Stand by for a metal storm
NEWcars are hitting as hard and fast in Australia right now as a flurry of Jeff Fenech jabs. Three newcomers a week is way beyond the normal rate, even in a car world where 100-plus newcomers hit showrooms each year— everything from a tweak to a full body change.
Things were quiet through March and April, but when the calendar flicked across to May the ships started landing with new metal.
Everyone in the car business knows fresh metal is the best way to lure buyers into showrooms and, with demand at near-record levels, the conversion rate to sales is enormous.
Hyundai is doing huge business and this week it has the successor to the Sonata, with a trendy i45 badge on the boot to break the dowdy Sonata pattern, and the tiny Euro-focus i20 in June.
We are also getting a first serious look at the Toyota Rukus, a move to win Gen-Y buyers to the world’s biggest brand, and Skoda has the station wagon stretch on its latest Superb.
Did I mention we’re also having a first drive in the Porsche 911 GT3 RS at Phillip Island this week? The problem with so much new stuff is finding the space inside a weekly carsGuide.
In today’s issue we still have to review the impressive new Suzuki Kizashi and the classy BMW5 Series before we can move on to the next round of newcomers.
The other good news is the cars we are seeing are all potential contenders for the carsGuide Car of the Year award. The Volkswagen Polo has already set the bar, but the Kizashi will make the finals and so should the 5 Series.
Later in the year we know Holden will have a VE Series II with star potential, Benz is about to reveal its Gullwing SLS, and the Jaguar XJ will arrive to take the British brand in a new direction.
And that 911 RS? Not a Car of the Year contender, but only because it has such a narrow focus. It gets 100 out of 100 for thrills and pace, but close to zero for value and people-carrying potential.