Nissan Announces New Managing Director For Australia

Nissan has announced the appointment of Stephen Lester as Managing Director of Nissan in Australia. Lester replaces outgoing MD and CEO Richard Emery, who is leaving the company.

Lester joins Nissan’s Australian operation after having successfully led INFINITI in Canada as Managing Director for the previous two years. His new role is effective from Monday 4 September 2017 and he will report to Vincent Wijnen, Head of Sales and Marketing for Nissan in the Asia and Oceania Region.

“Stephen Lester’s arrival at Nissan Australia coincides with our plans for the brand’s next direction and he brings to our Australian team strong experience, knowledge and business-building skills,” said Yutaka Sanada, Regional Senior Vice President and Head of Nissan in the Asia and Oceania region. “He takes the reins from Richard Emery, who has successfully guided our Australian operation with steady leadership and business improvements since 2014.”


LDV Confirms Launch Dates For New T60 Ute And D90 SUV For Australia

LDV has confirmed that it’s all new Ute, the LDV T60, will enter the Australian market in 1 October, followed six weeks later by the D90 SUV on 15 November, transforming LDV’s position in Australia from an all-van brand to one with benchmark models in the key Ute and SUV market sectors.

Both launches will be preceded by a major event in Sydney on 25 September which will be attended by senior management not just from LDV, but also its parent company, SAIC, China’s number one vehicle manufacturer. They will be joined by a large contingent of Chinese business and motoring media along with VIP guests. LDV has deliberately chosen Sydney as the venue to provide global visibility for the D90 and T60.

First seen at last year’s Guangzhou International Motor Show in China, the LDV T60 is an all-new vehicle which will expand to offer Australian buyers a range of single and double cab, two and four-wheel drive, manual and automatic Utes with two trim and equipment levels.

The LDV D90 made its debut in Australia, with a sneak preview of the full-size SUV on the south coast of New South Wales and in Sydney, prior to its official unveiling at the Shanghai International Motor Show earlier this year. The D90 was in Australia for dynamic testing and calibration of its advanced chassis electronics prior to its launch.

The T60 and D90 will not only launch the Chinese commercial vehicle specialist manufacturer into new market sectors, they will also take LDV into new parts of Australia.

“Since its launch in Australia LDV has focused on its van and people mover ranges with the V80 and G10 vehicles,” says Dinesh Chinnappa, General Manager of LDV Australia. “Sales of this type of vehicle are primarily in metro areas, so that is where we have concentrated our dealers and our business. But the T60 and the D90 will have a much broader appeal across the whole country. The Ute and SUV markets are much bigger than the van market and they are booming. In preparation for the arrival of the T60 and D90 we are opening new dealers in country areas as well as enlarging our urban representation. There is little doubt that from day one, the T60 will be LDV’s best-selling model in Australia, with the D90 close behind it, and this will be matched by a much higher visibility for LDV across the country.”

“In short, these two new models will transform LDV’s position in the market, awareness of the brand across the country and, of course, the number of vehicles we will sell,” says Chinnappa.

The LDV T60 launch model line-up will expand following the launch to include a range of turbo diesel powered 4WD dual cabs with both manual and automatic transmissions, as well as 2WD and 4WD cab chassis with manual transmissions. There will be two trim and equipment levels to ensure coverage of the market from working business vehicles to recreational and family transport.

“This model line-up covers the most significant part of the market and these versions will be joined by additional variants as required to meet changing market demands,” says Dinesh Chinnappa. 

At 5.3 metres long and 1.9 metres wide and with a 110 kW 2.8 litre Turbo Diesel engine, the LDV T60 will sit right in the middle of the key Ute market sector in terms of size and performance, but when it comes to equipment, features and pricing, the T60 will continue the LDV market position of value for money pricing and above average equipment, trim and features.

Full details of the Australian D90 range will be made closer to its November 15 launch.

“It is too early to provide specific price points for the new LDV T60 and LDV D90 ranges,” explains Dinesh Chinnappa. “But we are determined that they will build upon the value for money proposition established by the LDV van range. The T60 will provide Australia Ute buyers with a highly competitive new choice, whether they are looking for a working Ute or a recreational family vehicle. The seven seat D90 is the ideal size for the Australian SUV market. An appealing specification and the price that the market has come to expect of LDV will ensure it is a highly attractive proposition for SUV buyers.”

The LDV range opens with the LDV G10 one tonne van, which is now available with a new Turbo Diesel engine with a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes from a recommended retail price of $28,990 driveaway for ABN holders. The new powertrain compliments the petrol variants, which start from a recommended retail price of $25,990 driveaway and include a 165 kW turbocharged power unit for the automatic petrol powered G10 van.

No lesser value proposition, the G10 is also available as an accomplished people mover, with a choice of seven and nine seats, both powered by the 165 kW petrol engine with a six speed ZF gearbox and priced from a recommended retail price of $29,990 driveaway.

The LDV V80 van range comes with a choice of two wheelbases and three roof heights, giving it a range of cargo volumes from 6.4 to 11.6 cubic metres and payloads from 1.2 to 1.4 tonnes. It is powered by a 2.5 litre Turbo Diesel engine with a choice of manual or self-shifting gearboxes. Prices start for the V80 vans are from a recommended retail price of $30,490 driveaway for ABN holders.

All LDV vehicles come with a three year/100,000 km warranty with 24 hour roadside assistance. They are supported by a growing nationwide dealer network, backed by Australasia’s largest locally owned independent vehicle distributor, the Ateco Group.

The Ateco Parts Distribution Centre in Sydney employs the latest automated parts distribution technology to deliver parts across its Australia-wide dealer network. The LDV Technical Training Team equips all dealer technicians with the knowledge and skills to service and maintain all LDV models, using the both the Ateco Training Centre in Sydney and with training courses in LDV dealerships across Australia.

LDV is a division of SAIC, the 46th largest company in the world and, with more than seven million vehicles set to be produced in 2017, the largest vehicle manufacturer in China, the world’s largest car market.


Mazda Will Launch Compression Ignition Petrol Engine In 2019

Japanese car manufacturer Mazda has announced an expansion of its environmental initiatives by setting new efficiency, safety, and sustainability goals in the lead up to 2030. The company’s most significant development in this plan is a new generation of engines, dubbed Skyactiv-X, which will feature what Mazda claims is the first commercial petrol engine to use compression ignition technology.

Known officially as Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI), the technology is something car manufacturers have been working on for decades. However, trouble with reliability and narrow powerbands have held up mass-scale implementation.

An HCCI engine pressurises an air/fuel mixture until the heat from combustion causes it to detonate. This is the same theory employed by a diesel engine, which always relies on compression ignition. However, petrol-based compression ignition is not as easy to accomplish, with a number of reliability problems to solve. These include the risk of misfire at both high and low revolutions – the engine cannot keep up at high revs, while at low revs, lower temperatures from less combustion per second can cause misfiring. On the other hand, the higher temperature and pressure in general of compression ignition can actually cause cooling challenges, and finally, the engines can be particular about the fuel they require, meaning differing levels of performance depending on the fuel’s properties.

Mazda’s technology, which it calls Spark Controlled Compression Ignition, is a mix of both worlds. Implemented in the Skyactiv-X engine, it continues to employ spark plugs for situations where compression ignition doesn’t work reliably, such as high revolutions. Otherwise, compression ignition can lead to up to a 30 per cent improvement in torque, fuel economy and emissions compared to Mazda’s current Skyactiv-G engines. Essentially, it would bring the high torque and fuel efficiency of a diesel to market, without the usual sooty emissions they are known for.

Mazda expects to debut the Skyactiv-X engine in 2019, although it has not said which models would get the engine first.


PSA Finalises Purchase Of GM’s Opel/Vauxhall

PSA Group completed its takeover of the Opel and Vauxhall brands from General Motors on 1 August 2017, installing new managers and helping PSA to become Europe’s second-largest car manufacturer by vehicle sales.

Under PSA’s supervision, Opel says it is planning a “much leaner” management structure in order to improve economies of scale and synergies in the fields of purchasing, manufacturing and research and development. The company aims to generate a positive operational free cash flow by 2020 as well as operating margins of two per cent by 2020 and six per cent by 2026.

After 88 years under GM’s control, Opel CEO Michael Lohscheller says the company is beginning a new chapter in its history, although it will continue to make technology made in Germany available to everyone.

“The combination of our strengths will enable us to turn Opel and Vauxhall into a profitable and self-funded business,” Loscheller said.

PSA first said it was in talks to buy Opel in February 2017, before announcing a €2.2 billion deal in March. The sale of Opel marks a steady retreat from Europe for GM, with the company not being profitable there since 1999. GM CEO Mary Barra has been proactive in quitting markets, including Russia and Indonesia, where GM has lost money, as well as discontinuing Chevrolet in Europe.

PSA and Opel will continue to work with GM on electric propulsion development. Opel plants will continue producing vehicles for GM brands Buick and Holden.

PSA’s Carlos Tavares with GM’s Mary Barra.


Celebrating Milestones At Meguiar’s MotorEx

Adding to the Car Crazy Experience that is Meguiar’s MotorEx, the 2017 show will celebrate two incredible automotive milestones that have left an incredible impact on car culture around the world. Glistening under the lights of Sydney Olympic Park will be a tribute to the 50th birthday of the Chevrolet Camaro and Firebird, along with the 60th anniversary of the iconic ’57 Chev.

Built as Chevrolet’s answer to the Ford Mustang, the Camaro quickly became a runaway success in the U.S, spawning six generations of the ‘pony’ car over the next 50 years. The underlying Camaro philosophy throughout the lineage has been a; two-door, rear wheel drive, muscle car.

Not only has the Camaro experienced huge sales success in the U.S over the years, it has also seen its share of success on the world’s racetracks – including Bob Jane who won the 1971 and 1972 Australian Touring Car Championships behind the wheel of his ZL-1 Camaro. The Camaro and Firebird are TV and movie favourites, with none more famous than the yellow “Bumblebee” Camaro from the Transformers franchise and the black and gold Trans Am from Smokey and the Bandit.

A beautiful example of each Camaro and Firebird generation will be sitting proud at MotorEx, reflecting these exemplary muscle cars and the history and joy they have brought to so many.

When it comes to the most iconic of all classical vehicles, the ’57 Chev is often the first to come off the tongue. Although a carry-over from the ’55 and ’56 models, the ’57 was given a facelift, with a wide chromed grill, new dashboard and those famous rear tail fins. Engine choices included everything from the 250ci “Blue Flame Six”, to the 283ci “Ramjet” V8. Thanks to the fitment of fuel-injection the Ramjet was good for 283 horsepower – quite a figure for 1957!

Meguiar’s MotorEx has pulled out all stops to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the ’57. They’re bringing together some of Australia’s best examples of this incredible model, plus a jaw-dropping ’57 Chev-style golf Kart, built by Kindig Design in the U.S.

“A huge part of Meguiar’s MotorEx is the cars that for many of us have shaped our passion, so we are excited to bring a fitting tribute to these two iconic vehicles that still resonate just as much today as they did when they were first released,” said MotorActive/Meguiar’s MotorEx, Managing Director, Bruce Morrison.

These celebratory displays form only a small part of the incredible automotive spectacular that is Meguiar’s MotorEx. Join the other 25,000 attendees to witness the best-of-the-best in Australian show cars as part of the Meguiar’s Superstars, witness the unveiling of the newest, never seen before creations in the House of Kolor Inauguration on Saturday morning and revel in the country’s greatest aftermarket suppliers and race-bred machinery in the Liqui-Moly Performance Garage.

Combined with many other incredible displays, vehicles, activities and gourmet food vendors, Meguiar’s MotorEx will be just the way to warm up and satisfy those car cravings this winter.

Meguiar’s MotorEx Sydney takes place July 22-23, 2017. To find out more about this Car Crazy Experience and to purchase tickets, head to:


Dubai To Deploy Robo-Car Police Patrols

Soon Dubai’s police force will have a new recruit patrolling the streets: a self-driving car that acts a mobile surveillance unit. The vehicle is about the size of a child’s toy electric buggy and is equipped with 360-degree cameras that “scan for wanted criminals and undesirables” – presumably using facial recognition technology.

Dubai Police signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Singapore-based OTSAW Digital to deploy the new autonomous outdoor security robots, named O-R3, as part of the Smart Dubai initiative.

OTSAW says Dubai will be the first city in the world to use the O-R3 for everyday patrols, noting that the robot is not intended to replace human police officers, but to “fulfill low-level order enforcement tasks.” As well as all-seeing cameras, the O-R3 can charge itself automatically, and comes equipped with an onboard drone to follow individuals to places where it can’t drive.


Ghosn Perceives Renault-Nissan Alliance As Number One This Year

Renault-Nissan alliance boss Carlos Ghosn believes his grouping (Nissan, Renault, Mitsubishi) will become number one in sales, bypassing Volksvagen Group and Toyota. During a shareholders’ meeting earlier this month, Ghosn said “We have been among the top three car manufacturers since January in sales volume, and we expect to be in the top spot by midyear — although this was not our goal.”

According to market research company JATO Dynamics, VW Group has sold 3.32 million vehicles, Toyota 3.06 million and Renault-Nissan 3.02 million. JATO uses a combination of vehicle registrations and retail sales to arrive at its figures.
Through the first four months, the alliance is close to the top two.

Renault-Nissan could stay in the top three for some time, excluding any unexpected mergers or acquisitions. The alliance of Groupe Renault, based in France, Japan-based Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp., sells cars under nine brands – Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Renault Samsung Motors, Infiniti, Venucia, Dacia, Datsun and Lada.


Fatality Rates Are Four Times Higher In An Older Vehicle – ANCAP

Australia and New Zealand’s independent vehicle safety advocate, ANCAP, unveiled the results of a car-to-car crash test – dramatically demonstrating the improvements made in vehicle safety over the past two decades. This comes as new analysis shows older vehicles are over-represented in fatality crashes.

The crash test was conducted during the 4th United Nations’ Global Road Safety Week (8-14 May 2017) to highlight the important role safer vehicles play in improving road safety.

“This test physically illustrates the benefits of newer, safer cars,” said ANCAP Chief Executive Officer, James Goodwin. Analysis of the Australian vehicle fleet shows that while older vehicles [those built 2000 or earlier] account for just 20 per cent of the registered vehicle fleet, they’re involved in 33 per cent of fatality crashes*. In contrast, newer vehicles [those built 2011-2016] make up 31 per cent of the fleet yet are involved in just 13 per cent of fatality crashes.

“It is concerning the rate of fatal crashes is four times higher for older vehicles than for new vehicles. We’ve been tracking the average age of a vehicle involved in a fatal crash, and in just one year we’ve seen that average increase from 12.5 years to 12.9 years. This highlights the need for a renewed national focus and greater support for safer vehicles,” Goodwin said.

The over-representation of older vehicles in fatal crashes is similar in New Zealand where the average age of the vehicle fleet is 14.3 years and the average age of a vehicle involved in a fatal crash is 15.6 years.

“It is unfortunate we tend to see our most at-risk drivers – the young and inexperienced, as well as the elderly and more frail – in the most at-risk vehicles, and we hope this test promotes a conversation to encourage all motorists to consider the safety of their car,” Goodwin said. â€œSafety is not a luxury and we want everyone to remain safe on the road, so consumers should look for the safest car they can afford and the safest car that suits their needs.”

“The outcomes of this test are stark and the automotive, finance and insurance industries can play a part to assist in encouraging people into newer, safer cars.”

The frontal offset test, which replicates a head-on crash, was conducted at 64km/h.

“The older car sustained catastrophic structural failure with dummy readings showing an extremely high risk of serious head, chest and leg injury to the driver. It achieved a score of just 0.40 out of 16 points – zero stars. In contrast, the current model performed very well with a five star level of protection offered, scoring 12.93 out of 16 points,” said Goodwin.


Third Generation Hyundai i30 Debuts In Australia

Hyundai Motor Company Australia has announced pricing and specifications for the third generation all-new i30, which went on sale late last month.

The entry-level i30 Active manual will start at $20,950 (all prices are before on-road costs), $500 less than the outgoing model it replaces. Hyundai says it applied the $500 price reduction despite adding around $2000-worth of extra standard features to the new car compared with the old. These include a fully integrated satellite navigation system with eight-inch touch screen display (and it’s a huge upgrade over what Hyundai put in all of its cars previously), as well as Apple CarPlay / Android Auto smartphone mirroring, a DAB+ digital radio, and a 2.0-litre direct-injection engine developing 13kW more power and 28Nm more torque than the 1.8-litre multipoint-injection engine it replaces.

Other additions to the new i30 Active specification over the outgoing 2nd generation Active include 16-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, automatic headlights, hill-start assist and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

“We have built outstanding quality and value into the new i30, not just at the entry level but across the range,” said Hyundai Motor Company Australia CEO, JW Lee. “Quality is what buyers demand and expect, and it is inherent in the new i30, its refinement, comfort, handling, performance, safety and practicality. In all of these respects, along with its superb design, we believe the new Hyundai i30 is competitive with the very best in the class from a product perspective, while simultaneously extending Hyundai’s value leadership.”

Development engineers at Hyundai Motor Europe’s Technical Centre in Germany enhanced the driving dynamics of the i30 in a rigorous testing programme throughout Europe and on the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Hyundai says the highly rigid and light body, with 53 per cent Advanced High Strength Steel, helps deliver good ride and handling characteristics. Combined with 10 per cent more direct steering and a newly developed chassis, the driver can enjoy dynamic driving abilities without compromising high levels of comfort.

In addition to the entry-level Active, the new Hyundai i30 will come in two comfort and two sports trim grades.

A 1.6 litre turbo-diesel engine – 100kW/300Nm in Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) form, 100kW/280Nm as a manual – is available in Active, Elite and Premium grades, while SR and SR Premium variants are now fitted with the upgraded 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine shared with the Elantra SR Turbo, developing 150kW and 265Nm.

Specification additions for the new i30 comfort and sports trims include wireless phone charging, new-design 17 and 18 inch wheels, dual exhaust tips, LED headlights, multi-link rear suspension in SR models (torsion beam in the others) and Hyundai’s SmartSense safety and alert system, which incorporates automatic emergency braking (AEB), adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert and lane departure warning. An optional Safety Pack, including AEB and other SmartSense features, will become available for the Active by the end of 2017.

The new i30 is equipped with seven airbags and has achieved a maximum five star ANCAP safety rating.

“We are immensely proud of the work our engineers and designers have done to create this car,” JW Lee continued. “Through outstanding customer support, Hyundai will enhance the new i30’s ownership proposition even further, with a five year unlimited kilometre warranty, 10-year free map update plan for the satellite navigation system, a superb-value Lifetime Service Plan and outstanding roadside support.

“We feel confident this car will compete well with the best in the class and will appeal strongly to all Australian small car buyers.”


No. 88 Axalta/Ameristar Chevrolet SS To Race At Phoenix International Raceway On Sunday

Axalta teams up with Ameristar Perimeter Security to feature the new 2017 paint scheme for the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS for Spring Race Weekend at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR), on Sunday, March 19, 2017. As a partner of Axalta, which is primary sponsor of the car in Phoenix, Ameristar will be prominently featured on the car. Dale Earnhardt Jr., voted by fans as NASCAR®’s most popular driver for the 14th consecutive season, will be behind the wheel. Earnhardt Jr. is a 26-time Sprint Cup winner and has three career wins at PIR.

This weekend’s race will be the first to feature the new paint scheme, which is nicknamed “Flash Point” by legendary designer Sam Bass, due to its graphic designs along the body of the car. Axalta’s AquaECâ„¢ electrocoat corrosion prevention coatings are used on Ameristar’s Montage products, the leading brand of ornamental steel fences in North America. Manufactured for strength and durability, Ameristar’s Montage decorative fencing products rely on Axalta’s innovative corrosion protection qualities to ensure its fences can withstand the elements and offer a lifetime limited warranty.

“We’re excited about this new alliance between Ameristar and Axalta,” said Barry Willingham, President of Ameristar Perimeter Security. “By combining the capabilities of Axalta’s coatings technology with our state-of-the-art manufacturing processes, we will be able to deliver our customers a product quality that is unprecedented in our industry. Ameristar’s partnership with Axalta allows for product differentiation today, and their commitment to product innovation translates into our future growth for tomorrow.”

In addition to Sunday’s headlining race, Ameristar will be the feature sponsor of the No. 9 car driven by William Byron in the Xfinity race on Saturday, March 18, 2017.

“I’m excited to have Ameristar participate in the Spring Race Weekend, and to see their logo on the newly painted No. 88 Chevrolet SS,” said Michael Cash, President of Industrial Coatings at Axalta. “Racing is all about the commitment to excellence, innovation, technology and teamwork – attributes that are key to success on the track and in business. Our great customers, like Ameristar, demonstrate this commitment every day and we are privileged to be able to support their goals through our products, our services, and the ways in which we help our customers build their businesses.”