Tough luck by cuiliqing

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									                     John Mellor's                              Australia’s Number One Automotive Industry Journal



                                                      GoAuto News
                July 23, 2008                            50,000 READERS WEEKLY                                       No. 443
DIGITAL IMAGE: Chris Harris




                                                                                                      Tough
                                                                                                        luck

                   Ford Australia boss strives to rebuild the brand’s
                   image as large-car slump bites FG Falcon sales
                                      By DAVID HASSALL                “The long-term plan for Focus is to drive        recently by global product development
FORD Australia wants to change the way                             better consumer consideration through a             chief Derrick Kuzak – who was quoted as
it is perceived by Australian car buyers as                        branding campaign and to make ourselves             saying that Ford was rethinking its plans to
it comes to terms with a declining large-car                       more competitive with government fleets by           develop a new global rear-wheel drive large-
market, despite the recent launch of the new                       bringing production here to Australia.”             car platform – have been misinterpreted.
FG Falcon range.                                                      In the shorter term, the Ford chief promised        Mr Osborne said that the important
   Company president Bill Osborne said last                        “a more aggressive retail program in the            thing Mr Kuzak said was that development
Friday that, while he was pleased with the                         second half of this year” on both Focus and         is continuing with the new platform, in
sales performance of the FG Falcon in its                          Fiesta, which he said had not kept pace in the      which Australia is “a participant from an
first two months on the market, he wanted                           growing small- and light-car segments.              engineering standpoint” and a candidate to
Ford to be known for more than just “large                            Mr Osborne, who took the helm less than          be the project leader.
cars and trucks”.                                                  six months ago, also said that Ford Australia          “Derrick said that that work continues
   A new global branding campaign is                               could still make money with the Falcon even         on the rear-wheel drive platform,” said Mr
under development that will be adopted in                          though the large-car segment had dropped to         Osborne. “I think his comments may have
Australia, where a more concerted push                             only 10.6 per cent – less than half of what it      been slightly misinterpreted. He may have
is about to start on its admittedly under-                         was just five years ago and two percentage           been discussing the specific alternatives
performing small and medium cars.                                  points lower than what his predecessor said         that are under review, but I think that his
   This has already been evidenced in the                          was unprofitable for local production.               ultimate statement is that work continues
recent decision to cut back Ford’s commitment                         Although a huge drop-off in fleet sales,          on a global rear-wheel drive platform, even
to the V8 Supercar race category to free up                        especially by governments, has hurt total           though segmentation has shifted away from
some funds, resulting in the controversial                         Falcon volumes, the upside is that the model        large cars in Australia and to some degree in
decision to drop long-time Ford hero Dick                          mix now favours more up-spec model                  the United States.
Johnson’s team as well as the very successful                      variants that carry a higher profit margin for                                  page
                                                                                                                                   Continued next p
888 operation of Craig Lowndes.                                    the embattled car-maker.
   “People think of the Ford brand as a large-car                     Mr Osborne said that Ford is pressing ahead                                   GOAUTO DRIVES
and a truck producer,” said Mr Osborne. “They                      globally with large cars and that the Falcon                                      HSV’S $150,000
don’t think of us as a small-car producer.                         has a long future in Australia, but stopped                                          SUPERCAR
   “It’s my job to launch what I think is a                        short of assuring there would be an all-new                                            - page 13
campaign to make the brand more relevant to                        platform for the next-generation model.
those buyers. That is what we’re working on.                          Nevertheless, he said that comments made




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                       GoAuto News                                                                                             July 23, 2008 Page 2




Tough luck
           Continued from previous page
   “There’s still a great deal of growth in
large cars in China and Russia, and I think
the company continues to believe there is
sufficient global volume in rear-wheel drive
to warrant a platform study.
   “I expect that there will be a new-
generation Falcon, yes. I can’t tell you the
form or structure of that program, but I do
expect the Falcon nameplate to continue.”
   Asked if a continued escalation in fuel prices
could ultimately cause Ford to abandon the
new rear-drive platform and force Australia
to continue using the existing platform, Mr                                                                                           Bill Osborne
Osborne said “that’s an alternative that I’m          cent share of the large-car segment in June),      “We actually think the underlying market
not prepared to speculate on”.                        which has been the subject of a big value-      for large cars is even weaker than what
   “That’s a bit far out into the future. I’m not     added retail offer by Holden.                   was displayed in June, and that is cause
prepared to speculate on what might happen               While Mr Osborne does not want to start      for concern,” he said. “We’ve had no issue
seven or eight years in the future … because          price discounting the FG Falcon just yet, he    meeting our segment share objective, but the
that’s beyond our business plan period,” he           admitted that Ford is considering a retail      segmentation, particularly with the recent
said. “The near-term plans with Falcon are            response to Holden.                             rise of fuel prices, has deteriorated even
solid through our business planning period               “We have been able to gain significant        further, so we expect a weaker segment in
(which is) over the course of the next three          market share on the Commodore without           July than we’ve seen in June.
to four years.”                                       responding to those discounts, so the real         “The big drop-off this year has been in
   The FG Falcon has not exactly set the              question for us is, ‘Do we need to respond?’    government fleets. Only recently have we
market on fire since being launched in mid-            The fact that a competitor moves doesn’t        seen a larger deterioration in private buyers,
May, with sales in June of 2416 (plus 1067            necessarily generate an automatic response      so we think that’s been fuel price-related.
superseded BF II models) – about the same             from us.                                           “If fuel prices remain stable, we’d be
as it managed in May. These are short of the             “Our goal will be to defend our share.       projecting the large-car market to remain
pre-launch target of 3000-plus per month              We will certainly not allow any competitor      around the 11 per cent level. If fuel prices
and still a long way behind the two year-old          to have a huge price advantage on us in the     continue to rise, our (forecasting) model
VE Commodore (4274 sales for a 36.8 per               market if we feel we are not competitive.”      would suggest further deterioration, but
                                                         Mr Osborne defended FG Falcon sales,         I don’t think any of us knows where fuel
 John Mellor's                                        saying that Commodore was well down on          prices are headed.
                   GoAuto News                        the same period last year while Falcon sales
                                                      were at about the same level, and that its
                                                                                                         “We’ve been affected commensurate with
                                                                                                      the rest of the industry by petrol prices in the
 PUBLISHER: John Mellor                               share of the segment was at an acceptable       large-car segment. It’s simply an industry
 EDITOR: Terry Martin                                 level (around 30 per cent).                     phenomenon, not just an FG phenomenon.
 MANAGING EDITOR: Marton Pettendy
                                                         He said he expected that share to               “I wouldn’t say that it’s unprofitable for us
 JOURNALISTS: David Hassall, Byron Mathioudakis,
                Philip Lord, James Stanford           improve significantly with the rollout of        … but let’s just say that it does become quite
 PRODUCTION AND GRAPHICS: Chris Harris, Luc Britten   the turbocharged models, which only began       difficult for us once segmentation drops into
 SUB-EDITOR: Katrina Webb                             shipping in the last week of June.              the 11 per cent range. At that point now you’re
 NEW MODEL DIARY: Lou Paolino                            Nevertheless, Mr Osborne did not shrink      depending on mix to gain your profits.
 Produced by GoAutoMedia: Ph: (03) 9598 6477
                                                      away from the reality of a depressed large-        “Even though the segment itself is down,
                              newsroom@mellor.net
                                                      car market, saying that June’s figures were      we have not been hit as hard as some of our
         ADVERTISE: Steve Butcher                     boosted by “an unusually large” number          competitors and we attribute that to the fact
         Ph: 0419 562 110 ads@mellor.net              of registrations of company cars and            that we have a superior product.”
                                                      demonstrator vehicles by two of Ford’s
     SUBSCRIBE FREE: www.mellor.net                                                                             FULL STORY: CLICK HERE
                                                      rivals whom he would not name.




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                     GoAuto News                                                                                             July 23, 2008 Page 3




Camaro hopes alive
General Motors to decide
soon if it will build a
RHD Chevrolet Camaro
           By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS
GENERAL Motors will make a decision
about whether to commence right-hand
drive production for the new Chevrolet
Camaro within the next three months.
  A green light will almost certainly pave
the way for the reinterpretation of the 1969
‘pony car’ to head to Australia sometime in        “We engineered it for right-hand drive. We    it could come within a matter of weeks.
the new decade.                                 just have to make a decision now whether            “We’ll probably do that within the next
  At least 4000 sales per year would be the     we should spend the additional funds that        two to three months – something like that,”
minimum requirement for GM to tool up the       we have to buy – we have to buy a different      he stated.
Camaro production facility to right-hand        IP (instrumentation) pack, we have to buy           However, the senior engineer warned that
drive production.                               some different string mechanisms, we have        the case for right-hand drive would not float
  GM has already confirmed that left-hand        to buy some different bits and pieces – and      if GM could not see the possibility of selling
drive versions of the coupe and upcoming        that’s some amount of money.                     at least 4000 units per year globally.
convertible will be marketed under the             “So we have to decide now if we should           “If we could put something together
fledgling Chevrolet brand in Europe from         go out and spend those funds (to put it into     that would be about 4000 pieces a year
2010, including Russia and the UK, after US     production), given the size of the market and    worldwide … if we could make that a goal,
and Canadian sales start in the first quarter    the profit we could make.                         I think.
of 2009.                                           “But there is nothing from an engineering        “We’re looking at fuel prices and all that,
  Speaking at the Australian unveiling of the   perspective that would prevent us from           and we’re hoping that people – with fuel that
production version of the Holden-engineered     doing it. We’ve done that from all along to      is a bit dearer – will still want this car, so we
Camaro, GM’s global vehicle line executive      go to right-hand drive if we need to.”           can go out and do it. We certainly would like
Gene Stefanyshyn confirmed that right-hand          Mr Stefanyshyn also revealed that GM          to offer it,” he said.
drive had not yet been ruled out.               was on the brink of making a final decision;                   Continued next page


         Government highlights big-car fuel bills with new green guide cost calculator
                 By TERRY MARTIN                emitting 3.8 tonnes of CO2 per annum,            lifestyle,” said Mr Albanese. “More than
THE federal government has highlighted          with the Ford Falcon costing $2272 in fuel       ever, it’s important to consider not only
the high fuel costs and carbon emissions        and releasing 3.6 tonnes of CO2.                 the car’s ticket price but also its ongoing
of six-cylinder cars, with transport minister     By contrast, Australia’s current top seller,   running and environmental costs.
Anthony Albanese this week emphasising          the Toyota Corolla, was listed as costing           “For example, if you were to trade-in
the benefits of trading-in a big six for a       $1642 in petrol and emitting 2.6 tonnes,         your six-cylinder car for a mid-size four-
medium-sized four-cylinder.                     while the smaller Yaris was even cheaper         cylinder you could cut your annual fuel
  In heralding the addition of a fuel cost      and greener with a petrol bill of $1350 and      bill by up to a third and reduce your carbon
calculator to the government’s Green            carbon emissions of 2.1 tonnes.                  emissions by up to a third as well.”
Vehicle Guide (www.greenvehicleguide.             The other top-five seller, the Mazda3,             The cheapest car to run was listed as the
gov.au), Mr Albanese released a list of the     came in with $1845 in fuel and 2.9 tonnes        Toyota Prius hybrid – classified as a medium
biggest-selling cars and their respective       of CO2.                                          car by the federal government – with $990 in
annual fuel cost and CO2 emissions.               “Empowering consumers with this type           fuel and 1.6 tonnes of CO2 for the year.
  This showed the Holden Commodore              of information will also make it easier
as racking up a petrol bill of $2430 and        for them to choose and live a ‘greener’               FULL STORY, TABLES: CLICK HERE


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                      GoAuto News                                                                                             July 23, 2008 Page 4




427... sold out!
W427 now a $14 million
windfall for HSV as first
batch becomes a sell-out
                 By DAVID HASSALL
AUSTRALIA’S most overt locally
produced supercar since the Falcon GTHO –
the Holden Special Vehicles W427 – finally
went into production on Monday and this
year’s production allocation of 90 cars has
already sold-out.                                   a Holden/HSV record price of $155,500             customers want us to invest in new product so
   However, even if there is still a waiting list   (including the increased luxury car tax).         we look at opportunities, but we have no plans
after the limit of 427 cars is reached some time       “Four hundred and twenty-seven is a lot of     (for the LS7 engine) beyond this package.”
in 2010, a successor to the 7.0-litre monster       cars for us and that (the demand for more) is a   Mr Grant confirmed that HSV is looking at
may not be built – despite the engine’s             problem we’d like to have,” he said. “But we      numerous powertrain options that GM could
availability for at least the next five years.       don’t see that in the future at the moment.       provide in the future, including hybrids,
   HSV managing director Scott Grant stopped           “This car really fitted in with the 20th        turbos and diesels, but ruled out being able to
well short of saying “never” to another LS7-        anniversary of HSV; we wanted to do a hero        afford developing its own engines.
engined model, but told GoAuto that he              car program and we need to be true to that.
wanted to protect the exclusivity and value            “Of course, we’re in the car business and                FULL STORY: CLICK HERE
of the W427, for which customers are paying         we have to keep creating new cars, and our                  Everyday hero – page 13

            GM will decide within three months whether to create a right-hook Camaro
           Continued from previous page             spiralling fuel prices, there is no diesel        scrambling to try and get (more efficient)
  That annual volume figure is based on              planned for the Camaro for the time being.        petrol engines out,” Mr Stefanyshyn said.
calculations GM undertook during the                   “We haven’t thought of diesel for the car      “Hybrid Camaro? We’ve been looking at
Camaro’s early stages of planning.                  – it just doesn’t seem to make sense.             talking about that. We’re asking ourselves
  “That was based on mathematics we                    “The diesel trend right now is going           – as a corporation – that (Camaro) would
did some time ago, which is working out             a bit pear-shaped … in Europe diesel is           not be the first place that we would go (with
volume on pricing and fuel prices. The thing        more expensive than petrol ... it used to be      hybrid) … unless we could do it on another
we have to test is, given fuel prices (today),      much cheaper, but now with the demand             (related platform) car.”
can we sell 4000?” he explained.                    for global diesel from trucking and all that,               FULL STORY: CLICK HERE
  Despite consumer fears of ever-more               we can see our European operations are                  GM cutbacks run deep – page 19




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                     GoAuto News                                                                                           July 23, 2008 Page 6



‘Complex, confusing, unjust’
FCAI presents industry
case against proposed
luxury car tax increase
             By MARTON PETTENDY
THE first of three Senate inquiry hearings
into the federal government’s proposed luxury
car tax (LCT) hike took place in Adelaide
yesterday (July 22), when the Federal
Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI)                                                                                    Nissan Patrol
became the first lobby group to state its case
against what it describes as a “complex,                                           Andrew McKellar
confusing and unjust” new tax burden.               “The tax is now applied to many vehicles      control (ESC) as standard, compared to just
   Two further Senate economics committee        which are popular with families or vehicles      33 per cent of those below it.
hearings, on July 31 in Sydney and August 6      which are predominantly relied upon by              He added that according to Australia’s tax
in Melbourne, will give car companies and        people living in rural and regional areas of     system no other goods and services were
other affected stakeholders the opportunity      Australia. It is of concern that the incidence   defined as luxury items.
to submit their positions on the Rudd            of the LCT is higher on four-wheel drives           “Passenger cars underpin our way of
government’s new LCT regime, which               than any other type of vehicle.                  life. They are a vital mode of transport and
proposes a tax increase from 25 to 33 per           “If current trends continue all LandCruiser   in many parts of Australia the only form
cent for vehicles priced over $57,180, to be     wagon, Mitsubishi Pajero five-door and            of transport available to access essential
charged retrospectively by the Australian        Nissan Patrol wagon models will exceed the       services such as hospitals, schools and
Tax Office (ATO) from July 1.                     LCT threshold within the next five years …        workplaces.
   “I want to start with a warning to all        Australia’s top-selling ‘luxury’ vehicle is a       “Why are these goods considered a luxury
motorists: In the year 2030, if current          Toyota – the LandCruiser Wagon. Even its         when a private jet, a yacht, designer clothes
trends continue, half of all new cars sold       Work Mate model incurs the LCT. It comes         and jewellery are not considered luxuries
in Australia will be taxed as luxury cars,”      standard without carpet or air-conditioning,”    by the Australian taxation system? So what
FCAI chief executive Andrew McKellar             he said.                                         does a luxury car look like?”
told the Senate inquiry, adding that the LCT        Mr McKellar argued the LCT rise                  Mr McKellar said the application of the
threshold covered just 2.5 per cent of all       represented a 33 per cent tax on safety          LCT has not been consistent and that it failed
new vehicles when introduced in 1979 but         features and low-emission technologies,          to keep pace with the price of vehicles.
last year affected more than 11 per cent or      with 84 per cent of vehicles priced above the
four times as many.                              LCT threshold featuring electronic stability               FULL STORY: CLICK HERE




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                      GoAuto News                                                                                                          July 23, 2008 Page 7




All hail excise cut
Auto sector welcomes
government plan to cut
fuel excise under ETS
             By MARTON PETTENDY
THE Australian automotive industry has
welcomed the federal government’s intention
to cut fuel excise on a three-year cent-by-
cent basis to screen drivers from the higher
fuel prices that would have resulted from its
new emissions trading scheme (ETS).
   The government’s so-called Green Paper
on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme
(CPRS), which aims to reduce greenhouse
gas emissions by 60 per cent by 2050, was               after just one year for heavy vehicle users.            many kilometres they wish to drive and how
released in Canberra last week and outlines                “Small business recognises it has a part             well they maintain the vehicle, and those
the floating measure to counter the retail cost          to play in the climate change challenge, but            are huge elements in the CO2 equation, so I
of fuel at the bowser as a result of Labor’s            solutions must be realistic if we are to win            think for any government to make progress
climate change plan.                                    the support of small business in tackling               on CO2 reduction the consumer has to be
   “Certainly, we believe the Government                these important issues.”                                part of the equation, not just industry.
has made the right move in relation to                     Ford Australia president Bill Osborne                   “We applaud the Rudd government for
fuel by committing to offset the initial                backed the inclusion of fuel in the ETS                 including transportation in the emissions
price impact on fuel associated with the                framework and welcomed the three-                       trading scheme – we think that’s important
introduction of the CPRS by cutting fuel                year petrol excise compensation plan,                   – and we believe the Rudd government
excise on a cent-for-cent basis. This should            but said end-users of fuel should be held               is trying to make real progress, not just
protect the motorist from petrol price rises            accountable.                                            headlines.
for the three-year assessment period,” said                “I think that’s going to be important as we             “That’s been my criticism of some other
VACC executive director David Purchase.                 transition to a low-carbon economy. I don’t             jurisdictions that have specifically targeted
   “However, VACC believes the same three-              think you can exclude consumers from the                certain industries and excluded others,
year assessment period should be applied                contributions to CO2 reduction,” he said.               and we think that is a recipe for political
to heavy vehicle road users, who transport                 “No matter what you do technology-wise,              posturing, not for making real progress.”
goods across the country. As it stands now,             at the end of the day the consumer makes the
the government is to review this measure                vehicle purchase, the consumer decides how                         FULL STORY: CLICK HERE



                 Used Car & Skoda Sales Manager
                                                       Ferntree Gully – Victoria
    Ferntree Gully Holden, Suzuki and Skoda are seeking an exceptional Sales Manager with the expertise and motivation to play a leading role as the
    dealership moves into an exciting new phase.
    Not only will the successful candidate be in charge of our very successful Used Car team, but as we have just been appointed Melbourne’s latest Skoda
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                                                                              Send applications by email to: HR@barloworldmotor.com.au
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                     GoAuto News                                                                                               July 23, 2008 Page 8




Record profit
Toyota posts a $242 million profit, despite pressures
             By MARTON PETTENDY                     expect relief in the current financial year from
TOYOTA Australia has announced a record             increasing global competition, exchange
net after-tax profit of $242.2 million for its       rates and shifting customer demands.
2007/08 financial year ending on March 31               “The short-term viability of car
– up $57.8 million on the $184.4 million            manufacturing is under considerable               an $87.2 million operating loss.
profit it posted in 2006/07.                         pressure in Australia, as it is in many              GM Holden is yet to announce its 2007/08
   The news was announced in a July 21 press        parts of the world as a result of rising fuel     financial year results, which are expected to be
release titled “Challenging times continue          costs, changes in customer preferences and        healthier than the $146 million loss it recorded
for Australian car makers”, which failed to         currency issues,” he said.                        in 2006/07, due mainly as a result of its $1
mention the figure was a record return on               “In our market, I expect the local car-        billion investment in the VE Commodore.
investment for Toyota’s Australian subsidiary.      makers will continue to see increased                Toyota sold a record 236,647 vehicles
   Toyota Australia’s corporate manager             pressure on profitability from manufacturing       in Australia in 2007, representing a market
of external affairs Peter Griffin said the           operations, in spite of strong revenues from      share of 22.5 per cent. Including Lexus,
company was “loathe to use those sorts of           imported vehicles.”                               Toyota Australia’s domestic sales total was
terms because of the pressure that’s on our            The record Toyota profit coincided with         even greater for its April 2007 to March
manufacturing operation”.                           an all-time Australian automotive industry        2008 financial year, at 248,647.
   Instead it quoted president Max Yasuda,          record of 1,049,982 new-vehicle sales in
who said Australian car-makers cannot               2007, a year in which Ford Australia posted                 FULL STORY: CLICK HERE



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                    GoAuto News                                                                                              July 23, 2008 Page 9




Lotus 2+2 position
Project Eagle emerges
as a cracking mid-engine
four-seater from Lotus
           By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS
BRITISH sportscar marque Lotus has
unveiled its first all-new vehicle since the
Elise of 1995 ahead of its global public
debut at this week’s British International
Motor Show in London.                             to accommodate passengers in the rear               Lotus boasts that prototypes have lapped
   Known as Project Eagle but to wear a           of the cabin, giving the car the external        Germany’s Nurburgring circuit faster than
name that will be revealed at the show today      characteristics of a small, nimble sportscar     the lighter, lither Elise, while stability is said
(July 23), it will be the only four-seater mid-   whilst belying its internal space”.              to be greater than the track-focused Exige.
engined vehicle on the market when sales             Or, in other words, there will be more           Yet the Project Eagle is described by Lotus
commence in Australia sometime later next         ‘real-world useability’ than the ultra-sharp     as “a more holistic offering than the Elise
year.                                             but crude and cramped Europa.                    and Exige” with the company making much
   Speculation in the UK suggests the all-           Like the Elise, the Eagle employs a super-    of the interior space, luxury, refinement and
new Lotus 2+2 will be priced against the          stiff, self-supporting bonded and riveted        technology.
Porsche Cayman S – which kicks off at             aluminium structure with forged aluminium           Seating is 2+2 in configuration, suggesting
$150,000 here.                                    double coil-over shock absorber wishbone         that the rear seats are for kids only, although
   Styled in-house by Lotus Design’s design       suspension at either end.                        they do include Isofix child-seat anchorage
boss Russell Carr, and reminiscent of the            Driving the rear wheels will be a 206kW       points. There is also ample foot room
firm’s M250 concept car of 2000, the Project       variation of the 3.5-litre VVTi V6 petrol        underneath the front seats.
Eagle will be Lotus’ flagship model until a        engine found in various Toyotas (including          Lotus says that a dedicated luggage area
larger mid-engined supercar in the Porsche        the Aurion, Kluger and RAV4), employing          can be ordered instead of the twin seats.
911 Turbo mould arrives after the turn of         extensive Lotus-devised modifications, as            A sweeping, sculptured dashboard
the decade, as part of Lotus CEO Mike             well as specially developed components for       featuring modern touches such as blue LED
Kimberley’s five-year strategic business           the six-speed manual gearbox.                    lighting, stylised instrumentation, a flat-
plan for the Proton-owned company.                   As Lotus is still finalising the production    bottomed steering wheel and flush-mounted
   With its 1970s Lancia Stratos-like             version, precise performance figures are not      edge-lit switchgear are also part of a cabin
wraparound windscreen and cab-forward             yet available, but do not bet against sub five-   aiming to be very upmarket.
proportions, Lotus intentionally designed         second sprint times to 100km/h, while top
the car to “brilliantly disguise its ability      speed has been revealed to be 256km/h.                      FULL STORY: CLICK HERE




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                    GoAuto News                                                                                              July 23, 2008 Page 10




Owners accept 6 cuts
Mazda claims owners are
okay with service offer,
despite missing price cuts
           By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS
MAZDA Australia claims to have had
“an overwhelming” reaction from existing
customers to the dramatic price reduction
                                                                                                                                         Mazda6
of its Mazda6 announced last week, which
slashes as much as $3920 from the recently        Mazda has carved out between $1750 (for the
introduced GH-series medium-sized car.            base model) and $3920 (top-line version) off            Mondeo price alert
   However, Mazda Australia has conceded          the price of the entire range. There has been no   EXPECT Ford Australia to react to Mazda’s
that some customers have wanted the               change in specification or equipment levels.        shock move of slashing prices up to almost
difference in price refunded rather than take        The move sees the Mazda6 Limited sedan          $4000 on its new Mazda6 mid-sizer by
up the offer of free servicing and, on selected   opening at $27,990 for the six-speed manual        cutting prices on its acclaimed Mondeo.
models, an increase in warranty.                  model.                                                Ford Australia president Bill Osborne
   “We’ve had plenty of feedback from                The three years of free scheduled servicing     said last week that Mazda’s move would
customers, and there have been one or two that    applies to the Limited and Classic models.         likely stimulate sales in the segment
have not been impressed by the move,” Mazda       The more expensive Luxury’s free service           and admitted that Ford could change
Australia Glenn Butler told GoAuto. “But the      regime extends to four years and 80,000km,         its pricing soon. “We are always alert to
vast majority have been very supportive of the    while the Luxury Sport adds an extra two           any competitors’ moves on pricing,” he
fact that we haven’t just ignored them, that we   years to its warranty (to five).                    said. “With the Mazda6, we’ve seen a
have offered this package.                           The “goodwill” offer effects around 3700        realignment down (and) it’s our standard
   “And it’s not just an offer. It’s basically    second-generation Mazda6 cars sold since           policy to review and react to any relevant
every car that’s been sold since the car’s        launch.                                            competitors’ price action.”
launch this year … now has three years’ free         Mr Butler rejected criticism that the resale
scheduled servicing.                              value of these cars will be adversely affected,
   “They see that as, ‘Well, we weren’t           stating that the goodwill package will probably
expecting it and now you’ve done this             offset any price drop-related slide because of
for us. That’s brilliant.’ (So it’s been)         its transferability to the next owner.
overwhelmingly positive.”
   After a slower-than-expected sales uptake               FULL STORY: CLICK HERE
for the latest Mazda6 launched in February,             Kazamai comes out – next page                                                   Mondeo



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                       GoAuto News                                                                                                July 23, 2008 Page 11




Kazamai comes out
We saw the sketch, now
Mazda uncovers its new
compact SUV concept
           By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS
MAZDA has chosen to reveal its latest
show car – the Kazamai – at the Moscow
International Automobile Salon on August
26, and speculation is mounting that it
presents the flavour of the compact SUV
that will ultimately replace the Tribute.
   Described as “a sporty, compact crossover
concept vehicle”, the Kazamai Concept’s                   However, the styling will be completely           drive system that will help keep emissions
name refers to “swirling crosswinds”. To               different inside and out to the German-built         and fuel usage competitively low.
that end, it is a further concept evolution of         Ford, just as the current Mazda2 shares                 The Tribute was Mazda’s first car-based
the 2006 Los Angeles Auto Show’s Nagare                no panels or interior bits with the next-            compact SUV and was available in several
(which means flow), as well as its Ryuga                generation Fiesta due here in 2009.                  iterations in Australia from early 2001 until
(gracious flow) from the 2007 Detroit show                 Do not go looking for the Kazamai                 the beginning of this year. Its spot in the
and Hakaze (flying leaf) from last year’s               concept car’s 22-inch wheels, exaggerated            line-up was eventually replaced by the more
Geneva show.                                           windscreen rake, ultra-low roofline or super-         expensive CX-7, effectively leaving Mazda
   This time, Mazda has added what it refers           thin pillars on the production car. Just as          without a cost-competitive rival to cheaper
to as “aerodynamic proportions” to the                 interesting as the Kazamai’s design theme is         vehicles such as the segment-leading Toyota
Nagare concept’s design, while retaining the           the CX-5’s expected mechanical make-up.              RAV4.
flowing lines that are meant to evoke nature               Mazda is dropping a big hint that, in                “We see significant opportunity for an SUV
and visual lightness.                                  some models at least, the “newly developed           below the CX-7,” said a Mazda spokesman.
   Expected to be dubbed the CX-5 when it              transmission” mentioned in the Kazamai               “And we would do everything we can to
enters production sometime late next year              press release may be a variation of the              bring this sort of vehicle to Australia.”
or in 2010, the kid brother to the CX-7 and            double-clutch automated gearbox that Ford               The Moscow show was chosen partly as
CX-9 soft-roaders will be closely related              recently debuted in various versions of the          a nod to Russia’s taste for compact SUVs,
under the skin to Ford’s Kuga – the recently           Focus in Europe.                                     which is the second-largest segment in that
released European compact SUV that is                     It will also be mated to a new range of           country’s booming market.
built on the C1 platform that also underpins           direct-injection engines in petrol and diesel                  Read more: Mazda sketch
the Ford Focus and Mazda3 small cars.                  formats, as well as an on-demand all-wheel                         shows Kuga cousin




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                    GoAuto News                                                                                            July 23, 2008 Page 12



Challenger rises
Mitsubishi will revive the
Challenger nameplate with
an all-new Triton-based SUV
By JAMES STANFORD and TERRY MARTIN
MITSUBISHI’S SUV ranks will swell
in the fourth quarter when it resurrects
the Challenger nameplate with an all-new
medium-sized off-roader based on the Triton                                                                                 All-new Challenger
4x4 one-tonne utility.
   Picking up where the previous Challenger          “I’m not underestimating the challenge             The Challenger will be joined by a
left off when it was discontinued at the end      of separation; there is a risk of some             micro SUV in 2010, which is based on
of 2006, the new model – to be launched at        cannibalisation there. Our trick will be           the Concept-cX and will slot in below the
the Moscow motor show next month – will,          positioning them and hopefully learning            Outlander. “There is definitely a market
like the donor Triton, be an off-road-oriented    some tricks from our big competitor                for the light crossover utility vehicles –
workhorse built using a separate chassis. It      (Toyota). They’re very good at being able          Outlander fits into that category and the new
will drop into the Mitsubishi line-up above       to slot in another one like Kluger with no         one fits below that,” said Mr McEniry. “You
the Outlander compact SUV and below the           impact on the other (models in the range).”        have two straddling that segment, which is
Pajero.                                              To be known as the Pajero Sport in Russia       growing.”
   “It gives us an opportunity to start           and other markets, as well as Montero Sport           In other changes to the Mitsubishi SUV
attacking groups like Kluger, Territory –         in South America, Nativa in Latin America          line-up, the company will introduce a diesel
although Territory is getting pretty old –        and Shogun in the UK, the new Challenger           version of the Outlander and a facelifted
and Captiva,” Mitsubishi Motors Australia         will offer seating for up to seven people (via     Pajero in September. With sales of most
Limited president Robert McEniry told             an optional third row) and a range of engines,     other Mitsubishi models increasing, Mr
GoAuto at this month’s Lancer Evolution           including a 2.5-litre and 3.2-litre common-        McEniry admitted the Pajero was one of
launch, adding that he did not believe the        rail direct-injection diesel, and a 3.5-litre V6   its vehicles that should be doing better. It
vehicle would steal sales from the Pajero.        petrol. These will drive through the Pajero’s      is down 664 sales on last year in a segment
   “I think there is a good opportunity to        Super Select 4WD system. Australian                that has grown significantly.
separate them (Challenger and Pajero). The        specifications are still to be announced.              Mitsubishi is likely to give the revised
engine configuration of the vehicles will             Mr McEniry said he expected the                 Pajero more of a marketing push, judging by
help separate them, towing capacity will          Challenger to make a valuable contribution         Mr McEniry’s admission that “I don’t think
separate them. So there are a few things that     to Mitsubishi Australia’s sales volume, but        we have given it a good enough whack on
will keep them apart.                             is expecting less than 1000 sales a month.         the backside”.




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                      GoAuto News                                                                                            July 23, 2008 Page 13




                            Everyday hero



 HSV creates an awesome sedan with
 the heart of a lion and the temperament of a tabby cat
                 By DAVID HASSALL                 that would be a waste of a great car – and             Hand-built in the US and dropped into the
THE seven-year gestation period of                probably a dubious financial choice as well.         W427 in a dedicated area at HSV’s Clayton
Australia’s first 7.0-litre supercar has given       What the 20-year-old HSV has done is              plant, the locally calibrated LS7 engine has an
it almost mythical status and GoAuto’s first       produce a car that ostensibly celebrates            exact capacity of 7008cc and pumps out some
experience of HSV’s final production car           the company’s original model, the race              375kW of power (500 horsepower in imperial
this week proves that the driving experience      homologation Group A special known to               lands) at 6500rpm and 640Nm of torque at
at least matches the hype.                        everyone as ‘the Walkinshaw’ – hence the            5000rpm running on 98 RON premium fuel.
   Putting the mighty HSV W427 through            ‘W’ in W427 – but it’s the differences more            There is simply too much power for an
its paces both on the road and the race track     than the similarities that distinguish the 21st-    automatic transmission, so the W427 comes
revealed a car with the heart of a lion and the   century version. Whereas the Walkinshaw             only with a six-speed Tremec TR6060
temperament of a pussycat.                        was a lumpy, overt, impractical and difficult        manual gearbox, which features two
   In the hands of Mark Skaife, even on a         beast, the W427 is exactly what a modern-           overdrive gears and slots through with little
desperately slippery Calder Raceway, the          day supercar ought to be, blending useability       fuss once you get used to it.
W427 feels and goes like a race car, yet it is    with red-hot performance.                              More impressive is the lightness and
can also be so docile and well mannered that        HSV first dabbled with a 7.0-litre engine          feel of the clutch, thanks to HSV’s revised
you would have no problem letting your mum        early in the decade and built a few Monaro-         actuator system that increases the leverage
drive it down the shop for a litre of milk.       based HRT 427 models, mainly for racing,            for that very reason. We didn’t drive the
   This is an impressive achievement and          but could not present a sufficiently good            car around town, but reckon it would be a
reflects the growing maturity of Holden            business case to put it into production and         breeze, even in stop-start traffic.
Special Vehicles – appropriate given that the     the project was abandoned.                             Put your foot down and the W427 leaps
company recently celebrated its 20th birthday.      Legend now tells how the project was              into life with an expected urgency, and the
   In another time, HSV may have gone             revived a few years ago when Holden                 power delivery is very linear from the mid-
hardcore and matched the mighty LS7               boss Denny Mooney met HSV owner Tom                 range, with no sudden peak in the torque
engine with a suspension that sat flat on the      Walkinshaw in a bar and suggested he could          curve, making it all feel very controllable,
track but rattled the fillings in your teeth,      access supply of the Chevrolet LS7 7.0-litre        without the risk of a sudden traction-
along with brakes, steering and clutch to         engine out of Detroit, and wouldn’t that            breaking surge mid-corner.
suit. It might have been a wild weapon with       make for a really special model to celebrate           It certainly makes light work of the car’s
a menacing edge, but perhaps not something        HSV’s 20th anniversary?                             considerable weight, which at 1874kg is
you would want to drive every day.                  Now here we are, sitting behind the               45kg more than a ClubSport R8 and 30kg
   No doubt many buyers will simply park          wheel of the fastest and most powerful local        more than both the GTS and Senator – all
their W427s and hope that in a couple             supercar ever launched onto Australian roads,       of which use the 6.2-litre LS3 engine that
of decades they will have an investment           one of only 90 that will be built this year, with   develops 317kW and 550Nm.
to match the Falcon GTHO Phase 3, but             production never to exceed 427 units.                           Continued next page


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                      GoAuto News                                                                                          July 23, 2008 Page 14




Everyday hero
          Continued from previous page
   HSV does not produce official performance
figures, but chief engineer Joel Stoddart said
that a 0-100km/h time of about 4.7 seconds
has been recorded, making it at least three-
quarters of a second faster than its manual-
equipped siblings, if not quite into European
supercar territory. The standing 400-metre
time is said to be just under 13 seconds.
   From the outside, the car sounds great
when revved hard thanks to active bi-modal
rear mufflers (which are needed to meet idle
and drive-by noise requirements), while
inside it is still pleasing but more muffled
than many hardcore HSV enthusiasts would
prefer, and is accompanied by a notable
level of induction sound.                         European cars with half the performance            the price of the GTS that previously topped
   Fourteen months of stability control           capability and underscored the W427’s              the HSV range. Even with limited supply,
calibration work has resulted in an ESC           unexpected daily drive credentials.                pushing the price envelope that far could be
system that is well-matched to the car and           The steering was also an admirable blend        a challenge.
non-interventional, allowing a healthy            of feel and lightness, although the wheel             It might be easier to justify if there was
amount of throttle oversteer without              itself is rather on the thick and hard side,       a real ‘wow factor’ with the interior and
being over-nannied while still providing a        lacking the quality feel you might expect at       exterior treatments, but the W427 really
comforting backstop.                              this price level.                                  looks like a regular HSV model with a few
   There is enormous grip available from             And that brings us to the elephant sitting      new enhancements.
the big tyres and the wet roads revealed          in the room – price.                                  The big style statements are the wheels
a progressive breakaway that is easy to              This is by far the most expensive car           (with a ‘castellated’ design graphic that
control, while the massive new front brakes       to ever wear an HSV badge, let alone a             extends to the exhaust tips and the W427
– featuring six-pot callipers for the first time   Holden badge, and $155,500 can buy a lot           badge), the low-key carbon fibre-look
in an HSV car – provide the sort of stopping      of car elsewhere. Just for starters, there’s the   rear spoiler and a red interior (which has
power required, but with a commendable            incredible BMW M3, which is just as quick          polarised opinion, with our view leaning to
level of feel.                                    and comes with a frankly incomparable level        the negative). HSV talks of a “unique face”
   What really surprised was the ride quality,    of mechanical sophistication and interior          for the W427, but only its aficionados will
which we were not expecting from a car            refinement.                                         spot the subtle differences.
like this running on 20-inch wheels (8-inch          Can any Commodore-based car really                 Inside, you get well-bolstered but quite
wide at the front and some 9.5-inch at the        be worth that sort of money? Of course             wide bucket seats and some nice glossy
rear) with low-profile performance tyres           not, but we suspect that does not matter a         ‘technical cubic’ detail finishes on both
(35-series front and 30-series rear), let alone   jot to potential buyers who simply want            the dash and steering wheel, but there
one that rides 20mm lower than a GTS and          the meanest, fastest Holden ever built and         remain many familiar HSV components
with 30 per cent stiffer springs and shock        probably hope that the original purchase           and Commodore giveaways that prevent the
absorbers all round.                              price will ultimately represent a good             W427 from feeling as special as it deserves.
   Revised calibration of HSV’s familiar          investment. Real estate or even a term                There is no question that the W427 is a
magnetic ride control (MRC) suspension has        deposit would probably be more effective,          high-water mark in HSV’s history – the
endeared the W427 with remarkably good            but where’s the fun in that?                       car they always wanted to build, they tell
manners over all but the sharpest of bumps,          HSV buyers have become increasingly             us – and also a performance, driving and
even when the dash-mounted ‘Track’ button         affluent over the past 20 years and perhaps         engineering benchmark. But it massively
has been selected for ultimate handling           still may not want to be seen driving an M3,       breaks a Holden/HSV price barrier and, if
performance.                                      but it will be interesting to see how they         it succeeds on that front, will go down as a
   Frankly, it felt more compliant than some      will respond to a car that is almost double        marketing benchmark as well.
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                      GoAuto News                                                                                           July 23, 2008 Page 15




Black magic
Super-exclusive SL65
AMG Black to become the
most expensive Benz ever
                 By DAVID HASSALL
THE most expensive Mercedes-Benz ever
offered for sale in Australia will arrive here
in about June 2009 – priced at close to
$600,000.
   But you had better move quickly if you
want to buy the exclusive SL65 AMG                model certainly stretches the envelope.             bigger than the regular SL65 AMG but also
Black Series because only 10 are coming              Considering that AMG told GoAuto                 work more efficiently and ultimately result
to Australia and four of those are already        recently that it no longer wants to chase           in an extra 43kW of power.
spoken for.                                       power outputs, the numbers for the SL65                Benz also claims that modified inlet
   Although this is the fourth Black Series       AMG Black Series are nothing short of               air ducting improves the power delivery
model offered by the German car-maker, the        amazing.                                            throughout the rev range while a new
hard-top SL will be only the second to come          The twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre V12              exhaust system not only boosts power but
here, following the recent CLK63 version,         engine pumps out 493kW of power and                 adds to the already awesome sound made by
of which 40 came here (including eight for        some 1000Nm of torque – and the torque              the AMG V12.
New Zealand) priced at ‘just’ $299,000.           figure is kept down because the engine                  It is not just the engine that makes the
   Being so far away from local release,          is electronically limited to save the               Black three-tenths of a second faster to
Mercedes-Benz Australia is not giving a           transmission. Without the nanny electronics,        100km/h than the ‘regular’ SL65 AMG – it
firm price at this stage but a spokesman told      AMG reckons the bi-turbo would peak at              has also shed some 250kg of weight.
GoAuto that it would start with a ‘5’ and         about 1200Nm.                                          Carbon-fibre reinforced plastic is used
would almost certainly be at the upper end           Do you need to know any more? Oh,                extensively – for the flared guards, the
of that scale. Not that it will matter one iota   acceleration? Well, it is a little quick, roaring   front air dam and rear spoiler, the bonnet
to anyone contemplating buying one of these       to 100km/h in just 3.9 seconds and onwards          and bootlid – as well as the redesigned
utterly outrageous and awesome devices.           to 320km/h before the electronic nannies            roof that replaces the regular SL ‘vario’
   The AMG Black Series has quickly               strike again.                                       roof. Eliminating all the electric retraction
established an intimidating reputation as the        AMG’s boffins assemble the engines                systems obviously saves quite a bit of
ultimate expression of Mercedes performance       by hand – one man, one engine – and                 weight as well.
– some kind of status symbol when you are         for the Black Series V12 they fit special
talking German marques – and the latest           turbochargers that are not only 12 per cent                  FULL STORY: CLICK HERE




                                                  DEALER PRINCIPAL–ELECT
                                                            Smith Motor Company – Pt Adelaide
            The name to remember!

                   If feel you have ability, experience and a positive ‘can-do’ attitude but thought an
                     equity opportunity would never come your way – you need to talk to us today!
     Smith Motor Company Pty Ltd, ‘Smith’s’, is a South Australian Holden icon in the motor industry with 86 years of history
     and is part of the Smith Motor Group of Companies, a highly successful Australian owned group of companies with
     significant interests in the motor and related industries with it’s head office in Port Adelaide.
     Due to significant current and planned Group growth, the position of Dealer Principal, Elect, has become available with
     Smith’s – Port Adelaide. While the initial appointment will be at General Manager level, equity participation together with
     full financial assistance*, subject to performance and franchisor approvals, will be offered to the successful candidate,
     based on our standard fully documented terms and conditions. We envisage that the equity position will be available
     within twelve months of initial appointment. (*Conditions apply).
     This is a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity for an equity position in an iconic South Australian Dealership, and as such you will
     need to have a proven track record in Senior General Management or in the Management of a large successful Dealership.
     Strengths in staff management, negotiating, team building, maintenance of franchisor relationships, preparation and
     achievement of agreed profit and business goals together with an ethical commercial acumen are essential, as is a
     commitment to customer satisfaction. Holden experience is preferred, but not essential.
     This is a rare strategic opportunity to join a dynamic and progressive motor group with Equity participation in an iconic
     South Australian Holden Dealership.
                                     Applications including a detailed CV should be sent to:
           Heather Jones, Group Human Resources Manager, Smith Motor Group, PO Box 272, Port Adelaide, SA 5015.
                     Email: heatherj@smithgroup.com.au • Fax: (08) 8400 7166 • Telephone: (08) 8400 7114
 John Mellor's                                                                                                  SUBSCRIBE FREE: www.mellor.net
                     GoAuto News                                                                                            July 23, 2008 Page 16




Epica’s new ‘oilskin’
Holden strives to revive
its Epica mid-sizer with
a facelift and a diesel
           By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS
HOLDEN has been quick to give its slow-
selling Epica a comprehensive makeover in
a bid for the mid-sized sedan to live up to its
lofty name.
   Out goes the oddball manual-only
2.0-litre in-line six-cylinder petrol engine
and in comes a variation of the 2.0-litre
four-cylinder turbo-diesel found in the It produces 110kW of power at 4000rpm                        parking radar on the better-equipped CDXi
strong-selling Captiva SUV.                     and 320Nm of torque at 2000rpm – the same            models and the introduction of heated front
   Already in Holden showrooms, the as the 1.9-litre CDTi unit found in the Opel-                    seats as part of the $2000 Leather Pack
Epica now comes with a standard six- sourced Holden Astra small car.                                 option complete the MY09 Epica upgrade.
speed automatic gearbox with Holden’s             The diesel’s combined fuel consumption                Although launched here in March 2007,
Tiptronic-style Active Select shift pattern, figure is 7.6L/100km whereas the 2.5-litre               the Epica is not a new car as the front-
six airbags and electronic                                      petrol engine in its new six-        wheel drive platform dates back to the 1997
stability control – with no
                                          PRICING:
                                                                speed auto guise manages             Daewoo Leganza. The petrol engine has
                                CDX 2.5 (a)          $27,990
increase to the prices of the                                   9.3L/100km (the same as              stayed largely the same, but the chassis has
                                CDX 2.0 diesel (a) $29,990
corresponding outgoing EP                                       the old five-speed auto).             been modified significantly along the way,
                                CDXi 2.5 (a)         $30,990
models.                                                         Power and torque outputs             while the exterior styling has also been
                                CDXi 2.0 diesel (a) $32,990
   Costing $2000 more than                                      (115kW at 5800 revs and              overhauled.
the petrol equivalent, the diesel is a Euro 237Nm at 2600rpm) also remain the same.                     As with the Captiva, Holden’s engineers
IV-compliant 2.0-litre SOHC 16-valve four-        You will spot the Epica by its smoother            have further revised the Epica’s steering and
cylinder unit featuring a Bosch common-rail appearance, thanks to a new grille and rear              suspension tune for Australian conditions
system with direct injection.                   valance, while the alloy wheels have also            and tastes. This included developing
   Like the Epica, the engine is made come in for a restyle.                                         different spring and damper rates, as well
by General Motors Daewoo Auto and                 Drivers are more likely to appreciate a            as working with tyre manufacturers to select
Technology (GM DAT) in South Korea, but steering column that is now adjustable for                   the right rubber.
was devised and developed in collaboration reach as well as height. A redesigned flip-
with Italy’s VM Motori engineering group. out key fob, the inclusion of a standard rear                        FULL STORY: CLICK HERE




                 NORTHPOINT
                                                   Fleet Account Manager
         • Number One Vehicle Franchise • Signi cant Sales Growth • Existing Customer Base
         This is an exceptional opportunity to join an extremely professional team within Australia’s number one vehicle franchise network.
         The position will be based at our Prospect site, and has responsibility for vehicle sales and account management of existing eet
         customers within the Northpoint Group.
         The successful candidate will join our current team of successful, experienced eet professionals. Exceptional customer
         relationship skills, effective time management and an uncompromising desire to achieve is required. The environment is positive,
         successful, fast paced and rewarding.
         We are looking for a highly driven individual, who is enthusiastic and able to demonstrate a proven history utilising the following
         skills and attributes:
         – Business to Business Sales experience.
         – Exceptional Negotiation expertise.
         – Business Administration.
         – Superior Customer Relationship focus.
         A track record of exceeding targets and a love of people and customer service will put you ahead of the rest. Additionally, you
         will have exceptional communication skills, attention to detail, ambition to succeed and enjoy the challenge of juggling many
         con icting demands simultaneously.
         Ideally candidates will have previous sales experience in the automotive industry, however, we welcome all candidates with a
         strong sales background to apply. Bene ts include use of a company car, generous commission structure, and a 5 day working
         week. For a con dential discussion please call Jacqui Lang, Human Resources Manager, on 0430 351 431.
         Applications should be sent via email to: HR@northpoint.com.au                                      www.northpoint.com.au
John Mellor's                                                                                         SUBSCRIBE FREE: www.mellor.net
                 GoAuto News                                                                                      July 23, 2008 Page 17




       Martec                                           Safety pins
   Service Adviser
   2-day Training Course
         16 & 17 September
           – Melbourne –

   The Martec Service Adviser
      Training Course forms
      a valuable part of any
   Service Adviser’s skills set,
     and can help them turn                                                                                               VW Golf 2004
       more of your service                   Survey finds some used cars are safe, but others...
      centre customers into                           By JAMES STANFORD                      Dr Newstead said there was a dramatic
         REPEAT clients.              REAL-WORLD car crash data has revealed              difference in the safety levels of the used cars.
                                      vehicles costing as little as $5000 can                “The worst-rating vehicle (Daihatsu Rocky
       ‘Research shows that           provide a high level of occupant protection.        1985-98) presented more than eight times the
       Service Advisers can              The 2008 Used Car Safety Ratings                 risk of death or serious injury to people in a
      deter customers from            (UCSR) compiled by the internationally              crash than best-rated vehicles such as the VW
                                      renowned Monash University Accident                 Golf/Jetta (2004-2006),” he said.
    coming back, due to poor
                                      Research Centre (MUARC), with support                  Perhaps predictably, older vehicles were
      handling techniques.’           from motoring groups such as the RACV,              not deemed as safe as more modern vehicles,
                                      TAC and VicRoads, reveal that safety does           but there were some exceptions.
     Martec’s 2-day program           not have to cost a fortune.                            “Pre-1995 models again dominated the
    provides in-depth training           The findings also indicate that some other        worst performers in each class, although
    to your Service Adviser to        models, especially commercial vehicles, have        some relatively new vehicles such as
  ensure your customers keep          alarmingly low levels of occupant protection.       Hyundai Getz models from 2002 to 2006
                                         To come up with the results, the MUARC           also performed poorly,” said Dr Newstead.
     coming back – willingly!         team analysed 3.2 million crashes in                   Of the models on the Best Performing
                                      Australia and New Zealand involving 349             Vehicles list, the oldest were the 1986-1994
      Registrations Essential         different cars between 1986 and 2006.               Citroen BX, the 1986-1997 Saab 9000 and
                                         Among the cars deemed the safest by              the 1994-2001 Peugeot 306.
      Contact Tom Cullen on
                                      MUARC is the 1994-2001 Peugeot 306                     The newest vehicles on the Worst Performing
     0412 165 101 or email            which can be bought for as little as $5000,         Vehicles list include the 2002-2006 Getz, the
   tom.cullen@au.thewg.com            and the 1997-2003 Holden Vectra which               1989-1995 Holden Rodeo, 1990-1995 Toyota
      for more information.           starts off for around the same amount.              HiAce, 1982-2000 Suzuki Carry, 1991-1996
                                         Also earning recognition for high levels         Nissan NX, 1990-1996 Daihatsu Mira and the
                                      of safety are the 1997-2002 Subaru Forester,        1985-2000 Suzuki Alto.
                                      which has a starting price of around $7000,            Dr Newstead said MUARC had changed
                                      and the 1997-2001 Honda CR-V, which costs           the way it tabled the data for this year’s study.
                                      as little as $8000. Another used car under          While last year’s ratings evaluated how a
                                      $10,000 that was singled out for its safety         vehicle protected its occupants and other
        martec training               was the 1999-2003 Mitsubishi Nimbus,                road users involved in the crash separately,
                                      which starts at about $9000.                        this time it combined both of these aspects
                                         MUARC senior researcher Dr Stuart                into a single rating.
                                      Newstead said that of the 349 vehicles rated,          “We’ve introduced the new ratings system
                                           89 of them scored “better” than average,       to express the relative performance of each
                                           while 26 of them scored “much better”          vehicle in preventing death or serious injury
                                           than average.                                  to everyone involved in a crash – not just the
                                              He said it was positive to see some of      occupants of the rated vehicle, but cyclists,
                                           the most affordable models recording           pedestrians and occupants of other vehicles,”
                                           strong results, but disappointing to see how   said Dr Newstead. He said the used-car crash
                        Peugeot 306 2001 poorly some other vehicles performed.            test ratings were especially relevant because
                                              “As we’ve seen with previous years’         they were calculated with real-world data
                                           results, very few commercial vehicles,         rather than simulated crash tests.
                                           either large 4WDs or light vehicles, scored       RACV chief engineer Michael Case said
                                           well, which remains a big concern given        motorists can cite the used-car crash test
                                           these vehicles’ continued popularity,” he      results to help them make safer buying
                                           said. “In fact, only one of the commercial     decisions.
                                           vans, the Ford Transit from 2001 to 2006,
Hyundai Getz 2002
                                           rated above average.”                             BEST & WORST PERFORMERS: CLICK HERE
John Mellor's                                                                                                  SUBSCRIBE FREE: www.mellor.net

                    GoAuto Green                                  Green issues in the auto world                           July 23, 2008 Page 18


                                  Custom Fleet
                                  Part of GE Commercial Finance
                                                                  GoAuto Green is brought
                                                                  to you by Custom Fleet


Nice one
Nice Car Company set for
electric sales as Fisker
signs Valmet for Karma

                By TERRY MARTIN
AMONG the green machines making their
mark at this week’s British                                                                                                              Karma
International Motor Show
is the Nice Car Company’s                                             former commercial head       Automotive’s annual production for Karma
Ze-O electric car.                                                       of Lotus Engineering      is projected to reach 15,000 cars, although it
   Details were thin on the                                                  Evert Geurtsen.       has not specified a timeframe.
ground as GoAuto closed                                                         Meanwhile,            This latest move could also mark the
for publication last night,                                                   over at the          beginning of a number of green models
but on the eve of the motor                                                   Californian-         emanating from Valmet, including
show        representatives                                                   based      Fisker    forthcoming hybrids from Porsche.
from the niche British                                                        Automotive, the         “The strategic partnership with Fisker
manufacturer vowed to bring                                                 company headed         Automotive will open a new window for
the Ze-O to market in Europe and the              Ze-O                     by former Aston         Valmet,” said Valmet Automotive president
UK later this year for £14,000 ($A28,600)                     Martin and BMW designer Henrik       Ilpo Korhonen. “Our production process can
– and took a swipe at manufacturers of less       Fisker announced last week that Finnish          be easily adapted to the production of electric
practical electric sportscars, such as Tesla      contract manufacturer Valmet Automotive          and hybrid cars and new body designs. In
Motors and Fisker Automotive.                     – which currently builds the Boxster and         line with our renewed strategy, engineering
   “All-electric sportscar prototypes are         Cayman for Porsche AG – would produce            will have a strong role in the co-operation.”
eye-catching and interesting,” said Nice          the forthcoming Fisker Karma plug-in
co-founder and former Rolls-Royce                 electric hybrid sports sedan.                           Electric i-car hope
engineer Julian Wilford. “However, we                Proclaimed by Fisker as “the world’s first
all know customers want practical electric        true luxury plug-in hybrid sportscar”, the        MITSUBISHI is looking to bypass the
cars and they want them sooner rather than        Karma is due to begin rolling off the Valmet      hybrid car phenomenon in Australia and
later. The Ze-O is a genuinely spacious and       assembly line in the fourth quarter of 2009.      become the first car-maker to launch a mass-
affordable car – it’s coming to the UK this       It will offer an 80km electric range, around      produced all-electric vehicle, beginning with
Autumn (Australian Spring) and to the rest        600km in total range, a 200km/h top speed         the production version of the i-MiEV Sport
of Europe during 2009.”                           and 0-100km/h acceleration of about six           unveiled at the Tokyo motor show last year.
   The zero-emissions Ze-O was designed           seconds.                                             The four-door four-seater micro car uses
in Europe and will be built in China. It has         “Valmet offers us the quality and speed        lithium-ion batteries (recharged over about
a range of around 100km and a maximum             necessary to meet our production goals,           seven hours from a standard mains power
speed of about 90km/h. Optional longer-           and given that more than half of Fisker           outlet) and has a range of about 160km.
range lithium-ion battery options will be         Automotive’s sales are expected to be outside     Production is set to commence next year,
available “soon” after its launch.                of North America, Valmet represents an ideal      although the first wave of orders will come
   The Nice Car Company is described              international foothold,” said Henrik Fisker       from Japanese government fleets. Private
as a “venture dedicated to bringing the           last week, adding that the company also           domestic sales are expected to start in
best in environmentally clean vehicles to         had a strategic plan to utilise an American       2010, with exports beginning around the
market”. The other company founder is             manufacturing site for future models. Fisker      same time.




                                  Drive Lightly with
                                  Custom Fleet.
                                  To find out how to reduce your
                                  fleet’s carbon footprint, call
                                  Custom Fleet on 1800 812 681.
John Mellor's                                                                                                                 SUBSCRIBE FREE: www.mellor.net
                    GoAuto News                                                                                                          July 23, 2008 Page 19



                          Up Close on Personnel
                          Up Close on Personnel                                                              motor staff
                           Brought to you by Motor Staff - The Motor Industry’s No1 Recruitment Specialist   sales•service•parts•admin


GM CUTBACKS RUN DEEP AS WAGONER DELIVERS ‘NECESSARY STEPS’
                By TERRY MARTIN
GENERAL Motors last week announced
massive cost cuts, including an unspecified
number of salaried job terminations, and
several other measures designed to increase
its liquidity by $US15 billion through 2009.
   As Holden executives yesterday
celebrated the official launch of the
Australian-engineered Chevrolet Camaro
sportscar, the shocking GM news that came
last week – with the warning of more tough
times and decisions in the months ahead –
                                                                                                                          GM’s Arlington, Texas, SUV plant
remained close to the surface.
   In these latest cutbacks, GM will slash While the company believes this is enough                           are still to be released, GM management
more than 20 per cent in payroll for salaried to meet its 2008 funding requirements, the                       said last week that the actions outlined in the
workers in the US and Canada, eliminate additional measures announced last week                                plan took into account its poor performance
health care for US white-collar retirees, and are designed to “bolster liquidity to protect                    during this period – and also divulged that
suspend the annual share dividend of $US1 against a prolonged US downturn”.                                    it will report “a significant second-quarter
per GM share.                                      Through a number of internal operating                      loss” driven by industrial action in North
   “We are responding aggressively                          changes and other actions, GM                      America as well the continued weakness
to the challenges of today’s US                             expects to generate $US10 billion                  in the US auto market and the “adverse
auto market,” said GM chairman                              of cumulative cash improvements                    vehicle segment mix” with its over-reliance
and CEO Rick Wagoner. “We will                              by the end of 2009. Of these,                      on sales from pick-up trucks and SUVs.
continue to take the steps necessary                        “headcount reductions” and benefit                     “The actions announced today are
to align our business structure with                        changes will result in estimated                   difficult decisions, but necessary to respond
the lower vehicle sales volumes                             cash savings of $US1.5 billion                     to the current auto market conditions,” Mr
and shifts in sales mix. We remain                          next year.                                         Wagoner said. “Even under conservative
committed to bringing to market Rick Wagoner The company also anticipates                                      planning scenarios, GM is well-positioned
great products that target changing                       rasing between $US4 and $US7                         to withstand the US market downturn
consumer preferences for more fuel-efficient billion through asset sales and financing                           and emerge a stronger company. We have
vehicles.                                        activities. The former could include sale of                  a solid position in the rapidly growing
   “Today’s actions, combined with those the Hummer brand, an option specifically                               emerging markets, a global operating
of the past several years, position us not referred to in a statement released last week                       framework that allows us to respond to
only to survive this tough period in the US, that estimated $US2-4 billion could be                            changes in the US market, a commitment to
but to come out of it as a lean, strong and generated. No other brand was mentioned.                           technology leadership, and an ever stronger
successful company.”                               “Outside advisors are currently engaged in                  and competitive product line-up.”
   GM’s sales have fallen 16.3 per cent this evaluating alternatives,” the statement said.                        GM based its actions on the assumption
year compared to the first half of 2007, “A strategic analysis of the Hummer brand                              that total US light-vehicle sales would not
amid economic conditions the company has is underway, and GM is continuing to focus                            exceed 14 million units in 2008 or 2009 –
portrayed as “a weak US economy, record on profit improvement initiatives across all                            the lowest sales level in more than a decade.
high fuel prices, shifts in consumer vehicle remaining GM brands.” The specifics of                             Other “planning assumptions” included a
preferences and the lowest US industry these for Holden are not yet known.                                     lower US market share for the company of
sales volumes in a decade”.                        While its second-quarter financial results                   about 21 per cent, and continued elevated
   The top American manufacturer revealed                                                                      oil price estimates ranging from $130 to
that at the end of the first quarter 2008 it had        If you have any car industry personnel                  $150 per barrel by 2009.
                                                       announcements, please email them to
liquidity of $US23.9 billion, with access to US           Terry Martin at tmartin@mellor.net                      If the crisis deepens, more cutbacks are
credit facilities of an additional $US7 billion.                                                               certain to follow.
 John Mellor's                                                                                                  SUBSCRIBE FREE: www.mellor.net
                         GoAuto News                                                                                        July 23, 2008 Page 20


GoAuto’s latest car review                                                                                         www.GoAuto.com.au


                                                                  Honda Accord Euro sedan
                                                 WE’VE heard it all before and we’ll hear it all again. Car companies saying they benchmarked
                                                 their latest model against the BMW 3 Series – funny how it’s never the Kia Credos – and so
                                                   it is with the all-new Accord Euro. So where does the all-new Honda sedan fit in the New
                                                    World Order? If the tactile Ford Mondeo drives like a cut-price BMW and the Mazda6 has
                                                     the roundedness of a Mercedes, then the base Euro II is all about detail and finesse – much
                                                    like an Audi, you might say, but at Skoda prices. Ladies and gentlemen, at $32,990 plus
                                                    on-roads, prepare to be impressed by the base model.
                                                    on-                                                            CAR REVIEW: CLICK HERE


GWM DUAL CAB: SA230                                                                                  MITSU RACER EMERGES
                                                      Launch Pad
GOAUTO can reveal that Great Wall                       brought to you by                            THE Mitsubishi Motors Corporation
Motor’s forthcoming launch vehicle, known                                                            motorsport division will use the Paris motor
to be a dual-cab ute using an alphanumeric           JULY:                                           show in October to reveal its next-generation
                                                     Audi A3 Cabrio                                  racing car. Codenamed MRX09 (Mitsubishi
name after GoAuto’s exclusive report last
                                                     BMW X6 SUV                        Sportwagon    Rally ‘Cross-country’ 2009), the vehicle is
month, will be called the SA230.                     Holden Colorado ute
   Just as importer Ateco Automotive has                                                             based on the (CJ) Lancer Sportback that was
                                                     Holden Sportwagon
abridged Great Wall Motor to GWM in                                                                  recently previewed, employing modified
                                                     HSV W427 sedan
Australia, the Sailor dual-cab has been              Mazda RX-8 facelift                       X6    versions of its four-wheel drive system,
reduced to SA. The 230 refers to the 2.3-litre       Mitsubishi Lancer Evo                           drivetrain, suspension and brakes. However,
four-cylinder petrol engine powering the             Nissan Navara King Cab                          the racing Lancer boasts it own carbon-fibre
vehicle from launch. A 2.8-litre turbo-diesel        Nissan X-Trail diesel               A3 Cabrio   bodywork, and uses a new CAD-engineered
engine is due to come on line during 2009.             New model diary: CLICK HERE                   multi-tubular steel frame that allows for an
   The news comes as GWM was last week                                                               optimised mechanical layout.
barred from importing its Peri small hatch                                                                     FULL STORY: CLICK HERE
into Europe after a Turin court ruled that it
was too similar to the Fiat Panda.
                                                                                                     FIXED ON SERVICING
                 FULL STORY: CLICK HERE                                                              THE Toyota Service Advantage fixed-price
                                                                                                     maintenance plan has been extended to cover
ALFA EXTENDS 159 Ti                                                                                  all models in the Toyota range, following
ALFA ROMEO has re-released Ti versions of                                                            the inclusion of the LandCruiser 70 Series
its 159. However, the Tourism International         VXR ’RING EDITION                                for the first time.
designation will be a first for the diesel and                                                           All 70 Series models carrying July 2008
Sportswagon models in Australia, as well as         HSV has launched a limited edition version
                                                                                                     compliance plates or later are eligible for
the more traditional petrol-powered sedans.         of its Astra-based turbocharged four-cylinder
                                                                                                     the capped-price service offer, which in
   Three of the four 159 engine options             VXR, which is called the Nurburgring
                                                                                                     this case includes six standard scheduled
get the Ti treatment – the 136kW/230Nm              Edition in honour of the mightiest race
                                                                                                     services for $250 each, including GST –
2.2-litre JTS four-cylinder petrol, the             circuit in the world.
                                                                                                     saving customers a claimed $1528.
147kW/400Nm 2.4-litre JTD four-cylinder                Production in Europe has been limited
                                                                                                        Buyers of the Australian-made Camry and
turbo-diesel, and the 191kW/322Nm                   to 835 – because the car recorded a lap
                                                                                                     Aurion sedans are entitled to four standard
3.2-litre V6 petrol. The entry-level 1.9-litre      time at the German track of eight minutes
                                                                                                     scheduled services under the capped-price
JTD four-cylinder turbo-diesel misses out.          and 35 seconds – and only 20 examples
                                                                                                     plan, with all other Toyota models including
According to importer Ateco Automotive,             are coming to Australia, the first of which
                                                                                                     six services. Fixed-price services for Toyota’s
the Ti package has around $10,000 worth of          landed this week and is available now. It
                                                                                                     Corolla, for example, cost $120 each,
extra features and modifications for a $5000         sells for $44,990, which is $2000 more than
                                                                                                     saving at least a claimed $500 over the six
price increase on the four-cylinder 159s, and       the mechanically identical regular VXR,
                                                                                                     services spanning 60,000km or three years of
for just a $2000 increase on the V6.                and comes with bigger 18-inch wheels with
                                                                                                     ownership – whichever comes first.
                                                    ultra-low-profile tyres, carbon fibre-look
                 FULL STORY: CLICK HERE             interior inserts and unique graphics.                      FULL STORY: CLICK HERE




           Stop advertising. Start selling.

								
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