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Steel scandal hits marques

Some of the world’s biggest car companies – including Toyota and Honda – have been rocked by an industrial scandal in Japan over falsified data relating to the strength and durability of aluminium used in the production of their vehicles.

Kobe Steel, one of Japan’s key metal producers, says its staff has falsified the strength and durability of metal products delivered to more than 200 companies. These include automotive manufacturers, aerospace companies and the space industry.

The company works with several other marques, such as Nissan, Mazda, Subaru, Ford, General Motors and Mitsubishi.

Kobe Steel says data had been falsified to make the metals look as if they reached quality standards. The false information has been linked back to four aluminium factories in Japan, and, for some items, the practice goes back about a decade, says Naoto Umehara, executive vice-president.

The company is now investigating the practice, but says so far there have been no safety concerns. Toyota has confirmed its use of aluminium with falsified strength and durability ratings in doors and other outer areas.

A spokesman says: “We are working to identify which models might be subject to this situation and what components were used. We recognise this breach of compliance principles on the part of a supplier is a grave issue.”

Honda has also stated it has used materials with false ratings in its doors and hoods, while Mazda and Mitsubishi are investigating if their vehicles are affected.

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Advertising sways customers

According to a survey by the Motor Ombudsman, approximately a quarter of consumers are swayed by advertisements.

(more…)

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Bumper used-import sales for 2016

As many industry insiders have predicted, 2016 has been a very good year for used-imported car sales.

In terms of year-on-year sales, there were 149,526 used-imported cars sold in 2016 – 4.1 per cent ahead of 2015, when 143,642 units were sold.

December increased 4.6 per cent on the same month last year with 13,181 sales compared to 12,598 in December 2015.

The Nissan Tiida continued its dominance as the number-one selling used import with 775 sales for the month, and 7,529 for the year – with a five per cent market share for 2016.

The usual culprits were Mazda Axela in second place with a market share for the year of 4.4 percent and 6,639 sales, followed by Suzuki Swift with 6,283 registrations and a market share, for the year, of 4.2 per cent.

Toyota cemented its place as the number-one used imported car brand. It sold 37,557 units in 2016 for a market share of 25.1 per cent, Nissan and Mazda were second and third place respectively with unit sales of 28,145 and 22,663 and 18.8 and 15.2 per cent market share for the past 12 months.

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PoA assists quake victims

Ports of Auckland is working with with coastal shipping to assist in sending supplies to the South Island. (more…)

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