Dave Buttner Appointed Chairman And MD Of GM Holden

Automotive industry veteran Dave Buttner will become Chairman and Managing Director of GM Holden, with Mark Bernhard to retire from Holden and the wider GM group at the end of July, the company announced today.

The leadership transition comes at an important time for the Holden business, as it seeks to leverage its “strongest ever vehicle portfolio to win more customers, grow sales and strengthen GM Holden for the future,” said GM Executive Vice President and President of GM International Barry Engle.

“Dave’s proven track record and understanding of Holden’s markets – and the company’s potential in those markets – makes him the right leader for this next phase in the evolution of the business,” said Engle.

“GM’s most senior leadership strongly believe that we have a rare jewel in Holden, an iconic Australian brand that understands the needs of Australian and New Zealand drivers.

“Dave’s mandate is to work closely with our dealer network to win more customers for life, grow Holden’s market share and ensure our business is strong and profitable for the long term.

“Holden has all the building blocks for future success, including the best and most comprehensive vehicle portfolio in Holden’s history; the introduction of Maven, OnStar and GM Financial; and the ongoing global design and engineering work that continues in Australia.

“Dave is an outstanding leader with a peerless record of success in Australia and New Zealand. Holden will have a strong future under Dave’s leadership.”

“As Mark hands over the reins of Holden, I want to recognise all of his contributions over his career at GM. I appreciate his passion and commitment to Holden during his tenure as Chairman and Managing Director and throughout his career,” said Engle.

Bernhard said the opportunity to lead the company where he began his career in 1986 has been a privilege.

“Holden is where it all started for me. It has been an honour to lead Holden as we laid the foundation for a new future of this iconic Australian company,” said Bernhard.

“I am grateful to GM and the terrific people I have worked with through a career that spanned Australia, Europe, the US, Singapore and China – exceeding my wildest dreams when I joined the company as a fresh-faced eager graduate.

“Holden was born here and has a special place in our hearts. I wish Dave and his team every success for the future.”

Buttner has had an extensive 40-year career in the automotive industry, having most recently been President of Toyota Motor Corporation in Australia from May 2014 to December 2017. In his time at Toyota, Dave performed senior roles in Manufacturing, Sales and Marketing, Corporate Affairs and Product Planning and Development. Throughout these roles, Dave maintained a focus on customers and dealers. Buttner also led Toyota on its transition from a manufacturer and distributor to an importer and national sales company.

He will begin as Chairman and Managing Director of GM Holden on 1 August 2018.

“I am honoured and energised by this incredible opportunity to lead Holden, a company which is part of the fabric of our country,” said Buttner.

“I look forward to working with our people, our dealers and our partners to grow our business and get more and more Australian and New Zealand drivers behind the wheel of more and more Holdens.”

Audi Australia Initiates Takata Recall

Audi Australia has begun recalling vehicles with frontal Takata airbag inflators. The mandatory safety recall, which was issued by the Australian government earlier this year, requires that all affected Takata frontal airbags in Australia be replaced by 31 December 2020.

“Our customers are our first priority and, as a result of the Australian government’s mandatory recall of certain vehicles with frontal Takata airbag inflators, we will be conducting a staged recall of the affected vehicles between now and the end of 2020. We will contact owners to let them know when they should visit a dealer to have their Takata airbag inflator replaced, free of charge,” said Audi spokesperson Shaun Cleary.

The first group of Audi vehicles under active recall includes Audi Q5 (8R), model years 2009-2012, installed with driver side Takata airbag inflators. By the end of July 2018, the following additional models will be under active recall:

  • Audi A5 Sportback (8T), model years 2009-2012, installed with driver side Takata airbag inflators;
  • Audi A5 Cabriolet (8F), model years 2010-2011, installed with driver side Takata airbag inflators;
  • Audi A3 (8P), model years 2006-2013, installed with driver side Takata airbag inflators.

The company expects to have initiated a recall of all Audi vehicles with affected Takata airbags by the end of 2018. Owners of these vehicles will be contacted directly on an individual basis.

Audi has prepared a VIN check tool on its website (see address below) to determine whether a vehicle is affected by the mandatory safety recall and, if so, the specific date from which it will be recalled. The website also contains Audi’s approved Recall Initiation Schedule, which outlines more generally when each make, model and model year of affected Audi vehicles is scheduled to be recalled.

Audi says none of its vehicles imported into Australia are equipped with ‘alpha’ airbags, which have been identified as posing the highest safety risk of all the recalled Takata airbags and must be recalled by manufacturers of vehicles containing those airbags immediately.

According to Audi, the Australian government says that as the faulty ‘non-alpha’ Takata airbags fitted to the recalled vehicles ages and/or is exposed to high temperatures and humidity, the PSAN propellant is exposed to moisture and degrades. If a vehicle is involved in a collision, the airbag can go off with too much explosive force, rupturing the airbag inflator housing. This causes sharp metal fragments to shoot out, resulting in death or serious injury to vehicle occupants.

Audi says the Australian government warns a defective Takata airbag may rupture between six and 25 years after it is installed in a vehicle. In areas of high heat and humidity, the risk of rupture may arise between six and nine years.

For more information, visit Audi’s Takata recall webpage at www.audi.com.au/au/web/en/owners/Takata-Airbag-Safety-Recall.html, or contact Audi’s toll-free Audi Takata Information Line on 1800 856 770 during business hours.

UPDATED – Kia To Respray More Than 70 Sunset Yellow Stingers

UPDATE: This story has been updated with additional details about the response Kia Australia received from its customers, including take-up of the respray offer.


Kia Australia will repaint up to 72 Sunset Yellow Stingers after a fault was discovered with the colour supplied by its paint provider. The paint is believed to contain an oil that may cause it to crack from stone chips and other types of contact.

According to Kevin Hepworth, General Manager – Media & Corporate Communications, the issue is limited to the Sunset Yellow colour.

“From what we’ve been told from headquarters, all the other colours have been tested and Sunset Yellow is the only one that is affected. The colour will come back onto the palette, late October I believe, once they have adjusted it.”

Hepworth told BodyShop News that Kia Australia has offered each of the 72 vehicle owners a complete respray, which will be covered by a lifetime warranty, though he declined to say who will perform the work.

Hepworth said that upon initial contact, about 75 per cent of Sunset Yellow Stinger owners had requested resprays, however final decisions have not yet been made.

“The initial phone contact is followed up with a letter and after that, [the owners] come to us in writing saying what they want to do,” he explained. “Nobody has made a final decision as to what they want to do. There isn’t a requirement that once we contact you that you have to make your mind up straight away.”

Kia Australia has earnt praise on social media for the way it has handled the problem, with many people claiming other manufacturers could learn from the company’s example.

Suncorp Simplifies Quoting For Non-Recommended Repairers

Suncorp has launched a new online portal to simplify quoting by non-recommended repairers (NRR).

Executive Manager, Assessing and Repair at Suncorp, Brett Wallace, said the new AudaBridge portal provides opportunities for a more robust and consistent approach to NRR assessments.

“We currently receive quotes through various channels and formats, some of which require us to manually input the information into our system. This is time consuming and often means our assessors don’t have all the details needed to properly compare repair method, quality and costs,” said Wallace.

“The new web-based platform will give repairers access to relevant claim information, enable them to upload or input quotes, view real-time assessment information and submit invoices. These enhancements will help our team deliver a better customer experience, and ultimately provide the best repair solution for each vehicle. The method repairers currently use to construct quotes won’t change and Suncorp will continue to accept all estimate formats,” he added.

“We remain committed to working closely with NRRs to create a seamless process focused on delivering the highest quality repairs, best service and the greatest value for our customers.”

Repairers can register to use the AudaBridge portal by emailing SuncorpMotorRepair@suncorp.com.au.

American Custom Car Legends To Present At PPG Masters Of Custom 2018

Australian painters will have the opportunity to learn from the best when PPG brings three American custom car icons to Australia for its Masters of Custom event.

Charley Hutton, Paul Stoll and Jeff Matauch will each present at the event which will be held at the PPG NSW Training Centre over two days on 13 and 14 September.

Hutton is an industry icon with a string of award winning builds to his name. Stoll began custom painting in Southern California in the early 1970s, where he was mentored by the likes of Ed Roth and George Barris, and has spent the last 20 years teaching custom paint classes for PPG. Matauch has been a custom painter for almost 40 years and a PPG training instructor for more than 20 years. In addition to custom painting, Matauch builds and restores classic cars and hot rods.

Over a series of PPG Vibrance Collection ‘Custom Creator Sessions’, Masters of Custom participants will learn the skills, tips, tricks and techniques that go into designing, prepping and producing a cutting-edge custom paint finish. PPG says the presenters will ensure all participants fully understand each step as they progress from panel preparation through to final finish.

There are two participation levels with option one allowing participants to watch and learn at all of the Vibrance Collection ‘Custom Creator Sessions’. Option two provides a hands-on experience and an opportunity to attend a special Meet the Masters dinner.

While places are not restricted to PPG customers, they are limited. To register, contact Tony Naughton on 0459 820 395 / naughton@ppg.com, or Adam Hogg on 0418 572 199 / ahogg@ppg.com.

Global-First Alliance Distribution Warehouse Opens In Australia

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi announced the opening of a state-of-the-art National Distribution Centre in Melbourne, Australia.

The shared parts and accessories warehouse is a first for Alliance member companies, which globally sold more than 10.6 million vehicles in 2017. It is designed to maximise productivity, efficiency and accuracy in order fulfillment, allowing manufacturers to enhance service to their national dealership networks.

The facility will become the new master warehouse for Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors’ national distribution network and will also service the INFINITI brand, which falls under the Alliance.

Based in the Melbourne suburb of Truganina, the purpose-built facility is strategically located between Melbourne’s sea container terminal and the airport. The facility has direct access to all interstate roads, is over 37,000 square metres in size, and is part of a CEVA super site that is the largest logistics facility in the southern hemisphere.

Housing more than 90,000 different parts, the Alliance National Distribution Centre manages 11 inbound sea containers daily, as well as airfreight and other local shipments. It brings in 2500 parts each day, while eight B-double transporters – as part of a same day service – deliver 8500 parts direct to dealerships.

Operating 24 hours a day and transporting parts across the entire country, the warehouse has space for approximately 100,000 parts and accessories. It includes a 677-square metre wet room with space for 700 pallets and employs over 90 staff.

One of the first six-star Green Star built and accredited buildings in Australia, it has a roof-mounted solar system to provide renewable energy, high bay LED lighting with daylight and motion sensors, early suppression fast response sprinkler systems and a rain water system for bathroom and garden irrigation.

It also incorporates industry-leading technologies and processes for the fast and efficient movement of automotive parts and accessories. These include a dedicated area for the storage of hazardous liquids such as oils, transmission and break fluids, and the 10 container docks allow for high volume inbound and outbound shipments.

Nissan To Use Ultra-Strong, High-Formability Steel In More Vehicles

Nissan will expand the use of a new type of steel that enhances fuel efficiency and driving performance by lowering vehicle weight.

First seen in the Infiniti QX50 midsize SUV, the new material combines high tensile strength with a previously unachievable degree of formability, resulting in lighter vehicles that can help lower emissions.

Featuring a tensile strength of 980MPa, the material was jointly developed by Nissan and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. While maintaining the ability to absorb energy in a collision, the steel’s combination of stamping formability and strength makes it possible to form complex shapes that are thinner and lighter than those made of conventional high tensile strength steel. The ability for the steel to be cold pressed makes it suitable for mass production which will help contain increases in vehicle costs.

According to Nissan, the Infiniti QX50, which went on sale in the US in March, is the world’s first vehicle with front and rear side members made from 980MPa ultra-high tensile strength steel. The material is also used in a range of other body frame parts.

Nissan launched a sustainability plan in June that calls for lowering CO2 emissions from its new vehicles by 40 per cent by 2022, compared with 2000. The company is aggressively developing technologies to expand the use of ultra-high tensile strength steel, aiming for it to make up 25 per cent of the company’s ‘vehicle parts by weight’. The material makes up 27 per cent of the new QX50.

Craig Lowndes Announces Retirement From Full-Time Driving

Craig Lowndes will quit full-time driving at the end of the 2018 Supercars Championship season.

Lowndes is contracted to drive for Triple Eight Race Engineering until the end of 2019, however the team’s managing director Roland Dane has agreed with Lowndes’ decision to step back from full-time duties.

Lowndes has achieved a win and three podium finishes so far in 2018 and currently sits fourth in the championship.

“I’ve always said there are two key factors keeping me racing and those are my motivation to keep getting up and doing what I love, and my competitiveness, and for me, nothing has changed. But at the same time, I want to make sure I finish my last full-time season with some strong results in the bag,” said Lowndes.

Lowndes will continue to be an integral part of Triple Eight for the foreseeable future by taking on the role of team ambassador, as well as co-driving one of the Triple Eight Commodores in the endurance events.

“He’s a massive part of the team here and has played a huge role in making Triple Eight what it is today,” said Dane. “We don’t know yet who Craig’s going to be co-driving with for the endures – that depends on the structure of the team – but he’s undoubtedly got a few more Bathurst wins in him.”

Lowndes also hopes to race overseas and in different categories.

“Le Mans is definitely on the bucket list and hopefully this will enable me to go and do that, which Roland and the team will be supportive of,” he said.

Lowndes has broken records and hit milestones in his 21 seasons as a full-time Australian Touring Car/Supercars Championship driver. The 44-year-old has amassed three championship wins, six Bathurst 1000 crowns and 106 race wins.

“I feel extremely lucky to have been able to keep doing what I love at a competitive level for such a long time,” said Lowndes. “I have to thank my family and friends, the whole team at Triple Eight and (engine builder) KRE, Supercars, my personal and team sponsors and of course the fans for supporting me throughout. Ultimately, the fans are the backbone of our great sport and the reason I’ve pulled my helmet on every race weekend, so to them, thank you.”

Meguiar’s MotorEx To Stay In Melbourne For 2019

After a record breaking Meguiar’s MotorEx 18 in Melbourne, event owners Out There Productions today announced that the show will stay in Melbourne. MotorEx will celebrate its 19th birthday at the Melbourne Showgrounds on 11-12 May, 2019.

Meguiar’s MotorEx, traditionally held in Sydney, came to Melbourne for the first time in 2014, and alternated between the two cities until today’s announcement.

“Our original plan was to head back to Sydney, and we said as much at the end of the 2018 show. However, the argument to stay in Melbourne has become undeniable. We’ve been able to create a real festival atmosphere, with drifting, music, 4WD demos and freestyle motocross which brings additional colour and noise to the event,” said Andy Lopez, co-owner of MotorEx.

“On top of that, over 400 cars in Real Street showed off the passion in Melbourne’s scene. Also, the SEMA guys are coming back and that’s a fantastic vote of confidence,” said Lopez.

Business is also supportive of the move to stay in Melbourne. Dyno sponsor Mario Pancione of VCM Performance said: “We had a huge weekend and were slammed the entire time. MotorEx is a great way to expose your business to both trade and customers in an effective and affordable way. We’re happy the show is staying in Melbourne.”

Bruce Morrison, MotorActive Managing Director, took Meguiar’s MotorEx to Melbourne for the first time in 2014 and has welcomed the change.

“The car hobby is huge in Melbourne and includes fantastic businesses and a lot of growth opportunities. To the enthusiasts in Sydney, NSW and across Australia, put MotorEx on your annual calendar. It’s grown in leaps and bounds in Melbourne and is well worth the trip,” said Morrison.

The Meguiar’s MotorEx team will be upping the ante in 2019. Lopez said: “We’re going to bring more cars, more businesses, and more enthusiasts to MotorEx next year in Melbourne. Plus, we’re on the Mother’s Day weekend so we want to see more mums and families on Sunday in particular.”

A total of 29,665 fans descended on the Melbourne Showgrounds in May this year to see more than 700 cars, Australia’s leading aftermarket suppliers, traders from SEMA, celebrities and more as part of Meguiar’s MotorEx 18.

GPs Take The Title For Britain’s Most Accident-Prone Drivers

A study by GoCompare Car Insurance (UK) has found GPs are the most likely to make a claim due to an accident that was their fault, as more than one in every eight GPs has made at least one ‘at-fault’ claim in the past year – more than double the national average across all occupations. Interestingly, 11.6 per cent of these claims involved no injuries, with GPs not actually making the top 20 for claims involving persons injured.

The research shows that overall, health and medical professionals are the most likely to cause a collision on the road. Along with GPs, hospital doctors, surgeons, optometrists and speech therapists feature in the top 10 drivers by occupation, who are most likely to be in a no injuries collision that was their fault.

At the other end of the scale, those least likely to make at-fault claims were barmen/barmaids, pickers, packers, carpet cleaners, despatch drivers and car dealers at just three per cent.

“It may seem ironic that those working in the medical profession are those potentially causing the most accidents, but these are all roles which carry a significant degree of stress and usually long hours, potentially leading to a lack of concentration on the road,” said Matt Oliver, spokesperson for GoCompare Car Insurance.

“Further to this, another reason we could be seeing these occupations in the top 10 is because of where these health professionals are driving. Typically, they will be driving for short periods at peak times in highly built-up areas, increasing the risk of an accident.