negotiate. Tuition is given by highly qualified approved driving instructors in dual controlled Vauxhall Corsas. Research shows that those who have lessons before they’re 17 are half as likely to have an accident when they go on to pass their test.

86 million vehicles sold in 2018 as global market stabilizes

[categories automotive sales]

The year 2018 was somewhat challenging for the global car market, as sales fell for the first time since 2009. Many carmakers felt the effects of trade tensions between the world’s biggest economies, political changes in key markets, and new threats to the status quo of the industry. “Last year could be considered as the beginning of a new era for the automotive industry,” said Felipe Munoz, JATO’s global analyst.

Strong results in India, Brazil, Russia, and South East Asia offset stalling sales in Europe, China and the US. “The dip in the Chinese market had ramifications upon the rest of the global market in 2018. As China makes up nearly 30% of global vehicle sales, any change that happens there is felt across the rest of the world,” explains Munoz. Besides stalling sales in China, the automotive industry also had to deal with uncertainty in the European market, following the fallout from Brexit and the introduction of more complex environmental regulations. It also had to deal with leadership changes at some of the world’s biggest car makers, which are not always easy to navigate.

India becomes world’s fourth largest market

In what was one of the most significant results from 2018, India became the world’s fourth-largest car market, as it was finally able to outsell Germany. India’s growth is projected to continue over the next few years, with it expected to become the third largest market by 2021.

Elsewhere, Russia climbed the rankings and overtook South Korea, while Argentina and Turkey – two big producers of vehicles – saw declines, having felt the effects of challenging economic times. China continued to lead the world rankings with 28.08 million sales, followed by Europe with 17.7 million sales and the US with 17.3 million sales. Meanwhile, Latin America outsold Japan, recording 5.6 million and 5.2 million sales, respectively.

Record sales for EVs and SUVs

2018 marked a record year for the sale of battery-powered electric vehicles. Passenger electric cars recorded 1.26 million sales throughout the year, up by a huge 74%. It was one of the highest increases among all car categories on the global market, which can be explained by several factors. Firstly, Chinese demand for EVs soared throughout 2018, as the car-type gained more visibility among consumers, due in part to their promotion by local governments for their environmental impact. Secondly, Tesla finally took off. The Model 3 became the world’s best-selling EV, as it was boosted by sales in North America, where it first became available. Finally, the diesel crisis in Europe also helped to raise awareness among consumers about the benefits of driving electric.

SUVs once again drove sales in the global market, proving that the boom in demand for the segment was not just a fad, but a long-lasting trend that continues to appeal to consumers around the world. However, as was expected, growth in the segment did slow down to single digits. A record 29.77 million SUVs were sold in 2018, with volume up by 7% on 2017. Even though growth in the segment remained strong, as SUVs recorded the highest percentage increase among all segments, it was the lowest result of the past four years and was almost half the growth registered in 2017, when sales increased year on year by 13%.

Despite the double-digit growth posted by Toyota, Hyundai-Kia and Volkswagen Group, which outsold GM, Renault-Nissan continued to dominate the SUV segment, recording almost 12% of the market share. SUVs also made up a large portion of the sales of FCA, Geely, Mazda, Tata Group, and many Chinese makers as well. All SUV subsegments recorded positive results. Compact SUVs continued to be the most popular among consumers, recording 12.3 million sales during 2018, followed by midsize SUVs with 7.2 million sales. Elsewhere, small SUVs recorded double-digit growth with 6.6 million sales, while 3.7 million large SUVs were sold.

The continuous demand for SUVs came at the expense of sales of traditional cars. Among them, MPVs posted the largest drop, where volume was down by 14% to 6 million units – nearly 1 million less than in 2017 – as they lost ground in almost every market. Compact cars (hatchbacks, sedans, and SWs) also recorded a decline, as volume fell by 8% following drops in the US and European markets.

Toyota and Ford F-series continue to lead respective packs

Conversely, 2018 marked a good year for pickups, which outsold city-cars, as global volume totaled 5.2 million units, up by 5% in 2017. Surprisingly, the growth in the segment was not driven by the US, where more than half of global sales are recorded, but by Thailand and Brazil.

The Ford F-Series maintained its position as the world’s best-selling vehicle, as it was the only vehicle to register more than 1 million sales. This was due to the enormous popularity of the model in the US, where 84% of its global volume was recorded.

The Toyota Corolla also maintained its position in the rankings, where it was once again the second best-selling vehicle in the world, as the industry anticipates the arrival of its next generation. In contrast, the Volkswagen Golf, which occupied the third position in 2017, fell down the rankings to 7th place in 2018, as it posted the biggest drop in the global top 10. The Golf felt the effects of the diesel crisis in Europe, as well as the age of its current model, with its next-generation not expected to be presented to the market until later this year.

The Honda Civic instead occupied the third spot, as it was boosted by increased demand in China. Meanwhile, the Toyota Rav4 outsold the Nissan X-Trail/Rogue to become the world’s best-selling SUV and fourth best-selling car. The X-Trail/Rogue was hampered by falls in demand in the US, where volume was down by 11%, and in Europe, where volume was down by 31%, as it also felt the effects of having an older model, having first been introduced to the market in 2013.

In contrast to the X-Trail, its counterpart the Nissan Qashqai/Rogue Sport saw the highest increase in the top 20, as its sales increased by 13%. This was largely due to its popularity in the US, where sales increased by a huge 130%. Conversely, the Ford Escape/Kuga lost ground and recorded the highest drop in the top 20.

2018 marked a good year for the Nissan Sylphy/Almera, Mazda CX-5, Kia Sportage, Chevrolet Equinox, Toyota Hilux, Jeep Compass, Toyota C-HR, Hyundai Creta, Ford Ecosport, Jeep Wrangler, Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Cavalier, Mercedes A-Class and Suzuki D-Zire. Further down the rankings, it was also a good year for the Hyundai Kona, Volkswagen T-Roc, Changan CS55, Volkswagen Atlas/Teramont, Baojun 360, Hyundai ix35, BYD Song Max, Tesla Model 3, Skoda Karoq, Geely Vision X3, Baojun 530, Buick Regal, Citroen C3 Aircross and Peugeot 5008 SUV.

[ends]

Oscar Special: Hollywood’s hottest rides

[categories feature]

With the Oscars taking place in Hollywood this Sunday, automotive experts hpi has revealed its list of the most iconic cars to star on the silver screen.

Following a poll amongst its team of motoring editors, hpi has identified the top 10 most iconic movie cars:

10)

1966 Alfa Romeo 1600 Spider Duetto – as seen in The Graduate

9)

1970 Dodge Charger – Vin Diesel’s car in The Fast & the Furious

8)

1968 Ford Mustang GT 390 Fastback – as seen in Bullitt

7)

1980 Lamborghini Countach LP 4005 – as seen in Cannonball Run

6)

1977/2009 Chevrolet Camaro – Bumblebee from Transformers

5)

1968 Austin Mk I Mini Cooper S – as seen in The Italian Job

4)

1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

3)

1963 Model 117 VW Type 1 Beetle – as seen in Walt Disney’s Herbie movies

2)

1981 DeLorean DMC-12 – as seen in the Back to the Future trilogy

1)

1963 Aston Martin DB5 – as seen in various James Bond movies

As a collection, the cars would have been worth a total of US$ 39,630 based on RRP in their year of manufacture with the Ferrari from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off valued at US$ 8,250 in 1961. The most iconic car on the list, James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 was worth US$ 5,450 in 1963, and featured in Goldfinger and Thunderball in 1964 and 1965 respectively as well as later Bond’s Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, Casino Royale, Skyfall and Spectre.

Fernando Garcia, consumer director at hpi said: “We thought it would be fun to come up with a definitive list of the most iconic cars to feature in the movies from the past fifty years. Some of the cars featured are real classics and are now worth significantly more than they were when first launched – they’d certainly warrant pride of place amongst any car collection.

“James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 was deemed as the most memorable and would represent a very healthy investment. Interestingly, the DeLorean from Back to the Future was the second most iconic and at the time was one of the most expensive at the time retailing at just over US$ 13k. Both would fetch considerably more now especially the DeLorean fitted with a Flux Capacitor!”

[ends]

Ford tests light display to bridge gap between autonomous vehicles and pedestrians

[categories autonomous vehicles, Ford]

Hand gestures, head nods and thumbs-up signals all help to ensure drivers, pedestrians and cyclists know what each other is doing. But how will self‑driving vehicles, with no human driver, communicate with those around them?

Ford has been testing one approach that uses lights to indicate what the vehicle is doing and what it will do next as part of research into a communication interface that will help autonomous vehicles seamlessly integrate with other road users.

To ensure testing was as realistic and natural as possible, the company created the ‘Human Car Seat’ installed inside a Transit Connect van. Designed to look like an autonomous vehicle, with the driver hidden in the seat, observers could more effectively gauge responses to a roof-mounted light bar that flashed white, purple and turquoise to indicate when the van was driving, about to pull forwards and giving way.

“Fundamentally, people need to trust autonomous vehicles and developing one universal visual means of communication is a key to that. Turning someone into a ‘Human Car Seat’ was one of those ideas when there was a bit of a pause and then the realisation that this was absolutely the best and most effective way of finding out what we needed to know,” said Thorsten Warwel, Ford of Europe core lighting manager.

The latest testing, which complements research already carried out in the US, was conducted together with Chemnitz University of Technology, in Germany. Researchers expanded the tests to check the effectiveness of two other colours, in addition to white; a rooftop location, when the U.S tests had the lights placed on the top part of the windshield; and situations with further distance, showing the lights up to 500 metres away.

The tests concluded that 60 percent of 173 people surveyed after encountering the Transit Connect thought it was an autonomous vehicle. Together with the observed reactions of a further 1,600 people, turquoise – more noticeable than white and less easily confused with red than purple – was the preferred colour. There was also a high level of acceptance and trust in the signals, providing a basis from which researchers can further develop the visual language.

“Making eye contact is important – but our study showed that first and foremost road users look to see what a vehicle is doing. The next step is to look at how we can ensure the light signals are made clearer and more intuitive,” said Dr Matthias Beggiato, Department of Psychology, at the university.

Trained ‘Human Car Seat’ drivers kept their eyes on the road through a false headrest and operated a special lever to indicate. An assistant, hidden in the back, also monitored the road as back-up.

In separate tests conducted by Ford together with the automotive lighting and electronics specialist HELLA, researchers tested further locations for the lights, such as on the grille and headlamps, though no clear preference emerged.

With the goal of developing a purpose-built self-driving vehicle for deployment first in North America in 2021, Ford is working towards ensuring that people trust autonomous vehicles. Essential to this is the creation of an industry standard for communicating driving intent. The company is collaborating with several industry organisations, including the International Organisation for Standardisation and the Society of Automotive Engineers, and is calling on other automotive and technology companies to help create the required standard.

Ford, in partnership with Argo AI, recently became the first company to test autonomous vehicles in Washington D.C., building on testing already underway in Detroit, Pittsburgh and Miami. In China, the company is part of the Apollo program offered by Baidu, China’s top search engine operator, and is working with them to begin testing self-driving cars on designated roads in Beijing and other Chinese cities later this year.

View the video of the test here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqQyYOPPn7w&feature=youtu.be

Four out of five popular auto brands victims of keyless car theft

[categories automotive news, car theft]

As per new figures from UK’s automotive publishing specialist, ‘Which?’, four of the five best selling models are susceptible to keyless theft. Moreover, TRACKER reports that 88% of all stolen vehicles it recovered in 2018 were stolen without using the owner’s keys – confirming that keyless theft is not just a threat, but a very harsh reality.

Clive Wain, Head of Police Liaison at TRACKER explains: “Car theft is much lower than it was 30 years ago, but it’s on the rise again, with some pointing the finger at keyless technology. Sadly, this is supported by our own data which confirms that last year, 88% of the stolen vehicles fitted with a TRACKER device that were then successfully recovered by us, were stolen without using the owner’s keys. This is a disappointing increase from 80% stolen by this method in 2017, but a more significant and worrying increase from 66% in 2016.”

“It’s worth remembering that vehicle security should be multi-layered and shouldn’t just rely on a keyless security system. Traditional physical barriers, such as crook locks and wheel clamps can help deter thieves, but in the event of a car being stolen, vehicle tracking technology plays a powerful role in outwitting thieves.”

TRACKER’s longstanding collaboration with police forces, combined with its market-leading technology, means it can locate stolen vehicles anywhere, even if they are hidden in a garage or shipping container. Using a unique combination of GSM, VHF and GPS signals, TRACKER units can’t be interrupted by GPS/GSM jammers, making it superior to others on the market. The covert device is hidden in one of several dozen places around the vehicle and because it’s silent, with no visible aerial, thieves won’t even know it’s there.

“Investing in a tracking device won’t stop a car being stolen, but it can significantly increase the chances of police locating it and returning it to the rightful owner,” concludes Clive Wain. “This, plus added vigilance, dramatically contributes to keeping thieves at bay.”

Volkswagen’s electric offensive – new gen cars at Chattanooga, fast charging station at Hanover

[categories electric cars, automotive industry]

The Volkswagen brand is forging ahead consistently with its electric offensive and has now announced the first production location in North America. In future, the Chattanooga plant in Tennessee is to produce vehicles based on the modular electric toolkit MEB, a new generation of electric cars. For this purpose, Volkswagen is investing about US$ 800 million in the plant. The expansion of the plant will create up to 1,000 new jobs plus additional jobs at suppliers. The first electric car from Chattanooga is to roll off the production line in 2022. Over the next few years, eight MEB plants are to be developed in Europe, North America and China. Volkswagen is building up the production capacity needed to sell more than 1 million electric cars per year by 2025.

Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen AG, said, “The US is one of the most important locations for us and producing electric cars in Chattanooga is a key part of our growth strategy in North America. The management team lead by Scott Keogh is committed to continuing to increase our market share in the coming years. Together with our ongoing investments and this increase in local production, we are strengthening the foundation for sustainable growth of the Volkswagen brand in the US."

The first electric car to roll off the production line in Chattanooga will be the ID. CROZZ concept SUV model. Volkswagen will also offer the ID. BUZZ concept in North America, the reinterpretation of the legendary VW bus. Both cars are part of Volkswagen’s new ID. family, which will make optimum use of the possibilities of e-mobility.

Flexible charging station to be produced at Hanover

Elsewhere, the Volkswagen Group announced its decision to start series production of the flexible fast charging station from 2020 onwards. This station, based on the principle of a powerbank, can charge up to four vehicles at the same time and also be used for the interim storage of eco-power. The station is to be produced at the Hanover components plant, where heat exchanger production, forming part of the engine business area, will be replaced step-by-step by the new e-mobility business area.

Developers and planners have already been involved in piloting the concept for the flexible fast charging station since 2018. The pilot project is to start in the summer of 2019 together with the city of Wolfsburg. From 2020, production of the first fast charging stations will start at the Hanover plant. At the same time, cooperation is to be discussed with possible partners. Forecasts indicate that considerable demand for flexible fast charging stations is to be expected in connection with the ramp-up of e-mobility over the next few years.

Thomas Schmall, CEO of Volkswagen Group Components, says: “The development of charging infrastructure will be a key factor in the success of e-mobility. The flexible fast charging station developed by Group Components can make a key contribution in this area. This is confirmed by the considerable interest shown by potential partners. The charging station is an element in the end-to-end responsibility of Group Components for the high-voltage battery – from the development of cell production competences through to recycling. At the same time, the transformation of heat exchanger production at the Hanover components plant will provide sustainable prospects for the future in the new e-mobility business area.”

In technical terms, the charging station is based on the battery package of the Volkswagen Group’s Modular Electric Toolkit (MEB) and is designed to use its cell modules. Later, the charging station will provide a second life for batteries from electric vehicles. A battery loses charging capacity over time. When a vehicle battery has reached a defined, reduced residual capacity, it will be replaced. If this battery subsequently passes a thorough analysis, it can be reused in a mobile charging station.

Continental urges drivers to watch their way to safer tires

[categories servicing, repair]

German tire manufacturer, Continental, has teamed up with TV presenter and motoring expert Jonny Smith to produce a series of new videos designed to help drivers keep their tires in up to date condition. The series, initially comprising five films, offers simple, helpful advice on important areas of basic tire maintenance.

The aim of the collaboration is to give car owners the expertise to look after their tires themselves. In turn, this will keep them and other road users safer and help to save them money by reducing tire wear and fuel consumption.

The videos can be found on Continental Tires TV and the tire manufacturer’s official YouTube channel. It covers how to check tire pressures and tread depth, how to conduct a visual tire inspection and how to change a wheel. The films also draw attention to the important issue of tread depth, highlighting Continental’s recommendation that tires should be replaced when 3mm of tread remains rather than the legal minimum of 1.6mm.

Jonny Smith, presenter of Fifth Gear on Quest and YouTube channel Fully Charged, commented, “Tires are the only part of your car in direct contact with the road, so it makes sense to ensure they’re in the best possible condition. The guidance they provide in some cases only takes seconds to follow. I think they offer valuable advice that can help drivers every day. If these videos improve road safety that can only be a good thing. And if they cut the number of people I see stranded at the side of the road with flat tires, that’s a real bonus.”

The importance of tire pressure

There are many safety benefits to running the correct tire pressure on your car. Research by leading tire safety charity Tire Safe, shows incorrectly inflated tires can result in reduced vehicle control, faster rate of wear and increased fuel costs.

Moreover in 2016/17, almost 10% of accidents were due to tire related issues, including finding tires in poor condition. The video series recommends regularly examining your tires to check for any noticeable bulges, tears or cuts. A visual inspection before setting off on a journey could make all the difference. In one of the new films, Jonny explains how to do this.

Mark Griffiths, safety expert at Continental Tires, explained, “Drivers play the most important role in tire maintenance. Before setting off, we advise drivers to spend time inspecting their car and its tires; it only takes a few minutes. If you want to find out more about how to do this properly, these helpful videos provide the basic knowledge needed to ensure your tires are safe and roadworthy.

All videos can be found on ContinentalTiresTV: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLuriT5De0_5D-ThYWsifgVoLqa9VE73TP

Snowy weather tips

All of NYC, including Valley Stream, NY and beyond Nassau & Suffolk counties got hit with a “Bomb Cyclone”, the first blizzard of 2018! Now that everyone is back on the road, our main complaint from customers has been vibrations, especially when driving over 30 to 60mph. Before you visit your local auto repair shop, you should check your tires and wheel wells thoroughly for any ice and snow stuck inside the rims or around the tires, which would cause heavy vibrations. Check the picture below and keep reading for tips on how to handle icy roads!

Lowering your speed on the road, is one of the most important factors, that could reduce your chances of an accident. On the highway, it is also important to avoid tailgating, by leaving 100 yards between you and the car ahead of you, in order to give you plenty of room to stop in case that person has to brake suddenly. Rear wheel drive cars become very dangerous in snowy and icy conditions. Extreme care should be taken in bigger vehicles with rear wheel drive as well. Even if you have all-wheel drive, you should always reduce your cars speed to about half of the speed limit. This is a general rule of thumb and honestly does not cover all situations. If your vehicle still feels as if it will slide out, then cut back another ten miles per hour until you feel like you have full control of your car.

Extreme cold, will usually freeze any water or moisture on the road, which can lead to black ice. It is basically impossible to see this dangerous clear glaze, but if you have bright enough HID or LED headlights installed, you could possibly spot the reflection off the ice at night. Black ice has the ability to form at any time, but usually due to freezing temperatures. Regardless of snow or ice, in bad weather, you should slow your vehicle down to at LEAST half of the speed limit posted.

Overlooking something as simple as icy rims may save you time, money, and an unnecessary trip to the mechanic. If your wheels are cleaned and you still feel the vibration then come by Everything Auto NY at 61 W Merrick Rd in Valley Stream, NY to diagnose your car troubles. Remember all diagnosis are free with any repair! Stay safe & warm!

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