Fears for our fu­ture

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Readers Write -

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.’’

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