US EPA Report A Warning For Australia

Australia’s peak motoring body calls upon the Australian Government to closely examine the factors which led the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to overnight declare current US greenhouse gas emission standards for light vehicles too stringent and in need of amendment.

The EPA Determination said the 2012 introduction of strict CO2 emission standards has resulted in significant price rises for new vehicles and related negative effects for consumers, including for road safety.

The Report says vehicle manufacturers are confronted with many challenges from the strict CO2 emission standards:

“…due to feasibility and practicability, raises potential concerns related to vehicle safety, and results in significant costs to consumers, especially low-income consumers.”

The Determination confirms the need for the Australian Government to ensure vehicle emission standards currently being developed are realistic and achievable.

AAA Chief Executive Michael Bradley said: “This report is a timely reminder of the need to set sensible and achievable CO2 emissions limits for Australian vehicles.

“With the Government due to release new emission standards shortly, it is important it fully consider the factors that led to America setting unachievable targets and the various impacts this has had upon motorists.

“The AAA supports the introduction of a CO2 standard for Australian new light vehicles that is appropriate to Australia’s fleet and requirements, preserves vehicle choice, and delivers credible environmental benefit.”

The EPA determination points to many perverse policy outcomes due to vehicle manufacturers being forced to increase vehicle prices, such as households being unable to purchase new, lower emission vehicles, instead keeping their older, higher emitting vehicles, longer.

The EPA Determination is here:  https://www.epa.gov/regulations-emissions-vehicles-and-engines/midterm-evaluation-light-duty-vehicle-greenhouse-gas

Mazda And Toyota Establish Joint-Venture Company

Mazda Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor Corporation have established their new joint-venture company “Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, U.S.A., Inc.” (MTMUS) that will produce vehicles in Huntsville, Alabama starting in 2021.

The new plant will have the capacity to produce 150,000 units of Mazda’s crossover model that will be newly introduced to the North American market and 150,000 units of the Toyota Corolla. The facility is expected to create up to 4,000 jobs. Toyota and Mazda are investing $1.6 billion towards this project with equal funding contributions.

“We hope to make MTMUS a plant that will hold a special place in the heart of the local community for many, many years,” said Mazda’s Executive Officer Masashi Aihara, who will serve as President of MTMUS. “By combining the best of our technologies and corporate cultures, Mazda and Toyota will not only produce high-quality cars but also create a plant employees will be proud to work at and contribute to the further development of the local economy and the automotive industry. We hope that cars made at the new plant will enrich the lives of their owners and become much more than just a means of transportation.”

“The new plant, which will be Toyota’s 11th manufacturing facility in the U.S., not only represents our continuous commitment in this country, but also is a key factor in improving our competitiveness of manufacturing in the U.S.,” said Hironori Kagohashi, executive general manager of Toyota and MTMUS’s Executive Vice President. “We are committed to realizing a highly competitive plant and producing vehicles with the best quality for customers by combining Toyota and Mazda’s manufacturing expertise and leveraging the joint venture’s synergies. Based on this competitiveness, we will make every effort to becoming a best-in-town plant that will be loved by our hometown,” he added.

In collaboration with the state of Alabama and the city of Huntsville, MTMUS will soon begin land preparation for the new plant, and the full-scale construction of the plant is expected to start in 2019.

Jaguar E-PACE Achieves Five-Star ANCAP Safety Rating

All variants of the new Jaguar E-PACE have achieved an industry-recognised 5-star ANCAP safety rating.

Jaguar’s first compact SUV has been tested to provide the highest standard of safety, with high scores of 86 per cent for adult occupant protection, 87 per cent for child occupant protection and 77 per cent for pedestrian protection.

The E-PACE performed well in the side and frontal test for both adult and child occupants. In the pedestrian tests, E-PACE scored highly, particularly for the protection of a pedestrian’s head in the event of a collision.

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) is Australasia’s leading independent vehicle safety advocate. ANCAP recommends 5 star rated cars.

“The Jaguar E-PACE scored well across all assessment areas and features a ‘pop-up’ bonnet and external airbag to improve head protection for struck pedestrians,” said ANCAP Chief Executive, James Goodwin.

E-PACE features a comprehensive suite of standard safety systems, including Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection. The advanced technology is able to detect a collision risk with cars or pedestrians in the road ahead and automatically apply the brakes.

In safety assist tests, E-PACE performed well with a score of 72 per cent. The Autonomous Emergency Braking system demonstrated its high reliability when tested at highway speeds of 80km/h.

Advanced driver assistance systems available on the Jaguar E-PACE include:

  • Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection: provides an audible forward collision warning and should the driver not take action, applies the brakes to help reduce the severity of a collision or prevent it
  • Matrix-Laser LED headlights: use Intelligent High Beam Assist (IHBA) and Adaptive Front Lighting (AFL) to split the main beam into imperceptible vertical strips that maximise the light around oncoming traffic while casting a shadow in front of oncoming vehicles to prevent dazzling
  • Lane Keep Assist: detects unintentional lane drift and applies corrective counter-steering to maintain lane position
  • Driver Condition Monitor: senses driver fatigue by monitoring steering, brake and accelerator inputs to provide alerts when tiredness is detected
  • Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist: automatically reduces speed should the vehicle ahead slow down and, once the road ahead is clear, will resume its pre-set speed
  • Pedestrian Airbag: deploys an exterior airbag in the event of a collision to protect pedestrians and cyclists from contact with the bonnet and windscreen
  • Reverse Traffic Monitor: warns the driver of vehicles, pedestrians or other hazards approaching from either side of the vehicle, providing audio and visual alerts
  • Blind Spot Assist: alerts the driver to vehicles in, or fast approaching, the blind spot with a flashing warning light and will guide the car safely away if the vehicle begins to change lanes.

All tests were carried out by sister company Euro NCAP.

Axalta Named Official Paint Partner Of NASCAR

NASCAR and Axalta (NYSE: AXTA), announced a multi-year agreement making Axalta, once again, the “Official Paint Partner of NASCAR.”

“Our affiliation with NASCAR runs deep,” said Charles Shaver, Chairman and CEO, Axalta. “We were the Official Finish for nearly 20 years before taking some time to strategically develop our program. Today, with this new agreement, we can grow our reach and leverage partnerships throughout the sport for business development opportunities with like minded companies who need or use coatings. Motorsports represents all the things we see in ourselves; team work, high performance, a drive to be better, and winning!”

As part of the partnership, Axalta joins the NASCAR Fuel for Business Council®, bringing together an exclusive group of more than 50 Official NASCAR Partners to buy and sell products and services from one another. Axalta develops, manufactures and supplies coatings to nearly anything with wheels, along with thousands of industrial applications that exist throughout the world. Nearly anything that needs paint for protection, weatherability, durability or an enhanced appearance will have use for Axalta’s highly engineered products.“

Axalta is a category leader and we’re pleased to welcome them back to our diverse portfolio of Official Partners,” said Daryl Wolfe, Chief Sales and Partnership Officer, NASCAR and ISC. “This new agreement is largely in place due to the strong return on investment Axalta receives in the sport. This partnership will further complement that integrated approach and drive business for years to come.”

Axalta has a long tradition of excellence in NASCAR, dating back to 1992 when it sponsored a 21-year-old rookie from California, Jeff Gordon. In 2016, Axalta became the fifth Founding Partner at Daytona International Speedway’s (DIS) new motorsports stadium, receiving 32,000 square feet of branding and engagement opportunities in the Center Injector. Additionally, the brand serves as a primary sponsor with Hendrick Motorsports, a partnership that has been in place for more than a quarter century.

Axalta’s relationship with the sanctioning body dates to 1996, when it became an Official Partner, a partnership that spanned 17 years.

Three Trophies For Kia At The 2018 ‘iF’ Design Awards

Kia Motors has won three prestigious 2018 ‘iF design’ Awards, reinforcing the brand’s reputation for striking car design. The new Kia Stinger fastback sports sedan, Stonic compact crossover and Picanto city car were each awarded prizes in the ‘Product Design’ category.

2018 marks the second consecutive year in which Kia has won three iF awards, and the ninth consecutive year the company has received an iF award. This latest hat-trick of awards brings the manufacturer’s total number of iF design prizes to 15.

The Stinger, designed at Kia’s European design centre in Frankfurt, Germany, marries classic gran turismo design with a spacious and cosseting interior. Taking inspiration from the grand tourers of the 1970s, the Stinger features elegant fastback proportions and a muscular ‘Coke bottle’ shape down its flanks, highlighting its rear-wheel biased power delivery.

Also designed in Frankfurt, the Stonic, Kia’s debut compact crossover, offers a striking and bold exterior design, combined with an elevated seating position and practical SUV format. It is the most customisable Kia ever made, offering buyers a wide choice of two-tone paint combinations and interior colours.

The third-generation of the Kia Picanto – Kia’s smallest car – brings a youthful and energetic character to the A-segment. It boasts a distinctive new design and a high-quality, high-tech cabin, with huge potential for customisation. Despite its compact dimensions, the Picanto’s intelligent design makes it one of the most spacious cars in its class.

iF design Award 2018: 6,400 submissions from 54 countries

Since it was launched in 1953, the iF design Award has become one of the world’s most important prizes for excellence in design. The award has its origins in the ‘Formgerechte Industrieerzeugnisse’ (Good Industrial Design) product shows initiated by the Hannover Messe and is now one of the world’s largest design competitions. In 2018, companies from 54 countries submitted 6,402 products to be judged by an independent international jury of 63 design experts.

iF design awards are presented across seven categories: Product, Packaging, Communication, Service Design / UX, Architecture, Interior Design, and Professional Concept. Kia’s new models have been honoured in the Product Design category.

The official presentation ceremony for the 2018 iF design Awards will take place on 9 March 2018 at BMW Welt in Munich.

The Textalyzer, A New Weapon Against Text Driving

The Governor of the US State of New York, Andrew Cuomo, is taking drastic action to combat and prosecute people who text and drive. Twelve people were killed there between 2011 and 2015 in mobile-related accidents, and there were 2784 injuries. And no fewer than 1.2 million fines were issued due to use of a smartphone in the same period. Cuomo has now equipped his police with a new tool: the Textalyzer.

The software from Cellebrite Mobile Synchronisation, can establish whether a text message was written on a mobile phone at a certain time. To do so, the policeman connects the Textalyzer to the mobile phone of a driver who has had an accident. The device then displays whether and when the phone has been used and for what purpose. Drivers who were writing messages at the wheel could be unmasked by the device.

It is estimated that a driver travels blindly for 14 metres if they glance at their smartphone for just one second while travelling at 50 km/h.

More than 3500 people were killed on Germany’s roads in 2015. According to estimates made in a study by Allianz-Versicherung, one tenth of them died because they were distracted, and it is likely that in many cases this was due to their smartphone.

New Mercedes-AMG Safety Car For The 2018 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour

For the fourth consecutive year, Mercedes-Benz Cars Australia will supply the Safety and Course cars to ensure the smooth running of the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-Hour Race, from February 2-4, 2018.

The field will be led by the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+ Safety Car and when needed, will corral the high-powered field across all on-track sessions, including Sunday’s race. Equipped with a 4.0-litre biturbo V8 engine pumping out 450 kW of power and 850 Nm of torque, the AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+ Safety Car is able to sprint from zero to 100 km/h in just 3.4 seconds and reach an electronically controlled top speed of 300 km/h.

Also lending a helping hand, a pair of Mercedes-AMG C 63 S models plus two Mercedes-AMG C 43 4MATIC saloons will perform official duties as Course Cars across the weekend at Mount Panorama.

Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour Event Director John Casey welcomed Mercedes-Benz back to ‘Australia’s International Endurance Race’.

“It is fantastic to once again be working with Mercedes-Benz. They have an outstanding presence both on and off the track that I know our fans really enjoy.

“We value our partnership with Mercedes-Benz enormously and thank them for their ongoing support.”

Following the conclusion of the 12-Hour race, a group of Mercedes-AMG customers will be able to join the on-track action on Monday and Tuesday. Participants will pilot a fleet of performance-focused Mercedes-AMG cars through an exciting series of exercises under the tutelage of professional racing instructors, culminating in the ultimate experience – laps of the famous 6.2-kilometre Mount Panorama circuit.

ANCAP Awards Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 5-Star Safety Rating

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) has announced that the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has awarded the all-new Eclipse Cross SUV Coupe the highest 5-star safety rating. The ANCAP revealed that the Eclipse Cross achieved a 97 per cent rating for Adult Occupant Protection and an 80 per cent Pedestrian Protection rating.

The new SUV Coupe’s ‘Forward Collision Mitigation’ system performed well, with collisions avoided or mitigated in all test scenarios and at all test speeds. Overall, the Eclipse Cross scored maximum points in many of the tests performed, helping the vehicle to secure the highest safety rating possible.

This 5-star ANCAP safety rating will apply to all variants of the Eclipse Cross SUV. MMC began shipment of the new Eclipse Cross compact SUV to Australia already with sales will commencing this month.

Mercedes-Benz X-Class Awarded Five Stars For Safety

With five stars, the new X-Class has been awarded the highest possible score in the independent safety test “Euro NCAP Test”. The Mercedes-Benz ute impressed in the categories of occupant safety, child safety, pedestrian protection and assistance systems.

The X-Class owes this result above all to its especially sturdy body with high-strength passenger cell and a structure with front and rear ends capable of absorbing energy through selective deformation as well as with an exceptionally large number of safety systems for the ute segment. The X-Class comes as standard with, for example, seven airbags and the i-Size attachment system for two child seats. The other safety highlights include Active Brake Assist and Lane Keeping Assist. Added to these are the trailer stability program, tyre pressure monitoring, front and rear disc brakes and cruise control. Also as standard, the X-Class Power comes with a 360-degree camera and the Pure and Progressive are equipped with a reversing camera.

Neuville Survives Chaos To Win World Rally Australia Crown

Thierry Neuville has survived chaotic last-minute conditions to record his first Kennards Hire Rally Australia victory. Neuville had an early scare as torrential rain made the morning stages almost undriveable but he was able to pull clear when it counted to supply Hyundai with a perfect end to the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship season.

Jari-Matti Latvala’s pursuit of Neuville from second place ended dramatically when his Toyota Gazoo Racing Yaris crashed into trees after sliding wide on a fast left-hand corner on the 20th and final stage in the Wedding Bells State forest. The uninjured but distraught Finn retired on the spot, elevating M-Sport driver Ott Tanak to second place in a Ford Fiesta and a surprised New Zealander Hayden Paddon to third in another Hyundai.

Five-times World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier (M-Sport) won the points-paying Power Stage that closed the rally and the season and finished fourth after a weekend beset with problems.

The 29-year-old Neuville recorded his fourth victory of the season, double Ogier’s score in achieving his fifth straight drivers’ world championship last month. He also hoisted his 54th special stage win of the 2017 season in the first run through Wedding Bells this morning, astonishingly also more than double Ogier‘s score.

Neuville had started the day more than 20sec ahead of Latvala but saw this halved after rain – described by Citroen driver Kris Meeke as “horrendous” – dumped on the second test, Bucca. The conditions affected other parts of the course and organisers cancelled the penultimate stage, Pilbara Reverse, leaving Latvala with too little time and distance to continue his charge.

In a post-event press conference, Neuville said the season’s achievements made he and the Hyundai Motorsport team feel like World Champions, even though they missed the title because of early mistakes and problems.

“This one is a special one and really goes to the whole team of Hyundai Motorsport,” he said, admitting Latvala had been close enough today to challenge for the win. “We are not World Champions, but we drove like World Champions. Every morning when you see Jari-Matti doing his push-ups you know that he’s going for a big attack.

“He did it this morning and he will not give up and try until the very end. There was a real opportunity for him to get the first place, so we had to resist in a clever way but not taking too much risk in the tricky conditions.”

While Latvala’s run finished bitterly, Tanak completed his M-Sport tenure with a solid performance before switching to the Tommi Makinen-run Toyota outfit in 2018.

“It’s important to finish the season like this. It was quite difficult to think about this (finishing second) on Friday as I was not comfortable in the car,” Tanak said. Paddon managed to take some positives away from his most difficult season in rallying. “On speed alone we didn’t deserve a podium this weekend,” the New Zealander said.

“When the rain came we knew it would be very, very tricky. We had a bit of an idea of what to expect and took it nice and easy to look after our position. So it was a nice way to finish what was a pretty trying year.”

Rally Great Britain winner Elfyn Evans was fifth ahead of Toyota’s Esapekka Lappi. Kris Meeke, who re-entered under Rally 2 rules after suffering a broken suspension yesterday, was seventh.

Australians Richie Dalton (Skoda), Nathan Quinn (Mitsubishi) and Dean Herridge (Subaru) completed the top 10 in a field of 78 starters. Quinn won the CAMS Australian Rally Championship, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 called “Shirley”, so named he says because the car has had more hits in its 10-year competition career than the famous singer Shirley Bassey.