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Associations join forces

Two organisations which represent different sectors of the automotive sector in New Zealand have signed an historic agreement to work more closely together.

The Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association (VIA) and Motor Industry Association (MIA) have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU).

In the past, the two organisations – with VIA representing the used import sector and MIA being the association for the new vehicle sector – were often on opposing sides when it came to legislation that affected the industry, but in recent times they have worked more closely on certain issues.

Now – with the MoU being signed – the MIA and VIA have officially recorded the agreement reached on the working relationship between the two.

Key points of agreement
In this landmark step for the industry, VIA and the MIA have agreed to:
collaborate on areas of mutual interest, providing a united voice for the vehicle importing industry; work to a “no surprises” policy, so that policy decisions, announcements and action on contentious issues are communicated in advance; include other motor industry associations in negotiations of shared import when appropriate.

Commercial boundaries intact
The MoU also pledges that both associations will work to identify the issues on which they have different policies or positions. Both the MIA and VIA retain the right (and the responsibility) to advocate independently for their membership in these matters.

“While we fully intend to maintain clear commercial boundaries, it makes sense to work together to ensure that decisions affecting the whole industry are timely, efficient and thoroughly informed,” commented David Crawford, CEO of MIA.

“This formal agreement is born out of our recent conversations on shared topical issues – such as intelligent transport systems, autonomous vehicles and recall protocols,” said David Vinsen, CEO of VIA. “There are also areas where our Government stakeholders benefit from a combined view of our needs as a sector. These include port operations, ACC vehicle risk ratings and the development of standards for vehicles and infrastructure.”

Costs and future scope
Both VIA and the MIA have agreed that any costs incurred while working together should “lie where they fall’’, with each association responsible for its own costs. If a joint initiative were likely to require significant investment, financing would be agreed and apportion in advance.

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Annual inflation up to 1.9%

The consumers price index (CPI) had an annual increase of 1.9 per cent, and rose 0.5 per cent from the June 2017 quarter, Stats NZ said today.

This comes after 0.0 per cent quarterly, and 1.7 per cent annual, inflation last quarter. Collectively, housing-related costs had the largest upward contribution in the September 2017 quarter, slightly offset by falls in transport prices.

However, prices for second-hand motor cars fell 0.9 per cent this quarter but increased 1.8 per cent in the year. Petrol prices fell 1.7 per cent in the September 2017 quarter and increased 4.5 per cent in the year. Vehicle relicensing fees fell 8.0 per cent this quarter and 8.0 per cent in the year.

“In the latest quarter petrol prices fell three cents, to an average of $1.83 a litre, despite rising through August and September,” prices senior manager Jason Attewell says. “Average petrol prices in the CPI differ from what you see at the petrol station, because they take into account supermarket and loyalty card discounts.”

Housing was behind the increase in inflation. Rents rose 0.6 per cent in the September 2017 quarter and 2.2 per cent in the year. Construction of new dwellings (excluding land) rose 1.1 per cent this quarter and 5.4 per cent in the year to September. Local authority rates rose 3.5 per cent this quarter and 3.7 per cent in the year. While dwelling insurance rose 6.1 per cent this quarter and 12 per cent in the year.

Regionally, rents in Canterbury had a 1.9 per cent decrease in the latest year; this is the fifth consecutive annual decrease in rents for the region. The annual increase of 2.6 per cent in construction of new dwellings (excluding land) is the lowest annual increase since September 2010, before the Canterbury earthquakes.

Auckland had the lowest annual increases in rent and construction costs since March 2015. In Wellington, construction costs rose 1.4 per cent the September 2017 quarter (3.2 per cent annually), and rents rose 1.0 per cent (3.7 per cent annual). This was the largest annual increase in Wellington rents since December 2008.
“Rents and construction costs in Wellington are rising faster than for the rest of the country,” Attewell says. “Annual rents rose by more in Wellington than Auckland, while Christchurch rents fell.”

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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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Holden fundraiser for charity

A grand total of $807,000 has been donated to charity over the weekend, thanks to a fundraiser by Holden Australia.

$307,000 of the total was raised by the ‘Commodore Collection’ auction, which consisted of three limited-edition Commodores – the Director 05, Motorsport 05 and Magnum 111.

The Director model was sold to an online buyer for $130,000, with 50 per cent of its proceeds ($65,000) given to The Lighthouse Foundation.

The Motorsport 05 went for $93,000 and the SS ute-based Magnum (build number 111) went for $84,000

The remainder of the proceeds ($242,000) were made up by a donation of $500,000 from Holden, with a total of $742,000 given to The Smith Family’s ‘Learning for Life’ sponsorship programme.

The auction was run by Manheim and simulcast online. According to Manheim director of sales Adrian Blackwell, bidding for the the limited-run Commodores came from all over the world.

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McLaren develops unique vehicle

Forget buying the same car as everyone else, one McLaren customer has ordered two unique McLaren vehicles to his own individual specifications.

McLaren Special Operations (MSO) is developing the MSO R Coupé and MSO R Spider, which are the latest in a lineage of McLarens produced as personal commissions.

“A typical MSO personal commission extends beyond paint colours and materials and finishes to encompass changes to body and interior design and also dynamic and powertrain enhancements as required. The result is a McLaren personalised by MSO to become a car that is literally one of a kind.” says executive director – global sales and marketing, Jolyon Nash. 

 

One of the first McLarens commissioned at this level was the McLaren X-1. Unveiled during the weekend of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2012, the X-1 was produced for an anonymous buyer.

The two MSO R cars, which have the same external, internal and mechanical specifications, are finished in a striking yet understated Liquid Silver – the Coupé in satin and the Spider in gloss finish – with a carbon fibre central stripe.

Immediately identifiable as a matched pair, both have the same design of twin-element rear wing, with front dive planes to further enhance aerodynamic performance.

 

 

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Subaru driver on points table

Subaru driver Ben Hunt. PHOTO: GEOFF RIDDER

Subaru driver Ben Hunt is placed third on the points table into Saturday’s six-stage Handy Rentals Hamilton Rally of Waitomo.

He is keen to advance in this  penultimate round of the 2017 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship.

The 2015 NZRC champion, Hunt has been consistently bagging points with two podium finishes to date and is enjoying extracting the full performance out of his Subaru WRX STi.

He and co-driver Tony Rawstorn are seeded fourth in the 81-car entry list and the long-term rally partners are looking forward to the level playing field the 207km rally represents. The event marks the NZRC’s return to the roads of the King Country and Waitomo districts for the first time in over a decade, providing a fresh challenge for the teams.

Centered around the Ohura, Piopio and Waitomo areas, five of the special stages will be over 30 kilometres in length and the shortest stage at 16 kilometres in length, speed and endurance will both be factors.

“Everyone is starting from scratch with their notes. It is awesome to be rallying on some new stages,” Hunt says.

He is confident in Rawstorn’s ability to fine-tune the supplied pace notes, after the recce, to the way he likes to drive. The pair are now in their seventh season together and the longevity of their partnership in the car means Hunt can commit with full trust to Rawstorn’s note reading.

The Hunt Motorsports team made several set-up changes after August’s Rally of Coromandel – where the Subaru WRX STi finished third overall and second in the points category – and Hunt was able to test them last weekend.

Ben Hunt and Tony Rawstorn are looking forward to tackling some new roads in Saturday’s Handy Rentals Hamilton Rally of Waitomo, in the Subaru WRX STi. PHOTO: GEOFF RIDDER.

Subaru is currently leading the Manufacturer’s Championship standings, five points ahead of its closest rival Mazda. With Matt Summerfield sitting in second place in the NZRC in a Subaru Impreza and Hunt third, the Subaru brand is in with a solid chance of manufacturer victory if all goes well for them both at Waitomo.

Along with a number of prime spectator viewing areas through the event, the public can see the cars and drivers at the Newstead Lodge ceremonial start, running from 4.30pm on Friday at Hamilton’s Rototuna Shopping Centre.

The competition starts the following morning from Piopio at 8am, with teams tackling six special stages via service stops at Ohura, Piopio and Mairoa. The first car will finish at the Hamilton Car Club on Valie Road at 5.25pm on Saturday evening where the finish ramp and victory podium celebrations will take place.

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Japanese market set to shrink

With a shrinking domestic market, the powers that be at Toyota Motor Corp have decided to halve the number of car models sold in Japan by 2025. 

The decision has been made in response to a declining trend as the Japanese population ages and the younger generation chooses alternative measures to car ownership. 

Meanwhile, automakers worldwide are increasingly focusing their research and development efforts on electric vehicles (EVs) and autonomous driving technology. 

Toyota will gradually cut the models down from 60 to 30 by 2025, according to an unauthorised spokesperson who was interviewed by worldwide news provider, Reuters.

The news comes close behind an announcement by Honda Motor Co Ltd, to end production at a domestic factory by 2022.

 

“As Toyota begins to develop EVs for markets including China, Europe and the United States, they will likely focus on making models which can be sold both at home and abroad,” says Yoshiaki Kawano, manager of Japan/Korea vehicle sales forecasts at IHS Automotive.

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Update VIA details now!

The Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association (VIA) is reminding members to update their details.

As a VIA member, you do not need to apply for access to the Motor Vehicle Register (MVR) under NZTA’s new rules, however you will need to update trading details.

“Even if you do not require MVR access, we ask that you update your records with us now for compliance purposes,” says VIA Technical Manager, Malcolm Yorston.

If you haven’t already, you can update your information by clicking here, before Monday 16 October 2017.

If you do not update your details online, a VIA representative will be in touch with you to follow up.

“We will provide our regular update of member information to NZTA, who will then be able to verify your eligibility when you register with a nominated portal (MotorWeb, CarJam etc),” says Yorston.

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Record number of used-car dealers

A record number of dealers sold used cars last month, with 3,500 registered dealers – the highest number for the eighth month running.

Meanwhile, used-car transaction numbers grew moderately throughout the country –
up 1.6 per cent on the previous year to date.

New car sales were also higher than September 2016 by about 1.5 per cent. This was mainly caused by a large increase in the number of new vehicles sold into the rental vehicle market (23 per cent higher than last year).

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Subaru helps out Ironman

Braden Currie wins the Santa Cruz 70.3 in September. Photo: Santa Cruz 70.3

Subaru of New Zealand brand ambassador Braden Currie is just a few days out from competing in the biggest race of his successful endurance career.

Early on Sunday morning NZ time, the Wanaka-based athlete will make his debut in the gruelling Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.

It consists of a 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.2km run, which he has been training more than eight months for.

Currie qualified through the world champs after winning Ironman NZ and the Taupo 70.3.

Braden Currie and his son Tarn load their Subaru Outback up with their mountain bikes after a family ride. Photo: Graeme Murray, Filtered Vision

He then bagged the final points necessary by coming third at the Ironman Asia Pacific Championship, in Cairns, in June.

As part of his preparations, he experienced Australia’s warmer climate in Noosa where he had access to a Subaru Outback from a dealership in Brisbane.

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