Fears for our future
I was reading about the Toyota lay-offs and it got me thinking about what’s wrong with the Australian car industry. I realised part of the problem started in the 1980s. Gen-x, including me, was in high school and Gen Y in primary school. We were taught to be individuals and, fast forward to 2012, we are out buying cars and trying to be as individual as we can. We don’t want something that everyone else has. Our parents bought mostly Falcodores but we don’t because they’re too common. We also ask our wives and girlfriends what they think. My old man never asked the old girl what she thought about the car until he got it home. So what do we end up with? Mazda3s, CX7s, CX-5S, Vwgolfs, Ford Focuses, Toyota Corollas, Subarus, Nissans etc — none of them made here. So what will the future hold? If in 20 years there is no local car industry, those with something ‘‘exclusive’’ that was (once) locally made, like a nice 20-year-old Falcon GT or HSV Commodore, might be up for an interesting sale. I’m concerned. If I’m still around in 2032 and the local industry is not, I don’t want to be saying ‘‘I told you so’’.
Don, email Hear, hear. But at least Holden is spreading its net with the Cruze and not just relying on an old-fashioned family bus. DIESELDRAWBACKS An article in Carsguide stated that you shouldn’t get a diesel engine unless you are doing 30,000km-plus a year. Why is this? I thought diesels were better for fuel consumption and wear and tear.
Alex Manger, email Diesels give better economy but the engine is usually more costly and, even though you get more distance from each litre, the price of diesel fuel is higher than unleaded and can spike quite high. The 30,000km is the industry standard for getting ahead on the overall finances. PLEASUREANDGAIN I take exception to the oftenmade statement by motoring journalists, including Paul Gover, in which we are told not to consider a diesel engine unless we cover 30,000km a year. The whole thrust of these statements seems to be that you can only justify the additional expenditure if you are going to get a payback. Do people expect a payback when they option up a base car with useless items or select a more expensive model with no realworld gain? I get a much better return by buying the most outstanding engine in the range in the base model. My Holden Cruze CD is very well equipped and does not need to be optioned up with features which only increase the manufacturer’s bottom line. How manybmwowners spend an extra $20,000 to get a better engine in whatever model they have chosen? Is there a required monetary payback there? When I sold my Series I Cruze to update to a Series II, I gained a much better resale price than if I was selling the car with the bog-standard engine. If it was a financial payback I was after, I wouldn’t have needed to do as many kilometres. I achieved my payback in driving pleasure.
Gerry Muirhead ECO UNFRIENDLY Am I expecting too much from my Ford Falcon ECOLPI? The panel gaps seem excessive and the rear bumper was not fitted properly on one side. I have been left a little disappointed. It’s unfortunate, as our Falcon Ecolpi is brilliant in just about all departments. It’s cheap to run, has great power and torque, generally looks great and is comfortable to drive. I sadly get the feeling that Ford doesn’t care too much about the locally built Falcon.
Andrewkemp, email The Falcon is getting old and its cabin quality does not match import standards, but it’s still robust and reliable. Stand by as Ford mounts a major push for its Ecoboost Falcon with the four-cylinder engine. LOST FORWORDS I bought a new top-of-the-line Toyota RAV4 in January. It has My father-in-law has a 1968 HK Monaro 186S coupe. The interior is in excellent condition, it has 133,000 miles on the clock, and the original engine, rims and hubcaps. The paint needs to be stripped and re-sprayed but there is no rust in the firewall, pillars or panels. The chrome work is in great condition. He would like an estimate on its value as he is in his 70s and looking to sell to the right person.
Pete Rowland, email Glass’s Guide gives this advice: ‘‘ We think the vehicle in its unrestored state as it’s described is valued at about $25,000. Once restored, and depending on the level, detail and quality, the vehicle is potentially valued at between $45,000 and $60,000. We’ve even seen some examples at about $80,000.’’