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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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New vehicles on show

The 45th Tokyo Motor Show is about to begin late in October this year and will showcase some of the best Japanese vehicles available on the market.

While there will be a variety of European vehicles at the show, the Japanese exhibits should remain the stand-out exhibits.

In preparation for its centenary in 2020, Suzuki has developed a range of new compact concept cars and a sport’s saloon concept as well as limited edition models of the WRX STi and BRZ.

Meanwhile, Mazda should be set to launch a new version of the RX-8 sequel at the show. The RX-Vision was first showcased in the 2015 Motor Show. The Mazda stand will also include the Product Concept with Sky-Activ technology and the new Mazda CX-8 production car.

Honda has unveiled a sketch of its Sports EV Concept ahead of its full showing at Tokyo this month. The sketch reveals a sports car body shape alongside a fully electric powertrain coupled with Honda’s AI technology.

Mitsubishi is set to show off its all-electric SUV concept called the e-Evolution.

Nissan will also unveil its seventh-generation Z-car which is the successor to the 370Z. Production of the Z-car is expected to being in 2019. A newer version of the Nissan Leaf is also set to be revealed. The Nismo Leaf is set to be similar to the Ford Focus RS and should feature the same 235-mile range as the Leaf.

Subaru has teased some images of the VIZIV Performance concept car which is a saloon vehicle similar to the Impreza WRX STi. Subaru will also be unveiling a special edition S208 model of the WRX STi.

Unsurprisingly, Toyota has a large line up of vehicles that will be on show. Including the GR HV Sports concept which features a hybrid motor and targa roof. The TJ Cruiser van/SUV crossover will also be on show along with the i-RIDE concept – a small, fully electric ‘mobility vehicle’ making use of artificial intelligence to learn the habits of the driver.

Lexus will showcase its brand new LS luxury saloon. A hybrid edition has already been unveiled in Geneva in March, featuring a twin-turbo V6 petrol engine alongside two electric motors. There is also rumours of an unnamed concept car and the Japanese media speculates that there might be a seven-seater version of the RX SUV at the show as well.

The Tokyo Motor show is open to the public from October 28th to November 5th.

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Canadian workers strike against GM

A tentative agreement has been made with striking workers at the CAMI assembly plant in Ingersoll, Canada, according to a statement from vehicle manufacturer General Motors.

Some 2,500 workers at the plant in southern Ontario, walked off the job on September 18, after the automaker decided that the factory would not be delegated as the lead production site for the Chevrolet Equinox model in North America.

“These members have shown incredible courage and strength by standing up for good jobs and a secure future for their families and their community,” says Jerry Dias, president of Unifor National.

The automaker had threatened to ramp up the production of the SUVs at two plants in Mexico.

The assembly plant strike is Canada’s first since 1996.

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Tesla job cuts could reach 700

Job cuts have been made by Tesla company-wide, according to a statement on Saturday by the electric vehicle manufacturer.

The Palo Alto-based company confirmed the cuts but did not disclose how many of its 33,000 workers would be affected.

According to reports, it is estimated by former employees that as many as 400 to 700 employees may have been fired from a range of roles including administration, sales and manufacturing.

Meanwhile, an unspecified number of workers received bonuses and promotions following their reviews, according to the company.

The company said earlier in the month that “production bottlenecks” had left Tesla behind its planned ramp-up for the new Model 3 mass-market sedan.

The company delivered 220 Model 3 sedans and produced 260 during the third quarter. In July, it began production of the Model 3, which begins at (US)$35,000.

However, targets were missed for producing vehicles to a waiting list of more than 450,000 customers.

According to a statement from the company, the decision was made in order to boost morale, as high-performing employees have been rewarded.

Despite the mass firings, Tesla plans to hire hundreds more workers in the near future.

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NZ drivers place well

Ben Hunt and Tony Rawstorn on their way to winning the Handy Rentals Hamilton Rally of Waitomo, in the Subaru WRX STi. PHOTO: GEOFF RIDDER.

Subaru driver Ben Hunt moved up a position, to second, in the 2017 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship fueled by Gull and driven by Dunlop (NZRC).

He and co-driver Tony Rawstorn were steadily dominant all day – winning two stages and placing in the top three, in three more.

“We put new springs in the Subaru last weekend and the handling of the car just felt fantastic. It ran without any issues all day and allowed us to get into a flowing rhythm with the pace notes.”

“This result is awesome for all the sponsors and the crew as they have put a lot of time and money into our campaign,” Hunt says.

Hunt and Rawstorn won by 22secs over Rotorua’s Sloan Cox and Sarah Coatsworth and with Hawkes Bay’s Max Bayley and Lisa Hudson home in third, it meant Hunt has moved up the championship ladder with only one round remaining.

Sitting on 99 points, he is 10 points shy of Aucklander Andrew Hawkeswood (109) and one point ahead of fellow Subaru driver Matt Summerfield (98), of Rangiora, which stands Subaru in good stead for the Manufacturer’s Championship.

Emma Gilmour and co-driver Anthony McLoughlin brought the Vantage Windows and Doors Suzuki Swift AP4 home in fifth place at the Handy Rentals Hamilton Rally Waitomo. PHOTO: GEOFF RIDDER.

Meanwhile, Rally driver Emma Gilmour finished fifth in the Handy Rentals Hamilton Rally Waitomo, in the King Country over the weekend. 

She and co-driver Anthony McLoughlin brought the Vantage Windows and Doors Suzuki Swift AP4 home without any major issues over the six-stages – five of which were more than 30 kilometres long.

“We did about two hours, 16 minutes of competitive driving on really challenging, busy stages,” she says.

“The Suzuki ran very well and I’m pleased we had a good, consistent event and ended up with a top five result.”

 

 

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Manheim supports fundraiser

Holden aims to raise $360,000 for charity with the auction of ‘The Commodore Collection’.

Manheim Auctions is proudly supporting Holden to stage a charity auction of the last three limited edition cars to roll off the line. As a longtime partner of Holden and as one of Australia’s leading automotive auctioneers, Manheim is managing all aspects of the auction, including broadcasting the auction online so buyers all over Australia can have a chance to own a unique piece of automotive history.

The fundraising initiative will be in conjunction with The Smith Family: Australian Children’s Charity and aims to sponsor 55 young people living in Adelaide’s northern suburbs via the charity’s Learning for Life programme.

For the past 55 years Holden has been an important part of life in Adelaide’s north, according to GM Holden executive director of manufacturing, Richard Phillips. “We have seen the valuable work The Smith Family does in supporting – and nurturing – the education of disadvantaged young Australians right across the country,” he says.

With a goal of raising $360,000, three collectible Limited Edition Holden Commodores – ‘The Commodore Collection’ – will be auctioned on Sunday, October 15 as part of the Holden Dream Cruise celebration.

The vehicles in ‘The Commodore Collection’ which will be amongst the last to roll off the Elizabeth production line include – the Director V8 Auto Sedan #5, the Motorsport V8 Auto Sedan #5 and the Magnum V8 Auto Utility #111.

Of the money raised specifically by the auction of the Director V8 Auto Sedan #5, 50 per cent will go to the nominated charity of Holden friend and supporter, Bev Brock – The Lighthouse Foundation.

“We know how much Australians love their Holden vehicles and these three are very special!

So we think they’ll be a huge draw-card for motoring enthusiasts right across the country and hopefully they’ll inspire some fierce bidding under the hammer,” says Phillips.


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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