Holden To Welcome New Corvette To Australia

General Motors Holden has confirmed that the next generation mid-engine Corvette will be built in right-hand-drive and will be made available in Australia.

“Like anyone with a hint of petrol in their veins, we were glued to our screens watching the reveal of the new Corvette,” said Dave Buttner, Chairman and Managing Director of Holden. “The news that Corvette will now be built in right-hand-drive for the first time ever – and will be exported to Australia – is hugely exciting for our team at Holden and any Australian who loves high performance cars.

“With our long history in motor-racing, performance vehicles are an indelible part of the Holden brand. Our team is totally revved up to build on Holden’s performance legacy with the most technologically advanced Corvette ever built.

“We look forward to taking on the European and Japanese performance vehicles with some highly sophisticated American muscle.”

“Corvette has always represented the pinnacle of innovation and boundary-pushing at GM. The traditional front-engine vehicle reached its limits of performance, necessitating the new layout,” said GM President Mark Reuss. “In terms of comfort and fun, it still looks and feels like a Corvette, but drives better than any vehicle in Corvette history. Customers are going to be thrilled with our focus on details and performance across the board.”

The new mid-engine layout gives Corvette:

  • Better weight distribution, with the rear weight bias enhancing performance in a straight line and on the track.
  • Better responsiveness and sense of control due to driver positioning closer to the front axle, almost on top of the front wheels.
  • The fastest 0-100km/h time of any entry Corvette — approximately three seconds when equipped with Z51 package.
  • A race car-like view of the road due to lower positioning of the bonnet, instrument panel and steering wheel. Excellent forward sightlines throughout the vehicle for both driver and passenger.
  • An enhancement of Corvette’s traditional utility strengths with dual boots, ideal for luggage or two sets of golf clubs.

“As America’s most iconic performance nameplate, redesigning the Corvette from the ground up presented the team a historic opportunity, something Chevrolet designers have desired for over 60 years,” said Mike Simcoe, Vice President of Global Design, General Motors. “It is now the best of America, a new arrival in the mid-engine sports car class. We know Corvette can stand tall with the best the world has to offer.”

The new location of the engine is visible through the large rear hatch window. The Corvette’s canopy-forward stance was inspired by F22s, F35s and other modern fighter jets and Formula One racing. The Corvette is designed for superior ride comfort on the highway and well-balanced handling on the track.

“Thanks to sophisticated suspension geometry, tailored tyre technology and exquisite attention to structural details, we have improved ride and handling,” said Tadge Juechter, Corvette Executive Chief Engineer. “No Corvette has ever felt so comfortable, nimble and yet completely stable.”

The new Corvette is powered by a C6.2L Small Block V8 LT2 engine, producing 369 kW of power and 637 Nm of torque when equipped with performance exhaust. The LT2 is paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and features double-paddles on the steering wheel for a different shifting experience.

“Though now placed behind the driver, the LT2 gives the same visceral experience we all expect from Corvette,” said Jordan Lee, GM’s Global Chief Engineer of Small Block engines. “The LT2 has been designed to deliver excellent low-end torque and high-end power to give thrilling pedal response at any RPM.”

The new Corvette production begins at GM’s Bowling Green facility in late 2019. Holden will share further details about Corvette in Australia at a later date.

Lotus Unveils Evija Production Car

British sports car manufacturer Lotus has unveiled the Evija, the world’s first all-electric British hypercar, at an event in London.

The event, hosted at the Royal Horticultural Halls, was made up of international automotive, business, technology and design media, plus a host of UK business leaders, corporate and commercial partners, government officials, Lotus employees, racing drivers and other distinguished friends of the brand.

Phil Popham, Lotus Cars CEO, and Russell Carr, Design Director, presented the two-seater EV hypercar to the audience. Popham described it as a bold statement of intent from the iconic British company, illustrative of its ambition under the stewardship of Geely.

“Evija will re-establish Lotus as a leader in terms of engineering and design. It is a hypercar that is built ‘For The Drivers’,” said Popham.

“The Evija is beyond anything Lotus has ever done… beyond anything I’ve ever done. We have created something beautiful, something new, dramatic and unique,” said Carr.

“Our auto industry has long been a source of national pride,” said Greg Clark, UK Secretary of State for Business who attended the unveiling. “The launch of the UK’s first all-electric hypercar, designed, engineered and built here in the UK, is testament to the skills and expertise of the workforce at Lotus.”

“A key part of our modern industrial strategy is to seize the opportunities of the future of mobility, including the move from petrol and diesel to electric vehicles. The Lotus Evija fits with this clear ambition.”

Further speeches were made by An Conghui, President of Geely Holding Group and CEO of Geely Auto, and by Ma Hui, Minister at the Chinese Embassy, London.

The Evija is the first all-electric British hypercar, the first Lotus with an electrified powertrain and the first new model since Geely took control in 2017. It has been designed and engineered in the UK and will be produced at Hethel, UK, with a total of 130 to be built. The Evija has a target output of 1471kW, 1700Nm of torque and sprints from 0-100km/h in under three seconds. It has a maximum speed in excess of 320km/h.

The Evija has a driving range of 400km and requires 18 minutes to charge with a 350kW charger, but has the ability to accept up to 800kW of charge. It’s priced from £1,700,000 plus duties and taxes. A £250,000 deposit secures a production slot and order books are now open through www.lotuscars.com.

News of the unveil event spread on social media as the car was unveiled. Within 12 hours, videos of the Evija had been viewed more than 500,000 times on YouTube. Buzz around the Evija’s debut was also whipped up amongst fans thanks to a convoy of 12 historic and current Lotus sports cars – all yellow – which had driven around Central London during the afternoon.

“The world premiere of the Evija has been nothing short of spectacular, the perfect way to start a new chapter in this iconic company’s history.  I am incredibly proud of what the team has achieved,” said Phil Popham as the event drew to a close.

“The Evija is a seismic shift for Lotus and signifies the rebirth of one of the UK’s most renowned sports car marques. It will act as a halo for the thrilling new range of Lotus performance cars that will follow.”

CIECA Connex Conference Agenda Includes Crash Test At IIHS

The Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association (CIECA) has announced that its annual symposium this year will include viewing a crash test at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The CIECA’s 11th annual conference – CIECA Connex 2019 – will take place in Charlottesville, Virginia during 16-18 September. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear information about blockchain, cybersecurity, legislation regarding autonomous vehicles, calibration, technical sessions such as Swagger and GraphQL, and other topical industry issues.

Speakers include:

  • Darryl Amberson, LaMettry’s
  • Mark Allen, Audi
  • Greg Brown, NABC first responder programme
  • Jon Delgado, APU Solutions
  • Sheryl Driggers, Universal Collision
  • Dan Gluck, Enterprise Holdings
  • Sean Guthrie, Car Crafters Collision Centers
  • Kim Hazelbaker, IIHS
  • Bob Jacobs, Microsoft
  • Patrick McGuire
  • Michael Ortega & Chris Poulos, IAA
  • Bob Redding
  • John Shoemaker, BASF
  • Eric Shultz, ALLDATA

In addition, there will be a 25th anniversary celebration, a tour of the IIHS, networking opportunities among industry segments and a vehicle gifting by the National Auto Body Council (NABC) as part of its Recycled Rides programme. The full agenda can be found by visiting: https://www.cieca.com/editor_upload/File/2019%20CIECA%20Connex/2019-CIECA-Connex-Agenda-07-18.pdf.

“We encourage all industry stakeholders to attend CIECA Connex 2019,” said Steve Betley, chairman of CIECA. “This year, we are highlighting the technological changes ahead and how to best prepare. By having all stakeholders gather and work together, the goal is to help our industry be as efficient, profitable and successful as possible.”

Discounted room rates at the Omni Charlottesville Hotel will be available until 15 August and early-bird conference registration fees are being offered until 23 August.

All industry stakeholders (members, non-CIECA members, OEMs, shop owners, insurers, information providers, recyclers, property restoration providers, etc.) are invited.

During the event, attendees will:

  • Hear about current and future industry challenges and opportunities
  • Gain timely, relevant business and technical knowledge
  • Network with other members and industry colleagues
  • Take part in learning opportunities for all industry segments.

This year’s event sponsors include AkzoNobel, Allstate, Audatex-Solera, Axalta, Caliber Collision, Car-PartPro.com, CCC, comsearch, Enterprise, Hertz, IAA, LKQ, Mobile Tech RX, NuGen IT, Precision Body & Paint, SafeLite Solutions and URG.

For more information about sponsorship opportunities, visit www.CIECAConnex.com.

Register for the IIHS tour and CIECA CONNEX Conference, and book a room by visiting: https://www.cieca.com/info.php?pnum=95bd34b6c447f0

Groupe Renault And JMCG Establish Joint Venture For EVs In China

Groupe Renault and Jiangling Motors Corporation Group (JMCG) have announced the official establishment of their joint venture to further promote the development of the EV industry in China.

Groupe Renault will increase its share capital by RMB 1 billion to become a major shareholder of JMEV, a subsidiary of JMCG, with a 50 per cent stake. JMEV has already completed its business license registration.

Groupe Renault aims to expand its influence in China’s electric vehicle market through the joint venture, while JMCG wants to integrate and leverage more resources to promote rapid growth in the future.

“China is a key market for Groupe Renault,” said Francois Provost, Senior Vice President, Chairman of China Region, Groupe Renault. “This partnership in [the] electric vehicle business with JMCG will support our growth plan in China and our EV capabilities. As a pioneer and leader in the European EV market since 10 years, we will capitalise on our experience in EV R&D, production, sales and services.”

“Adhering to the concept of openness and cooperation, JMCG is one of the first domestic enterprises to introduce international strategic partners,” said Qiu Tiangao, Chairman of JMCG. “By partnering with Groupe Renault, JMEV will be able to elevate its comprehensive competitiveness to a new level and penetrate into China’s electric vehicle market.”

JMEV was set up in 2015 and quickly obtained certification to manufacture battery electric passenger vehicles, becoming a prominent player in China’s electric vehicle market.

IAG Acquires Majority Stake In Digital Car Subscription Platform

Insurance Australia Group Limited (IAG) has acquired a majority stake in trading platform and digital car subscription Carbar.

Carbar was established in 2016 in Melbourne, expanded to Sydney in June 2019, and is Australia’s first car subscription platform. It caters to customers looking for alternative forms of vehicle ownership and now has plans to expand across Australia in 2020.

Carbar offers a car subscription starting at $109 per week which includes registration, insurance, roadside assistance and maintenance. IAG hopes to better understand the changing mobility trends while providing new sources of value to customers through Carbar.

Carbar plans to expand its vehicle subscription model while supporting the growth of its online car trading platform that removes the uncertainty often associated with buying a new or second-hand car.

“We are thrilled to partner with Carbar which will play a central role in our approach to the future of insurance and the changing mobility needs of our customers,” said James Orchard, IAG Executive General Manager of Innovation.

“Carbar has pioneered the car subscription model in Australia. We look forward to combining its world-class digital capabilities with IAG’s assets and scale to provide new mobility experiences for customers today and in the future.”

 “IAG’s support will be instrumental in growing and developing our business,” said Desmond Hang, Carbar CEO and co-founder. “We look forward to working closely with its team to further expand Carbar and grow our car subscription capabilities.”

Local ANCAP Audit Test Sees Ford Endura Offer Improved Safety

The 2019 Ford Endura has undertaken an independently verified ANCAP crash test, further cementing its existing five-star safety rating.

The Australian Ford Endura’s standard specification is higher than the European market Edge model that was previously tested, which is what prompted the ANCAP test with an independently purchased vehicle to ensure a genuine representation of a production model available to customers in Australia.

ANCAP has published an updated Technical Report for the 2019 Endura following the test, which has acknowledged an improved audit test score of 94 per cent for Adult Occupant Protection, an increase from 87 per cent.

“The Endura’s advanced safety features and Driver Assist Technology have been fitted as standard specifically for our market, because we know that Australians in this segment demand a high level of assurance, technology and safety when choosing a premium SUV,” said Kay Hart, Ford Australia and New Zealand CEO and President. “ANCAP plays an important role for consumers in understanding the safety levels offered in new vehicles, and we’re pleased that Endura has improved on this in an independently verified audit test by an agency with the highest level of credibility.”

Euro NCAP testing of a different specification model allowed the Endura to be rated as a five-star model when it launched in the latter half of 2018 in Australia. Due to the higher level of standard equipment for every model sold in Australia, ANCAP decided to reassess the vehicle in a further independent audit test.

“Audit testing is a routine and integral part of our test and assessment process, and it is done to provide consumers with assurance that they can rely on ANCAP safety rating information when buying a car,” said James Goodwin, ANCAP CEO.

The audit test is designed to assess the vehicle structure and effectiveness of the restraint system for both the front and rear seat occupants. The test was carried out at Crashlab in Sydney and a brand-new 2019 Ford Endura Trend was used in a full-width frontal crash test scenario.

The results verified the Euro NCAP assessment of five stars, but the additional local analysis caused ANCAP to acknowledge the improved audit test result in its Technical Report as a result of the significant improvement offered by the upgraded restraint system fitted across the entire Endura line-up.

“The Ford Endura was already a five-star rated vehicle when it launched, yet Ford Australia has improved the safety specification of Endura models supplied to our market through the inclusion of seatbelt pre-tensioners for rear [outboard] seats, which sees improved occupant protection for rear seat occupants,” Goodwin said. “The Endura is a vehicle designed and used to transport families, so it’s encouraging to see Ford Australia prioritise the safety of rear seat occupants for our market.”

Every model in the Ford Endura line-up offers, as standard:

  • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist detection
  • Lane Keeping Aid with Lane Keep Assist
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (with Auto Speed Limiter Device)
  • Evasive Steer Assist
  • Traffic Sign Recognition with Intelligent Speed Assist
  • ‘AdvanceTrac’ with Roll Stability Control and Post-Collision Braking
  • Emergency Brake Assist
  • Hill Start Assist
  • ABS with Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Traction Control and Post-Collision Braking
  • Seven airbags, including driver and front passenger, side-curtain, side-front and driver knee airbags
  • Seatbelt minder/monitors for all rows
  • SYNC 3 infotainment system with 8.0-inch full-colour touchscreen and voice-activated sat-nav
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility
  • Emergency Assistance
  • Programmable MyKey

Ford also offers the Ford Service Benefits programme which, for the first four years/60,000km (whichever comes first), allows eligible customers to service their Endura for a maximum recommended price of $299 (including GST) per A or B logbook service at participating dealerships.

BASF To Axe 6000 Jobs Worldwide

BASF announced that it would cut around 6000 jobs worldwide by 2021, with half of those slashed in Germany. The workforce reductions will impact operations globally and are expected to generate savings of €300 million.

In a statement, the company said the move was an “organisational realignment” that would “streamline administration and simplify processes”, as part of an overall aim to have a smaller corporate headquarters and a stronger role for regional operations.

The majority of the jobs being cut in Germany will affect the company headquarters in Ludwigshafen, where 40,000 people are employed.

BASF CEO Martin Brudermüller said he wants to implement massive savings in all areas – in production and logistics as well as in research and development – and to sell off BASF subsidiaries.

Brudermüller is targeting a €2 billion earnings boost as he simplifies BASF and makes it more in tune with rapidly changing markets.

Breaking The Formula 1 Record By The Volkswagen ID.R At Goodwood

The first electric race car to beat Formula 1: The Volkswagen ID.R has made motorsport history again by setting a new all-time record at the ‘Goodwood Festival of Speed’.

Romain Dumas completed the 1.86-kilometre track in the south of England in just 39.90 seconds. In doing so, the 500-kW (680-PS) electric race car broke the previous record, which had stood for 20 years, by 1.7 seconds. He also took victory in the Sunday Shootout.

The previous record at the famous hillclimb was set in 1999 by Nick Heidfeld in a 574-KW (780-PS) McLaren-Mercedes MP4/13 with a combustion engine.

ASIC’s Review Finds Car Insurance Investigations Treat Consumers Unfairly

ASIC’s review of how insurers investigate motor vehicle claims suspected of being fraudulent has found that investigation practices are leading to poor consumer outcomes. ASIC’s report released today reveals that while only a small proportion of claims are investigated, over 70 per cent of investigated claims are found to be valid and then paid.

This contrasts with only a very small number of investigated claims being declined due to fraud (four per cent). ASIC’s research raises concerns that consumers are being worn down by a lengthy and confusing process.

Many consumers who had their claim investigated and eventually paid reported poor practices by insurers and their investigators, including:

  • interviews that felt like interrogations, with some investigators suggesting to consumers that they had fabricated their claim;
  • interviews in consumers’ homes, excessively long or successive interviews, and interviews without notice;
  • onerous, unexplained and successive information requests for a wide range of documents including criminal record checks, social media histories, birth certificates, telephone and text message records, financial statements for every bank and loan account and information about family members and friends; and
  • inadequate support for additional needs such as consumers with limited English literacy not being offered an interpreter.

Fraud is a serious issue that insurers need to investigate appropriately to ensure that only legitimate claims are paid. Fraud imposes costs on the entire community through higher premiums, as well as (potentially) higher excesses and limitations in cover or additional exclusions where the cost of underwriting becomes too high. However, ASIC is calling on industry to respond to these findings by implementing better standards, improving written communication to consumers, and reviewing how claims are selected for investigation.

‘Fraud is a serious issue. Insurers need effective systems to detect, investigate, decline and deter fraudulent claims,’ said ASIC Commissioner Sean Hughes. ‘But we found insurers are putting a significant proportion of consumers through a harmful and unreasonable process, even where their claims are ultimately paid.’ ‘When it comes to insurance, consumers should expect and do deserve better. Consumers deserve a fair process for investigated claims. Insurers must live up to the promise to pay on the policy where the claim is a genuine one.’

Consumers who are unhappy with how their claim is being handled are encouraged to contact their insurer’s internal dispute resolution team. ASIC’s MoneySmart has more information about how to lodge a complaint. Consumers who are unhappy with their insurer’s response can also complain to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.

ASIC analysed internal policy documents, standard form communication and aggregated comprehensive motor insurance claims data from five general insurers: Allianz, Auto & General, IAG, Suncorp and Youi. ASIC also commissioned consumer research as part of this review with consumers who had their claim investigated and paid.

Background

ASIC undertook this review to understand how general insurers investigate insurance claims suspected of being fraudulent, and to seek to raise industry minimum standards.

In March 2018 ASIC held a workshop with industry stakeholders to understand how claim investigation standards in the General Insurance Code of Practice could be improved (Code). As a result, the draft Code was updated with additional standards for insurance claim investigations. Our work indicates that the proposed standards need to be further strengthened.

Daimler AG And BMW Group To Develop Automated Vehicles

BMW Group and Daimler AG have signed an agreement to develop autonomous driving technologies. The representative of the two companies planned a collaboration earlier this year and now an official agreement for long-term strategic cooperation has been signed.

Initially, the aim would be to co-develop technologies for driver assistance systems, highly automated driving on highways and automated parking. Additional discussions are planned to extend the cooperation to higher levels of automation in urban areas and city centres. The market launch in series vehicles out of this co-development is scheduled for 2024, with the partners implementing technologies independently in their respective series vehicles.

The two companies will each implement the technologies in their respective series products independently. The cooperation will see more than 1200 specialists working together, often in mixed teams. They will be based at locations including the BMW Group Autonomous Driving Campus in Unterschleissheim, near Munich, the Mercedes-Benz Technology Centre (MTC) in Sindelfingen and the Daimler Testing and Technology Centre in Immendingen.

Along with Aptiv, Audi, Baidu, Continental, Fiat Chrysler, HERE, Infineon, Intel and Volkswagen, the BMW Group and Daimler have published a white paper entitled Safety First for Automated Driving. As well as covering all relevant safety methods for Level 3/4 SAE automated driving, the paper introduces a traceability system, which extends from the primary goal – being safer than the average driver – right down to the individual safety objectives of the various components. The paper was published on 2 July 2019.