Volvo Tells Government Self-Driving Cars Could Be On NSW Roads By 2021

Swedish car manufacturer Volvo has told a NSW parliamentary inquiry that self-driving cars could be on sale in NSW within five years if local road laws are changed.
Appearing before the NSW Staysafe Committee’s public inquiry into driverless cars and road safety, Volvo said advances in technology meant that fully autonomous self-driving Volvos could be on sale by 2021, and could be safely driven on selected roads like the M5 and M7.
Volvo has called on the state government to conduct a self-driving car trial in Sydney before 2021 as part of ongoing efforts to address traffic congestion in Australia’s largest city. A self-driving car can accelerate, brake and steer itself without intervention by the driver.

“Volvo believes it is feasible to conduct a safe driverless car trial in Sydney on a connected road system like the M5, M7, M2 and M1,” said Kevin McCann, Managing Director of Volvo Car Australia. “This would pave the way for changes to the road laws prior to self-driving cars going on sale in NSW. This is possible within five years if local roads laws are changed to accommodate the cars.
“Having self-driving cars on our major roads in Sydney is not science fiction. It’s reality, and it is approaching very fast. Volvo and other manufacturers have developed self-driving technology and safety features to a very advanced level.
“Major cities around the world, like London and Los Angeles, are planning for it right now. Sydney is Australia’s largest city with the most traffic, so it makes sense for the state government and transport agencies to start planning now for the technology that could be on our roads by 2021,” McCann said.
In 2017 Volvo will run the world’s largest self-driving car trial on the Swedish city of Gothenburg involving up to 100 XC90 Volvos being driven by ordinary motorists.
Last November Volvo was a key player in the first limited trial of driverless cars in Adelaide.


Puretech Petrol Engine Named “2016 Engine Of The Year” In Its Category

At the 18th International Engine of the Year Awards held in Stuttgart, the 1.2 litre three-cylinder Turbo PureTech petrol engine developed by PSA Group was named Engine of the Year in the 1-litre to 1.4-litre category by a panel of international journalists. The award, received for the second time, is just the latest achievement for the engine model, which is manufactured at the Française de Mécanique plant in Douvrin, France.

In Australia, the award winning engine is fitted to Peugeot’s 208 and 308 models, while the Citroen Cactus and C4 hatch feature the powerful yet frugal powertrain.

Expanding the range of new generation PSA Group petrol engines

Due to the popularity of the three-cylinder petrol engine family, PSA Group has decided to increase its production capacity to support the energy transition. Nearly 370,000 Turbo PureTech engines have been produced at the Douvrin plant since 2014. An additional production capacity of turbo petrol engines will be manufactured at the Trémery plant in eastern France, lifting potential annual output to 670,000 engines by 2018.

Reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions while optimising vehicle performance

With 120 patents to its name, the three-cylinder Turbo PureTech petrol engine cuts fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 18 per cent compared with its four-cylinder petrol predecessor. The engine holds two fuel economy records. It claimed its first in Europe in 2014, with a manual transmission vehicle. Its second came in China this year, when an automatic model travelled 1,878 kilometres on a single tank, achieving a record-breaking 2.93 litres per 100 kilometres.

The engine also offers one of the most comfortable driving experiences on the market – even at the lowest speeds – and the best low speed/power compromise: 130 hp with torque of 230 Nm. The 1.2 PureTech 110 hp and 1.2 PureTech 130 hp engines are fitted on B and C segment vehicles.

First launched in March 2014 on the Citroën C4 Picasso and the Peugeot 308, the PureTech engine is now fitted on more than 60 different models worldwide, including the new Peugeot 3008 unveiled on 23 May 2016.

Commenting on the award, Christian Chapelle, Vice-President, Powertrain and Chassis Engineering, PSA Group, said: “Receiving this award for the second year in a row is a testament to our technological expertise and efforts to optimise our engines and reduce their environmental footprint while at the same time delivering high-quality performance.”


Google Self-Driving Car Project And FCA Announce First-Of-Its-Kind Collaboration

The Google Self-Driving Car Project and FCA announced, in a first-of-its-kind collaboration, that they will integrate Google’s self-driving technology into all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to expand Google’s existing self-driving test program. This marks the first time that Google has worked directly with a car manufacturer to integrate its self-driving system, including its sensors and software, into a passenger vehicle.

The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans will be used later this year for Google’s self-driving testing, more than doubling Google’s current fleet of self-driving test vehicles. Engineering responsibilities will be shared based on each company’s respective expertise. FCA will initially design and engineer around 100 vehicles uniquely built for Google’s self-driving technology. Google will integrate the suite of sensors and computers that the vehicles will rely on to navigate roads autonomously.

Both companies will co-locate part of their engineering teams at a facility in south-eastern Michigan to accelerate the design, testing and manufacturing of the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica.

“FCA has a nimble and experienced engineering team and the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan is well-suited for Google’s self-driving technology,” said John Krafcik, Chief Executive Officer, Google Self-Driving Car Project. “The opportunity to work closely with FCA engineers will accelerate our efforts to develop a fully self-driving car that will make our roads safer and bring everyday destinations within reach for those who cannot drive.”

Self-driving cars have the potential to prevent some of the 33,000 deaths that occur each year on U.S. roads, 94 per cent of which are caused by human error. This collaboration will help FCA and Google better understand what it will take to bring self-driving cars into the world.

“Working with Google provides an opportunity for FCA to partner with one of the world’s leading technology companies to accelerate the pace of innovation in the automotive industry,” said Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive Officer, FCA. “The experience both companies gain will be fundamental to delivering automotive technology solutions that ultimately have far-reaching consumer benefits.”

Google’s self-driving cars are currently being tested in four American cities. The self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans will be tested by Google’s self-driving car team on its private test track in California prior to operating on public roads.


Confusion Reigns Around Parallel Car Imports

Australia’s competition watchdog today created more policy confusion around the parallel car imports debate and in doing so, contradicted previous announcements by the Minister.

The Chief Executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, Tony Weber, said the public statements made by an ACCC Commissioner in Melbourne are completely at odds with the Minister’s position and have added even more confusion, rather than clarity, to the entire debate.

“The ACCC displays a lack of consistency and technical knowledge in its statements about this issue, and pity the poor consumers out there who are looking to their taxpayer-funded watchdog for any clear advice on this matter,” Weber said.

“On its own website, the ACCC warns consumers about the perils of parallel imports and how limited protection is offered in these transactions (from the ACCC website: “If the seller is based overseas, there may be practical and legal difficulties in enforcing your consumer guarantee rights against an overseas business.”). Now it has not only back-flipped on this advice but foreshadowed a situation in which businesses can import vehicles – in complete contradiction to the Minister’s stated position.”

Weber said that the Australian car industry has always embraced open and fair competition.

“Our market is already one of the most competitive in the world, with over 67 brands and more than 400 models, and this is a significant part of why vehicle affordability in Australia is at its best in 41 years,” he said.

“The ACCC is taking a perplexing and simplistic stance to what is a complex issue laden with massive financial risks and limited protection for consumers who inadvertently make a bad decision.

“The ACCC seems to think that someone can jump on the Net and make an overseas car purchase as easily as picking up a mobile phone, book or handbag.

“We doubt the technical expertise of the ACCC to declare that cars engineered and built for other markets are suitable for Australian conditions. After all, we are not talking about a CD.”

“The industry is working closely with government on striving for world’s best standards and practice on safety, emissions and autonomous vehicle technology. How does it make any sense to step backwards based around assertions as these?”


FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber


Jaguar XF Awarded Five Star ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP has issued a 5 star safety rating to the all-new Jaguar XF due to a suite of advanced safety features being fitted as standard equipment. The 5 star rating covers all variants. Chief Executive Officer of ANCAP, James Goodwin said” The XF has a high standard of safety features buyers would expect in this sort of vehicle including AEB City and Interurban. It scored the highest pedestrian rating of “good” and is fitted with an active bonnet’

The XF has already received the maximum five stars rating from Euro NCAP against 2015’s highly demanding test protocols and was amongst the most highly rated models in the segment. â€œThe XF was engineered without compromise: we placed just as much focus on safety as we did on dynamics, performance, refinement and efficiency, and our stringent in-house standards far exceed the requirements of legislative and consumer tests.

“Everything from the aluminium alloys we developed for the body structures to the state-of-the-art stereo camera at the heart of the Autonomous Emergency Braking system has been painstakingly optimised to deliver world-class levels of safety.” Said Kevin Stride, Vehicle Line Director, Jaguar XE, XF, F-PACE.

Jaguar has developed a suite of technologies to make driving safer, more relaxing and more enjoyable. From systems that improve low-speed traction in adverse conditions to smart braking systems which use stereo cameras to scan the road ahead – the XF is the intelligent choice in the large car segment. The new XF is one of the first vehicles in the segment to feature a stereo camera. This state-of-the-art sensor provides a 3D view of the road ahead and is at the heart of the autonomous emergency braking (AEB) system.

All models of Jaguar XF offer a full suite of active safety technologies and advanced driver assistance systems* including Dynamic Stability Control, Traction Control, Emergency Brake Assist, Blind Spot Monitoring, Closing Vehicle Sensing and Reverse Traffic Detection.


Holden Spark Awarded Five Star ANCAP Safety Rating

The critically acclaimed, all-new Holden Spark, has been awarded a five-star ANCAP safety rating – the highest rating available in Australia. Key to Spark’s maximum safety rating are a number of key safety features including driver assistance controls such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control (TC) and Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS); front, side and curtain airbags; and a rear view camera with park assist on the higher-spec LT model.

Another important attribute in Spark’s safety story is a high-strength steel safety cage, giving the micro-car exceptional strength qualities. Spark’s high-strength steel safety cage is capable of supporting a roof-load force 3.92 times that of its own weight – that’s a total of just under 3.9 tonnes* or if you’re an excellent jenga-playing fan of State of Origin – that’s the weight of the Queensland and New South Wales squads combined!**

Holden’s Director of Vehicle Performance, Ian Butler, said that safety was the first priority in developing the all-new Spark during engineering work carried out by Holden with GM internationally. â€œSafety has always been Holden’s first priority, and Spark is no exception thanks to a variety of features and vehicle attributes,” Butler said. â€œSpark’s design is based on an all-new, stiffer, stronger architecture with a high-strength steel safety cage capable of supporting a weight-load 3.92 times its own bodyweight. In terms of active safety, Spark comes with ESC, TC and ABS as standard across the range and all of which were tuned by Holden engineers at our Proving Ground in Lang Lang.”

The five-star ANCAP rated Holden Spark is now on sale at dealers nationwide, with Spark pop-up brand experience centres touring Australia from the end of April, offering customers a relaxed brand and product browsing experience in convenient shopping centre locations as follows:

-Westfield Chatswood, Sydney 25 April – 22 May
-Chadstone Shopping Centre, Melbourne 30 May – 26 June
-ENEX100, Perth 4 July – 17 July
-Westfield Chermside, Brisbane 25 July – 7 August
-Westfield Marion, Adelaide 15 August – 28 August

*based on Spark LS manual transmission – 1017kg (x 3.92 = 3.917 tonnes)
**based on combined weight of the 2015 State of Origin squads (QLD aggregate weight 1777kg, NSW aggregate weight 1911kg) as detailed on the QLD and NSW State of Origin websites.


Tesla Launches New Model 3

Tesla Motors’ latest offering is the new Model 3, launched a few days ago to a crowd in rapture at the company’s design studio in Hawthorne, California and online to a worldwide audience estimated in the millions.

Tesla’s most important undertaking, the Model 3 is to be sold for US$35,000 and is designed to bring electric vehicles and autonomous driving to the masses. By the looks of it, and the interest it’s attracted so far, it just might succeed. The Model 3 is a sedan capable of seating five and driving approximately 345 kilometres on a single charge, with a 0-100 km/h time of less than six seconds on the base model.

At the time of going online, reservations for the Model 3 had topped 276,000 since the company began taking deposits on 31 March. The 276,000 reservations mean more than US$11.5 billion worth of orders, based on Elon Musk’s assessment that the average Model 3 would cost about US$42,000 with options. Last year, Tesla’s global revenues were about US$4 billion.


Kia Carnival Won ANCAP Five Star Rating

Kia’s award-winning Carnival people-mover has won an ANCAP safety upgrade from four stars to five following a re-testing of the car earlier this year. Launched just on 12 months ago, the Carnival was rated four-stars in the initial crash test, a result that Kia Motors Australia Chief Operating Officer Damien Meredith described at the time as “disappointing”.

Meredith committed Kia to lifting the score to the maximum five stars and said the success of that program is a “very satisfying” outcome.

“At the time of the original test it is fair to say that we were disappointed, but safety is a non-negotiable for Kia and the determination of all involved to retain Kia Motors Australia’s record of an all five-star model line-up was admirable,” Meredith said. ANCAP Chief Executive Officer James Goodwin said: “After a disappointing four-star result for the Carnival in March last year, Kia has worked to implement a number of safety improvements which saw the vehicle reach the five-star mark.

“A number of design changes to the Carnival saw the score in the frontal offset test increase substantially.”

The Frontal Offset crash test result increased from 10.48 to 14.29 out of 16 points. The Kia Carnival is the first vehicle to meet ANCAP requirements to be awarded a 2016 date stamped ANCAP safety rating. The five-star rating applies to all variants of the Carnival manufactured on or after December 23, 2015. The Carnival scored a total of 34.62 in the latest test, with substantial improvements in the frontal off-set test to go along with the perfect 16 out of 16 for the side impact rating and two out of two for the pole test.

Since its launch, the all-new Carnival has regained its dominance as Australia’s number one selling people-mover with a 34.4 per cent share of the under $60,000 market.


Citroen Cactus Withstands 100 Trolley And 5000 Paintball Strikes

Citroen’s all-new C4 Cactus compact SUV has emerged from two days of torture at the hands of Australian motoring media with close to 100 trolley strikes and 5000 rounds of paintballs pummelling the vehicle’s exterior. Citroen demonstrated the vehicle’s all-new Airbump protection panels in the most real-world way possible constructing a 2m trolley run with the Cactus’ Airbumps providing the stopping point for the runaway baskets.

Even when subjected to one extremely violent strike the Airbumps backed up for more punishment, strike after strike. Able to withstand the impact of a shopping trolley travelling at up to 4km/h, the Citroen Cactus’ Airbumps proved their ability to withstand repeated strikes, both for dents and scratches.

But if a shopping trolley wasn’t enough a demonstration media were also given the chance to fire paintballs at the Citroen Cactus and its Airbumps.

At an average weight of approximately 4 grams, over 5000 paintballs were fired at the Citroen Cactus at average speed of 330km/h. The only damage sustained was a cracked tail lamp and a broken grille badge, despite the target being the Airbumps. National Marketing Manager for Citroen Australia, Dimitri Andreatidis, said the launch aimed to prove the real-world usability of the Airbumps and the fun nature of Cactus.

“What better way to prove that Cactus’ innovative design features actually perform as intended than subject it to real world punishment from the nation’s harshest automotive critics,” said Andreatidis. â€œWe took the Cactus beyond the everyday accidental damage scenario and subjected it to some extreme punishment, and it emerged virtually unscathed. This is testament to the Cactus’ high quality and ingenious design. The demonstrations did come with a serious note – do not try this at home! While it was great fun to try it on our own vehicle, I think our owners would prefer that you don’t go out and test it for yourself.”

The Citroen C4 Cactus arrives in Australian dealers throughout March.

Citroen Cactus Withstands 5000 Paintball Strikes


Renault Insurance Offers Peace-Of-Mind Motoring

Renault has eased the pain of selecting the right insurance for your new car by developing its own branded version in conjunction with the insurer Allianz: Insurance that comes complete with a number of typically Renault features. The Renault Prestige Motor Vehicle Insurance policy offers ‘new for old’ replacement cover within the first 3 years of original registration for motor vehicle total losses – a generous benefit compared to many other typical policies.

“Renault Prestige Motor Vehicle Insurance provides customers with a quality, competitively-priced product,” says Justin Hocevar, Managing Director of Renault Australia. Renault Prestige Motor Vehicle Insurance is available from your dealer when you take delivery of your new car. It provides peace-of-mind, because people who love your Renault just as much as you do will ensure you are looked after you if an unforeseen accident occurs.

“So if you need to make a claim, not only is it good to know there will be a concerned and friendly voice on the end of the phone, but the people who authorise the repair to your car will ensure only genuine parts are used, so it comes back as perfectly Renault as it was before the unpleasant incident,”* Hocevar says.

Renault also offers Tyre & Rim Insurance, which, given the huge number of pot holes and angry kerbs lying in wait for your beautiful alloys and sleek low profile tyres, ensures damage can be repaired professionally.

“Renault also offers Purchase Price Insurance or Motor Equity Insurance which can provide additional cover in the event of a total loss, or Loan Protection insurance to assist you paying your loan if something happens to you,” Hocevar says.

Other key Renault Prestige Motor Vehicle Insurance benefits include:

-Up to $500 towards damaged or stolen personal effects and clothing;
-Up to $1,000 for re-keying and re-coding if your vehicle keys are stolen;
-Up to $1,000 automatic cover for trailers and caravans attached to your vehicle;
-Up to $500 towards emergency repairs;
-Up to $400 for emergency accommodation if your vehicle can’t be driven after an accident or theft and you’re more than 200km from home;
-A rental car for up to 14 days if your car is stolen, up to $75 a day;
-Up to $400 for accommodation if your car breaks down more than 200km from home and your car is less than 5 years old;
-Optional Tools of trade cover, up to $1,500; and
-Premium payment by direct debit at no extra cost.

There may be conditions applied to all of the above features, so be sure to read the product disclosure statement that your dealer will provide. Renault Insurance is provided by Allianz Australia Insurance Limited; one of the world’s largest insurers. Renault customers will benefit from Allianz’s strengths such as its 30 years of experience in the local motor industry and a global customer base providing cover for more than 70 million vehicles in more than 70 countries.

More information on Renault Insurance can be found at or by contacting your local Renault dealer.