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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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Autofile: May issue out now

In the May edition of Autofile, we look into the Forex collapse, where over 120 dealers were affected.

The Commerce Commission sends out letters to retailers reminding them of the fair trading act and sending out tips on how to avoid breaking the law. 

We catch up with the NZTA and find out what is happening with the Motor Vehicle Register. We also touch base with a variety of industry insiders to find out how they have found the process.

The IMVIA gives us an update on changes to the MVR, which include updated vehicle types – to keep up with changing technology.

We also pay respects to auto-industry icon, Bob McMillan who passed away at his home on May 1st.

This year also marked MTA’s centenary, which was highlighted with an event held in Wellington. The MTA100 was a big success and we find out more about what we can expect in the future, when it comes to vehicle technology. 

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NZ employment growth

Employment is forecast to increase by 152,000 over the next three years, according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s latest Short-term Employment Forecasts: 2017-20 report.

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New commissioner for TAIC

A new appointment has been made within the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC).

Transport Minister Simon Bridges has announced today Paula Rose’s appointment as a commissioner for the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC).

As a professional director, Rose brings a strong background in governance and senior management. She has enjoyed a long career in policing, including a period of time as member of the National Road Safety Management Group.

Rose was an independent reviewer for the Independent Police Conduct Authority and was also awarded Companion of the Queens Service Order (QSO) in the 2013 New Year Royal Honours for contribution to policing and the community.

“This appointment will ensure TAIC’s board continues to have the mix of skills and experience it needs,” Bridges says.

Rose has been appointed until June 2018. The Governor-General appoints Commissioners to the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) on recommendation of the Minister of Transport.

The role of the Transport Accident Investigation Commission is to determine the circumstances and causes of accidents, to help avoid similar occurrences in the future.

 

 

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Techweek’17 kicks off

A week dedicated to technology is taking place across the country.

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NZTA discusses speed rules

The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) is in the middle of discussions in relation to speed management on the roads. 

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New vehicle registrations robust

David Crawford, chief executive officer of the Motor Industry Association, says registration of 10,635 vehicles for the month of April confirms robust growth in the new vehicle sector which continues to perform above market expectations.
“It could have been even greater if it were not for supply constraints faced by some distributors.”
Year to date the new vehicle sector is 13 per cent ahead of this time last year with 50,059 vehicles registered compared to 44,210 to the end of April 2016.

Passenger car and SUV registrations of 6,996 units were marginally up 3.0 per cent (207 units) above April 2016. There were 3,639 commercial vehicle registrations for the month of April, strongly up by 15.5 per cent (489 units) on April 2016. It was the strongest month of April on record for the registration of new commercial vehicles.

Toyota remains the overall market leader with 17 per cent market share (1,771 units), followed by Ford with 12 per cent (1,267 units) and Holden with 8 per cent market share (865 units).

Toyota was also the market leader for passenger and SUV registrations with 14 per cent market share (961 units) followed by Mazda with 10 per cent (710 units) and Hyundai with 8 per cent market share (562 units). The top selling passenger and SUV models for the month were the Mazda CX-5 (264 units) followed by the Kia Sportage (250 units) and the Toyota RAV4 (237 units).

In the commercial sector, Toyota was again the market leader with 22 per cent (810 units) followed by Ford with 21 per cent (768 units) and Holden a distant third with 9 per cent market share (322 units).

For the month of April, the Ford Ranger remains at the top of the bestselling vehicle model table with 698 units followed by the Toyota Hilux in second with 571 units and the Holden Colorado with 312 units. Year to date the top three selling models are Ford Ranger with 2,912 units followed by the Toyota Hilux with 2,289 units and the Toyota Corolla with 1,546 units.

For the month of April the top five vehicle segments were dominated by SUV’s and utes (pick up/chassis cab), the SUV medium segment being the most dominant with 16 per cent share (1,743 units) followed by pick up/chassis cab 4×4 with 15 per cent (1,560 units), the SUV large with 12 per cent (1,251 units), the SUV compact with 12 per cent (1,247 units) and the pick up/chassis cab 4×2 on 10 per cent (1,112 units).

“Monthly registrations of 10,635 vehicles were the strongest month of April on record, and only the second time since the MIA began collecting data that the month of April has surpassed 10,000 units, the other time was way back in 1982,” says Crawford.

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MTA100 centenary

The MTA100 Car Show of the century took place last weekend, with industry insiders and automotive enthusiasts, of all ages, swarming to Wellington’s waterfront to enjoy some of the greatest cars ever made.

The show celebrated the Motor Trade Association (MTA)’s centenary and included a wide array of vehicles from crank-handle models through to autonomous and modern electric vehicles (EVs).

The vehicles were showcased in the TSB Arena and included Rinspeed concept cars (from the automotive manufacturer and tuning designer based in Switzerland) through to unique Kiwi vehicle such as the Trekka and Chris Amon’s Maserati.

Visitors to the event were also given the opportunity to take an EV out for a test drive with the Better NZ Trust.

Head of Rinspeed, Frank M Rinderknecht and his Kiwi designer Alain Brideson were the first speakers at the event, which marked the first time a Rinspeed vehicle has arrived in Australasia.

 

Trade me motors’ sales director, Chris Knight, who attended the event, says the range of speakers at the event was very impressive. “There was also a great range of manufacturers showcasing what was coming in the future. From the advanced technology to what’s available currently.”

The event was open to the public on April 29 and 30.

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Volvo reports profit

Volvo Cars has reported an operating profit margin of 7.3 per cent, down from 7.5 per cent on last year. Profitability was partly offset by costs related to the launch of the new 90 series cars and the new XC60, as well as continuous investments in new technologies and a rising number of employees.

The S90 sedan and V90 wagon scored the maximum of five stars  and both were ruled the safest cars ever with 95 per cent for adult occupant protection, 80 per cent for child occupant protection and 76 per cent for pedestrian protection. The vehicle has also received a maximum six points in the autonomous emergency braking for pedestrians test, which was the first time a carmaker has ever received this high a mark. 

The XC60 has just rolled off the production line this week and replaces the original XC60, which was the bestselling premium mid-sized SUV in Europe with nearly a million units sold throughout the world.

“In the first three months, we have seen strong demand for our 90 series cars as they reached markets worldwide,” says Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo president and chief executive. “We also unveiled the new XC60 in the first quarter and we expect this car to have a positive impact on sales and profitability.”

 

 

 

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Ford Escape gets ANCAP

The Ford Escape has been awarded a 5 star ANCAP safety rating.

AA Motoring Services General Manager Stella Stocks says the Escape is a well-rounded car for everyday use and comes in at an affordable price point in the market.

“It’s done exceptionally well in the overall crash tests, with solid cabin integrity and good pedestrian protection, which means in terms of safety it stands up well,” says Stocks.

The medium SUV comes equipped with a good range of safety features, including Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Autonomous Emergency Braking at city speeds, which helps to prevent nose to tails, Attention Assist for when drivers get fatigued and Trailer Stability Control.

ANCAP is supported by all Australian motoring clubs, the New Zealand Automobile Association, the Australian Government, the New Zealand Government, Australian state and territory governments, the Victorian Transport Accident Commission, NRMA Insurance and the FIA Foundation.

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Freight stalled in south

Freight has been stalled in the South Island, halting transport throughout the country.

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