Stand by for a metal storm

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

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.

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