Falcons for Britain Falcons for Britain by hjkuiw354


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Falcons for
Britain       By TERRY MARTIN

THE Australian entrepreneur behind a new export
program of rebadged Ford Falcon sedans and utes
to Britain expects to sell more than 1000 vehicles
per annum once sales commence there in March.
   Melbourne-based businessman James Smith,
who in the UK last month announced the forma-
tion of the Verte Automotive brand with AC Cars
chairman Alan Lubinsky, said a wide range of
Falcon variants would be considered for export
though more than 80 per cent of initial demand               Could this become a common London sight?
was likely to centre on the Falcon ute fitted with
dedicated LPG.
   “We’re pioneering something that is absolutely
unknown over there but I’m very optimistic,” Mr         will be sold as a Verte in our configuration and      drawcard for the Falcon-based Tempests.
Smith said. “I think we’ll do a lot better than 1000    with our model designations,” Mr Smith said.             “We’re really picking up on what the UK gov-
units a year over the next two years because of the        He said the ute and short-wheelbase sedans         ernment is doing with LPG and that is holding the
enquiry we’ve got from people who are in the fleet      complied with Euro III emission standards and         price on LPG gas to two-thirds less than fuel for
business.                                               should emerge soon from the British new-vehicle       the next two years,” Mr Smith said.
   “With the utility, we’ve got a proven group of       inspection process relatively unscathed.                 “We’ll do the lot (a full range) but we figure
enquirers from small business, medium fleet, large         No mechanical or sheetmetal changes are            that the situation with gas is an excellent opportu-
fleet, government and the police.”                      expected to be made, however, the vehicles will be    nity for us.”
   To be renamed as Verte Tempests and sold             required to be better protected against corrosion.       He said VAT refunds for commercial operators
throughout greater London via a 10-strong inde-            “We’ve also just done our cold-weather testing     running dedicated LPG vehicles and the prospect
pendent retail network, the first batch of Falcons in   up through Scotland and the car went through with     of petrol vehicles being excluded in inner-London
the five-year deal will comprise petrol and LPG         flying colours – even the heater was more than        areas at certain times also made the LPG option an
utes – known there as SUVs – in two well-               adequate!” Mr Smith said.                             attractive one.
equipped grades (Tempest XL and XLS), priced               He said one issue still to be resolved was the        “There’s big savings for commercial people
from £15,950 plus value added tax (VAT).                additional import duty required for vehicles with     with these products,” Mr Smith said.
   Tempest XR6 and XR8 utes and sedans will             more than 2.8 litres engine capacity. He said Verte      He said tapping into the resources of the AC
follow soon after, ahead of the Tempest T-Series        Automotive had appealed to the British                Car Group – producer of the iconic AC Cobra
and possibly other models such as long-wheelbase        Government for an exemption given the brand’s         roadster and, from the final quarter this year, the
sedans based on the Fairlane/LTD.                       emphasis on LPG gas and low running costs.            Green (dedicated LPG) and Black (petrol) Mamba
   “It is a Ford Australia manufactured car but it         Indeed, Mr Smith identified LPG as the biggest     coupes endowed with the Falcon inline six – had
                                                                                                              allowed Verte Automotive to keep the undisclosed
        Havoc Falcon packs V8Supercar street cred                                                             investment costs to a minimum.
  THE Havoc Falcon shown at last year’s Sydney motor show has hit the streets, brandishing a                     He also said the arrangement to sell Falcons in
  V8Supercar-inspired bodykit and an optional suspension kit used on the now-superseded AUII                  the UK was exclusive to Verte and that Ford
  T-Series sports sedans. Expected to remain on fleet until the new AV arrives around                         Australia would not seek other export opportuni-
  September, the package is restricted to Forte and Futura sedans and includes a unique grille                ties for the car in the Kingdom – even when the
  with polished stainless steel mesh, new front and rear bumpers (the former with integrated                  AV Falcon becomes available from around
  foglamps, the latter drawing heavily from the Falcon V8Supercar), two-tone side skirts, Havoc               September.
                                          badging and a rear window sticker. A big rear spoiler is               “We’re not just trying to make a buck selling a
                                              available as an option, as is a sports suspension               few used cars – we’re new-car people, we’re all-
                                                  kit comprising shocks, springs, bump stop and
                                                                                                              original equipment people … and we’re here for
                                                             all the relevant hardware. The
                                                                  bodykit is available for $4530              the long haul,” Mr Smith said.
                                                                    and can be fitted to any AU                  And if Ford Australia wanted to start selling
                                                                     Series III Forte or Futura –             Falcons off its own bat? “We’d be happy to sell
                                                                      it can also be retrofitted to           them the franchise,” he said.
                                                                      equivalent AUII models –                   Questions concerning the deal with Verte
                                                                     while the suspension kit                 Automotive were forwarded to Ford Australia at
                                                                    costs another $751.                       its request, but Ford did not respond before auto-
                                                                                                              motive e-news went to press.

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                  automotive          e     -news                                                                       J A N U A R Y 1 6 , 2 0 0 2 Page 2

                   Brussels hustles
     HE Brussels motor show is not traditional-
T    ly known for hosting world premieres of
significant new models but this year’s Belgian
auto extravaganza was different. Opening yes-
terday in Europe and marking the centenary of
the event, the 2002 Brussels motor show will
be remembered for revealing the 2002
Mercedes-Benz E-class to the public for the
first time. While there were many Belgian firsts
(and plenty more European firsts fresh from the
LA and Detroit shows), the gaggle of new pro-
duction cars to make their world-first appear-
ance in Brussels also included a bevvy of pro-
duction and concept Opels, the PT Cruiser 2.2                                                                         2002 Mercedes-Benz E-class
CRD, Jaguar’s S-Type 2.5 and X-Type 2.0,
Smart’s City coupe and convertible, and the          W. The fuel consumption of the                               engine. Also produced by noted
Saab 9-5 2.2 TiD. Here’s the rub on some of the      new E-class has been reduced                                 European design house Bertone, it’s
more interesting offerings.                          by up to 0.9 litres per 100km                                claimed to be Opel’s most powerful
                                                     compared with the preceding                                  convertible ever.
                                                     model.                                                          Said to sprint to 100km/h in just
  Mercedes-Benz E-class                                 The new E-class replaces a                                8.0 seconds, the topless Astra turbo
THE three-pointed star’s volume-selling medi-        preceding model whose aver-                                  will be joined in Opel’s European
um-large luxury car, the E-class, officially         age sales of more than 200,000                               range by a turbocharged Astra hatch
broke cover for the first time in Brussels           units per year made it the                                   (called the GSi) around September
overnight following a development time of 48         world’s most successful luxury                               and a turbocharged VX220 roadster
months and an investment totalling more than         class saloon. The proportion of                              by the end of 2002. Holden is cur-
two billion euros.                                   this market segment accounted                                rently evaluating a Vauxhall-badged
   As expected, the redesigned 2002 model is a       for by the E-class is an average                             Astra turbo coupe, but it’s believed
showcase of engineering innovation, designed         of 24 percent, and in some                                   Australia’s hottest Astra, at least in
to demonstrate what Mercedes-Benz calls its          countries even above 40 percent.                   the medium term, will remain the 2.2-litre SRi.
worldwide technological leadership by offering          DaimlerChrysler has produced approxi-
technological exclusivity at the highest level.      mately 1.4 million E-class saloons since 1995.      Zafira 2.2 DTI
Examples include the standard electrohydraulic       The new E-class will appear in local
braking system, Sensotronic Brake Control            Mercedes-Benz dealerships from the begin-          OPEL’S best-selling seven-seater van heralded
(SBC™), the multicontour seat which automat-         ning of the fourth quarter 2002.                   the arrival of 2.2-litre diesel power in Brussels,
ically adapts to the current driving situation,                                                         the Zafira 2.2 DTI packing a 92kW/280Nm
and the enhanced AIRMATIC air suspension,             Astra Cabrio Turbo                                punch.
which is standard equipment in the top-of-the-                                                              Said to be the most powerful diesel in its
range E500 model, and is available for all other     OPEL launched the premium version of the           segment, the new 16-valve 2.2-litre DTI pow-
models as an optional extra.                         Astra convertible - of which some 15,000 have      erplant is claimed to propel the oil-burning
   Four different engines will initially be avail-   been sold worldwide since its launch last year -   Zafira to 100km/h in 11.5 seconds and a top
able for the new E-class saloons - three petrol      the Astra Cabrio Turbo. Due to go on sale in       speed of 187km/h. Naturally, it burns just 6.9
engines with six and eight cylinders and an out-     Europe around May, the hottest Astra soft-top      litres of diesel per 100km, but with Zafira vol-
put range from 130 kW to 225 kW, and one CDI         joins the limited-edition Astra coupe in its use   umes around 100 per month in Australia it’s
engine with five cylinders and an output of 130      of a 141kW turbocharged Ecotec four-cylinder       unlikely the DTI will be sold here.

                Zafira 2.2 DTI                                                     Astria Cabrio Turbo

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                   automotive         -news      is produced by Automotive NetWorks, Australia’s most innovative automotive publishing group
                                                          Phone: (03) 9598 6477    Fax: (03) 9521 0264        E-mail: newsroom@mellor.net
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                 automotive         e    -news                                                                      J A N U A R Y 1 6 , 2 0 0 2 Page 3

Rover attacks
with ZT

                By BRUCE NEWTON
                                                                                                                                        MG ZT 190
MG Rover Australia is set to leap into the mid-                                                     sion of the 75’s 2.5-litre V6. In manual form
size sports segment with the ZT version of the    Thumbs up for sports sedan                        that translates to about 140kW and in slightly
Rover 75 sedan and estate.                         and wagon, but hot hatch                         detuned auto form, about 134kW.
   But the news is not so good for hot hatch                                                           ZT 190 styling cues include the use of bright
fans, who were hoping the Rover 25-based ZR
                                                    gets the thumbs down                            mesh grilles, front fog lamps, a rear spoiler and
would be coming to Australia after it was         Mr Watson.                                        stainless steel heatshield for the large-bore
shown in Sydney last year.                          No such problems for the ZT range, which        exhaust pipes.
   “It looks like we are going to be beaten on    will comprise:                                       The interior focuses on a “technical” look
price with ZR ,” explained MG Rover Australia                                                       with fascia panels and console finished in
marketing and communications general manag-        ZT190 and ZT190+    manual sedan                 Rhodium silver, with matching silver finished
er David Watson. “It’s just looking too expen-     ZT180 and ZT180+ automatic sedan                 instrument dials. The traditional MG octagon
sive. We really need a big change in exchange      ZT-T and ZT-T+     manual wagon                  badge features at the centre of a black leather
rates before that car would work.”                 ZT-T and ZT-T+   automatic wagon                 trimmed steering wheel.
   The ZR is powered by a 117kW 1.8-litre                                                              Sedan pricing will probably straddle $60,000
four-cylinder engine shared with the MGF             The ZT-T had originally been scheduled to      with a $3000 premium paid for the estate.
Trophy 160. MG Rover Australia had hoped to       go on sale later in the year, but that has been      The “+” model will be specced roughly
bring it in around mid-year priced in the high    brought forward to line up alongside the sedan,   equivalent to the 75 Connoisseur with sunroof,
$30,000 bracket.                                  based on positive UK press reviews.               parking sensors and trip computer.
   “We need the exchange rate back where it          The 180 and 190 refer to the amount of PS-        MG Rover Australia is targetting a bullish
was four years ago to make it work,” lamented     rated power produced by the ZT’s hotter ver-      1000 sales for the ZT range per annum, with the
                                                                                                    sedan taking the majority of those sales,
                                                                                    MG ZT-T         although Mr Watson said he was confident the
                                                                                                    Sportswagon would do well.
                                                                                                       “I personally remain quite optimistic about
                                                                                                    the Tourer (estate) and the ZT-T in Australia,
                                                                                                    although a lot of people say it’s not a huge sec-
                                                                                                    tor and I have just read that Audi are not going
                                                                                                    to bring in their A4 wagon because they don’t
                                                                                                    think the market is big enough (automotive e-
                                                                                                    news December 12, 2001).
                                                                                                       “But I think there is a lot of potential. I think
                                                                                                    we can grow the sector.”
                                                                                                     Meanwhile, MG Rover’s plans to
                                                                                                     produce storming 190kW MG ZT 260
                                                                                                     and supercharged 280kW MG ZT 385
                                                                                                     rear-wheel drive versions of the 75 have
                                                                                                     been put back until October 2002 in the
                                                                                                     UK, which means we won’t get them
                                                                                                     until 2003 in Australia. The 190kW
                                                                                                     version is expected to appear first.

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                  automotive        -news     is produced by Automotive NetWorks, Australia’s most innovative automotive publishing group
                                                       Phone: (03) 9598 6477    Fax: (03) 9521 0264        E-mail: newsroom@mellor.net
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                automotive             e     -news                                                                        J A N U A R Y 1 6 , 2 0 0 2 Page 4

                                                                                                             VFACTS 2001 analysis
                                                                                                                      By JUSTIN LACY

       Volkswagen Bora

Bumper year for Europeans
DESPITE an overall decline in the Australian          cent improvement on its 2000 result with 1315    sales were essentially lineball with the previous
new car market during 2001, the majority of the       units rolling out of showrooms.                  year’s sales figures, so therefore had little effect
European brands showed significant growth,               “We’ve been a lot more aggressive with our    on the overall result.
with some even increasing sales to record levels.     marketing and our media schedules, as well as a     On six separate occasions during the year, at
   Volkswagen’s factory owned Australian dis-         lot more proactive with the media,” VGA gen-     the announcement of official VFACTS month-
tributor, Volkswagen Group Australia, deliv-          eral manager press and public relations Brad     end results by the FCAI, Volkswagen was
ered on its promise to achieve 10,000 vehicle         Leach said.                                      crowned the top selling European passenger car
sales in its first year of operation.                    “Basically all the things you would expect of brand, edging out traditional Euro sales kings
   In fact, VGA secured sales of 10,133 passen-       a wholly owned subsidiary of the world’s fourth  BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
ger vehicles and 874 commercial vehicles dur-         biggest car company.”                               For the coming year, VGA is predicting fur-
ing 2001 to actually break the 11,000                                                                            ther sales growth with the arrival of an
vehicle sales barrier and in the process
exceed its initial forecast by over 10
per cent.
                                                                      ‘  In our first year of
                                                                          operation, it was
                                                                                                                 all-new Polo light car in April, while
                                                                                                                 revisions to the Golf and New Beetle
                                                                                                                 line-ups will also occur in the first half
   “In our first year of operation, it                           important that we delivered of the year.
was important that we delivered on                                                                          ‘       “We are expecting Polo to deliver
our commitment to retail 10,000 pas-                             on our commitment to retail some significantly increased volume,
senger cars,” VGA managing director                                  10,000 passenger cars                       as model line-up, specification and
Peter Nochar said.                                                                                               pricing will be sharp,” Mr Leach said.
   “Despite the total market being                                                      – PETER NOCHAR              Volkswagen has forecast sales of
down, Volkswagen’s figure of 10,133                                                                              12,000 units for 2002.
represents an improvement of 38 per cent com-            “We have a bigger and more aggressive            Other European marques entering new or
pared to 2000.”                                       advertising spend than the previous private exiting existing distribution operations –
   The overall result of 11,007 units was an          importer, while our levels of stocking were bet- Renault in a new arrangement with Nissan
increase of just under 34 per cent on the previ-      ter and we actually had the cars in stock that Australia and Peugeot changing hands from
ous year’s figures.                                   people wanted to buy in the colours that they Inchcape to Sime Darby Automobiles in the last
   The buoyant result for the German brand            wanted to buy.”                                  quarter – also achieved strong results in 2001.
came on the back of a bumper year for the Golf           The New Beetle was the only Volkswagen           Sales of Peugeot vehicles in Australia were at
range with sales up 2095 units to 5614.               model that failed to maintain its sales momen- an all-time high, with the 3452 units sold being
   Those figures represent sales growth of 60 per     tum, recording a 32 per cent drop on the previ- a new record for the French marque, making it
cent, which helped lift the Golf to the position of   ous year as the initial popularity of the retro one of the fastest growing automotive brands in
Australia’s most popular German car for 2001.         trend slowed noticeably, leaving the Beetle out- the country.
   Bora was another of VW’s models to stand           classed on pricing and packaging.                   “With the return of some European brands
out during the past year, registering a 90 per           Golf Cabriolet, Caravelle and Transporter and increased advertising in that sector, people
                                                                                                                        (Continued page 6)

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                automotive             -news      is produced by Automotive NetWorks, Australia’s most innovative automotive publishing group
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                 automotive               e -news                                                                          J A N U A R Y 1 6 , 2 0 0 2 Page 5

Bumper year for Europeans
                (Continued from page 5)
have been a little more open to putting Peugeot
and other European brands on their shopping
lists,” Peugeot public and customer relations
manager Mathew McAuley said.
   Each of the three core model streams – 206,
306 and 406 – performed better than the previ-
ous year, while the three new models launched
late in the year – the 206CC, 307 and 607 –
helped lift Peugeot to its highest local sales
   “The result could have been even stronger as
very little stock of 306 has been available since
October and the replacement 307 didn’t come
on line until December,” Mr McAuley said.
   “There hadn’t been a lot of advertising during
the year, but we’ve got big plans for the brand                                                                             Peugeot 206 CC
with increased advertising over the next 12
months.”                                                  “The RX4 was initially a little slower than we   European success, recording growth of 27.2 and
   Peugeot will need the new models to contin- expected, but had we received all of our product            21.6 per cent respectively.
ue to perform in the coming year, as well as to schedule I think the result would have been                   Although BMW claims to have entrenched
even larger sales growth – in the order of 45 per quite a bit closer to the mark.”                         its position as the European luxury marque of
cent – if it is to meet its original forecast of 5000     The Scenic RX4 was expected to be the vol-       choice in this country, it in fact remains a very
units for 2002.                                        ume seller in the range, but its 549 sales were     tight contest between the German car-maker
   Supply of the 206CC will be limited to well short of the 1000 units predicted.                          and its long-time rival Mercedes-Benz.
around 500 cars, although Peugeot believes it             The two-wheel drive Scenic, on the other hand,      BMW did increase its passenger car sales
will sell every one of those and still have people exceeded expectations by over 13 per cent, selling      lead over Mercedes-Benz from 54 units in 2000
on the waiting list.                                   905 units to in fact be the marque’s top model.     to 164 units in 2001, but the 3-Series finally lost
   Two new models to assist the push for                  Renault has forecast 5000 sales for 2002,        out to the C-class in a direct sales comparison
increased sales will arrive later in the year – a based on a full complement and regular supply            (discounting four-cylinder 318i and C180 sales
hotter 133kW version of the 206 GTi called the of Clio models, and the arrival of the arguably             as they fall in the prestige segment), while the
206 Sport and the 307 Leisure, which is a the world’s safest car, the Laguna.                              facelifted M-class off-roader continued to out-
wagon variant of the 307.                                 The big-name brands of BMW and                   sell the X5 in the latter’s first full year on sale.
   Renault recorded 1947 sales during the eight Mercedes-Benz were also part of the wave of                   Factor in commercial vehicles and Mercedes-
months since the brand re-entered the                                                                               Benz claims overall leadership between
Australian marketplace.                                                                                             the two German giants by more than
                                                  Renault Clio
   Despite that figure being significantly                                                                          4000 units.
below the forecast of 3500 units, it was                                                                               Alfa Romeo, Audi, Saab and Volvo
still enough to give it the edge over other                                                                         all showed noticeable improvement dur-
niche European marques trying to re-                                                                                ing 2001, with growth ranging between
establish themselves, such as MG Rover                                                                              10 and 17 per cent.
and Citroen – both of which also showed                                                                                Jaguar registered the smallest
substantial improvement during 2001.                                                                                improvement of the Europeans, up 3.2
   “We had a couple of teething prob-                                                                               per cent courtesy of its new X-Type
lems with delayed product, with Clio                                                                                line-up, as its other three model streams
not coming until December and Laguna                                                                                – S-Type, XJ and XK Series’ – were all
due in March, and they were two of the                                                                              down on the previous year.
vehicles that obviously would be fairly                                                                                Land Rover was the only mainstream
high volume for us,” Renault Australia                                                                              European brand not to record sales
manager public relations Lenore                                                                                     growth, but its negative result was only
Fletcher said.                                                                                                      to the tune of half of one per cent.

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                                              Driving Fleet Management _ Conference 2002
                                                          MELBOURNE                     SYDNEY                        FOR DETAILS CONTAC T:
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                                                          Monday 18 March               Carlton Crest Hotel           Email:        info@afma.net.au
                                                                                                                      Website:      www.afma.net.au
                                                          Carlton Crest Hotel           Parramatta

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                  automotive              -news   is produced by Automotive NetWorks, Australia’s most innovative automotive publishing group
                                                           Phone: (03) 9598 6477    Fax: (03) 9521 0264        E-mail: newsroom@mellor.net
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                automotive        e       -news                                                                   J A N U A R Y 1 6 , 2 0 0 2 Page 6

                                                                                                     UP CLOSE on
 Rick Damelian is                                                                                    PERSONNEL
Saab dealer of 2001                                                                   Putnam to head Ford UK
Rick Damelian Saab has                                                                FORD of Britain has appointed Roger Putnam as chairman,
been announced 2001                                                                   while Paul Thomas – who joined the company in 1974 and
Saab Dealer of the Year                                                               is currently Ford of Britain’s sales director – has been
for the Saab network in                                                               appointed managing director.
Australia and NZ.                                                                        Mr Putnam comes from Jaguar, where was director, sales
 According to Saab, the                                                               and marketing since 1986.
Sydney dealer’s excel-                                                                   Ian McAllister CBE, Ford of Europe’s current chairman
lent sales performance                                                                and managing director, will retire next month, vacating the
and strong levels of                                                                  two positions.
customer satisfaction
during 2001 were the
                                                                                      Turnham’s VW shoes filled
main factors in the
                                                                                      VOLKSWAGEN Group Australia has appointed John
‘Pinnacle Award’ win.
                                                                                      McCredie to succeed Russell Turnham as general manager,
   The organisation’s Saab Automobile Australia managing director Tony
Paul de la Motte cap- Jennett with Rick Damelian Saab joint dealer princi-            marketing. Mr McCredie moves over from Nike Australia,
tured the Saab ‘Spirit pals Warren Smith and Rick Damelian.                           where he most recently held senior advertising and market-
Award’     for    Sales                                                               ing positions.
Manager of The Year, culminating in a successful 2001 for Rick
Damelian Saab. Rick Damelian Saab is the largest dealer in the Saab                   New Chrysler-Jeep PR
network, amassing approximately 440 new Saab sales in 2001.                           JACQUELEEN Brown has replaced Geoff Middleton as
 Kevin Healing from Henley Saab in Perth and Narciso Fabretti from                    DaimlerChrysler Australia Pacific’s senior manager, public
Lance Dixon Saab in Melbourne each won a Saab ‘Spirit Award’ for                      relations – dealing specifically with the Chrysler-Jeep
Service Manager and Parts Manager of the Year, respectively.                          brands. Mr Middleton resigned to take up an editorial post
                                                                                      with Car News magazine late last year, while Ms Brown’s
                                                                                      previous positions include marketing and business manager
Swede wins concept award                   spite of the improvements, Volvo has       for Disney Interactive, state manager/account director for
                                           announced there will be no price           The Capital Group and senior account manager at Grey
JUST when you thought the long run
                                           increases at model year introduction.      Communications Group.
of “best car” gongs had
                                                          For Volvo Car Australia,       Also at DaimlerChrysler, Rod Baily has returned as
ended,      another     one
sounds. Volvo’s Safety
                                                       2001 was a big year follow-    senior executive commercial vehicle retail operations after a
Concept Car (SCC) has
                                                       ing the successful introduc-   period of consultancy within the motor vehicle industry. He
won the Concept Car of
                                                       tion of the V70, Phase 2 S40   succeeds Darryl Evans, who has taken up a senior manage-
                                                       and V40, Cross Country and     ment position with King Bros.
the Year award by the US
                                           the S60, which by year’s end had
industry journal Automotive News.
                                           racked up more than 1000 deliveries.       Ruefli heads home
The Renault Talisman finished in sec-
                                           Total new car registrations were up by
ond place, ahead of the Honda                                                         PETER Ruefli, who has been running premium brands for
                                           17 per cent to 3542.
Dualnote in third.                                                                    GM in Japan for five years, has returned to Sydney for fam-
                                            Volvo was also the most profitable arm
  The judging panel included design-                                                  ily reasons. Mr Ruefli was posted to Japan as president of
                                           of Ford’s Premier Auto Group in 2001.
ers and journalists from the US,                                                      Saab of Japan in 1997.
Japan and Europe, and ended up with                                                      Two years later he was appointed market area director for
                                           Phaeton’s final test
a shortlist of 17 vehicles from con-
                                           VOLKSWAGEN’S new luxury sedan,             Saab in Asia Pacific before being appointed director of pre-
cepts shown at auto shows in
                                           the Phaeton, has undergone final           mium brands (Cadillac and Saab) for GM Asia Pacific.
Frankfurt, Paris, Geneva, Detroit and
                                           development testing in arctic temper-         During Mr Ruefli’s time at Saab, Japanese sales rose from
Tokyo over the past 15 months.                                                        900 units to 2900 units a year. More recently he has been
                                           atures close to the Polar Circle in
   Honours for best exterior design                                                   responsible for setting up the new GM premium brands
                                           Lapland, northern Sweden.
went to the Chrysler Crossfire, while                                                 import sales company in Tokyo.
                                             Close attention was paid to the four-
best interior went to the Talisman and                                                   He was offered the job of running GM’s premium brands
                                           zone Climatronic air-conditioning sys-
best environmental car went to the                                                    for the region based in Melbourne but he chose to leave GM
                                           tem, as well the four-wheel fully pneu-
Suzuki Covie.                                                                         to be close to his daughter who is seriously ill.
                                           matic suspension that will be stan-
                                           dard when Phaeton is launched inter-          Before joining Saab, Mr Ruefli was a regional manager
Better warranty, same price                nationally during the first quarter this   for BMW Australia, general manager for Audi VW at
IN addition to hardware changes,                                                      Inchcape in Australia, worked at Mazda Australia and estab-
                                           year, or during 2003 in Australia.
Volvo Car Australia has introduced                                                    lished the Suzuki import operation for Ateco.
from 2002 models onwards a three-
year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.
                                           Which year was that?
  This supersedes the previous two-
                                           Gremlins crept into our winners and        Sales changes at Daewoo
                                           losers graph in our VFACTS report          JAMES Scrimshaw is to leave Land Rover Australia to
year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.
                                           last week, transposing the years at        assume the position of territory sales manager, Daewoo
Volvo’s 24-hour Roadside Assistance
                                           the top of the columns. That means         Australia, vacated by James Clifford, who takes on a new
scheme, which was introduced in
                                           the column that says 2000 actually         post at Mazda Australia.
2001, continues.
                                           refers to 2001, and vice-versa. While
  For 2002, there are important refine-
                                           we’re at it, Alfa Romeo sold 1744 cars        If you have any news to report on personnel movements
ments for most models, especially in
                                           in the year 2000, not 744 as listed.       in the industry, call Connie Scheibert on (03) 9598 6477 or
the areas of performance, safety,
                                           Sorry about that.                          send via e-mail to cscheibert@mellor.net
appearance, comfort and warranty. In

John Mellor's

                automotive        -news      is produced by Automotive NetWorks, Australia’s most innovative automotive publishing group
                                                      Phone: (03) 9598 6477    Fax: (03) 9521 0264        E-mail: newsroom@mellor.net
 John Mellor's

                 automotive              e     -news                                                                               J A N U A R Y 1 6 , 2 0 0 2 Page 7

                           Top of the X-Type tree
                                                                                                                 Jaguar X-Type 3.0 SE
                                                                                                                               Price: $84,450
                                                                                                                               WE LIKE: Strong
                                                                                                                                   engine performance,
                                                                                                                                    comfortable ride,
                                                                                                                                    capable handling,
                                                                                                                                      plush interior,
                                                                                                                                      great looks

                                                                                                                                        WE DISLIKE:
                                                                                                                                       No driver’s foot-
                                                                                                                                       rest, equipment
                                                                                                                                      omissions, instru-
                                                                                                                                       ment reflections,
                                                                                                                                      brake fade

                                                                  By TERRY MARTIN
WE WERE not expecting Jaguar to produce a               range are considered. Among these is an alarm,            imum torque becomes available – and a raucous
flawless piece of work with the X-Type. A leop-         automatic door lock from 10km/h, permanent                note sounds right through to 6800rpm.
ard, er, big cat cannot change its spots overnight.     four-wheel drive, anti-lock brakes, adaptive dual             Significantly, fuel consumption figures were also
   No, what we had hoped for was a car that would       front airbags linked to an occupant sensing system,       better with the bigger-engined X-Type – we aver-
make Jaguar enthusiasts proud and which proved          front side airbags and curtain airbags which extend       aged 13.1 L/100km in the 3.0 SE compared to 13.6
its worth as a genuine alternative to the strong        along the front and rear windows.                         L/100km with the 2.5 Sport over the same loop.
competition now gathered at the top end of the             A five-speed automatic transmission is also                Out on the open road, the 3.0 is in its element.
small sedan segment.                                    standard on 3.0-litre models, with a five-speed           Overtaking comes without problem and the auto-
   Ford underpinnings, a transverse engine driving      manual available upon request.                            matic gearbox will drop down off its high perch in
wheels other than those at the rear end - unortho-         For all its elegance and ambience, though, the         fifth with smoothness and without hesitation.
dox (and to some scholars, repugnant) aspects           3.0 SE interior could serve to make the driving               Manual shifting using the J-gate is available,
such as these are never far from the surface.           experience more difficult than need be for some           though first gear isn’t offered and third gear can be
   But what a surface this is.                          drivers. Taller people, for example, will appreciate      difficult to find when in a rush. There’s no gear
   From the outside and from within, the lineage is     the steering wheel and seat height adjustment but         selection panel in the instrument cluster – another
unmistakable. The bonnet sculpting, grille pattern,     crave more seat travel. And while leather seat trim       omission to add to the list. And back in drive, the
headlight cluster and shoulder line … there are         is an added attraction of the SE, in our opinion the      transmission is prone to hunting when the terrain
handsome, familiar traits wherever one cares to         SE buckets offer less of both comfort and support         becomes more challenging.
turn, as well as a sense of cohesiveness which          than those used in the Sport model.                           It is here where the luxurious ride, which felt so
never quite eventuated with the larger S-Type.             Rear seat room and facilities set no new bench-        comfortable on the smooth, open road, comes
   The interior, too, is elegant and refined, soaking   marks, though the full complement of head                 undone to a degree as directional changes prompt
in timber and leather in the top-of-the-range 3.0 SE    restraints and three-point seatbelts are provided.        some bodyroll and broken bitumen can allow
and at first glance featuring equipment and perfor-        The boot itself is large for this class, offering a    noise and vibration to enter the cabin. Mid-corner
mance befitting its $85,000 asking price.               1070mm cargo floor depth from rear sill to seat-          bumps are also felt through unwanted kickback
   True, a footrest for the front passenger is not as   backs and a maximum volume of 452 litres.                 from the steering wheel.
endearing as one offered in the opposing footwell          Without a doubt, the most rewarding aspect of              This is not to discount the work undertaken to
and conspicuous by its absence is seat lumbar           the 3.0 comes through its engine performance.             make the X-Type an involving car to drive.
adjustment, a second zone for the climate control,         Where the 2.5-litre engine struggles to come to            It might not have the same level of balance and
front cup holders, rear side airbags, rear maplights,   terms with the 1550kg-plus kerb weight, the simi-         poise found with the class ringleader, the 3-Series
a split-fold rear seat and a full-size spare wheel.     larly weighted 3.0-litre version has excellent low-       BMW, however, the X is confident and surefooted.
   Those inclined toward the 3.0 Sport grade,           down and mid-range pulling power to make the                  Sure, some front-end push can be found if one
which adds such items as firmer suspension tun-         driving experience effortless and rewarding.              goes searching for it. But with the drive split 40/60
ing, quicker-ratio steering, sports seats and an inch      Outright acceleration isn’t overwhelming and           front to rear – and weight distribution the reverse at
onto the (16-inch) wheel rim diameter, will also        wheelspin off the line not worth exploring, as is         60/40 – Jaguar has produced entertainingly near-
find basics such as cruise control, steering wheel-     the wont of all-wheel drive. However, the engine’s        neutral, rear-flavoured handling characteristics.
mounted audio controls and a trip computer are all      strength soon becomes evident as the tacho needle             Not so good are the mediocre brake pedal feel
off the standard list. At a starting price close to     passes 3000rpm – the point where 284Nm of max-            and the fade we experienced after the same chal-
$80,000? Come on, Jaguar Australia.                                                                               lenging stretch we put the 2.5 Sport through.
   Yet at the 3.0 SE level there are features which                                                                   Jaguar cars have a habit of pleasing and disap-
deserve our attention. Chrome highlights inside                                                                   pointing, and this one is no exception. For ele-
and out, full leather trim, six-disc CD stereo,                                                                      gance, refinement, ride comfort and perfor-
auto-dipping rearview mirror and eight-                                                                                 mance, the 3.0 SE lives up to all expectations
way electric seat adjustment for the front                                                                               and has enough virtues to keep the faithful
seats do not go unnoticed, and help make                                                                                 enthused and the competitors alert.
a reasonable case for the affirmative when                                                                                  This purchase, though, would be one made
the safety and security gear fitted across the                                                                         from the heart. Not the head.

John Mellor's

                 automotive              -news      is produced by Automotive NetWorks, Australia’s most innovative automotive publishing group
                                                             Phone: (03) 9598 6477    Fax: (03) 9521 0264        E-mail: newsroom@mellor.net

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