China’s failed five-year plan
About four years ago you said you saw Chinese cars becoming huge in Australia within the next five years. Do you stand by that statement? Apart from a Great Wall ute that’s at the bottom of the ute sales list, not even in the top-50 selling vehicles overall, and a moderately selling SUV (if you count 20th place on the SUV sales chart as ‘‘moderate’’), that’s about it. Geely and Chery are a joke. Hyundai was introduced in Australia in 1986 and after five years, the Excel was up to 16th place in sales with a 1.4 per cent market share. No Chinese model even comes close to this today. How come you can’t admit that their cars are inferior and suited only for developing countries?
David Z, email We have often highlighted the shortcomings in Chinese cars and Carsguide got the only Chery J1 drive— following our criticism— before it was denied to the rest of the press. Chinese brands and importers made, and continue to make, big predictions and it’s our job to also report what they promise.
Has GM Holden won the contract to supply the Holden Statesman to the New York police?
Murray Hourigan, email Holden doesn’t comment on individual sales of its policeprepared Statesman in the US. As far as we know, there is no deal with cops in the Big Apple.
STAY SAFE, SON
My son turns 18 soon and I want him to do a defensive driving course. Which would be better and which courses do you recommend? We live in the country so he’ll be driving fairly long distances on some very ordinary roads. I don’t want a course where you take your own vehicle because if something goes wrong I don’t want him to crash his car.
Ashleigh Dignan, email We recommend several companies; in Victoria it’s Murcotts and John Bowe. He should do the course after he gets his licence and needs to be in his own car, so he learns in the car he will be driving.
ABRIDGE TOO FAR
Regarding Bridgestone tyre wear on VE Commodores, we have an E2 Clubsport on which the original rear Bridgestones were replaced at 44,000km. Due to that excellent result I replaced them with identical tyres at considerable cost from a large, reputable tyre chain. At the car’s 60,000km service I was told that the rear tyres were totally bald — the identical replacement tyres had lasted less than half the distance of the originals. I replaced them with Dunlop tyres at less than two-thirds the Bridgestones’ price; now at 28,000km they’re barely half-worn. No more Bridgestone tyres for me.
Garry Jones, email
OFF KEY NOTE
I’ve had problems with two Mitsubishi keys falling apart. A locksmith said the casings were faulty, but Mitsubishi said it was because of abuse and will not give us a replacement.
Harry Lines, email
We have tried several times to get Mitsubishi to reverse its decision, but it says
‘‘ the damage could not have occurred during ‘ normal use of a key’ and hence is not a manufacturing defect’’. Sorry.
I’m a little confused by the service intervals recommended by Peugeot. My 2010 model 308 XS recently had to have a 40,000km service even though it had travelled only 25,000km. What the heck happens at 40,000km when the service has already been carried out? Why couldn’t they just change oil etc for now?
Peter Irby, email Service intervals are based on time as well as distance. So even though you’d covered only 25,000km, when the time set for the 40,000km service came up, that’s when it needed to be done. Lots of components, and oil in particular, are affected as much by time and short trips as longdistance driving.
BRUMBY’S A BEAUT
With all the motoring problems we read about, I’d like to offer a positive and say that I have a 1988 Subaru Brumby with 340,000km on it. I have owned it for 15 years, since it had 120,000km, and I believe it is still on the original motor and clutch. I drive now about 15,000km a year and I change the oil every 5000km, the filter every 10,000km and once every year I take it into my mechanic for a safety check. The past two years it has cost me about $50 to have it checked as they have found nothing wrong with it. It uses about 100ml of oil between oil changes. What a great little car.
Phil B, email We know all about the Brumby, as one of the Carsguide crew owns one and has had a similar experience to yours. It’s very basic but very good. And totally unlikely to ever be recreated by Subaru.
Hitting a Great Wall: Chinese car sales fail to match the predictions