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Kia has record sales

The Kia Sportage

Kia Motors Corporation has announced its September 2017 global sales figures for passenger cars, recreational vehicles and commercial vehicles – and has notched a record total of 252,254 registrations.

Last month, its domestic market sales totalled 48,019 units. This represented an increase of 25.4 per cent compared with the same month last year. It was largely due to the timing difference of the Chuseok holiday, which was in September 2016 compared to October this year. Overseas sales also increased by 3.6 per cent compared to the previous year. This total came in at 204,235 units.
Kia’s best-selling model in overseas markets during September 2017 was the
Sportage compact SUV with 37,746 registrations. The Cerato compact sedan – also known as the Forte or K3 in some markets – was the second best seller with 28,793 units sold.

It was followed by the sub-compact Rio – known as the Pride in Korea –
with 24,760 registrations.

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Giltrap Group opens $40m showroom

The Giltrap Group has opened its new headquarters in Auckland, and Michael Giltrap says Warren and Mahoney’s design of the new building at 119 Great North Road was way beyond what they had ever anticipated.

You’d hope so, as the new showroom came with a price tag of $40 million.

Giltrap’s new 11 GNR showroom. Source: NZ Herald.

“Warren and Mahoney have produced a design which perfectly showcases some of the world’s most beautiful cars. At the same time, it is the most technologically impressive and environmentally friendly building of its type in the country,” Giltrap said, referring to the new building’s 5-star Green Star design rating.

“The showroom was conceived as three jewellery boxes with glazing that wraps around on the sides,” the leader of the Warren and Mahoney team Jonathan Hewlett said.

119 GNR has a 5-star Green Star design rating. Source: NZ Herald.

Giltrap Group has significant land holdings on both sides of Great North Rd near the Ponsonby Rd intersection, due to the foresight of founder Sir Colin Giltrap. The new building has been named 119 GNR, after its Great North Rd address.

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Mazda at Motor Show

Mazda has teased two concepts they will debut at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show at the end of this month.

Mazda will also display the SKYACTIV-X next-generation gasoline engine as a technology exhibit at the show, which runs from October 28 through November 5.

Mazda’s theme for this year’s show – “Celebrate Driving.” – hints at concepts that focus on the driving experience, on road and in the vehicle.

The concept, a compact hatchback that fuses next-generation technology and design, will make its world premiere at the show. It adopts Nissan’s SKYACTIV-Vehicle Architecture. The concept, powered by the SKYACTIV-X engine, is set to become the world’s first commercial gasoline engine to use compression ignition. Dynamic performance has been dramatically refined and next-generation design condensed to create Mazda’s ideal compact hatchback.

The design vision model embodies the concepts that will define the next generation of Mazda design, resulting in a more profound expression of the globally-acclaimed KODO design language Mazda debuted on the Mazda CX-5 in 2012.

The Mazda CX-8, a new three-row crossover SUV that goes on sale in Japan in December, will also be on display at the show. The company’s flagship SUV in Japan, it features sophisticated styling and comfortable seating in all three rows. Major upgrades to the SKYACTIV-D 2.2 clean diesel engine increase torque and power for composed performance.

A special edition Mazda Roadster (MX-5) Red Top featuring a dark cherry red canopy and auburn Nappa leather upholstery will be exhibited.

“In August, we announced our Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030 long-term vision for technology development, setting out how Mazda hopes to use driving pleasure, the fundamental appeal of the automobile, to help solve issues facing people, the earth and society,” said Masamichi Kogai Mazda’s representative director, president and CEO.

“Our stand this year marks the beginning of a new era for Mazda. We will showcase a concept model with the design and technologies that will define a whole new generation of Mazda cars. Among them is SKYACTIV-X, a gasoline engine that realizes a long-held dream of the global automotive industry.”

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Targa targets prostate cancer

Team ENZED Abarth has competed for more than 23 years in tarmac rallies in New Zealand, never missing a Targa NZ event until last year.

“I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer,” says team owner Mike Lowe. “But thankfully due to my regular blood tests for PSA, it was discovered early. This allowed for immediate intervention and now I can happily say I am cancer-free.”

Lowe has volunteered as the Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand brand ambassador for this year’s Targa event. He will be advocating to the predominantly male Targa competitors to “Get Checked”.

According to the Ministry of Health, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in New Zealand men. Some prostate cancers are slow growing and will never cause problems. Others grow quickly and cause serious symptoms or death. If caught early, prostate cancer can be managed well and can usually be cured.

Team ENZED’s Fiat 500.

“As competitors we regularly check our car’s oil, tyres and so forth. It is logical therefore that we should also check ourselves.”

Team ENZED Abarth are running their works-built Fiat Abarth 500 Assetto Corse Rallye. The car is unique in the Southern Hemisphere, one of only 49 built by the Abarth factory in Turin.

The chief executive of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of NZ, Graeme Woodside says his foundation appreciates the support.

“He is a living example of why men should get checked – when diagnosed early the disease can be effectively treated, as Mike has experienced. Prostate cancer is the number one cancer in Kiwi men and the message is clear – early diagnosis saves lives.”

The risk of prostate cancer grows with age, but getting checked is simple, and could save your life.

They have a single aim: “Just finishing a tarmac rally is a major achievement, and as the only team to have started and finished all events we have entered since 1995, Team ENZED Abarth want to keep that record intact.”

This year sees Targa runs from Auckland to Wellington over five days of competition, with 640km of closed-road Special Stages and 1170km of touring.

Commencing at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park on Tuesday, October 24, the route traverses the North Island with overnight stops are Hamilton, New Plymouth and Palmerston North with the finish on the Wellington waterfront.

More information on prostate cancer checks, tests and treatment is available from:

  • your doctor or health service
  • the Cancer Society of New Zealand Information Service (Freephone 0800 226 237)
  • the Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand (Freephone 0800 477 678).

Useful websites include:

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Fuel spending down

Consumers spent less on fuel but more on core shop sales (which excludes the vehicle-related industries), leaving overall retail spending flat in the September 2017, Stats NZ said today. This is compared with a 0.6 per cent rise in the June quarter, after adjusting for seasonal effects.

Electronic card spending on fuel in the September 2017 quarter fell $129 million, or 7.1 per cent.

“This drop in fuel spending coincided with lower fuel prices at the beginning of the quarter,” retail manager Sue Chapman said.

Spending rose in five of the six retail industries in the September quarter.

Core retail spending rose 0.9 per cent in the September 2017 quarter, after a 1.1 per cent rise in the June 2017 quarter.

Actual retail spending using electronic cards was $14.7 billion in the September 2017 quarter, up $437 million (3.1 percent) from the September 2016 quarter.

Spending fell in four of the six retail industries in September. The largest movements came from sales of goods including appliances and furniture (durables), down $15 million or 1.2 percent, offset by grocery and liquor sales (consumables), up $15 million or 0.8 percent.

“We can’t draw any firm conclusions about the impact of the general election on electronic card spending in September,” Chapman said.

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VW’s emissions scandal bill hits $30bn

Amid arrests, falling share prices and continued uncertainty, Volkswagen’s bill from the ongoing emissions scandal has reached USD$30 Billion.

Reuters reports that on Thursday, German prosecutors arrested Wolfgang Hatz, the first top executive within the group to be detained amid a widening probe into cheating at VW’s Audi brand.

Wolfgang Hatz, arrested on Thursday by German prosecutors for his senior level role in VW’s emissions cheating scandal.

VW’s growing financial woes and Hatz’s arrest were also discussed on Friday at a regular meeting of the carmaker’s supervisory board, one person familiar with the matter said.

VW shares fell as much as 3 per cent on Friday, as traders and analysts reacted to the continuing fallout from the scandal.

VW, Europe’s biggest automaker, admitted in September 2015 that it had used illegal software to cheat U.S. diesel emissions tests, sparking the biggest business crisis in its 80-year history. Before Friday, it had set aside 22.6 billion euros ($26.7 billion) to cover costs such as fines and vehicle refits.

Last year, VW agreed with U.S. authorities to spend up to $15.3 billion to buy back or fix up to 475,000 2.0-litre polluting diesel cars.

On Friday, VW said it was extending the timeline and setting aside an additional 2.5 billion euros (USD$3.0 billion) as hardware. VW says the complications will amount to 5,200 euros per car.

“We have to do more with the hardware,” a VW spokesman said.

In Europe, where only a software update is required for the 8.5 million affected cars, plus a minor component integration for about 3.7 million 1.6-litre vehicles included in that number, fixes are running smoothly, the spokesman added.

The additional provision will be reflected in third-quarter results due on October 27, VW said.

 

 

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Toyota NZ awarded

The call centre and the customer have long been each other’s nemesis. Whole companies’ reputations can be broken through repeated bad experiences on the end of a phone.

Far from the case for Toyota New Zealand though, they’ve just been awarded for the quality of the customer service their 11-person Palmerston North based call centre provides.

The Toyota NZ Customer Dialogue team.

Judged by CRM Consulting, Toyota New Zealand scored the highest points when incoming calls were anonymously audited for a variety of criteria including; promptness and quality of reply, politeness, confident positive language, knowledge of products and services, providing further information and adding value to the customer’s experience.

Toyota was also named New Zealand’s top Automotive Call Centre and was placed third in the email and website categories, while Aaron Wheeler received an award for one of the five top ‘favourite’ inbound customer service representatives receiving calls.

“It’s a great vote of confidence in our 11 Palmerston North based team members who are a customer’s first point of contact for Toyota New Zealand” said Spencer Morris, Toyota New Zealand’s general manager of customer service.

“The Customer Dialogue Centre possess a very strong customer focus which shows through their passion for creating long-lasting customer relationships.”

“People are making more contact with us – the distributor – than they used to,” said Mr Morris. “Their expectations are continually changing and we have to be more aware of how to adapt to create a more personalised experience.”

An after-hours 0800 number also links callers to assistance from dealers or other appropriate

services on weekends and public holidays when the Dialogue Centre is closed.

Toyota is proud it regularly exceeds its target of answering 90 per cent of calls within 10 seconds.

Mr Morris said the whole company supported the Customer Dialogue Centre, which has been operating for 20 years, as it is the voice of Toyota for many New Zealand owners and drivers.


China relaxes EV sales targets

Car makers in China will need to make sure at least 10 per cent of their annual sales in the country are electric plug-in and hybrid vehicles by 2019.

The new sales target is a slight relaxation of earlier plans from the Chinese Government to set that target for the end of this year, Reuters reports. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a statement on Thursday that by 2020, the required level would be 20 per cent.

The quotas are a part of a drive by China, the world’s largest auto market, to develop its own EV market, with a long-term aim to ban the production and sale of combustion engine vehicles.

The Chinese Government appears to have heeded warnings from car makers that they would not be able to meet the strict targets initially set. Car makers petitioned the Chinese Government in June asking for leniency.

Curbing pollution is a crucial challenge for the Chinese Government and one that they hope this quota will contribute to.

Under the new rules, car makers will receive credits for EVs that can be transferred or traded. These credits will be used to calculate if firms have met the quotas.

“We welcome the Chinese auto industry’s shift towards greater adoption of NEVs and will comply with relevant regulations presented by authorities,” Ford Motor Company said in a statement responding to the announcement.

General Motors Co said it would “strive to comply with the NEV mandatory requirements”, though it added “continued joint efforts by the government and companies are essential to build broad-based consumer acceptance for NEVs”.

“GM has sufficient capacity to manufacture NEVs in China,” it said in a statement.

Japan’s Honda Motor Co Ltd said it planned to launch an electric battery car in China next year and would “try to expand our lineup of new energy vehicles” to meet the quotas.


Winger Group’s new home for Alfa

Alfa Romeo has a new showroom and base of operations that the company says is its new focal point for the Auckland region.

David Smitherman and Wayne Leach.

The Winger Group has taken over sole responsibility in Auckland for Alfa Romeo. Wayne Leach, director of Winger Motors said that the aim is to make his new facility the heart and soul of motoring in Auckland.

“It is an honour because being trusted to represent one of the greatest names in the car industry is so special and a challenge because we have to provide a facility, a level of expertise and a quality of service that matches Alfa Romeo and which is demanded by Alfa Romeo’s exacting owners,” said Leach.

The Winger group will invest over $16 million in its facility at 21 Great South Road, Auckland. It will also open a new workshop which is currently under construction in Margot Street, and will open in October.

Alfa Romeo’s distributor is Fiat Chrysler New Zealand. CEO David Smitherman says that Winger’s appointment is a strategic decision.

“The market positioning and exclusivity of the newest Alfa Romeo models, the Stelvio and Giulia, along with those to follow them, demands much more than a car dealership… We firmly believe that this could only be fully executed by a single outlet and, in turn, by Winger, whose commitment to deliver is second to none.”

 

 

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Mevo gets 250k investment from Z Energy

New Zealand’s first electric on-demand car rental company has secured a quarter of a million-dollar investment from Z Energy, and will use the funds to expand its Wellington fleet to 50 vehicles.

Kiwi EV on-demand car rental company Mevo has been in operation since late last year, and provides on-demand transport with a network of hybrid Audi e-trons. members can book, lock and unlock the vehicles using the company’s app, which connects securely to the onboard security system.

The Mevo founders Erik Zydervelt and Finn Lawrence.

Mevo users can pay anywhere from hourly to yearly fees for use of the service.

Co-founder of Mevo Erik Zydervelt, said the investment from Z Energy indicates his companies vision is a viable in the long term.

“We’re excited to have forward-thinking partners who support our mission to not only lower carbon emissions, but to increase the livability of Wellington by reducing the number of cars on the road. We are leading the change in the car-sharing industry, not only in New Zealand but globally,” Zydervelt said.

Z Energy chief executive Mike Bennetts said that his company’s investment is the latest in a series of moves Z is making to provide environmentally sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels.

“We are proud to support and invest in a New Zealand company helping change how people get around.”

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VINZ to provide global inspection and audit to THL

One of New Zealand’s and the world’s largest operators of motorhomes has voluntarily opted into an independent and random safety inspection program for their commercial fleet.

Tourism Holdings Limited (THL) will subject their fleet to the inspections from Vehicle Inspection New Zealand (VINZ) throughout NZ, Australia, the United States of America and the United Kingdom.

THL operates under the Maui, Britz, Mighty, KEA Australia and Motek Vehicle Sales brands. Within NZ, THL also operates Kiwi Experience and other localised tourism operations.

THL chief executive Grant Webster says that in the RV industry, the biggest health and safety risk is moving vehicles.

THL operate the Kiwi Experience brand, and many other rental and tourism businesses in NZ.

“We do all we can to ensure the safety of our fleet – giving customers peace of mind along with other road users. This initiative is part of our continued commitment to having the safest fleet of commercial motorhomes on the road – both in New Zealand and around the world,” Webster said.

VINZ will carry out the inspections on-site at THL facilities, providing the equipment and staff in each location. The vehicles will be serviced a checked by an onsite mechanic team as each camper is returned and before it leaves the site.

VINZ will provide the service directly in New Zealand and Australia, and will deliver the audits through other companies in Optimus Group (of which VINZ is a subsidiary) in markets where it does not have a direct presence.

“This agreement, and the work we have put into developing a service delivery and reporting model, represents an opportunity for VINZ to demonstrate its ability to provide customised inspection services on a global scale,” says VINZ Chief Executive, Gordon Shaw. “By working with other Optimus Group companies and their affiliates we can inspect to a global standard and also ensure compliance with regulatory standards in each sovereign market.”

VINZ and THL have a longstanding partnership incorporating entry certification for imported vehicles, along with onsite Certificate of Fitness Testing.

Vehicles rented through Mighway, THL’s peer-to-peer campervan hire company, will also be part of the independent testing.

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