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Previous owner leaves dealership under cloud

Nigel Thompson has quit a car dealership business amid allegations of misconduct.

As revealed by Stuff.co.nz, the longstanding dealer used to run one of the largest car yards in Christchurch under the name “Nigel Thompson Motor Company”.

The business has reportedly had financial issues. In November last year former Kiwis coach, Frank Endacott and his son, took a 50 per cent share in the business helping to pay creditors and provide working capital.

Stuff reports Thompson left the business in September and the remaining shares were transferred to the Endacotts.

It also reports the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Inland Revenue have confirmed that they are launching an inquiry.

In a statement to Stuff, Frank Endacott said the family would keep the business running on their own. The car yard would operate under the Nigel Thompson name for the time being but is planning to rebrand in the near-future, he said.

Thompson has allegedly formed an association the Aranui-based Celebration Centre church. The associated trust is opening a yard where Thompson will be an employee, says Stuff. The profits from the car operation will go directly to the local community, the church says.

Church spokesman, Corey Watkinson, said to Stuff that he was aware of investigations into Thompson but was not concerned about the claims about his activities.

The church, a registered charity, has an income of about $1 million a year from tithes and donations.

Thompson said in a statement to Stuff that he was “unaware” of the ongoing investigations and the commercial relationship with the Endacotts “was ended by agreement”.

“The terms of the agreement are commercially sensitive and confidential as between the parties save as to record that all parties agree that any disputes . . . are settled.”

Stuff reports Thompson has denied any allegations of dishonest conduct. 

To read the full story, click here.

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Motorcentral launches new car search site

Christchurch based software company, Motorcentral, have launched a new website designed to help you find your next car easier.

Need A Car (www.needacar.co.nz) allows customers to search more than 22,000 cars throughout New Zealand.

Using more than fifty different variables, such as colour, safety features and fuel economy, Shane Breckon, project lead, believes its ‘the easiest and most comprehensive car search in the market”.

Setting Need A Car out from the rest, it also has a built-in “lifestyle search” which can match vehicles to people based on their individual lifestyle. It allows users to figure out what car might best fit their need and “to get introduced to cars they may not have known existed,” adds Breckon.

Customers can also apply for finance, get accurate quotes on additional products like delivery and insurances and be alerted when the price of a vehicle drops.

Unlike other car-search websites, the vehicles featured on Need A Car are from trusted dealers only, which allows for “greater protection for consumers” states Breckon.

The site also displays feedback from more than 7,000 recent car buyers via Motorcentral’s BuyerScore system, including comments on the customer service being received from dealers.

The Need A Car website currently has 22,000 vehicles for sale from more than 400 dealers.

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Auckland fuel tax confirmed

A new fuel tax on Auckland motorists will be introduced by the new Labour-led Government in order to help fund transport infrastructure. 
(more…)



China to reach one million units

Production of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in China could reach one million units by next year and three million by 2020.

Chairman of carmaker BAIC group, Xu Heyi said the production is likely to exceed a target set by the Chinese government.

“Rather than the time when gasoline-fuelled cars are withdrawn, it is more important to consider the extent to which new energy vehicles are popularized, or their market share,” Xu told reporters at the Communist Party Congress.

Wang Chuanfu, chairman of leading EV producer BYD, said in September that all of China’s vehicles could be “electrified” by as early as 2030.

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McLaren to design road car

“The most extreme, track-concentrated road car” Mclaren has every designed is set to become part of the British Automaker’s Ultimate Series.

The much-awaited vehicle will be revealed in the first quarter of 2018 – ahead of a second future Ultimate Series model which will be code-named BP23 and should be the world’s first Hyper-GT.

As members of the McLaren Ultimate Series, both will be produced in very limited numbers and all examples are already assigned. Ultimate Series models are positioned above McLaren’s core Super Series and have a distinct focus. Previous examples of the Series include the McLaren P1™ and McLaren P1™ GTR.

This next model to join the Ultimate Series will be the ultimate track car but will be road legal. Daily usability is being sacrificed to give the most intensive driver experience around a circuit. Its design, described as brutal, will be the purest expression yet of the company’s ‘form follows function’ philosophy.

More details, including the car’s name, will be revealed before the end of this year.

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Nissan X-TRAIL diesel not in NZ

Nissan’s X-TRAIL TL diesel variant is on sale in Australia, however it will not be available in New Zealand.

The new X-TRAIL variant is available in two grades, including the entry TS and high-spec TL.

“There is still an appetite for diesel, and offering a diesel engine in not only important for us but for Nissan X-TRAIL buyers,” said Nissan Australia Managing Director Stephen Lester.

With 130kW of power at 3,750rpm and a maximum torque of 380Nm at a low 2,000rpm, the vehicle includes strong acceleration early when you need it most. The new 2.0 litre turbo-diesel engine has 35 per cent more power and almost 20 per cent more torque than its 1.6 litre diesel predecessor.

“The X-TRAIL range has sold well since the May update, and with the base model TS diesel available since June, we are excited to have the full diesel range now on sale.

“With a strong grade walk, whether it be petrol or diesel, the X-TRAIL range offers something for everyone,” says Lester.

Now with three engine choices, the diesel engine sits alongside 2.0 litre and 2.5 litre petrol alternatives.

Nissan’s X-TRAIL range starts with a 2.0 litre petrol two-wheel drive 2.0 litre petrol engine with 6-speed manual transmission#. It has outputs of 106kW at 6,000rpm and 200Nm of torque at 4,400rpm.

The larger, and more popular, 2.5 litre engine has a higher 126kW of power and 226Nm of torque, and is fitted exclusively with the same CVT transmission as its diesel sibling.

Standard across the range, the X-TRAIL is fitted with Intelligent Emergency Braking, with the range topping Ti petrol and TL diesel also having pedestrian detection.

The TS features front, front-side and side curtain SRS airbags, and also comes with Vehicle Dynamic Control with Traction Control, Forward Collision Warning and two ISOFIX anchor points in the second row. The TL also includes Blind Spot Warning (BSW) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW).

Inside, the Nissan X-TRAIL comes with an impressive list of comfort and safety features, with the TL including a rearview camera with predictive path technology, an Intelligent Around-View® Monitor with Moving Object Detection, Sat Nav and Cruise Control – as well as black or tan leather-accented trim.

Available in seven contemporary exterior colours and three interior seat trims, Nissan X-TRAIL starts from $28,490 for the 2.0 litre petrol with 6-speed manual, while the diesel range begins at $35,990.

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Jeep Compass wins safety pick

Jeep Compass TX

The Jeep Compass has earned a 2017 Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS).

The compact SUV achieves the highest possible IIHS rating in its category. 

“The all-new Jeep Compass benefits from high-strength steel content that exceeds 65 percent,” says Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global. “This not only contributes to crashworthiness, it speaks to a level of engineering sophistication that makes this vehicle the most capable small-SUV ever”.

The 2017 Jeep Compass scored “good” ratings in tests that simulate:

· A side impact with a large SUV or pickup truck;

· A moderate-offset frontal impact;

· A small-offset frontal impact;

· Roof-deformation consistent with a rollover; and

· A rear collision capable of inducing whiplash

Advanced AEB technology is a hallmark of the safety strategy embraced by FCA US LLC. Accordingly, the all-new Jeep Compass benefits from sensor-fusion technology in its available driver-assist feature, Full-speed Forward Collision Warning-Plus.

 

The Jeep Compass arrives in New Zealand early in 2018, when full local specifications and pricing will be announced.

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NZ nervous drivers

More than a third of New Zealanders feel unsafe while driving and most don’t have confidence in the ability of other motorists.

This is according to an AA Driving School survey which found that within seven days of driving 85 per cent of survey respondents witnessed other motorists exceeding the speed limit, 64 per cent saw motorists drift out of a lane or park inconsiderately and 63 per cent witnessed someone run a red light.

AA Driving School General Manager Roger Venn says this perception being reported by New Zealand motorists points to an incredible level of potentially lazy and dangerous driving taking place on our roads.

“One of the main reasons for the lack of confidence in other’s abilities is people claiming to see plenty of motorists ignoring basic road rules and road courtesies.

“If that’s the case, there is a real need for better education and enforcement of some of these driving basics,” he says.

Almost 3,000 AA Members responded to a survey on whether New Zealanders thought of themselves as considerate drivers and how the purpose of their driving affected their behaviour.

It found that New Zealand motorists were more likely to point the finger at others than recognise any of their own driving slip-ups.

“There’s a definite disconnect between the number of people driving badly and those taking ownership for it,” he says.

“If we were all driving as well as we think we are then confidence levels on the road would be a lot higher.”

AA Members rated feeling safe on the road and being aware of other road users as the two most important factors when driving, ahead of getting to a destination on time or being courteous to other road users.

“The survey also shows we need to do a lot more work when it comes to being courteous on the road,” says Mr Venn.

“We found that of the courtesies you can show while driving, motorists appreciate being thanked with a wave or similar gesture the most. The problem is not enough of us are doing it, or seeing it.”

Mr Venn says a large part of improving driving on the road, is to change the way we think about it.

“Driving is like any other skill, you need to put in the time and refresh your knowledge to ensure you’re not letting bad habits stick.

“We know experienced drivers struggle to consistently indicate, check blind spots, do their mirror checks, tailgate and avoid distraction from their phones – these are all bad habits that have crept into people’s driving routines.”

Mr Venn says the only way to recognise your own bad habits is to have someone hold up a mirror and tell you.

“Often that ends up being young people doing professional lessons, who then go home to mum and dad and call them out on the things they’re doing wrong.

“A simulated on road test, which replicates a driving test, or other types of professional driver training can also help motorists recognise and then work on the weaknesses in their skillset.”

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Polestar could rival Tesla

Polestar 1 white exterior, rear

Volvo Cars pledges to invest five billion yuan into its Polestar 1 high performance electric car in a bid to gear up for the ‘green car’ revolution.

The four-seater hybrid coupe is part of a push to improve the electric and hybrid vehicle range available. This comes after the Chinese government announced that electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles will need to make up at least a fifth of Chinese vehicle sales by 2025.

Chief executive officer of Polestar, Thomas Ingenlath, said; “Polestar 1 is the first car to carry the Polestar on the bonnet. A beautiful GT with amazing technology packed into it – a great start for our new Polestar brand. All future cars from Polestar will feature a fully electric drivetrain, delivering on our brand vision of being the new standalone electric performance brand”.

Polestar 1 white exterior, top

The Polestar 1 – with a nominal price-tag of between 130,000 and 150,000 euros (NZ$213,000 and 246,000), will go into production in the western Chinese city of Chengdu in mid-2019. This will be alongside the fully electric Polestar 2, which will compete with the Tesla 3 and an SUV Polestar 3.

The Polestar 1 will form a halo for the future Polestar brand. The Polestar 1 is a two-door, 2+2 seat Grand Tourer Coupé with an ‘Electric Performance Hybrid’ drivetrain. An electric car supported by an internal combustion engine, it has a range of 150kms on pure electric power alone – the longest full electric range of any hybrid car on the market. Its output of 600hp and 1000Nm of torque places the car firmly in the performance car segment.

Polestar 1 white exterior, 7/8 rear

Volvo’s chief executive Hakan Samuelsson said that all its car models launched after 2019 will be electric or hybrids, making it the first major traditional carmaker to set a date for phasing out combustion engine powered vehicles.

The order books for the new Polestar 1 open on 17 October 2017, with Polestar able to take expressions of interest from prospective customers immediately.

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Mercedes recall worldwide

Over one million Mercedes-Benz vehicles are set to be recalled worldwide, thanks to an unintended issue with airbag deployments.

According to a statement from Daimler, an electrostatic discharge as well as a broken clock spring and insufficient grounding of steering components could lead to deployment of the airbag on the driver’s side.

As part of the fix, the statement said dealers would add new grounding to the steering components.

Up until now, no deaths have been reported and the issue is not related to the recent Takata recall.

The recalls covers some 2012-2018 model year A, B, C, and E-class models and CLA, GLA and GLC vehicles.

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Car of the year awards on thin ice

A disagreement between the New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild and the Automobile Association (AA), could jeopardise the future of the New Zealand Car of the Year awards.

The NZ Motoring Writers’ Guild wanted the Subaru Impreza hatch and SUV to be considered as one vehicle for this year’s voting, however the AA said the vehicles were not the same and had to be considered separately.

Media representatives argue that voting on the Impreza and XV as one vehicle is unfair as the Holden Astra is also offered as a hatch and sedan for instance. The Hyundai Ioniq is also offered as an electric vehicle (EV), a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid.

AA motoring services general manager, Stella Stocks says the guild made the decision of which vehicles were to be selected in the top 10.

“The agreement has always been to select a list of top 10 finalists, however, the guild has pressed for two cars to be considered as one – the Subaru Impreza and the XV.

“Our position, which is supported by the Motor Industry Association and Subaru itself, is that they can’t be considered the same vehicle. One reason is because one is in the compact car category and the other is an SUV.”

Stocks says the AA was relaxed about which of the two cars was selected, or even both as separate contenders, but there could still only be a top 10, so another vehicle on the list would have to be removed.

Votes for the award are taking place currently and results will be announced in Auckland on December 12.

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