Blog Archives

Porsche drops diesel engines from range

Porsche has ended production of all of its diesel-powered models in light of growing consumer scepticism over such vehicles and a growing interest in hybrid and pure electric technology.

Diesel powered versions of both the Panamera and Macan SUV have now been cut from the line-up – Porsche confirming that the final Macan S Diesel rolled off the firm’s production line last week, with all outstanding customer orders for the vehicle completed.

Porsche has also opted not to release a diesel-powered variant of the all-new Cayenne. The first generation version of the firm’s flagship SUV arrived on sale in 2002, with a diesel option arriving in 2009.

Explaining the decision, a statement from Porsche reads: “Diesel engines traditionally play a subordinate role at Porsche. Porsche does not develop or build diesel engines itself. Currently, the demand for diesel models is falling, whereas interest in hybrid and petrol models is increasing significantly.”

The statement also confirms that ongoing investigations by environmental authorities in light of 2016’s Volkswagen group ‘Dieselgate’ emissions scandal have led Porsche to call time on diesel.
 
With diesel on the back burner, electrification will step into the foreground for the Porsche brand. Further hybrid models – including a hybrid version of the next 911 – are in the pipeline, and a pure EV to arrive next year in the form of the production Mission E.

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Automakers to profit off driver data

General Motor’s infotainment screen allows customers to order their morning coffee with their car.

The sheer volume of software and artificial intelligence in new vehicles means new service and revenue streams are quickly emerging.

The big question now is whether automakers can profit off collectable driver data without alienating consumers.

“Carmakers recognise they’re fighting a war over customer data,” said Roger Lanctot to Bloomberg, who works with automakers on data monetisation as a consultant for Strategy Analytics. “Your driving behaviour, location, has monetary value, not unlike your search activity.”

Carmakers’ ultimate objective, Lanctot said, is to build a database of consumer preferences that could be aggregated and sold to outside vendors for marketing purposes, much like Google and Facebook do today.

Data collecting will allow auto manufacturers to create a better driving experience—enabling cars to predict flat tyres, find a parking space or charging station, or alert city managers to dangerous intersections where there are frequent accidents.

Data collection could also protect drivers from crime, Ford Motor Co.’s chief executive officer said last month at the Consumer Electric Show (CES).

The benefit there is hopefully an improved relationship, so we know you better, we understand you better and we’re able to deliver better services to you,” Don Butler, Ford’s executive director for connected vehicles and services, said in an interview in Las Vegas.

If consumers want to take advantage of these kinds of new connected features, especially making purchases while driving or using ride-hailing apps, they’ll have to give up at least some privacy, said Mike Abelson, vice president of strategy at GM. He said the company isn’t currently selling data to third parties.

“We’re not considering that,” he said. But he added: “I wouldn’t want to make a statement for forever.”

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Record result for Colonial Motors

The Colonial Motor Company has announced a record trading half-yearly profit for the period ending December 2017. The after-tax trading profit is up 15.9 per cent on last year to $11.9 million.

Net operating revenue was $461,729, up $5.4 per cent compared to the previous corresponding reporting period.

Performance

The record result for the Company was driven by heavy trucks, with both sales volume and trading profit growing in the six month period. Kenworth and DAF had strong sales growth with a full calendar year total of 482 heavy vehicles registered.

The total new light vehicle industry for the second half of the last calendar year was up 3.9 per cent on the same period a year before, a materially lower rate of growth than the 13.5 per cent growth of a year earlier. This slowing rate of growth impacted on the profitability of our car dealerships.

The car dealerships trading profit was lower than the record result a year earlier but above that achieved in both 2015 and 2014. Segment shifts within the market continue with the established pattern away from sedans and hatches into SUVs and light commercials. This trend affects Ford and Mazda differently. Mazda is strong in the important SUV segment, while Ford is successful in the light commercial sector.

Developments

South Auckland Motors’ new facility at Takanini (leased) successfully opened on time in December. Late in 2017, Southern Autos-Manukau was appointed the Suzuki car franchisee to replace Moyes in Panmure, and on 3 January 2018 began selling Suzuki vehicles from its site at Manukau in addition to Isuzu utes, Peugeot and Citroen. Work has commenced on a CMC-owned workshop facility in Wellington City for Capital City Motors.

Outlook

The total new vehicle market continues to grow and there are strong forward orders for heavy trucks. However the pace of growth has slowed from a year ago and business confidence is more cautious.

Dividend The Directors have declared a fully imputed interim dividend of 15.0 cents per share, totalling $4.904m up 2.0 cents from the same period last year. The dividend will be paid on Monday 16 April, with a record date of 6 April 2018.

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Half-yearly profits up for Heartland

Heartland Bank Limited (Heartland) achieved a net profit after tax (NPAT) of $31.1m for the half year ended 31 December 2017.

This is up $2.0m or seven per cent from $29.1m NPAT from the previous corresponding reporting period. Earnings per share for the six months ended 31 December 2017 was 6 cents per share, consistent with the 2017 financial year.

Financial performance

There was strong growth in receivables of 13 per cent to $3.8b during the reporting period. Total assets increased by $273.0m due to the increase in net finance receivables and an increase in cash and cash equivalents.

Major movements during the reporting period included:

  • Household net receivables increased $165.7m excluding foreign currency translation gains, with reverse mortgages, motor vehicle loans and personal loans (including Harmoney) increasing $82.4m, $62.0m and $24.8m respectively, and residential mortgages reducing by $3.5m.
  • Net receivables for the Business and Rural divisions increased $46.0m and $1.2m respectively.
  • Cash and cash equivalents and investments increased by $35.8m.
  • Borrowings increased by $203.7m reflecting the movement in total assets.
  • Share capital increased by $66.7m as a result of the $59m Rights Issue together with shares issued as part of the Dividend Reinvestment Plan.

During the reporting period, Net Assets increased by $71.7m to $641.3m. Net Tangible Assets (NTA) increased by $72.8m to $563.3m. On a per share basis, NTA was $1.01 at 31 December 2017 compared to $0.95 at 30 June 2017 and $0.91 at 31 December 2016.

Net Operating Income (NOI) was $93.9m, up $10.9m (13%) compared to the previous corresponding reporting period. The increase in NOI was primarily attributable to the increased level of receivables.

Performance of core divisions

Household

Net operating income was $50.3m, an increase of $4.8m (10%) from the previous corresponding reporting period. During the six months, net receivables for the Household division increased by $190.0m to $2.1b.

Net operating income from the Consumer division (which includes motor vehicle loans, personal loans and lending through the Harmoney platform) increased $1.1m (4%) from the previous corresponding reporting period to $31.5m. Consumer net receivables grew $86.8m (19% annualised) to $1.0b during the current reporting period. 

The strong growth in net receivables was not reflected in net operating income due to a large proportion of the new business coming from lower risk, lower margin loans.

Motor vehicle net receivables continued to grow strongly, increasing by $62.0m (15% annualised) to $886.3m as at 31 December 2017.

Strong growth in personal lending was also achieved with net receivables for personal loans and Harmoney increasing by $24.8m (52% annualised) to $119.6m as at 31 December 2017.

Business

Net operating income was $26.3m, an increase of $3.2m (14%) from the previous corresponding reporting period. The increase in net operating income was driven by growth in net receivables, which increased by $46.0m (9% annualised) to $1.0b as at 31 December 2017. This growth was achieved through continued focus on the small business market, extending our reach through intermediaries and Heartland’s Open for Business online origination platform which is dedicated to supporting the working capital needs of SME owners and which grew by 45%.

Rural

Net Operating Income was $16.3m, an increase of $2.4m (17%) from the previous corresponding reporting period that was also driven by receivables growth. Net receivables for the Rural division increased by $1.2m (0.4% annualised) to $676.6m during the current reporting period following a strong period of growth in the preceding six months.

Strategic investments

Digital

The focus for the last six months was a continuation of Heartland’s two-pronged strategy: To use technology and partnerships with intermediaries to help it to reach more customers; and continue to offer “best or only” products in the markets in which it operates (i.e. through products the major banks don’t offer or products where it can offer better features).

Heartland has made excellent progress to-date, having launched a number of digital platforms including the Open for Business online origination platform, which grew by 45% in the last six months. The focus for the remaining six months of FY18 is to continue to grow Open for Business, increase lending through peer-to-peer lender, Harmoney and launch a mobile app for depositors, which is the first part of its end-to-end, fully automated online deposit platform.

Australia

Heartland has a successful reverse mortgage business in Australia, Heartland Seniors Finance, which continues to grow strongly. Off the back of this success, Heartland is exploring opportunities to expand its product offering in Australia, including further development of its relationship with Spotcap, an innovative lender for small and medium-sized businesses, and launching Open for Business to serve the Australian SME market. Heartland is also accessing the Australian personal lending market through Harmoney.

Interim dividend

The directors of Heartland have resolved to pay an interim dividend of 3.5 cents per share. The interim dividend will be paid on 3 April 2018 to shareholders on the company’s register as at 5.00pm on 16 March 2018 (Record Date) and will be fully imputed. The Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRP) will apply to the interim dividend with a 2.5% discount3 . Participation is entirely optional.

Looking forward

Underlying asset growth is expected to continue, with strong Household, Business and Rural volumes projected through execution of Heartland’s strategy, in particular the expansion of customer reach through digital and intermediary channels, and expansion in Australia.

Heartland expects its NPAT for the year ending 30 June 2018 to be at the upper end of its previously advised range of $65.0m to $68.0m.

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Funding for innovative EV projects

The latest round of the Government’s Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund opened for applications on Tuesday, 20 February. Up to $4 million will be available for investment during round four.

The fund offers up to 50 per cent funding towards projects that support the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) in New Zealand. Applicants must match or exceed the amount granted.

Companies, councils and organisations can apply, or partner together to apply.

Applicants have until 8am, 11 April 2018 to submit proposals to The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).

Projects should support practical, sustainable ways to increase EV uptake, particularly in the light fleet market, close gaps in charging infrastructure and demonstrate the uses of heavy electric vehicles across the economy.

Examples of previous projects:

For more information visit our website.

Click here to see other projects that received funding previously.

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NZ Customs updates previous advice

On 16 February, New Zealand Customs sent an important notice relating to vehicles carried on the four vessels infested with the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug – Tokyo Car voyage 1802, Courageous Ace voyage 121A, Sepang Express voyage 44 and Glovis Caravel.

NZ Customs advised that an export entry would be required and a subsequent import declaration when the vessel returned to New Zealand.  This advice is now withdrawn.
 
“Following consultation with some industry members, we are now updating our advice on how these vehicles can be re-entered into New Zealand,” said NZ Customs in their latest update. 

“Customs will initiate an amendment to the original import declarations to change the date of importation.  This will not require any action by brokers/declarants for import declarations already lodged or cleared because the amendments will be system generated once the new dates of importation are known.”
 
“This amendment approach does not affect duty, GST and other charges debited to Broker Deferred and Client Deferred accounts when the original Import Entries were cleared.  This is because those charges are triggered by Entry Clearance, not date of importation.”
 
“The original entry charges will appear as usual on deferred payment account statements for the period,  and GST registered entities can claim GST credits from Inland Revenue.”

Glovis Caravel – Source: Port Canaveral

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Tokyo car update

Current location of Tokyo Car – MarineTraffic

Armacup has been working very closely with the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) on establishing a programme which would allow their car carrier, Tokyo Car to return to Auckland for further fogging treatment followed by re-inspection and controlled discharge.

As a result, Tokyo Car has been granted approval to berth today and undergo another round of “fogging”.

“Fogging” is a process during which an insecticide is applied in the cargo holds. This insecticide is not potent enough to guarantee 100% kill rate of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) but will irritate the bug sufficiently to make it active which then would make it detectable to inspectors.

Armacup are still working through the finer details of the “controlled discharge” with MPI and there will be an update after MPI has inspected the vessel tomorrow morning after completion of the fogging process.

“As a New Zealand company, we are committed to the protection of our borders and are in full support of MPI,” said Armacup

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MPI to amend Import Health Standard

In response to the threat of the stink bug biohazard aboard car carriers, the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) announced today that it will be amending the Import Health Standard, effective immediately.
  • Pre-shipping inspection will now be required for all used vehicles and machinery from ports in Japan.
  • MPI is also working with the new vehicle industry and is looking to implement changes across this pathway as well.
  • This week, shipping lines and importers will be trialling a proposed treatment programme, and systematic testing, on one of the affected ships when it returns to port in Auckland.  
  • This approach is not yet an approved biosecurity system, and cannot be considered a silver bullet solution. MPI will continue to treat each ship on a case-by-case basis.
  • Longer-term measures are also now being worked on, to ensure that all used vehicles are cleared of any insects before export, and that none arrive live in destination ports in the future.
    We are well aware that this issue is having a severe impact on our supply chain, and that businesses and jobs are at risk. However, biosecurity is paramount for New Zealand’s wider economy and must not be compromised.

If you find any evidence of insect infestation, phone the 24/7 MPI Exotic Pest and Disease Hotline on 0800 80 99 66 and report it immediately. 

More info is available on the MPI website.
 
For any questions, please contact VIA Technical Manager Malcolm Yorston on 0800 VIA VIA (842 842) or email technical@via.org.nz.

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Fuel pushes up producer prices

Higher fuel prices contributed to the rise in producer output and input prices in the December 2017 quarter, Stats NZ said today.

Overall, producer output prices (the prices producers get for their goods and services) rose 1.0 percent in the December 2017 quarter. Input prices (the costs producers pay) rose 0.9 percent.

Output prices for the mining industry increased 9.3 per cent, influenced by higher crude oil prices received by gas and oil extraction producers.

Input prices paid by petroleum and coal product manufacturers rose 12 percent in the December 2017 quarter, influenced by higher imported crude oil prices.

“Higher crude oil prices led to increased costs for many industries, including petroleum, forestry and logging, transport, construction, and farming,” business prices manager Sarah Williams said.

Motor vehicle, parts and fuel retailing

In the December 2017 quarter the motor vehicle, parts and fuel retailing industry contributed for the increase in retail trade output prices (up 0.3 per cent). 

Input prices paid by motor vehicle, parts and fuel retailing rose 1.0 per cent in the December quarter, the highest increase in the retail trade industry.

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Auto industry investing in AI

Car companies, automakers, dealers, insurers and suppliers are making big investments in artificial intelligence (A.I.) to make fixed operations more efficient, such as parts supply chains, collision assessments and repair processes.

Syncron uses A.I. to create products designed to help automakers and dealers improve supply processes for replacement parts.

A.I. enables dealerships to save money by maintaining leaner parts inventories and ordering fewer parts that are likely to be returned to the automaker or become obsolete, says Gary Brooks, Syncron CEO.

Software systems monitor dealerships’ parts orders to automakers. Algorithms analyse supply and demand patterns to learn about parts runs in specific regions.

Brooks says Syncron’s software has helped some automakers increase their fill rate — the share of customer parts demand that is met through immediate dealership stock availability — from 60 to 90 percent.

The “smart parts” can send data about use and wear directly to the software, Brooks says. The AI systems not only predict parts failures, he says, but help automakers price replacement parts more accurately by analysing sales trends.

Mazda North American Operations is using A.I. to help transform its parts distribution system from managing a network based on regional centres to creating a global supply chain, says Robert Davis, Mazda’s senior vice president for special assignments.

“Our wish list is to have the technology to be able to predict a parts failure on a car, communicate it to the dealer, to the parts distribution centre, all the way back to the core supplier,” Davis told Fixed Ops Journal.

Such an AI-based system, Davis says, also will notify the vehicle owner: “It looks like a part will be failing on your car within the next 3,000 miles, so why not bring it in so we can fix it? The part will be here.”

Repair order fill rate is a better measure than overall fill rate, Davis says. “If your car needs three parts, and I only have two in stock, those two parts become completely irrelevant,” he says.


German court could sink the value of diesel cars

Mercedes Benz Museum – Stuttgart, Germany

A court will decide on Thursday whether German cities can ban heavily polluting cars, potentially wiping hundreds of millions of Euros off the value of diesel cars on the country’s roads.

Environmental group DUH has sued Stuttgart, Germany’s car making hub, and Dusseldorf over levels of pollutant particles exceeding European Union limits.

The emission scandal of 2015 led politicians across the world to scrutinise diesel emissions, which contain the matter and nitrogen oxide (NOx) and are known to cause respiratory disease.

Environmental groups say levels of pollutants exceed the EU threshold in at least 90 German towns and cities.

German states, where carmakers have a strong influence, appealed against the decision, leaving Germany’s federal administrative court to rule on whether such bans can legally be imposed at local level.

“The key question is whether bans can already be considered to be legal instruments,” said Remo Klinger, a lawyer for DUH. “It’s a completely open question of law.”

Paris, Madrid, Mexico City and Athens have said they plan to ban diesel vehicles from city centres by 2025, while the mayor of Copenhagen wants to ban new diesel cars from entering the city as soon as next year. France and Britain will ban new petrol and diesel cars by 2040 in a shift to electric vehicles.

Evercore ISI forecasts a 5 percent fall in diesel residual values could result in a drop of NZ$2.3 billion in operating profit across eight European and U.S. carmakers.

Analysts at Bernstein Research have said that diesel bans in Europe would hit French carmaker Peugeot hardest, followed by Renault. Among German carmakers, Daimler’s global fleet exposure to diesel is around 38 percent, BMW’s 35 percent and VW’s 26 percent, Bernstein said in a report from 2016.

Carmakers have sought to avert total bans by updating engine management systems to improve exhaust-treatment filters, a step only possible on vehicles equipped with software-based engine-management systems.

Europe’s love affair with diesel is already fading, with its market share in the European Union falling from 53.6 percent at the end of 2014 to 49.9 percent at the end of 2016, European automotive association ACEA’s most recent data shows.

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