Blog Archives

VIA’s ANZAC day reminder

VIA, the Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association, has sent out a reminder that this Wednesday, 25 April, is Anzac Day.

By law, you are not permitted to trade before 1 pm.

You may trade from 1 pm onwards, but any staff you have working on that day must be paid at a minimum of time and a half, and receive a paid day off in lieu.

Read more details on public holiday trading hours and employee entitlements.

If you have any questions, please contact VIA Technical Manager Malcolm Yorston on 0800 VIA VIA (842 842) or email

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Nissan to cut 100s of UK jobs

Nissan will cut hundreds of jobs at its Sunderland plant, Britain’s biggest automotive factory, as it tackles a declining demand for diesel models across Europe, a source told Reuters on Friday. 

The company’s sales in Britain have fallen 35 per cent so far this year, worse than overall demand in the sector, which is down 12 per cent. 

In a statement, Nissan said, “We will be managing a planned short-term reduction in powertrain supply and plant volumes.”

David Bailey, a professor of industrial strategy at Aston University, said to the Guardian: “Certainly there is a massive shift away from diesel vehicles across Europe. There is a perfect storm combining “dieselgate,” legislative changes and the reduction in resale values for owners of the cars.

“Nissan is exposed to that, as about 25 per cent of what Nissan produce up in Sunderland is diesel. But they have a lot of hybrid technology after the takeover of Mitsubishi which we can expect to see more of, as well as the electric technology behind the Leaf, so I think they are well positioned to see through this temporary shock.”

Jaguar Land Rover also announced they are cutting around 1,000 jobs and output at two of its factories after a fall in sales which the industry has blamed on confusion with the government’s diesel policy, with a tax hike coming into force this month. 

Demand for diesel in Britain fell by a third this year due to continued consumer concern over planned tax rises and proposed bans.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said the decline in diesel sales suggested owners were keeping their old cars longer. The society also described the drop-off in diesel demand as “disappointing”, given that the “latest cars are the cleanest in history and can help address air quality issues”.

“The ongoing and substantial decline in new diesel car registrations is concerning, particularly since the evidence indicates consumers and businesses are not switching into alternative technologies, but keeping their older cars running,” SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said. 


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Self-driving cars on the rise

LiDAR sensor on one of Uber’s autonomous vehicles

ABI Researcha market-foresight advisory firm, forecasts eight million consumer vehicles shipping in 2025 will feature autonomous or semi-autonomous capabilities. 

This eight million figure is part of a larger report published by ABI about Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. The number encompasses vehicles that will feature Level 3 and 4 technologies, where drivers will still be necessary but are able to completely transfer safety-critical functions to the vehicle and Level 5 technology, where no driver will be required at all. 

This also means that shipments of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensors that are required for autonomous cars will increase rapidly. “As many as 36 million LiDAR units are expected to ship in 2025, corresponding to a market value of NZ$9.9 billion.”

How did ABI land on a figure of eight million?

ABI extrapolated data from the past few years. Up until recently, Level 1 autonomous technology was only available with high-end luxury cars. Now, companies like Ford, Toyota, Subaru, and many others, are making Level 1 tech such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, and automatic braking available across all of their lineups.

ABI predicts that these cars will up the demand for technology like LiDAR sensors. As a response, sensor manufacturers will then produce them more efficiently, which will then cause the price of LiDAR sensors to go down, and make affordable autonomous technology more feasible for automakers. 

“With the rapid development and deployment of various Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) packages by manufacturers, higher level automation represents the next suitable step,” says Shiv Patel, Research Analyst at ABI Research. “The primary functional sensor gap between today’s ADAS and higher level autonomous vehicles will be filled with the addition of LiDAR, which will help to provide reliable obstacle detection and Simultaneous Location and Mapping.”

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VW has record-breaking month

The Volkswagen Group has come roaring back from the emission-fixing scandal with the company announcing a record delivery month in March.

The Volkswagen Group recorded its best-ever delivery result for a single month in March. The Group also finished the first quarter with an all-time record.

At 1.04 million, deliveries by the Volkswagen Group in March were 5.3 per cent higher than March 2016. Over 2.6 million vehicles were handed over to customers in the first quarter of the year (up 7.4 per cent).

“The first-quarter results confirm the attractiveness of our products. However, this good performance does not mean we can let up in our efforts; instead, we must continue to strengthen customers’ trust in our brands and products in the second quarter as well”, Fred Kappler, Head of Group Sales at Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, said.

European sales were up 4.1 per cent while North American sales increased 3.4 percent. Growth continued at a solid clip in the Asia-Pacific region where 1,090,200 vehicles were delivered in the first quarter. This represented a 12 percent increase year over year.

Volkswagen remained the group’s most popular brand, accounting for more than 1.5 million of the first quarter deliveries. Audi is the second most popular, with 463,800 deliveries.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

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Australia ups EV game

The Australian government recently announced that it plans to see 1 million electric vehicles (EVs) on the road by 2030, and wants half of its annual vehicles sold to be electric in the future.

The Electric Vehicle Council (EVC) also wants to reduce the cost of EVs by about $7,000 per car for consumers.

“By providing discounted finance through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, it is hoped we can encourage a greater uptake of electric vehicles and reduce emissions,” said Josh Frydenberg, the country’s Minister of Environment and Energy.

The EVC also noted that if the country achieves the desired amount of EV sales by 2030, carbon emissions will decrease by 18 million tons.

Ten auto brands, along with a new Australian startup, will introduce new electric cars in Australia by 2020.The first Australian-made EV will be manufactured in Queensland. ACE Electric Vehicles, which began as an energy management company, is creating a vehicle with a 40-kilowatt battery and an impressive range of 350 kilometres.

“We are proud to be launching our first range of Australian electric vehicles,” ACE Electric Vehicles managing director Greg McGarvie told the Sydney Morning Herald. “This is now a realistic proposition since our agreements on a new patented manufacturing process for electric vehicles.”

The first two models are a truck called the Yewt – a play on the Antipodean term ute, for a utility vehicle – and a cargo van. Both will be priced at less than AUS$40,000 and are designed for cities, with an expected range of 350 km from a 40 kWh battery.

Two more vehicles are in the works for anticipated releases in 2019.

The Hyundai Kona Electric, the lux Audi e-tron, the Mercedes-Benz EQC SUV, the Volvo XC40, the sleek Porsche Mission E, and the 2018 Nissan Leaf are just a few of the impressive models that will enter the market.

Australia is joining other countries who have successfully incorporated EVs into their car market. The US plans to have several million EVs on the road in the next five years. In India, ride-sharing app Ola will have 1 million EVs on the road in the by 2021. Norway also plans for 100 per cent of its new vehicles sold to be electric by 2025.


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A call for law change

Law change is needed to ensure autonomous vehicles can be used legally on New Zealand roads, a major Law Foundation study has found.

Study author Michael Cameron says a complete overhaul of law and policy around driverless vehicles is required, with targeted reform needed more urgently.

“Certain types of driverless vehicles, such as the taxi fleets being deployed by General Motors next year, may not legally be allowed on New Zealand roads, regardless of how safe they are,” says Cameron.

“Law change to reduce this uncertainty is desirable soon if New Zealand wants to ensure the life-saving benefits of driverless technology are not needlessly delayed. Such change would help New Zealand become a leader in driverless technology, with all the economic benefits that would entail.

“As we have shown with rockets in the North Island and autonomous air taxis in the South, our country can contribute to the development of world-beating technology – but only if we have receptive laws.”

He says that despite recent publicity over the first pedestrian death involving a driverless vehicle, the safety of all road users will ultimately be improved by full adoption of the new technology.

“Many hope that driverless vehicles will eliminate traffic accidents, end congestion, spark economic growth and provide cheap and convenient mobility for all. But countries that want to fully realise these benefits, and avoid the pitfalls, will need to ensure their legal houses are in order,” he says.

Also, driverless vehicle manufacturers should prepare safety assessments for New Zealand, as they do in the United States, so our authorities can better utilise existing consumer protection and land transport rules to protect the public.

Click here to read the full report. 



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Autosure moves HQs

Last night, James Searle, General Manager at DPL Insurance and Todd Hunter, Chief Executive at Turners Automotive Group, officially opened Autosure’s new headquarters in the Warehouse Way, Northcote, a new open office suite overlooking Auckland Harbour.

James Searle, General Manager DPL Insurance and Todd Hunter, CEO of Turners Automotive Group at last night’s opening.

“We are delighted to be here,” said Searle. “We feel really privileged to be in this new place, the new home of Autosure, we are really looking forward to taking it further forward and growing the legacy.”

Autosure has been in the motor insurance industry for the last 14 years. With the move to larger offices, Autosure is well positioned for continued company growth.

“It is great to have all of our insurance team working out of this office,” said Hunter. “We have had a situation over the last 15 months, where we have had people in the city, people in Takapuna and lots of moving in between, so it is fantastic to have everyone here in a brand new fitted out office.”

One of the many other advantages of moving to new headquarters is the improvement in openness and accessibility.

“Communication between our teams is much easier, we feel very good about the environment we have set out here, and this should flow positively into the services and experience we can give people.”

Hunter also thanked the team for their cooperation and support during the move. 

“A lot of change has gone on here and everyone has accepted it positively and grasped the opportunity with both hands and that’s fantastic, it is all we can ask for.”

“We are very proud of our new home.”

Autosure is a provider of automotive-owner protection insurance policies for the New Zealand retail motor vehicle industry. Autosure was purchased by the Turners group in November 2016.

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AutopleX – JLR’s latest project

Jaguar Land Rover is leading a NZ$9.2 million project to develop self-driving cars that can ‘see’ at blind junctions and through obstacles.

Britain’s biggest carmaker is leading a project called AutopleX to combine connected, automated and live mapping tech so more information is provided earlier to the self-driving car. This enables automated cars to communicate with all road users and obstacles where there is no direct view, effectively helping them see, so they can safely merge lanes and negotiate complex roundabouts autonomously.

Chris Holmes, Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Research Manager at Jaguar Land Rover said: “This project is crucial in order to bring self-driving cars to our customers in the near future. Together with our AutopleX partners, we will merge our connected and autonomous research to empower our self-driving vehicles to operate safely in the most challenging, real-world traffic situations.”

Jaguar Land Rover is developing fully- and semi-automated vehicle technologies, offering customers a choice of an engaged or automated drive while maintaining an enjoyable and safe driving experience. The company’s vision is to make the self-driving car viable in the widest range of real-life, on- and off-road driving environments and weather.

AutopleX will develop the technology through simulation and public road testing both on motorways and in urban environments in the West Midlands. Highways England, INRIX, Ricardo, Siemens, Transport for West Midlands and WMG at the University of Warwick join the AutopleX consortium, which was announced as part of Innovate UK’s third round of Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Funding in March 2018.

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Porsche offices raided

Matthias Mueller has been replaced by Herbert Diess as Volkswagen’s new CEO.

Police raided ten locations connected to three current and former Porsche employees on Wednesday, reports German newspaper, The Local. They are all connected to the German government’s ongoing investigation into auto manufacturers cheating on diesel emissions tests.

Prosecutors and 160 police officers were involved.

“The three accused consist of one member of Porsche’s executive board and one senior manager. The third accused no longer works for Porsche,” prosecutors told The Local.

While Audi and parent company Volkswagen has clearly been raided before, Porsche has not been targeted in such raids until now. 

The Local suspects that the executive board member who prosecutors referred to may be outgoing VW CEO Matthias Mueller, who was the head of Porsche from 2010 to 2015 before replacing Martin Winterkorn at Volkswagen just after the company admitted to cheating on diesel emission tests. 

Though his aim was to lead VW out of the scandal, Mueller himself soon came under investigation for allegedly failing to disclose information about the scandal quickly enough to shareholders. 

Mueller was himself replaced by Herbert Diess.

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Subaru trademarks Evoltis

Subaru is advancing into the electric vehicle (EV) sphere and is reportedly picking a name for its plug-in hybrid, which may be called “Evoltis.”

The Evoltis name appears in the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s listings, and Subaru’s application has been filed as recently as March 26.

We don’t know yet whether the Evoltis name would stand for the entire vehicle or its hybrid tech, or if it will be actually used at all. Car & Driver reports that Subaru of America didn’t comment on the matter when asked.

Last year, Subaru CEO Yasuyuki Yoshinaga said his company is looking at electrifying existing models of its fleet rather than designing an all-new line-up in its future technological plans. 

Subaru plans to release a plug-in hybrid at the end of this year. 

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ESC exemptions available

As advised in February, NZTA has acknowledged the disruption to vehicle imports due to the stink bug issue, and especially those affected by the latest ESC requirements.

VIA (Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association) are wanting to remind importers that exemptions from ESC requirements are available for used MA class vehicles (over 2000 cc) purchased in Japan on or before 26 February 2018.

Importers will need to provide evidence that their vehicles were purchased on or by this date. VIA will process applications for all importers.

Copies of an export certificate, bill of lading and a supplier’s invoice is needed for each vehicle.

Click here to read the NZTA’s Q&A on exemptions for stink bug delay.

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