The in­dus­try play­ing field is not level

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Readers Write -

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.

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