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Electric Ferrari in the works

Ferrari is considering building an all-electric supercar, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has admitted at the Detroit Motor Show.

However, Marchionne stated the brand still has some way to go before an electrified Ferrari will reach production.

“Ferrari has looked at this forever and if there is an electric supercar to be built Ferrari will build it first,” he said at the Motor Show.

Marchionne continued: “People are amazed with what Tesla did with the supercar. I am not trying to minimise what Elon did but I think it is doable by all of us.”

The question of range, however, is proving the big stumbling block, he claimed. “You’re going to go real fast but how long do you last? We have seen that in Formula E, you have to change your car in the race. We need a lot more work to be done before we can make that a legitimate answer, motorised sports cars.”

The admission marks a significant turnaround from Marchionne, after being sceptical for years about the speed of introducing alternative engines and new technologies.

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NZ to receive JLR’s financial services

New Zealand will become Jaguar Land Rover’s first import market for their branded financial services product.

Steve Kenchington, general manager of Jaguar Land Rover NZ, said that spikes in demand for their vehicles have paved the way for a new financial package, provided in partnership with Heartland Bank.

Chris Flood, Heartland Bank’s Deputy CEO, says Heartland were delighted to be selected as financial services supplier to Jaguar Land Rover.

“We are proud to partner with Jaguar Land Rover, a strong and iconic brand in the New Zealand marketplace.”

“A key part of Heartland’s strategy is to grow its business through partnering with intermediaries, enabling us to reach more customers at the point of sale. We look forward to working with Jaguar Land Rover and believe our partnership will bring significant value for our mutual customers.”

“Jaguar Land Rover’s local sales have grown substantially over the past five years as new models have been introduced to the range and economic factors such as a strong housing market and an increase in immigration have provided a further boost.

“The introduction of a financial product under our own label was the next evolutionary step as the brand has further matured in the New Zealand market, and complements our existing 5 Year Service Plan sold with every new Jaguar Land Rover model in New Zealand, ” he said.

Customers purchasing a Jaguar Land Rover model under the new product will be given a guaranteed minimum buyback price.

“This means our customers will have further confidence that the vehicle they buy from us today will retain its value until they are ready to trade in, upgrade, refinance, keep or return it, when it reaches that point in its lifecycle.”

Jaguar Financial Services and Land Rover Financial Services will be available in Authorised Retailers from 15th January 2018.

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Sharp drop in business confidence

There has been a steep drop in business confidence following last year’s General Election, according to the latest NZIER Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion.

The report states that 11 per cent of businesses are expecting economic conditions to degenerate over the first half of 2018 due to uncertainty over Government policies.

Previous QSBO surveys have shown business confidence tends to fall after Labour takes office, in contrast to a lift in confidence when National takes office, but the effect on actual activity has been muted.

However, the bout of pessimism was not reflected in activity indicators. Domestic sales remain solid in the retail and manufacturing sector. The building sector also reported solid output and new orders.

Across the main centres, the pessimism was most evident Wellington and Canterbury. In particular, a net 33 percent of Wellington businesses expected a worsening in economic conditions over the coming months.

There is also a weakening in profitability, with a net 7 percent of businesses reporting a decline in profitability over the past quarter. 

Weaker confidence and profitability is affecting business investments; only a net 2 percent of businesses plan to invest in new buildings, a sharp drop from 18 percent in the previous quarter. Hiring intentions are also lower, despite solid hiring in the past quarter. These developments point to a softening in growth over the coming year.

 

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Spending hits record

Retail card spending rose 0.5 percent in the December 2017 month when adjusted for seasonal effects, Stats NZ said today. This is the fourth consecutive monthly rise in retail card spending.

These statistics are a great indication as to what changes are happening in consumer spending and economic activity. 

Retail card users spent $512 million on vehicles this quarter, a $5.5 million or 1.1 per cent increase compared to the previous quarter in September.

December quarterly

Retail card spending was up 1.3 percent in the December 2017 quarter when adjusted for seasonal effects, after a 0.2 fall in the September 2017 quarter.

Retail card users spent $512 million on vehicles this quarter, a $5.5 million or 1.1 per cent increase compared to the previous quarter in September. The December quarter is now the highest quarter on record.

Spending also rose in four of the six retail industries in the December quarter. The largest rises came from the hospitality (up $51 million or 1.8 percent) and consumables industries (up $51 million or 0.9 percent).

December monthly

When adjusted for seasonal effects, total retail spending using electronic cards was up 0.5 percent in the month of December. The total was boosted by a 4.0 percent rise in fuel spending.

Vehicles (excluding fuel) was down $0.2 million for December 2017, compared with November.

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Rivals to test subscription services

Both Mercedes-Benz and BMW are preparing to launch vehicle subscription pilots in the U.S. this year.

Subscription plans offer customers a vehicle to drive for a monthly fee that includes insurance, maintenance and pickup and delivery. Customers typically can switch among available vehicles based on needs.

Luxury rivals are preparing to launch vehicle subscription pilots in the U.S. in 2018.

Mercedes will offer a pilot to figure out whether a subscription model has long-term merit.

“We need to learn,” Seeger said Monday at the Detroit auto show. “In different markets, we want to try this out.”

Mercedes is also cautious about what Seeger calls a “big threat” to the subscription model: whether the vehicle you want is available.

“On the weekend, if it’s sunshine outside and if everybody wants to have a cabriolet, and if I apply five times to have a cabriolet and I don’t get it, what does this cause?” Seeger said.

Mercedes-Benz hasn’t determined where in the U.S. it will pilot the program and when, Seeger said. The automaker has active subscription pilots operating in other countries, she said, citing a Smart-brand program in Italy and a Mercedes-brand program in Germany.

BMW is “most likely” going to go forward with a subscription model in the U.S. said BMW North America CEO, Bernhard Kuhnt.

“We are in the phase of looking at it and evaluating together with BMW Financial Services,” Kuhnt said. “And if we are going to do it, we are going to pilot it first to learn more about it.”

“At the end of the day, the consumer is going to decide if that’s something they want to do,” Kuhnt said.

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EVs power ahead

Electric vehicles, EVs, are powering ahead in the Nelson-Tasman region, with figures trebling over the past year.

According to the latest Ministry of Transport statistics, 105 EVs are now registered in the Nelson-Tasman region – up from only 50 at the start of 2017.

Per head of population the region has one of the highest uptakes of EVs at around 0.14 per cent. Auckland leads with more than 0.18 per cent.

NelNetwork Tasman regulatory and commercial manager, Emma Lanigan told Stuff that factors in the Nelson-Tasman region likely to contribute to that uptake included high car ownership rates, a prevalence of off-street parking, commuting distances well suited to EVs, consumer preferences and demographics.

Network Tasman installed a fast-charging station behind Richmond Library in mid-2016, with stations in Nelson and Takaka following in January 2017 – all three are free to use.

The stations are in high demand. During 2017, the number of users charging at the station behind Richmond Library increased from about 60 a month in January to 250 in December. In that same period, the number of users at the Takaka and Nelson stations rose from about 30 a month to 125 and 180 respectively. 

The Car Company Nelson has also been selling every EV that they buy.

Damien Taylor, of The Car Company Nelson, said to Stuff that the popularity of electric vehicles was “pretty much as we expected.”

The price of second-hand EVs was “competitive” compared with petrol vehicles. The Car Company sold most EVs for between $20,000 and $25,000, Taylor said.

The article was originally covered by Stuff.co.nz.

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The new Lexus LF-1

The Lexus LF-1 Limitless has debuted at the North American International Auto Show overnight.

The Lexus LF-1 is deemed a showcase of technology, innovation and the latest evolution of design at Lexus. The concept has a sleek, sporty look, and a range of features designed around alternatives tailored to a potential owner’s drivetrain preferences and more.

The possibilities for the vehicle are indeed limitless – the LF-1 concept is capable of being powered by fuel cell, hybrid, plug-in hybrid or an all-electric powertrain.

This comes as no surprise as every Lexus model, by around 2025, will be available as either electric or have an electrified option.

“The LF-1 Limitless concept incorporates imaginative technology, and brave design while catering to the diverse lifestyles of customers,” says Paul Carroll, Senior General Manager of Lexus New Zealand.

The concept also has automated driving features, including self-parking and drive-by-wire steering, braking signalling and more. A “four-dimensional navigation system,” with the fourth dimension being time, meaning the vehicle can anticipate your upcoming destinations, etc. based on your schedule and other personal information.

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Oil seller turns to EVs

JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy Corp. is looking to start an EV car-sharing service at gas stations to help offset the expected decline in oil revenues.

Tsutomu Sugimori, president of Japan’s biggest fuel seller says that it is inevitable that EVs will become more and more prolific, so renting out battery-powered cars and other related services will become necessary for gasoline retailers

Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

“There is no point discussing how much and when EVs will become popular as people will shift to EVs to a point where it will have an impact at some time in the future,” Sugimori said in an interview in Tokyo. “As we don’t know the timing, we must start preparations now.”

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The world’s best-sellers

The best selling cars in the world have been revealed – what they all have in common is that they are manufactured in huge quantities and are sold all over the world. 

One of the reasons the Toyota Corolla is in the number one position is that it is sold in over 150 countries and regions. Since the launch of the first-generation Corolla in 1966, more than 44 million Corollas have been sold globally. By 1974 the Corolla was already the best selling car in the world. 

Let’s take a look at the infographic provided to us by TechRogers, which contains a mix of familiar favourites and the not so known:


15-Best-Selling-Cars-in-the-World

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BMW outsold by Mercedes

The BMW 5-Series

BMW reported a fantastic 2017 sales record but was outsold by Mercedes-Benz. Sales of BMW brand models rose 4.2 per cent in 2017 to 2.09 million passenger cars and SUVs, the carmaker said on Friday.

In comparison, Mercedes finished the year with a 9.9 percent gain to 2.29 million, which claimed the top spot in global luxury-car sales rankings for a second year.

The BMW 5 Series , which underwent a model change during 2017, achieved growth of 55.2 per cent, or an increase of 30,359 units, in December, with sales up by 6.3 per cent or 291,856 units in the full year. BMW also sold 103,080 electrified vehicles around the world, an increase of 65.6 per cent.

As for Mercedes-Benz, the most popular model was the C-Class in both Sedan and Estate guises. Over 450,000 units were sold over the course of 2017 while the E-Class accounted for about 350,000 units of the grand total. 

BMW, which had kept the global luxury sales crown for about a decade before slipping behind Mercedes in 2016, said deliveries were fuelled by a 9.6 percent gain for its SUV line-up and a 15 per cent increase for the 1-Series.

BMW also posted a 9.5 percent gain in December registrations to 195,916 vehicles, narrowly beating Mercedes and Audi whose sales came in at 193,534 and 180,250 cars respectively.

“I’m confident BMW sales will continue to grow during 2018, while we also maintain our focus on profitability,” said new sales chief Pieter Nota.

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Ford increases EV investment

Ford’s head of global markets, Jim Farley has just announced ­that Ford Motor Co will invest US$11 billion in electric vehicles, a major increase on their previously announced US$4.5 billion.

Bill Ford.

The electric vehicles will include 24 hybrids and 16 fully electric vehicles by 2022. 

The increased investment reflects the costs of building a dedicated electric vehicle platform, and development of 40 electric and hybrid models, Jim Farley said.

“We’re all in on this and we’re taking our mainstream vehicles, our most iconic vehicles, and we’re electrifying them,” Bill Ford said to reporters.

Rival Detroit automaker General Motors Co has also announced plans to add twenty new battery electric and fuel cell vehicles to its global lineup by 2023.

GM Chief Executive Mary Barra made a bold promise to investors that the Detroit automaker will make money selling electric cars by 2021.

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