The industry playing field is not level
I get angered by stories that reinforce the perception that the Australian motor industry is a burden on our economy. The majority of employment in Australia is in service industries not subject to import competition or are government funded, such as education, health and social services. When you compare Australian car prices with those in the US, you must note the US doesn’t have a federal sales tax. State taxes are so varied they are not included in so-called recommended prices. How about a specification comparison, and what about adding 10 per cent for taxes? Think about the cost of righthand drive engineering, amortised over a smaller market. But the industry, I believe, is now in an irreversible position like many others and this will ultimately be to the detriment of the economic wellbeing of ordinary Australians. The cost of importing motor vehicles is arguably greater than the country’s agricultural output.
Marc McInnes, email DSG PLEASE Do you know ifVWwill be bringing an automatic version of the two-wheel drive 2.0-litre Tiguan to Australia? Dealers say they do not know because they don’t get told.
John, email There will eventually be a DSG automatic gearbox in the front-drive Tiguan, but we don’t have the exact timing. For now, VWAustralia says both versions of the all-wheel drive Tiguan, with 2.0-litre diesel and petrol engines, are available as self-shifters. EMPOWERMENT Does JD Power or any other organisation conduct quality surveys of cars sold here, as in the US and Britain?
David Taweel, email There is only a minor presence for JD Power in Australia, because of privacy rules and the reluctance of some car companies to assist. Toyota and Honda tied for top spot in the company’s Asia-Pacific Australian customer service index study for 2012. REVENUE RAISING I recently questioned the Premier of NSW as to why all new freeways/motorways only have 100km/h speed limits. Those being replaced had up to 110km/h so why not restore that limit? These new roads don’t have a history of fatalities and are more frequently patrolled by police. Are we just giving old Barry O’Farrell more money to prop up his budget?
TonyRussell, email JUICE USE Having bought a new Mercedes C250 Sport in February for many reasons, none of which included fuel economy, I was disappointed to find that after almost 5000km travelled I have not managed to achieve a fuel economy figure even remotely close to the advertised figures of 9.1L/100km (urban), 7.0L combined and 5.7L extraurban. Given I managed about 9.5L in typical driving with my previous vehicle, a 2008 Honda Accord Euro, I believed I had every right to expect better figures from the Merc. I’ve raised the matter with the dealer who told me that it would sort itself out after I had done about 1000km. It hasn’t. I amnot a leadfoot, have never had a speeding fine and the best mileage achieved with the new car was on a trip from Melbourne to Adelaide, which managed only 7.17L on exclusively highway driving on cruise control. Am I being unrealistic in expecting better numbers?
Mark Wigg, email We would expect better, but it’s always hard to know how people drive. CVT AIN’TOK What about a decent story on constantly variable transmissions? Why does the engine still rev at up to 1500rpm under braking, it pushes you along, you have to ride your foot on the brake around corners and roundabouts, what about wasted fuel and brake wear? Otherwise I find CVT OK.
James Scott, email We’ve written many times about constantly variable transmissions, which use a series of belts to vary the power delivery to the wheels and are now becoming commonplace in the battle against CO emissions and to boost fuel economy. The Carsguide crew are not fans of CVT set-ups, which have many shortcomings including those you mention. WORTHLESS Do you think a Ford Falcon XE panel van, six-cylinder, will ever be worth something?
Steve, email Short answer: no. Well, not as a collectable, anyway. TERRI-STORY I’m trying to decide whether to buy a new Ford Territory Titanium petrol in the next couple of months. I have heard that an updated Territory may come out next year. Do you know whether there is any truth to this and if so will the update be simply cosmetic in appearance or is Ford planning on a revamp inside and out?
Jack Massena, email The Falcon and Territory are set for major facelifts in 2014 but we have no concrete detail, beyond an objective to make them as good as possible for the run through to the 2016 deaths of the current models.