China’s failed five-year plan

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Readers Write -

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.


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.


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


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.


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

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