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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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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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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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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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Supercar top for price

A limited-edition supercar is for sale in Auckland for $4 million – and it’s believed to be New Zealand’s most expensive car currently being marketed.
A spokesman for the Giltrap Group says the Aston Martin One-77 is the most
expensive at the business while no other vehicle comes close to the price-tag.

The rare black car was new six years ago to the late Neil Graham of Christchurch, who co-founded global logistics business Mainfreight. The vehicle is now at Giltrap’s new showroom in its recently opened $40m 119 GNR premises in Auckland The spokesman says the car is $4m because it’s one of only 77 units made and is likely to continue to appreciate in value.

Marketed at the time as the fastest Aston Martin ever, it has a 7.3-litre V12 engine, does the 0-100kph dash in 3.7 seconds, has a top speed of 354kph and weighs 1630kg.

The 77 cars were made between 2010 and 2012. The vehicle in Auckland has 9,860km on the clock, boasts a petrol motor and was manufactured in 2011. The
cash price includes GST.

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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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Kia has record sales

The Kia Sportage

Kia Motors Corporation has announced its September 2017 global sales figures for passenger cars, recreational vehicles and commercial vehicles – and has notched a record total of 252,254 registrations.

Last month, its domestic market sales totalled 48,019 units. This represented an increase of 25.4 per cent compared with the same month last year. It was largely due to the timing difference of the Chuseok holiday, which was in September 2016 compared to October this year. Overseas sales also increased by 3.6 per cent compared to the previous year. This total came in at 204,235 units.
Kia’s best-selling model in overseas markets during September 2017 was the
Sportage compact SUV with 37,746 registrations. The Cerato compact sedan – also known as the Forte or K3 in some markets – was the second best seller with 28,793 units sold.

It was followed by the sub-compact Rio – known as the Pride in Korea –
with 24,760 registrations.

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Turners celebrates 50 years

Turners Auctions is celebrating 50 years in business.

In 1967, a second-hand truck was sold at a Turners & Growers fruit and veg auction, marking the beginning of the Turners success story.

Since then, Turners has grown, taken on the internet and become part of a larger integrated business, selling hundreds of cars, boats, trailers, trucks and general goods every day.

From a grand first year profit of $120 to over $12 million in 2017, Turners say their business has matured, but remains a distinctly kiwi brand.

Ten years after that first sale in 1967, Turners had either enough money to paint the floor of its dusty warehouse in Fanshawe St or advertise. Advertising was chosen, and the decision provided the boost needed to set Turners up for the hey days of the 80s.

By the start the decade, Turners was selling 2,000 cars a year and building its network across New Zealand, with its first purpose-built auction centre in Hamilton.

Turners brought some innovative changes to the auction experiences, running night time events with DJs and $1 reserves

In the late 1990s, Turners moved to its Penrose super site, capable of auctioning 1,000 vehicles a week. And in 2002, the company went out its own, splitting from Turners & Growers and becoming a listed company in its own right.

“Turners virtually created the vehicle auction industry in New Zealand and, hundreds of thousands of customers later, we are now one of the country’s largest used vehicle resellers,” says Turners’ chief executive officer Todd Hunter.

“Kiwis are car lovers and we have one of the highest per capita ownership of vehicles in the world. Our love affair with cars shows no sign of abating, with automotive sales and registrations continuing to rise.”

As a publicly listed company, Turners Auctions says it will challenge itself to make innovative changes, in order to drive growth into the future.

Hunter says that Turners is proud to have been moving New Zealanders for the past 50 years, and is looking forward to an exciting future.

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Mazda helps kiwis fly

Mazda has announced a partnership with Kiwis for kiwi, a national conservation charity.

Kiwis for kiwi will launch a unique initiative as part of its ongoing work to save New Zealand’s national icon and flightless bird from extinction.

The Mazda Foundation has provided the charity with two Mazda CX-5 vehicles as well as funding for the project.

Kiwis for kiwi executive director, Michelle Impey, said the support of the Mazda Foundation has provided the opportunity to launch a transformational new initiative that will contribute to the task of turning around the decline in kiwi populations.

“We are thrilled to have the Mazda Foundation’s support which will see us working together on an exciting new project which we look forward to announcing next year.  They’ve very generously given us two new ‘kiwimobiles’ to help us transport our people and kiwi, safely and in style.”

David Hodge, chairman of the Mazda Foundation, said getting behind such a great initiative was an easy decision for the Foundation. 

“The Kiwi is such an important part of our national identity and if our support can help in some way to ensure its survival then that is a great outcome for everyone.”

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10-year anniversary for Mazda initiative

Wellington’s Houghton Valley School has created a new outdoor learning zone, including a viewing platform overlooking native trees as part of Treemendous.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Treemendous initiative, a joint action between Project Crimson Trust and the Mazda Foundation.

In order to celebrate the milestone, an extra school on top of the usual four was selected to receive $10,000 towards an environmental project.

On Saturday (12 August), members of the school community, parents, teachers and children, staff from Mazda New Zealand and Capital City Motors, Mazda Foundation Trustees, along with the team from Project Crimson, all pitched in together to dig holes, move mulch and plant trees and shrubs.

The school had a large unused bush wilderness area that was transformed to include paths and seating. Viewing areas were constructed on the day to allow current and future students to observe and learn about the extensive natives planted, which now enhance the school’s existing bush surroundings.

“The new outdoor learning zone will be invaluable to the teachings of current and future students. Our staff and students are eager to incorporate the environmental space into their everyday curriculum to emphasise the importance of looking after the environment now, and in the future,” says principal Raewyn Watson

“We want to give a special thanks to our environment leader Jill Holmstead, all the children, the Mazda Foundation, Project Crimson and the local community who took time out of their day to make this all happen,” she says.

Ruud Kleinpaste brought along his insect friends and spoke with the students, educating them about New Zealand native bugs and the importance of looking after the environment.

Mazda Ambassador Riley Elliott, who’s better known as ‘Shark Man’, also attended the event and talked to students on the Friday prior about the importance of looking after marine ecosystems and encouraged them to pursue what they are passionate about.

“Houghton Valley was a notable example of the passion and enthusiasm the students and the school have about the environment. It was a tremendous success and I can’t wait to hear how the students utilise the revitalised area,“ says Mazda Foundation Trustee Andrew Clearwater.

Houghton Valley was the fourth school to become a Treemendous School this year, following Nelson Central in June, Leithfield School in May and Alexandra Primary School in March. The final school to get a visit from the Treemendous team will be Reporoa School on 16 September.

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